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Everything posted by PhilO

  1. Truth about the Atlas Shrugged Part 3 Kickstarter

    "Given today's world, maybe this IS the best deal that could be hoped for." No. Far better could have, and should have, happened. Given that Ayn Rand was furious at King Vidor for changing ONE WORD of her screenplay for The Fountainhead, can anyone imagine what she'd think, feel, and say about the Atlas Shrugged movies to date? I wouldn't want to be within 10 miles of the blast radius of *that* reaction.
  2. Happy Birthday to B. Royce

    Happy Birthday, and many more to come!
  3. Truth about the Atlas Shrugged Part 3 Kickstarter

    "The most recent is a video made in 1993 to promote investment in the movie. That advertisement includes encouragement and support from Leonard Peikoff." Do you believe, at this point, that he supports the effort?
  4. Happy Birthday Betsy Speicher

    Happy Birthday, Betsy!
  5. Truth about the Atlas Shrugged Part 3 Kickstarter

    I think it's very unfortunate that Parts 1 and 2 were ever made. Abominations and completely unworthy of the name.
  6. Liver metastasis

    I recently listened to a presentation given at a conference on anti-aging by the doctor who runs this organization: as well as talked with him a bit later. His approach is to use what amounts to a form of blood dialysis to remove molecules that are copiously produced by cancer cells in order to defeat immune system attack. If it's to be believed, this has been very successful in a number of cases involving highly metastasized cancer that has no possible conventional treatment. This is logical since a functioning immune response is far more targeted and comprehensive than conventional chemotherapy. As would be expected, this doesn't work well if the immune system has been compromised. I post this strictly as something to investigate further - I don't yet have enough information to know how reliable are the claims.
  7. This is America?

    Abaco, and others - I highly recommend this website as well: Practical advice on diversifying your values globally.
  8. This is America?

    Abaco: New Zealand and Australia welcome new immigrants. They aren't perfect but in terms of societal health, I think those countries are far ahead of a rapidly disintegrating totalitarian America. Singapore is also appealing, with 1 in 6 being millionaires, a far healthier financial system, and as far as I can tell (as evidenced by the highest millionaire rate in the world including the U.S.) also not a society riddled with snarling socialists eager to vote in the likes of Zero (twice.)
  9. Bill Bucko is gone

    I saw this unfortunate status from Bill Bucko's Facebook account today: Bill Bucko passed away of natural causes March 22, 2013. If you would like any other information concerning him, please send a private message.
  10. Bill Bucko is gone

    Ron Abramowicz, who is now managing the Bill Bucko's Facebook account, posted this memorial to Bill on Facebook, and gave permission to repost it here. I thought that it might be of value to those who knew Bill or enjoyed his writings here. -------------------------------------------- Bill Bucko was very private about his personal life. Keep such matters or queries on your own page or website. This Facebook page will be kept intact as a memorial to Bill. Please add any thoughts of him, or photos, or quotes. Personal inquiries will continue to be answered. For those who offered their sympathies and thoughts privately; thank you! Bill didn't believe many tears would be shed after his passing: He was wrong. His books were his passion. Reading and writing were his favorite activity. Though there may be glitches, all his past writings will remain in publication in addition to new and republications in the near future. Bill was NEVER pretentious and he always had much patience for those willing to learn. He was never "William" or "Mr. Bucko". He was "Bill" to all (except his students, to whom he was "Mr. Bill"). Bill's writing career started very early in life. His talent resulted in scholarships to Purdue which allowed him to attain a Masters Degree in Philosophy. Part of that scholarship agreement was he was required to instruct. Bill refused to teach the bunk that was present in early 1970s college curricula. He decided an alternative to honoring his agreement was teaching young fresh open minds as a Montessori teacher for many years. He even published a booklet on how to instruct Montessori as an Objectivist. This was the happiest era of his life. He always spoke fondly of "his" children. His fight against tyranny was for the future of his kids. Bill kept EVERYTHING a child ever made for or wrote to him. His home had such drawings decorating every room. In addition, he scanned everything and kept it on his computer to constantly remind him of what he was fighting for and who he loved. Bill had an incredible gift of an eidetic memory. He could simply close his eyes, put all five fingertips of his right hand on his temple, and within moments recall events, sounds, smells, and even complete passages from books verbatim. It was uncanny and he was never wrong. His book writing and research collided in the '80s when he realized computers could help him with both. Combine that with his memory, organizational skills, a computer, and dozens of manuals, he became a self-taught Information Technician before the term IT became commonplace. He was valued as an employee for DuPont for many years and retired there. During his entire adult life, Bill's greatest purpose was promoting Ayn Rand's ideas; especially Atlas Shrugged. As mentioned above, Bill was unpretentious. He rarely spoke of his great finds which included the discovery of The Mysterious Valley. That find is documented in the wonderful Oscar-nominated film "Ayn Rand a sense of life". Buy the DVD, it is very uplifting. He also enveloped that discovery with the publication of all the original French books and periodicals Ayn Rand would have read as a child. Bill copied *all* of these in hi-def digital. His photo scans are incredible. It took him years to complete. If that was not enough, he also did French to English translations!!! Most friends of Bill's who only know him from the internet or Facebook never knew of his wickedly funny humor. Bill was always smiling (and usually humming a good tune). He had a witty comeback for everything. He had a profoundly positive sense of life. He loved music, ideas, writing, and being around happy people. Among his happiest pleasure (which included all his values) was attending the annual Michigan Renaissance Festival. Bill never told friends or acquaintances when he would be attending, if at all. Yet he always did! He would go incognito; you wouldn't have recognized him! He made his own costumes in 14th Century Italy by hand in authentic colors and fabric. He would bring a period guitar and sing his own songs inspired from his favorite era. His singing voice was very pleasant with beautiful poetic lyrics to boot. Keep posted here to hear tape copies of his songs. As mentioned above; all Bill's writings will be in (and stay in) publication soon. Until then, one of Bill's best writings is below (scroll waaay down), on this Facebook page from June 10, 2011, from Dr. Jack Kevorkian's funeral, which Bill attended. Bill's greatest living hero was Dr. Jack. Bill wrote many letters to the editor supporting him over the years. Most were printed locally even though it remains a worldly, philosophically important issue. After you read Bill's funeral notes below, immediately scroll back to the top here and view full-screen him with his large yellow sign. If it puts a lump in your throat, or a tear to your eye, he would have called you friend, and had your back.
  11. 476 Rome, 2008 Washington D.C.

