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Everything posted by Maarten

  1. Vascular System Biology and Cancer

    Exactly. That's the way the normal blood system works, but this is a (rare) exception that basically gives arteries a backup supply in case one of the main branches ever gets blocked. It is really quite ingenious One example from the fifties was a guy who died in a car accident. His heart was taken out after his death, and the physician was amazed that he hadn't had any heart problems, because there were major obstructions in his heart's arteries that would have killed anyone else. But he was perfectly fine, because of several connecting branches that allowed blood flow to continue =) As for the angiogenesis, let me get back to that later today
  2. Vascular System Biology and Cancer

    I know. Did you by any chance read the biographical book about his life and research? I think it was called something like: Dr. Folkman's war: angiogenesis and the struggle to defeat cancer. It was very inspiring to me. He had some flaws in that he was quite altruistic (it seemed) in his personal life, but the man was a great scientist. Going against mainstream science for almost 30 years and holding your own conclusions to be sacred is so important, and you rarely see it. Also, it is sad to think about how free scientific research used to be when he started his career. All those regulations about animal research, for example, have cost us so many advances...
  3. I hate college

    I already see a little of that... There's a lot of inflation going on, both in undergrad and master's degrees. I see so many examples every day of people who really shouldn't be graduating, and it's kind of depressing to think that they have the same degree you do; in effect devaluing your achievements indirectly. If there comes a time when employers know that most graduates of a certain program are pretty much incapable, it'll be far harder to find a job with such a degree. That's why all those grade inflation trends are also so bad. Oh well, I'm going on for a doctorate =)
  4. New opportunities

    Congrats on finding that job! =) It's interesting, I didn't even know anyone else on this forum lived in the triangle. I live in south Raleigh myself, although I spend most of my time on the other end of the city (that's where my girlfriend lives).
  5. I hate college

    It seems to be different in biomedical sciences. At all my interviews so far the vast majority of people there are American. There are some foreign people but really not that many...
  6. The Peikoff Endorsement

    Wouldn't the recent Supreme Court decision banning (or restricting) partial birth abortions be an example like that? I mean, I don't think it's even remotely as bad as some of the left-inspired measures that have been taken, but it IS an example, isn't it?
  7. It's not really volunteering if you get paid for it. I wonder if ARI can scale up their program so we'll get many, many hundreds or thousands of people doing activism against volunteering =)
  8. Post-meltdown investing advice?

    Betsy, could you perhaps explain who the people are that buy calls? Or is wanting to buy a call basically what put options are? I guess you fix the price of the stock at a certain level, and if it goes over that level I assume people want to buy it from you for less than its current market value. Is that how it works, and how buyers use it to make a profit? That brings something else to mind: who pays the premium to you? Are you dealing directly with a buyer, or is there an intermediary who pays you and serves as a middleman there?
  9. Quiz time . . .

    Ooh, I made 16 mistakes. But then, I had never even heard of some of those questions, so I had to guess on a lot of them. We most definitely didn't cover US history like this in our schools back home
  10. I have been thinking more about this specific issue lately, because it is something I have trouble with myself. Since I started studying Objectivism around newyear this year I have made many, many changes so far in my actions and my thinking, and overall I think I am doing a very good job of it. However, the thing is that when I try to change something like a bad habit, it's usually a lot harder to get rid of it than I expected. Even though the overall direction is towards progress, I still fall back a few steps in the process once in a while, and I am wondering if this is a normal part of this process? I don't think it is, but I am at a loss as to how to avoid this. To further clarify, from my own experience I can say that it usually happens when I am rather tired mentally, sometimes my willpower is just at its end and I get less strict on watching my own actions momentarily. As far as I can tell it's not a good thing for this to happen, so I am wondering if anyone has some good advice as to how to avoid falling into this trap. Since I noticed this I instead try to do something that refuels my spirit rather than do something I know I will regret later on. The two main theories I can think of regarding how to stop doing something is either to completely stop doing it, or to slowly reduce the frequency until you get it down to never. I think that once you have identified something as bad for you, that you should stop doing it as soon as possible, so that would greatly favor the first method I named. The second one is surely easier to do, though, although it's hard to tell right now if it is more effective in the long term. I would suspect it is not. I would prefer to be able to stop doing the things I consider to be bad overnight, and I think that this is the proper way to go about it, but in some areas this isn't working as well as I had thought (and hoped) it would. Am I simply expecting too much here, or is it indeed possible to do it like this? Can anyone offer some insight here that could prove useful for me? I assume that everyone has had to change some things in their life since they discovered Objectivism, and I would greatly appreciate any help you could offer in this case.
  11. Harry Potter Test

    91% Albus Dumbledore 72% Neville and Snape Heh.
  12. Global Warming

    Ooh, I just finished watching that; I heartily recommend it.
  13. Reasons to vote for McCain?

