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Everything posted by ewv

  1. Don't shutdown the forum!

    I don't use social sites like facebook. Their content is disorganized, they are cumbersome to navigate, and they are designed to destroy privacy through their tracking, accumulation, and selling of almost everything they find out about you. You are the 'product', not the user. I also don't use the other two sites you mentioned because they are dominated by a terrible sense of life, unintelligent posts, and/or hostility to Ayn Rand. It would be a terrible mistake to turn the Forum over to either of them. The Forum is the only serious site worth consistently following and posting on.
  2. Hackers Reveal Nasty New Car Attacks Forbes, August 12, 2013 full article and video Inadequate regard for security in computer engineering has led to massive consequences hardly anyone would have seriously expected only a few years ago, with marketeers, government and criminal hackers now engaging in everything from tracking everything you do, to stealing personal information, to locking you out of your own home pc and all its files. Recent articles have revealed weaknesses of home networks ranging from routers built with trapdoors to vulnerability of a wireless home network from hackable controls in appliances like TVs and refrigerators able to control home applicances and PCs on the network. This article gives examples of what can be done to a car while being driven, and reports that manufacturers are aware of the importance and "believe" their systems are secure. How many times have Microsoft and other manufactures of computers and mobile devices told us the same thing? Yet new vulnerabilities are discovered routinely over time, and the NSA has an enormous inventory and menu of secret hacks available to government agencies to get into a large variety of operating systems, applications, and hardware (including the ray screen?) beyond the scope and intensity of what would even occur to most people. How long before they not only know everywhere you have been and where you are going, but are also able to frame you for speedidng or being at GPS coordinates you have never been to, or drive you to your destination or 'accidently' kill you on the way?
  3. Redskins lose trademark, Harry Reid says team will be 'forced' to change name
  4. We have come to expect the politicization of tax agencies exploiting their sweeping powers to harass and hound enemies in personal and political vendettas, now we see that the US Patent and Trademark Office has revoked six long standing trademarks of the Washington Redskins baseball team as "disparaging to Native Americans". The franchise has had the name "Redskins" since 1932 when the team was in Boston. Some of us can agree that the name "Washington Redskins" is offensive, but the solution to that is for the team to leave Washington. George isn't happy about the misuse of his name either. Washington Redskins Stripped of Trademark Protection Logo timeline Washington Redskins Stripped Of Trademarks, Patent Office Says Name Is Disparaging To Native Americans Amanda Blackhorse, et al v. Pro-Football, Inc.
  5. Nature of Time

