Category Archives: Answers to your questions

Based on real questions from the viewers and readers not only here but all over the places I write. Some of these were also answered elsewhere, but especially YouTube doesn’t give enough space for a decent answer to most good questions.

Please don’t ask me private questions unless it is on something really private, as otherwise I will probably not answer unless I’m allowed to share it wider. That doesn’t apply to people I know in real life or to people seeking spiritual guidance.

Why should I never visit Poland?

 

Topinambur – grown in Poland, or: “the new Jerusalem artichoke”.

If someone doesn’t like tasty food and pretty women, easy-going, polite and positive people with a good sense of humour plus great sights of various kinds, from the historical to the futuristic, from the urban to the most rural landscapes, and if someone likes to overpay for their purchases, then such a person ought not to visit Poland.

If someone likes to criticise a nation for being proud about its history and independent-minded, if someone wants to mock someone else’s religion, or behave in an anti-social manner while mouthing off about how rude the locals are for not having identical habits and manners as in their country of origin, well I think such a person won’t enjoy Poland much either. And Poland certainly won’t enjoy them.
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What do you think originally attracted Prince Charles to Camilla Parker-Bowles?

It’s a “good question”, as these days of course she is rather advanced in years and not exactly pin-up material.  If indeed she ever was. Which is putting it in a rather ungallant way.

“You can wear my poppy, because you’ve got your hand blocking mine and I want them to see we’ve got two poppies.” (PD, courtesy of author Ibagli).

Blue blood and red doth not the royal purple make

If we are talking about a younger version of herself, presumably she looked better. Again, it’s hard to believe she was in the top 1% of available women, when surely that is what a Prince would be able to attract. And we all know the difference between what a man with high position and wealth can attract and what the same man in a low-status job or poverty can attract. Camilla herself was not, of course, exactly rolling around in the squalor of poverty either. And having a double-barreled name makes every pound in your pocket worth thirty shillings. Any financial advisor worth his certificate will tell you that – for thirty shillings.

The good ol-factory gate…

Why pick her? I can only assume they got on well as friends and he felt understood by her, appreciated by her. I assume also that the chemistry between them was good. People are more attracted to others by their scent, which talks to the subconscious mind about what class of auto-immune system the person has, than by a lot of other things. Experiments have been done involving girls and used men’s shirts that came to this conclusion. However, as far as I am aware they never made it to replace the usual “blind date” format on the telly.

We are initially attracted by eyes but once we get close it is the smell which causes the stronger attachment. Presumably he liked her body’s scent intensely. He was even famously intercepted saying he wished to be her tampon. This is very visceral attraction. Beyond the romantic, but very essential. It tells us that he craved a level of intimacy with her which can only be craved when people are ideally matched at a chemical level.

Charlie and the shock olfactory

And although he was afterwards married to a woman who most people regarded as more the 1% of attractive that he should have (not my type but that’s all for the better. We all need to have a slightly different type) he never stopped loving her and moved heaven and earth to get her back again. It was a mistake and one could say even an abuse of his human rights, in fact, that he was not permitted to marry her in the first place.
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Shouldn’t Poland be taking in more African refugees? Poland is a large EU country with a booming economy.

Hi there.  (Credit Al Jazeera)

Original Posting Date: 24/06/2018
Question as answered Shouldn’t Poland be taking in more African refugees? Poland is a large EU country with a booming economy.

Views at the time added to HTV: 3,000
Upvotes at the time added to HTV: 78
Comments at time added: 1
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This question was asked at the time of the first Migration crisis where indeed there was quite a sizeable focus on North Africans coming into Europe in 2014. Germany at the time invited them in and then expected other countries to take co-responsibility for this rash action, especially blaming Poland, like they had anything, anything whatsoever, to lecture Poland about other than how to make a nice Vollfettquark, or a decent Leberwurst. Oh, and literature. But less of that.

