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alanschu

The Science of Why We Don't Believe in Science

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I do. Do you?

 

It takes epic levels of dellusion to think that adding more and more to the scale will never cause it to tip, because you're always adding a tiny amount.

 

Wether or not humans have the capacity to affect our envirment on a large scale is not in question. It is certain. We can. We do.


* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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I do. Do you?

 

It takes epic levels of dellusion to think that adding more and more to the scale will never cause it to tip, because you're always adding a tiny amount.

 

Wether or not humans have the capacity to affect our envirment on a large scale is not in question. It is certain. We can. We do.

 

You don't seem aware that one of the most significant questions in climate science is the extent to which mechanisms _such as microflora and fauna_ compensate for disturbances in their environment.

 

I mentioned that I went to the National Oceanographic Centre a couple of weeks back. They were anthro' climate change fan boys. But this was the one thing which gave them pause for thought.

 

The point is that complex systems are difficult to test experimentally. Because you can't experimentally vary the conditions without abstracting out the complexity of the system, which is what you want to understand. Most of the time your best bet is to play silly buggers with statistics modelling.

 

I'm quite a fan of science. So I'd appreciate you not making such a collosal balls of defending it.

Edited by Walsingham

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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So your "defense" is that microfloura and fauna can conpensate for everything humans do? Yeah right.

 

Once we level a mountain and thus change the air currents, or once we re-direct a river, I see how the flora and fauna fixes that. Truly, it's like humans have never been there.

Why bother worrying about things like pollution and health - nature will fix everything for us!


* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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So your "defense" is that microfloura and fauna can conpensate for everything humans do? Yeah right.

 

Once we level a mountain and thus change the air currents, or once we re-direct a river, I see how the flora and fauna fixes that. Truly, it's like humans have never been there.

Why bother worrying about things like pollution and health - nature will fix everything for us!

Actually, Nature will fix everything just not for us. Meaning that us =  :skull: 

The issue here is whether we are expelling pollution at a faster rate than what nature can process and on the particular issue of the Greenhouse effect there is no verifiable evidence. So we can't actually confirm that it exist much less that it's caused by humans; sorry Al Gore.

 

But something has to be said about the human's ability to affect their environment, quite literally changing the landscape from a valley into a city. Our environment comes at the expense of the natural state of things which leaves nature with less resources with which defend itself against our presence.


I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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I get the feeling a lot of people see the issue of global warming as if a crazy old man had come knocking at their door saying there'd be a bomb going off on their road in 3 days. As it happens they had planned to possibly visit their friend that day anyway, but now they're determined to stay home because of the inconvenience, and that man was clearly a loon.

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There are none that are right, only strong of opinion. There are none that are wrong, only ignorant of facts

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The point is that all large complex systems have a tendency to revert to their 'natural' state.

 

To illustrate with a hypothetical example: We increase CO2 levels, organisms which live on CO2 proliferate and bring the level back down. It's what is called a feedback loop. Similar mechanisms are involved in freshwater/saltwater current interactions and levels of arctic ice.

 

This is very very simple graduate level science we're talking here. My point isn't to invalidate anthro climate change. My point is to invalidate the two dimensional oversimplification you are putting forward. It's just not scientific to even think about the problem in those terms.

Edited by Walsingham

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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You cannot invalidate a 2 dimensional oversimplification with another 2d oversimplification. Complex buffered systems are resistant to change, certainly, but the tendency is towards 'defaultism'- difficult to change, but equally difficult to change back- not some magic median. That is why you end up with 'Ice Ages' and warm periods, not Ice years/ Warm years, the 'default' position of the system shifts markedly for a period of thousands of years. 

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You cannot invalidate a 2 dimensional oversimplification with another 2d oversimplification. Complex buffered systems are resistant to change, certainly, but the tendency is towards 'defaultism'- difficult to change, but equally difficult to change back- not some magic median. That is why you end up with 'Ice Ages' and warm periods, not Ice years/ Warm years, the 'default' position of the system shifts markedly for a period of thousands of years. 

