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About Emperor_Matej_I

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  1. Emperor_Matej_I


    The blog is OTT but it's pretty hilarious!
  2. Emperor_Matej_I

    Crime, punishment, science and free will

    It's a very good article, but it would have been good if it were properly referenced. I'd like to look into some of those statistics and some of the arguments raised and it's awfully difficult to do that without knowing the source! I've been advocating a less black-and-white approach to sentencing for a long time. In my view, unless there's something obviously biologically wrong (e.g. the tumor example or someone suffering from a recognised psychiatric disorder), then criminal responsibility should still attach to particular acts. Sentencing isn't just about blame. As the author said, it's also about deterrence and protecting the community. Excusing all behaviour as the result of a biological disorder would not set the right example and would do little to protect the public from child molesters and the like. However, that doesn't mean that all people who are guilty of criminal offences need to go to prison. There should be a range of sentencing options available that take into account individual circumtances and more research should be done into which ones work best for what sorts of individuals. Australia is a step ahead of the USA in that regard - most jurisdictions don't have mandatory sentencing and do have non-custodial sentence options. For example, for first-time or young offenders, it's not uncommon for someone who committed a minor offence to be placed on a good behaviour bond with conditions imposed. For example, someone convicted of drug possession who is known to be a drug user but has no other convictions and doesn't really have any other alarming characteristics (eg violent behaviour, sexual deviance, etc.) might not have a conviction recorded, but rather might be placed on a good behaviour bond, told to piss in a cup every week and made to attend a rehabilitiation program. I personally think that if biological factors may be at play that could have caused the behaviour , then rather than sending someone to prison, it may be more helpful to try and treat the underlying cause and impose a sentence that's more focused towards rehabilitation rather than punishment. However, I wouldn't make any of these biological guidelines or actuarial tables binding on the judges - many factors can cause a person to commit an offence and I think it's important to maintain judicial discretion in this area. Certainly, though, judges and magistrates should be made aware of these issues and they should play a part in sentencing.
  3. Emperor_Matej_I