    "I have seen O’ists deride Europe’s monarchies and colonialism to no end, without being concerned of the question “What is America today”? Only now, after Obama-2012 they have admitted that something is wrong with America too – but that does not translate into taking correct path." I don't know who you're talking about, but the first Objectivist, Ayn Rand, wrote with extreme clarity and foresight about what's wrong with America - a little novel you might have heard about, Atlas Shrugged, published 56 years ago. In any case, if you want to publish a book, there's never been an easier, faster, or cheaper time in all of human history than right now: etc. etc. Whether it will be read, or will be worth reading, will be up to you.
  12. Truth And Toleration Twenty Years Later

    Perhaps the most fundamental difference is actually being an independent thinker vs. a second hander. An independent thinker can appreciate the practicality of some of what ARI has done/is doing such as the essay contests, because of a grasp of the importance of true ideas such as Objectivism (including necessarily as an integrated philosophy, not an ala carte buffet), while not approving of everything that they (or LP) do, such as injust treatment of John McCaskey and some other actions. Kelley and his cadre don't apparently have respect for an integrated philosophic system; it's more about second handed acceptance. So not only don't they do anything of value, their actions are an active disvalue. There's a certain overlap; there are clearly a number of people who support ARI out of second-handed reasons, and I'm surmising that these are the people most likely to "switch" to Kelley if they get upset over something. (Whereas some might find good reasons to distance themselves from ARI without wanting to "join" Kelley's crowd - which would include myself, although I support the good that ARI does.) Personally my loyalty is fundamentally to the truth - not to men. Remarkably, I used to know people who all but explicitly stated that their "loyalty" to Leonard Peikoff trumped truth and facts. I don't find such groupies to be a personal value. Fortunately, Facebook has made it much easier to differentiate between first-handed thinkers and the groupies.
  13. Truth And Toleration Twenty Years Later

    Betsy - having a particular beef with Objectivism would be the only one on your list that I think *logically* necessarily leads to a contradiction if somebody considers themselves an Objectivist. I say this because of the "yet" in your post. I think that's the only fundamental common denominator of Kelley and his associates. Leonard Peikoff himself stated that he was "in a state of enmity with a number of the members of the board of ARI" (and in reality, quite a few other Objectivists), but I think he still considers himself associated with Objectivism ...
  14. Where's the "waterness" in a gas comprised of separate hydrogen and oxygen molecules? Can you "see" it? Let's say you were in a tightly sealed container and an elemental analysis could be performed on the constituents of your body. Now let's say you died in that tightly sealed container and the elemental analysis performed 100 years later. There won't be a difference if it remains sealed. But there's surely a difference between life and death. It's more than merely the individual atoms. Materialism is *not* an adequate description of reality.
  15. Where is he?