    The basic fact that give rise to the perception of time is change. Temporal duration is experienced as a measure of the change of something from one state to the next in the context of other such changes all around it. It is conceptualized with a unit of regularity such as the period of a pendulum swinging, from which other durations can be measured and the concept of time formed in terms of the usual process of omitted measurements. Like any other concept, time requires both the "external" facts of entities changing, which give rise to it and are referred to by the concept, and our awareness of it in consciousness. It is objective as conscious awareness of that which is -- not subjective fantasy, and not something intrinsic and completely apart from consciousness. Only the facts that give rise to it are independent of consciousness. Time is therefore "in the universe", not the other way around as "the universe in time", and originates "locally" through local observation, not as an attribute of existence as a whole. Changes in the galaxies, etc. are measured in terms of the concept of time with which you start. There is no "beginning of time" because there is no beginning of existence. "Existence" refers to everything that is, was, or will be regardless of its state and changes, not the current physical universe. Existence has no beginning in non-existence. Non-existence is an abstraction from existence as you think of something not there, which once was, might have been, etc. There is no "somewhere else" in which non-existence metaphysically resides and from which existence could have arisen. Time is therefore eternal, meaning that the facts that give rise to it are in principle always available for measurement of duration within an existence that has always been, whatever form it may be in. That does not mean the existence of an "infinity", only that time is an attribute that is always within existence. Time variables in equations of physics refer to measurements of time in some unit, and presuppose the conceptual understanding of time before they can be related to other physical quantities in mathematically describing their change. Space-time is a scientific concept, not a matter of general philosophy. It refers to the abstract mathematical "space" of both spatial and time variables relating time and spacial coordinates in the equations of physics. That ranges from the simplest kinematic equations, to Newtonian dynamics and electromagnetic fields, to the most abstract tensor equations of general relativity relating space coordinates to time in ways more complex than simple explicit functions. In essence, the simplest example illustrating this is plotting distance and time on a two-dimensional space on a piece of paper (or computer monitor). But it is much more abstract and complex than that in the realm of advanced mathematical physics which routinely deals with four dimensional "spaces" and does not depend on physical drawing in graphs. The appearance of time variables related to spacial coordinates in equations does not mean that time and space are equivalent and that time no longer means time as we initially conceptualize it. To believe otherwise is to treat equations as floating abstractions cut off from the facts that give rise to them, stealing the concept of time by denying the concepts on which the physical theories depend. The objectivity of the concept of space-time is the same as any other valid higher level abstract concept -- the concept is objectively based on lower level abstractions in a hierarchy that is ultimately traced back to sense perception of entities in reality, in this case through complex procedures and validations of concepts and principles of science.
  6. David Brat, the tea party Congressional candidate who just made national headlines as the dog who caught the car by unexpectedly defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary election landslide, also has an interest in Ayn Rand that is being exaggerated in reports, and a more serious commitment to religion. His primary election victory made history despite his being outspent by at least 10 to 1 with the entire establishment against him in the media and endorsements: "This is a miracle from God," Brat told AP. Brat is a pro-free market economics professor with an interest in ethics in economics. He is a faculty member at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA, where he is Chair of the Department of Economics and Business, past Director of the Ethics Minor Program, and head of the campus BB&T Moral Foundations of Capitalism Program funded and sponsored through John Allison and the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism headed by C. Bradley Thompson. The reports on Brat so far do not indicate what kinds of ethics are being emphasized in his BB&T-funded program or to what degree John Allison's intent to emphasize Ayn Rand's philosophy as a serious alternative is part of it. A National Review article based on an interview with Brat said that "while he isn't a Randian, he has been influenced by Atlas Shrugged and appreciates Rand's case for human freedom and free markets". Brat is being characterized with exageration by some as an "Ayn Rand scholar", as "Ayn Rand Loving", and as "Runing A $500,000 Program To Push Ayn Rand's Ideas At College" in a "bank-branded program intended to give 'free-market principles' -- and Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism in particular -- a leg up in the classroom". The reports have not provided details in support of these claims, only citing the BB&T program and the title of one article Brat wrote on Ayn Rand's philosophy without saying what position he took. Brat's higher education consists of a degree in business administration from Hope College in 1986, a small religious liberal arts university in Michigan, followed -- after working in accounting -- by a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary where according to the New York Times he had thought he "wanted to be a professor of systematic theology and cites John Calvin, Karl Barth, and Reinhold Niebuhr as influences." But after receiving his M. Div. in 1990 he switched to The American University where received a PhD in economics in 1995. The National Review article reports that "he says his religious background informs his views on economics. 'I've always found it amazing how we have the grand swath of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and we lost moral arguments on the major issue of our day,' he says, referring to fiscal-policy issues." "Religion, particularly the importance of Christianity", the New York Times reports, "is a theme in his work, including his thesis, 'Human Capital, Religion and Economic Growth' and a presentation to the Virginia Association of Community Banks titled: 'The Moral Foundations of Capitalism, From the Great Generation to Financial Crisis ... What Went Wrong?'" Brat's campaign website emphasizes religion: "A man of deep faith, Dave attends St. Marys Catholic Church"; "... faith in God, as recognized by our Founding Fathers is essential to the moral fiber of the Nation" (attributed to Reagan); and "Dave respects and values every person he meets because he truly sees them as Children of God. Our Rights come from God and not from Government." Ayn Rand is not mentioned. His extensive writing includes one article on Ayn Rand's philosophy entitled "An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand", co-authored with Katy Holland and presented and published in the proceedings of Southeast Informs, Myrtle Beach, SC, October 6, 2010. Most of his articles concern economics, sometimes incorporating religious themes, and include one entitled "Kantian Ethics and the Financial Crisis", presented at the Association of Private Enterprise Education international conference, Guatemala City, Guatemala, April 5, 2009. None of his professional writing seems to have become easily available on the internet, and there is so far no statement of what his position is on Ayn Rand's philosophy and its moral foundations (or Kant's), but the very title of his one article on Ayn Rand and his connection with the BB&T program, exaggerated to be all or primarily about "pushing" Ayn Rand, have sent leftist writers into a snarling frenzy whatever Brat's actual beliefs dominated by religion may be.
