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Comments by Alan4discussion

Go to: Water-cooled nuclear power plants aren't the only option

Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 34 by Alan4discussion

Just a late note to add small reactors to this discussion:-

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/big-idea/08/mini-nukes-pg2

Mon, 22 Apr 2013 20:18:58 UTC | #951374

Go to: The Greatest Show On Earth - Flea

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Comment 79 by reasonable101

ehm... ... as is Dawkins in talking about geology ... but don't tell anyone...

Richard Dawkins is talking about geology with citations naming reputable university geological peer-reviewed studies. (Real scientists read each other's reputable works, and LEARN from them!)

Sarfati is making it up according to his biased Young Earth biblical literalism.

It is a necessary qualification for a believer in Young Earth Biblical Literalism to be scientifically ILLITERATE in geology, astronomy, radiometric physics, and evolutionary biology. - A feature well illustrated in their writings.

Too real scientists these YEC claims about evolution, are a show of comical incompetence in basic science - regardless of if some followers have managed to tick a few exam-boxes in limited areas of study.

Tue, 19 Mar 2013 13:51:38 UTC | #951357

Go to: The Greatest Hoax on Earth - a new flea

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Comment 68 by reasonable101

There is a lot that science hasn't uncovered about macro and microevolution,

Macro-evolution is micro-evolution looked at over geological time.

Only scientifically illiterate creationists think there is this false division in the continuity of evolution over time-scales.

so rather than slurring the critics, why not present the science?

Why not go to a library and learn some biology? The science has been presented in thousands of books there, for over a hundred and fifty years!

Mon, 18 Mar 2013 20:14:51 UTC | #951355

Go to: Rise of religion in Russia

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Comment 31 by fennia

Putin is of the old school communists and it took him awhile to digest the church totally in to the power structure he designed. But by now he has fully realized that nationalism and religion is the corner stones of cementing a dictatorship. The belt buckles in nazi germany read "gott mit uns" and hitler was no less a devout christian than Putin is.

Gott mit uns pre-dates Hitler (who was billed as the Catholic "New Luther" by his propagandists), but there are plenty of other blatantly NAZI-Xtian symbols, as illustrated here! - http://nobeliefs.com/mementoes.htm

Sun, 19 Aug 2012 22:31:18 UTC | #951059

Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

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Comment 66 by raytoman

What I find strange is that they can find a majority amongst the 99% (who are not actually rich) to vote in candidates who want to cut taxes for the 1% and screw everybody else.

It's called divide and rule with paid media stoking petty jealousy and squabbles so the elite can arbitrate in their own favour whilst posing as "honest" brokers - diverting money from public welfare and public projects to line their own pockets.

There are lessons from mythology which show these ideas of exploiting the gullible, are not new!

http://aesopsfables.wordpress.com/the-lion-the-bear-the-fox/ - Bierce takes the hint for the conduct of his ‘honest man’ from Samuel Croxall’s Fables of Aesop and others: translated into English with instructive applications (1722 and often reissued). The ‘application’ for the fable of “The Lion, the Bear and the Fox” reflects on the foolishness of applying to lawyers in disputes over property: ‘When people go to law about an uncertain title, and have spent their whole estates in the contest, nothing is more common than for some little pettifogging attorney to step in, and secure it to himself.’[7] Thomas Bewick indicates the same moral in his illustrated Select Fables of Aesop (1784). There the preface to Fable 20, titled “The Lion, the Tyger and the Fox”, warns that ‘The intemperate rage of clients gives the lawyer an opportunity of seizing the property in dispute’

Just as the story of the dogs who lost everything while fighting over a bone became proverbial in England, the Indian proverbial equivalent is expressed as ‘monkey’s justice’. The story there is of two cats who fight over a piece of bread, or butter or cheese, and go before a monkey to adjudicate their shares. He cuts it into two unequal halves and has to nibble first one then the other to get them equal until the cats beg him to stop; claiming it as his fee, the monkey gobbles the remainder and leaves them nothing.

A much earlier Indian variation on the story appears in the Buddhist scriptures as the Dabbhapuppha Jataka.[11]. Here a jackal offers to arbitrate between two otters who are quarrelling over the division of a fish they have co-operated in bringing to land. The jackal awards them the head and tail and runs off with the bulk of their catch. The moral drawn is a political one:

Just as when strife arises among men,
They seek an arbiter: he’s leader then,
Their wealth decays and the king’s coffers gain.

Do these fables ring true?

