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Topics - Dr Matrix

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The Lounge / Energy crisis
« on: September 14, 2009, 10:54:07 AM »
So I herd u like fosil fuelz? Seriously, something needs to be done to stop people being so whiney about nuclear and renewable power stations being built near them - it's all very well going "meh meh meh I don't want my house to flood, stop making carbon etc..." before going and sitting in front of your 42" TV with the kettle boiling and your washing tumble-drying itself after it's 60 degree wash, but you have to accept that there are personal consequences.

The simple fact is, the world is running out of electrical generating capacity fast and we have the technology to buy us some time for cool stuff like super-efficient solar and/or fusion power to come online... All we need is the public and political willpower.  Discuss.

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The Lounge / Call of Duty 4
« on: March 22, 2009, 01:45:04 PM »
Anyone up for creating a FES clan on CoD4?

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The Lounge / Anarchist World
« on: November 03, 2008, 01:07:36 AM »
Part 1

Joe the plumber awoke suddenly from his sleep to the incessant bleeping of his alarm clock.  After a couple of ineffective  stabs at the cheery smiley face button, he decided it was time to get a new clock - shame, since he really liked this one  compared to the newer, standardised model.  Ever since the Revolution in which anarchy had spread across the world, relics  such as his alarm clock had become harder and harder to find, with the poorer quality modern models being the only  alternative.  The same went for everything really - his bed wasn't as comfortable as it used to be, his windows not as good  at keeping the noise and cold of the night out, his neighbours not as happy as they once were.

Adapting to a life without money had been the hardest part - once the central British government had been dissolved, along  with the centralised infrastructure maintaining stable institutions across the nation, there had been a period of utter  chaos. There were no police to call on, no ambulances to tend the sick and injured, no firemen to put out the blazes which  had swept through parts of the once proud and prosperous nation; it had been every man for himself as soon as food started  to become scarce.  Thankfully him and his neighbours on the estate had banded together to protect what remained of their  property - they had formed a militia, spent some time fortifying the concealed access points to the estate and had a  rotation system for patrolling at night in exchange for looking after each others kids, or in his case maintaining the  heating and water systems for the community as well.

Food was still hard to come by, but farms had sprung up around the outskirts of the city and had started to break even and  support the local community.  The inner city was deserted now, partly due to the fires and rioting which had spread during  the aftermath of the Revolution but mainly due to the impossibility of supporting that high a population density without  easy access to farmland or other food sources. In the old days, food had been trucked in from foreign countries or from  other parts of the country dedicated to farming, but since the fuel had run out this had become impossible.  The carnage had  been horrific and the number of deaths had been staggering - he had heard that as much as 80% of the population could have  died in the transition period, with stories passed on by the local radio system of corpses rotting in the streets, or being  eaten by starving city-dwellers. It was horrific, but Joe had escaped the worst of it thanks to his community's quick  response and coordinated action.

Joe said goodbye to his wife and children, and stepped out through his MacGuyver-repaired front door into the cold November air.  It was his turn to be the first speaker at the weekly local council meeting, which gave him the chance to voice his personal concerns and ideas before proceedings got underway. It had taken some time to get the system organised, but by chance the MP for the  area in the old system lived not far from him and had brought his family in to the estate for shelter.  In return, he had  helped to set up local administrative services such as the militia and rudimentary health care; the new council system  worked well, but there had been rumours that people outside the estate were afraid of this democratic kernel growing into  something like the old UK. Several organised gangs of self-proclaimed 'True Anarchists' had been fought off, but it was  clear they were committed to destroying anything resembling the old system.

Passing by the main entrance to the estate, he waved to the duty watchmen - people came onto the estate past them, who  did their best to make sure no known troublemakers got in.  Most of them were farmers or other traders bringing in much-needed supplies. The regional farming council had been trying to set up bigger markets,  but farmers often found they could get more for their goods by travelling directly to communities such as Joe's, especially  since people were afraid of leaving the relative safety of the Perimeter. A small market of sorts had even been set up in  one of the parks on the estate, where people gathered to exchange goods. Weapons featured heavily in the estate's imports, being the only means of guaranteeing security. Joe didn't like to see all the guns around, but memories of what it had  been like in the early days were enough to quickly suppress his unease - other communities had abolished weapons and paid  the price with their lives over trivial disputes.  The local consensus was that that was not going to happen here.

As Joe approached the converted bus station that now served as a 'Villiage hall' of sorts he tried to gather his thoughts  for the meeting - there was much to discuss.  Much to fix. Much to mourn. He suppressed the memories that dragged a tear  from his eye, concentrating on the present as he pushed open the door and walked in...

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The Lounge / FTW
« on: September 17, 2008, 10:51:01 AM »
In response to my monster fail thread I thought that a 'ultimate win' thread was needed.

You've just pwned someone so hard you think they're going to spontaneously combust - where are such victories recorded? Right here. Start winning, start posting.

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The Lounge / My boss found out who I am on here...
« on: September 17, 2008, 01:48:02 AM »
2 days to vote! I need to know how the site feels, since it's you guys that have to live with the consequences ;)

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The Lounge / M-M-M-MONSTER FAIL!
« on: September 15, 2008, 04:12:29 PM »
People sig stupid stuff, some of which is just too damn hilarious to be lost, like tears in rain.

If you find something particularly fail-worthy, I say post it here, for all to remember and marvel at.  For eternity (or teh lulz).

Fire away people!


EDIT: Report epic win here.

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Flat Earth Debate / "Truthification" vs. falsification
« on: August 20, 2008, 06:22:04 AM »
I read an interesting article earlier today about the merits of moving away from defining something as 'scientific' if it makes falsifiable predictions.  After all, astrology, tarot cards and palm readers make falsifiable predictions, but are not considered to be 'scientific'.

The alternative argument is to build up a body of evidence, and use Bayesian mathematics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayesian_probability) to weight competing theories based on the probability that they successfully explain the observed phenomena.  This has the advantage over conventional 'falsification'-based science as (ironically) illustrated by the inventor of the technique, Karl Popper (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Popper), by the 'black swan' thought experiment.

The idea is you have a theory that all swans are white - the only way to test that is to look at every single swan, but however many you look at there's always the chance you missed one, so you can never 'prove' the hypothesis.  However, a single black swan observation successfully disproves the theory.  The reason this is problematic for science is that there is no single theory in existence which successfully explains all observed phenomena (this would be a 'Theory of Everything'), so it makes more sense to take all the observed evidence (suspected number of swans, number of white swans observed, number of black swans observed, etc. etc.) and mathematically weight the competing theories based on which one most successfully describes the observations. Now if we see one black swan in a million, the theory that 'all swans are white' is clearly not completely correct, but certainly preferable to 'all swans are black' - the distinction is quantified, not merely qualified.

I believe this technique can be applied to the RE/FE debate... discuss.


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