These days we have a more topical migrant crisis but I haven’t really needed to update the text below to take account of the change in times, but something to bear in mind when reading this is that the main issue now is it is no longer Germany wanting to take them, they have closed the doors to the migrants coming via Belarus and are not encouraging them from anywhere else either, and I have not heard Olaf-faminit Schultz, the new socialist chancellor for a month or so now, change back from Merkel’s hardened position, although it is early days yet and I don’t put anything past German Socialists.

The main issue now is that these migrants are very clearly being weaponised by Russia and Belarus, in a context of military pressure around the Ukrainian border. I do get why Putin feels he should push on the east of Ukraine, why he and Lukashenko are having a good laugh really exposing the hypocrisy of western Europe this way, but I cannot condone the weaponising of people. Moreover, each of these people apparently paid good money to Belarus for transit and the simple pocketing of the money seems very cynical. On top of which Belarus forces have gone too far in assisting breaches of the border and clearly this is not acceptable. I can only commend the Polish side for a very measured reaction. Clearly both sides have at their disposal ordinance which would allow a very rapid and harmful escalation of hostilities. It is therefore a good thing if this mess can be put right by the President of Belarus.  He’s going to have to step up and bear the costs of this one, unless Putin is bailing him out.

Anyway, here is the article exonerating Poland from any moral need to take in non-European refugees. Poland has actually taken a reasonable (by comparison to similarly engaged countries) share of  Afghans whom they knew and worked with during Western occupation of Afghanistan. I am not dealing with that issue here, it is in my opinion a separate and very complex issue, but suffice it to say hardly anyone appearing on the Belarus -Polish border is from Afghanistan, despite early media reports that this was the case.

Last time I looked, Poland wasn’t the ‘First Safe Country’ with regard to any African country. Nor any Middle Eastern one. It is, however, ‘First Safe Country’ for Ukraine, so in accordance with the relevant international treaty that is actually signed up to by our nations, namely the Dublin Accord, (as opposed to making new laws up as you go along, which is what some leaders in the EU, notably Merkel, have been doing) it accepts refugees from that country, and has done so far in excess of its duty, with about a million Ukrainians having benefited from an open door to Poland. And this in spite of Ukrainians having been responsible for some of the worst massacres against Poles in living memory. They are not exactly natural allies.

As far as economic migrants are concerned there is no point in accepting these from Africa in a big lump but for sure there might be some who have skills we need, and indeed you do see Africans around, and I have been to a fine Nigerian doctor here in Warsaw, probably some of the people from Poland reading this post know who I mean and people like this man will always have an open door to Poland.
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Cheryl from Manitoba asks about the GoldList Method

Original YT playout date: 28 February 2009
Duration: 1:14:13

Cheryl from Manitoba in Canada gives 5 great questions about the Gold List method which will certainly help people who are using the method and still have uncertainties about its application.

Some of these ideas are of course superseded and the best thing that you can do is look at the GoldList Method section in the navigation at the top of this site, and soon anyway the Guidebook is coming out.
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Twenty Lots of Twenty Rules for the 2020s – 1. Behaviour at Buffet style events

First produced by me as an answer to a Quora question, this became relatively popular over there, so I thought I would bring it home here and share it with you. It is a few unwritten rules (now written) for how you can avoid comment or offence of general faux pas in these eating situations known as buffets, and they include rules that apply in varying contexts, including conference or party buffets where people know each other or who are supposed to be getting to know each other, as well as restaurants having buffets like the “Swedish table” at breakfast where you are not expected to be using the food as an adjunct to another social purpose. Some are in public places, others inside comanies or even people’s houses. Some of these buffets are culinary occasions intended to enable the tasting of different types of food and some are mere convenience, with containers piled with cheaply made and poor-quality food. Some of these rules don’t apply therefore to every occasion, whereas some probably would. Unless you know that a rule wouldn’t apply, assume it would.

