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About mankytoes

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  1. If you're going to say that, I'd appreciate it if you at least gave some reason why, that seems a bit dismissive. What happened in Romania demonstrates why population growth isn't an absolute good, for the economy, for society or for anything else. And we are going to see further significant population growth over the next few decades, that is almost certain. You can say China is unique, and Romania is unique, but all countries are unique, it's very hard to get two that are similar enough for any kind of rational method of comparison to be used, you have to resort to just using examples. An interesting, and perhaps more relevant, comparison is with Japan, who have been much more restrictive on immigration, a low birthrate, and have had a lot of periods without much growth.
  2. Romania's brutal communist leader, Ceausescu, realised to strengthen his country he needed a bigger population, saying "demography was destiny". He outlawed abortion, gave extra benefits to women who had five children, and women who had ten were declared "heroine mothers" (this sort of thing has always been popular with dictators, Hitler gave a medal to mothers who had lots of kids). This led to mass child abandonment and these truly nightmarish orphanages. And Ceausescu failed in his goal to make Romania and world power, his people ended up in horrible poverty, before they had him overthrown and killed. There is a link between having a large population and being a strong and influential country, but it is no guarantee. There are lots of potential problems with trying to grow your population, whether through mass immigration or trying to inflate birthrates.
  3. An obvious answer would be other bastards. Part of the Red Wedding arrangement was for Joy Hill, Gerion Lannister's bastard, to marry a Frey bastard. Aside from that, a high Lords bastard could marry a small Lord's bastard, but it would still probably not be seen as much of an honour- if the bastard was popular with their father, it could be at least a good way of sucking up. Then there would be the option of a high commoner, like a well off merchant trying to get their foot in the door of power. Of course, there are lots of options for not marrying- Night's Watch, the faith or the citadel.
  4. Wow, that's one big generalisation. I don't know how much you know about Romania, but that logic can prove nothing less than catastrophic. Population growth does tend to build a stronger economy, providing the social infrastructure is there. We aren't building that infrastructure. We aren't building the houses. I would hope every country in the world is trying to limit population growth, I feel it is the main cause of ecological destruction. There comes a point where this model of more immigration, more growth, has to contend with the logic that our country and our planet has limited space and resources. If we're looking at long term economic models, you've got to consider the role of automation. Yes, the powerful have been happy with net immigration figures in the hundreds of thousands when they're cleaning up after them, driving their taxis, keeping all these wages nice and low (unsurprisingly, the poor people competing for these jobs have been less happy about this situation). But what about when a robot is cleaning your toilet, and your taxi drives itself, and this people aren't "driving economic growth", they're expecting their share of the universal standard wage? Anyway, almost none of this is a Brexit issue, really. It would all be an issue whether we were in or out the EU. But having control of our borders doesn't mean we have to restrict immigration, it just means we have more choice. If we want, we can take in even more immigrants.
  5. I've never been huge into online gaming- I'm usually years behind on games. But that's usually with strangers. Are you talking about people playing with strangers or friends? I played, like most English guys, a ridiculous amount of FIFA at uni. And I had some of my deepest chats with my friends while playing it. My theory is that because we didn't have to look at each other, it became less awkward. I'm not saying there aren't a lot of negatives to gaming (I think most people agree games haven't reached the artistic level of other entertainment- there's been no game equivalent of Crime and Punishment, The Godfather or The Wire), but there are positives too, and I do think society/the media are pretty biased. To go back to my novels example- you could argue that's the most anti social form of entertainment, more than games or tv, because you can't really read a book with someone. You can watch tv with someone, and games often encourage or even require you to have other people around you. But I never hear books criticised for this. Again, it feels like the media really focuses on the negatives of social media. I only really use Facebook, and I only post occasionally, but it is very useful for keeping in touch with people. I could easily turn that on its' head and say seeing other people doing exciting things might encourage someone to get out and experience life. I get killer wanderlust, and sometimes seeing people's travel photos can make me feel actually sick with envy. But it also encourages my own travelling, which is one of the most fulfilling parts of my life. I don't want to sound too superior, but the sort of people who watch a whole gig through their iPad or tweet every bowel movement- were these people really fascinating company before social media came along? Or if they're younger, would they be without it?
