# Jay P

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• Gender Male
• Location USA
• Interests Software engineering, Objectivism, science, history
1. ## Uniform taxes in the Constitution

I think you're right, and in fact this might be the reason that, before the ratification of the 16th amendment, income taxes were ruled unconstitutional - because of being non-uniform. But then that amendment specifically added the provision to the Constitution that an income tax was now permissible. Presumably that means the tax is allowed in spite of being non-uniform.
2. ## Science Brain Bogglers (Round 1?)

OK, I think I've got it figured out. Without looking at the internet or consulting notes and books about electricity and magnetism, here's what I remember: If a conductor is moved through a magnetic field, there will be a voltage induced in the conductor. That's what we have here. The voltage in the conductor (coin) will cause a current to flow inside the coin. The direction of the induced current will be such that it causes a force that opposes the motion. (I think this is called Lenz's law, but I'm not allowed to look .) Here, the "motion" is the relative motion of the magnet and the coin, so the induced current will oppose this relative motion - that is, it will try to prevent the magnet and the coin from moving relative to each other. That means it will try to keep the coin moving along with the magnet - in other words, oppose the relative motion. I'm thinking that the induced current in the coin is just circling around. And this is the same phenomenon that, in a generator, gives rise to the force that opposes the turning of the generator - the current flows in the wires in a direction that causes a force that tries to stop the generator from turning, hence the need to supply energy to keep it going. The whole thing depends on the motion. Just holding the magnet there wouldn't do anything. Paramagnetism would not explain it: the force would be way too small, and it wouldn't depend on the motion.
3. ## William F. Buckley vs. Ayn Rand: Ayn Rand's Revenge

Bush's statement about atheists is more than merely alleged; I remember reading and hearing about him making it. The question he was asked was whether atheists had full rights as Americans, and he replied something to the effect of "Not really; this is after all one nation under God." I remember quite a few Objectivists being aware of this and discussing it during the 1989 TJS conference, so I definitely wasn't the only one who knew about it.

5. ## Problem-solving in films

The first one I thought of was Apollo 13, already recommended. October Sky might also be what you're looking for, in that it depicts a group of boys in high school who decide to build small rockets, and thus have to figure out how to solve many problems. There's more to the movie than that, but speaking of using science and math to solve problems, one of the boys illustrates this particularly well.
6. ## The Peikoff Endorsement

I'm sorry to hear Ford was against abortion, and I stand corrected on that. But, that just reinforces my point about the anti-abortion stance being so prevalent among Republicans, because that means we'd have to go back to Nixon (whose abortion stance I know nothing about) or even Goldwater to find a pro-choice Republican. ... In summary, I'm not arguing about the relative threats of left versus right; I am just disputing your claim that there are only a few Christian Republicans who want to ban abortion. Based on the evidence I've already given, I still do not see how you can reasonably make this claim. There are just too many prominent Republicans who want to ban abortion. (People like candidates, talk-show hosts and politicians who have actually been elected.) This would not be the case if only a few Republicans wanted to ban abortion, for that would mean that the vast majority wanted to keep abortion legal, and anti abortionists would not get very far in the party. How could it be that a party in which there were only "a few" who wanted to ban abortion, that we'd have to go back 40 years to find a pro-choice presidential candidate?
7. ## The Peikoff Endorsement

When it comes to Christian Republicans and abortion, how in the world can you make the claim that only a "few" of them want to ban it? Heck, the banning of abortion is one of their big issues. I don't think I've ever encountered a Christian Republican who doesn't want to ban at least some cases of abortion, and I've encountered all too many who want to ban abortion in virtually all circumstances. If only "a few" want to ban it, how come Mike Huckabee was so popular and did so well in the primaries? If only a few want to ban abortion, why can people like Rush Limbaugh get away with disparaging pro-choice Republicans, as he did the other day on his show? (He is by far the most popular of the conservative talk-show hosts; given his anti-abortion stance, he would not have this popularity if only "a few" of the Christian Republicans also wanted to ban abortion.) If only a few want to ban it, where were all of these pro-choice Republican candidates for the presidential nomination? As far as I know, Giuliani was the only even partially pro-choice one among them, and of course his candidacy failed miserably. And look at all of McCain's earlier pandering to the Religious Right - before he got the nomination, he went out of his way to make sure they all knew he was anti-abortion. Somebody can correct me if I'm wrong, but the last pro-choice Republican who got his party's nomination for president was Gerald Ford, way back in 1976. One can argue about whether the greatest threat to our liberties today comes from the left or right, but among the religious people on the right (and many non-religious conservatives too) the desire to ban abortion is very strong. I also reject the claim that these people don't want to meddle in the lives of others. If all they wanted was to be left alone and they're against abortion, the solution for them would simple - just don't have one! But instead, they want to forcefully take away this choice from women they've never met.
8. ## How to invest money in today's economy

This is a recycled joke. I first heard it back in 2002 (or before) during the bear market that followed the collapse of the dot-com bubble. The names of the companies were different - one could have filled in the blanks then with plenty of companies that never amounted to anything, even though many people thought that buying these stocks was a sure ticket to riches.
9. ## Capitalism, R.I.P.

OK - I think I understand - so is the problem then that the holders of the Z tranche are really responsible to the holders of the more senior A, B and C tranches in case the borrowers don't make their payments? In other words: the Z tranche holders still have a potential liability for \$1.2 billion, even though they just have a \$200 million asset on their books? ... The word that comes to my mind when I hear about schemes like this is "evasion." It's like a form of conceptual laundering - we have here a risky loan - subprime mortgage - that is being transformed by financial sleight-of-hand into something that people are then putting in a portfolio of investments that's supposed to hold only investment-grade things. I think an honest term for these securities would be "junk mortgages." But as long as we pretend that they're really investment grade securities, everything's supposed to be OK... There seems to be a lot of this going on these days in our culture. People like to pretend that reality is different than it is - pretend that everything's OK when it isn't. Pretend that there's more substance to a company or an investment than there really is. Or pretend that an enemy of the US is a person who can be reasoned with. Or pretend that the dollar is still a strong currency with the kind of value it had 40 years ago. Or pretend that somebody is getting a good education when in reality he's learning next to nothing. In some future history book, perhaps our present era will be called "The Age of Evasion."

11. ## I hate college

That was at the Colorado School of Mines. You're right: I could have gone to a better place. But I kept hoping it would get better - hoping that the few good courses I had would be a preview of better things to come. (I also ended up being able to graduate early because of extra courses I took, and the advanced-placement credits I had from high school.)