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Alarich II

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  1. Alarich II

    Popular Book series you’ve tried and failed to get into:

    Aubrey/Maturin is a fantastic series and only loses a bit of direction in the last books (post Waterloo). It's very accurate not only in nautical lingo and description but also on social interactions while telling a great story. I reread the series every 2-3 years. My personal nemesis were: 1. Malazan: bloat, bloat, booooring. No thanks 2. Goodkind/Richard Rahl: really a bit stupid and by the second book it paints a disturbing picture of the authors state of mind 3. Gene Wolfes New Sun: Too clever for me, too much of an unreliable narrator.
  2. Dual college education already exists (at least here in Germany). In practice it means that you apply with a company that cooperates with a college and then you'll go to classes for two months, then go to work for two months etc. Of course the college education is already focused on a specific career, for example engineering, accounting, marketing etc. This does not work for political science, history or German philology.
  3. There are already dual education systems, notably in the German-speaking countries of Europe. This wikipedia article gives an interesting overview.
  4. Alarich II

    Can Aegon I conquer Europe in the 15th century?

    And in 1428, the Hussite army counted 3000 handheld guns alone , and about 300 light and 60 big cannons. The main driver was the Hundred Years War which sped up military innovation a a lot. And Aegon had only 3 dragons. Also the use of Byzantine Fire is not competely new to Europeans, so the shock and awe effect might be less than hoped.
  5. Alarich II

    Can Aegon I conquer Europe in the 15th century?

    It depends. Towards the end of the 15th century, cannons were pretty much used in most bigger campaigns and cannon technology made big leaps from the beginning to the end. Already during Hussite Wars and also in the latter stages of the Hundred Years War, in the first half of the 15th century, mobile (horse drawn) field artillery was used. Perhaps the very early 15th century was the very last time that Aegon could have conquered even a smaller piece of the European cake. The use of dragons would mainly be that for reconnaisance, bombing (out of cannon reach) and rapid deploymend of troops (transport). 3 dragons would not be enough. You should read the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik if you are intrested in those kind of scenarios;
  6. Alarich II

    UK Politics: Time Marches On

    There is light - but the HoC is apparently unsure wether it is the end of the tunnel or an oncoming train.
  7. Alarich II

    Hello from Eurocommieland

    We could debate wether champagne is special sparkling wine or sparkling wine is a synonym for champagne and while doing so leave out the vocals on our keyboards. Then someone should start a Zorse War.
  8. I've read about this and it is absolutely mind-bending to have parents that are actually intervening to have their offspring fed with with inferior and unhealthy food. Why? Because their kids don't like it. Why do they not like it? Because their parents have fed them this crap. And instead of being grateful that at least some total stranger cares enough about their childs future and current health to give them decent food, they do everything to protect their kids unhealthy eating habits. This borders on child abuse IMO.
  9. Depending on where you are stationed, you might consider an trip from Prague to Dresden, which is a great baroque city. But if you are more into nature thing without a big hike, you can make a boat trip down the Elbe river, for example Bad Schandau to Dresden, possibly Meißen, wich has beautiful nature near the Czeck border and also some of the most beautiful and iconic Saxon castles along the way. Btw. a trip down the Elbe river is also very nice on the Czech side, so you might consider starting downriver from Aussig (Usti nad Labem) wich is an hour by car from Prague.
  10. The Telegraph says on its webpage about Charles Moore: Now I'm not familiar enough with those publications to comment on the wisdom and insight they provide to their editors, but I do have a garden and I can tell you that his tipps and tricks from the wartime recipe books are a little too late, because the next harvest will not come until after the Brexit date. But maybe he's just gloating, because his own cellar is full with turnips, apples and potatoes that he plans on selling on the black market.
  11. Well by that first argument, you might as well lower the age to 6 because the president that the US electorate did vote for doesn't really raise the bar any higher. I also happen to disagree with the second argument. Privilege ist just another word for "a right that only special people have". Active and passive voting rights are two sides of the same medal. Citizenship means full participation in the political process, which you cannot have if you can't be elected. The difference is obvious but I don't think that it's really that fundamental if you consider both rights as complementary for full citizenship. Now, wether it is wise to elect a president who isn't allowed to drink alcohol on his inauguration party or not. is IMO a question you should ask the electorate. It seems to me that there's always this underlying thought that if we cannot keep "stupid" people from voting, at least we can try limit their choices in a way that mitigates their bad choices. Of course there's much to be said about protecting people from their own stupid decisions, in many areas of every day life. But this isn't a seat-belt issue and every now and then, the electorate finds a way to vote people with questionable character, morals and/or mental capabilities into office despite an age limit. The question to me would be twofold: 1. Why is age such an important factor for a president that the electorate must be prevented from voting for anyone under 35? 2. And if age is such an important factor in a "good" president that there needs to be a special and higher age limit than for any other office, why is there only a minimum age and not a maximum age as well (to prevent having a president who suffers from the early stages of Alzheimers for example)? Edit to give an example: In Germany any citizen over the age of 18 can be elected as chancellor. But we never had one that young, in fact the youngest was Kohl at the age of 52. Now of course there's no direct election of the chancellor (who is elected by parliament) so one could argue that this makes all the difference but I don't think that it really does and in the end, I don't think an 18year old would pass the presidential primaries in the US either. But that is just a gut feeling not more.
  12. The whole point of the EU is that many small countries band together to get an economic leverage that they would otherwise not have. Call it bullying, if you want, but the UK was all fine with that as it was part of the gang. So these complaints are really just the whining of hypocrites and unlike the UK, the EU always had to negotiate for something it wants. Of course the EU will back Irish interests over UK interests - one stays, the other leaves, end of discussion. No-one wants a backstop, but if the UK wants to leave the backstop without a solution to the GFA-issues, the EU cannot prevent that and we'll still have a no-deal "full" Brexit. That option is never entirely off the table. So really, they depend on the goodwill of the UK as much as the UK depends on theirs.
  13. He is indeed another case where having and eating the cake did not work out. So his bitter tears about that are duly noted. But to be precise, his problems were not the EU, but the Euro-Group, specifically Germany, because those stingy bastards wouldn't just underwrite for Greek debt. Also the leaving issue wasn't about leaving the EU (this was never a serious issue) but the EURO-zone.
  14. Alarich II

