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Things that don't belong anywhere else. (Check first).

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Quercus
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Re: Random natterings

Postby Quercus » Wed Oct 12, 2016 1:31 pm UTC


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HES
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Re: Random natterings

Postby HES » Wed Oct 12, 2016 2:09 pm UTC

It would appear to, yes.
He/Him/His Image

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Re: Random natterings

Postby Giant Speck » Wed Oct 12, 2016 2:13 pm UTC

"Howard the Duck" is the name of the user who originally uploaded that map of the Philippines to Wikimedia Commons.
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Flumble
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Re: Random natterings

Postby Flumble » Wed Oct 12, 2016 2:25 pm UTC

Yes.

[edit] Oops, I missed the new page.

quick, random thought...

for some reason xrdp turns the cursor into a cross by default (at least, when accessing from a windows rdp client).

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Re: Random natterings

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Oct 12, 2016 2:33 pm UTC

Well, he is a photographer.

Wait, shit. That's Parker.
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Re: Random natterings

Postby Angua » Wed Oct 12, 2016 2:50 pm UTC

This amuses me.
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Re: Random natterings

Postby The EGE » Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:08 pm UTC

Giant Speck wrote:
"Howard the Duck" is the name of the user who originally uploaded that map of the Philippines to Wikimedia Commons.


As the proud owner of an amusing Wikimedia Commons username myself, I'm always amused when people using Commons images elsewhere just quote the username and not the User: prefix or the site.
sillybear25 wrote:But it's NPH, so it's creepy in the best possible way.

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Re: Random natterings

Postby Bloopy » Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:58 am UTC

It's not supposed to be a joy to solve CAPTCHAs, but I didn't mind this one:

Image

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Re: Random natterings

Postby Yakk » Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:42 pm UTC

Did you play sound?
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Random natterings

Postby addams » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:01 pm UTC

Random Thought:
During the 2nd, 2016 Presidential Debate, the name of Abraham Lincoln was invoked.
Mrs. Clinton. Ms. Clinton? Is she Mrs. or Ms.?
Spoiler:
Oh!! She was First Lady.
Therefore, She will always be, Mrs. Clinton.
She was speaking to Law Students?
What did she say at the University?

What the Hell?
(Time's Up!! It's a Formal Debate!)

Lincoln...?Abe Lincoln.
Honest Abe....?

A War President.
What do we know about Abraham Lincoln?
What do we collectively remember?

During my childhood I heard the words,
"The world will little note,
nor long remember what we say here."


When Abe said those words did he believe them?
Those words were SO Totally Not True! (then)

Those words were true of the President,
umm...120 to 130 years later.

That's Not The Point!
Everyone there took note! (that day.)
To this day, 150 years later, people remember!

About Lincoln?
I know, I know NOTHING! about his Economic Policies!
While under duress, he wrote a darned good poem!

It was such a good example of writing;
It was used to teach writing. And, civics?

The whole sentence is,
The world will little note,
nor long remember what we say here,
but it can never forget what they did here.


It was very good poetry.

The whole thing is three paragraphs long.
In three paragraphs, he 'sold' people on the idea of "Burying the Dead.

What I heard was, "The battlefield stunk of death and crows had gathered."
His job was to inspire the living to bury the dead. It was a hard product to sell.

To be fair, He was talking to an unstable population.
Many, if not most, of the audience had recently killed.

What do you think of the poem?
Has it withstood the test of Time?
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863
Spoiler:
Sometimes, I heard, "Few will note, none will remember what we do here."
What do you think?
Pass or No Pass.

Is that close enough?
For you? Why?
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Deva
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Re: Random natterings

Postby Deva » Fri Oct 14, 2016 2:38 am UTC

Economic policies:
Source wrote:And those political views were clearly stated by Lincoln when he first ran for the Illinois legislature in 1832: "My politics are short and sweet, like the old woman’s dance. I am in favor of a national bank . . . in favor of the internal improvements system and a high protective tariff." These three things -- protectionism, government subsidies to railroad and canal-building companies, and central banking -- were called the "American System" by Henry Clay. Economists have another word for them: "mercantilism."

_______

Shrugs. Seems like a normal speech. Probably modeled future speeches off of it. Lost its luster. Remains somewhat timeless, in that sense.

Admits being biased, however. Memorized it in eighth grade. Learned nothing but contempt. Felt pointless.

Spoiler:
addams wrote:Sometimes, I heard, "Few will note, none will remember what we do here."
What do you think?
Pass or No Pass.

Is that close enough?
For you? Why?

