The Darker Side of the News

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

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Vahir
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Vahir » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:46 am UTC

A serial cat killer is on the loose in London.

I'd make a Jack the Ripper pun but this is too morbid. The sick bastard deserves to be locked up for life.

Funny how much this offends me, when serial killers kill humans every day and I don't really care.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Sableagle » Wed Dec 21, 2016 5:31 pm UTC

Morbid, yeah, but The most recent figures are from the Mammal Society, which estimates that the UK's cats catch up to 275 million prey items a year, of which 55 million are birds, so maybe the owners should keep the cats indoors anyway. I hit one once. Long, straight road, clear visibility, one pub the only habitation and it closed, good conditions, 60mph and a little back kitten sprinted out of the pub's flower bed. Can't you walk the things on a leash until they've been taught how to not do that? I must have ruined someone's week there.

While we're on the morbid subject of serial killers, human deaths and being hit by vehicles,
Number of fatalities resulting from road accidents in Great Britain, by road user group: 2000 to 2013

Code: Select all

Year Pedest.  Pedal C Motorcy.  Car Occ   Other All Groups  % change
2000     857      127      605    1,665   155        3,409      -0.4          
2001     826      138      583    1,749   154        3,450       1.2          
2002     775      130      609    1,747   170        3,431      -0.6          
2003     774      114      693    1,769   158        3,508       2.2          
2004     671      134      585    1,671   160        3,221      -8.2          
2005     671      148      569    1,675   138        3,201      -0.6          
2006     675      146      599    1,612   140        3,172      -0.9          
2007     646      136      588    1,432   144        2,946      -7.1          
2008     572      115      493    1,257   101        2,538     -13.8          
2009     500      104      472    1,059    87        2,222     -12.5          
2010     405      111      403      835    96        1,850     -16.7          
2011     453      107      362      883    96        1,901       2.8          
2012     420      118      328      801    87        1,754      -7.7          
2013     398      109      331      785    90        1,713      -2.3


Maybe drink-driving went out of fashion in '08 or nobody could afford the extra petrol burned by going fast any more or something. The total has gone from "one every two and a half hours" down to "one every 5 hours 7 minutes."

Less precise number for Germany: 3.94/100,000/yr = 3176.4 total per year, so another 8 in the 22 hours since the truck hit the market. Odds are some of them made the local press, but only once each.

(The USA's a bigger place with a lower population density and a lot of different landscape conditions, so doesn't really compare well. Congrats to the USA all the same for getting down from 50,000+ to around 30,000 a year since the '70s despite the doubling of vehicle miles travelled.)

More public transport would reduce the car fatalities, reduce congestion, make public transport faster and cleaner and generally improve our lives (enough that some think-tank came up with calculations showing the best approach would be to make it free at point of use) but it wouldn't stop someone using a truck as a weapon.

From May 2008:
Indeed, just as transportation to a job can easily be turned into a 3000lb missile, ending or destroying lives just because someone was angry or stupid. Any tool can be abused.


I think to prevent *that* you have to pedestrianise1 towns pretty damn hard. Big granite planters full of pretty spring and summer flowers and evergreens for winter foliage work quite well, but then you need a way to make deliveries past them and these things don't do well in the snow.

Ultimately, you can't guarantee to stop an attacker who's willing to die to take his target with him. You can only make it harder and hope some attackers give up, someone notices and reports the more determined attackers scouting the defences and the ones who do surprise you with an attack fuck it up (or some opportunist steals the sports bag, ditches the bomb somewhere and thereby deactivates it).

1 That stopped looking like a real word before I finished typing it.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby HES » Wed Dec 21, 2016 5:59 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:1 That stopped looking like a real word before I finished typing it.

More real than peninsularise, which is a thing we do when we want to pedestrianise a roundabout.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby morriswalters » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:12 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:Big granite planters full of pretty spring and summer flowers and evergreens for winter foliage work quite well, but then you need a way to make deliveries past them and these things don't do well in the snow.
I've never seen a truck go on the sidewalk to make deliveries. I thought they used dollies. This problem already has multiple solutions. Authorities just have to find a balance between making life easy or accepting the fatalities.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:22 pm UTC

Concrete barriers installed in market where attack occurred.

Damned terrorists; don't you know how much CO2 is produced in making concrete?