 

I concede the point and apologise for going a little far. You are quite correct to make your point. Although I would point out that I didn't mean buffers I meant feedbacks. Feedbacks can accelerate change, in the right direction. My point was the complexity of systems spread over considerable time and space. 'Rationalist' verbal arguments cut bugger all ice with me.

 

I mainly just wanted to patronise the **** out of him for patronising the **** out of our religious members.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Hmmm, please convince me that I'm wrong in assuming that there wasn't any sort of inference because it was done by a "clean power generator."

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I concede the point and apologise for going a little far. You are quite correct to make your point. Although I would point out that I didn't mean buffers I meant feedbacks. Feedbacks can accelerate change, in the right direction. My point was the complexity of systems spread over considerable time and space. 'Rationalist' verbal arguments cut bugger all ice with me.

 

My point was that I have spent months studying global warming and wrote a paper on it.

I'm not talking out of my ass here nad my research has led me to one clear conclusion.

 

 

 

 

I mainly just wanted to patronise the **** out of him for patronising the **** out of our religious members.

 

Wut?


* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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I finally found that article I wrote a little ways back.

Here's  the first part of it that deals with he issues of oppinion:

 

 

************************

 

If you are a fan of anime, you surely faced a lot of prejudice. People looking down on you, or considering you weird for watching it, since they consider it childish or stupid. Even friends and family. This can hurt and even more importantly, it can irritate and cause depression as one feels helpless in the face of such...atmosphere.  But from where does it come from?

The simplest answer would be misinformation/ignorance. But that is only one of the causes, and the second cause might be far more important. Both causes are interconnected, so we will start with the first one: misinformation.

Can you really blame people? Think a bit what exposure to information regarding the subject people have? The vast majority know nothing about anime other than what they occasionally see on TV commercials or glimpse a kid watching. This gives them as much of an insight into anime as watching "The Cat with the Hat" movie gives you insight into all movies. And I say "all" because anime is a very wide net to cast. It really is no different than saying "Hollywood movie". One doesn't say much with that. Which movie? What genre? What director? When was it made? And so on.. Two movies can be so utterly diverse that any general claims on the value of all movies is null and void. The same holds true for anime. There are numerous art styles - raging from realistically drawn people to total caricatures with “giganormeous” eyes (although styles like this are mostly used for comedic anime). Like in movies, there are plenty of different genres, some rather intrinsic to anime, and some the same as in the rest of the world.  And anime also changes with time within a genre; consider Hollywood action movies of the 80's and today. That is the same thing.

Imagine if an alien comes to Earth and asks to see a movie. And he happens to see whatever movie you consider to be horrible or made for kids. If he were to claim to you that movies are rubbish and earthlings are stupid for watching them, you'd go "hold on.  That's not right. You cannot judge all moves based on that."  And that’s exactly what a whole lot of people do when judging anime, wether they want to admit it or not.

Now, I said before that misinformation is a smaller problem. That's because human psyche and culture can make it useless. Even when faced with compeling evidence of contrary, people often won't change their oppinion. Scientific studies have even show the opposite to happen. The longer a belief/prejudice/viewpoint was held and the more important it was, the greater the chance was that the person would reject all evidence and be even further entrenched.

 

Here's the thing:  A human mind has associative memory. We form connections within our "brain space" between feelings, concepts, descriptors and pretty much everything else. Even actions.  Think of the brain as overgrown forest. Every time you take an action or make a decision, you're taking  a walk trough that forest down a path. Repeated actions and thoughts reinforce existing paths, almost literally like a well-threaded path in comparison to a overgrown, unused path. Hence our behavioral patterns and thought patterns are formed. And when you already have a nice paved road to take, with a destination (conclusion) you want to reach (cartoons are for kids), your brain is not likely to take another road.  And evne this comparison to a road in not accurate – in reality it would be more like a highway with many branching roads, eahc of these roads connecting to another preconception, concept or emotion. So you're effectively challenging an entire established network – a multitude of roads. Many of those side-road links have to be weakened or broken in the process.

