International ethics of fighting

First though: there was no rain today! 😃

The ground outside was very soggy though. I took Scully for a big walk at lunch. It was good to get out and into the fresh air after being cooped up against the elements for so long.

This morning I had my first lesson on the current ethics topic of “Fighting” with kids in American time zones. Most of my classes are in the afternoon or early evening, and attended by kids from Australia or Asia (in similar time zones) or Europe (where it’s morning there). Those classes are in the middle of the night in American time zones. My opening story is about the Burr-Hamilton duel, and the first question I ask is: “Is it okay for two people to agree to have a fight?” (I don’t specify with or without weapons – those are follow-up questions.) The kids from Australia and Asia and Europe have almost all said it’s not okay; people can get hurt or killed, and it’s better to solve an argument by talking.

This morning I had a class at 9am, which is afternoon/early evening in American time zones, and so I had my first batch of kids from the USA in this class for this topic, three of them. I was slightly taken aback when every single one said that it was fine if two people agreed to fight one another. And when I pressed and asked if it was okay if they fought with weapons, they all continued to say it was okay; they agreed, they knew what they were getting into and the dangers, there was nothing wrong with that.

It’s small number statistics, but I’m amazed by the clean split in opinions between non-American and American kids on this question.

The theme continues with other questions: “Is it okay to defend yourself if you get attacked? To try to hurt your attacker to get them to stop?” Almost all the kids so far said yes. But when I asked: “Is it okay to defend yourself with a deadly weapon, like a knife or a gun?” all of the Aus/Asian/European kids said either outright no, or yes but you shouldn’t try to kill them – you could shoot in the air to scare them off, or shoot a limb, but not shoot to kill. However, all of the American kids said if you’re attacked it’s absolutely fine to shoot and kill your attacker. One went so far as to add that you should be praised as a hero for doing so.

So yeah… this theme continued throughout the whole class. The American kids were much more comfortable with the idea of fighting, and of solving things with violence. Again, small numbers, but there are obvious statements that could be made about this. I’ll be interested to see what happens when I have more American kids in this class on Monday morning.

New content today:

Not so fast! More rain

So we only had 10 mm of rain yesterday. Today we’re up to 24 mm, and only halfway through the 24-hour recording period, and it’s currently raining heavily outside.

Sorry to go on about it, but this damn rain is pretty much the only thing that anyone in Sydney is talking about.

Related to that I spent a bit of time today applying mould remover to various walls, window sills, window blinds, and furniture throughout my home. Damn stuff is insidious and relentless in this weather.

And…. I stayed in all day and didn’t go anywhere. Because of the rain, you know.

New content today:

Not so rainy day

The rain eased off a bit today and we had intermittent showers, although it rained heavily overnight. Sydney is well on track to record its wettest year since rainfall records began. We’ve recorded 1768.6 mm since the start of 2022, and the wettest year ever recorded was 2194 mm in 1950. We’re barely halfway through the year, so if the second half is similar to the first we could potentially end up with over 3000 mm.

A new week of ethics classes started today. I wrote up the new topic: Fighting. I’m asking the kids questions such as:

  • Is getting into a fight ever justified?
  • If two people agree to have a fight, should it be allowed? With fists? With weapons?
  • Is it okay to carry a dangerous weapon, for the sole reason of self defence?
  • Are combat sports like boxing or mixed martial arts, where the goal is to actually hurt your opponent, okay or not?

I think this is a good topic, as it’s generated some interesting and diverse answers in the first three classes tonight!

New content today:

Very rainy day number 3

Another 150 mm of rain recorded in parts of Sydney since yesterday. Although again mostly in the southern suburbs, not directly where I am – we only got a bit over 40 mm here. In fact, the rain stopped falling for a brief period around lunchtime today, and I took the opportunity to take Scully for a walk and get some sushi for lunch. Our garage didn’t even flood!

In terms of more widespread flooding, today was worse than yesterday, as rivers were still rising. About 30,000 people have been evacuated under evacuation orders in place across 70 localities. And sadly a handful of people have died in the floodwaters. Thousands more have needed rescuing. There’s a cargo ship stranded off the coast in heavy seas with a broken engine, and it’s been impossible for rescue helicopters to get the crew off due to the rough sea. There was danger the ship might drift ashore and run aground, but tugboats are now pushing it further out to sea.

We’re still expecting more heavy falls overnight and into tomorrow, but it should ease up during the day. Hopefully.

