tps_fan

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Everything posted by tps_fan

  1. Stephen's Health

    I've spent roughly the last 5 hours trying to think of how to write this very specific post. This amounts to an outline of those thoughts. First of all, I want to thank everyone who has already posted and will later make posts to this thread. Your posts have encouraged me, and I know that you are encouraging _many_ other people. Unlike Ed from OC, I have a less straight-forward history. I'm neither a total stranger nor a close friend of the Speichers; I'm just an acquaintance of theirs. I did actually personally meet his family when they came down to the Americans for Free Choice in Medicine office almost 10 years ago. Back then, AFCM had volunteer days when we would get together and build the monthly news packet by hand. I didn't talk to Stephen at great length; I just remember that they were all personable. Before that personal encounter and after, I really only knew of Mr. Speicher via the web. From usenet groups APO and then HPO, then later from ObjectivismOnline.net, and finally to here, I've generally tried to be aware of the issues they were discussing. I want to turn to something more immediate now. As the regulars here know, there's no doubt that Betsy will work through this set of circumstances as best as possible. One of the things that no one can deny is that this family is comprised of passionate fighters. I also believe that all concerned will figure out how to manage. Still, I think I can offer some valuable suggestions. Obviously, if someone has some specialized concerns, then they should get professional advice. I don't think that I've ever discussed this before online, but if there was ever a reason... I happened to have lost one of my 2 best friends (he's the TPS in my forum user name.) He died from cancer a few years ago, and I had to learn the hard way how to try to reconcile that situation. Roughly speaking, here's what I generally learned and experienced: It's absolutely normal to quickly cycle through most every major feeling. I would suggest that if and when you experience this do _not_ block it or evade it. You might not even feel in control or be able to track it. Also, more generally, the length and order of the grieving stages can certainly vary individually. There is NOT just one way to grieve. If you need to be alone, then that is also fine; it's _not_ a sign of being anti-social. It's a time when a person's mind is indicating the need for serious concentration and contemplation. I _believe_ that this part of the process can be delayed but only temporarily; I would not suggest delaying this type of rumination for long. The other thing that is critical is to at least attempt to maintain a fairly regular schedule. To personalize these norms, I went through absolute Hell for 2 weeks immediately after losing my friend. It was my worst nightmare come true. ..but what got me through that was _work_. Change your focus, change your schedule, but whatever you do, don't let yourself get into an extended slump. Honestly, no matter how bad a person feels, and no matter how many times they fail to "jumpstart" themselves, it's just a matter of continuing to try to get back on track. Since I've frequently heard related questions, another thing I wanted to mention is you will _never_ forget a loved one, and in fact you may experience sudden vivid memories. A friendship or a loved one is a top value, a person's conscious is not going to let go of that! One other thing, (and this is likely either too incidental or too early but) if someone wanted to PM me about a related concern, then I would be open to hearing from you (especially if you are local to SoCal.) My only stipulation is that I will only consider discussing these issues with members of this forum. Finally, some people might think this is inappropriate or pretentious, but I really can't take that type of criticism seriously. I'm writing for extremely selfish reasons. I wish like anything someone would have told this to _me_ several years ago when I lost my friend. Keep pushing, and remember those immortal words,"Who will stop me?"
  2. Male-Female sexual roles

