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Knight Of Winter

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About Knight Of Winter

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  • Birthday 01/05/1989

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  1. Knight Of Winter

    Cool ASOIAF knowledge and trivia for a quiz

    Thanks, Euron
  2. Knight Of Winter

    Cool ASOIAF knowledge and trivia for a quiz

    Moderate to slightly hard - questions which readers who casually read the books once would not know most of the time, but which average e.g. forum contributor would usually know. And related exclusively to the main series and information available there - so no F&B, TWOIAF, PATQ, D&E novellas and such.
  3. I'm currently making a quiz for ASOIAF - the book series, not the show - and as always, I'm looking to make questions cool, interesting and requiring good knowledge of the books. So, I'd like to ask anyone who's willing to help. What cool, unusual, deep or interesting piece of ASOIAF plot or lore do you think would make a good quiz question? Feel free to be creative. Any help is appreciated
  4. Knight Of Winter

    Billionaires, making the world a better place (for them)

    In which case, we're on pretty much same page, along with everyone else. I'm hard pressed to find anyone who'd argue that various people should not have equal opportunity. However, this is not what good portion of these thread is about. Some posters here are not talking about better education, state support for young start-up businesses, scholarships for excellent students, call for more transparent relations between companies and politics, anti-dumping laws and other stuff which could be categorized under equal opportunity set of goals. What they are talking about is taxing and distrusting the rich (OP even claims we shouldn't trust them when they're giving away to charities), because being rich must mean they got their wealth in unfair or deceitful way, and thus need to be "punished". That's not equal outcome per se, but it's a step in that direction. Please, do tell more, for it sounds swell. When and where was it? Where can I find more information? Correct, but redundant, I think. Pretty much everyone reasonable today thinks that public education should be free, available to everyone and as good as it can get (at least in Europe; in USA, if I understood correctly, students struggle for years or even decades to repay their student loans after they've graduated) - indeed, it's one of pillars of equal opportunity you mentioned above.
  5. Knight Of Winter

    Billionaires, making the world a better place (for them)

    My point was - even in most equal society with everyone starting with equal wealth and equal opportunities - some people will rise to the (economic) top thanks to competence, ability or at least sheer luck. Society with equal outcome for everyone would thus be deeply unfair. Other than that, I pretty much concur with this part of your post. Yeah, it is "undeserved" that some people are enjoying a luxurious life through inheritance rather than doing anything productive, but I don't see any good way to fix this. You're arguing against social darwinism here, which is not the ideology I either support or think anyone should be implementing. Just as I think there's bound to be inequality in any society, no matter how just or fair, I'm also aware that these inequalities are (partially) fault of rigged system. If there's anything I'm arguing against - these are oversimplifications of the problem of social (in)equality and naive solutions that people propose. Lots of people here seem to think that taxing the shit out of rich at every opportunity is the magic wand that will make all things better, which is, IMO, gross oversimplification. If it's possible, when are where was it achieved - in which country and in what time period? I'm not being facetious here - I'd genuinely like to know. Lots of legitimate criticisms can be thrown out before capitalism: that it cares more for abstract concept of money rather than people, that it exploits, that it alienates the worker from his work etc. However, it has at least one thing going for it: sheer productivity. It always produces more resources than either feudalism or communism or any other economic system. Since we're talking about malnutrition, do you know when was the last time western country (as apotheoses of capitalism) was struck by a natural famine? Sweden, in 1869. What was the last time communist or non-capitalist country in general was struck? Much more recent, and with much higher death toll: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_famines .I find it very hard to argue that socioeconomic system has nothing to do with it. One could also argue that advances in science and technology had something to do with it, that new scientific discoveries and technological advancement improved quality of life for everyday people, and that reflected in less poverty, longer life expectancy, less malnutrition and other similar stuff. But then again, which countries made most technological and economical advances advances in the last few centuries - capitalist or non-capitalist? Which countries invented/discovered electricity, steam energy, trains, cars, radio internet, market stock or most vaccines? Like you, I also think capitalism is full of flaws. I'm not defending it because I think it's great, but because I think all the other systems we tried are much worse. Nowdays, in the 21st century, pretty much every person that posts here is living in a capitalist system with some socialist elements. Personally, I think that this combination works better than anything else and that we should contunue investing in it - if nothing else, for the lack of better alternatives. If you have a different opinion, I'm eager for a discussion. Yes, I'm calling it great, because it's way way better than anything we had in the last 10,000 years. Teleport yourself to pretty much any country during any period of human history and you'd see what I'm talking about. You'd encounter widespread poverty. Constant wars. People getting killed literally in millions by diseases today eradicated. You'd face slavery pretty much everywhere. You'd see most children dying before the age of 15, if they managed to survive than long at all. To not call today's world "great" would be deeply dishonest in my mind. And all of this is not a reasons for complacency and self-pride, but rather a somber call to improve even further and eradicate poverty and diseases once and for all, to enable people all around the world lives worthy of human beings. And if you're worried about "we have the resources to end starvation virtually overnight", consider that this is probably the first time in history that we can make such a claim. Before people were starving not just because of uneven distribution, but for simple lack of resources. That we even have enough to feed all the people is a huge step forward. As I noted, if we're more concerned about the poor that about the rich, let's consider the fact that being poor nowdays is much better than being poor 100 or 1000 years ago. It would mean that we're at least doing something right regards to distribution of our resources
  6. Knight Of Winter

