piz

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Everything posted by piz

  1. Temperature, Velocity and Curved Space

    OK, I woke up this morning having remembered math. If acceleration can be greater than c/s, then a particle with velocity zero at time zero could accelerate at, say, 2c/s and at time 1s would have achieved a velocity of 2c. That can't be - acceleration must approach zero as velocity approaches c. Or am I missing something?
  2. Please consider for the movie ratings forum.
  3. Limits of property rights

    There is a legal doctrine going back to, I believe, English common law called "coming to the nuisance," that is pretty much what you describe. Another example: if I own a stinky pig farm, and you build a house next to it, you have no right to complain about the smell. But if I open a stinky pig farm next to your already existing house, you do have that right. (By the way, in my opinion, this doctrine makes all zoning and many environmental laws superfluous, and is one of the best arguments against them.) I don't think that it applies in this case, though. Someone more knowledgeable in the law than I am would know better, but I believe that in the case of close residences of this kind any owner is entitled to "quiet enjoyment" (a legal term, I believe), and it doesn't matter who moved in first. Part and parcel of buying a condo (or a house, or renting an apartment) is that one is expected not to annoy one's neighbors, even if they move in after you do. "Quiet enjoyment" will vary with the situation, though. I am presently opening a business, and my lease states my right to "quiet enjoyment" of the unit I will be renting in a retail strip. Now, it's a retail strip, so if a restaurant later moves in next to me I would be wrong to complain about the smell of cooking food. The context matters, which is why I think it's reasonable to expect quiet in a residential situation even if one moves in second.
  4. Temperature, Velocity and Curved Space

    Layman Physicsfan here. Does this mean that a>c/s is possible? On further thought, I guess so. The rate of change in velocity doesn't have to have anything to do with the instantaneous velocity.
  5. Pleasure and pain

    I generally use "pleasure" and "pain" to mean, as you say, the built-in physical mechanisms. For their emotional counterparts, I use "joy" and "suffering." I've always thought that there's a pretty clear line between them, in that the physical PPM is biologically programmed - the body signals pleasure when it receives "good" stimuli, and pain when it receives bad, and those physical signals cannot be changed by choice. On the other hand, emotions are "programmed" - they are automatized value judgments. Value judgments are volitional - change the judgment, and the automatized reactions can be changed. In the simplest cases, there is a direct correlation between, say, pain and suffering. Touch a hot iron and the body reacts as it is programmed to do - the sensation is painful. At the same time, the emotional reaction will be one of suffering (although even for such a severe case as this the emotional reaction can be altered if one works hard enough to do so - whether doing so is rational or not depends on the context). Beyond simple cases, the correlation is less clear. In the case of a strenuous workout, the body is doing exactly what it is programmed to do - according to its measure of strain, the muscles have been overworked, and the pain signals that it would be better for one's immediate well-being to stop. Note that, for an animal, this would almost always translate to beneficial behavior on its part - stop, because continuing would mean imminent injury. Because, however, man can comprehend and hold long-term values, the subconscious can be made to evaluate the pain of a workout so as to produce positive emotional feelings. We can know that strain today means sexy abs tomorrow , so we can feel good about muscle pain. The vast complexity of human emotions stems precisely from the fact that we can separate, via our volitional, conceptual faculty, pleasure/pain from joy/suffering. That we are fallible beings means that we can make mistakes doing this. A child may automatize, for example, that actions which would under optimal circumstances be beneficial or pleasurable (budding talent at singing, perhaps) actually produce, due to, say, a narcissistic dysfunction in his mother, pain or suffering ("Don't show off!" followed by a spanking). This automation, cemented into place at an age when the child has not learned any way to judge his own actions other than what he observes in his parents, can lead to severe emotional difficulties far in the future. The point to all this is: pleasure and pain are biological and cannot be altered, while joy and suffering are volitional (though automatizable) and can.
  6. Your Cake

    I think that, in its original sense, it simply means, "If you eat a piece of cake, you can no longer hold it in your hands. Both at the same time are not possible."
  7. Happy to Be Here!