  7. Thanks. I hadn't realized the link had disappeared. There is something strange about the Forum software that sometimes deletes links specified in the URL format, apparently when switching between display modes in the WYSIWYDG editor and who knows what else. It also sometimes on its own changes a url specified in the text to URL format,with or without further mangling, and changes the display of a utube link between the link text and an a display of the image of the first frame. Any of this can happen in the final submission. The old Forum software didn't do this (before they made you drop your custom improvements to conform with an "update"). Here is (I hope) the ARI link which embeds the utube video you linked to directly. http://ari.aynrand.org/blog/2014/06/16/aris-yaron-brook-discusses-dave-brat
  8. Here is an excellent interview with Yaron Brook on Dave Brat and the trend of which he is a part regarding Ayn Rand. Yaron Brook speaks from knowledge he has of Brat which has not been made publicly available, although he does not go into the details, but there is much more to this presentation because he discusses at length the context of Ayn Rand's influence.
  9. He is overlooking a lot. I have been giving him the benefit of the doubt since there isn't much written on the details and I have been focusing on what there is. But if he were a proponent of Ayn Rand one would think that he would have said more about it, especially as head of a BB&T program, There is very little on or related to Ayn Rand, and what there is isn't very promising. An example of this is the conflict he sees between "freedom" and "family life", which is more than a matter of rights. It's a personal moral issue of what you do regarding your family. It depends on what you are trying to accomplish, what means you have, and what your family is like. But conservatives regard "family structure" as a duty and somehow a foundation in their politics, often claiming "family" as an alternative to welfare in various ways. So right off the bat when you see him appealing to conservative "family" platitudes in conflict with "Ayn Rand capitalism" it isn't promising.
  10. Here is an update. Dave Brat's sole paper on Ayn Rand cited in his faculty research, "An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand", turns out to be not an analysis and evaluation of a philosophy, but a dubious utilitarianism econometrics attempt to statistically "test" it using "freedom indices" compiled by the World Bank for different countries today. A summary of the presentation is published under the very different original title, "Testing Ayn Rand's Moral Foundations of Capitalism: 20 Testable Hypotheses on the Nature of Capitalism". Contrary to his statement on the university website that the paper was "presented and published in the proceedings of Southeast Informs, Myrtle Beach, SC, October 6, 2010", the actual paper appears to not have been published, and is not available in printed form unless he chooses to release it himself. (I and others have asked him for it but there has so far been no response; I have also inquired at BB&T at Clemson.) The 2005 book The Philosophy Of Economics: A History Of Science, Method And Ethics which he lists with his research also appears not to be available or listed as having been published -- not being listed at amazon, bookfinder.com or the Library of Congress catalog. The forum for his verbal presentation on Ayn Rand, "Southeast Informs", turns out to have been an annual multi-disciplinary meeting of a chapter of InfORMS, the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences, an unlikely forum for philosophical discussion. In 2005 he published at the same forum a paper, "Is Growth Exogenous? Taking Bernanke Seriously: But How Can a Fed Guy Forget the Institutions?" (Proceedings of the Southeast Information Sciences, presented in Myrtle Beach, NC, October 2005) claiming to have proved by statistical correlation that a "Protestant institutional variable" in "countries with a Protestant religious establishment have 'on average' higher income levels". The summary of his statistical presentation on Ayn Rand, which appears to have been written to introduce the pending verbal presentation at the meeting, begins: If an actual written version of his presentation ever turns up, it may indicate more about his degree and level of understanding or his intellectual evaluation of the philosophical principles formulated by Ayn Rand, but this summary of his methodology is not promising (it does, however, provide a straightforward but very brief summary of her political philosophy regarded seriously, though not the "moral foundations".)
  11. Arnold, I haven't been discussing whether or not people in Dave Brat's district should be voting for him given his religious views. That he is a candidate in the tea party movement who just unseated the powerful establishment House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is very good in itself, but not much is yet known about him other than a vaguely free market emphasis. He is in a strongly conservative, religious region, so what we think won't make any difference to the votes for him, though it is still worth discussing. I wrote about a different topic especially suited to the Forum, documenting his known views on Ayn Rand versus his connections with religion in the context of a lot of media hype claiming or insinuating that he is an ardent fan and scholar of Ayn Rand. He is neither a supporter of her philosophy nor a scholar of her work. The Ryan fiasco a few years ago -- in which excitement over recordings of the Congressman (and then VP candidate) making definitive statements indicating a strong support of Ayn Rand at a deeper level than "libertarian" politics was followed by his running in denial as he firmly sought refuge in orthodox Catholicism and establishment politics at the first hint of public controversy -- illustrates the necessity of examining Brat's actual stated views in the context and contrast of the recent reports. As for your comment on electability: "Atheism" is a negative statement only, rejecting belief in the supernatural, not a statement of anyone's positive position, which is left unstated. Supporting an "atheist" -- who could be an individualist, anarchist, or statist with any kind of ethics, is therefore not the goal, especially in politics. It is, however, important to assess religiosity in a political candidate because there are degrees of intensity and commitment to religion. A large majority of those professing religion today do so primarily in god cliches with no practical effect for most of their lives. But not all of them, and Dave Brat's theological background and continued emphasis on religion raise warning flags. We can't jump to conclusions in assessing Dave Brat either way without further investigation. We seek candidates who not only support economic freedom, but more fundamentally individual rights, and who can think and act in a competent, rational, and effective way rather than flailing in political ineptness, going off on theocratic tangents, or embarrassing themselves as flakes while serving to discredit the tea party movement, let alone capitalism and individualism. Rep. Michelle Bachman, for example, is religious, but is much more competent and effective in her activism in Washington than merely passively voting the right way much of the time. Whatever value Dave Brat sees in Ayn Rand, he is unlikely to campaign on it in today's context, but he has already been tied to her and you are right that "One is then faced with trying to keep Rand's philosophy from being contaminated by misunderstanding" including "unprincipled ideas which place faith on a par with reason". But that always has to be done anyway as Dave Brat and others promote religion in the classroom, in the tea party movement, and among the fans of Atlas Shrugged.
  12. Does this study presume that Leonard Peikoff's claimed solution to the problem of induction is true?
  13. Hacking car controls