    Going back from this post back to the referenced post made by ADS and then back here again, I'm reminded of Dr. Peikoff's reference to sex "as metaphysical". I think once a heterosexual couple gets into the sexual act, they are focused on their respective wholesale identities. In normal day-to-day affairs (in the Westernized world), the physicality of being human is abstracted away. People trade stocks and bonds, agree to contracts, etc. rather than fistfighting and struggling over values. With sex, a couple concretizes their respective selves as singular individuals, so everything that takes place during the act is a matter of self-expression. The physiological penetration isn't contemplated as a moral matter at that time; the focus is on the metaphysical expression. In other words, two people who are both rational animals physically integrate while conceptually differentiate themselves for the sake of reinforcing everything that all of this suggests. Outside of the sexual field, those physical differences are just matter-of-fact, but even during sex the facts are the same. It's the focus of attention (or low-level sensory interpretation) that becomes more of primary importance. (I'm not sayng that sex is anti-conceptual or non-conceptual; I'm saying that whatever sensory-perceptual-conceptual connections are relevant to the act have to be either immediately faced or ignored. I would think that the more people love each other, the more they relish ALL of the connections.) I was thinking that there wasn't a biological superiority, but then I remembered that the initial erection is the difference. The physical difference is recognized before the penetration even happens; it's consumated afterwards. I think this has to be acknowledged, but it's only relevant for sexuality to the exclusion of anything else. (It can only be implied and not be explicated in business, family life, etc.)
  3. Israel Conflict

    Maybe "accountable" is too strong a term, but I was just giving him and his administration credit for publicly stating that he opposes the support that Iran and Syria have offered to anti-Israeli forces this week (and apparently last year.)
  4. Israel Conflict

    Elle, I think I'm starting to come up with a possible answer to your question. I now suspect that Lebanese leadership is more fearful of a Syrian uprising than reprisals from either Israel or the U.S. Likewise, I suspect that Lebanese officials aren't counting on support from Israel or the U.S. even withstanding recent events. Despite a Lebanese faction that suspects Syria's possible role in the assassination of Lebanese P.M. Rafik Hariri last year and that apparently helped encourage the Syrian expulsion from Beirut, the Syrian gov't seems to be growing more emboldened. Syria has recently been arresting internal dissidents who could indirectly aid Lebanese independence according to this blog. Hopefully, President Bush will continue to hold Iran and Syria accountable....
  5. Video of Schlegel Live Performance

    Hey Christopher, It's great to see you perform your work in concert. I haven't been a huge fan of guitar-based instrumentals, but that allegro is like a clinic! I just started to examine that piece, and I really love that flourish where you perform a descending run from C# in the middle of the song. I've been trying to improve my descending runs, and then it occured to me tonight that some of the difficulties I have been having could involve the application of leverage. If you happen to see this post, then I was wondering if you think there's a subtantial difference between hammer-ons and pull-offs when it comes to leveraging off pivot points i.e. first fingers. Thanks for the inspiration! :-D Greg
  6. Contextual absolutes

