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A wilding

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  1. Well anything is possible. But: There have been multiple well documented cases of respiratory viruses suddenly jumping from animals to humans before Covid. Many scientists had been saying for years that it was very likely that such a jump was going to cause a really dangerous pandemic before long. (Including one or two that I know personally, and to the extent that they had done some limited prepping for it.) There had been several near misses before Covid. The Wuhan market was just the sort of insanitary environment where such a jump is likely to occur. The Chinese hierarchical setup is one where cover up at all levels is the instinctive reaction to any situation. So their response to the outbreak proves nothing.
  2. It probably belongs in the Mental Health thread. But briefly, it all started with a big family meeting basically to do with inheritance. It unexpectedly turned out that there were a wide range of positions on it. We have now reached a resolution that I think gives this person all they can reasonably expect (and has left one or two other people a bit unhappy) but they are still angry. Basically they have had a difficult life and are a bit messed up. They are prone to considering themselves being victimised and to throwing around accusations of bullying and even abuse. I tend to keep my distance from them where possible. And glad to hear that you have recovered from your operation.
  3. We have worked it out. It stands for Reverse Victim and Offender. It is a technical psychological term relating to abuse cases, particularly sexual ones, basically meaning when the abuser claims that they were/are the one being abused. It appears to be a contraction of the much more widely used DARVO. So I think that I am now feeling rather insulted!
  4. I am guessing it is a term that they picked up from some obscure online pop psychology article and immediately decided applied to them (which would be typical of them). Or perhaps it was just a typo. It was part of a slightly unhinged rant. Still it doesn't matter, I was just curious. Someone is going round to try to find out what is going on and see what can be done to help out.
  5. A question for the hive mind. I (and some other family members) have just been accused of "RVO" by a relative who seems to be under severe stress and losing it somewhat. My google-fu has failed me, so does anyone know what "RVO" means? I doubt it has anything to do with the Netherlands organisation, the eye condition, or the C++ feature. From context it might be a synonym of projection (in the psychological sense)? Edit: and it definitely was not being used in the sense of "really good sex"!
  6. I do agree that GRRM does get hostile and unfair comments. But I think there is some nuance to the situation. While a few people may be GRRM's friends and others (such as myself) may have known who he was before ASoIaF, most people are aware of him only as the author of ASoIaF, Most people have little interest in him him other than as the author of ASoIaF. Obviously the vast majority of such people (myself included) stay away and don't bother reading his blog or otherwise interacting with him. However, in our culture, a small minority are sadly going to behave obnoxiously. Basically the elephant in the room is that ASoIaF is what has made GRRM famous (and rich), but that he is not going to finish it. And whenever GRRM goes out there to talk to ASoIaF fans, the elephant is always going to be present.
  7. At a guess, most people have given up on him. I imagine that few people now think he is ever going to finish the series. I suspect many people think he is unlikely even to finish TWoW.
  8. A shame. I remember reading his Eon soon after it came out in 1985 . An exhilarating hard SF ride at the time, despite its flaws, with several books worth of ideas packed into it..
  9. It is a long while since I bothered to follow what has been going on in any detail, but I had the impression that he had lost his way with Dunk and Egg as well. Hasn't The Wolves of Winterfell repeatedly been postponed?
  10. Well to say the obvious: It has been a rough few years for shares, but not investing in them typically means keeping your savings in cash, and historically shares have always beaten cash savings accounts by a wide margin in the long term, i.e. when investing for retirement. Of course, who knows what might happen in future ... But really a SIPP is no more work than an ISA to invest in. The only wrinkle is that you need to tell the taxman you are doing so to get the higher rate tax rebate from them. And if you are that wealthy you need to keep an eye on the maximum lifetime amount of pension investment you can make (about a million at present.)
