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Everything posted by khaight

  1. Founders College website

    Indeed. I've taken a wait-and-see attitude towards Founders College. Some of the information they've put out sounds promising. Some is too vague to serve as a basis for judgement. I'll neither condemn nor praise without more information, although I will wish Dr. Hull well in his endeavor. There is one element I noticed in the critique that I think deserves comment. The concern that Hull is seeking to "ghettoize" Objectivist intellectuals carries a tinge of collectivist thinking, as though said intellectuals are somehow the property of the Objectivist movement and Dr. Hull would be misappropriating resources by hiring them. These people are individuals, capable of making their own judgements about how best to pursue their own careers and values. Even if an institution like Founders College is not the best way to change the culture, those involved with it are under no obligation to sacrifice their own values to the goal of maximizing the speed of cultural change. The contrary position is based on a subtle but pernicious altruistic moral premise.
  2. Second LIfe

    He did go to another medical school and got his medical degree. He worked as a doctor for several years prior to working as a software engineer at Linden. I think he's now working at another software engineering job in the Sacramento area. They say that everybody knows *somebody* who makes them feel stupid. I'm a pretty smart guy, but I have no problem admitting that this guy makes me feel slow.
  3. Second LIfe

    No, I don't. We were casual friends rather than close ones, although he did live with a close friend of mine for a few years. I know he moved to Sacramento to be with his wife, who works for the state government. And sadly, no, he isn't an Objectivist.
  4. Atlas Shrugged Movie On Hold

    I agree. The more I heard about this project the more I dreaded the final result. This was doubly true after reading the essay on "Adapting The Fountainhead To Film" in Robert Mayhew's recent anthology; it contains a number of fascinating remarks from Rand on the problems and difficulties she had adapting one of her own works for film, and comments on the way that even seemingly minor changes like the ones Wallace was referring to above would make the whole screenplay disintegrate into triviality. Although I will admit I was kind of looking forward to the (hypothetical) Atlas Shrugged Happy Meal with Rearden Metal Toy Surprise!
  5. Neoconservatives and Altruism

    The fourth issue of TOS includes a brief list of forthcoming articles at the end; one of these is described as "C. Bradley Thompson on neo-conservatism: an obituary for an idea". I'm hoping Thompson is going to do the same type of analysis on neo-conservatism that he did on the conservative movement generally in his earlier article on "The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism".
  6. Absolutely. And if somebody refuses to respect the limits on the relationship, are they really a friend? Friends are people you share values with, not targets for proselytization -- and that cuts both ways.
  7. Penn & Teller - Bullsh*t

    Marge: Homer, for the last time, that's not God. It's just a waffle that got stuck to the ceiling.
  8. Ode to Joy: 4th movement of Ninth Symphony

    It's lovely music. The worst thing I can say about it is that it suffers a little from over-exposure. Not to the same extent as the first movement of the 5th, though.
  9. Competition Without Freedom

    Oh, naturally. That would have been a benefit provided only to people who could afford to pay the higher rate (i.e. to the rich) and is thus utterly unthinkable.
  10. William Westmiller made a run for Congress in 1998; he tried for the Republican nomination to run against Brad Sherman (D-CA). He got 18% of the vote in the primary, and that was that. I gather he was an Objectivist; ISTR Betsy Speicher supported his campaign. On a somewhat different tack, I've also heard that Republican party officials once approached John Allison (the Objectivist CEO of BB&T) about running for Governor of North Carolina. He turned them down because he has no interest in running for public office.
  11. Here I agree. The moral goal is the elimination of taxation. There is no level of government theft of property that is morally OK.
  12. Romney strikes me as very much a poll-driven politician. His positions seem to shift with the wind, based on what he thinks is necessary to get elected. When he was running for office in Massachusetts, for example, he was pro-choice. Now that he's running for national office in the Republican primaries, he's become pro-life. I get the same sense about a lot of his other positions -- they seem synthetic, proposed because he thinks they'll win votes and not because he believes them. If he won't define and defend his positions when faced with American voters, why should I believe he'll define and defend the values of the West against the Islamic totalitarians? He looks like a cream puff to me, not a leader.
  13. Stephen's Health

    This is Kyle's wife, Anne. My account here has not yet been approved, so Kyle logged me in as him. I only really became aware of Stephen last week (although I have known of Betsy for a while now, mostly through Kyle's relays of activities in the Objectivist community), when Kyle told me about Betsy's request for B-neg and O-neg blood donors (my blood type is B-neg). I didn't know Stephen, but what little I have heard about him in this short time has made me feel his loss like a truck falling on me out of the sky. The world has too many idiots, and not enough people like Stephen and Betsy in it. Strength, passion, intellect, all moving as one toward more and greater. I'm crying now, which I don't do for strangers. I felt a connection, never having known him. My husband Kyle also wishes to express his deepest condolences. He's not good with words in situations like this (neither am I). But our thoughts are with Betsy and her family.
  14. Heroes (2006)

    I can't speak for Free Capitalist, but my experience has been that if the show is good enough, I make the time. The most egregious example of this I can think of was my encounter with the first season of Alias, which my wife and I watched on DVD. We watched the first 14 episodes in a single block, all in a row, and only stopped because our eyeballs started to (metaphorically) bleed. That was an addictive program. (Later seasons went downhill, sadly.) These days, I have some time on Saturdays, because I'm working M-F and my wife is working Tu-Sa.
  15. Firefly (2002)