A similar thing is with concepts. I said before that your average western man(or woman) has no experience of a mature animated movie. That's why such connection was never formed. But the opposite did. A  connection between animated movies and silly/childish. Because that's all they have been exposed too. You have to keep in mind that these connections have been reinforced for years and years, and they are not changed easily. Worse of all, these connections are partially subconscious. Even if you consciously acknowledge that anime can be mature and interesting, your subconscious is working actively against you. If you were to sit and try to watch an anime, you'd find that nagging little voice at the back of your head, telling you how silly it is, how you shouldn't be watching this. You'd be actively looking for anything silly, strange or childish. And due to the wonders of psychology, you are going to have a more negative experience, as such a mindset not only increases the chance that you will label something as „silly“ that you normally wouldn't, but also such issues appear bigger. This problem applies to all pre-conceptions, not just anime. They simply aren't easy to fight. And among those pre-concpetion is also one of what being mature and adult means and how adults should behave and what they should like.

Another problem is the visual one. Either people will have trouble taking any story seriously if the characters are animated at all (regardless of how well or how realistically drawn) or, best-case-scenario, they will be put off by only some art styles. This is because the sense of strangeness. Humans have a tendency to react with hostility towards unfamiliar or strange things, and they aren't accustomed to looking at animated moves the same way as regular movies.

For both of these issues there is only one cure I know - awareness & exposure. One must be aware of these pre-conceptions and one must power trough the initial negative reaction. One must give the brain time and opportunity to form those new connections and to become familiar with the art and cultural conventions. This doesn't mean one will get to love all anime art (I don't. There's styles I really don't like, but I can watch). What it does mean it should ease ones mind enough to enjoy at least some.


* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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Hmmm, please convince me that I'm wrong in assuming that there wasn't any sort of inference because it was done by a "clean power generator."

 

I don't understand what you're asking. Of course the point was that it was done by the "clean power generator" as are uncountable numbers of bird deaths if that's what you mean by inference.


"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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The only ones I'm aware of are due to oil spills. Mind you those are accidents, not part of normal operations.


"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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The only ones I'm aware of are due to oil spills. Mind you those are accidents, not part of normal operations.

 

Part of me has to ask "If it causes more damage than the windmills, do we care if it's an accident?"

 

(Note the word "if" as I don't actually know the numbers).

 

 

There is also situations such as when wildlife enters tailing ponds of oilsands extractions (as an Albertan, this topic comes up a fair bit):

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/story/2010/10/26/edmonton-more-ducks-tailings-pond.html

 

This article refers to 230 dead ducks, although it does reference an incident that happened in 2008 where 1600 ducks were killed by landing in a tailing pond, although in both cases you could rule it as an "accident" as well.

 

 

I did a google for "birds killed at power plant" and ended up at the Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_wind_power#Ecology

 

 

 

A study by Benjamin K. Sovacool, Energy Governance Program, Centre on Asia and Globalisation, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, in 2008 suggests that if it were possible to replace all fossil fuel generation world-wide with wind turbines, almost 14 million fewer avian mortalities would occur annually due to human causes. This study did a broad assessment of anthropogenic causes of avian mortality and brought together many studies on deaths due to wind energy, fossil fuel energy and nuclear energy. It found that Wind farms and nuclear power stations are responsible each for between 0.3 and 0.4 fatalities per gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity while fossil-fueled power stations are responsible for about 5.2 fatalities per GWh. While the study did not assess bat mortality due to various forms of energy, it is not unreasonable to assume a similar ratio of mortality.

 

Whether or not "per Gigawatt Hour" is the best form of measurement is something I can't really agree nor disagree with.  I could see having more wind power generators altering this number, but it could just as easily be an improvement as a decrease for me as I'm just guessing.

 

 

A paper was written in 2009, here, that appears to conclude that wind power generators are safer for birds than fossil fuel power generators, although states that additional research is required.  This was the source for the Wikipedia articles numbers.

Edited by alanschu

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The only ones I'm aware of are due to oil spills. Mind you those are accidents, not part of normal operations.