Looking on the funny side, Australia’s two main satirical “news” websites (like The Onion), have the following headlines today:

New content today:

Very rainy day number 2

The predicted rain didn’t seem quite so heavy here during today. Most of the storm system hit a bit further south. Toens just south of Sydney recorded over 300 mm of rain in 24 hours, and some southern suburbs of Sydney recorded over 250 mm, but near me we only got 94 mm in the 24-hour reporting period. Tomorrow is forecast to be worse, though, as the system slowly moves north over the city proper.

Already parts of the outer suburbs are flooding, and evacuation orders are in place along some of the rivers. Warragamba Dam, Sydney’s main reservoir, began spilling around midnight last night, dumping more water into the downstream river system. Last time (back in April) it took days of rain to fill the dam before it began spilling. This time it was already still so full that just a day of rain did it. A few years ago, that downstream river had a new bridge built over it, one the Government said would be “flood-proof” and would never have to close, unlike the old bridge. Well, that new bridge has flooded twice back in April, and is about to go under again.

In April we had two separate “once in 100 years” level flood events within a few weeks. Now we have another one, and this one is on track to be the worst of the three.

I’m safe where I am – I don’t live in a low-lying area. Although I’m half expecting our building’s basement garage to flood again.

In other news, I worked on Darths & Droids a bit today, did some housecleaning, and just stayed inside out of the rain and tried to stay warm. Oh, and my sourdough starter is looking fully revitalised after three days of feeding, and I baked a new loaf of bread today for the first time since returning from overseas. I added sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds to this one; the first time I’ve tried a seeded loaf.

Oh, and I used the very first lime off our dwarf lime tree that we bought a few yers ago! It fruited for the first time this year, and we have three small limes. I added some fresh juice to a Thai red curry that I cooked for dinner. Growing your own ingredients is very satisfying.

New content today:

Claiming travel compensation

Today I worked some more on my previously mentioned secret project, which is approaching completion.

I also filed a request for compensation with Lufthansa over our flight that was delayed by 23 hours in Singapore. Because it was operated by a European Union airline with a destination within the EU, the EU Flight Compensation Regulation EC No 261/2004 applies, and my wife and I are entitled to compensation of 600€ each, plus reimbursement of additional expenses incurred due to the delay. So I wrote up a request for this compensation plus expenses, including details of the hotel accommodation (in the Changi Airport transit hotel), train tickets, and COVID tests that we had to pay for because our plans were disrupted. I submitted this with all of the receipts via Lufthansa’s online claim form, and have received an acknowledgement email. Let’s see how long it takes for them to process and pay out.

The main news today here in Sydney is the weather, once again. After a fairly and blissfully dry June, we have another major rain system hitting us. The rain began late last night, and today we were forecast to get up to 90 mm of rain, with another 150 mm tomorrow, and 80 mm on Monday, followed by up to 20 mm each day until Thursday. Severe weather and flood warnings have been issued. It has been raining non-stop all day, light on occasion, but often heavy. Sydney has recorded 70 mm of rain in the last 24 hours, and some suburbs are up to over 150 mm. Tomorrow is going to be much worse, with strong winds also predicted.

New content today:

Back to ethics and games

I got a bit more sleep last night, but didn’t sleep through, waking up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night. I think one more night should reset my body clock to the right time zone.

So I was still quite tired today. But I had the first two ethics classes, restarting my teaching after my trip. It was little a bit of a struggle against yawning, but not too bad once I got into the material.

And tonight was face-to-face games night with friends. We did COVID tests before going there – all negative. I picked up some Thai green curry chicken from the Thai place near where we used to work, since the hots lives near there. It’s the best Thai place I know, and I seldom get to eat there any more, so it’s a special treat when I can.

Four of us played some casual Apples to Apples while waiting for the fifth player to arrive. Then we played a new game: Nusfjord.


This is a worker placement/action selection game played over 7 rounds of 3 actions for each player. There are several actions you can select, involving gaining various resources: fish, wood, gold; building ships or buildings; recruiting village elders; and issuing shares in your fishing business or buying shares in others people’s fishing businesses. The buildings, ships, and gold are worth points at the end of the game.

Unfortunately I made a critical mistake in interpreting the rules and wasted about a dozen fish on one turn that I thought I had planned out, which set me back a lot. Another player also made a similar mistake, and we ended up on significantly fewer points than the other three players. Oh well… first game is always a learning game! It was fun – I’d definitely try it again.

New content today: