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Everything posted by R.M.Alger

  1. Surprised this is not up here already.
  2. This is great; I don’t even have to say anything, it speaks for itself. Without further ado: -Ryan P.S.--- I found this at Café Hayek
  3. Osama Bin Laden Killed

    It's a little early to say, but it Looks like Osama Bin Laden has been killed in a U.S. Air attack. Regardless of the military importance of this, I think it represents a major symbolic victory for America. Great job Military!
  4. This horror does not deserve a title

    This has to be one of the most stunningly ridicules things I’ve ever seen; why not just teach kids how to calculate with Roman Numerals and call it “conceptual learning.” Actually, the comparison to Roman Numerals is spot on. This poor kid was taught symbols that represented certain numbers (a cube for 1000, a box for 100, a line for 10, and a dot for 1) and asked to stack and add these symbols, in a very similar fashion to how Roman Numerals where calculated. This is just a recreation of more primitive counting systems, before humanity developed some brilliant ideas; like the concept of zero. (Sumerian/Babylonian numerals worked on similar principles. Have a look:) You know, with all the talk out-there about ‘improving education’, I rarely hear people talking about methods of teaching; or more importantly, the philosophy of education. No, all I hear about is how schools are under-funded and how longer hours is a step in the right direction; when over-and-over again studies have shown that neither of things are the most important determining factors in quality education. I’m afraid, with no guiding principles behind education, and a public still bought into the myth that the government is the best shepherd of our children’s minds, travesties of education like this one will continue long into the future.
  5. ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell have created a system, in remarkable little time, that could prevent (or rather, limit) disasters like the BP oil spill. Its called the marine well containment system.
  6. Immunizations

    Didn’t mean to imply that you did; just stating that you brought up the parallel with drunk driving laws, which I think is relevant to this issue.
  7. Immunizations

    Interesting question Abaco, This is somewhat similar to the issue of forced government quarantines (which both Ayn Rand and Leonard Piekoff support; you should see both their thoughts on Typhoid Mary.) While this might seem like a minor issue, I think this case is important in understanding some of the more subtle applications of human rights in Ayn Rand's ideas. When looking at this issue, two implications become clear: first, that a person can violate another persons rights without intentionally meaning to, even while the violator is completely innocent; and second, that it is within the governments power to use force against people who are completely innocent of any intentional violation of others. I think a great deal can be said about these implications, but I tend to be long-winded, so lets stick to the matter at hand. I don't know if Ayn Rand would have supported large scale quarantines, but I think they are consistent with her views (there is also the fact that, should a large-scale quarantine become necessary, only the government can provide it.) Extending from this: does the government also have the power to force vaccinations on people, should a situation become dire enough, such as a full-scale outbreak (or in this case, when the situation is relatively controlled, as it normally is?) As Piz said above, this situation can best be compared to drunk driving. A person can be arrested, tried, and convicted of drunk diving, all without hurting a single person. This is because endangering another person (even if the "person" in question is not specific) is considered a violation of rights. In the same regard, does a person who does not get a vaccination endanger others? (Oh, and before anybody raises a fuss, I know full well that the act of purposely getting drunk and then deciding to drive is far different then the non-action of not getting a vaccination. I also realize that everybody that is "endangered" by a un-vaccinated person can simply vaccinate themselves.) Another issue a person can raise concerns child abuse. In the US, the courts have ruled (quite rationally, I think) that a refusal to provide basic medical attention for your child is negligence and child abuse. A person can argue, that by exposing a child to the risk of infections by not getting them vaccinated, you are being a negligent parent. Considering all this, I think a person can make a intelligent and well-thought-out case for forced vaccinations. As for me, I see little justification for forced vaccinations in relatively controlled times; the risk seems too small to justify it. Though I am willing to entertain ideas that concern children, or the event of a full-scale outbreak. Thanks for bringing this up Abaco. you mentioned that you did some lab work in the past. I am somewhat ignorant of the medical realities beyond what I here about vaccinations, and would be interested to here your thoughts on this. - Ryan
  8. Largest "READ Ayn Rand"?

    What, he couldn't have worked on his handwriting a little? Car-based, continent-scale calligraphy really is a lost art form.
  9. Atlas Shrugged movie redux

    This is not particularly encouraging, listen to what the director says about Ayn Rand and “Good and Evil”: You can read the whole interview here.
  10. Inception (2010)

    This movie deserves talking about.
  11. Fitting right in with the recent posts dealing with young people accomplishing incredible things: Meet the Youngest Ever Microsoft System Engineer:
  12. An Interesting Little Survey

    I admit I don't quite know what to make of this survey, in terms of overall trends: Is it just me, or are there little contradictions in people's answers? (Those contradictions probably come from misunderstandings about what these words actually mean.) Some of the answers surprised me. For instance, I'm surprised that the younger generation regarded "family Values" better then the oldest one. Here's a big question: does the older generation represent a different time in political history, or does this survey show that people change as they get older? There's a big difference, and it would be very hard to give this survey any wider meaning without knowing which is which.
  13. South Park (1997)