    The term that I abstracted away is "length" not "dog". Are you saying that sentence makes no sense if I use the term "width"? What about "happiness"? What about "If 'dog' is a concept, then "dogs" (or dogs since the term refers to a concretization of 'x') must exist in some quantity, but may exist in any quantity"? That is the substitution which _I_ would use in the case of your phrasing (leaving aside that I did not type "is that" twice and leaving aside that you appear to have taken liberties with how I used quote marks.) Please do not ascribe meaning to my words if you are not clear on my meaning. If you just ask me what I mean, then I can have the chance to respond. Also _this_ is a quote from my post above-referenced post: In Chapter 2 on page 11 of _I.O.E._, the some-but-any principle is discussed. The principle is that if "x" is a concept, then "'x' must exist in _some_ quantity, but may exist in _any_ quantity." The some-but-any principle relates "some" to "any" via quantity. Both "some" and "any" refer to given totals i.e. "some" and "any" are concepts that _both_ refer to numerical values. At the same time, they are _different_ in how many objects they refer to. ...so "some" is conceptually similar to "any", and the concept of quantity makes that relationship possible to understand. First, only what is within _double-quotes_ is taken from Ayn Rand's book. Second, of course, I know that concepts are not referents themselves. How am I supposed to refer to both a concept and its referent(s) as Ayn Rand used them when using variables??? Would you prefer ""x"" vs. "'x'"? What follows is the same quote using the concrete term and what follows that sentence. Begin quote: "Length must exist in _some_ quantity, but may exist in _any_ quantity. I shall identify as 'length' that attribute of any existent possessing it which can be quantitatively RELATED (emphasis mine i.e. Greg's) to a unit of length, without specifying the quantity." End quote. It should be noted that AR uses "length" in two different ways in the relevant passage. Are you saying that she couldn't have ...or maybe should have phrased it better then, if you have to make an issue out of that distinction???? Also the definition _is not written out in toto_. I _had_ to rephrase the relevant passage in order to treat it as a definition. The index simply says "Measurement-omission, (one of several sub-headings:) some-but-any principle p.11, 12, 18, 31-32." I would expect an explicit definition (especially near the beginning of a book where the term is first used.) That definition does _not_ appear by itself on pages 11-12. If it _did_ exist in that form, then I suspect we wouldn't be going back and forth because I would then be able to quote it verbatim and then directly apply it. Also, wouldn't it be plagiarism if I referred to that quote as a paraphrase? That was my main motivation for referring to it as a quote. (Again, an explicit definition is _not_ written out on pages 11 to 12.) Of course, all of the above is comparatively tangential to my original point. ...and _that_ is supported by the following exact quote: "(paragraph) Is honesty then an absolute? (paragraph) Just as particular objects must be evaluated in RELATION (emphasis mine) to moral principles, so moral principles themselves must be defined in RELATION (emphasis mine) to the facts that make them necessary." That is from Leonard Peikoff's _O:PAR_ on pages 274-275 of the softcover edition. The above is a slightly edited version of a post that was deleted. Also, in the time between posting and reposting...... I think I might have a labeling solution. Burgess, would you have a problem understanding my meaning if the definition I gave is modified to read, "The principle is that if "x1" is a concept, then x2 must exist in _some_ quantity, but may exist in _any_ quantity where x1 (for lack of subscripting) refers to "x" as a conceptual term and x2 (for lack of subscripting) refers to x as the existent which is conceptualized by x1 (the conceptual term)." How would you define the some-but-any principle in one sentence while maintaining the meaning and context of the exact direct 2-sentence quote from page 12 which I am now giving in this post here?
  7. Contextual absolutes

    Since my previous attempt at responding to Burgess' last response was deleted, I'm just responding to the central question: Here's an example... In Chapter 2 on page 11 of _I.O.E._, the some-but-any principle is discussed. The principle is that if "x" is a concept, then "'x' must exist in _some_ quantity, but may exist in _any_ quantity." The some-but-any principle relates "some" to "any" via quantity. Both "some" and "any" refer to given totals i.e. "some" and "any" are concepts that _both_ refer to numerical values. At the same time, they are _different_ in how many objects they refer to. ...so "some" is conceptually similar to "any", and the concept of quantity makes that relationship possible to understand. My statement is supported in other literature as well....
  8. Contextual absolutes

    Reading through most of this thread reminds me of the importance of the concept of "relation". My dictionary defines the term "relation" as an analogy or a connection. Rules, rules of thumb, generalizations, and principles are all conceptual relationships. Dufresne, you compare what results and is involved by gravity as against honesty. Gravity is governed by natural i.e. physical conditions. Honesty stems from conditions of the man-formed as well as recognizing the metaphysically-given. Not only can only a human use context, but a human must use context to make sense of conditions. That is, a person must interpret facts in context no matter the source (in reality) of the facts, but he must also keep in mind the difference between the metaphysically-given and the human-generated. There's also the difference between attempting to draw conclusions from gathering all facts readily obtainable as against gathering facts that are relevant. That is, the context that matters must be personal to you for you to benefit from the conclusions you draw. (Unfortunately, my dictionary refers to "context" as a type of lingustic construct.... without mentioning how concepts relate to reality...) ...so absolute context refers to the fact that knowledge must be based on things that exist in reality _and_ to the fact that for ethical i.e. survival reasons, the items that are used to build knowledge must be selected and integrated by the person for that person.
  9. Al-Zarqawi killed in air strike

    Well this article would seem to be from the proverbial horse's mouth.
  10. Al-Zarqawi killed in air strike

    Personally, I'm still trying to keep my eye on the ball: 1) The (currently increasing) body count of U.S. soldiers and 2) The (current evasion of) the importance of focusing on the source of radical Islam. There are other news sources as well. This article has me wondering if our military administrators really have our best interests or just their P.R. interests at heart. Maybe the most realistic take is that they are concerned about both in some respective measures???
  11. Now we have an Ice Cream Jihad!