  1. If there’s a queue, don’t jump it.
  2. Once you have charged your plate with a reasonable amount of food, move away from the area in order not to cause congestion.
  3. If there are platters for vegans, or food allergy people, only take from them if you are in that group, unless it is close to the end and you’re sure they won’t need them. It’s a dirty trick by greedy pigs to analyse what some other people can’t eat in the company and come to that last, but go first to the only stuff those people can eat. Don’t be like that.

    Don’t just hog all the best things

  4. Don’t hog all the best things because you were lucky enough to be near the front of the queue.
  5. Don’t pile your plate high.
  6. Don’t take more than you can eat. I know you cannot send the food from this buffet to the starving children, but that is not a reason to be wasteful.
  7. Take the cutlery and handle it appropriately. If you are not sure you can handle the food in mod air without dropping it on the floor, take it to one of those tables (in mixer situations). Then ask the people who are already round that table if you can join them.
  8. Don’t handle the food with your fingers, and if you have taken something, don’t put it back. Don’t maul the collective food even with the tongs. If you have to cut cheese, know how to cut it in a civilised way, with a “nez” and not straight on like some kind of philistine. If you are no good at cutting bread, don’t do it. If you do want to cut bread, handle the loaf via the cloth. try and show a certain culture in a discrete way, because people may be observing you even without especially meaning to.
  9. Likewise don’t sneeze, cough, fart, spit, or leave your dirty plates and cups around the food. Leave the dirty plates, glasses and cutlery in the place provided or give them to the waiter. Especially don’t leave glasses in places where someone could accidentally break them and cut themselves.
  10. If the idea of the buffet is a social event then bear that in mind and use it as a means to the end of getting to know people and don’t live for food like some modern Epicurian.
  11. If you have a buffet arrangement as part of a job interview then bear in mind you are still on parade during this time and someone is likely watching your savoir-vivre and true character which tends to come out when the trough opens before certain people’s snouts.
  12. Use the cloakroom especially if it is a standing buffet. Don’t have people tripping over your briefcase, and don’t knock someone’s plate or glass out of their hand with your stupid backpack. Don’t come inappropriately dressed if there was a dress code stated on the invitation, and don’t wear outdoor clothing to an indoor event.
  13. If you are the host, or an employee of the hosting company or organisation, you must stand back and give the best of it to the guests.
  14. Don’t juggle with too many containers or items of cutlery, and don’t take risks with other people’s carpets.
  15. If it’s a restaurant don’t take the food out unless it was all paid for by the event organisers and would just go to waste, in which case you should indeed take some to go but always check with the manager. If it’s an in house do make sure any decent left overs are saved for those colleagues who couldn’t attend the event.
  16. Don’t gatecrash if you are not supposed to be there or try to weedle other unexpected guests in at the last minute. Likewise if you are expected but know you cannot attend, try to give the organisers some notice, the more the better.
  17. Be polite to the wait staff and the cloakroom attendant, including being aware of and adhering to the tip culture of the place you are.
  18. Don’t hog one person if it is a networking buffet, cramping their style, but circulate. Work the room, and develop some elegant ways of rounding off conversations. If you tell someone you have to go home and they see you chatting away to someone else ten minutes later, you can well imagine what conclusion they will come to and what they will think. Better is to say “I promised such and such to catch up with him this evening, please excuse me”.
  19. Don’t forget you business cards for social buffets and don’t forget the follow-up in mail or phone afterwards. Don’t worry if you don’t meet everyone. I usually leave when I have ten cards even if I could get more. Good follow up on ten cards is better than thirty cards with poor follow up.
    and finally…
  20. Have some regard for your health. If you are on a diet, the abundance of quality free food is not reason enough to abandon it. I like to walk home afterwards, weather and safety permitting.

