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Everything posted by JeffT

  1. Corporations

    In the first thread where I entered debate with you, I made a post iterating on how each type of more complex organization (from an individual acting alone, to a partnership, to a corporation) was an instance of freedom of association and contract, and not any special privileges granted by force. At this point I have no more patience to keep repeatedly looking up my old quotes and old links. I've done it before (several posts up, with links to the earlier threads), and any reader or yourself can do so.
  2. Corporations

    The same as when we recognize any other form of coercion by government. We oppose the coercion, not the acts that the coercion attempts to forbid or control.
  3. Corporations

    A N Other, this is now the third thread where you've started the same discussion about the rights of individuals organized as a corporation. Myself and others posted extensively in these previous two threads in debate with you: Supreme Court strikes down censorship! Corporations and Political Speech The idea that corporations are not really people is a red herring, and states nothing. Of course they're not; it was always an intentional abstraction. The issue is freedom of association and freedom of contract. When you have been challenged on the philosophic issues, you then point out how corporations are involved in lobbying and speech that is harmful to our rights. And then later you start a new thread, going around all over again. Freedom of speech means the freedom to advocate for any political system, including systems involving the initiation of force. Whether one or more individuals engage in that speech through a corporate structure, or without, does not change that. The fundamental problem is that the Constitution does not protect our rights--not the speech. I'll quote some of my posts from the earlier threads: Your post on Oct. 31, 2010 at 3:25pm PT hinted toward an answer, but I don't believe was clear enough.
  4. Imported CDs from Japan

    Oh, one more thing that's worth posting again to mention. The detailed attention to quality goes right down to the shrinkwrap. Most CDs that I bought had very neatly, carefully applied shrinkwrap with a "pull slip" that would easily and neatly tear the lower edge off, leaving the rest of the wrap to slip off like a sleeve. A nice contrast to CDs and DVDs here where you're tearing your fingernails on a tiny edge, then again on the sticker underneath the wrap.
  5. Imported CDs from Japan

    I've regularly ordered from I can definitely confirm that far more care is taken in at least the packaging and presentation of Japanese CDs than in the US. All CDs are treated as collector's items. Inserts are carefully presented and artfully designed. Catalog numbers are the primary identifier for discs, and they are consistently and unfailingly printed on every insert, the "obi", in nearly all cases on the underside rim of the disc itself, and any stickers on the packaging. (I have purchased used CDs where the original buyer had cut out stickers on the shrinkwrap and kept them in the case.) Every CD, nearly without exception, contains an "obi" which is a slip that wraps around the binding onto the front and back and contains full identifying information for the disc. It is underneath the shrinkwrap but outside the disc case, so once unwrapped, the obi should and can easily be kept within the case with the rest of the inserts. The standard price for a CD is 3000 yen, about $40. (Back in the years when I was regularly collecting Japanese CDs, this converted to around $25-$30... how things have changed.) Note that this isn't merely the price you pay to import them to the US... this is the actual price in Japan. Shipping to the US adds around $15-$20 per order plus around $4/CD. One reason that Japanese CDs sometimes have bonus tracks exclusive only to Japan is that Japanese licensors negotiate and pay extra to get these, to discourage Japanese residents from importing the cheaper releases from elsewhere in the world. In my case, my reason for buying is just to get Japanese music--not to get supposedly better Japanese releases of music created elsewhere. Although exclusive bonus tracks are one thing, I would be greatly suspicious that sound quality is any better on a consistent basis. I suppose it's possible certain albums could have been remastered for a Japanese exclusive release, but I'd guess that's uncommon.
  6. Happy Birthday to JeffT

  7. I saw it in both digital projection and 35mm. The digital version looks amazing--quite a bit better than 35mm.
  8. "Everything" isn't to be taken strictly literally. That said, I prefer to shift my personal risk surface more strongly toward being risk-averse than perhaps many people. I would back up the contents of my mind if technology made it possible. I would be enormously negatively affected if a fire were to occur in my home, or if my hard disks were to fail without backup. Everyone should consider their personal situation, and can adapt the advice accordingly. [And argh, I misspelled "insure" as "ensure" above--reminds me of a recent thread...]
  9. For what it's worth, I once saw an incandescent bulb explode without provocation and shoot out of its socket. It left a somewhat clean cut through the narrow part with the now-open bulb half flying across the room. As an individual choosing what products to buy, who can predict this? It's a reminder to take the usual precautions: Ensure everything. Backup everything. Keep some backups off-site. Store irreplaceables in a secure, fire-protected location to the extent practical, and for papers, keep copies backed up. Live in a home with fire sprinklers.
  10. Mispronunciations

