minivan2020

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  1. Hurrah for Max Motors

    Buy a car, get a free gun for all the right reasons. Read it here.
  2. http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9584_22-6205777.html Excerpt: "Exhibitors at IFA in Berlin including Philips, Sharp and Fujitsu-Siemens tried to entice consumers with lower power use, more environmentally friendly production methods and recyclability. But, Richard Lee, a 35-year-old electronics engineer, shrugged when asked whether he preferred green products. "I prefer Japanese products," he said, prying the back off a high-definition TV monitor to peer at the inner components."
  3. On NewsMax: http://newsmax.com/archives/ic/2007/7/24/125521.shtml?s=lh "Excerpt: "Early on in the CNN/YouTube-sponsored debate, a California resident posed these questions on his video: "Mrs. Clinton, how would you define the word ‘liberal’? And would you use this word to describe yourself?” Hillary answered: "You know, it is a word that originally meant that you were for freedom, that you were for the freedom to achieve, that you were willing to stand against big power and on behalf of the individual. "Unfortunately, in the last 30, 40 years, it has been turned up on its head and it's been made to seem as though it is a word that describes big government, totally contrary to what its meaning was in the 19th and early 20th century. "I prefer the word ‘progressive,’ which has a real American meaning, going back to the progressive era at the beginning of the 20th century. "I consider myself a modern progressive, someone who believes strongly in individual rights and freedoms, who believes that we are better as a society when we're working together and when we find ways to help those who may not have all the advantages in life get the tools they need to lead a more productive life for themselves and their family. "So I consider myself a proud modern American progressive, and I think that's the kind of philosophy and practice that we need to bring back to American politics.” What gives?
  4. Astronaut runs Marathon in Space

    Link: http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2007/04/16/a...w19-502-ak-0000 When I first saw the headline, I assumed this astronaut was running as part of a scientific experiment. But no, she is actually competing in the Boston Marathon. This is mind boggling. It takes billions of dollars(I'm assuming) to send a crew into space. And for a limited time. The best use of their time that NASA can come up with is to run on a tread mill!!
  5. Jolie confirmed as playing Dagny Taggart in Atlas Shrugged Movie

    What I'm most interested in seeing and hoping that it comes across right in the AS movie, is the universe of Atlas Shrugged. Would they be able to create the right mood? I mean, the haunting sense of a world slowly dying, bleeding, and then by contrast the brilliant sunlit universe of Atlantis. What makes Atlas my fav novel, is that not only is the philosophy right on, but so is the setting or the universe, which gives the novel a timeless perspective of millennia. Would that be captured? I hope it is, at least to some extent.
  6. Jolie confirmed as playing Dagny Taggart in Atlas Shrugged Movie

    Precisely. Another example that comes to mind is Leonardo di Caprio, who brilliantly potrays heroes, like in 'The Aviator,' and 'Catch me if you can,' and yet is a hard core environmentalist.
  7. Murder vs. Rights

    My ex boss, seeing me carrying a copy of 'The Fountainhead' that I had brought for a colleague to work, remarked, "What are you doing reading that subversive stuff?" He was almost visibly scared when he learnt that I had read all her works, and was a huge fan. In a way, his reaction was a consolation. At least, he knows Ayn Rand meant it.
  8. Rob Tracinski on "What Went Right?"

    I meant that a rational philosophy helps me to see and thus avoid pitfalls, which I would not have known of, without this knowledge. In that sense, it helps me steer, or acts as a rudder. Maybe this is not the best analogy, and I concede may not be accurate. "In today's culture, when irrationality is all pervasive and rampant, practicing good philosophy makes me successful, and gives me on a daily basis, proof of reason's efficacy. That kind of evidence is a powerful emotional motivator, and is reason enough for me to hold on and move on when things are grim. In that sense, it is my motor." When I practice good philosophy, it gives me evidence on a daily basis, of reason's efficacy. And when I encounter irrationality, it helps me get over it or defeat it. I mean the evidence of my mind's efficacy to deal with reality, because of my past success, inspires me and gives me confidence that the irrationality can be defeated, if I would simply do what I have done in the past which is to look at all the facts, analyze carefully, and then act accordingly. Now, when I did not have a knowledge of Objectivism, in my teens, I would struggle to deal with an irrationality, and frequently it would lead to a lot of confusion on how best to deal or overcome it. This also would have the effect of emotionally pulling me down. Now, a knowledge of the correct principles, helps me overcome self doubt and uncertainty, and approach a problem confidently. So I meant, the correct philosophy acts as a motor, with the effect of helping me avoid or overcome low spirits or depression, lifting me up, and giving me the strength or courage to move on. But as you rightly point out, my past success is my greatest evidence that this particular problem can also be overcome, and I should say that my success or happiness is the motor that keeps me going.
  9. Chinese anti-satellite test