Some Q&A about Aquatics (Quora #4)

A couple of Saturdays ago I started a series which was intended to reproduce my inputs on Quora over here on this blog, as a repurposing and collating of them as well as a way of making sure I don’t lose my own content. Once again I recently had a warning from Quora just for letting another Englishman know thatt in saying no Englishman likes Donald Trump he took rather too much on himself as there are those of us who do. This was enough to have a second warning from Quora and so now I need to accelerate the copying over of my own work from that site in case I lose all those hours of work and creativity. Where there is moderation, there is limited trust.

At first I did one article per post, but there are quite a lot of briefer answers and it makes little sense to copy these over in that format, so now I have in mind to produce more answers in a single post, based around onne theme, and I have been preparing lists that analyse these articles into common themes. Last time in #3 we took a few articles I had written about Betta splendens, the Siamese fighting fish. These answers gave rise to more questions for me to answer (Quora has A2A, or Ask to Answer where people get invited to answer, either because the person asking knows them or they are suggested by the software. Alternatively you can jump in and give an answer on whatever appears on your screen. If you have opted to receive emails, you get a feed from Quora or items that may interest you) and these questions started to be about fishkeeping or aquatics in more general terms, and even (to be looked at later on) about ichthyology. Inevitably I also started to receive questions about sport fishing and I have zero time for that. I am ready to talk about fishery as part of the food industry, but not about angling, fly fishing or any of these sadistic pseudosports.

Please remember that my answers vary a lot from facetious to informative usually depending on my mood, the time available and what I think about the question. Be prepared for a rather broad range of approaches to questions. Quora goes from highly intellectual Q&A to the dumbest things a human being can write or read. I try to vary my own tone to match the quality of the question.

If you want to discuss or ask anything else around these themes, please get a discussion going in the comments. It’s what the comment facility is there for. I hope it is not onerous to log on and make some kind of utterance.

My own Heros severus.

As mentioned in the title, the theme for today is aquatics, and these answers were given by me all in 2015-2016.

1. Can you overfeed fish? How do you avoid doing so?

You can always add more food but it is harder to take it out. Give enough for everything to be eaten in a few minutes and feed morning and evening. You can leave raw carrot pieces or washed lettuce leaves – not much – or the skins of fresh cucumbers in there for them to eat more gradually.

Feeding too much will cause a nitrate hike, it has a demand on oxygen and will generally poison the fish as well as cause bacterial blooms and too much growth of algae.

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Some Q&A about Betta splendens or Siamese fighting fishes (Quora #3)

A couple of Saturdays ago I started a series which was intended to reproduce my inputs on Quora over here on this blog, as a repurposing and collating of them as well as a way of making sure I don’t lose my own content.

As explained last time to group answers around themes and I have a little sheet where I am preparing them for these Group posts, based on the format I’ll be doing today.

Please remember that my answers vary a lot from facetious to informative usually depending on my mood, the time available and what I think about the question. Be prepared for a rather broad range of approaches to questions.

Male Crowntail Betta by Wikipedia User Anandrajkumar

If you want to discuss or ask anything else around these themes, please get a discussion going in the comments. It’s what the comment facility is there for. I hope it is not onerous to log on and make some kind of utterance.

As mentioned in the title, the theme for today is Betta splendens, and these answers were given by me all in late 2015 or the first half of 2016.  It seems very random that I emerged as an expert on this species in Quora as I haven’t had an awful lot of them myself but I do know a thing or two about them.

1. What’s a good way to keep the temperature constant in a small fish bowl for a Betta?

Personally I would not keep him in a bowl at all. Just because an aquarium fish is hardy and will accept unnatural temperatures without dying and can breath air so that it is not affected by poor oxygenation it does not mean that the quality of life of a fish will be pleasant in a bowl.

A person needs to deserve to be looking after animals, you know, and the basis of that deserving is giving the animal a pleasant life. I would give a Betta a heater/stat and filter, gravel and plants and decent lighting and regular water changes and good food just like any other aquarium fish.