    Oh yes, this is definitely by far my #1 annoying mispronunciation. A circle of my friends in 6th grade even talked about this one, it was so prevalent.
  11. Mispronunciations

    Nope. You're right--it's important for the reasons you state. A personal "favorite" of mine: "chipolte" instead of "chipotle". All of your examples, and mine, are in the category of being clearly wrong by trivial examination of the spelling. I am much more forgiving when the proper pronunciation rests on information not conveyed in the spelling. That simply suggests that the person has learned the word in writing but hasn't heard it spoken (or hasn't made the connection to the spoken word), particularly for young people. For example, "rendezvous" or "Worcester".
  12. The state of knowledge without any assertion being proven (or having other relevant evidence) is "I have no information about whether X exists", not "It is not the case that X exists".
  13. Spam Attacks on THE FORUM

    THE FORUM logs you out whenever you change IP addresses (which goes against web standards whereby an IP address is supposed to be distinct from web session state). So if you are behind rotating proxy servers, it's essentially impossible to use THE FORUM logged in. I'm guessing this is the situation you're facing. There was an earlier thread on this:
  14. Summary Justice

    You're equivocating between inept self-destruction and a powerful war-force on an interstellar scale. Alien travelers with the power to destroy man by any means--much less change the orbit of a planet--are not remotely threatened by a few socialistic backwater countries. You'll also note that in this sci-fi trope, the aliens destroy earth because of its technology and because of man's selfishness--not the opposite. Whether you intended it or not, this story grants undeserved moral cover to such collectivist parables.
  15. It's unfortunate that those buying electronic books at this time need to choose their device/platform not just on features of the device, but based on predictions of the future of that particular e-book store/platform, because books are "protected" and can't be moved to other types of readers. As with protection on music (now eliminated) and movies, this has nothing to do with piracy (unprotected copies of books, movies, are readily available on file-sharing networks regardless), but rather is publishers wanting to make electronic books as unfriendly as they can get away with because e-books threaten their business model as gatekeepers to content. It is true that this limitation will be rendered less significant, as piz points out, by reader applications on tablets and computers. (Make sure to pick a tablet which doesn't block, or de facto block by imposing unrealistic restrictions, other e-book reader applications from running on its tablet other than the one created by the tablet maker, as Apple has announced they will be doing with iPad.)
  16. Wikileaks

    You're right, in the sense that we do have enough publicly available information from the news every day that we don't need leaks or "secret" information to know the general behavior of our government. The size of the leak also strongly suggests indiscriminate activities and sheds doubt as to any possible legitimate goals of the leakers. I am refraining from reaching a firm opinion of the Wikileaks diplomatic cable incident at this time, though, as I don't know enough about the domain to know what political effects it may have. For example: There was more than enough publicly available information demonstrating that the global warming scare is a politically-motivated campaign to restrict industry and technology on a vast scale, for anybody paying close attention to reach that conclusion. Yet the leak of additionally incriminating documents made huge news and did great damage the global warming political movement, even though their basic premise was always clear. I am unsure what positive or negative political effects the diplomatic cable leaks may have, and I leave open the possibility for leaks of this sort (especially much smaller, targeted ones than this) to have positive effects.
  17. Dr. Peikoff on sex change surgery

    I think you are right. Such operations do reflect negatively on the doctors (and this may be an understatement). I don't believe that a doctor should simply apply their skills "no questions asked". But it's not remotely morally the same as the described Nazi doctors who "operate" on (i.e. torture) innocent victims.
  18. Dr. Peikoff on sex change surgery