    Kony 2012 - You must Read/Watch

    A few comments: The cause It would certainly be good if Kony could be brought to justice. However, how much would it help? Perhaps one of his minions will take his place. Alternatively, a crackpot from a rival group could do even worse things. I don't think that focusing on a single warlord will help, when there appear to be a number of competing ones who are all almost as bad as each other. What a lot of these nations that are plagued by regional warlords and dictatorships need is a cultural change. Democracy needs to be introduced from the ground up and probably will not take root unless the people themselves want it and are committed to eliminating corruption and enhancing accountability. Having a look at history, this sort of change in culture is usually precipitated by a revolution that's created by the people of the country themselves, a necessary change in circumstances or a desire to engage more and do more business with the developed world. It doesn't necessarily have to be a violent revolution; it can happen gradually as the country's culture changes. But it does require a culture change. Forcing a revolution from the top doesn't tend to bring about this culture change. The US's intervention in Panama (and other instances of US intervention in foreign dictatorships) didn't cause democracy to take root. Likewise, it's important to note that the US initially supported and aided Saddam Hussein. There are a number of examples of dictators who started as the 'good guys' in the eyes of the West but later turned out to be as bad as (or worse) than whoever they replaced. To me, this shows that foreign intervention isn't the right way to go about it. These guys are advocating foreign military intervention, so I wouldn't support them for that reason. I do think that bringing Kony to justice is a good thing. But I don't think that it would really change Uganda's overall situation because chances are some other warlord will simply replace him. I don't think that it would help democracy take root because you need a culture change for that. Accordingly, I won't be giving these guys any money. In order to bring about lasting change, I think there will need to be more development of infrastructure, healthcare, education and the economy in Uganda so that more people escape poverty and have the resources to empower themselves. There will also need to be greater access to information technology, so that more Ugandans get some idea of what it's like to live in a real democracy and how much it kicks arse. So I think that better charities to which to donate would be charities like Care, Medecins Sans Frontieres and others that support development, healthcare, etc. The method I actually think that the idea of using social networking and film is a good one. Effective, catchy propaganda can be a great way to raise awareness and assist a cause. That's why political advertising is so important during election campaigns and why so many lobby groups run advertisements. Although making films is costly and may be seen by some as an inefficient way of getting a point across, we do live in the digital age and a well-made YouTube video can cause a lot more people to care than a campaign of pamphlet delivery. A lot of people can't be arsed reading things these days and so it's a good idea to put a message into a palatable, entertaining medium that your average consumer will enjoy and understand. Some people are saying that this campaign won't achieve anything. I don't think that's right. Politicians often do things because of popular opinion. That's how they win votes. Furthermore, if something that's been swept under the rug or ignored by policymakers suddenly starts smelling too much to ignore, then you sometimes get a quick reaction. I think that the point of this campaign is to educate and to convince people to lobby the government or at least make their opinions known. The campaign organisers don't actually have the power to achieve the aim of getting rid of Kony, but policymakers and officials who see this campaign might be able to do that. I don't the point is to do anything directly, but rather to influence the people who can. The campaign seems to be achieving that aim. Whilst the dispatch of 100 advisors isn't much and seems like a token gesture, it's still more than nothing. If the campaign continues for long enough (and whether it does depends on the tenacity and skill of the organisers) then there may be some real action taken. I'm interested to see how it works out, in any event. The financials I don't think that the financial reports are that unusual or that they show such gaping holes in expenditure as what some people have alleged. I'd encourage people to have a look at the http://www.charitynavigator.org website and the financial details of bigger, better-established charities. Charities are expensive and are - by definition - not for profit. Most of the money gets eaten away in expenses and I don't think that Invisible Children's financial details are all that unusual, particularly as they have produced a film that must have cost a fair bit. Just compare the $8 million-odd that was spent on the 30-minute film with the obscene amounts that the Commonwealth Government is currently spending to sell its carbon tax to the voters. Bear in mind that much of the carbon tax advertising takes the form of colourful pamphlets and less-than-minute-long TV advertisements, rather than a 30-minute film. The financial statements are audited, so I don't think there's any reason to doubt their veracity in the absence of some indications to the contrary. Also, it's not like the executives get paid an exorbitant salary. Finally, the fact that there is a significant amount of cash left over doesn't point to any wrongdoing. The cash may be there to fund the subsequent year's operations. Just because an organisation is not-for-profit it doesn't mean that every cent should either be spent on expenses or donated to the cause; there's no reason that charities shouldn't expand and fund bigger and better things just like other businesses. In my view, the complaints about the organisation's financials are based on a lot of hearsay and trial by Twitter. There isn't really any direct evidence suggesting significant waste or financial mismanagement. The one thing that I would like to see, however, is an independent board member. Independent board members tend to be less emotionally involved in an organisation's affairs and can often see conflicts of interest, waste and poor management more easily than board members who are also executives or members. In summary, I don't think that the complaints about the organisation's management or methods are justified. However, I wouldn't donate to them for one fundamental reason - I don't think that what they're doing will bring about lasting change in Uganda.
  4. Emperor_Matej_I

    The cute, it burns!

    One of my friends had two cats (she now has three...). I was over at her place one evening and one of our other friends thought it would be a great idea to bring his bunny around. It was a constant battle to prevent the bunny from being eaten. I think the only reason he survived the ordeal is because one of the cats is cross-eyed and missed when pouncing. The cat snuck up ninja-style and nobody noticed him until he pounced across the room. Suffice to say, my friend never brought his rabbit around again. I've had pet rabbits before. They're very cute, but I find them to be very timid and fragile. Their necks and spines can be injured easily, so it's best to be very careful when handling them and to let them go when they try to run away. It's also best to keep them away from larger animals like cats and dogs!
  5. Emperor_Matej_I