Fri, 17 Aug 2012 21:28:37 UTC | #950970

Go to: Does Religion = Superstition? G-D Forbid!

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Comment 27 by maxplastic1942

Philosophers like J Krishnamurti, whilst accepting the fact of physical evolution, deny that any psychological evolution has ever taken place, pointing out that we are just as tribal and caught in our own cultures and belief systems as were 20,000 years ago.

20,000 years is a relatively short period in evolutionary time scales.

He also made the point that if we examine ourselves honestly we will find that our so-called morality is actually no morality at all.

Personal reflection is not a good guide. Controlled experiments using scientific methods give much more reliable data.

Atheists may pin their hopes on technology eventually finding a way to cure the human condition, whilst religions hope for some kind of outside intervention from a hypothetical deity.

Cure for the human condition???? What is that??

Krishnamurti seemed to suggest that arguing about who is right is a meaningless intellectual exercise as the truth lies beyond mere verbal agreement and is to be found in the unbiased examination and understanding of our own nature as it really is,

That is why objective scientific research methods should be used. Arguing with people who have no idea what they are talking about does not help progress to accurate conclusions, although it may achieve political support for productive ideas if some of them are convinced. Peers reviewing science is quite a different matter.

if there is no psychological transformation of the individual, we are all doomed to a more or less meaningless life, (apart from the spurious meanings that we invent for ourselves) either until the sun gives out or we fall victims to our own inventions.

Life is meaningless apart from individual and group objectives we decide or invent for ourselves! Wider education in rational thinking and social empathy for others would be a psychological transformation for some, but no transformations are going to present "meanings" or "moralities" on a plate. Careful thinking and planning is required.

Fri, 17 Aug 2012 13:07:26 UTC | #950943

Go to: Suffering

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Comment 7 by Jo Summers

I had not heard of Tony Nicklinson's challenge to end his life; that this has failed is not unexpected.

He and his wife, explain in this video, that they will appeal. It is a disgrace that they should have to do so! If the Swiss politicians can make a reasonable attempt to sort out appropriate laws, there is no excuse for the UK crowd!

There was an earlier discussion on this topic here; - http://richarddawkins.net/discussions/638367-pro-suicide-propaganda

A man paralysed from the neck down has lost his High Court case to allow doctors to end his life without fear of prosecution.

Tony Nicklinson, 58, from Melksham, Wiltshire, communicates by blinking and has described his life as a "living nightmare" since a stroke in 2005.

Mr Nicklinson and his wife said they would be appealing against the decision. - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19279840

Fri, 17 Aug 2012 09:06:48 UTC | #950930

Go to: Suffering

Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Alan4discussion

There is supposed to be a decision today on Tony Nicklinson's Right-to-die case. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19249680

Tony Nicklinson, 58, from Melksham, Wiltshire, communicates by blinking and has described his life as a "living nightmare" since a stroke in 2005.

His High Court case goes further than past challenges to laws in England and Wales on assisted suicide and murder.

Any ruling is expected to be subject to an appeal.

Mr Nicklinson's team will also argue that his case is covered by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which deals with the right to respect for private and family life.

The judges will also publish a determination in the case of another paralysed man with locked-in syndrome, named only as Martin, who is 47.

Part of his case involves a challenge to the Director of Public Prosecution's policy on assisted suicide.

The link also gives details of other cases:

Right-to-die cases

Diane Pretty was terminally ill with motor neurone disease. She wanted the courts to give her husband immunity from prosecution if he was to help her die. In November 2001 the House of Lords refused her application.

Ms B was left a tetraplegic by a brain condition. She went to court because doctors refused to stop her artificial ventilation. The High Court ruled in 2002 that her request was valid and treatment was stopped.

Mrs Z, who had an incurable degenerative disease, wanted to go to Switzerland to die and Mr Z arranged it. An injunction to prevent the travel was granted to the local authority. The order was overturned in 2004.

MS sufferer Debbie Purdy challenged the lack of clarity on the law on assisted suicide. She wanted to understand how prosecutors would make a decision on whether or not to prosecute her husband if he was to assist her to get to Switzerland to be helped to die. Ms Purdy won her case and guidance was issued.

There are further links on the linked page, which give more details.

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 12:52:26 UTC | #950875

Go to: Does Religion = Superstition? G-D Forbid!

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Comment 4 by Jay G

What makes an "atheist Jew" a Jew? What element of Judaism is shared by all Jews that binds them together as Jews? Until the enlightenment, it was taken for granted that Torah and Mitzvos bound Jews together as one people. Once people start to give up the Torah way of life, what is it that keeps them within Judaism (I'm asking about definitions here)

To be honest, I do not know, but there have been people posting here who stated that was their position. Perhaps one on them will turn up and explain.