    Peikoff said something near the end of his answer, that, in my opinion, dwarfed the rest of his response. He said: "... the doctors who perform those operations, in my opinion, are corrupt, without qualification. I put them in the same category as the doctors in the Nazi concentration camps who took out perfectly healthy organs simply as an exercise in their skill, completely independent of the validity or the value or the morality of what they were doing." So, according to Dr. Peikoff, a doctor who performs an operation on a patient who has consented, and has planned for it for a long time--even if the patient is acting irrationally--is morally no different than (or at least, in the "same category" as) a cold-blooded Nazi torturer against an innocent prisoner. This is not the Peikoff I knew as the author of OPAR.
  19. Wikileaks

    It's not comparable in magnitude, but there are situations where it might be the same in principle. To illustrate, I chose an analogy where it was very obvious the moral good that might come from breaking a law. For releasing documents it is neither obvious nor is it even the case that it is a moral good much of the time, but I maintain that in some situations it could be.
  20. Wikileaks

    And if I knew that it would cause harm to our citizens' lives either right now or 6 months from now, or whenever in the future, (this includes indirectly, including in ways that might not be apparent to the leaker, and if the leaker cannot be sure of the contrary then the moral burden is on him) I would be clear in my belief that it was wrong and immoral. But stating a priori that a group of thieves (speaking legally) are acting in the "opposite manner" (based on the facts of reality, irrespective of any just or unjust laws) is begging the question.
  21. Wikileaks

    The premise of this question confuses the abstract issue of the morality of releasing documents with the practicality of doing so in a society where such activities are not legal (or the legality is murky, but too legally risky for almost anybody to perform). As a practical matter, the answer to your question is no. Presumably the government can in most cases both effectively prevent leaks and punish those who do so, and the contrary is the exception, and it would make no sense for people to indiscriminately attempt to steal or leak what they like. It usually makes no sense to openly defy the law in protest, or to martyr oneself. I disagree with the implicit suggestion in your question that my declaration that a possibly illegal act might be moral implies anarchy. Anybody who violates the law does so at their own risk and without legal cover. It is not necessarily a contradiction to say "Action <x> was good and moral, though actor <a> unexpectedly was caught and prosecuted, and because I obey the law, I won't materially support or legally defend <a>'s actions, or incite similar actions". To make an analogy with a clearer example: What if one is drafted to the military? One could ask "does that mean evading the draft is a proper activity for private citizens to be engaged in, with damage assessment carried out after the fact?" Anyone's choice to break the law in that situation is only theirs to make, and the fact that if caught and prosecuted they would not have legal cover doesn't mean that that person has committed a moral injustice against anyone.
  22. Wikileaks

    If the leaks actually (or having been reviewed, should have reasonably been expected to) put military members in harm's way, then those leaks are harmful and immoral. (Why would anyone conclude that I excluded the protection of our military members when I state that the legitimate purpose of the government is the protection of rights?) I don't know if the leaks put military members in harm's way. The fact of the large magnitude of the leak doesn't answer that question for me. Politicians' seemingly knee-jerk statements that it puts lives at risk could just as easily be hyperbolic bluster as they are accurate (judged from the perspective of a lay person), so the fact that they said this doesn't answer that question for me either. I could easily see that leaks might deservedly embarrass politicians or expose to be shams high-level political strategies, either of which might have a beneficial effect. Of course, I won't and wouldn't do anything to support Wikileaks unless I was sure it was both legal and moral, including that it didn't put military members in harm's way. I don't know either right now. But I want to be clear the standard I would use to reach such an assessment of (im)morality, and that simply the magnitude of the leak, or the fact that it targeted the US, do not self-evidently answer that question. (And if people have reviewed the Wikileaks releases and were to convince me they are harmful, then I state these principles as what I would use to evaluate a leak in the general case.) I very clearly stated that the question of morality depends on whether harm to individual rights is being done by the release. How you could conclude that I therefore would support any type of leak (which I take to be the meaning of your example that I would support disrupting a planned police raid, presumably of actual criminals), regardless, is a mystery to me.
  23. Wikileaks

    I am not claiming that the Wikileaks leaked cables are in the same category; only making an analogy to the situation to illustrate the principle that the legality is a separate question than a moral analysis of the action.
  24. Wikileaks

    I am not disputing the illegality of the initial breaking of confidentiality, or of breaking into a computer system. Thus most of this isn't relevant to my arguments. I am arguing for the standard by which one should evaluate actions which do not respect a country's desire to keep secret information secret (even if that information was originally stolen).