Joe King

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since Sep 02, 2003
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Recent posts by Joe King

Originally posted by Adrian Wallace:
(some planes still dont have individual TV screens for example).

I don't think I've ever flown on a plane that had individual TV screens!
19 years ago

Originally posted by Joe King:
The most important things I learned at school where:

... clearly learning how to spell was not one of the things I learned at school.
19 years ago

Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
not to mention that every substance in your house, from the wood of your table or wooden floor to the stone in the bricks to the metal of the doorknobs, is radioactive.

It may not be a lot, but it's more than zero so there's some radiation reaching you even in a sealed environment.

In fact, even the air you breathe is slightly radioactive.

That's just counting "radiation" as particles emitted in a certain bandwidth. I suppose if we were going to be pedantic, we'd have to count light and heat as radiation as well.
19 years ago

Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:

There is, my father uses 80% strong Austrian rum

Wow. That would not so much clear a stuffed head as blow it off completely
19 years ago
The most important things I learned at school where:

* Exams are memory tests not ability tests. Don't bother trying to understand it, just memorise what the examiner wants to hear.

* I learned how to do the minimal amount necessary to avoid being in trouble (this took a long time to un-learn when I moved from school to university).

* I learned that bad-guys quite often do get away with it.

* I learned that its better to be the best friend to the leader of the gang then to actually be the leader of the gang.

* I learned that its a lot easier to avoid a fight than to win one.

and most importantly

* I learned how to play cards, one of the most useful social functions that a person can have.

I've just realised that I wrote all of that under the assumption that "school" referred to pre-university education, but in some parts of the world it refers to university as well. At university all I learned was that I know a much smaller percentage of the things there are to learn that I previously thought I did.
19 years ago

Originally posted by ammu vasanth:
I joined Java Ranch to better my java skills but more often than not, i stumble upon here in MD. Is it the same for others out there? atleast in the beginning..

I did the opposite. I used to post a lot in the Sun java forums (or is it fora?), especially the Water Cooler, which was their (unmoderated) version of MD. While it wasn't as good as MD, it was good fun. Sun eventually got fed up with it though, and when they removed WC the Sun forums went down the pan a bit. I then started 2001 An Internet Odyssey by looking for a new forum to post in - one full of intelligent people to discus things with, both java and non-java in topic.

I looked for ages, but all the forums I looked at were full of people called "MAx2001" and "SupR bAb" swearing at each other. When I eventually stumbled across JavaRanch it was a bit like an oasis of intelligence and cordiality in a desert of aggressive rubbish. Its still the only forum I've found where people are unfailingly polite to each other and have make consistent level of interesting intelligent posts.
[ January 20, 2005: Message edited by: Joe King ]
19 years ago

Originally posted by Jason Menard:
The alcohol and nicotine genies are already out of the bottle. Just because two harmful substances with really no useful purposes happen to be legal,

I totally agree about nicotine. It seems like most smokers smoke in order to get rid of the withdrawal symptoms they have from not having smoked in a while. I can't understand the reason for starting smoking in the first place, but then I guess as a none smoker I probably am not best placed to judge a smoker's motivations.

Not so sure about alcohol. I don't think it has no useful purposes; in my family there's always been a tradition to use whiskey as a cure for colds - there's nothing better then a wee tot of single malt to clear a stuffed head.
19 years ago

Originally posted by Steven Bell:

Turn off the breakers in the house, close all the blinds, and never step outside for the rest of your life. That should remove most of the radiation from your life.

Even this wouldn't stop all radiation, and it only takes a single particle hitting a bit of DNA to kill you.... just think of all those billions of particles wooshing through you at any one moment..... Its like playing a game of Russian Roulette (albeit with a gun with a very large number of barrels) every moment for the rest of your life. There's no point worrying about it really.

While its reasonable to take sensible precautions (e.g. wear a dosimeter when working near radiation sources), the number one most dangerous radiation-related thing people can do is sunbathe and most people aren't that concerned about that.

Besides, radiation was probably a key factor in keeping evolution ticking along nicely (unless you come from Dover, PA), so we wouldn't be here without it - it can't be that bad!
[ January 19, 2005: Message edited by: Joe King ]
19 years ago

Originally posted by Kashif R.:
with a masters degree would spend most of their lifetime paying back student fees in the UK on an Indian salary.

This may not be an issue. I think the student loans are only paid back by people working in the UK, as the loan repayments are paid through the income tax system. I think this means that a person working abroad does not need to make loan repayments.

There is another problem with a UK graduate moving to India (or another similar country) - the cost of returning. Many graduates do not have much savings (most have the opposite - huge debts), so the hypothetical UK graduate working in India will only be able to make savings from the money earned in India. While this may add up to a good amount by Indian purchasing power standards, it is likely to be quite low by UK purchasing power standards. This means that money that has taken years to save up while living in India, which could buy a nice house India, would not be able to buy a house in the UK. This doesn't matter if the graduate does not wish to return to the UK, or is happy to save up for a long time, but if he/she wants to move to India for a couple of years and move back again, he/she may find it difficult.
19 years ago

Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
Noone got doses over the legal limit (which is a few percent of the medical limit)

Some people seem to have a funny reaction to the word "radiation". Maybe it was all those dodgy 60s programmes where radiation was a magical force that could turn you into a three armed mutant if you got too much of it.