    Central to this: location is a *relative* concept. It's meaningless to use the word without stating "a location of X *in relation to Y*". If you dropped two objects at the same time off a bridge, and neither of them accelerate at a different rate until hitting water/ground, their relative position will remain unchanged; what will change is each of their positions with respect to the bridge and other things on the earth, and in the universe (and has essentially been noted, those positions can be computed as a function of time using physical principles.) I might be mistaken but I think that's what Ruveyn was saying in a confusing way - not that the issue is travel near light speed but of stating a reference frame ala Einstein.
  16. Confusion about fractional reserve banking

    This is the problem with having proxies for the real thing. Notice that the problem evaporates if you only used real money, e.g., gold and silver coins. Then a lender could never lend beyond their actual resources. What if a lender desired to have more to lend? Then it needs more assets to lend. This *might* come from a still bigger lender, who might lend some sizable amount to the smaller lender from a more sizable asset base. An organization might issue pieces of paper that state a claim from that organization for a certain amount of real money, and people might accept it in lieu of the real thing (as occurred with private banks in the 19th century), but they run a real risk that the promise will be broken if the organization can't actually convert the paper to the real thing. On a real money (i.e. precious metal) based system, real expansion of the money supply simply comes from mining operations, or conversion of unstructured metal into a structured form (i.e. melting down and refining scrap jewelry into a standardized mass and form.)
  17. 476 Rome, 2008 Washington D.C.

    You can't continually restate the entire applicable set of facts and reasoning that bear on the interpretation of a particular fact - nothing would ever get said or done and acquiring knowledge would actually be impossible in the first place. But all of that is *context*. Rejecting the entire idea of context is to reject knowledge and reasoning - in fact. Let's say that somebody saw a 5 second video of a cop shooting a man (or the inverse: a man shooting a cop.) *Just* from that alone, it would not be possible to arrive a conclusion of "just action" or not without additional context - additional facts and additional reasoning to go with those facts. If it turned out that the man shot by the cop was an escaping mass murderer, it was justified. If it turned out that a man shooting a cop was doing so because the cop was acting under orders to shoot Jews, then he also was justified. But note the context: you need additional facts about the nature of the men and their motivations, and you also need an entire theory of ethics (perhaps held only implicitly when it should be explicit) to judge "justified" vs. "unjustified". And people with different ethical systems will arrive at different, opposing conclusions. Or to take a very different example: a man who's been with his wife for years could utter one word about a situation which results in them both having a good laugh. Outside of a context of knowledge shared by them, perhaps only them, no outside observer could possibly know what's funny. Dump context and you dump all knowledge.
  18. How do you explain this?

    Typo. The above "The effective distance between any two sources becomes theta*r(t)/v = theta*(r0+u*t)" should be "The effective distance between any two sources becomes theta*r(t) = theta*(r0+u*t)"
  19. How do you explain this?

    To elaborate a little via the 2d spherical analogy: imagine that you had a number of discrete sources on the surface which emitted ink lines at a rate of say one millimeter/hour, radically outwards. This is analogous to light travelling on the surface of the sphere, where the "speed of light" is one millimeter/hour in this analogy. If the balloon is steadily expanding, the time it takes for a given line to reach another source will be longer and longer as a function of the original distance away and the expansion rate. If the balloon is exactly spherical, each line would eventually traverse a great circle and come back to the starting point (if not otherwise affected along the way) - a distance of 2*pi*r, r=balloon radius. If the lines grow at a rate of v, then it would take 2*pi*r/v time to traverse the entire circle. It would thus take (2*pi*r/v) * (theta/(2*pi)) time (simplifying to theta*r/v) for the line to connect any two sources, where theta is the minimum angular separation in radians (a maximum of pi radians). The situation is different if the balloon is expanding. If for example the radius is expanding at a constant rate, then r=r0+u*t, where r0 is the initial radius and u is the expansion rate. This changes the situation. The effective distance between any two sources becomes theta*r(t)/v = theta*(r0+u*t), or a function dependent both on time and the radius of the balloon at the time you start tracking the line growth from a source. A simple equation can then be set up to determine the time it would then take for lines to grow between two sources: v*t = theta*(r0+u*t) where, to summarize, v=constant speed of lines (light), r0=balloon radius at start of emission, u=constant growth rate of the ballon radius, theta=constant angular separation of two points. Solving for t (the time it will take for a line to grow to reach the two points) we get: t = r0*theta/(v-u*theta) Note that t grows to infinity as u*theta approaches v, and becomes infinite when v=u*theta. This is directly analogous to space expanding "at light speed", or beyond. One of the points I wanted to make here is that the measurement of elapsed "light travel time", t, will vary as r0 and u varies, even for two points that might have been created at a common point in time, so if the "expansion of the universe" were steadily occurring, gauging how "old" something is relative to yourself "in the present time" will be off, and it will be off by different amounts for varying distances (analogous to varying thetas). If u=0 (non-expanding balloon/universe) then that is no longer true, because the u*theta term vanishes in the denominator. I'm doing this rather quickly, so hopefully I haven't made a glaring error in reasoning somewhere. Interesting stuff, thanks for the question, Paul.
  20. How do you explain this?