    Why certainly, the very immediate priority of the US should be to annihilate immediate threats, including Islamic ones. But I don't see how that conflicts with defending its allies. I definitely do not think it is a question of military resources. If the US were committed to a rational foreign philosophy, a full fledged aerial bombardment with no restraint on the use of nukes if at all needed would be more than necessary. I believe the US can defend herself and her allies without committing even one soldier in harm's way. But the problem is not one of military capability, just screwy morality. As witness the altruism in Iraq, where we will secure the country, and then let them 'democratically' establish a soft, semi theocracy, if the liberty loving Iraqis so desire. In that context, I welcome any stand that this administration takes on the issue of Taiwan. To stand by Taiwan, and commit to defending it, is sending out a powerful message of defending one's own interests to the world.
  10. Rob Tracinski on "What Went Right?"

    A rational philosophy can be one's frame of reference and thus a rudder. In today's culture, when irrationality is all pervasive and rampant, practicing good philosophy makes me successful, and gives me on a daily basis, proof of reason's efficacy. That kind of evidence is a powerful emotional motivator, and is reason enough for me to hold on and move on when things are grim. In that sense, it is my motor.
  11. Rob Tracinski on "What Went Right?"

    May I ask what the problem of induction is? If Betsy would be so kind to elaborate. Thanks.
  12. Rob Tracinski on "What Went Right?"

    I agree with what you say, but from what I understand, the problem is the number of bad ideas out there. And not just bad ideas, but systems of bad ideas, meaning bad philosophies. It makes perfect sense to me why Ayn Rand regarded Kant as the archvillian in history. Good honest people, who are not philosophers can form principles and abstractions inductively, if they are left free of the constant barrage of bad 'fundamental' ideas floating out there. But if your profession is not the humanities, or even if it is, it is virtually impossible for a layman to go about the job of earning his living, and try and wade through all the nonsense he's being fed, particularly when he has had no exposure to a formal rational philosophy. At best, one's response on encountering such poison in the form of fiction, movies, editorials, would be a disgusting 'who cares for this tripe', which in a number of cases is. Feed enough of this poison, for a long enough time, with no access to an antidote, and you create a culture of despair, hatred, cynicism, crime, pornography..sliding all the way to a man in a bearskin huddled in a cave surrounded by pristine nature, which is today, not just an implied, but an explicit goal of those Attilas-in-waiting - the environmentalists. It is the job of intellectuals, and philosophers, in particular, to sift through the poison or the land mine, and invent an antidote or diffuse the mine. Didn't Ayn Rand say somewhere that the intellectuals are the guardians or the soul of a culture? Just as we need an ever vigilant military, even in peace time, so do we an ever vigilant army of intellectuals, even within an ascendant culture, where there's every reason to expect unlimited progress. When I hear that the intellectual/philosopher is the prime mover in history, or when Ayn Rand said that the original pilot on the voyage to the moon was Aristotle, I understand that I am infinitely better off with my knowledge of Objectivism. Because, it helps me identify and diffuse the land mines, and point my guns to where they should be...always. I am better off psychologically because I am not struggling to understand, I know, I have certainty and confidence, I am happy, and at peace with myself. Most importantly, an integrated true philosophy acts as a frame of reference, it helps me make correct decisions, daily, as I go about the task of living, with a lightening like speed. In this sense it 'is' my motor, that keeps me going. Every irrationality I encounter does not break my resolve, it makes me more determined, more true to the rightness of my stand, and shows me not the absolutism of evil, but its contemptible smallness. It leads me to an ever increasing level of achievement, and since life on earth was my goal, I achieve it. A lot has been discussed on this forum about an implicit versus explicit philosophy. I understand an implicitly held idea to be one upon which the actor acts, but has not yet identified it in verbalized form. Given this, any man who makes a rational connection, or takes a rational stand, or acts rationally, is implicitly acting on a rational philosophy, even though he hasn't identified it, or is aware of it. And that is precisely what he would need to do sooner or later. Once he has acquired enough concretes, he would be struggling to identify the underlying principle or abstraction, given an active state of mind. This is where the philosopher plays a role. A rational philosopher would already have done what every man needs to do for himself in order to keep going. Further, a philosopher need not confine himself only to the concretes that a man may encounter in his profession. While a rational scientist may have identified the rational method of enquiry, he may not and probably is not expected to know the ideal political philosophy or system that his country should be based on qua scientist. For that he would need to actively think about issues unrelated to his field of study and would have to take on the role of a philosopher. A philosopher is the integrator of a division of labor society, no matter what its level of advancement. A philosopher collects concretes across the sum of man's endeavors, and identifies or induces principles based upon his observations. His greatest contribution is that he gives mankind the axioms of existence, thus giving men an integrated view of existence. Without this integrating power of philosophy, mankind, no matter what its level of progress, would be rudderless, at the mercy of any iceberg or storm. An axiom is one's ultimate frame of reference. In this sense, a philosopher for good or bad is the commander-in-chief. His ideas, for good or bad, influence the actions of all men and determine the fate of society to the extent it accepts them.
  13. Chinese anti-satellite test