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Europe Average temperature (°C) during the day Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year Minsk[20] -2.7 -1.4 3.3 11.5 18.3 21.5 22.4 22.2 15.9 9.6 2.6 -1.0 10.1 Paris[21] 6.9 8.2 11.8 14.7 19.0 21.8 24.4 24.6 20.8 15.8 10.4 7.8 15.5 Barcelona[22][23] 13.4 14.6 15.9 17.6 20.5 24.2 27.5 28.0 25.5 21.5 17.0 14.3 20.0 Lisbon[24] 14.5 15.9 18.2 19.2 21.4 24.8 27.5 27.8 26.2 22.1 18.0 15.2 20.9 Malaga[25][26] 16.6 17.7 19.1 20.9 23.8 27.3 29.9 30.3 27.9 23.7 19.9 17.4 22.9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Australia Average monthly maximum temperature in Northern Territory Month Darwin Alice Springs January 31.8 °C 36.4 °C February 31.4 °C 35.1 °C March 31.9 °C 32.7 °C April 32.7 °C 28.2 °C May 32.0 °C 23.0 °C June 30.6 °C 19.8 °C July 30.5 °C 19.7 °C August 31.3 °C 22.5 °C September 32.5 °C 27.2 °C October 33.2 °C 31.0 °C November 33.3 °C 33.6 °C December 32.6 °C 35.4 °C Source: Bureau of Meteorology[16][17] Lol I don't like my beer at 30°C+ I think that's why Aussies do prefer their beer chilled. Ah, but would you drink it at 20°C? I mean, I usually stay in places that have air con or heating, so leaving beer at room temperature means it is at room temperture, not 30°C+. :P My point is that most Aussies don't even like to have their beer at room temperature - they like it very cold (i.e. less than 4°C). I think that has something to do with the warm climate. A cold beer can be very refreshing when it's hot outside. Though as far as normal beer-drinking goes, I don't see the need to cool my beer to the point where it's impossible to discern the lovely flavours. I think that chilling beer to fridge temperature can sometimes have that effect. :P
  6. Emperor_Matej_I

    How to deal with your boss...

    Gotta love philosophy. I would agree with that poster, though I'd replace 'women' with men. :P
  7. Emperor_Matej_I


    Hey - I know lots of Europeans who don't mind warm beer. Ice-cold beer is really an Australian and American thing from what I gather. :P Our power bill is never huge. We have a big LCD TV - since buying that and replacing the giant CRT box that we had, our power bill actually went down a little bit. I also keep my desktop computer on all the time. I think it helps that most of the appliances in the apartment have good energy ratings. We also turn lights off when they're not needed and we use energy-saving globes. Even though we have reverse-cycle air conditioners which get used whenever the temperature is uncomfortable, our power bill has never been above about $600 a quarter, even when three people were living here. I think that these days it's quite easy to keep power bills low because companies are designing more efficient appliances that don't guzzle quite as much juice.
  8. Emperor_Matej_I

    We are living in the future!

    That's very interesting news. As others have pointed out, it raises some interesting questions about the shape that society will take. I suspect that any anti-ageing treatment will be highly expensive, which will result in a far greater rich-poor divide. It would undoubtely result in more concentrated political and economic power. Basically the rich will take the treatment, have more time to amass large fortunes, forge connections and spread their influence. Given that any treatment like this is unlikely to be available to the unwashed masses for a long time, I'm not sure whether it'd have that big an impact on world overpopulation, etc. for a few hundred years. Problems and ethical issues aside, if given the choice, I'd take the treatment. I've always wanted to live for a few centuries longer than the 80-year-or-so lifespan. I'd like to see the direction the world takes and have more time to amass large fortunes, forge connections and spread my influence. :P Plus, being eternally young would have its advantages in terms of the number of people you could potentially pick up LOL. The downside is that you live for ages and ages, but I wouldn't really see that as a downside as suicide is always an option if one gets really bored. The rats and brain article is interesting too, though creating an artificial brain that handles routine motor tasks is still a far cry from creating a true artificial intelligence device that can reason, solve problems and feel emotions. It's certainly a big step in integrating human-made machines and biological systems, though. The potential implications are interesting, but again, as with the youth treatment, any applications would need to be carefully assessed in terms of their ethical and social implications. Anyone who's played the Mass Effect games or watched Battlestar Gallactica should be aware of the potential of AWOL AI wreaking havoc on its creators.
  9. Emperor_Matej_I

    need motivation?

  10. Emperor_Matej_I


    I don't actually mind drinking warm beer. Perhaps that's due to my European upbringing. It has to be decent beer though. A lot of these sustainability ads are a bit silly. I know loads of people (including my BF) who can't drink warm beer. If someone really wants to drink beer, do you think they'll turn the power off in their fridge to save a few bucks? There are other power-saving tips (such as turning lights and appliances off when they're not in use) that would have a far better impact on sustainability.
  11. Emperor_Matej_I