    Should we lower the age of adulthood in the US to be 16?

    I could argue a lot things, and I do have opinions on marriage, driving and so forth, but in this thread I'll stick to the voting age until I get bored. The right to vote is not the only right, that's true and there are other, very important rights also. But who decides over those rights, who oversees the transformation of these rights from abstract concepts into a law? It's the elected representation of those parts of the citizenry who are allowed to vote. Which is why IMO the right to vote is the most important right, because it gives you control over who implements all the other rights. We are in agreement that the voting age is arbitrary, perhaps not wrt to the severeness - for you is somewhat arbitrary, to me it is highly arbitrary. Where you and I disagree, I think, is the idea that voting rights should be linked to brain maturity. I think that kind of argument opens a whole can of very ugly worms: if age is used as best (easy) approximation to brain maturity then we have the justification to exclude old people as well. Because brain functions also tend to regress from a certain age onwards. It would be just another one of those arbitrary lines that are easy to draw. It also puts a big question-mark behind the voting rights of people with reduced mental capabilities. I also agree that easy to understand, bright rules can make sense and that sometimes the individual injustice is to be accepted for the greater good. In this instance however I don't see the scales in favour of such a bright line, because I fail to see the benefit from excluding people from the right to vote based on age, especially until the age of 18.
  15. Alarich II

    Should we lower the age of adulthood in the US to be 16?

    While I can see that a "bright line" makes it easy, the argument that we have to accept some injustices as the price for an easy application of the law is no less prone to abuse. I mean, "only men" or "only landowners" are also a pretty bright lines for suffrage but that doesn't make them right. All you need is a law that says so, but the law is no justification by itself. Likewise the ability to ability to conclude contracts is not some sort of natural ability, just a legal definition. One that is btw. not a bright line either as minors can conclude certain contracs in their own right (at least over here) from the age of 7 onwards. The problem that I have is that we deny the most important right simply by the random application of a bright line. I mean, even if we were to accept that the bright line is at 16 (because frankly, 18 makes no more sense than 21, 35 or indeed 16), and everyone beyond that age has at least full active voting rights (the bright line gets a bit dim when it come to passive voting rights), why not allow younger persons to vote under certain conditions? I mean, it's not like you're taking anything away, you're just letting more people have a say in matters that concern them a great deal (probably more than an 80 year-old voter who posts his ballot early and dies before the actual date of the election) and the potential for abuse is also limited to those under 16. Would that not be an acceptable price for greater political representation of citizens who, up to now, have no political representation?
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