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Everything posted by darren

  1. Check you Peter-Pan Peanut Butter!!

    I'm not saying you're doing this, but your post made me think: How many people are going to blame any illness they've had recently on this recall? I bet the class-action lawsuits have started, I don't even want to google the news to see so.
  2. Hi, I'm writing to announce a new Objectivist study group for college students: The Virtual Objectivist Club (VOC). The Virtual Objectivist Club (VOC) is a free, weekly phone-based discussion group dedicated to the study of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. The VOC is being offered for the first time this 2009 academic year. It's open to any current students who would like to learn more about Objectivism. The VOC is listed on ARI's website as an available college club, so if you don't have a college club at your school but would still like to participate in an Objectivist study group, this is the group for you! More information and an application to join can be found at the VOC website at: http://www.oclubs.org/voc If you know someone who could benefit from this group, thank you for passing the news along!
  3. The Virtual Objectivist Club

    There's always next semester! We're just getting started this fall.
  4. The Virtual Objectivist Club

    We're not making any special provisions right now, except that which is built into Talkshoe. The service will record each meeting and make an audio file available, so if someone couldn't make a meeting due to timezone issues he or she could still listen to the meeting later.
  5. Twitter

    I'm on Twitter as well. I tend to think of Twitter in the same way I think of Youtube: A service mostly filled with random nonsense and teenage chatter, but a service that can offer a lot to those who know where to look. Here are some ways that I've used Twitter: 1.) Following the thoughts of other Objectivists. If Yaron Brook is going to be on tv or if he writes something, he usually publishes it on Twitter. Or maybe an Objectivist has a quick thought on a news story that I haven't read, he or she might write that thought with a link. I like the fact that there are so many Objectivist blogs out there, but often the "micro-blog" format is all I have time to process. 2.) Following other .Net developers. There are a lot of great .Net developers on Twitter, and it's helpful for me to sometimes pick up their thoughts or news that I might not have caught myself. For example, I recently read a great programming book titled "Clean Code" that I've been pushing on all of my peers. I checked Twitter, and sure enough he's there and he posts the same ideas that I loved in the book. 3.) Pass family news. When my wife went into labor a few weeks ago, I used Twitter to keep my family up-to-date on her progress without actually having to talk to them directly. If you stay away from those people who use Twitter to keep everybody up-to-date on what they're eating for lunch, when they go to bed, etc., I think you'll find plenty of value there. Good luck!
  6. Old School by Tobias Wolff

    I just came back from this event, and Jeff Britting did a great job. When it was his turn to speak about Ayn Rand's character in "Old School" by Tobias Wolff, he nailed it. Britting started by stating that Wolff's presentation of Ayn Rand was a "total distortion," among other words, and then went on in detail to explain who she was, the themes of her four fiction books, and a little bit of her philosophy. Near the end of his presentation he compared Wolff's "character that shares Ayn Rand's name" with the actual Ayn Rand and showed a few specific cases where the two are polar opposites. He also asked the audience to not take his presentation or Wolff's presentation of Ayn Rand on faith by reading Rand's books for themselves. Britting's presentation of Ayn Rand was everything Wolff's was not. While Wolff presentation Ayn Rand as a mean, dismissive, and rude woman that no rational person would want to be around (except for her dark-clothes-wearing acolytes), Britting presented an intelligent woman who took ideas and her writing seriously. And he did it in a way that would leave someone who knew little about her with a desire to want to know more. The panel also included a speaker for Robert Frost and a speaker for Ernest Hemingway, and both got a fair amount of time. I think Ayn Rand was the focus of the evening, however. Perhaps I'm a little biased in making that judgement, but the majority of the questions were about Ayn Rand and the more interesting responses seemed to come from Britting. The surprise of the evening for me was a student who read a few passages from Atlas Shrugged. Before each speaker a student came on stage and read a few passages from that particular writer. The student who was tasked with Ayn Rand's work came up with three great passages: one from Dagny's first ride on the John Galt Line, one from the Francico's money speech, and another from John Galt's speech. The passages she picked were just perfect, and it was heartening to see them read to the audience. The panel was taped with two cameras, and one of the camera operaters told me after the event that there might be a chance the video could be released online. I'll keep my eye out and see what happens. Overall, it was a great night! Thanks to Jeff Britting for making the trip all the way out to Kansas City. We don't get events like this very often!
  7. Yaron Brook on Glenn Beck

    I couldn't get home in time to see it, either. Thanks for posting the video!
  8. Happy Birthday to bborg

    Happy birthday, hope it was a good one!
  9. Legend of the Seeker (2008)

    I was thinking that when I saw the show, too. And it's not just his looks, it's the way he carries himself. Even when he acts serious I can't buy it.
  10. Legend of the Seeker (2008)

    I'm just curious: Is the show popular? Is it going to continue? I've watched quite a few episodes on hulu, but I couldn't tell you when it was on television.
  11. Peikoff on Greenspan