    You've correctly cited several relevant facts. Also, I appreciate the sentiment that radical Islamism isn't a laughing matter in some contexts. At the same time, I think an argument can and should br made in support of laughing at the jihadists. They aren't making absurd arguments for just hypothetical reasons... Because they take such ridiculous positions seriously they should be.... literally ridiculed. Speaking for myself as an ex-Christian, I can see how easy it is to focus on wanting to punish evil, but negating the bad can't be the primary normative evaluative principle. (There's too much to live for.) I have to keep working on this, but I think I can make a reasonable suggestion: Call the jihadists out, but don't lose sight of the fact that our side is already fighting back. As far as "speaking out" is concerned, the problem isn't finding someone like a Dr. Yaron Brook, it's getting him heard by a wider audience. :-D Think of it this way, laughing at those maniacs kills two birds with one stone. If you want to uphold your values while denying disvalues at the same time, then making pointed jokes about the mystically-minded bombers is a good way of doing it. Items on a BK menu coming to Iraq any day now...: --"Fatwa Fillet of Fish": We purify your sole so you don't have to! -- Veggie sandwich: It's straight from the king by his majesty's orders. (Praise Allah!) --"Halaalburger": Have it your way.... which is certified by committee of course. --"Kafan wraps": We cloth your meat the way you would want to be presented when you have your last meal before that big bomb run you've been planning all these years.
  12. Yet another cave-in to Islamic threats

    Today, I just went back to the Border's that I used to regularly go to in order to follow-up... Well, when I went to the news/humanities section of the periodicals, I didn't find any copies of _Free Inquiry_. (Again, this particular store used to carry the magazine.) They did have _The Progressive_ and some other Socialist magazine which I've never seen before. (It has Noam Chomsky on the cover as well.) I asked the clerk at the information desk if they cariried _F.I._ at all. I figured that maybe I got there too late in the month and maybe they were in the process of replenishing some magazines with more current issues. Alas, the clerk said that they do not carry _F.I._ at all. ...so it's kind of looking like that it's not enough for a magazine to simply be Liberal to get carried at Border's.
  13. Humiliate a Muslim and forfeit your head!

    My thought exactly. ...and all this time I thought we had an ally against Pakistan's Islamic fundamentalists!
  14. Jihad in cyberspace