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:47 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Sableagle wrote:Big granite planters full of pretty spring and summer flowers and evergreens for winter foliage work quite well, but then you need a way to make deliveries past them and these things don't do well in the snow.
I've never seen a truck go on the sidewalk to make deliveries. I thought they used dollies. This problem already has multiple solutions. Authorities just have to find a balance between making life easy or accepting the fatalities.


At a certain point, making life not easy also causes fatalities. If you're relying more on hand deliveries of goods, for instance, with much more carrying, lifting, and pushing about, you're going to have injuries. Some proportion of those will be fatal. Probably not a lot for moving about pallets of goods, but note that terrorism is also a pretty small source of deaths. Maybe slower, less efficient goods distribution results in indirect costs to health.

And frankly, terrorism can shift to some other method, as it has in the past.

I'm not convinced that you can ever reasonably harden away all the possible threats for the general population. Yeah, you can make your leaders live in vaults or whatever, but it's not practical to armor everything and everyone. It never is.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Thesh » Thu Dec 22, 2016 4:16 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Sableagle wrote:Big granite planters full of pretty spring and summer flowers and evergreens for winter foliage work quite well, but then you need a way to make deliveries past them and these things don't do well in the snow.
I've never seen a truck go on the sidewalk to make deliveries. I thought they used dollies. This problem already has multiple solutions. Authorities just have to find a balance between making life easy or accepting the fatalities.


The problem in a lot of places in Europe is that it was largely developed long before cars, so in crowded places there is no distinction between road and sidewalk. I visited Marienplatz in Munich earlier this year, for example, and putting up barriers would require cutting off all vehicle traffic, including emergency vehicles, or massively restricting foot traffic, which is 99% of the traffic.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 22, 2016 4:22 pm UTC

So what then, require background checks in order to get a trucker's license? Or invest a lot of money into making self-driving trucks?

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby sardia » Thu Dec 22, 2016 4:30 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:So what then, require background checks in order to get a trucker's license? Or invest a lot of money into making self-driving trucks?

There was the option to make walkable cities where you have city blocks that were reserved for pedestrians. Instead of people walking along roads, the roads would terminate at logistics dumps, aka stores. Cities get smaller, and more efficient. Traffic becomes more efficient since there's no people. It's no easy task, and it wasn't meant to prevent intentional vehicular homicide. But it could help.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Thesh » Thu Dec 22, 2016 4:49 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:So what then, require background checks in order to get a trucker's license? Or invest a lot of money into making self-driving trucks?


Realize that protecting targets doesn't prevent deaths, it just causes terrorists to change targets or tactics.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby sardia » Thu Dec 22, 2016 4:53 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:So what then, require background checks in order to get a trucker's license? Or invest a lot of money into making self-driving trucks?


Realize that protecting targets doesn't prevent deaths, it just causes terrorists to change targets or tactics.

Which is why my suggestion is better. There's economic benefits to making a city physically smaller. You boost GDP, and serves as a catalyst to churn ideas through a city faster.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Lazar » Thu Dec 22, 2016 4:55 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Realize that protecting targets doesn't prevent deaths, it just causes terrorists to change targets or tactics.

How do you know this is the case? Is there some iron law of terrorist effectiveness?
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:04 pm UTC

If protections do absolutely nothing, then why do nuclear power plants bother with security guards?

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby morriswalters » Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:05 pm UTC

Thesh wrote: I visited Marienplatz in Munich earlier this year, for example, and putting up barriers would require cutting off all vehicle traffic, including emergency vehicles, or massively restricting foot traffic, which is 99% of the traffic.
There is no easy answer. But there has to be something. They stopped most hijacking of airplanes by locking the cabin door and reinforcing it. Planners will do what they do, plan. They aren't going to quit having events.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Thesh » Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:29 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:If protections do absolutely nothing, then why do nuclear power plants bother with security guards?

Yes, because nuclear power plants and sidewalks are indistinguishable.

Lazar wrote:
Thesh wrote:Realize that protecting targets doesn't prevent deaths, it just causes terrorists to change targets or tactics.

How do you know this is the case? Is there some iron law of terrorist effectiveness?