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 17:21:33 UTC | #950835

Go to: Good News Club sees 28 percent growth

Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Alan4discussion

I can see how those with childish minds and a simplistic worldview would have children identify with them.

Their need to convert others to prop up their weak intellect, is more likely to convince vulnerable children than educated adults!

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 15:26:22 UTC | #950827

Go to: Does Religion = Superstition? G-D Forbid!

Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Alan4discussion

Here's why I reject the alleged distinction between "Jewish culture" and "Jewish religion" as a false dichotomy: If you understand Jewish history (a.k.a. the history of the Jewish People / Nation of Israel, which is also part of the same big picture), you will see that we're talking not about a religion over here and a culture over there, but rather a religious culture.

Clearly you are right in regard to Orthodox Jewish groups or sects, where their religion and lifestyles are deeply intertwined, but there are atheist Jews who are simply culturally and socially Jewish. There is probably a range of positions in between. Christians also range from raving fundamentalists to token adherents.

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 15:20:35 UTC | #950825

Go to: Simply ... should I read the bible?

Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Alan4discussion

However, that then also opens up the argument that surely I should be familiar with ALL religious books etc, as it's not like Christianity is the only option (although admittedly, the discussions/debates/arguments/fist fights I have over the matter tend to always be with Christians).

I would suggest you read sections in small doses, along with some of the mythology of the Greek, Roman and Norse gods.

If you want a critical view, read some science and history on the same topics first.

For example study the formation of the solar system from an accretion disk, Hadean Earth etc and some palaeontology before reading Genesis!

There are reference books on history and archaeology from biblical times, but the bible is not one of them.

I look at the Bible from time to time, and if you have not looked at a section for a few years, the story lines seem to be a bigger heap of drivel each time, although some aspects of human nature and theistic thinking are well illustrated.

Also the reference to "The Bible" is misleading. Not only were the KJ version and RC versions selected from a multitude of earlier texts, but they were repeatedly translated, mistranslated and "interpreted", - as I commented in this earlier discussion. - http://richarddawkins.net/comments/896125

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 15:06:47 UTC | #950824

Go to: Tired of arguing

Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Alan4discussion

Trying to educate the know-it-all wilfully ignorant is a thankless task. Is is often better to move on to developing knowledge with those who want to exchange ideas and learn, leaving the obstructively perverse, to stew in their own ignorance.

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 10:05:29 UTC | #950813

Go to: Manila floods an expression of God's wrath?

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Comment 9 by DaisyD

I live in Manila and I have to admit I was fuming when, after all that trouble,

Clearly, the self-advertising know-it-all-brain-dead, have nothing useful to contribute to clearing up after the disaster, so they sit like whingeing children, claiming "god-did-it out of spite", because that's the operating level of thinking their tiny crippled minds work at!

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 10:00:39 UTC | #950812

Go to: Manila floods an expression of God's wrath?

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Comment 5 by scottishgeologist - Incidentally, Graham Dow was one of the speakers at the charismaniac "New Wine" conference in the north of England a few weeks ago.

"New Whine"? Are you sure of the spelling!

Tue, 14 Aug 2012 11:26:14 UTC | #950782

Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

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Comment 62 by nick keighley

It's no good saying they didn't know what use satellites were useful for in the 60s because Arthur C Clarke did know.

The first communications satellite went up in 1962

Indeed Arthur C. Clarke and his fellow pioneering members of the members of BIS have made many since fulfilled predictions on space technologies.

The science writer Arthur C. Clarke was a well-known former Chairman of the British Interplanetary Society. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Interplanetary_Society

In the late 1930s, the group devised a project of landing people on the moon by a multistage rocket, each stage of which would have many narrow solid-fuel rockets. Their lander was gumdrop-shaped but otherwise quite like the Lunar Module.

In 1978, the Society published a starship study called Project Daedalus, which was a detailed feasibility study for a simple unmanned interstellar flyby mission to Barnard's Star using present-day technology and a reasonable extrapolation of near-future capabilities. Daedalus was to have used a pellet driven nuclear-pulse fusion rocket to accelerate to 12 percent of the speed of light.

Project ICARUS is an updated version of Project Daedalus, suggesting work on an interplanetary/inter-stellar fusion-drive.

The latest in this series of far-reaching studies produced the Project Boreas report, which designed a manned station for the Martian North Pole. The report was short-listed for the 2007 Sir Arthur Clarke Awards in the category of Best Written Presentation.