    Billionaires, making the world a better place (for them)

    Why is it so hard to respond to one post politely and without ad-hominems? I didn't say we've solved all our problems or things are perfect, I said things are getting better. And I gave three pieces of data: that rate of poverty is getting lower , that malnutrition is decreasing, and that life expectancy is increasing. All of these, it's important to note, relate directly to the issue we're discussing here: the one of wealth distribution. You've rebutted none of these; instead going completely off tangent with climate change and nuclear warheads (which, btw, Iran is the last country you'd want them to get. Being enemy of your "enemies" doesn't make them swell). These are major problems, I agree, but utterly unrelated to this thread topic - and hence I didn't mention them. If you're interested in discussion, maybe make a separate thread.
  7. Knight Of Winter

    Billionaires, making the world a better place (for them)

    That's one tough question. The problem of (in)equality and fair distribution of wealth is one humanity has been struggling with for a long time now. One one hand, some people (usually on the conservative end of specter) will claim that society is made out of individuals who differ in ability, intelligence or industriousness. Thus, smarter, more talented or hard working individuals will naturally rise to the top and earn more thanks to their ability. To take away their legitimately earned wealth would be downright unfair. And not only unfair; for since society should promote and reward excellence in its individuals – it would also be downright regressive. And these are some fine points. To this, other people (usually on the left) will counter that such meritocracy is purely imaginary i.e. nonexistent in reality. They'll point out that the system can be inherently flawed and rigged in favour of the rich. Rich will bribe and lobby with the politicians, pay their workers less than they deserve, launder their money and cheat on taxes – and use their power and influence to get away with it all. Thus, left will argue, we need some sort of control (whether it's government control of the market, progressive taxes, independent media, legally required minimal wage...) so that the system is not abused, and to make sure that people at the bottom of the totem pole don't get chewed and mistreated by the people at the top. All of these are, as well, legitimate points. Society we know today tries to dance carefully between these two sides. Both freedom on one end and equality on the other are important values we all hold dear, and it's clear there has to be some kind of compromise between them. And what compromise it is and how to achieve it is pretty much anyone's guess. USA, for example, leers more towards former, while Scandinavian states gravitate towards latter (with countless layers between them) and each is trying its best to balance between the two. Correct trade-off is difficult to find. With that in mind, I'm very wary of answers such as let's just get rid of all rich. Overly simplistic answer which proposes to solve quite an complex and multi-layered problem with one simple fix. Moreover, I find that whole idea that – if someone is rich: it automatically means he obtained his wealth by malice, oppression or deception and should thus be punished for it – very dangerous. Dangerous and potentially leading to a political, economical and humanistic disaster; and I say this as someone who has considered himself as leftist since he was old enough to think. And to end on an optimistic note – I'm less inclined to deal with ultra-rich as a problem, as long as we're doing fine on the other end of the spectrum. And for now, we're doing much better than ever before, in fact, we're doing great. Rate of absolute poverty is quickly diminishing. Less and less people are dying from starvation. Life expectancy is increasing. It would seem that overall growth in world's wealth is pouring into the pockets of people who need it the most at least to some degree, and that's an awesome thing.
  8. Knight Of Winter