    I'm willing to forgive the Sci-Fi Network a lot in exchange for Stargate SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis. (Eureka wasn't bad either; not deep, but light-hearted and fun.) Their mini-series The Lost Room was also a very pleasant surprise. I have absolutely nothing good to say about their original movies, though -- they're uniformly crap. It's like they're made by completely different people.
  16. Ditto. Just about every time my wife and I go shopping, I point out basic spelling and grammatical errors in signage in the stores. Not just hand-printed stuff either, but things that have gone through professional printing and are up in dozens or hundreds of places in national chain stores. Often the errors are ones that a spelling checker would have picked up, which makes me think it isn't even a reliance on inadequate tools. The people doing this stuff just don't care about getting the details right.
  17. Art of Thinking

    It's a worthwhile course. I think of it as "the rest of Understanding Objectivism". I haven't listened to my copy for quite some time, so I can't give you much in the way of details.
  18. Rudy on Hannity & Colmes

    Sadly, I do think that's the way to bet. The Republican party is usually very hierarchy-oriented in its presidential nominations, giving the nod to whoever came in second the previous time around. (George W. Bush is an exception to this general rule, but it holds true for just about every other open nomination race in the last several decades.) As the second-place finisher in the 2000 primaries, it's McCain's 'turn', and that gives him an advantage. His disadvantage is that he has royally pissed off a lot of the party activist base with his opposition to the Bush tax cuts, his antics on judicial nominations, and especially his assault on political freedom of speech. I think he can be stopped, but it will take work. Romney (who was asked about in a different thread) seems to be trying to position himself as the ideologically conservative candidate, hoping that McCain and Giuliani will split the centrist vote. Romney's problem in that regard is that he has a background of surviving in Massachusetts politics, which isn't a healthy environment for ideological conservatives, so he has a tough sell. He's also relatively unknown on the national stage, which is both a problem and an advantage, since it means he still has a chance to define his national image. He's also photogenic and articulate. I find him a bit too synthetic, personally -- I get the sense that his positions flow from what he thinks will poll well rather than what he thinks is right. But, as I said before, it's early days and I'm still watching what the candidates say.
  19. Rudy on Hannity & Colmes

    Giuliani has done some things in the past I disapprove of (his unjust assault on Michael Milken comes to mind), and he holds some political views with which I strongly disagree (such as his position on gun control). Nevertheless, he's far and away my current favorite out of the crop of Republican hopefuls for 2008. He's pro-choice, he's secular, he's got demonstrated executive and leadership skills, he understands the gravity of the war with Islamic totalitarianism, and he's willing to buck multiculturalism in its pursuit. The incidents you cite with Bandar and Arafat demonstrate more moral self-confidence when dealing with Islamic thugs than Bush has demonstrated in his entire term of office to date. Also, from a purely political "pop the popcorn and watch the show" perspective, it would be entertaining watching the Democrats try to paint him with the 'religious right' brush when it's so obvious that he isn't one of them. Giuliani getting the GOP nomination would serve as an automatic refutation of the Democratic meme that all Republicans are Christian religious nuts. He's a long way from perfect, but he's leagues beyond Romney and (spit) McCain. Definitely the best thing on offer to date. It's early days, of course, but so far I like what I'm hearing.
  20. The Apple iPhone

    I'm quite aware of TiVo (I've owned one for many years). I don't discount their technology, but I'm not sure I consider them a major player simply because they're small and still (last I checked) struggling to make a profit. I think they're more likely to get acquired by one of the bigger players as the conflict heats up.
  21. The Apple iPhone

    I should perhaps add that my remarks above reflect my own opinions only, and bear absolutely no connection to Cisco's own corporate policies or positions.
  22. The Apple iPhone

    I'm a Cisco employee, and this lawsuit has naturally been the subject of some water-cooler discussion over the past couple of days. I would agree that Cisco has a good case. We own the trademark. We're selling a product with that name, right now, which operates in the same general product space as Apple's device. Apple was in fact in negotiations with us for shared licensing of the trademark prior to their announcement, which strongly suggests they acknowledge its applicability to their device name. As far as I can tell Jobs was simply arrogant enough to assume Cisco wouldn't defend its intellectual property because, well, it's Apple doing the thieving. Apple has a history of playing fast and loose with other people's trademarks, going all the way back to the Apple Music dispute. That coupled with their heavy handedness in dealing with other people's infringements on their own IP gives their actions in the current situation more than a whiff of hypocrisy. It's possible that Cisco is suing the lawsuit to twist Apple's arm in the aforementioned licensing negotiations. If the arm-twisting works, I expect the case to get settled relatively quickly. If it doesn't, I expect Apple to change the name of the product. (Parenthetically, I think there's a nasty three-cornered war shaping up in the consumer media distribution space between Apple, Microsoft and Cisco. It's going to be interesting, and bloody -- in a corporate, not literal sense.)
  23. The Apple iPhone

    Careful there... one of the Palm web browser development leads is a good friend of mine. I know how hard they work on that thing. That said, I do look forward to seeing what Apple can do with a cell phone.
  24. Oprah unveils school in South Africa

    Indeed. In fact, the statement that many Indians "want to maintain their beliefs and customs, but they all want the benefit of civilization" implies that there's no connection between 'beliefs and customs' and the benefits of civilization. Sorry, but in the long run you cannot have the beliefs and customs of primitives along with the benefits of a modern civilization built on more advanced ideas. There is a huge gap between wanting the perceptually-obvious benefits of civilized life and grasping (and committing to) the intellectual preconditions required to create and sustain those benefits.
  25. New car!!!

    A used Lexus can be quite affordable -- an excellent buy given how good a car it can be. My wife bought a used 1992 Lexus SC300 several years ago. It's up to 180,000 miles and still going strong, and it cost less than $10,000.