4 Questions

  1. Sometimes when I am writing with a ballpoint pen, the ink ceases coming out of the pen momentarily, leaving a small gap in my writing. (Usually just part of a stroke in a single letter.) Thereafter, my ballpoint will write perfectly normally anywhere else on the paper - but if I try to fill in the gap, the ink still will not come out. It’s like there’s something about that spot on the paper preventing the ink from coming out of the pen, but I can’t think of how that could work. Does anyone here share this experience? Any explanations?

  2. Is it true that rats can’t burp and so will die if they drink too much cola? Is the same also true of dogs?

  3. Was J Edgar Hoover really a confirmed cross-dresser or is that just a rumour?

  4. Is there something in communism as written by Marx and Engels which calls for a totalitarian ogilarchical type of government? My understanding is that Marx and Engels advocated public ownership of all property, but the fact thta every actual communist government has ended up implementing government ownership instead makes me wonder if I have simply been misinformed. So, in other words, is there something intrinsic to the philosophy of communism which calls for the kind of governments that have characterized communist nations? Or have they all simply been abbherations?


  1. The most likely explanation is that there is some type of coating that was deposited on the paper at that spot which prevents ink from being deposited or absorbed. The roller ball is pretty much skidding over it without rotating.

  2. Huh?

  3. The rumors have circulated for years but to date no one has offered up, say, a photo of Jaye Edgar in a frock. Personally I wouldn’t be at all surprised but it’s still technically a UL.

  4. Dunno.

Kris, you will stand a better chance of meaningful replies if you separate these questions and post each one separately.

  1. I notice that when writing with a ballpoint the ink ‘stops’ when I hold it at a certain angle. (I think it has something to do with the ink delivery) You sometimes get this angle while writing. Changing my grip or rotating the pen sometimes helps.

  2. The soviet government was democratic (well that’s what they claim anyway). It was a government by/for/of the people. A government owned factory was in effect owned by the public.

b.t.w. my interpretation of a ‘public company’ (as in public ownership) was that ‘the public’ could buy stocks, as opposed to a private or state owned company. What is the correct definition? (I don’t have an OED here)

This is the same man who was so violently anti-comunist that his driver was no allowed to make any left turns AT ALL… :slight_smile:

Anything is possible.


Rats can not burp, but won’t die from it either (there are other evacuation routes…). Dogs can burp, I know a beautiful Boxer who could grossly demonstrate!

  1. Is it true that rats can’t burp and so will die if they drink too much cola? Is the same also true of dogs?

Rats and mice have a strictly one-way flow into the stomach, so they can’t burp or vomit. It is possible for a rat to die from drinking to much carbonated water since the stomach can actually swell to such an extent that it prevents outflow. However it must be said that it would be the exception and not the rule for a rat to die from drinking Coke. Normally the only result would be tiny little rat farts. A similar situation is sometimes observed in ruminants where a blockage at one end or the other causes the rumen to swell preventing movement through to the other end. The situation is apparently possible in all animals, including humans, but is very, very rare and would require the animal to be lying motionless for quite a long period.

AFAIK, Marx and Engels confined most of their writing to a critique of capitalism and the possibility of revolution, and didn’t spend much time defining what communism would look like.

But from what I remember, Marx’s big gripe reduced to a nutshell was that capital was a way of stealing “value” (or labor value) from the worker. My guess is he wouldn’t have been any happier with a dictatorship owning “the means of production” and exploiting workers either.

Marx and Engels were rather theorists, which prevented them from collecting experience in actual ruling. When communism began to be established in some countries, one had to find schemes f politics that had not been there before. In doing this, communism had a similar problem Western-style democracy had to face: Western democracy claims to make every decisi according to the will of the people. But making this real is difficult, since you cannot do a plebiscite on every single issue. This has caused the development of representative democracy where not the people rules but politicians regularly chosen by the people; this handling has made governing a country possible, but it also caused a certain distinction between governing and governed, thus opposing to teh original idea of democracy. But noone ever has found a better alternative (not even the cyberdemocrats, who want everything be voted upon online).
Similar socialism: Public ownership of means of production sounds great in theory, but if you want to realize it, there is no other possibility than government ownership (or collectivism, like the colchoses in the USSR, which, however, were heaviliy under government control and thus de facto state property).

Yet communists developed another form of government than the Western-style parliamentary system: The system of councils. In every factory, the workers elect a representative to a town council, whom they can fire whenever they want to and who has to vote in the town council the way his electors want him to. The town council elects one of its members representative to a higher, say district, council, for which the same rules apply. This continues steadily, until the highest national council (thus “Soviet” union: soviet in Russian means “council”; the name of the parliament was Supreme Soviet). The councils should have absolute power, jurisdicial as well as executive and legislative.
Communists believed that this system, combined with public ownership of factories etc., would create a real democracy instead of the fake democracy à la USA where the voter had de facto no influence on politics (according to Commies, including Marx and Engels themselves). One has to emphasize that communism was initially a very democratic movement. The council system has, however, never been realized anywhere, except for some “republics” during the German 1918 revolution that only lasted a few weeks. It was, I think, not conceived by Marx and Engels, but by Lenin. During the revolutionary chaos, he had no chance to introduce the system, and Stalin didn’t like it because it would have endangered his personal power. Thus, the 1936 Soviet constitution provided for a system similar to the Western one, with one nationwide election for one nationwide parliament, thus not covering with the original ideas.