    UK Politics : Groundhog May

    Just to be clear, I wan't advocating eye for an eye principle to be applied on Begum. Since we were discussing justice on an abstract level, I just listed some keystone concept that most people would relate to it I hear your concerns about mob justice, about Begum losing her citizenship without due process - but I don't think that's what's happening here. My quick research told me that due process for losing a citizenship consists of Secretary of State waging whether someone is a security risk. If and when that happens, Begum has the right to appeal, which her family will undoubtedly use in her name. With all the political power plays and public opinions happening in this case, due process seems to be observed. And since we've agreed that justice is the keystone concept here, the rest of my most will follow moral (not legal, practical or political) argument; justice-based argument - if you will. The way I see things, Begum has de facto (although not de jure) renounced her British citizenship. That's what her punning off to ISIS actually represents. She rejected values and laws of UK and chosen those of ISIS. If ISIS actually completed its objective, held some territory and became internationally recognized country - she would have requested and received ISIS citizenship. However, it was not to be. Thankfully, ISIS is now on the brink of defeat, which puts everyone involved in an awkward spot. UK is stuck with a (former) citizen it does not really want, and Begum is stuck with a country she does not feel a part of. Sort of lose-lose situation for everyone. So this, I feel, would be a best approach to this situation: treat Begum as if she was another immigrant, one of many seeking British citizenship. Because, the fact that she once was a British citizen matters little from a moral point of view. Meanwhile, immigrant seeking citizenship more or less always follow the similar procedure: if they show willingness to accept local laws and values - they're approved. Otherwise, they're rejected. A small digression - I was reminded of a similar case from year or two ago. Basically, Muslim woman requested French citizenship and passed all the tests. On a citizenship award ceremony, she refused to shake hands with male clerk. Clerk then refused to grant her citizenship, citing that gender equality is one of French core values and she was obviously not down with it. The case went all the way up to Supreme court, which upheld clerk's decision. Now, Begum's case oozes with similarities, the only differences being that her crime is wa(aaa)y greater and her past status as a British citizen (which I, again, think it matters little morally). Now, has Begum demonstrated such a willingness? Sadly, not. In fact, if unrelated immigrant, with sentiments same as Begum's, requested British citizenship today, he'd be rejected in a heartbeat. Someone whose reaction to man's severed head is "Well, he was the enemy of Islam" is not fit, IMO, for British citizenship. UK, along with many other European countries - has quite a bloody history. It waged many wars, did numerous atrocities, oppressed whole nations, killed and enslaved millions of people; all to arrive at a core set of values which make cornerstone of its society today: human rights, democracy, gender and race equality, secularism, due process etc. Even if they're not completely realized (for example, sexism and racism still exist) - they're something for they strive for, every day of every month of every year in the last decades. They're long and hard fought for, their price was paid in blood - and UK is damn right not to throw them all away to accommodate one unrepentant terrorist supporter. I'm not at all against "reconciliation" between Begum and UK, for her coming back to UK and getting her citizenship back. But she needs to make a first move; she needs to reject ISIS ideology and show willingness to abide by some basic UK values. She needs to realize that being a citizen balances certain rights (such as right to British healthcare she wants and needs) with certain responsibility (such as responsibility not to support terrorist who stand for slavery and murder). For now, Begum is not quite getting the second part of equation. I earnestly hope this will change in the near future - to benefit of her, her son (who, I absolutely agree, is entitled to benefits of the UK state) and her family.
  9. Knight Of Winter

