• Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by JJPierce

  1. 51% of Venezuelans not willing to be slaves

    What's most interesting is that Chavez lost this one in spite of having a near monopoly over channels of communication and overwhelming dominance of national, provincial and local political organs. But the opposition victory will be short-lived unless the opposition forces can organize on the basis of PRINCIPLE rather than just attacking Chavez' attempted power grab on an ad hoc basis. What Chavez has going for him -- unlike Mugabe in Zimbabwe -- is a ton of oil money to spend on freebies for the masses. It will be hard to convince them that this is a sham, and that they'll be better off in the long run with liberal capitalism. A tall order!
  2. Not sure if this is the right department, but: http://www.examiner.com/a-1072762~The_phil...f_Van_Hunt.html I've never heard of Van Hunt before, and know nothing of his music. Therefore I don't know how seriously to take his story. Maybe somebody else here does.
  3. Theory of Everything Proposed

    From a strictly layman's viewpoint, the problem with String Theory is all these invisible extra dimensions. It reminds me of the epicycles that were used to patch up Ptolemaic cosmology. But for all I know, String Theory might still pan out. So might Lisi's theory. As for dark matter, I don't know what it is, and I rather doubt that mosr of the people who think they do actually do. One thing for sure: we live in interesting times, cosmologically.
  4. Theory of Everything Proposed

    Oh? I've seen pictures of colliding galaxies that are supposed to show dark matter acting differently from ordinary matter. But what are the proposed alternate explanations for that, and for the apparent accelerating expansion of the universe?
  5. Theory of Everything Proposed

    He's got the right attitude, at least: no matter how elegant a theory is, it has to test out. One thing I'm wondering is what Lisi has to say about dark matter and dark energy. It's pretty hard to believe in a Theory of Everything that doesn't account for those. As far as I know, the string theory advocates haven't adequately addressed this, but I could be wrong. In any case, the bottom line is that a theory can be internally consistent, all the math can work -- but that doesn't necessarily make it true.
  6. From DUCK SOUP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Qyce8dQLPo
  7. Christian Private Schools

    Here's how they teach "literature" at one Christian school in California: <<Dickinson's year at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary further shaped her "religious" views. During her stay at the school, she learned of Christ but wrote of her inability to make a decision for Him. She could not settle "the one thing needful." A thorough study of Dickinson's works indicates that she never did make that needful decision. Several of her poems show a presumptuous attitude concerning her eternal destiny and a veiled disrespect for authority in general. Throughout her life she viewed salvation as a gamble, not a certainty. Although she did view the Bible as a source of poetic inspiration, she never accepted it as an inerrant guide to life.>> I hate to think how they teach physics there.
  8. Ayn Rand's French Children's Magazines on CD!

    Just got my set yesterday. It's really terrific, one of the best pieces of research and presentation I've ever seen -- and I speak as a researcher of sf and popular culture for more than 30 years. It's a steal for $15. Bill, we all owe you a debt of gratitude.
  9. Thought somebody would have already mentioned it today, but.....
  10. Ayn Rand in Bollywood?