    The distance Patton covered from France to Berlin is nothing compared to how far away Moscow is. Unless they could just drive straight through the Soviet lines, there's no way he could have gotten there in a few months, much less a few weeks. By the end of WW2 the Soviet army was quite strong, and they had a lot of troops in eastern Europe and Germany; you can't simply rout them without a fight if they were almost as well-supplied; and furthermore, they would have the advantage of having much, much shorter lines of supply, which shouldn't be underestimated.
  14. House (2004)

    I agree; House has an almost reverent respect for the truth, for being right, and that is what drives him so hard in many episodes. Oh and the episode in S3 where he convinces that girl (who was raped) into getting an abortion has got to be one of the best ones ever. That episode is such a triumph of rationality and selfishness over pointless (religiously motivated) self-sacrifice that it is one of the best ones in my opinion.
  15. 2008 Presidential Poll for January 2008

  16. Well, like someone else said, as long as tissues are healthy the body doesn't normally recognize them as a threat; however, there is a chance that if she gets injured or sick, she will develop an autoimmune disease.
  17. This feels like half the conversation is missing, but okay. All those things you describe do not necessarily mean anything bad, I think. I mean, all of the behavior you cited are ways you can treat friends (how close they are, I guess kinda depends on how physically affectionate this girl is, because some girls only hug people they're really close to, while others also do that with more casual acquaintances). So not knowing the girl in question, but assuming she's not a horrible person (she IS your hypothetical girlfriend, after all) I think it just means she really likes that professor, as a (good) friend. Sure, it's more intimate than most people would treat their professors, but for all we know she's worked with him all throughout her undergraduate years as a research assistant and they get along really well. Some people do get along really well with their teachers, and I don't think there is necessarily anything immoral about that. What I want to know, is why ask this? If she's your girlfriend, you should know her well enough to be able to say whether or not she would do something like cheat on you with her professor (or try to, or whatever), or if she's just being friendly and really likes him. Either you're doing her a great disservice by not trusting her when she's done nothing wrong, or if you do have good reason to distrust her (besides what you cited here), then why the hell are you with her?
  18. Good Quotes from De Res Publica

    We studied Cicero in high school in my Latin classes; although it was not this work, but his writings about what he saw as his greatest achievement (defending the republic against Catilina, a populist senator). It was really interesting to read, though. Although the Romans had a particular love for invectives that I don't think really belong in civilized discussions (This was in the Netherlands, and not many students actually studied Latin, so I guess the situation is overall kind of the same as it is here).
  19. Immigration

    This is something I truly never understood about immigration laws. Leaving aside the principles behind it (because most of today's politicians do not ascribe to those, anyway), it's just plain stupid for a country to turn away highly trained professionals, who will pay infinitely more in taxes than they will ever get back from the system. Even the most utilitarian, pragmatist politician should be able to see that. From their perspective, low-skilled laborers might very well receive more in benefits than they will ever pay, so from the politician's point of view I can somewhat understand why they do not want unlimited numbers of those people, but why make it so hard for people with various levels of university degrees to enter? Especially if your standard of the good is the welfare of the nation as such (like it seems to be for too many people nowadays), then it's just plain stupid to not want people with bachelor's/master's degrees/doctorates...
  20. Founders College News

    The best of luck to your endeavors at Founder's College, Scott. I hope you'll find everything you seek from that job, and that things will steadily improve from now on. All nay-saying aside, it would be a wonderful thing if this school can get started in today's U.S. I think it would be a very positive signal, anyway.
  21. There's hope for France yet!