    Boltclot loses case, whinges

    For those interested in reading the judgment, it can be found here: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/FCA/2011/1103.html Personally, I think it's the correct verdict. I can't find any problems with his Honour's interpretation of the legislation, nor are there any issues with the way Bromberg J applied the legislation to the facts of the case. I think it's quite clear that Bolt's articles could reasonably have caused offence, humiliation, etc, etc. Bolt's language is quite sensationalist and the articles are more vitriol than legitimate debate. Bolt basically slings mud at a number of named individuals and then suggests that these individuals are part of a broader group who are rorting the system. Such views are bound to be offensive to people who identify as Aboriginal but have pale skin. Bolt also makes a clear link with race throughout his articles. This means that both elements of s 18C were met by the articles. People need to note that s 18D exists, which provides exemptions. One exemption is genuine debate on a matter of public interest. Another is fair comment on a matter of public interest. For both exceptions to apply, an act needs to be done reasonably and in good faith. Bolt's articles contained a number of glaring factual errors, which Bolt could easily have noticed if he Googled the people that he named. This means that Bolt's comments were not fair and were pretty unreasonable. As Marr's article points out, Bromberg J makes it clear that journos need to do their homework if they want to fall within the exemptions provided by s 18D. Also, Bolt's views were not the issue. The issue was how he chose to express those and how an ordinary, reasonable person could read the articles in question. The moral of the judgment is that if you're going to write articles about or otherwise express public opinions on a sensitive issue about race and racial identification, you need to get your facts straight and ensure that your language is tempered to genuine, constructive debate. You can't just go on a rant, accuse a racial group of wrongdoing and print a bunch of misleading remarks. Does the legislation curb freedom of speech? Yes, in a way it does. However, there are some interests that need to be balanced against free speech. We're not free to make death threats to people or talk about plans to commit terrorist acts. There are very good reasons for this, which should be quite obvious. Likewise, due to the law of defamation, we're not free to slag someone off unless what we're saying is true or another defence applies. The law of defamation exists because the consequences of false accusations and mudslinging can be quite damaging to a person's reputation. It can have a devastating effect on their relationships with others, their earning capacity and their general ability to thrive and succeed as an individual. Likewise, writing offensive and untrue stuff about members of a marginalised group can have a devastating effect on that group's ability to interact with other sectors of society. That's why section 18C exists. I voted 'Yes' in the poll because I think that his Honour's decision is a correct interpretation of the legislation. However, the issue about whether the legislation is good or not is a more complex question. As I indicated above, I do think that we need laws to give people a remedy if they've been subjected to unreasonable, offensive attacks related to their race. However, it may be that the legislation is too broad or that it could stifle public debate to an unacceptable extent. However, I personally don't think that repealing the legislation would be the way to go. A better method would be to amend section 18D to add more exceptions or make the current exceptions broader. At this stage, I don't think that really needs to happen. I think that the Bolt decision was the correct one because of Bolt's lousy fact-checking. However, if this decision opens the floodgates and we start seeing more examples of legitimate debate or journalism being censored by the courts then there may be a case for amending the legislation. Finally, I should note that Bolt wasn't 'convicted' of anything. He was found to have contravened a civil provision and will be subjected to civil orders. Section 18C is not a criminal provision. In that sense, it's arguable that the section doesn't actually limit free speech at all. People are still free to make offensive, racially-motivated public remarks if they so choose. They will not be thrown in gaol and marked with a criminal conviction (unless their conduct meets the test for a criminal offence) and courts would probably not grant an injunction to restrain anticipated acts. However, if people choose to make offensive statements motivated by race in public, they need to face up to the consequences, which can include having to pay compensation to aggrieved individuals.
  12. Emperor_Matej_I

    Do you have a 'go pack'?

    I don't have a go bag. Since I'm not the sort who worries about such things, I don't think I'll ever have one. However, if the shit were to hit the fan, there is a pile of important documents that I can grab on short notice and photos, videos, etc. are all stored on my laptop and portable hard drive. Other stuff (such as food or medical supplies) would need to be looted from the appropriate store. However, I do have a great idea on how to make an awesome go-bag that would allow one to survive bushfires, zombies, ze Germans and aliens. Disclaimer: Do not try this at home. Results may vary. Contents: -Bottle of good Scotch and some glasses. -Pack of good cigars and working lighter. -Big bag of blow and a mirror and razor blade. -Vouchers for hot, busty hookers. Instructions for use In case of ze Nazi German invasion: 1. Lure Nazi soldiers to trap using prominently-displayed hooker vouchers above a table with a couple of shots of Scotch, some cigars and a few lines of blow. 2. As Nazi soldiers approach, smash Scotch bottle and glass them or beat them over the head with it. 3. When dead, steal Nazi uniform and wear. Sneak into Nazi encampment and spike soldiers' food and drink with lethal doses of blow, killing everyone around. 4. Light cigar, have a glass of Scotch, listen to 1930s German music and wait for the Americans to come save your sorry arse! In case of alien invasion: 1. Introduce self to aliens and show hooker vouchers. Tell aliens that voucher entitles them to free anal probing of hookers. 2. After having earned aliens' trust by introducing them to hookers, introduce them to Scotch, blow and cigars. Chances are their strange alien bodies will not be able to metabolise all these substances, particularly all at once, and they'll die. 3. Run for help. In case of zombies: 1. Use Scotch and lighter to start big fire. Hopefully it'll consume the zombies. In case of bushfire: 1. If the fire's too close and you haven't evacuated, you're fucked mate! May as well have a good time before you die! :P
  13. Emperor_Matej_I