    It doesn't appear that they are vulnerable to only turning a phone on, but that says nothing about the vulnerability to hacking from inside an airplane. I haven't seen anything about that.
  14. Objectivist Culture

    The movement isn't disintegrating either. Whatever happened personally between Dave Harriman and Leonard Peikoff or others, it is not a public "Harriman fiasco" causing anything to "disintegrate". A "movement" is not an organized structure, it is constantly changing and shifting in accordance with personalities.
  15. Objectivist Culture

    This is worse than an over-generalization. It's a self-referential example of itself.
  16. The wsj link requires a login no matter where you use it from. Here is a summary article http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2014/03/07/judge-says-faa-lacks-authority-ban-commercial-drone-use
  17. How does it deal with the fact that there is no Obamacare law because the imperial president keeps rewriting it to be what he wants?
  18. As you noticed, the domain is registered behind a Pennsylvania organization. If you use trace tools and go to the host domain 1and1.com you see on the about page that the company handling the registration is a US subsidary of a European hosting company that handles the domain registration for its customers. Web hosting companies don't reveal the names of their clients. You need to find out how this group is legally organized: a 501[C]3, etc. If it's incorporated at all then the filing papers are on the public record in the state of incorporation. The website says the name of their "Council President" is Keith King. It looks like yet another taxpayer subsidized crony alliance mixing developers and government: "July 8, 2013, the City of Colorado Springs began its pursuit of supplemental funding with the Regional Tourism Act of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade." There is more, promoted with the usual euphemisms that don't tell you any specifics, at http://www.cityforchampions.com/rta/ But there are a number of news articles linked for publicity. One article states: The reporter is Rich Laden at 636-0228. You could call him and ask what he knows about who and how much is behind this scheme. Also look through all the other articles and pages at the site for more clues.
  19. Trying To Teach