Am i not correct in beliving that these critters cant burp or vomit?
seagulls die/explode if you feed them bicarb-soda, is that cos they cant be sick or cos they cant burp?
either way, i think those 2 wouldnt cope well with cola
or beer, at least they wouldnt be sick in your sink and clog it up so that 2 of your friends have to come round the next day with a sweedish/german power-plunger to clean it out.

  • aint bitter *

*Originally posted by Schnitte *

I think Marx’s leaning was more collectivist, and I don’t think it necessarily has to be state-dominated in practice. The fact that it was in the USSR is unpersuasive, because that was a corrupt dictatorship from the getgo. The biggest problem with a collectivist model IMO is that it’s not economically viable when competing with a capitalist economy. Marx, in fact, explicity said it wasn’t - which is why he pushed for a worldwide revolution, rather than a piecemeal nation by nation revolution.

There are 2 real questions:

  1. could you transition from a capitalist economy to a collectivist model without the government forcibly appropriating the means of production, and hijacking it for itself?

  2. is collectivism economically viable not just in relative terms (compared to capitalism), but in absolute terms? My guess is it wouldn’t be efficient enough to support 6 billion people.

Horses have a very limited ability to vomit, but the fact that stomach contents leaking from the nose is a symptom of a few diseases suggests that they would have no problem burping to expel gas.

Seagulls exploding from being fed antacid/bicarb is another UL, trySnopes. How could an animal whose young are entirely dependant on regurgitated food not be able to vomit?

An inability to burp corresponds to an inability to vomit. If you can expel solids and liquids you can expel gas. The reverse is not necessarily true.

And that Snopes link should have been.

Sorry. Am fool.
Cant wait to put someone down with that at a party now
( i may seem silly on the SD message board, but from these mistakes i seem smarter/ more anal, in real life.)

It would, IMO, if managed well. Of course it is much more difficult to establish a working communism than a working capitalism, because in communism the state would have to do everything while capitalism is decentralized. But there are also many aspects in a capitalits economy taht render it quite inefficient. Advertising for example. It uses up large amounts of resources without any advantage for the society as a whole. Communism could skip that. Of course capitalis is i some way more comfortable, but, if managed properly, I think communism could outproduce it, which also was the dominant opinion in 1950s America.
So why did the Soviet economy flop compared to the American one? Don’t know. Maybe they dumped too much into military, parades and space programs, without investing enough into their economy.

Schnitte asks:

The USA and the USSR spent roughly the same on their military - the US about 3% of their GDP and the USSR about 6% - our economy was about twice as large as theirs. They lost the space race, and never developed anything like the space shuttle, had far less sophisticated satellite technology, etc. And the amount either side spent on parades is too trivial to mention.

Capitalism always outproduces collectivism, no matter how well planned the latter may be. This has been verified experimentally, as in East vs. West Germany, North vs. South Korea, as well as the US vs. the USSR. People work harder for themselves than they will for some abstract ideal. If I am going to make a profit, I am more likely to come up with a good idea and work harder to implement it than if the State grabs it and I get nothing from it that the next schmuck doesn’t. Also, when the inevitable mistakes are made, a capitalist economy has a million different decision makers, and the one making the mistake will fail and the other benefit from that example. In a planned economy, the mistakes spread over a much broader area and have a much greater ripple effect. If one farmer guesses wrong and plants too early and rain destroys his crops, tough for that farmer. If all the farmers plant at the same time because the decision to do so came down from Central Planning, the whole area is screwed. Communism puts all its eggs in one basket.

Communism has a forced monopoly. Who gives greater service, FedEx or the Post Office? If there were no FedEx, and you were compelled by law to use the Post Office no matter how bad their service, what incentive would there be for the Post Office to change?

This is in addition to the natural tendency of communism to turn totalitarian, as Central Planning tends to extend its decision making to greater and greater areas, and to use greater force to try to change human nature. Thus the planned starvation in the Ukraine under Stalin.

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, or the baker, or the brewer, that we expect our dinner, but from their natural self-interest.” Adam Smith

I’ll take #1:
I think it is becasue you are using a cheap pen is all. Probably, the ball is jamming up inside the pen for a moment on a page spot that is lower friction, and releasing when the friction increases.

Just get a better pen. Something really inky.


The USA and the USSR spent roughly the same on their military - the US about 3% of their GDP and the USSR about 6% - our economy was about twice as large as theirs. They lost the space race, and never developed anything like the space shuttle, had far less sophisticated satellite technology, etc. And the amount either side spent on parades is too trivial to mention. [/qupte]

The Americans could afford a big army more than the Russians could. Industrialization in America began around 1850, in Russia ist started after the revolution of 1917 (under the tsars, Russia was pretty close to medieval conditions). So the Americans had an advantage of roughly seven decades, which means that an arms race basically could only have been won by the US. Under these conditions, participating in teh space race meant suicide for the Russians; the early successes (Sputnik etc.) were too expensive.

The arguments you bring for this theory are the common ones, but they are restricted on the richest of all the capitalist states. What about, say, Portugal, Italy and others? Those were capitalist in the 1950s already, but their level of comfort was below the one in, say, the USSR or the GDR. Thus I cannot believe the argument that capitalism will always outproduce communism because of some inborn character. Reality must be more complicated than this.