Accepts that. Stressed the missing section in the prior sentence. Makes a worse quote, though.
Changes its form depending on the observer.

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Re: Random natterings

Postby addams » Sat Oct 15, 2016 3:18 am UTC

I'm impressed, Deva.
You knew more than most when you were 13 years old.

Thirteen year old people are contemptuous of most things.
I'm very disappointed. You did not outgrow the contempt?
Spoiler:
addams wrote:Sometimes, I heard, "Few will note, none will remember what we do here."
What do you think?
Pass or No Pass.

Is that close enough?
For you? Why?

Accepts that. Stressed the missing section in the prior sentence. Makes a worse quote, though.

Spoiler:
"Few will note, none will remember what we do here."
Those words are moving dangerously close to the motto of today's American Legislature.

Today's motto is, I'll be gone; You'll be gone."
I have contempt for the anti-intellectualism of today's Stonewalling American Legislature.

..ho-humm..oh, sigh..
Another random thought.

Between storms, I went to town.
The south end of town was dark.
The electricity was 'out'.

I live over the bridge, up the hill and out in the woods.
I lost power for a few minutes, not more than that.

I know, I do not know enough about how the infrastructure works.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Deva
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Re: Random natterings

Postby Deva » Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:42 am UTC

Directed it mainly at the class/teacher. Two other things from that History class:
- Taught square dancing. Recalls no reason why. Occurred before hating physical contact, thankfully. Did not enjoy it, regardless.
- Occasionally watched videos. (Probably dealt with historical topics. Doubts any relevance to that chapter's topic. Doubled as fodder for substitute teachers too.) Submitted notes at the end. Graded purely on length, not content. Received a worse grade for smaller handwriting, essentially. Remembers someone mentioning writing sentences twice, also.

So…no. Softened with time. Holds the same opinion.
Changes its form depending on the observer.

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Re: Random natterings

Postby addams » Sat Oct 15, 2016 5:45 am UTC

Deva wrote:Directed it mainly at the class/teacher. Two other things from that History class:
- Taught square dancing. Recalls no reason why. Occurred before hating physical contact, thankfully. Did not enjoy it, regardless.
- Occasionally watched videos. (Probably dealt with historical topics. Doubts any relevance to that chapter's topic. Doubled as fodder for substitute teachers too.) Submitted notes at the end. Graded purely on length, not content. Received a worse grade for smaller handwriting, essentially. Remembers someone mentioning writing sentences twice, also.

So…no. Softened with time. Holds the same opinion.

I hated history classes, also.
But, for different reasons.

I hated hearing the only human story told was about War and bloodshed.
I hated the only people with names and stories were Kings and Generals.

Square Dancing!?
That's so funny.

I would have hated That, too.
Again, for a different reason.

I like physical contact.
I lacked coordination.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Random natterings

Postby Bloopy » Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:05 am UTC

Yakk wrote:Did you play sound?

Alas not. Let's assume it speaks it as one word and not letter by letter.

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Re: Random natterings

Postby ucim » Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:12 am UTC

Bloopy wrote:
Yakk wrote:Did you play sound?
Alas not. Let's assume it speaks it as one word and not letter by letter.
I'd assume it's a completely different capcha.

Jose
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Re: Random natterings

Postby addams » Mon Oct 17, 2016 4:49 am UTC

My boots are 8.5 in the UK.
In Mainland Europe 42&2/3.

In Japan 27.
In US size 9.

What we need is a standard size.
Another competing standard.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Random natterings

Postby Felstaff » Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:26 am UTC

competing-standards.png
Away, you scullion! you rampallion! You fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe.

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Flumble
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Re: Random natterings

Postby Flumble » Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:24 pm UTC

Shoe sizes are weird anyway.

My feet fit anything from (european) size 39 to 44 given the 'right' shoe series.

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Re: Random natterings

Postby ucim » Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:43 pm UTC

Part of it is the futile attempt to order a vector set.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

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Re: Random natterings

Postby poxic » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:18 pm UTC

Your shoe size should be the checksum of a CAD plot file of your feet scanned at a standard dpi. Or maybe not, but we should be able to get footholders that are much more customised than we currently do. Otherwise why have all this technology?
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Re: Random natterings

Postby Thesh » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:48 pm UTC

Back in my day, they didn't have mass produced shoes. You went to a cobbler who measured your feet, and made you shoes to exactly fit them. You kids and your industrial revolution.
Behold your only true messiah. An entity of which you're a part.
A vast and cold indifferent being. A grey clad mass without a heart.