    Burnt alive for stealing a sack of potatoes

    That's pretty awful. However, the sad reality is that this sort of shit happens all the time in places that aren't governed by the rule of law. Unfortunately, in many such places there isn't really much impetus for change or any resources to help support it. It further highlights the important role that we have in encouraging other nations to develop and adopt the rule of law.
  14. Emperor_Matej_I

    Does anyone else feel kinda sorry for Pedophiles?

    Some interesting thoughts on this topic here. I'm glad that most people have been able to separate paedophilia (having a sexual attraction for children) from the act of having sex with children or looking up material that exploits children. They are two very different things. One is very illegal and could land you heavy prison time, entry on a sex offenders' register and a lifetime of contempt and ridicule. The other is entirely impossible to police, on its own has the potential to be completely harmless and consequently is illegal. It's true that paedophilia generally is a precursor to molesting children. People who aren't paedophiles wouldn't generally molest children. (I'm saying generally because it's entirely possible that there are sociopaths or people with other psychiatric disorders who aren't paedophiles per se but who nevertheless molest children.) However, that doesn't mean that all paedophiles will necessarily molest children. I feel no sympathy for people who actually carry out the act of molesting children or who look up material that was made in circumstances where children were harmed. Such people deserve society's condemnation; there is a raft of evidence that states that people who were sexually molested as kids have the potential to develop long-term psychiatric issues. These people cause harm to society which should be appropriately dealt with by the justice system. However, I do feel sorry for the people who have paedophile tendencies but who never act on these desires. There is very little help available in our society. I think that this lack of help and the general stigmatisation surrounding paedophilia make the problem worse. If more research and more support were available, perhaps strategies could be developed to help such people deal with their desires in a way that results in no children being harmed. I wouldn't see any issue with governments and medical practitioners offering such support on a confidential basis. Like Fuzz, I am not a fan of thought crimes. Neither is the law. A crime is not complete until the requisite physical elements (state of affairs) and fault elements (state of mind) are present (except in the case of inchoate crimes such as attempts and conspiracies, but proving an inchoate crime requires proof that the accused actually took steps to bring the physical element into existence). That's the way it should be. If people put down their pitchforks and realised that the desire to sleep with children does not in and of itself harm children, then perhaps we could reach some solutions that reduce the number of sex crimes that are committed. For example, nowadays there is a buttload of computer-generated porn available. Such porn is not made with real actors. Perhaps such technology could provide an outlet for paedophiles which results in no harm coming to children. There is the argument, though, that such technology could encourage people to seek out the 'real thing' and commit sex crimes. However, we have absolutely no research on this point. Also, the 'research' available on the link between pornography and harmful sex addiction tends to be highly partisan and tends to support whichever point of view commissioned the research. Perhaps we need more independent research into the link between looking up porn containing consenting adults and sex addiction. This could help us think about and consider a practical solution that could help people who feel desires for children find an outlet that harms nobody. Also, I think that cognitive behavioural therapy has great potential. It's a relatively new treatment, but from what I gather it tends to have quite a high success rate in treating what were previously thought to be untreatable or barely treatable psychiatric conditions. In any event, I repeat that although people who cause harm to society should be dealt with by the justice system, picking up the pitchforks isn't the answer to dealing with all of society's problems. We need frank and fearless albeit calm and rational debate about these sorts of topics if we're ever to find a solution that works.
  15. Emperor_Matej_I

    Fornicating hilarious...

    Hilarious! It's been quite a cold and windy few days here too. IMO creepy pranks like this work better on those! ;)