    But promiscuity primarily applies to sex. I do not think you can equate discrimination with regards to whom you have sex with, with discrimination with regards to nudity or acts implying sexuality. They're completely different things.
  22. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Happy new year, everyone!
  23. The proof of the evil of environmentalists

    I agree. The solution is not to have billions of people toss out the baby with the bathwater and to have us end up with a whole lot of moral relativists and nihilists of various kinds and degrees. As much as I disagree with religion, I think that on average they add more positive value to this world than their amoral counterpart does. As far as environmentalism goes, it is much more important to show why it is good to not be an environmentalist, rather than why it is bad to be an environmentalist. Attacking something that is bad might be satisfying, but as such it's not very helpful. It would be much more productive to only do so indirectly in the course of showing what alternative is good. One good thing about doing it that way is that you avoid the defensive reactions you tend to get when you demolish a set of ideas that a person already holds. Virtually every person will defend themselves and what they believe in when they perceive it as being threatened, and I think that is only natural. And once you can show them a good reason why there's an even better alternative out there, you have already won most of the battle because they will want to discover more.
  24. Exotic Becomes Erotic

    The continuum I am referring to is known as the Kinsey scale. I don't want to endorse any of his other views here, but I do think it is far better at capturing someone's sexual orientation than traditional discrete positions are (either you're homosexua, heterosexual or bisexual). In case anyone wants to look that up, you can find it more easily
  25. Exotic Becomes Erotic

    Given, I have a fairly limited understanding of the scientific basis of sexual orientation (but I guess that holds true for pretty much everyone, because it's not well-understood ). I am fairly certain there is at least some degree of flexibility in your sexual orientation, whatever it may be, but that the gross position is determined by a combination of genetic factors and prenatal factors that influence the way your brain develops. The flexibility is mostly in that based on your experiences in life the orientation can shift a bit more towards one gender or the other, but I do not think that it can ever turn someone who is exclusively attracted to men into someone who is exclusively attracted to women. But besides that, it makes far more sense to me to look at sexual orientation as existing on a continuum of sorts, with (pure) heterosexuality on one end and pure homosexuality on the other end, with many possible combinations in between. And from what I have seen, not many people fall on either far end of the spectrum, whether that is completely heterosexual or homosexual. I wrote a much longer post on this elsewhere, but I think one problem is that too many people take their sexual orientation as a causative factor, while it's merely descriptive in my opinion. Attraction to a specific person isn't something that is open to choice; the attraction as such is an emotional response to that person's sense of life and the other values they possess. To say that one should or shouldn't be attracted to a person of a certain gender is as silly as saying that one shouldn't be attracted to the person one is attracted to. That last case is very prevalent even here, where newer members ask such questions about romantic situations, because they are unsure if their attraction is "justified". Well, it doesn't work like that. Whether or not sexual orientation or subsequent actions following from that is open to morality depends on other factors, but the attraction itself is just a fact one should recognize. Having said that, for any given person there are people they are attracted to, and in certain ways it might be helpful to know which kind of person you are generally attracted to (or which sex), because it'll make looking for someone like that much easier. It's kinda like knowing your normal preference when you go shopping for a new pair of shoes. Sure, you might almost always get the same kind of shoes because they simply fit your foot better and are most comfortable to wear and look most attractive to you, but you can still find a completely different pair you adore My tentative theory about this topic is that we are primarily attracted to certain qualities or attributes in a partner, and that gender as such is not as important. It's simply that if I look at the qualities I respond to in a person on a very personal, emotional level, they are *far* more ubiquitous in women than they are in men. So it makes sense that in such a situation I am attracted to women on a far more prevalent basis than I am attracted to men (which hasn't yet happened, but there's nothing repellent about the thought either when I introspect, which is why I'm quite sure that given the right person, I could fall in love with another guy). So having said that, I do not believe in the numbers generally cited as to how common homosexuality is, statistically. I think it's far higher than whatever number people generally use (5 or 10% or something). It is made much more difficult by what I cited above, that for most people who can be attracted to someone of the same sex, may never find out about it because such people are damn rare, and they may never meet one. The danger of using labels for an issue like this is that for many people it tends to obliterate the complex nature of whatever it is these labels describe. And yes, homosexuals who cling to stereotypes (and in some ways this is more common than it is for heterosexuals) to the exclusion of considering alternatives annoy me to no end, because it just doesn't make any sort of rational sense. As sorry as I am to say it, I think in some ways the homosexual community is more of a danger to itself than any other group in existence, because their actions reinforce all the differences and issues their opponents grasp on to. It's like with most so-called defenders of capitalism: with friends like that, who needs enemies? Ultimately, what people need to see is that whatever your sexual orientation may be, it is a minor issue that does NOT define a person any more than the color of their skin or hair does. We don't go around labeling ourselves and saying: I am attracted to blond people, so why do it for this? In every single way that matters, such a person is the same as a person with the same qualities and a different sexual orientation, and *that* is what they should emphasize if popular opinions about it are ever going to change.