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Re: Random natterings

Postby suffer-cait » Tue Oct 18, 2016 2:58 am UTC

poxic wrote:Your shoe size should be the checksum of a CAD plot file of your feet scanned at a standard dpi. Or maybe not, but we should be able to get footholders that are much more customised than we currently do. Otherwise why have all this technology?

my sandals, which i bought from the walking company, deffinitly were the result of my feet being scanned and a particular insole being chosen, or something. I'm not really sure, but i do know they are hella comfy for all the walking.

also,

ucim wrote:Part of it is the futile attempt to order a vector set.
i need to remember this because all things made to fit a body are dumb. like, i've recently been lead to believe there is something about my head that doesn't let beanies cover my ears effectively? i don't know? how does anyone else manage?
ImageImageImageImageImage

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Re: Random natterings

Postby Bloopy » Tue Oct 18, 2016 6:03 am UTC

ucim wrote:I'd assume it's a completely different capcha.

You'd be wrong! It was the BotDetect captcha, and it just speaks the same 5 letters/numbers seen in the image.

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Re: Random natterings

Postby ucim » Tue Oct 18, 2016 2:33 pm UTC

Bloopy wrote:
ucim wrote:I'd assume it's a completely different capcha.

You'd be wrong! It was the BotDetect captcha, and it just speaks the same 5 letters/numbers seen in the image.
Damn! That's the second time this year!

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

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Re: Random natterings

Postby Sombrero Cat » Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:01 am UTC

Tyrant state controls content. I'm truly hoping my dog in this fight is going to put some teeth in these tyrants. (@) I'm voting early, please put your bitch pants on and fuck these mother fuckers. Love, lil kitty. I'd insert cute cat photo, if I was able. Just reformatted all, still unable to work. Corrupt bull shit corporate slave nation, let freedom ring! So tired of listening to this gut wrenching shit. The relationship between Corp. and Gov. is palpable. Hoping for the "good job", when they retire. For Sale, to the highest bidda! GE we bring good things to life, and put to death what disagrees with our agenda and tyrannical manner. If only corp. motto's told the truth.

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Re: Random natterings

Postby Flumble » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:03 am UTC

What has the world come to that some nihilistic youtuber makes me go running? :shock:

Sombrero Cat wrote:Tyrant state controls content.

Are you living in Venezuela, Thailand, Ethiopia or Russia or something?

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Re: Random natterings

Postby addams » Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:12 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:What has the world come to that some nihilistic youtuber makes me go running? :shock:

Run if you like.
I disagree with the running U-Tuber.

I agree with everything he said, except Running.
We were built for Walking not Running.

It takes a little longer when Walking and might require a hill for the 'high'.

Herb Caen wrote, "We were meant to run to the toilet and from enemies."
"Under any other condition, Running is unnatural and dangerous. Don't!"

Running is hard on the human knee.
Walking down hill is hard on the knees, too.

With conditioning and a little awareness,
we can learn to safely walk downhill.

(shrug) Run if you like.
Knees are easily replaceable.

The joggers from Herb Caen's day all have new knees.
About following Herb's advice, Caen, himself, is dead.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herb_Caen
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Random natterings

Postby Flumble » Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:43 pm UTC

addams wrote:I agree with everything he said, except Running.
We were built for Walking not Running.

We were not built for anything. (that's what nihilism told me)
Research hints that our anatomy has adapted to make us run with more ease. I'd say we're just as much built for running as walking.

Don't worry about my knees. :)
I take it easy (for now; I haven't done proper sports in about 4 years now), I learned how to tread well throughout my teens and I mostly run on soft soil. (it's great having woods right at the doorstep)
And since I'm only in my twenties, pretty much any sport is more beneficial to me than harmful.

There may be other sports that do better on the cardio-vs-injury scale (like swimming), but running is incredibly accessible.

By the way, by "makes me go running" I mean that video was the deciding factor rather than that it forces me.

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Re: Random natterings

Postby Sableagle » Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:01 pm UTC

I just planted out a load of apple tree seedlings to make room on my "entertainment unit" for two pots on which to sow the seeds of an akebia fruit I harvested last weekend. The seeds have been in a bag in the fridge, because they need to be cold and then warm up again to know it's time to grow, and are now on two pots of compost, under clear plastic bags to keep the moisture in. I've watered the one on the left, so it's more moist than the one on the right. There are 27 seeds on each pot of soil. In a month or so, I shall know how many have germinated.
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Re: Random natterings

Postby Flumble » Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:46 pm UTC

So I was talking with some people about long hair the other day and at some point sex also came up (we're human after all) and 1+1=2 —so why can't I find any information (not even porn!) about bondage using the hair instead of (or in addition to) rope? :shock:

Is a proper hair length too rare? Is it too painful/too hard for the bondage-ist to make it not hurt? Does it damage the hair too much?
Or is it a thing, but just unfindable because "regular bondage with long haired people" is too common in comparison?

I hope this is the right place to ask. :P

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Re: Random natterings

Postby poxic » Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:04 pm UTC

I wouldn't imagine you'd want to use hair (that's still attached) for anything other than decorative tying. Necks are fairly fragile and hair can pull out in unfortunate ways.
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Re: Random natterings

Postby Whizbang » Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:11 pm UTC

Tying hair to the headboard should be easy and safe enough, right? Especially if the hands are also secured.

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Re: Random natterings

Postby poxic » Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:25 pm UTC

Not if there's going to be any thrashing around, no. (Ref: necks are fragile.)
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Re: Random natterings

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:26 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:So I was talking with some people about long hair the other day and at some point sex also came up (we're human after all) and 1+1=2 —so why can't I find any information (not even porn!) about bondage using the hair instead of (or in addition to) rope? :shock:

Is a proper hair length too rare? Is it too painful/too hard for the bondage-ist to make it not hurt? Does it damage the hair too much?
Or is it a thing, but just unfindable because "regular bondage with long haired people" is too common in comparison?

I hope this is the right place to ask. :P

Do you or have you ever had long hair?

Are you debating on cutting it soon? You are? Great.

Go tie your hair around something. Done? Good.

Now untie it.

Hurts like fucking hell and now half of it's broken, isn't it? Well, not half, sure. But enough of it.

That, and most people don't have hair long enough to meaningfully tie to anything.


Now... That being said, tying the hair up? Totally a thing
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Re: Random natterings

Postby Sableagle » Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:28 pm UTC

I've seen pictures of it. I'd suggest fully immobilising a person before doing that due to the neck thing, but there are ways to immobilise shoulders on the bed. Probably the best tie for the hair would be a sheet bend (with the hair as the red rope in that image). The double sheet bend is more secure without bending the mass of hair any further, but you probably don't need that. You could tie one ponytail to the headboard or twin ponytails to the posts that way. Just get the tension where it can be felt but isn't too painful or causing bald patches.
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Re: Random natterings

Postby Bloopy » Mon Oct 24, 2016 11:38 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:I'd suggest fully immobilising a person before doing that due to the neck thing

I've seen porn videos where they tie a rope to the hair and I think this is what they do. The other end of the rope is sometimes connected to a hook in the nether regions so if the participant tries to straighten their neck it tugs on that.

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Re: Random natterings

Postby Flumble » Tue Oct 25, 2016 1:56 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Go tie your hair around something. Done? Good.

Now untie it.

Hurts like fucking hell and now half of it's broken, isn't it? Well, not half, sure. But enough of it.

Steps 1 and 2 worked like a charm (well, getting a simple overhead knot through the ear of a mug proved a bit difficult), step 3 didn't work for me. It didn't hurt and my hair isn't 'broken' ...any more than it already was. :roll:
Mind you, I did it with braided hair rather than loose, because, you know, rope is also curled/braided/twisted strands. And I didn't keep tugging it for half an hour.

SecondTalon wrote:Now... That being said, tying the hair up? Totally a thing

Yeah that was interesting to see too.

But it's not something like tying someone's hands to their/someone else's head with just hair.

Oh, for those who don't know anything about hair and forces: note that e.g. in some circuses they have acrobatic acts with people hanging from their hair. (can't find a video explaining how they do the preparations right now)

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addams
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Re: Random natterings

Postby addams » Wed Oct 26, 2016 5:27 am UTC

Flumble wrote:
addams wrote:I agree with everything he said, except Running.
We were built for Walking not Running.

We were not built for anything. (that's what nihilism told me)
Research hints that our anatomy has adapted to make us run with more ease. I'd say we're just as much built for running as walking.

Don't worry about my knees. :)
I take it easy (for now; I haven't done proper sports in about 4 years now), I learned how to tread well throughout my teens and I mostly run on soft soil. (it's great having woods right at the doorstep)
And since I'm only in my twenties, pretty much any sport is more beneficial to me than harmful.

There may be other sports that do better on the cardio-vs-injury scale (like swimming), but running is incredibly accessible.
By the way, by "makes me go running" I mean that video was the deciding factor rather than that it forces me.