  6. I think most people aren't anti-immigration. We tend to like to consider ourselves moderate, and would favour moderate immigration. Immigration lately has been quite high, and there are questions about how to adapt our infrastructure for that, which politicians like to ignore by making ridiculous predictions about immigration falling massively. Our population is forecasted to grow significantly in the next few decades ( and even to overtake Germany's, making us the most populated country in Europe.
  7. There's this assumption that being outside is better than being inside. I'm not saying I'm not a fan of nature, I'm a fairly outdoorsy person. But I think there's a rival argument that I've never really heard anyone put forward- video games are really good these days. Who is to say that climbing a tree is better than playing Halo? I have fun memories of riding bikes and playing endless games of football, but also great memories of playing computer games- with friends and on my own. What might just look like a mind numbing game to an adult can be an awesome experience to the imagination of a child. When I completed Pokemon Blue, I really felt like I'd defeated a whole world of people, bonded with these Pokemon, beat the bad guys, become the champion. And games have progressed a hell of a lot since then. It's only when I meet my friends and we talk about playing these games as kids that I realise how important these games were to me. This is part of the generational thing- new=bad. Parents today often lament that they can't get their kids to read, but novels were first popular there was outrage about young people being sat staring at pages instead of playing sports and being all outdoorsy. These days playing games seems to be seen as a worse hobby than watching television, even though it seems clear playing games is generally more stimulating.
  8. Oh yeah, music is definitely an emotional thing. I mean if Blink 182 came out today, I'd say "he can't sing, not interested". But they were one of the first bands I loved, and I'll always listen to them. I think the music we love in our teens stays with us forever. But that's why it's really sad when people stop getting into new music. You're kind of saying that your experiences and emotional development are over, and you're just going to wallow in nostalgia until you die. Being older is no reason not to make new experiences. And they were annoying and got scratched. I feel like we had the worst of the three big music mediums- they lack the beauty of vinyl and the convenience of digital music.
  9. They're crazy, interesting, well developed... people talk about how madly dysfunctional the Targs and Lannisters are, but I don't think anyone beats the Greyjoys for having a truly fucked up family.
  10. I love reading about Ironborn/Greyjoys!
  11. Christ no, I think this idea of some ideological "team democracy" killing dictators (and their babies) is terrible. Because when powerful people interfere in other countries' affairs, they do it for purely humanitarian reasons approximately never. No matter how noble your intentions, the result will be the exploitation of weaker nations. I'm not a pacifist and I do accept liberal intervention, under strict guidelines. But not for regime change.
  12. When I get into that argument I like bringing up the fact that the best selling band of 1974 were The Wombles. Though last time I tried that, I just sparked a long conversation about how great The Wombles were, so I might not do that again. You always get bands who are ahead of their time. I actually introduced my dad to Pixies, they got a lot more famous after they broke up. I think a lot of people would be very disappointed if they time travelled and turned on a radio.
  13. That's funny, I do the same, I've told people my taste in music is probably the same as their dads. It is good if you ever have to make conversation with a middle aged man. I have been in the funny situation where a middle aged person is into modern stuff and is asking me about hip hop and pop that I don't have a clue about, while I'm trying to bring up Talking Heads or Squeeze... Though I'd actually say overall young people are more open minded about older music than older people are about new music- I went to a Patti Smith gig a couple of years ago (amazing) and there were loads of people my age. I've got a real determination not to turn into one of these older people who won't listen to anything released after they turned twenty five.
  14. I know I'm not the first to bring this up in this discussion, but to me it's such a perfect quote I can't resist "The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter..."- Socrates People tend to view their youth with rose tinted glasses. Just look at how people talk about old timey gangsters, compared to modern day ones. It's special pleading on a mass scale- "yes, we also got up to some trouble in our youth, but..." Yeah, it does seem like you've got generations quite clearly marked by the world wars, then the baby boomers, which was a period of heavy social change, and people like to continue things. I've been Youtube arguing (I know) with a lot of the "society has gone to hell these days" bores, who tend to bring up things like the Kardashians a lot. From my research, it's only a fairly small percentage of young people watching that show, and way more people seem to hate than love them. And I know people who watch some crappy reality tv show, but are very intelligent and interesting people. Sometimes people use entertainment as a means to switch off and relax, not to educate themselves.