    UK Politics : Groundhog May

    That's a fair argument. In fact, this (and similar) line of reasoning are perhaps the best counter-arguments I've heard, and these make me continue thinking over and over again about Begum's case. I'd just add that these interconnecting rights and responsibilities between its citizens fall short on Begum's part, but on the other hand UK does hold its part in her demise and should take its part of responsibility.
  10. Knight Of Winter

    UK Politics : Groundhog May

    The only thing that's nonsensical are your continuous attempts to paint her as victim. She's a person who chose her own fate of her own free will and is now suffering the negative consequences. People killed by ISIS are victims - they suffered through no fault of their own. Begum's newborn son is a victim - poor kid has been dealt a terrible hand right from the start. Her family can be seen as victims - they undoubtedly went through immense emotional pain after she went over to ISIS. But Begum herself is not. Deal with it. What's that? Her morals, her inner sense of right and wrong, her compassion, her loves, fears, fantasies, alturism and everything else that makes her agency magically disappeared when she decided to join ISIS? Begum's agency is her own, and noone else's. It's not her parents', it's not her goverment's and it's not her friends'; and it's most certainly not ISIS's to take. If she was deprived of it, then it's because she chose to deprive herself. And continues to do so. What's question begging at all? The truth is, as Begum herself stated, that she has many sympathies for the ISIS and has even stated that she holds no regrets. That's the truth, and journalists uncovered it. Now, if the truth was different - it she was remorseful, guilt-ridden, doubtful or something along the lines - then the journalists job would have been to uncover that. I see nothing unethical about that. All in all, mormont, your posts all seem to be based on one premise and one premise only: blaming everyone other than Begum for Begum's failure. ISIS is guilty because they recruited her; British are guilty because they are racist and islamophobic (coupled with arbitrary assertion that media would have covered it differently in case she was white); journalists are guilty because they manipulated her into revealing her genuine feelings and sentiments... Meanwhile, Begum herself is hapless, innocent victim, devoid of any blame and and agency; apparently incapable of making her own decisions and moral judgements. How convenient.
  11. Knight Of Winter