  11. @BigFatCoward Depends a bit on whether she is a higher rate taxpayer. If not, I personally would forget about a pension scheme. Just pay a regular sum into a low cost ISA investing in a range of tracker funds. You can of course put up to £1666 a month into an ISA. The advantage of an ISA is that you can access it as and when you want and there is absolutely no tax to pay. As a higher rate tax payer you could do the same, but you might want to wrap some or all of the investment in a SIPP instead of an ISA. A SIPP is basically a type of pension. Here you are taking advantage of the SIPP higher rate tax rebate - you get your tax reduced. However there is no point in paying more into a SIPP than you get higher rate tax rebate for (i.e. at most pay in the amount of salary that you go past the higher rate threshold by). The disadvantage of a SIPP is that there are rules on how and when you can take your money, and it gets taxed when you do take it (though only at the basic rate unless you are taking out > £40K per year). Though as a freelancer I think that there are some additional options, particularly if she needs to set up her own company. In that case she will need an accountant, you might want to have a chat with them. Hargreaves Lansdown is one big company that provides cheap ISAs and SIPPs, and has a website with explainers. but there are plenty of others out there.) Disclaimer: I Am Not a Financial Advisor.
  12. The first SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch since 2019 is due to happen in about 30 minutes time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY628jRd6gM
  13. I think that technically, that was a quote from the Peter Jackson films, rather than by Tolkien himself. Though it does include phrases lifted from the books, used slightly out of context.
  14. 11 when I first read LotR (and before I read The Hobbit), But some of it went over my head at the time. I also was already reading widely at that age, including many adult books that I did not always really appreciate at the time. One of my friends who read it at the same age was terrified by the Eye of Sauron in Galadriel's mirror and abandoned the book at that point. (They did go on to read it all some years later I think.)
  15. I would not want to swear to that, Though Mrs W apparently had no idea that she was a lesbian until I mentioned it shortly after she quit, for whatever that is worth. However her actions over the last year or so of her reign more than justified her defenestration. She probably hung on for as long as she did only because Patel found it useful to keep someone in the role who knew that one word from Patel would finish her off. Not to mention that the Jean Charles de Menezes fiasco should have prevented her ever being given the job in the first place.
  16. Sorry, but the implication that Cressida Dick was forced out because she was a lesbian is complete nonsense, Nor is she even the first Met Commissioner whose resignation, after a long string of issues, was finally forced when the mayor of London publicly lost confidence in them. Edit: she is absolutely right about the Police and Crime Commissioners though. They are a mostly a waste of space, having been created by Cameron as sinecures so as to increase his powers of patronage,
  17. Our German relatives also make heavy use of it. They seemed to be visiting somewhere almost every other day.
  18. If it helps, neck pain is often caused directly or indirectly by stress. Reviewing your posture, especially when seated, might be a good idea. I also suggest consulting a physiotherapist if possible.
  19. Also a great deal of money has been and is being spent on investigating climate change and ways to ameliorate it. Though possibly not as much has has been spent obfuscating it. Not to mention hounding and ridiculing climate change scientists.
  20. Ouch, that sounds very unpleasant. They do seem to reduce the weight of some of there components down to the point where sometimes they only just have structural integrity don't they?
  21. Yes I have watched our understanding of the Roman occupation of Britain change in my lifetime to a narrative of slow decay beginning within only a hundred years or so after they invaded. (The relatively well preserved city of Calleva Atrebatum is not far from us and we have followed the yearly archaeological investigations there for a while as the story has slowly changed.)
  22. The whole of LotR is full of miraculous exact timings. This has been argued as evidence that Iluvatar was quietly managing events in a manner distinctly reminiscent of a Christian god.
  23. Just read a biography of the extraordinary life of Svetlana Alliluyeva, Stalin's Daughter by Rosemary Sullivan. An apt title, as Svetlana clearly never managed to escape that label, despite her efforts. It had been on my list ever since I saw The Death of Stalin. This was a difficult read, as her life was a very unhappy one, and her troubles were far from over when she defected to the US in 1967. However it is also a tribute to human resilience, as she was only damaged by her experiences, not broken like her brother. She just kept going through it all and perhaps gained some sort of peace by the end of her long life. So I would recommend this book to anyone who might be interested in her. I also found it a little weird that for me the book started as history (the Stalin era) but then moved on to events in my lifetime (she was still a cold war political pawn in the Reagan/Gorbachev era). I was somewhat disconcerted to discover that she spent two years living in Cambridge in the UK at the same time that I was doing my degree there. It is likely that I unknowingly walked or cycled past her in the street!
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