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[sticky post] 55 Simple Rules for Debate in the Modern World

It’s my own fault really. Because I like to see different sides to an argument before making up my own mind (see Rule 9 below) then I am unfortunately exposed to comments from people whose opinions are badly argued, uninformed, prejudiced, immature and just plain stupid. And this does annoy me at times.

I like to think that the 55 rules below are ones that I at least try to stick to when commenting online. I wish other people would too, even though a few of my ‘rules’ are actually opinions. Some of the rules are not so much rules for debate, more rules you should live by if you want me to value your opinion. Put it this way, the more of my rules that you break, the less highly will I rate your opinion.

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I Am A: True Neutral Human Ranger/Wizard (3rd/2nd Level)

Ability Scores:







True Neutral A true neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. He doesn't feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most true neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil after all, he would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, he's not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way. Some true neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run. True neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion. However, true neutral can be a dangerous alignment when it represents apathy, indifference, and a lack of conviction.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Primary Class:
Rangers are skilled stalkers and hunters who make their home in the woods. Their martial skill is nearly the equal of the fighter, but they lack the latter's dedication to the craft of fighting. Instead, the ranger focuses his skills and training on a specific enemy a type of creature he bears a vengeful grudge against and hunts above all others. Rangers often accept the role of protector, aiding those who live in or travel through the woods. His skills allow him to move quietly and stick to the shadows, especially in natural settings, and he also has special knowledge of certain types of creatures. Finally, an experienced ranger has such a tie to nature that he can actually draw on natural power to cast divine spells, much as a druid does, and like a druid he is often accompanied by animal companions. A ranger's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.

Secondary Class:
Wizards are arcane spellcasters who depend on intensive study to create their magic. To wizards, magic is not a talent but a difficult, rewarding art. When they are prepared for battle, wizards can use their spells to devastating effect. When caught by surprise, they are vulnerable. The wizard's strength is her spells, everything else is secondary. She learns new spells as she experiments and grows in experience, and she can also learn them from other wizards. In addition, over time a wizard learns to manipulate her spells so they go farther, work better, or are improved in some other way. A wizard can call a familiar- a small, magical, animal companion that serves her. With a high Intelligence, wizards are capable of casting very high levels of spells.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Park, Park, Wherever He May Be...

Not that long ago, Manchester United had a wonderful South Korean midfielder called either Park Ji-Sung or Ji-Sung Park. (There seemed to be some confusion over which way round his name was.) He wasn't a superstar (although he's probably Asia's most successful footballer), but Sir Alex Ferguson would often play him in big games to do specific tactical duties. Ferguson said that leaving Park out of the squad for the 2008 Champions League Final was one of the hardest managerial decisions he ever had to make.

Park was the subject of perhaps my favourite football song, sung to the tune of the hymn "Lord of the Dance":

Park, Park, wherever he may be
He eats dogs in his home country
It could be worse
He could be scouse
Eating rats in a council house.

Anyway, I was amused to read this week that Park is now studying for a Masters Degree at De Montfort University. That's not the amusing thing. The amusing thing is that when not studying, he plays for the university's football team. It must be something of a shock for opponents who suddenly realise who the foreign mature student playing for the other team is.

Phligm Phlagm

"We can all put aside our partisan differences for a moment and agree that this Trump-Clinton “Dirty Dancing” duet is the best thing to come out of the debate."

Don't trust "factcheckers". Maybe it’s just my innate cynicism and a background as a professional sceptic that always makes me doubt someone who claims to be “unbiased” when giving you “the facts”.

Why Truman fired MacArthur. Fascinating account.

Weaker Sterling is (on balance) somewhere between good and very good for the UK economy.

...and another article making a similar argument.

Tolkien might not have been too impressed by the current trend to concentrate on the ethnicity of science fiction and fantasy authors rather than the quality of their work.

There is no such thing as trickle-down economics.

This is the best explanation of why so many people will vote for Donald Trump that I've seen.

Ched Evans is Not Guilty. Here's ten myths about the case that need to be busted.

Who is winning in Labour and the Liberal Democrats' race to be the most anti-semitic party?

Dennis Byrd didn't deserve to die in a car crash.

Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' slowed down is amazingly good. (Thanks beckyc)

18 Game of Thrones moments improved by quotes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Given the dearth of available options, who should American conservatives vote for in the presidential election?

Are we seeing the beginning of a political realignment in the UK? Interesting lecture.

Here's a particularly unsubtle example of simple corruption from the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

Political map of Europe, year-by-year from 3650BC to 2016AD.

70-year-olds play D&D for the first time.

The third most likely person to become the next President of the United States, and how he would do it. OK, it’s beyond unlikely, but not impossible…

This article struck something of a chord. Actually that's an understatement.

If the article is TL:DR, here's the executive summary: Organisations recruit clever people, but then discourage them from using their intelligence. It could easily have been written about my former employer (one of the Big 4 global professional services firms). And it's one of the things that consistently bugged me the most.

Phligm Phlagm 2

You don't need this laptop.

Trying to understand the EU's actions against Apple and the Republic of Ireland.

It's not shocking that professional employers judge applicants for client-facing roles partly on their appearance and their dress. What is shocking is that not only do state schools not teach this stuff, they sometimes don’t like it when employers try to do it instead.

Useful smartphone test. When I last bought a smartphone, I read lots of reviews, but one question that was never asked was “How good is it at making and receiving calls?”, that is “How good is it at actually being a phone”"?”

According to the latest Rowntree Foundation definition, someone in the top 0.32% of global incomes is now "in poverty". Muppets.

British WW2 propaganda posters.

Think you're good at Lego building? This guy is better.

If you were an American games company raising funds on Kickstarter for a new family card game "that combines speed, hilarious gestures, and your silly side for 2-6 players, ages 6+", and you weren't that familiar with politically incorrect British playground slang, what's the worst name you could come up with...?

"Nobody ever got sacked for buying IBM" …but maybe in this case, someone should have been.

When I was an auditor, this sort of clever statistical analysis was called a logic check. This is a good logic check on why American police might treat certain groups differently. (Hat tip to ford_prefect42.)

Archaeological evidence of a major bronze age battle in northern Germany c.1250 BC.