Gas Fracking


I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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Wut? No one commented on my wall of text?

 

I am dissapoint.


* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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I concede the point and apologise for going a little far. You are quite correct to make your point. Although I would point out that I didn't mean buffers I meant feedbacks. Feedbacks can accelerate change, in the right direction. My point was the complexity of systems spread over considerable time and space. 'Rationalist' verbal arguments cut bugger all ice with me.

 

My point was that I have spent months studying global warming and wrote a paper on it.

I'm not talking out of my ass here nad my research has led me to one clear conclusion.

 

 

 

 

I mainly just wanted to patronise the **** out of him for patronising the **** out of our religious members.

 

Wut?

 

 

Well, then I can see why you'd feel you were on solid ground. But I'd suggest your tutor buck up a bit if they didn't explain anything about feedback and/or complex systems. You may poke them with a blunt object from me.

 

Since the original point seems to have fallen away, I recapitulate: don't wave a flag for scientific rationality as if it's all very straightforward.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Wut? No one commented on my wall of text?

 

I am dissapoint.

You lost me at anime

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I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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The only ones I'm aware of are due to oil spills. Mind you those are accidents, not part of normal operations.

 

Part of me has to ask "If it causes more damage than the windmills, do we care if it's an accident?"

 

(Note the word "if" as I don't actually know the numbers).

 

 

There is also situations such as when wildlife enters tailing ponds of oilsands extractions (as an Albertan, this topic comes up a fair bit):

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/story/2010/10/26/edmonton-more-ducks-tailings-pond.html

 

This article refers to 230 dead ducks, although it does reference an incident that happened in 2008 where 1600 ducks were killed by landing in a tailing pond, although in both cases you could rule it as an "accident" as well.

 

 

I did a google for "birds killed at power plant" and ended up at the Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_wind_power#Ecology

 

 

 

A study by Benjamin K. Sovacool, Energy Governance Program, Centre on Asia and Globalisation, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, in 2008 suggests that if it were possible to replace all fossil fuel generation world-wide with wind turbines, almost 14 million fewer avian mortalities would occur annually due to human causes. This study did a broad assessment of anthropogenic causes of avian mortality and brought together many studies on deaths due to wind energy, fossil fuel energy and nuclear energy. It found that Wind farms and nuclear power stations are responsible each for between 0.3 and 0.4 fatalities per gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity while fossil-fueled power stations are responsible for about 5.2 fatalities per GWh. While the study did not assess bat mortality due to various forms of energy, it is not unreasonable to assume a similar ratio of mortality.

 

Whether or not "per Gigawatt Hour" is the best form of measurement is something I can't really agree nor disagree with.  I could see having more wind power generators altering this number, but it could just as easily be an improvement as a decrease for me as I'm just guessing.

 

 

A paper was written in 2009, here, that appears to conclude that wind power generators are safer for birds than fossil fuel power generators, although states that additional research is required.  This was the source for the Wikipedia articles numbers.

 

Ok, the study you linked (published in 2009) estimates in 2006 7000 birds were killed by wind turbines in the US, while the same Wikipedia article states that a US government estimate in 2009 was 400,000 birds killed by wind turbines annually. Not saying either one is correct, but it's quite a difference. Of course we're supposed to unquestionably accept any study because it's "science".


"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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Ok, the study you linked (published in 2009) estimates in 2006 7000 birds were killed by wind turbines in the US, while the same Wikipedia article states that a US government estimate in 2009 was 400,000 birds killed by wind turbines annually. Not saying either one is correct, but it's quite a difference.

 

Did you pay for the article? (I didn't) The abstract for the article only states an estimate of 20,000 for 2009, not 2006.

 

 

As for the large difference, in the same paragraph you got the 400,000 (it was actually 440,000) from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, with the US Fish and Wildlife Service itself "pointing out that it was only an 'estimate' by one of many scientists and was not officially supported by the agency."  So the US Fish and Wildlife Service straight up stated that the agency itself doesn't support that number.

 

That said, the numbers are estimates.  I'm not taking them as gospel.