    UK Politics : Groundhog May

    I agree here completely, and think you've hit the nail on the head with this. Whatever decision UK makes, it should be in the interests of justice.And quite reasonably, you call in judicial elements of justice into this: courts of law, lawyers, due process etc. Which is fair and square, but IMO not the best way to look at this situation. Courts are less about abstract concept of justice (which, I concur with you, is hell of a lot important), and more about upholding the law. And this distinction matters, for Begum maybe hasn't broken and laws at all. She traveled to ISIS teritory - she was free to do so. She married a terrorist - she's free to marry whoever she likes. She has radical islamic beliefs - well, law punishes you for your actions, not your beliefs.However, if you look at justice from conceptual pint of view, that's where things start to get awry for Begum. Most people would equate justice with things like reciprocity, fairness, equality, avoiding harm etc. and her position leaves a lot to be desired here.What she's basically saying to the UK is this: Yes, I still hold many ISIS beliefs. I support ISIS knowing that this organization has been downright dangerous for your safety. And I want you all to invest time, money and effort to take me back in. In fact, I'm asking for the benefits of the British state (healthcare for myself and my son, education, fair process before the court of law...) while supporting terrorist organization based on murder, slavery and misogyny - in short, everything that Britain is fighting against.How is that fair? How is that just? First off, let's dispense with all the personal stuff. You don't hold a monopoly on morality, empathy or correct opinions, and I'd appreciate it if you would respond to my post, not your perceived lack of empathy on my part. Thank you. 1. as of now, Begum is an adult. Which means, in the eyes of law and society - she's responsible for whatever she says and does. If she, as an adult, has been brainwashed by ISIS - well, it's on her. It was her responsibility to decide who to trust and when. And even if we make allowances for the fact that she was a minor when they recruited her (which I'd be inclined to do), the fact is that now, at 19/20 - she still hold the same beliefs. At some point it is time to owe what one does and stop blaming others. Our society has arbitrarily decided that that point is 18 years old.2. but let's roll with your argument for a little bit, the premise of which is that Begum has no agency. Where exactly does her agency start and stop? For example, should we comply with her wish to return home, or should we disregard it because someone obviously manipulated her into wanting to go back home? If she gets back to Britain, should government restrict her voting rights - for she has no agency and forms her beliefs in accordance to others' manipulation? Should she be allowed to buy whatever clothes or food she likes - or not, because her choices won't be the product of her agency.Where does it stop? How come her decision to still uphold ISIS beliefs is not the product of her agency, and her wish to return to Britain is? The point is, our entire society is deeply based on the concept of person's agency (which extend from democratic system and choocing a job all the way to consumer decision) - and it's not something we can partially disregard just because it's u inconvenient for our argument. Quite correct, ethics is (or should be) quite important to journalists. But what constitutes an ethical behavior for a journalist?And the answer, in my opinion, is not "to hold the best interest of the interviewee at heart". it is "to find the truth and present it to the public". I want my journalists to be intelligent, to have a curious mind, to seek the truth about the matter and write an article about it. Article which will be truthful and courageous, and from which I'll learn something new and interesting. I don't what them to play advocates for the person they're interviewing - they have themselves, their family and friends and finally their actual advocates to do that.And, as it turns out, British journalists did just that. They asked the right questions and found out that Begum is still largely sympathetic about ISIS. This is indeed very inconvenient for Begum herself, but not journalists' problem. Begum is, for the large part, terrorist supporter mostly unrepentant of her ways, who is demanding quite a lot from UK and is offering nothing in return. If her interests collide with interests of British society, latter takes precedence every day and twice on Sunday. Both, of course.
  12. Knight Of Winter

    UK Politics : Groundhog May

    ISIS manipulated Begum into joining them and staying with them for 4 years; and also into believing their murderous ideology, journalists manipulated her into incriminating herself... Where exactly is her agency there? At what point does she become responsible for what she does and says? And also, where does this notion that journalists have to care about interviewee's interest at all come from? Her own interest is largely unimportant in this case, what matters more is British society/country/citizens' interest. And I'd wager that their interest is to hear Begum's clear, unadulterated and genuine opinion - without people "supporting or advising her" who would coach her what things to say. If her feeling was one of remorse, it would have been seen in the interviews. If it was one of regret and guilt, it would have been visible. Well, it turns out the story is different than that - for Begum still seems much in agreement with ISIS ideology. It is against her interest that now everyone knows her sentiments, but I'd argue it's very much in the interest of British, who now know exactly what is it they're dealing with.
  13. Knight Of Winter

    Does Alliser Thorne know about Jon's true parentage?

    Though, for a rebel-hater, Throne seems to quickly forget his distaste and support known Tywin's (the very man who ordered him to the Wall) crony as LC.
  14. Knight Of Winter

    What binds people together (?)

    Jared Diamond deals with stuff you might be interested in, with books like How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed or Guns, germs and steel (the latter considered his magnum opus). I haven't read them personally (though I'll change that quickly), so I can't personally recommend or disqualify them, however some great historical books and authors I've read (Harari included) put them on pedestal, so I'll assume there's something in them. Here's the brief TED talk from the same man: https://www.ted.com/talks/jared_diamond_on_why_societies_collapse
  15. Knight Of Winter

    Secret Targ - possibly crackpot

    I think you're ignoring the evidence that Dany is actually a secret Marbrand masquerading as a Targaryen