I'll argue with you.
First; I'm glad you like running and that you have the luxury of soft duff at your door step.
Yes. You are correct; At your age, almost any sport is better than being sedentary.

Now, for the disagreement:
Yes. We can run.
Spoiler:
Unless someone has tied us up by the hairs of our heads.
The idea of That might change my mind about jogging off into the distance.
Most healthy individuals can and did 'sprint' away from danger.
But; We are built for walking. We walked all over this planet.

We walked and walked and walked.
We walked across huge continents.

Many of us were carrying all of our belongings and other people.
Some people inside our bodies, some people outside our bodies.

We built ourselves for walking.
We became human as we walked.

Don't worry. Your nihilism is safe.
There is not now nor will there ever be any 'real' meaning to all the walking we've done.

You can run to Mecca or Saint James or take Kent's Walk at a run.
You might find meaning or someone nice to do 'other' things with.
Sableagle wrote:I just planted out a load of apple tree seedlings to make room on my "entertainment unit" for two pots on which to sow the seeds of an akebia fruit I harvested last weekend. The seeds have been in a bag in the fridge, because they need to be cold and then warm up again to know it's time to grow, and are now on two pots of compost, under clear plastic bags to keep the moisture in. I've watered the one on the left, so it's more moist than the one on the right. There are 27 seeds on each pot of soil. In a month or so, I shall know how many have germinated.

Apparently, you have found meaning in gardening.

I, usually, plant plants, too.
Many, but not all people do.

For me, it is a compulsion.
I wonder, "Will this grow?"

When it does, I feel a compulsion to attempt to keep it alive.
I am battling mites in a greenhouse. How depressing is That??
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Felstaff
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Re: Random natterings

Postby Felstaff » Fri Oct 28, 2016 5:36 pm UTC

So I've just finished work. It's been a hectic all-hands-on-deck Friday, and crucial people had gone down the pub. I told my team to down tools, go join their colleagues for a tipple, and resume on Monday. I logged off, and went outside in my garden to get a moment's meditation and peace. As I stood in the garden, I closed my eyes, and concentrated on all the sounds I usually tune out; the traffic from the road behind me, an aeroplane coming in to land, my neighbours' loud Korean chit-chat (there's, like, 12 of 'em living there so it's pretty raucous), and then I hear the classic sound of a fire alarm going off. Now, people in my neighbourhood don't appear to like cleaning their ovens or grills, as I hear fire alarms going off several times a day, usually around breakfast and dinner time: being a council-dominated area, all the alarms are standard regulation ones, and they all sound alike. Pip-pip-pip-pip. There's usually a lot of crashing activity as people open their windows, slam their doors and then I see the inevitable 'waft manoeuvre' as curtains and blinds are flapped to get the smoke out. Usually it's the same culprits. Just clean your damn oven or toaster! The effort you save with 10 minutes of scrubbing outweighs your thrice-daily wafting ritual!

Only this time, the alarm came from a slightly different direction than usual. Then I looked up and saw the smoke pouring out a second-floor apartment. Oh, shit, someone's house is on fire! It's in a block of flats down a cul-de-sac in view of my garden. I see the cloud-grey smoke licking the outside wall, I see neighbours all coming out of their houses to bang on the front door and kitchen window, which looks out into the street, and I hear the standard sarf-lundun accent screech over the cacophony: "nah, she ain't in! Silly cah. Where'za fackin faiah brigayd?" Sirens, blue lights, screeching tyres. The works. One guy's trying to rip open a window, but has no luck. Five burly firefighters rush up the steps to the second floor. Without a moment's hesitation, one launches a hand-held battering ram at the window. A thundercrack, followed by the pleasant tinkling of glass. The window frame is ripped right out, and cast unceremoniously aside. One faiahfighter leaps in through the new opening with the acrobatic ability of a 100m-hurdler, right into the smoke, which is being backlit by the unseen fire. The door flies open, and thick curls of grey roll out. In dash five firefighters. Lights go on upstairs, windows open. One shouts out "clear!" No-one's at home; that's a relief. "She's only gone aht n left 'er fackin oven on," a commentator hypothesises to other onlookers. I watch and film, but it's the gloaming and the picture's fuzzier than hand-held concert footage. I cease filming and watch the events unfold. Things calm, the smoke clears, no need for 'the big hose'; it looks like it was sorted with a garden-hose.

I come inside, feeling not as meditative and peaceful as I'd intended when I first walked outside. The alarms continue to ring. Pip-pip-pip-pip.
Away, you scullion! you rampallion! You fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe.


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