    I came across this just now while Googling to see if there was any more news about the ATLAS SHRUGGED movie project (Nothing much, from a quick glance). Here's the link: http://desicritics.org/2007/01/28/014602.php And here's the magilla: REVIEW Movie Review: Guru: Is It The Indian Version Of Atlas Shrugged? January 28, 2007 Balaji Viswanathan Beginner's Guide to Bollywood Various Artists Music, Usually ships in 24 hours Buy now from This is my review based on my experiences with both investing & films and reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Kindly bear with me if I don't talk about AR Rahman at all (the music director) as I'm someone who believes that most films don't need songs and in this film most of the songs were out of place (but you know I did like Mallika Sherawat's song ). Guru is the story of one of the world's greatest entrepreneurs, Dhirubhai Ambani, the founder of the conglomerate Reliance Industries. He should be a hero for any Indian dreaming to do something big by the power of economics and today we are seeing the brilliant empire slowly on the footsteps of becoming another GE. So, how did a guy with no political or business links to start out with, build such a majestic empire? This movie brilliantly captures that legend, while illustrating that Hindi films are getting better and better in every genre. To top it all, the director ices the cake with the film depiction of Hank Rearden's extraordinary court scene in the legendary novel Atlas Shrugged. The story revolves around Gurubhai (doesn't that sound like Dhirubhai?) and his brilliant political and business maneuvers (basically he got around India' archaic rules of milking out well-run companies and increased production enormously and fought a system by breaking all its bad rules and involved one of the biggest share bases in the country, thereby benefiting most middle class in the country) and his pitched battles with Nanaji (Ramnath Goenka of Indian express). The story of the film describes how Guru fails in his exams and runs to Turkey to work in a petrochemical firm and learns the ins and outs of business and commodities trading. He then believes that he can do much better by starting his own business in India and returns back. Here, he then partners with his close friend and marries his friend's sister (played by Aishwariya Rai) partly for the dowry with which he can open a company. He then goes to Mumbai and wants to trade in the rudimentary commodities exchange there. However, he finds red tapism there, with the President of the exchange, a wealthy Mr.Contractor (Nusli Wadia of Bombay Dyeing) who doesn't allow new members and extends full control over it, thereby blocking development. Guru accidentally meets Nanaji, a news baron, and Nanaji agrees to publish his story of how business is blocked by vested interests in the exchange. Contractor gets pissed off and using his political power closes the exchange itself in anger. But, Guru puts the IAS officer in charge to a great embarrassment and forces him to reopen the exchange. Guru becomes a great trader, and later opens a big factory and in a path that revolutionized Indian industry, goes for an equity-based approach with an IPO (in those days called a 'new issue') instead of taking the conventional debt based approach - an ingenious decision that brought in millions of commoners as shareholders thereby ensuring its success with politicians. He dreams of beating Burma Shell (Bombay Dyeing) with his company and does extraordinary maneuvers - creating bogus exports (Indian law then allowed the companies to import only if they exported something, so he created ghost entities abroad that bought his empty boxes) and then channeled the revenue to import a lot of capital goods (machinery). He also understated the imports to avoid taxes and made use of the capital gains laws to avoid most of the taxes. An enterprising reporter in Swatantra (Indian Express) exposes all the violations and a government commission gets into full swing. He is accused by everybody and the great company was on the verge of closing down with Ambani facing the prospect of jail (in 1980s). In the state of shock he gets a paralytic attack. In the climax court scene, he delivers a brilliant speech (exactly like Hank's speech in Atlas Shrugged, where he questions the veracity of those archaic laws and doesn't hide the fact that he broke the laws. He demands whether making a prosperous business that led to India's growth and alleviation of poverty as a crime & whether making all those middle-class shareholders prosperous is a crime. These are a host of brilliant questions in the license Raj regime of pre-economic independence India (aka pre-1991). The government was dumbstruck as it had millions of common shareholders whose rights they did not want to affect. So, the commission levies a minor punitive charge, and eventually India starts its reforms (not in the movie). The movie ends with how Dhirubhai dreamed of India to become a first world country and why chasing dreams is not bad. If it means breaking stupid laws so be it (Mahatma Gandhi called this Civil Disobedience movement). I perfectly agree with Gurubhai, I liked the powers of a man's dream and seeing the status of Reliance today as the backbone of Indian economy, I cant just wonder what would have happened to India if those stupid politicians got carried away and killed Reliance. It was a great movie and a great lesson. Ayn Rand's lovers would love the concept (though the songs showed typical Bollywood Masala strains) and Indian businessmen should learn a lesson or two from Gurubhai/Dhirubhai. The author is a Software Design Engineer working in the Windows group of Microsoft, Redmond. His interests include tech, Economics, investing and history. The views expressed in the articles are his own and dont represent the official opinion of his company.
  11. Happy Birthday, Atlas Shrugged!

    Indeed. I'm especially curious about what Vadim Perelman had to say.
  12. Quest for Fire (1981)

    QUEST FOR FIRE is definitely the best prehistoric movie ever made. The two versions of ONE MILLION YEARS BC, with humans and dinosaurs together, were ludicrous. As for CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR, a friend of mine said it should have been called CLAN OF THE CARE BEARS. J.H. Rosny ainé (1856-1940) wrote the novel (LA GUERRE DU FEU) in 1909, and there was a sequel called LE FÉLIN GÉANT. But he had been writing science fiction and prehistoiric fiction since 1887 (his first sf story, "Les Xipéhuz," translated here as "The Shapes," was the first alien invasion story, and his 1895 "Un Autre Monde" the first true mutant story. Rosny (real name Joseph Henri Boëx; the ainé distinguished him from brother and sometime collaborator Seraphim Justin) had broken with Émile Zola after publishing one naturalistic novel, NELL HORN OF THE SALVATION ARMY (1884). He and five other writers published a manifesto in LE FIGARO, denouncing Zola's latest novel. LA TERRE, as disgusting, and declaring that they were no longer Zola's disciples. Zola's reaction was along the lines of: Disciples? I don't even know these guys! And, except for Rosny, none of them are known today.
  13. Article on Atlas Shrugged in the New York Times

    I was talking with Shoshana about it yesterday, She was very irritated about the errors, at later told me she'd heard from Jeff Britting and that, ahe had supposed, he had been misquoted. Nevertheless, the writer -- Harriet Rubin -- was apparently trying to be sympathetic. And I was particularly impressed by the bit about Jack Stack, whom I'd never heard of before. I checked other references to him, and it seems that his method -- the Great Game of Business, also known as open book management -- has gotten a lot of attention in the business community.
  14. Disaster stories (novels, films)

    It was based on David Brin's novel, which was a LOT better.
  15. Disaster stories (novels, films)

    "By the Waters of Bablyon" is indeed the same story as "The Place of the Gods;" it was simply retitled for inclusion in a book collection I've read all of those other books. ALAS, BABYLON is still in print, and EARTH ABIDES was recently reissued. The first seemed to me more dated than the second, even though it came out later. Norton's novel is post-holocaust, in the same tradition as Wyndham's RE-BIRTH.
  16. Disaster stories (novels, films)

