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About alann

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  • Birthday 07/25/1953

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  • Gender Male
  • Location Hollywood, CA
  • Interests Opera
    Ballroom Dance

    Thanks, Betsy. I was really in the dark on this.
  2. Bad, bad, bad writing The day Anthony and Charlotta met was a special one, not merely because of the truly magical first encounter of the would-be lovers – they reached for the same pair of chopsticks at The Lucky Dragon’s all-you-can-eat Chinese food lunch buffet – but also because it was the day the lizard aliens came to earth and destroyed all of mankind with their poison gas bombs and acid catapults. — Krista Holm, Helsinki, FinlandAs the sun dropped below the horizon, the safari guide confirmed the approaching cape buffaloes were herbivores, which calmed everyone in the group, except for Herb, of course. — Ron D Smith, Louisville, KYThere were several others that were pretty darned entertaining. Alan
  3. Happy Birthday to Betsy Speicher The creator of this Forum and the author of The Whys Way, due out early next year -- All the best for the day and the year to come!!
  4. Happy Birthday to alann

    Thanks, Betsy!! That's awesome!!
  5. I think you have a significant misunderstanding of what context means in this context (so to speak). To say that "knowledge is contextual" is not to say that there's anything loosie goosie about knowledge -- it is, in fact, a way of being precise. Before you have identified another context in which your understanding of the way things work breaks down you may not realize the need for context. For instance: I tell you: "Heat a 1 quart pot of water until it comes to a boil (about 10 minutes on a sterno stove) [note: making the time up for point of comparison -- depends on distance from source, heat of source, etc.] Boil egg for 10 minutes to hard-boiled. Chop egg, add mayonnaise, etc.Say I wrote this in my kitchen in Santa Monica a block from the beach. Now you pack your sterno stove and fresh eggs (a really bad idea, by the way) into your backpack and hike up to Trail Crest on Mount Whitney, at 11,000 feet above sea level. Now you pull out the sterno and bring the water to a boil. You put your eggs in for 10 minutes, then break them open and ... they dribble onto the dirt; they are still almost uncooked. Now, we have a new context: Higher altitude, lower pressure (well, we know that, but maybe they didn't in the 18th Century, for example, I'm keeping this short). Lower pressure, water boils at a lower temperature, so it doesn't get as hot. In fact, at 11,000 feet, the water will boil around 190 degrees F, rather than 212. THAT's "context." It is the boundary conditions within which your knowledge applies. As far as the Blood Type example, it's a tempting one, since Leonard Peikoff uses it, many others use it, and it seems so cut and dried. In fact, most people get it backwards. I think you have, too. You must nail it down to concretes in reality, not syllogisms. What the early serologists were able to say about blood typing was that the blood of people of a certain blood type they called "A" would coagulate in a test tube (and disastrously in the body) when mixed with Type B blood. THAT is how they arrived at the types. They declared the first type identified as "A", the second as "B." and the generalization was that they were INCOMPATIBLE. So, NO, they did NOT say that "All Type A blood is compatible," nor did they say "All Type B blood is compatible." They said the two were INCOMPATIBLE. Then they discovered people that could take either type, calling them "O," and people would could take neither "A" nor "B", but only what they later called "AB," when they realized that this was a reaction AGAINST "antigens" (recognizable proteins) on the surface of the blood cells, so that a Type A person's blood would have anti-B, a Type B person would have anti-A, and someone with no such antigens on their own cell surfaces could develop an immune reaction to both A and B. I'm mixing contexts myself, here, since the knowledge of exactly what was going on came much later. Now, we have certainty, because we understand Why it's happening, at the cellular level. But it is critical to make the correct statement about what we've observed, or we will be wrong. Those pioneers in blood transfusion thought they had discovered a life-saving technology to rescue soldiers with severe blood loss. The whole science of blood came about when they encountered disaster -- patients dying from the supposedly life-saving technology they'd developed. They wanted to know why. Their first observations were about the INcompatibilities, not compatibility. They were NOT making statements about "All these are compatible." And, later, when they found there were other incompatibilities, they were able to extend their knowledge. The only context there was further experience, not some mystical wider context in which, suddenly, Rh factors appeared on cell surfaces. It was just one more factor to rule OUT certain incompatible blood sources. Again, still later, they discovered that factor on the cell surface and the empirical/phenotypical observation became certain as the Why was fully understood. If people are going to use the blood typing example, they really need to have a better understanding of the actual history and science of blood. It needs to be grounded in reality, not syllogistic logic.
  6. Happy Birthday to Vespasiano