The specifics for Betta males is you can’t keep two of them together and you should avoid keeping them with fish that are likely to nip their lovely flowing fins. But you can keep them with small catfishes like Corydoras or Ancistrus no problem. I think it is nicer for them to have that kind of tank mate than be stuck on their own.

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Some Q&A about culinary matters (Quora #2)

A couple of Saturdays ago I started a series which was intended to reproduce my inputs on Quora over here on this blog, as a repurposing and collating of them as well as a way of making sure I don’t lose my own content.

Having given more thought to the way of doing this, I have decided to do these Quora Q&As on Saturdays but to change the approach slightly, namely instead of having one answer per post to only have one answer if it is a nice big essay but often (as in the case of the first one) it is too short to deserve being a whole week’s portion. Not only will these posts look funny but also they won’t be very useful and I’ll never get through the whole corpus of my answers on Quora.

So I decided to group answers around themes and I have a little sheet where I am preparing them for these Group posts, based on the format I’ll be doing today.

Cymothoa exigua – the fish louse mentioned below – in action.

Please remember that my answers vary a lot from facetious to informative usually depending on my mood, the time available and what I think about the question. Be prepared for a rather broad range of approaches to questions.

If you want to discuss or ask anything else around these themes, please get a discussion going in the comments. It’s what the comment facility is there for. I hope it is not onerous to log on and make some kind of utterance.

As mentioned in the title, the theme for today is Culinary, and these answers were given by me all in late 2015 or the first half of 2016.  I’ve got three Q&As for you today in this topic.

1. Why are people okay with consuming raw fish or rare steak when it may contain parasites?

Well, it’s not a good idea eating raw river fish and you won’t actually find that much by way of river fish in sushi bars.
With two exception, the Candiru and other people themselves, all parasites on man are invertebrates. They don’t have kidneys, they cannot osmoregulate. The ability to do this happened in the notional common ancestor between us and lampreys and anything “higher” than that has kidneys, anything “lower” doesn’t.

So those invertebrates that live in the sea want a salinity for their plasma of nearer 27 ppm while those from freshwater want lower than 9 ppm, which is what vertebrate plasma has.

So fish lice and other parasites in marine fishes can’t survive the change form a marine to a non-marine environment. You don’t have to worry about them breeding in you. There is one illness from one louse but extremely rare and limited to a few species. But these days marine fish have other risks, namely contamination from plastics and metals that they have absorbed from the sea.

That’s now a bigger worry than parasites by far if we’re talking about marine fish, and brings us back to the urgent and much larger issue of how we can reduce new marine pollution with plastics and heavy metals as well as clean up what is already floating around out there.

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“I asked my boyfriend to fight for me, and he refused. Does that mean he doesn’t really care that much about me? Was he being a coward, or am I judging him too harshly?” (Quora #1)

Original here.

Answered on: Tuesday, August 11, 2015
My Answer: He doesn’t deserve you, that’s for sure.

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Re Isaiah 7 v 14

Original playout date: 21 June 2007
Duration: 14:55

This is another video response from the time when such a facility to answer a video with another was possible. I am using Hypercam in what I see is a fairly seamless way to produce a counterargument.
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Gold List Method for Scripture Memorisation

Man shall not live by bread alone…

Greetings gentle readers after a long lapse in posting.

I was recently contacted in e-mail by a Christian polyglot some of my readers will know personally from Gatherings, Brother Fiel Sahir, who wrote:

Hi David! I did some googling but maybe I messed up and I haven’t found where you’ve discussed this, but have you further developed the GLM for scripture memorization?  I know for a fact that you were goldlisting sentences when I met you, but what I recall was you used those sentences to help you remember a focus word rather than the sentence itself.  Just something interesting, because a friend of mine has encouraged me to begin memorizing scripture. A spiritual discipline that is definitely underated and under practiced in my opinion, first and foremost by myself.  Anyways, I look forward to your response, but a blogpost would be more beneficial to the world, so I await that as well!  Thanks David. I hope to see you around soon!