    Well, taking the "big bang" stuff at face value (I don't), you could imagine the classic 2d analog to the 3d situation: starting with a deflated balloon (imagine a very small but very flexible sphere) where everything-that-is, is in very close proximity. Start to blow up the balloon and eventually points on the surface will be various distances apart; at most, the diameter of the balloon apart at any given time. This would be analogous to the 3d case of "expanding space". A good question though: how would light be travelling between distant points, then? If space is expanding, that effectively adds to the distance that light has to travel, all the time. If it were expanding faster than light, then we would never have knowledge of that part of space; light couldn't outrun it, and no ship we could build, short of FTL capability, would be able to catch up either. If a photon from that galaxy has actually been travelling for 13.7 billion years (which is gauged by the Hubble redshift of the photon, making further assumptions), and the galaxy is purportedly "very young", it's hard to imagine any implication other than the idea that the "big bang" actually "expanded space" far faster than light speed, but then slowed or stopped. Then the early matter of the universe would be evolving steadily throughout the universe at the "same time". Photons emitted from the galaxy 13.7 billion light years away would take that long to reach us. However, the very existence of the redshift would seem to imply that the expansion is ongoing; unless they were redshifted during the period of expansion and thus had a "memory" of something that's now over. If the expansion were ongoing, then light would have to be traversing longer and longer distances to reach us, the further away it originated. The implication from that would seem to be that the things we see at a certain "distance" away would actually be younger than we thought. I don't buy the big-bang idea, but it's clear that something is going on across cosmological distances that needs a coherent explanation.
  21. Paul: I've never heard anyone, including those who fought in Vietnam, state that the U.S. "won" the war there. The communists *immediately* took over as soon as the U.S. left. They were not defeated. And since the whole thing was a proxy war for Russia anyway, you could make the further argument that since Russia was untouched, it was an even bigger defeat. The "war in Iraq" qua deposing Hussein was simply idiotic. Some predicted years ago - including myself - that the net result would be to remove a major obstacle to Iran taking over and extending their sphere of influence even further, since Hussein served as a major threat and diversion to them. And that is exactly what is happening now. So yes, of course the U.S. military can win battles. But winning the war is a different issue, one that's decided at a higher political level, and that's even if a particular war makes any sense at all in the first place. I'm not talking about 50 or 100 years later, when you can argue about interim events after a victory. I'm talking about the direct sequence of events leading from the initial invasion of Iraq up until the time the U.S. essentially left and the current state of the country. Thousands of American troops were killed and maimed by IEDs within Iraq after the supposed victory there. And Afghanistan is still a pesthole filled with re-emerging Taliban. The late John Lewis discussed the issues here: However, I am really repeating myself.
  22. I'm not talking about the short term perspective. What is the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan? With Iran taking over and the Taliban re-emergent? The central players were untouched, and the war was - once again - lost. And it was the wrong war in any case, since neither Iran nor Saudi Arabia nor Pakistan had a hair on their heads touched. Victory doesn't consist of winning battles but not the war. It isn't a technology issue, it's a will issue. But loss is loss. This can be contrasted with what happened in post-WW2 Japan. That was a total win.
  23. I should add that the 8000 year figure is from the start of recorded history in Sumer - I'm not talking about pre-national humanity. In case anyone who doesn't know me thought I was a fundie.
  24. I've heard the "world will go in flames if U.S. collapses" thing many times. I think it's hogwash from people who believe that the center of the universe is America. It's a once-relatively-free country with 4% of world population that decided to commit suicide. The rest of humanity is going to keep on going, the way it has for the past 8000 years without America - some places better than others. Despite having the best technology, America has *lost* every major conflict it's engaged in since WW2. It let various dictatorships arm with nukes, and it's still doing so. It left 9/11 unavenged. It can't/won't even defend itself much less the entire planet. Once that illusion has been thoroughly stripped away, any of the rest of the world who dreamily believed that America would protect them will have to face the reality that it never could, and provide for their own defense, and be better for it.
  25. I don't think it's that hard to find better countries at this point. Check out the income tax rate in Singapore. And "practical" is a relative term. Moving overseas is going to be difficult. Staying in America is going to be lethal. Take your pick.