History? There are an uncountable number of possible targets and tactics; we installed strict baggage checks and controls so terrorists couldn't smuggle explosives on planes, blowing up the WTC with conventional explosives didn't work, so they hijacked planes and flew them into the buildings. We stop that, they use explosives, we go after bomb makers they use trucks. We go after trucks, they'll shift targets and tactics yet again. Sure, if you have no concern for economic consequences or civil rights, I'm sure you can stop 100% of all terrorism; we are so far from that that the difference is negligible.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby PeteP » Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:42 pm UTC

Lets say we classed targets on some linear scale made up of effort and how much damage it will do and stuff (ignoring that that probably wouldn't work all that well.) Then security helps if you remove (or rather move lower by increasing effort) all targets on the highest level. An unprotected nuclear plant would have a a very high rating and not much would be on the same level. But as you get lower the number of targets on the same level gets higher and at some point it can become impractical to remove all targets on a level so removing some of them lower the choice of attackers but does not really affect their efficiency.

Which was a inefficient way to say: That there are targets where it makes sense to protect them does not counter the argument that currently it would just redirect the attacks. Of course Thesh hasn't proven his point either but that is beside my point.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:42 pm UTC

Thesh, you just said that protections do nothing. That's not true. You can't spend an infinite amount to harden all targets, but you can harden critical targets and can implement policies and designs that do things safer. What we need to accept is that it's impossible to protect everything, not that protections do nothing.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Thesh » Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:53 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Thesh, you just said that protections do nothing.
That's not true.
Summum ius, summa iniuria.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:17 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Thesh, you just said that protections do nothing.
That's not true.



Umm...
Thesh wrote:Realize that protecting targets doesn't prevent deaths, it just causes terrorists to change targets or tactics.


I mean, technically it's not nothing, but are you really going to argue that?

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Sableagle » Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:20 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:If protections do absolutely nothing, then why do nuclear power plants bother with security guards?


It's a question of target value. A nuclear anything is a high-value target because people hear "nuclear" and get scared. It could be worth a terrorist's time to add petrol and motor oil to a blast and/or fragmentation bomb in order to create a big fireball and/or rising smoke ball that'll create a recognisable image that can sit behind newsreaders for the next week and make sure the people know about them and their offensive capability. The terrorist in this case used a lorry as a kinetic energy weapon because he couldn't spray a hundred litres of radioactive waste over the crowd or sprinkle unexploded cluster-bomb submunitions over the entire market or open fire on the crowd with twin .50 MGs from the back of an APC. There'll always be people wanting to inflict casualties on arbitrarily selected civilians for one cause or another. We invest in trying to figure out who's going to launch an attack and get to them first, in trying to identify likely targets and making it harder to hit those, in making the means of carrying out particularly horrific (i.e. terrifying, i.e. effective) attacks harder to obtain and so on. We also, occasionally, wonder why they're so upset. It's possible that the refugee population of Germany is actually a good security investment because the welcoming policy has made Germany less of a target. We can't know the what-ifs there.

I did include the goodwill yield as a benefit of a major infrastructure project in Syria when I wrote it up and sent it to Barack Obama's campaign team back when he was running for office and the California drought was new. I started with Darfur in mind and then it hit me that Syria was also a good place to develop the solar-powered sea-to-field water system and on-demand UV sterilisation technology that Nevada needed then and more places in and outside the USA were going to need by the time the technology was mature, the capacity was up and the costs were down. Darfur's a lot further from the coast, but you can run water through pipes made mostly of sand, you can move it using sunlight and neighbouring Chad is not short of sand or sunlight. Leaks would have helped stop the spread of the Sahara. Heck of a legacy. Better legacy than the GWOT was ever going to become for W. Wrote the whole thing up, checked out topographic maps, tribal conflict zones, existing road access, mapped routes et cetera and sent it in. "Thanks for caring. Hope we can count on your vote." That, et rien plus. That safe town I said it'd be nice to have in Syria for the people of Aleppo to run to now? Could have started building that 7 years ago. Of course, it would have been extremely expensive.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby addams » Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:27 pm UTC

Dark News.
This is still Dark News.
http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/29/us/dakota ... ock-sioux/

It is Old News, I know.
But; It keeps not going away.

Personally; I agree with the Slap-Dash Sign:
**Oil And Water**
DON'T MIX


Even though it is not True.
Oil and Water Do mix.
It's called an emulsion.

That's what those fucked up Bastards want to pump through that fucking Pipe.
An emulsion of some of the most Toxic Shit man has yet to produce in such large quantities.

don'r fuck Kelcy Warren.
It might make more of him.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Thesh » Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:43 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Thesh wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Thesh, you just said that protections do nothing.
That's not true.