In response to this, I wrote the following:

Dear Br. Fiel,

Anything which is to be learned to the Long Term Memory can best be learned using GLM. My suggestion would be to select a passage which you would like to be able to repeat verbatim, at any time later in you life, and place it into the headlist with let us say no more than five words per line.

 

  1. The Lord is my shepherd
  2. I shall not want. He
  3. Maketh me to lie down in
  4. Green pastures, he leadeth me
  5. Beside the quiet waters. He
  6. Restoreth my soul…

Etc.

When you have left this two weeks as with any other GoldList project, if it is a passage you already substantially knew, but are trying to get word perfect I would try to write it on D1 position as accurately as possible, but in pencil, covering the original over on the left side. Here you can write maybe seven words at a time. Then note any mistakes you made, in the little words, bits missed out altogether, punctuation, if that’s something you want to get right too, verse numbers (which I didn’t include in the example, but if you ant to be able to remember them, then pay attention to that) and highlight those errors with a red pen or highlighter. Your 25 lines will now anyway be 17 lines just by dint of writing 7 words instead of 5 at D1.

Obviously that’s not a strategy that can continue indefinitely, so at D2 you will take a slightly different approach. You will probably not try to write out the whole from memory at D2, but instead write out the parts where you had had a problem before. The bits where you had no problem, just write the first letter of each word. Write tightly, allowing as many words per line as is comfortable.

Remember you are leaving at least two weeks again between D1 and D2, and the same when you turn D2 to D3, but here you can simply leave out and not even write the first letter of words if you know that you remember confidently the whole sentence. In order to remember the flow of idea in a longer passage, consider writing the first and last words in each clause, and maybe with abbreviations.

  1. The Lord..want, he maketh..gpast,he leadeth beside tqw. Restoreth.

That may well be where you are by D3 or D4, with 6 lines now looking like a single line.

And you can carry on that way. So, please let me know how you get on. And since you asked for a blogpost, I will base one on your query and my answer. Can I use your name and text?

To which Fiel responded that I could. And thanks to his query and willingness to let me share, we have here something which I hope will encourage many of you to try a project of GLM for long term memorization of a holy text.

Even if you are not Bible believing, you can probably try it on the Qur’aan or on some poetry you want to rote learn for life. I recommend Scripture though. It is what David said needed to be “hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee”, and if this tool can help towards the hiding of Divine words in the heart, I don’t know what higher thing can be said of the GoldList Method.

 

Question about Slavonic verb aspect.

cropped-20130930_191133.jpg

I received the following question from a person who was not specific as to whether they knew me from YT or some other source:

Hi David,

I have a question. Seeing you are a native speaker of English and a Slavic languages expert, I reckon you can answer this better than most!

What, in a nutshell, is verbal aspect all about? I know the grammar book stuff about “completed actions”, etc. It doesn’t cut it for me! What I need are some solid English equivalents. For example, when a Russian says (using future perfective aspect) “I will visit the museum tomorrow”, would we say: “I will have visited the museum (by) tomorrow”? Or is it more a sense of: “I will DO A VISIT to the museum tomorrow”? (Or is it something else entirely?)

And as regards the past perfective, what’s the deal if you want to say: “Tsar So-and-so built this palace in 1820”? Should that be perfective or imperfective? Or is there a choice? If so, what’s the difference?

I really want to learn some Russian but this stuff is doing my head in! (Cases are one thing – at least there is a clear logic there!) Any simple low-down help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, J..

Verbal aspect is about whether the FOCUS of an utterance is concerned with whether the action of the verb is now over and done with or not, or, in the case where the verb describes a state like lying or standing, whether this state has changed or not.

If the answer is yes, then the perfective aspect is used, and in all other cases the imperfective aspect is used.  Read the rest of this entry

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