    Well said! Late bloomer indeed. If I hadn't known that "John Beynon Harris" and "John Wyndham" were one and the same, I'd never have gleaned it from the works published under those names. And to address Jim A's original question, Wyndham's sf is by no means an expression of "disaster metaphysics:" that concept more properly attaches to the disaster novels of New Wave writers like J.G. Ballard and Thomas Disch.
  17. Disaster stories (novels, films)

    Here's a link to the Wyndham entry at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wyndham_(writer) Wyndham's work has been sadly neglected since his death. I think DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS was just reissued in trade paperback, but I haven't seen new editions of any of his other sf lately. He didn't write only disaster stories, as witness TROUBLE WITH LICHEN, THE OUTWARD URGE and THE CHRYSALIDS (aka RE-BIRTH). The Wikipedia bio has links to further info these and his other works. If any seem to appeal to you, you can doubtless scare up old editions at Amazon.com. There's an accidental parallel between his short story "The Wheel" (collected in TALES OF GOOSEFLESH AND LAUGHTER) and Ayn Rand's "Anthem" because both are examples of the post-holocaust quest story. For those who don't already know, "Anthem" was inspired by Stephen Vincent Benet's "The Place of the Gods" (See Shoshana Milgram's piece in ESSAYS ON AYN RAND'S ANTHEM). Benet's story was part of a tradition that goes back to Richard Jeffries' AFTER LONDON (1885) and includes a number of other works like John Collier's TOMS-A-COLD (1930) and Edgar Pangborn's DAVY (1964), the common thread being the quest of someone born long after the fall of our civilization to rediscover that civilization and the meaning of civilization. THE CHRYSALIDS is a variation on the same theme.
  18. Atlas Shrugged in real life pictures

    And the only reason it isn't the same in Venezuela is that there's a lot more to loot there. But I don't see Chavez sending any "aid" to Mugabe.
  19. I'd read the VARIETY piece. Here's another link, older -- pre-anything to do with AS -- but very revealing about Perelman's attitude: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3704873/
  20. Guess people here must have heard that Vadim Perelman has been signed on as director. I'm not really familiar with his previous films, and I know nothing as to where he stands ideologically. But if we can trust his wikipedia bio, he wouldn't have undertaken AS lightly: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vadim_Perelman One quote from there: Having been repeatedly approached by Hollywood to direct some mainstream, high-profile fare, he has been very selective in his projects. “I don’t want to spend a year of my life working on a film that does not resonate with me on a poetic level,” says Perelman, “Since great scripts are a rare commodity, I realized that I have to create my own opportunities and not wait for the right project to come along – for fate to smile upon me.” It's curious that Perelman is of Russian and (I surmise, from his non-Slavic name) Jewish extraction, just like Ayn Rand. I wonder if there's a resonance there.
  21. A View from Inside Russia

    Boris Strugatsky (born 1933) was a long-time science fiction writer with his brother Arkady (1925-89). Writing together, often using Aesopian language, they kept a spirit of freedom and decency alive during the long years of Brezhnev régime. Unlike Arkady, he lived to see the fall of the Soviet Union. But he isn't happy with what has replaced it. This interview is apparently from 2004, and occasioned by the start of work on a new movie version of their best-known novel, HARD TO BE A GOD (1964): http://english.mn.ru/english/issue.php?2004-22-19
  22. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

    Same here. I might not have seen it when it first came out if a close friend hadn't recooended it. The thing is, Michael Mann's only claim to fame before this was MIAMI VICE. That was a terrific show, but was a whole different kind of thing from a historical drama, and I didn't think he'd be up for that. So I was really impressed by not only by his feel for character, but his feel for a historical epic — I think THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS stands comparison with the best of Eisenstein and Kurosawa. And I think it's better than the book. Mark Twain once did a devastating critique of Fennimore's prose style, and I found the novel awkward and stagey. Mann told the story the way it should have been told in the first place.
  23. Jokes

    Robert Bloch once used "Time Wounds All Heels" as a story title. MAD magazine once used "Invite Us to Your Next Blowout" in an ad parody. Years later, I saw a REAL ad in an Alabama paper for a sale at an auto supply store: "BIG TIRE BLOWOUT." Now one from my wife.... Reporter: So what makes you qualified to be president? Hillary: I spent eight years in the White House. Reporter: So did Socks.
  24. A new Presidential Candidate...

    Friends, when you hear politicians making promises, do you smell a rat? Then vote for a mouse instead! Squeak up, America -- Mickey Mouse for President!
  25. Hear, hear! But in certain cases -- LTR was one, AS would be another -- the director also has to be a champion of the work being adapted. Jackson made a cause out of LTR -- he fought for adequate funding, fought the skeptics who thought the movie was impossible to make. A friend of mine who is usually quite astute about movies thought LTR would be a disaster. How wrong he was! But do we have a director out there who would fight for Rand's vision the way Jackson fought for Tolkien's? "You've got to be a believer." -- Delos David Harriman in Robert A. Heinlein's "The Man Who Sold the Moon"