    Your completely correct, government should be established to protect an individuals rights and to put the use of force under objective control. But I also believe that the continued freedom of any country depends powerfully on the populace’s willingness to defend their rights (and I’m not talking about personal arsenals.) Ray is also correct, a populace that is ambivalent toward, or unwilling to defend their own rights will likely not have their rights defended by their elected officials. Ayn Rand said the only sure way to change a country’s politics is through cultural change. I think, in order for organizations like Comedy Central to gain the protection they deserve, they are going to have to start demanding it, or refusing to give in to intimidation (or at the very least, admitting that they ARE threatened.) But you are correct; Comedy Central is put in a difficult situation, and I was a bit hard on them. And I do understand the actions of stores like Border’s; because as much as one might be willing to risk one’s own life and safety, how willing are executives to risk the lives of others that work for them?
  14. South Park (1997)

    Recently, South Park celebrated it's 200th (and 201st) episode; in which they bring back some of their most memorable episodes, including their most controversial story-arc, involving the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. The episodes focus on celebrates trying to harness Muhammad's ability not to be criticized. In what should come to no surprise to anybody, some Muslims took offense to this. Trey Stone and Matt Parker (the creators of the show) where threatened, as well as Comedy Central. Here is a quote from RevolutionMuslim.com: It's not necessary to comment further on this issue when I'm on this site. All I want to say is: 'Shame on Comedy Central.'
  15. It would be hard to find a single piece of paper that better demonstrates the problems with the American educational system then this: Finally! A teacher that understands that the purpose of educations is to fill a student’s mind with disconnected (and sometimes incorrect) facts while destroying their will and ability to think. I’m sure young Alex will learn a valuable lesson from this encounter: that nothing good can come from questioning your betters, even when you know their wrong.
  16. Listen.... But Try Not To Think

    Given this, I think it's safe to be more the skeptical. Though I must say, even if it is fake, it's content is hardly surprising. I remember back in sixth grade a poor student got in a fight with my teacher about the size of the moon (the teacher was dead wrong.) My teacher eventually got the student to be quite, and the issue was never resolved.
  17. AVATAR

    You can read more about this project, and James Cameron's involvement here. Environmental silliness aside; if people are being forced off their property (Eminent domain style) for the sake of a massive government project, then Cameron is at least partly in the right. I would lose the warpaint and feathers though.
  18. AVATAR

    Cameron has found what he thinks is a real-life parallel to 'Avatar'; in the building of a hydroelectric dam in Brazil (which the 'indigenous people' aren't too happy about.) To stop this grave injustice, Cameron took a page from the playbook of his fictional hero, Jake Sully: Oh Cameron, you adorable rascal. - Ryan P.S. -- On a more serious note: I don't know the specifics of the dam project itself. I do know its a government venture, and it might be that people are being forced off their property. But....still.
  19. This forum has been a little light on new movies lately; plus, I thought the movie section could use some more family friendly entertainment.
  20. A Quantum Question

    I know there are some smart and knowledgeable people on this forum, so I’m going to throw a Quantum Physics question out there. When I first learned about Quantum Physics (Astronomy class in high school), it seemed like a rigid scientific discipline; the way people talk about it now, though, makes it seem like some new-age spiritualism. “Quantum physics delves into the idea that our reality is whatever we perceive it to be. Meaning that it's only because we are observing this constructed reality that it continues to exist.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard statements like these from a variety of sources. What is the justification for such statements? Are there respected scientists who claim this? Or is it just pop science corrupting the real thing? Now, to some extent I understand the argument that observation inevitably affects behavior; but this seems to be a tad more extreme. And while where on the subject, can anybody suggest any reading material or sources where a layman can learn something about Quantum Physics; or is Quantum Physics to complex a discipline to lend itself to a laymen’s understanding?
  21. "One must never fail to pronounce moral judgment"

    Something Ayn Rand doesn't deal with in this quote (I don' know if she dealt with it elsewhere): what about services that continue to violate rights by there use? Social Security is a system, by the time you take money from it, the harm is done (through coercive taxation), but what about exploiting a legal system which coerces labor or money out of individuals (such as a doctor who has a legal obligation to treat you.) In my mind, there's a marked difference between services like food-stamps, and those that continue to violate rights by using them. I have a hard time morally justifying the latter.
  22. I’m afraid some people (those who unquestionably support Obama and those who truly despise him) might not pick up on some of the satirical elements of this video: Of course, there kind of hard to miss.
  23. Supreme Court strikes down censorship!

    Let's not give our hopes up yet. I just learned in a terribly written article that this ruling is unpopular with the majority of American's; which opens the door for new legislation: I don't know how accurate this data is, but this is troubling if true.