    The committee hearing in which Greenspan renounced (in part) his belief in laissez-faire capitalism was pretty direct. I think his views on Objectivism are pretty clear.
  12. Happy Birthday to KurtColville

    Happy Birthday!
  13. There Will Be Blood (2007)

    I liked this movie for about the first ten minutes, when it showed how the main character basically stared his oil business by digging his first well, all by himself out in the middle of nowhere (if I remember correctly, it's been a while). I think there was another scene early when the main character gave up trying to deal with a group of people who would not make decisions, which I kinda liked. It seemed to go downhill fast from there, and the main character turned into a huge second-hander and a villain who lied, killed, and stole from others. Seeing what he turned into in the final few scenes were pretty hard to watch.
  14. That was fun to watch. I think someone did the same thing with Ms. Pacman a while back. Maybe not with a machine hooked up to the arcade with a webcam like this, but one where they programmed the computer to watch the game and move the character around depending on where the ghosts were. Neat stuff!
  15. Hillary Clinton emerges as State Dept candidate

    Will she do less damage as secretary of state than as a Supreme Court justice? That was the rumored spot for her a few months ago.
  16. As much as I'd like to believe otherwise, I don't think the fact that Ayn Rand's works are being pirated can be used as an indicator to determine interest in her ideas. From what I've seen from people who pirate, there isn't much selective focus in what they steal. For example, if they like a song, they won't say "I'll download it." They'll say, "Let me download all of the songs off that album, and all of that artist if I can get it too." Hard drive space is cheap, and they don't care. And maybe I'm letting my judgments of some of the pirates I know (guys who steal and store terabytes of data) get in the way... but I don't think that someone who chooses to get Ayn Rand's works through theft is someone who will accept her ideas. Or even has the attention span to finish one book.
  17. Dr. Binswanger on Alan Greenspan

    I hadn't seen this until now, thanks for posting this.
  18. I think a lot of pro-piracy people use problems with the DRM as another rationalization for their illegal behavior, and I think your cartoon is an example of that. It set up two false alternatives -- either you pirate or you pay and lose your music collection later -- and then equates both with criminality when that's not really what will happen. It says that you'll be a criminal either way, but there is another way: Don't break the law. If you don't pirate music you won't break the law, and if you don't violate the agreement you made with your internet music provider when you purchased their product you'll be ok, too (regardless of what the DMCA states). The only question with DRM is whether to accept it or not -- and I agree that people shouldn't mess with it. DRM'd music is an enormous technical and legal headache. It's much easier to either purchase from an online store that doesn't sell DRM'd music (like Amazon.com or eMusic, my two favorites) or to purchase the CD and rip your own legal copy. And if you go those two routes, you'll be ok no matter how you want to use your collection. But no matter how people feel about DRM, piracy is NOT an alternative and they shouldn't include it in the discussion.
  19. I think I'm with the devil on that one.
  20. Michael Crichton

    I loved Michael Crichton's books growing up. Books like Jurassic Park, Congo, Terminal Man, Andromeda Strain... I ate them all up. I might have issues with some of the themes in them now, but they made science pretty cool. I read State of Fear last year and liked it a lot, but I loved how he explained how he became such a skeptic of environmentalism. If I remember right, he knew very little about it, so he spent a couple years doing his own research into it. And his final conclusion was that it made no sense. He was an honest man.
  21. Personal Activism

    I haven't thought of it as a personal activist project, but I've been more active in throwing out some good ideas or questions when the opportunity presents itself. Especially when it's over the internet, now that many of my coworkers, family, and friends are all networked through Facebook. I've had a success here and there, like... I got my mother to read Craig Biddle's "Loving Life," I wrote a small Earth Day blog post that was read over the radio back in April, and I even convinced few people to run from Obama in the voting booth. If you're positive in the way you present Objectivist ideas, most people are receptive. Sometimes they'll be very receptive, since the ideas are so different and direct. Also, I started a bi-weekly Objectivist discussion group that's been meeting in the Kansas City area for over five years. Check us out if you're ever in the area...
  22. I was under the impression that the Ayn Rand Estate was already offering greater and better access to her works. Stuff like the new websites like aynrandlexicon.com or the new content at ARI's site. It would be nice if all of her works were easily available in digitized form, but I don't think accessibility of her ideas is a problem.
  23. Chuck (2007)

    I agree, this is one of the few shows I set to tape. It's not that serious, but pretty entertaining. It has a lot of the standard geek type of humor. But seeing how so many terrorists conveniently show up at the Buy More store has made me start to take a second look at the customers I see at Best Buy....
  24. I think that Stallman doesn't get the selfish aspect of open-source software in the same way that Al Gore doesn't get the selfish aspect of cleaning up your trash: They just don't care. They're not on mankind's side.
  25. Robert Bidinotto Endorsed McCain/Palin

    Thank you for posting that; I don't remember reading it before. Like everything else she wrote, it really cuts to the point. And more importantly, it explicitly states what her wishes were for her creation.