User:Gun Powder Ma

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Range of topics[edit]

  • History of pre-industrial technology
  • History of architecture
  • History of writing
  • History of navigation
  • Military history


Outlook on the nature of discussions:

  • In some ways the observance of rules and the using of criteria resemble the employment of spectacles. We look through them but not at them. (Gilbert Ryle)
  • Contra principia negantem non est disputandum (approx. "It is not possible to argue with someone who negates the principles of communication/of a discussion".) (Latin phrase)
  • Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth. (Gandhi)
  • The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. (Bertrand Russell)
  • A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. (Winston Churchill)
  • In the name of tolerance we should claim the right to not tolerate intolerance. (Karl Popper)

Outlook on history:

  • Happy the people whose annals are boring to read. (Montesquieu)
  • Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Outlook on military history:

Personal outlook:

  • No quarter to fanatics.
  • Be polite, but avoid political correctness.
  • Don't be an appeaser, don't be a warlord.
  • Have fun at Wiki, because otherwise it is not worth it.
  • For conjecture there is the whole Internet, but Wiki is for facts.
  • The opinion that everything is subjective is also a subjective opinion.
  • The opinion that everything is subjective allows for one exception. Itself.
  • Be reasonable, stay open minded, but don't shy away from coming to conclusions.
  • Life is short and Wikipedia's huge, and whatever we are contributing here, in a hundred year's time, or perhaps already tomorrow, nobody will give a damn about, so let's try to be nice to one another and have a good time.

Personal observations at Wiki:

  • Put two people in a room, and you will get out three opinions.
  • Political correctness does not solve problems, it ignores them.
  • Keeping a balanced view does not mean that the hypothesis that the earth is flat is to be presented as equally plausible. It does not mean that the denial of the holocaust deserves half of the article's space. Is does not mean to merely 'list' views indiscriminately without considering their intrinsic value. It means that facts and arguments should be presented according to their truthfulness, accuracy and verifiability, even if this effectively means the virtual exclusion of other 'ideas'.
  • Presenting a multitude of different angles on subjects often leads paradoxically to less objectivity, since it buries the more viable standpoints among the lesser ones and tends to treat all views indiscriminately.
  • There are lies, damned lies and Wikipedia maps of ancient empires.
  • Truth at Wiki is sometimes a function of the willingness to make reverts.
  • For edit-warring, it takes only one user, but for finding a solution both.
  • Everyone is biased, but people who are aware of their biases are usually less so.
  • "Eurocentrism" is usually the convenient blame by which another ethnocentrism tries to sneak in.
  • Mottos suck, lets get down to business. ;-)

The rise of the robots and the bleak future of mankind[edit]

I am glad to discover that the Unabomber ranks among the 1000 most read Wikipedia articles because it tells me he hits a nerve with people. And I believe he is right overall: his pessimistic outview is the most realistic and radical solutions are required to save humanity from being superseded by the machines. The fastest developing species on earth by a ridiculously huge margin have been for many decades now robots, computers and artificial intelligence (AI). They started on a very low basis but they are developing exponentially. It is only a matter of time when their evolution curve will cut ours and the minute we are relegated to the second most intelligent race on earth, our fate has been taken from our hands. As for Wikipedia, it takes no genius to foresee that the wisdom of mankind arduously collected here will be tapped by AI and used coldly against us.

So if you want to know about the real important stuff, not just what you consider important in Wikipedia, read this:

Today, a computer passed the Turing test for the first time in history (click).

When real men wore long hair...[edit]

Jesus of Nazareth, prophet, son of God, God. Contrary to what Sir Peter Ustinov believed, the image of a long-haired Jesus was not invented in Victorian times, but can be traced back at least to this 12th century Byzantine mosaic (and much farther back in time).
Alexander the Great, obsessive world conqueror and first rock star on the throne (live fast, die young). Admittedly, this Roman mosaic shows him wearing half-long hair, but then again at the battle of Gaugamela he still had to conquer the other half of the Persian empire. His opponent Dareios hid his hair under his helmet, so defeat was inevitable.
Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor and mightiest man of his days. In the Middle Ages, when people still possessed natural instincts for power and charisma, wearing long hair was a privilege of the kings. This enlightened attitude compares most favourably with modern primitivist views of short-cut hair as the required norm for all strata of society.
Samson, whose strength lay in his hair and who slayed a thousand Philistines in a straight fight, is perfidiously betrayed by Delihah in his sleep. Never turn your back on redheaded women!
The close genetical correlation between long hair and inborn raw genius perhaps best exemplifies Beethoven, componist and towering musical overachiever.
The Vikings were no-nonsense warriors who badly kicked arse wherever their longships shoved their bows into the beach sand - which for a while was practically everywhere. Their long hair added to their already abundant ferocity and was no less instrumental in intimidating their decadent short-haired opponents into submission than their battle-axes.


Quite amusing[edit]

Hall of pretty intelligent comments[edit]

Trying to archive here a rare animal on Wiki, intelligent observations:


Arch bridges[edit]

Yes, I love bridges, and if bridges were women, they would love me, too. The following selection concentrates on extraordinary, but less well-known bridges, just to please the eye and calm the mind.

Ancient bridges[edit]

Medieval bridges[edit]

Renaissance bridges[edit]

+ This user likes getting friendly notices.