BTW: I am a fellow of the British Interplanetary Society.

and what likely utility does a mars probe have.

A Mars probe is developing interplanetary exploration and working towards establishing manned and unmanned science bases on the Moon, Mars, and eventually elsewhere in the Solar System, with the utilisation of orbiting natural resources. Much of the work is at an early stage, as these are plans for long-term projects. Only decades ago, few people would have imagined the extent of present day space technologies and industries.

Sat, 11 Aug 2012 15:29:47 UTC | #950678

Go to: Against All Gods

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Comment 119 by Razorback0z

Welcome!

As I understand it Richard has a "mainstay" argument that God must be complex in order to have created complexity and that logically something simple would be unlikely to be able to create the complexity of nature.

I think the short simple answer, is that Mandelbrot was a lot more complicated than his formulii.

Sat, 11 Aug 2012 09:35:56 UTC | #950662

Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

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Comment 55 by DLB

$2.5 billion was spent on Curiosity; $15 billion on the Olympics. I'd say NASA's achievement and what we as a global community will learn is money well spent.

We used to get the same sort of grouching about satellite launches in the 1960s & 1970s. The sort of people who claimed then that "satellites were a waste of money and only for the amusement of scientists", are probably sending their more recent grouches via mobile phones or satellite links.

They are also probably utterly ignorant of the role of satellites in monitoring crops, co-ordinating relief efforts, and giving warnings of disasters, - while suggesting money for space research, "would be better spent on poverty relief" - but voting for politicians who promise them tax cuts.

Sat, 11 Aug 2012 09:24:16 UTC | #950661

Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

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Comment 49 by Ignorant Amos

I suppose you just nipped around the corner to Ma's house for that carpet-level-view photo!

Thu, 09 Aug 2012 13:10:35 UTC | #950549

Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 42 by Alan4discussion

Comment 40 by holysmokes

I see several comments on this discussion regarding who built what.

The issue should be credit where credit is due, rather one-up-manship.

However much of the scientific space work would not have been funded or done, if the showing off of impressive weapons delivery systems had not been on the political agenda. (BTW - It still is!)

Tue, 07 Aug 2012 17:27:28 UTC | #950503

Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

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Comment 26 by raytoman - Sending stuff to mars is just a way of pretending they are still in the space race. The Chinese will be launching their first manned mars mission from their own space station, when they have finished extending it.

Despite the on/off funding, NASA is still developing the Orion Spacecraft which will eventually provide for US manned exploration in the Solar System.

NASA's Orion program reached a major milestone on June 28, 2012, when the first space-bound Orion crew capsule arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center ...

NASA completed another successful test of the Orion crew vehicle's parachutes in preparation for the spacecraft’s orbital flight test in 2014.

  • http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/mpcv/index.html
  • Tue, 07 Aug 2012 14:59:56 UTC | #950499

    Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

    Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 38 by Alan4discussion

    Comment 35 by Rawhard Dickins

    Complete enforced sterilisation would be the only solution, and not one I would advocate although it would reduce suffering.

    The Chinese solved their exploding population problem, with their radical "One Child" law, and absolute intolerance of meddling religinuts. Drastic - but it can be done!

    The other key issue is that space technologies can be used to survey and manage natural resources.

    Tue, 07 Aug 2012 14:43:00 UTC | #950498

    Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

    Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 37 by Alan4discussion

    Comment 32 by hamwick

    The important question for me is ,will they find evidence of life on mars.The finding of bacteria living in arsenic here on earth is fascinating..but is its existence confirmed?

    The short answer is there are no confirmed examples of bacteria with arsenic incorporated in their DNA. Just sloppy science, media hype, and some resistant bacteria living in arsenic contaminated water.

    There was an earlier discussion on this here when it was first announced. - http://richarddawkins.net/articles/557410-update-nasa-funded-research-discovers-life-built-with-toxic-chemical

    Tue, 07 Aug 2012 14:35:25 UTC | #950497

    Go to: A Baltimore Catechism for the New Atheists

    Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by Alan4discussion

    Comment 10 by The Jersey Devil

    How does that prove or even begin to prove that the phenomena that created the universe is still in existence, can read our minds, wants us to worship it, favors any particular religion, is homophobic, is omnipotent and on and on?

    This is theist gapology 101.

    If science admits there are things it does not know, or admits there is a 0.000000000000000001% chance it could be wrong, this = "There that proves they admit my god exists" - and here are cross-references to hundreds of years of rambling "theofumbical" verbosity which we cite as "proof".