 

 

 

 

Of course we're supposed to unquestionably accept any study because it's "science".

 

No one here said such a thing.  I will certainly grant it more credence, however, than a poster with an agenda on an internet message board that makes a loaded post with an implication to the seriousness of the environmental impact wind generators have on bird populations simply by posting that, in fact, a bird was killed by a wind generator (all the while downplaying things like oilspills because they are accidents, not a part of normal operation).

 

That said, there appears to be a large discrepancy between the numbers.  Fair enough, perhaps they aren't accurate.  Do you feel that wind power generators have a more significant impact on the environment than coal and oil power generators?  How about their respective influences on the mortality rates of birds and other wildlife?  You are certainly skeptical that the numbers mean anything, so what do you think reality is?

Edited by alanschu

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I should like to caveat my earlier comment by saying that I'm extremely fond of the 18th century precisely because they thought science was simple.

 

It was, like "Send out two ships! One shall have salt lemons! The other shall have salt mice! We'll soon crack this scurvy nonsense! Bwahahah!"


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Ok, the study you linked (published in 2009) estimates in 2006 7000 birds were killed by wind turbines in the US, while the same Wikipedia article states that a US government estimate in 2009 was 400,000 birds killed by wind turbines annually. Not saying either one is correct, but it's quite a difference.

 

Did you pay for the article? (I didn't) The abstract for the article only states an estimate of 20,000 for 2009, not 2006.

 

No, I didn't pay. 7000 in 2006 is what it says in the abstract, unless we're somehow looking at different articles. Edit: sorry, I followed the link from the Wikipedia article, I see you actually linked to the update with the 2009 number.

 

As for the large difference, in the same paragraph you got the 400,000 (it was actually 440,000) from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, with the US Fish and Wildlife Service itself "pointing out that it was only an 'estimate' by one of many scientists and was not officially supported by the agency."  So the US Fish and Wildlife Service straight up stated that the agency itself doesn't support that number.

 

That said, the numbers are estimates.  I'm not taking them as gospel.

 

 

 

 

Of course we're supposed to unquestionably accept any study because it's "science".

 

No one here said such a thing.  I will certainly grant it more credence, however, than a poster with an agenda on an internet message board that makes a loaded post with an implication to the seriousness of the environmental impact wind generators have on bird populations simply by posting that, in fact, a bird was killed by a wind generator (all the while downplaying things like oilspills because they are accidents, not a part of normal operation).

 

That's a lot to surmise from my simply posting an ironic news story.

 

That said, there appears to be a large discrepancy between the numbers.  Fair enough, perhaps they aren't accurate.  Do you feel that wind power generators have a more significant impact on the environment than coal and oil power generators?  How about their respective influences on the mortality rates of birds and other wildlife?  You are certainly skeptical that the numbers mean anything, so what do you think reality is?

Don't know enough to answer that question, not sure anyone does. It does however bring up the point that when claiming an energy source is "clean", especially with low intensity sources, one has to consider the energy cost and environmental impact of construction, maintenance and decommissioning of that energy source, and not just view it as perfect source of clean energy. For example, a study was done that building an electric car takes so much extra energy that the only way energy is saved if that car is driven for many years at long distances, which few are because of their limited range. Also corn ethanol, although considered "renewable", actually takes about as much energy to produce as it provides. In general, if something costs a lot more, it's because it consumes a lot more resources, thus the desirability to have the market determine which energy sources win out, as those are likely to be the most efficient. Edited by Wrath of Dagon

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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I should like to caveat my earlier comment by saying that I'm extremely fond of the 18th century precisely because they thought science was simple.

 

It was, like "Send out two ships! One shall have salt lemons! The other shall have salt mice! We'll soon crack this scurvy nonsense! Bwahahah!"

 

Yes, but being fond of the past doesn't mean wanting to actually live in it*, let alone restrict yourself to the intellectual prejudices and, to be frank, idiocies, of it.

 

* I've tried. The plumbing is appalling.


This particularly rapid, unintelligible patter isn't generally heard, and if it is, it doesn't matter.

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