    (Whoa, I have to rush this response....!) Stephen, I trust that you don't think that such studies are mandatory. I think your point stands as is. As you and others have referenced, the rationality of the end user certainly comes into play. As long as we're using metaphors, I want to liken web browsing to car driving. :-D These days, I think the risks of HTML in mail are pretty well-known. (By the way, I think it was Phil that mentioned the dangers of auto-importing binaries by hyperlink. Well, in recent years, web browsers have allowed users to disable Java. Anyone care to wonder why that option came about???) Oh yeah, the car metaphor... well you likely can guess what I'll say... Just as an end user to should go into the browser's preference settings and tick on or off the security settings which they desire, a car driver has the option to wear a seat-belt... or not as he sees fit. (Is it too early to mention "Caveat Emptor"?) A number of follow-up points came to mind: 1) The Internet does not equal the WWW. Not that as many people use other connections options as the Web, I suppose, but people _can_ TelNet into an account. Plus, there are other ways of using the 'net e.g. newsreaders. Oh, ...and hasn't IRC come under fire for security reasons? That leads me to... 2) MS is not the only company dealing with security issues. From what I've read, MS was notified about some security problems, and they have taken a while i.e. more than several months at a time to offer fixes, but that doesn't change the fact that they do offer security updates. (In fact, I have my main PC set to auto-update various security provisions, so I don't even have to watch over my system to have it be protected.) 3) MS is the "big fish", so it attracts the most attention for being the big fish. In other words, due to having a bigger client base, Microsoft unsurprisingly has more critical attention paid to the integrity of their products. Frankly, if Netscape bombs on a new version of their web browser I wouldn't be happy, but I have other options. On the other hand, look at the wide array of products that MS has to hover over. Their product line seems almost encyclopedic! Could Netscape or even Google manage the security issues involved in issueing a new OS? Well, those other companies do not have to! There's more I could say along these lines, but I suppose even I have a somewhat better appreciation now for just how darn cool MS actually is (even if I continue to badmouth them on occasion. :-P ) Oh yeah, maybe the biggest point of all is 4) We are at war after all. Hacking has been around... well, as long as computing, but 'net terrorism is recent. Put differently, not all "black-hat" hackers are terrorists, but all 'net terrorists are "black-hat" hackers. That is, the security issues that we all deal with go well beyond 'net terrorism. It's just that a) 'net terrorism is more extraordinary in effective intensity and it is state-sponsored, so there are more resources for the enemies to draw from. (Sorry, if I'm starting to get a bit scattershot or tangential ...maybe I just will forget to draw enough conclusions, but I need to sleep!)
  15. Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie in Atlas Shrugged movie?

    Okay, if this were most any other forum, then I would have some trepidation about asking the following question, but I'm hoping that some of you die-hards will be able to check my memory! Someone else on THE FORUM must have heard the episode(s?) of "Philosophy: Who Needs It" a.k.a. "The Leonard Peikoff Show" on radio several years ago when he discussed the then recent purchase of the film rights. I could swear that he said something on the order of: 1) "The movie at least will amount to an advert for the book." 2) "I generally approve of the most recent script submitted." 3) "It won't be possible under current circumstances to do the book justice." Under the circumstances, (save for a radio transcript maybe?) none of what I'm saying here can be taken too seriously, but doesn't ayone else recall more or less the same gist???
  16. I bought _all 3_ of the recently published major Objectivism-related releases through Border's, and they have _always_ carried _Free Inquiry_. I want to check with local stores to see if they really balked..... Given the news regarding Border's apparent change of mind, I am doubtful that my local stores didn't follow suit. I suppose that if they still carry _F.I._, then I may have to investigate further... Simply put, I don't want to support such a cowardly cop-out when I have alternatives... I gave Border's _many_ years of business, so it is a bit sad if I have to go elsewhere to try to find a varied selection of periodicals without having to second-guess the purchaser's motivation.
  17. ...not too surprising fortunately. :-) He's been keeping the flame alive on behalf of Mike Mentzer for several years now. He's well known among high-intensity training/Heavy Duty practitioners. I recently purchased a book co-written by JL that provides a good overview of MM's life and work. (Alas, I intend to make such future purchases at Barnes and Noble or amazon instead from now on.....)
  18. Jokes

    Somebody beat the Easter Bunny to the punch.
  19. Media Seriously Considering War with Iran