    Be careful with terminology like "working class" and "welfare class", even as shorthand terminology. People who are far better off than themselves have "worked" all their lives, and there are no Marxist "classes" in this country. We don't have a caste society, although the statism and collectivism are driving it towards that as it keeps people down and provides growing privilege for a political class. The people in your educational classroom are all individuals and all different. They are in your classroom and in their current circumstances for a variety of reasons, mostly having to do with their own choices and actions over a long period, resulting in their never getting their "act together".. There are similarities between them which you have observed and which you can exploit in tailoring the material you teach and how you teach it, as you are doing. But try to explain along the way that they are individuals, not a determined economic and political "class" bound to be in certain 'unfair' conditions -- this despite all the class warfare rhetoric they hear around them all the time from demagogues trying to promote envy and resentment in an attempt to emotionally manipulate people and stampede them into going after those who have been targeted and demonized by the demagogues. They are egalitarian nihilists trying to drag us all down to a lowest common denominator as dependents under the boot of their own political ruling class. Properly understanding and dealing with interest rates and car loans won't save them from that, and it is precisely such financial matters that the left will try to buy them off with through government subsidies.
  20. Trying To Teach

    The metaphor conveyed a degree and scope of the importance of fundamental ideas, not incinerating people.
  21. Evolution v. Creation 'Debate'

    After about 30 minutes the debate was still so boring and irrelevant to me that I couldn't keep watching. The creationist's constant appeal with his high tech props and testimonials to a couple of 'young earthers' who are otherwise successful scientists or engineers is a tediously boring fallacy. Their genuine accomplishments had nothing to do with creationism. How do repeated testimonials boasting that a Bristol professor who designed a worm gear mechanical system to open a door on a satellite support the professor's claim that his "research" supports creationism? These fallacies show a defensive desperation in the creationists' grasping to be taken seriously, which illustrates why the Dawkins organization is right in its emphatic recommendations that scientists not debate creationists. A much more interesting presentation worth your time to watch is Neil deGrasse Tyson's on how even a minority of scientists could embrace religion at all. He describes how their appeals to religion have historically been in the gaps in understanding on the edge of advancing science as religion crumbles before the advancing wave of rational understanding.Two good written articles by Tyson at the Hayden Planetarium web site expanding on the video presentation are The Perimeter of Ignorance and Holy Wars. A couple of very informative books on the topic are Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker: Why the evidence of evolution reveals a universe without design, and Dorothy Nelkin, The Creation Controversy (2nd ed 2000), which emphasizes major events and creationist institutions in the political and legal history, including the battle over textbook content in schools. One of the many interesting explanations in the Dawkins book is his discussion of the concept 'random' in its role for natural selection in evolution. He explains how it does not mean that the universe operates with a metaphysical randomness in place of natural law, showing that momentous evolutionary results occurring with negligibly miniscule probability by "chance" versus teleological design is a false alternative. This also shows how the fence-sitting religious compromisers' claim to embrace "evolution" reconstrued as "God's plan" is inherently a rejection of Darwinian evolution.
  22. Maybe, even if you can't retrieve it from your NSA backup and archiving service, which for some odd reason seems to be a one way operation. Domain registrants have to provide a valid means of contact although there are registration options that allow paying for indirect contact and ownership behind an additional layer maintained by the registrar. You can also trace the IP address and dns records to obtain some kinds of information, and search the internet archives for earlier versions of the web pages. What is the domain?
  23. CIA denied help in Benghazi

    They maintained that lie for weeks and still don't acknowledge that it was false, let alone that they were lying for a cover-up. The establishment media won't mention it: As Hilary told them, "what difference does it make?". Obama said recently that he wouldn't want a son to play football because of the danger of head injuries. Mark Levin noted on his radio show that Obama didn't mention if he would want a son to be an ambassador under him.
  24. Aloha

    The same thing happened with the ferry service between Lubec and Eastport in eastern Maine across the entrance to Cobscook Bay. It's only 2 miles across the water and otherwise an hour's drive around the bay. The ferry sank. You don't have to breed and ship sweet potatoes to go from one island to another, but I highly recommend growing and eating them if you can.