    Happy Birthday, V! Have a great year! Thanks for your great posts!
  7. Happy Birthday to mweiss

    Happy Birthday, Mark!
  8. Some Libertarians come to it from writings such as those in the Freeman Journal, or Reason magazine, or Cato lectures, drawn to the idea of independence and freedom from tyranny, confiscation of wealth, etc. They likely have never heard of Ayn Rand, or, if they have, only disparagingly, desultorily, or in some other way out of context. These people are attracted to values and these arguments appeal to them in the way that Ayn Rand's would, if exposed. The "big 'L' Libertarians" are those "Hippies of the Right" of which you speak. They are the ones who are "against stuff." They don't want anyone "pushing them around," not Mom or Dad, or other authority figure. They expand that to any sense of pressure to behave in a particular way and, of course, that comes down to Morality, any kind of moral code. That's what Mom & Dad tried to impose, maybe very inconsistently and very badly, but that hatred of feeling an obligation of any kind to anyone else is what sticks. That is why Libertarian philosophy starts at Politics, at "The non-initiation of force." They want liberty, but they have no standard of value by which to measure right and wrong, what constitutes "Liberty," "Freedom," only that you can't initiate force, period. In the world at large, some like have a hard time assessing which action was the "Initiation of Force." Libertarians like Ron Paul see our merely being in the Middle East at all as the initiation of force. Any response to threat after, therefore, would be an initiation of force on our part and, therefore, wrong. The mere existence of Israel is considered by some to be an initiation of force, even though the lines were drawn around Israeli property and the Arab lands (what is now Jordan) were 3 times the size and reserved for the Arabs who didn't want to live in Israel. Whatever that history, Israel did not rule its citizens by force as did the Arab nations surrounding it and who immediately attacked it. These Libertarians would say the Arabs were acting in self-defense, flipping history on its head. Whatever. My point is that there are libertarians who are excellent proto-Objectivists and, if they eventually read Ayn Rand, will recognize Objectivism as the integration and under-structure for their beliefs. That can be a natural progression. The other variety of libertarians, the spoiled brats, the Hippies of the Right, will reject any constraints, hate Ayn Rand's moral foundations of Capitalism. They don't, by the way, even understand that Capitalism is a political system, not just an efficient way to organize an economy. They sever the link and you hear about Anarcho-Capitalists, Anarcho-Syndicalists, Communitarian Capitalists, "Competing Governments," etc. etc. Nonsense grows where Principle is weeded out of the garden. Political power lusters find more congeniality in the spoiled-brat version of Libertarianism. Principles constrain them. Lack of same allows for pandering to a broader, shallower base.
  9. Happy Birthday, Betsy! Just got off the treadmill to wish you the best on your Birthday ...and for a great year to come!
  10. Happy Birthday to jordanz

    Happy Birthday, Jordan! (belatedly). Best wishes for an excellent year!
  11. Happy Birthday to alann

    Thanks, Paul!
  12. Happy Birthday to alann

    Thanks, all for the wishes, music, and poetry! Much appreciated. :-D
  13. Yes that's 'diverse'. Another, more accurate, term is 'deviant'. This is an extremely sick society. The parents who agreed to this should try the rat poison Poor girl.
  14. I use a screen protector on my Motorola Droid, not the Zagg stuff, just a nice clear one. I have to change it out once in over 2 years. It's not for shock protection and I also avoid using a Dremel on my phone screen -- my finger works fine -- but I just prevents scratches. Cheaper to replace the protector sheet than he screen. Maybe it's not necessary, I haven't really done a side-by-side comparison. I did decide against the more permanent Zagg product, they have a kind of orange peel texture and who wants to look through that? Those are the ones that advertise their invulnerability, but they're not particularly attractive and the cheaper one has worked just fine for a long time.
  15. A Rare Nude

    Beautiful work, Mac!