    Hi Sydney! Odds are you remember me - I drove you and Prodos around, lost in the wilderness near Andy Bernstein's house, that night we had the dinner for the two of you a little over a year ago. Great to see you here, and great to hear that things are going well!
  8. Hello all

    This triggered a realization for me - I've never lost my love of learning, despite my public school education. I began to think about how, and I rememberd that, throughout my entire education, every time I reached the point where I understood what was being taught at the time, I would immediately tune out everything that followed. Sometimes I would just do my homework right then and there, or start reading a book, or just think about other things (it was never just "daydreaming"). It helped that I always grasped things very quickly, of course. And somehow I managed to pay enough "peripheral attention" to know when it was time to tune back in for something new. This wouldn't be the only reason I retained my love of learning, but no doubt it helped.
  9. Changing the way the forum looks

    Ditto that! The other skin is much better.
  10. Objectivist anniversaries

    This is a bit of a repeat of my intro post, but expanded. Now is not my Objectivist anniversary, but I think this little "how I became an Objectivist" story fits the spirit of this thread. I found Objectivism in November of 1998, at age 37. The previous summer, I had an email exchange with someone who gave me a brief desciption of Objectivism and recommended that I read Ayn Rand. My philosophical journey to that point had been all over the map; I had studied and/or followed a number of different religions both Western and Eastern, and had a smattering of Western philosophy, but I had never found anything that squared with the world as I saw it. Having seen so much philosophy already, my answer to my correspondent was, in effect, "Right. That's just what I need - yet another moralistic philosopher preaching principles based on nothing. No thanks." A few months later I was working on changing jobs. I read a book on job hunting whose author mentioned that he was influenced by AR. His book happened to be the most sensible I had ever read on the topic, so I was intrigued. I went to the library and took out a copy of Atlas Shrugged. Three days later, having put the book down solely to eat (not much), sleep (very little), and go to work (reluctantly), my mind was reeling with what I had just experienced. The very first thing I did after finishing the last page was to go back to the beginning and read it all over again. The next thing I did was get The Fountainhead and tear through that. Next came, of all things, ITOE. (That's typical of me - when something grabs me I dive straight to the core.) Then all the rest of AR's nonfiction. By the end of 1998 I had read nearly everything Objectivist that can be had from a bookstore, and most of that twice. Shortly after reading Atlast for the second time, I went back and dug up the email address of my original correspondent. I wrote and offered an apology. Since then I've read (and re-read) almost everything available in print in the Objectivist corpus. (I haven't listened to any of the audio products, because I keep hoping for transcriptions to become available - I prefer reading to listening. And my wallet isn't quite fat enough...) This is the philosophic home I've been looking for ever since I began having serious thoughts about the world (at about age five, I think, maybe before). I can remember looking at a tree when I was very young and drawing rudimentary conclusions about it, about what other trees of its kind would be like, and about trees in general. I was inducing knowledge, but didn't know it. I always knew in some fashion that existence exists - nothing else ever made any sense to me - but never learned why that was important or what it meant for how I ought to act in the world. Hell, I even heard or saw the word "epistemology" until I was 37, but all that time I knew what I knew, and knew without having the means to express it that my knowledge was conceptual and hierarchical (I might have expressed it as "fundamental" and "interconnected"). Everything I knew to be true about existence I was finally able to express - I now had the means, the vocabulary, and the principles to put everything together. If you've ever had that mental "ah-ha!" experience of the moment of grasping new knowledge, well, I had, and continue to have, the biggest one possible. And none of that is even to mention how Objectivism quite literally may have saved my life. But that's an entirely different kind of tale...
  11. Bush's Social Security

    Absolutely! Even if you're a poor, starving student, find a way to put even a few cents away every chance you can. It may seem silly to make a 43ยข deposit, but later on you'll be glad you did. Time is your biggest ally when investing. Start yesterday!
  12. Theory of Elementary Waves

    Thanks. Hey, I have a theory that the ultimate constituent is lint. Can I get some gummint bucks too? I didn't notice before I made the original post, but you already have a forum for TEW under the "Ask the Experts" heading. I guess I should continue this there.
  13. Thanks to the Speichers for creating The Forum! I've been wanting a more general Objectivist discussion board for some time now, and was considering creating one myself at some point, but this looks like it will fit the bill. My name is Michael P., and I live in Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA. I found Ayn Rand and Objectivism in 1998. I started with Atlas Shrugged and was hooked within a few pages. Three days later I was finished with Atlas, and the first thing I did was read it again. I remember having thoughts like this running through my mind all the while: "Yes...yes...yes...no. Wait...yes." I have subscribed to and participated in a number of lists and groups such as HBL, the various Prodos groups, and OSG. I'm looking forward to reading and participating here.