    They desperately want to believe their god exists (as an endorsement of their personal views) and will work at elaborate rationalised constructs to support this view in their minds denying, refusing to understand, or casting doubt on any objective evidence to the contrary.

    Their "evidence" is inevitably simply a denial of science, speculation on areas of uncertainty, or comparing the different "philosophical, hypothetical towers on their theistic "castles in the air" - which have no physical connections to the material universe or objective observations.

    In many cases they defend their fantasies, by denying the need for such connections by denigrating "materialism"!

    This is well illustrated in comments on the link responding to Quine or Susan.

    Tue, 07 Aug 2012 09:06:47 UTC | #950483

    Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

    Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by Alan4discussion

    Comment 25 by Steve Zara

    If there really was a great desire to get rid of starvation in the world it could easily be done by halving defence budgets and putting taxes on the rich back to what they were only decades ago. The amount of money tucked away overseas in tax havens is trillions of dollars.

    While this is true, I think we would also have to get rid of ignorant selfish corrupt governments and anti-science evangelists in those areas, before much progress could be made. A lot of aid programmes are like pouring water into buckets with holes in, or putting sticking plasters on bullet wounds.

    Tue, 07 Aug 2012 08:38:48 UTC | #950481

    Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

    Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by Alan4discussion

    Comment 26 by raytoman - The US had to work as part of a team to build "the" space station and relies on the Russians to visit it since they don't currently have a usable passenger vehicle.

    They also rely on European ATV systems for resupply, and on their contract with Space X for resupply and eventual astronaut transport. That (along with the various multinational modules and astronauts) is what makes the venture "International".

    This is SpaceX’s third category of NASA award, with the company also holding awards to carry cargo to the space station and to start to prepare the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to carry astronauts. - http://www.spacex.com/updates.php/

    DRAGON MAKES HISTORY - FIRST COMMERCIAL SPACECRAFT VISITS ISS - http://www.spacex.com/

    ..

    Comment 26 by raytoman - Sending stuff to mars is just a way of pretending they are still in the space race. The Chinese will be launching their first manned mars mission from their own space station, when they have finished extending it.

    The Chinese have a lot of catching up to do first. Their station is on a par with Skylab.

    Tue, 07 Aug 2012 08:32:39 UTC | #950480

    Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

    Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Alan4discussion

    Sorry ! I forgot to connect the link @20 in this system. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunokhod_1

    Mon, 06 Aug 2012 20:14:55 UTC | #950458

    Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

    Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Alan4discussion

    Comment 6 by Cook@Tahiti

    America has succeeded where Russia's recent Mars mission (Fobos-Grunt) failed. And Britain's Mars mission (Beagles II) failed. And most of Japan's recent missions have had major problems.

    After no Mars missions in the 1980s and a few failures in the 1990s, JPL-NASA have had flawless landings for Spirit & Opportunity, Phoenix and Curiosity. Good on 'em. They do it better than any other country.

    Where's China?

    While congratulating NASA on this latest achievement, perhaps we should not forget where the first use of extraterrestrial robot wheeled rovers started a very long time ago!

    Lunokhod 1 (Луноход, moon walker in Russian; Аппарат 8ЕЛ № 203, vehicle 8ЕЛ№203) was the first of two unmanned lunar rovers. It landed on the Moon in 1970! - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunokhod_1

    Mon, 06 Aug 2012 18:34:20 UTC | #950452

    Go to: Against All Gods

    Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 108 by Alan4discussion

    Comment 105 by Schrodinger's Cat

    A better question than simply 'why do human beings exist'.....as the answer is blatantly obviously evolution,

    Which comes back to the fundamental, "You can ask 'why?', but science will always tell you 'how'!".

    Sat, 04 Aug 2012 11:08:24 UTC | #950399

    Go to: Against All Gods

    Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 101 by Alan4discussion

    Comment 98 by JHJEFFERY

    "Why are we here?' and other such questions have always struck me as a bit daffy. In the second place, we are not really here in the way in which our evolutionarily trained senses tell us we are. We perceive so little of the universe that it might be said we are not really here in the sense indicated by the question.

    "Why are we here?", is the sort of question a faith-head asks, when ship-wrecked on a desert island. They conclude god (fate) put them there - which is probably true - having used "faith" as a navigation method, instead of astronomical calculations, or "faith/prayer" instead of technical maintenance of the ship or crew training.

    Fri, 03 Aug 2012 08:47:09 UTC | #950383