Umm...
Thesh wrote:Realize that protecting targets doesn't prevent deaths, it just causes terrorists to change targets or tactics.


I mean, technically it's not nothing, but are you really going to argue that?


Yes, and I'm also going to argue you have to discuss in context. I mean, there is a huge difference between "it does something major" and "it does nothing at all" - it's just that "it does something major" part, changing targets or tactics, can result in more effective or less effective terrorist attacks in the future depending on who the decision makers are; you can protect major strategic vulnerabilities, but if their goal is to kill as many people as possible then you can only prevent attacks of much larger scales than we are seeing today.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:59 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:
Thesh wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Thesh, you just said that protections do nothing.
That's not true.



Umm...
Thesh wrote:Realize that protecting targets doesn't prevent deaths, it just causes terrorists to change targets or tactics.


I mean, technically it's not nothing, but are you really going to argue that?


Yes, and I'm also going to argue you have to discuss in context. I mean, there is a huge difference between "it does something major" and "it does nothing at all" - it's just that "it does something major" part, changing targets or tactics, can result in more effective or less effective terrorist attacks in the future depending on who the decision makers are; you can protect major strategic vulnerabilities, but if their goal is to kill as many people as possible then you can only prevent attacks of much larger scales than we are seeing today.


Then by definition, good policies prevent deaths, even if they can't prevent all deaths.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Thesh » Thu Dec 22, 2016 7:05 pm UTC

Define "good policy" in relation to this kind of attack. If these two terrorists (Nice and Berlin) couldn't drive a truck, would they have done something else, and would more people have died? It's unknowable, and there is no reason to believe fewer people would have died.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby sardia » Thu Dec 22, 2016 7:19 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Define "good policy" in relation to this kind of attack. If these two terrorists (Nice and Berlin) couldn't drive a truck, would they have done something else, and would more people have died? It's unknowable, and there is no reason to believe fewer people would have died.

A hypothetical and unreasonable goal might be to divert terrorism attacks to say, the countryside, where he runs over like 2 people cuz it's the middle of nowhere.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:17 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:If protections do absolutely nothing, then why do nuclear power plants bother with security guards?


Required by law, probably.

I mean, I think there's a time and place for security, but nuclear power plans are probably not the go-to counter-example for public paranoia requiring excessive, costly safety.

In general, the more limited the area, the more protection you can reasonably put on it. Protect the president? Well, sure, there's only one of him. Makes sense. Putting similar levels of protection on lots of people, though, would quickly become unworkable.

There are a lot of sidewalks.

And if you protected all the sidewalks, what then? Terrorism could simply target other target rich environments. Movie theaters, perhaps. Demonstrations. Wherever. I suppose you could attempt to do-away with crowds altogether, and mandate that everyone maintain a minimum distance from all other humans. Good luck with that.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Sableagle » Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:58 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
Thesh wrote:Define "good policy" in relation to this kind of attack. If these two terrorists (Nice and Berlin) couldn't drive a truck, would they have done something else, and would more people have died? It's unknowable, and there is no reason to believe fewer people would have died.

A hypothetical and unreasonable goal might be to divert terrorism attacks to say, the countryside, where he runs over like 2 people cuz it's the middle of nowhere.

We need to trick them into hijacking 125cc motorbikes and trying to run down herds of cows.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Diadem » Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:38 pm UTC

Vahir wrote:A serial cat killer is on the loose in London.

I'd make a Jack the Ripper pun but this is too morbid. The sick bastard deserves to be locked up for life.

I never understand this particular response to animal cruelty.

Almost everybody in the western world tortures animals for fun every day. We call it eating meat. I mean, sure, technically we let other people do the torturing for us, we don't personally get our hands bloody, but that does not make a moral difference.

I understand cats are cute, I understand the emotional response. But the cognitive dissonance required to not see the hypocrisy of such an emotional response is just so big I don't understand how people manage it.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby morriswalters » Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:04 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Define "good policy" in relation to this kind of attack.
One where it's seen that you're doing something, versus being seen as doing nothing. We manage crowds. And we do city planning. It may well be that city centers will have to be redesigned to remove as many of the conflict points between vehicular traffic and pedestrians as is possible.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby HES » Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:47 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:And we do city planning. It may well be that city centers will have to be redesigned to remove as many of the conflict points between vehicular traffic and pedestrians as is possible.