I've heard of people worrying about how much radiation they get from having an x-ray, despite the fact that they receive more radiation in a five minute walk in the sun. Its a bit like people who complain about phone masts but then spend most of their day talking on their mobile.
19 years ago

Originally posted by Angela Poynton:

Where did you get this statistic?

I saw it on the BBC website somewhere. Annoyingly I can't find it now (hope I didn't hallucinate the whole thing ). I did find a couple of related stories of interest:

Leaving home was the best thing I ever did, as much as I love my parents there is little they can practically do to prepare you for living away and the only way to experience it is to go out and face it, and I think it's best to do that as young as possible and before they leave you and you're forced to face it.

Absolutely. I get on very well with my parents, but moving away from home was the best thing I ever did. It taught me an awful lot - I was completely clueless when I moved out of university halls and got my own place. Sometimes I wonder about what it would be like to move back - one of my friends has recently lost his job and may have to move back in with his parents. I'm not sure that I could do it - I'm too used to having my own space now. Some people aren't lucky enough to have the choice though.
19 years ago

Originally posted by Rita Moore:

I keep trying to understand american education system.
What the student exactly pays for?

I've never understood the American education system! Here in the UK its a bit more simple. When people go to university there is a tuition fee, payable once a year, that is standard for all universities - it is set by the government. Up until recently its been about $2000. The rest of the money that the university needs is paid by the government. In order to pay this amount, and pay living expenses, students take out a loan from the government.

Unfortunately the system doesn't really work - the tuition fee is not high enough to pay the entire costs of the course and with more people doing degrees the government is paying out larger amounts to the universities every year. The other problem is that the loan that a student can get is far too small. When I went to university my student loan didn't even cover my rent for the year, let alone my fees or livings expenses. The loan system has an additional flaw - the loan has to be repaid now, while I am in the early stages of my career and not making much money, rather than later on in my career when I could better afford it.

Recently there's been a bit of a change. The government have (gone back on an manifesto promise and) begun bringing in a law which will make a large increase in the tuition fee. Even worse then that, the law could allow different universities to charge different amounts. Under the old system, as each university charged the same amount, students chose their university based upon the courses offered and upon their own abilities. Under the new system students will be forced to choose universities based upon their (or their parents') wealth meaning that only rich students will be able to go to the top universities.
19 years ago

Originally posted by Gerald Davis:
Drug and alcoholism is just plain negative. Is there any factors that I'm not aware of?
Why hasn't mankind developed a distaste for them or evolved an immunity to the effect.

I doubt anyone sets out to be a heavy user of any drug, legal or not. Most likely it starts off as a small thing, maybe trying a drug out at a party, or having a few drinks now and then. The problem is that a large number of people may not realise how addictive some drugs are. Once they are an addict then logic goes out of the window - a person who has an addiction will find it very hard to give something up even if they know its bad for them.

Druggies and alcoholics should have their gonads or minge sterilised.

This is a bit excessive me thinks. A far better solution would be to help people through the process of giving up whatever they are addicted to. Things like support groups and counselling could help a large number of people give up their addiction. The NHS is currently advertising free support groups and counselling for people who want to give up smoking, and I'm sure there are also similar schemes for other drugs.

The biggest problem with tackling addiction is getting the addict to want to give up. Unless they are truly dedicated to giving up whatever they are addicted to, there's not much that can be done. Unfortunately things like social stigma and self-delusion mean that many people are unwilling to admit (even to themselves) that they have a problem.


There's been a lot of discussion on here about the differences and similarities between alcohol and drugs, making me wonder why I am comfortable drinking alcohol but not comfortable with taking any other drugs. For me the answer is experience - I know when I have reached my limit with alcohol, the point when I should call it a night and go home, but with drugs I wouldn't know this. Having never taken any (other than caffeine and alcohol) if I started taking some other drug I wouldn't know if I was taking too much for my own good.
19 years ago

Originally posted by Nick Allen:
I know the laments of a person with the majority of their life still ahead of them(I hope) don't seem as well founded, I just have so many friends who often wish they would have chased their dream, given it a chance for just one or two more years. To really be able to pour themselves into that thing they loved and see what could happen, then go try something else.

The key bit here is with the majority of their life still ahead of them. How about going to do all those things you wanted to do after university? There's no reason to give up on your dreams to soon. While the current trend is to go do various wild things before going to university, maybe doing it afterwards may just be a better option. After all that hard work you can reward yourself with some fun, and have the knowledge that if/when your money runs out you have a qualification to fall back on.

As for the drugs, meh, they're not really all they're cracked up to be.

19 years ago

Originally posted by kayal cox:
I was reading the Drug Legalization thread about how recreational drugs affect people (Adrian: at the peak of their experience are happy doing simple things (staring at the sky, the floor, a plain sheet of paper.. listening to music, going for a walk and looking at the way the grass bends in the wind etc)... and I am thinking to myself.. Maybe it would have been nice to experience this atleast once in my life..

When Adrian originally made this comment, it made me think of the experiences that some people have when meditating. Perhaps this may be just as rewarding a way to further appreciation of some simple things, without the worry of the potentially physical danger associated with some drugs.
19 years ago