    This is actually the 3rd post I thought of making just over the past several hours.....(the other two posts would have involved comparing thinking and writing methods....) Unlike those two posts I was developing, this should make sense and be relevant to anyone. I conducted a test.: First, I found this article about financing Islamic Jihad. You will note that if I stopped at this point, it would merely substantitate Burgess Laughlin's concern about failing to connect abstractions to concretes. The questionable quote is "Terrorists arrested during Operation Defensive Shield revealed the existence of an institutionalized transfer system, with large sums transferred by Iran via the organizations operating under its patronage..." One could ask several questions such as: Who in Iran....? By what specific vehicle did Iranians do this? In being curious about the city of Jenin, I found this. Then I thought, well what the heck _is_ Hamas actually? Here you go. NOW note this quote from the 3rd webpage I cited.... "Hamas enjoys strong financial backing from Iran, private benefactors and Muslim charities in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, Palestinian expatriates across the globe and American donors. Its budget has been estimated at between $40-70 million and 85 percent of it reportedly comes from abroad; the remaining 15 percent is raised among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. An Iranian-Palestinian Islamic alliance began to emerge during the intifada and gained momentum with the burgeoning Arab-Israeli peace process in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War. United in their militant rejection of Israel and in pursuing the end of the peace process, Hamas and Iran strengthened ties. The bilateral relationship was cemented when a delegation of senior Hamas leaders visited Teheran in October 1992 and was reportedly promised $30 million annually, as well as training and logistical support in Iran, southern Lebanon and Sudan." We've got the basis for a conceptual connection here. Iran--->Hamas---->Islamic Jihad. You will note that on the second webpage I cited, there are _several_ references to what Hamas is up to... and that couldn't possibly be exhaustive. As Stephen Speicher asked, isn't it enough that Iran threatens Israel (our professed ally.) Is it really a stretch to think that these sorts of connections abound and involve threats against America? I don't think it's headlong pragmatism to want to turn the heat up on Iran for these sorts of connections.
  20. Media Seriously Considering War with Iran

    Also, is there a statute of limitations for a past crisis?! I don't forget or forgive this!
  21. Ripping the Rioters with Ridicule

    (BUMP!!!) I just re-read this article, and it's still one of the best pieces I've read in months. I'm not sure if AC left anything unsaid (except for <cough> pointing to the altruistic basis of popular religions and political systems as practiced today. Okay, America isn't Socialist, but it's not fully Capitalist either.... lest anyone forget.) The idea of denying Middle-Eastern Muslims as violent people reminds me of President Clinton discussing the word "is".
  22. Yet another cave-in to Islamic threats

    This past weekend, I just purchased the April/May 2006 _Free Inquiry_, and it's loaded with articles about Islam with about half of the cartoons included. It even has a piece written by Christopher Hitchins. I got it at..... a Barnes and Noble in Irvine, California. There ya go.... not all of the chains caved-in.
  23. clinical research

    Withstanding the above responses, I think the epistemic basis for using the double-blind process really comes down to recognizing natural limits (followed by isolating related factors). Double-blind testing emphasizes differentiating between a control group with known traits and an experimental group with unidentified traits. I think it's important to remember that regardless of what is known about each group, the very use of more than one group introduces new complications. With one test subject, you can provide more information about that subject, but with more than one test subject it becomes much easier to test the testing process itself. That would yield maximal objectivity, right? Also, why not use what could be referenced as triple-blind testing? (For example, why not use one control group and two experimental groups?) I think whether this involves diminishing returns or not, double-blind testing may be more cost efficient when considering natural limits. ...and 3 seems to be the appropriate value to limit by. The number e (which is less than 3) is used for measuring natural changes after all. I'm not positing that I've exhausted the value of this type of testing, but I think it's a fundamental point.... I do not know of a better testing procedure as it is.
  24. I have some trepidation about starting yet another thread, but I think this item deserves separate consideration. (A question for the admin. staff: Should posts like these be collected into a special subsection considering how much breaking news there has been?) A version of the story on Muslims suing a Danish newspaper is <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Denmark-Prophet-Drawings.html?_r=1&oref=slogin">here target="</a>. Parenthetically, the cartoons weren't shown at the NYU panel event as indicated <a href="http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/6934.html">here</a>. I've seen this trend of getting "squeezed" from both sides before...., so I would say that the situation has escalated.
  25. Right out of the gate...!!! Check out the initial line of questioning with HDNet/Dallas Mavericks chief officer. Mark Cuban I'm still picking my jaw off the floor....