Which is in our interest for reasons of road safety and traffic flow anyway.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby sardia » Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:54 pm UTC

HES wrote:
morriswalters wrote:And we do city planning. It may well be that city centers will have to be redesigned to remove as many of the conflict points between vehicular traffic and pedestrians as is possible.

Which is in our interest for reasons of road safety and traffic flow anyway.

The important thing is to lie about how much better security is after your improvement.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:33 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:One where it's seen that you're doing something, versus being seen as doing nothing.


I mean, that's very good for the careers of politicians, perhaps, but sometimes "nothing" is the logically correct choice of action. Or at least, actions that are not particularly good for being seen to do something.

On the broader scale, deaths from wars and murder seem to be on long term decreasing trends. People seem really fixated on terrorism specifically, but it's hardly the only or largest danger. By and large, we're doing pretty well in terms of reducing danger. More concrete pylons will probably not have any appreciable effect on this, though. And the money spent on those is not being spent somewhere that might be more useful.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby morriswalters » Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:46 am UTC

sardia wrote:The important thing is to lie about how much better security is after your improvement.
Some lies are better than others. Europe could always invade somebody in the Middle East and call it mission accomplished.
Tyndmyr wrote: but sometimes "nothing" is the logically correct choice of action.
Sometimes yes. But but the hive mind wants someone to do something and it doesn't care about logic.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby sardia » Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:57 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:
sardia wrote:The important thing is to lie about how much better security is after your improvement.
Some lies are better than others. Europe could always invade somebody in the Middle East and call it mission accomplished.
Tyndmyr wrote: but sometimes "nothing" is the logically correct choice of action.
Sometimes yes. But but the hive mind wants someone to do something and it doesn't care about logic.

Yes, hence my point about lying to the public. It can be very helpful.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Vahir » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:47 am UTC

Diadem wrote:
Vahir wrote:A serial cat killer is on the loose in London.

I'd make a Jack the Ripper pun but this is too morbid. The sick bastard deserves to be locked up for life.

I never understand this particular response to animal cruelty.

Almost everybody in the western world tortures animals for fun every day. We call it eating meat. I mean, sure, technically we let other people do the torturing for us, we don't personally get our hands bloody, but that does not make a moral difference.

I understand cats are cute, I understand the emotional response. But the cognitive dissonance required to not see the hypocrisy of such an emotional response is just so big I don't understand how people manage it.


Hypocrisy? It's the pointlessness of the murders that make it galling. When you slaughter a goat, you do it for food or material. Killing a dog because it gives you jollies is sick, the same way butchering a cow for jollies is. The problem isn't that it's domestic animals being killed, it's that the killing is wasteful and pointless. I'd give the same judgement on somebody who went around farms mutilating cows, as I'm sure pretty much everyone else would.

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sardia
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby sardia » Fri Dec 23, 2016 5:04 am UTC

Vahir wrote:
Diadem wrote:
Vahir wrote:A serial cat killer is on the loose in London.

I'd make a Jack the Ripper pun but this is too morbid. The sick bastard deserves to be locked up for life.

I never understand this particular response to animal cruelty.

Almost everybody in the western world tortures animals for fun every day. We call it eating meat. I mean, sure, technically we let other people do the torturing for us, we don't personally get our hands bloody, but that does not make a moral difference.

I understand cats are cute, I understand the emotional response. But the cognitive dissonance required to not see the hypocrisy of such an emotional response is just so big I don't understand how people manage it.


Hypocrisy? It's the pointlessness of the murders that make it galling. When you slaughter a goat, you do it for food or material. Killing a dog because it gives you jollies is sick, the same way butchering a cow for jollies is. The problem isn't that it's domestic animals being killed, it's that the killing is wasteful and pointless. I'd give the same judgement on somebody who went around farms mutilating cows, as I'm sure pretty much everyone else would.

No, there's a spectrum depending on how cute the animal is. If I found out you were torturing cockroaches, I'd call you a scientist before I guessed serial animal killer. I would not be so generous if you were killing youtube kittens.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby commodorejohn » Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:09 am UTC

I'd happily eat a kitten if they were as delicious as cows are.
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Grop
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Grop » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:22 am UTC

Also lambs are cute as well.

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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby Angua » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:45 am UTC

Guinea pigs are the cutest.

And monkeys can be cute. When they're not being fruit destroying bastards.
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Re: The Darker Side of the News

Postby HES » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:49 am UTC

Grop wrote:Also lambs are cute as well.

Rabbits and duck too. All the cute are delicious.
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