    I believe, the issue here is one of principle. Taiwan is an ally and a democratic nation, and that is why it ought to be protected. Now, I would not say that the US should attack Iran or Irag, to free their enslaved citizens. It is not obligated to do so; Ayn Rand believed it was moral for a free nation to attack a dictatorship for the sole purpose of liberating its citizens, but not obligatory. However, Taiwan is a free nation, and a trading partner. To refuse to counter Chinese belligerence over Taiwan would be tantamount to surrender. To refuse to lift a finger over that kind of aggression would leave the Chinese free to set their sight on other Asian economic tigers as well, including Japan. Quite simply, the US has enormous strategic/economic interests all over the world. To say that the US would attack in retaliation only when 'its' soil has been attacked is confining its abilities artificially to a pre demarcated boundary. I see not reason to that, and particularly not in today's scenario, with increasing international trade and globalization, and when the enemy watches and is fervently on look out for any sign of under response from the US. An attack anywhere on the civilized and free world is ultimately an attack on the US. Further, the premise upon which the treaty to defend Taiwan, is based on the recognition that the China is an aggressor and a threat to freedom. To back out of that treaty now, would be to say that sure the US is committed to its defense, when its soil is attacked. The Chinese response to that would be 'Many thanks, wait for your turn, while we finish devouring the rest of the world.'
  14. India Poised

    'India Poised' is the name of a campaign initiated by a leading Indian English Daily - The Times of India. The objective is to get enough people involved in coming up with new ideas, and to address the major issues or problems that India as a nation faces. This would then be called a 'Citizen Charter.' A major issue that this campaign identifies is the lack of infrastructure such as roads and highways which have not kept up with the fast paced development taking place across the country. Anyways, the reason why I'm posting this is because this initiative has an interesting anthem recited by the hugely popular yesteryear Bollywood star: Amitabh Bachchan. You can hear it here. I found the words very insightful and an honest attempt to explain the change transforming India and Indians. I live in India, and have been reading Robert Trascinski's articles. I could not help agree with him more about the youthful optimism and a strong sense of 'wanting to achieve' that exists among the youth. Sure, there are hurdles and problems, including a lack of very many choices, but there is a radical change in the atmosphere that existed from as little as a decade back. I have observed it in advertisements, in editorials, and most notably in some Bollywood movies. I have watched recent Hindi movies with clear cut messages like 'Hard Work pays,' 'No taxation without representation,' & 'Why one should be honest on principle.' A recent movie I watched titled 'Guru' has the hero, who is a hugely successful businessman, when facing a public commission, openly questions the draconian regulations that it has charged him for breaking, in much the same way Rearden did. I observe multinational corporations setting up shop, and the enormous pride individuals display when working for them. To be working for Dell, Google, or HSBC is a sign of one's merit. The 'Good Life' here is no longer taboo, to be a self made man is a batch of honor. To be living with your parents after college and to be dependent on them is viewed as a sign of weakness and on being a bum. To be living on your own and supporting yourself, no matter what you do, is in. Live-in relationships are cool, arranged marriages are old fashioned.
  15. Undercover Mosque

    Scary and infuriating