Author Topic: Episode #595  (Read 1587 times)

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Offline God Bomb

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Re: Episode #595
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2016, 02:38:20 AM »
In my house the presents under the tree had tags, To and From.  No mention of any saint nick.  My parents made no effort to make me believe or disbelieve in santa claus thing (or father christmas as he's known by in the UK), but obviously he's ubiquitous in culture, I don't have a clear memory of when I stopped believing he existed, so I'm inclined to think that I never did. 

I don't really get the whole santa thing.  So when relatives come to your house with gifts, are those supposed to be from santa too?  Or is it only the ones your parents bought?  If so, isn't it weird that you got stuff from everyone except your parents?  How does it work for the average family?  Please someone clear this up.

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Offline werecow

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Re: Episode #595
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2016, 08:51:07 AM »
We have Sinterklaas here instead of Santa Claus (who we call "de kerstman", with kerst being short for kerstmis, or christmas, it litterally means "the christ(mas)man"). They're based on the same person and the principle is very similar, though Sinterklaas lives in Spain and rides a white horse, and instead of elves he has Zwarte Pieten (who have been somewhat controversial the last few years). When we got old enough to figure out that other people were buying presents and dressing up as Sinterklaas and his helpers, my parents told us that there were hulpsinterklazen (helper Santas) who did some of the work for him, which made sense to us because he was so old. But we just gradually figured out that all the Sinterklazen were hulpsinterklazen. I don't think I had one eureka moment when I figured it all out.

One tradition at Sinterklaas is to make each other "surprises" (pronounced the French way), which are presents wrapped inside a kind of some sort of arts-and-crafts type of creative disguise, often accompanied by a rhyme hinting at the nature of the present and/or the idea behind the surprise. It might look something like this:



In the last few years of elementary school, kids usually draw names (like secret Santa) and make one. Of course, this kind of lifts the veil on Sinterklaas for any kids who still believe in him. We had one girl in our class who did, and she was a little upset at finding out he was not real, but I highly doubt it scarred her for life. And today, with the internet, I think kids will probably find out much earlier than that.

I think this whole idea that "lying" to your kids about something like the existence of our modern, benign form of Sinterklaas being harmful is kind of ridiculous, unless you do really stupid stuff, like trying really actively to mess with their minds by reinforcing the belief as they are on the verge of figuring it out. Even though pretty much every autochthonous person in my country used to participate in this tradition, I've never heard of a single person being emotionally scarred by it, and most people actually remember it fondly as one of their favorite childhood traditions. And, like Steve and the rogues pointed out, I think it can be a very valuable skeptical lesson.

However, the legend used to be a bit more sinister, and one component of the story was that, somewhat similar to the Krampus, if you had been really naughty, instead of bringing you presents and candy, Zwarte Piet would come and abduct you to Spain. That I can definitely see as being harmful, in the same way that the idea of hell can be traumatizing. Again as was pointed out on the show, using it as a means of instilling fear to keep your kids in line is probably not great parenting.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2016, 08:56:21 AM by werecow »
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Offline smudge

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Re: Episode #595
« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2016, 09:16:38 AM »
Excellent show this week.

The Santa thing comes up every year for skeptics. I agree with Steve's line. It should be an exercise in critical thinking dictated purely by the pace of the child's own development and curiosity.

RE Critical thinking in schools. Yep. It's now more vital than ever in this (so called) 'post truth' age. I did have to bite my lip when (I think?) Steve said 'it would require political will". Yes. Which is why we can't ignore politics! But I ought to shut up as I've made my view on that clear!  :D

I really must get around to reading Gulliver's Travels. Its been on my 'to do' list for too long. I wonder if we ought to include philosophical literature like Plato's Republic as part of the development of Sci-Fi as a means of considering 'possible future worlds'?

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #595
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2016, 10:57:40 AM »
There's a free version of Gulliver's Travels on Kindle. (And for those without a Kindle, the Kindle app is available free for all tablets & smartphones, though you do have to create a free Amazon account.) There are probably free versions for other e-book formats as well. The above post reminded me that it has been decades since I read it. So I've just downloaded it and will re-read it soon.
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Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #595
« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2016, 12:18:41 PM »
Indeed, Gulliver's Travels is in the public domain. Here's a pdf; http://www.planetebook.com/ebooks/Gullivers-Travels.pdf

And a page with epub, Kindle, and a slightly different pdf; http://www.feedbooks.com/book/159/gulliver-s-travels

Offline Friendly Angel

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Re: Episode #595
« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2016, 12:24:47 PM »
So when relatives come to your house with gifts, are those supposed to be from santa too?  Or is it only the ones your parents bought?  If so, isn't it weird that you got stuff from everyone except your parents?  How does it work for the average family?  Please someone clear this up.

It varies from family to family of course.

When I was a kid, the big presents came from parents and relatives, and Santa brought little stuff like candy, nuts, and small toys.
Amend and resubmit.

Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #595
« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2016, 12:55:12 PM »
It varies from family to family of course.

When I was a kid, the big presents came from parents and relatives, and Santa brought little stuff like candy, nuts, and small toys.

He can't really compete with modern manufacturing.

Offline FlexibleDemeanour

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Re: Episode #595
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2016, 02:01:33 PM »
Re: Diamond Battery
A couple of comparisons
- A standard AA battery drained at the same power as an equal weight of the nuclear batteries would last about 1 month - cool for wireless mouse/keyboard, not for anything that needs to charge frequently
- I would need at least 6 tonnes of these in my basement to power my house

I also did a quick check, and synthetic diamond still seems to cost about $10,000/gram, not including the extra cost of a radioactive layer. 
Sadly, I can't see these having application outside of the most extreme niche markets for decades if ever.


The math: For those of you who aren't amazing at unit conversions, I suggest http://www.wolframalpha.com

First, I ask for "15 joules per  24 hours" which gives
1.736×10^-4 W (watts)

My household average power consumption is about "25kWH/day" according to my power bill, or
1042 W (watts)

So, to provide enough power for my house (on average) I'd need about
1.736×10^-4 W (watts) / 1042 W (watts) = 6.002×10^6

Since the original number was for 1 gram, I need about 6E6 grams or 6 tonnes of this stuff to run my house.

Alternately, a AA battery will generate a a little over 2AH at 1.5v and weighs about 25g so:
2AH * 1.5v = 3wH (yes, I know the voltage drops off, but this is a good ROM )
(3WH)/(25g)/(1.736×10^-4 W/g)=691H


 

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