syrakusos

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About syrakusos

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    Rational Empiricist
  • Birthday 11/10/1949

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    Michael E. Marotta
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    Senior technical writer for enterprise information systems serving complex organizations. Content strategist and knowledge presentationdesigner for projects serving electrical power, telecommunication, insurance, and manufacturing... Post and patrol for large crowd events, as well as for business, technology and retail customers. Responsible for greeting, clearing and directing visitors and employees. Inspection of premises and grounds via closed circuit television cameras.
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    West Wing, Die Hard 1-4, Big Bang Theory
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    http://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com
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    Numismatics, Physical Security and Computer Security, Aviation

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  1. (I sent this to CivicAction at Meetup dot com. I also sent out-takes to the groups that belonged to, most of them for computer users.) I am cutting my access to all of my Meetup groups and to Meetup.com as of February 28, 2017, in response to a corporate decision by Meetup to support the Resist political action collectives. “We decided that we wanted to do more to support these efforts so we created a network of 1,000 #Resist Meetup groups with a few special characteristics.” -- https://www.meetup.com/help/article/2736376/ While I am sympathetic to many of the social justice causes pursued by Resist, I must object to Meetup’s delivering a special value to them. My comrades on the right wing also have advanced the cause of freedom. Their methods and their successes do not grab headlines. It is a matter of culture. As collectivists, my progressive comrades form strong groups, and groups are easy to see. They grab headlines when they grab other people’s property. But that property had to be created first. The exceptionally great wealth of America was the work of millions of individuals who mostly minded their own business, making their own lives as best they knew how by the standards they chose according to their personal values. That does not make the home pages of news media – unless it is to “doodle” in celebrating the historical birthday of a dead writer, musician, inventor, or scientist. Meetup.com is a tool for those conservatives, libertarians, and Objectivists who advance the ethics and politics of individualism. By creating new, no-cost platforms for one political group, Meetup.com of necessity excludes those of other political beliefs – and those groups with no political agenda. It is also a platform for millions of individuals who share personal – sometimes peculiar – interests of their own, far removed from politics. And that speaks to a fundamental problem with progressive causes. It is critical that this be understood. Dr. Martin Luther King looked forward to a future in which each person is judged by the content of their character. But character is an attribute of a person, not of a group. Choosing not to do business with someone because they are not from your ethnic, social, gender, class, or religious group is irrational. But freedom of association is a fundamental political right. While my collectivist comrades try to eliminate discrimination by engaging the power of the state, my friends on the right go to the root problem: lack of character. If the owners of Meetup.com want to end social injustice, they should empower their customers who meet to build character. But that would mean creating a 1000 special groups for some religions or some philosophies in preference to others. And there is no way to parse that, because, after all, even karate builds character. Therefore, I will delete my Meetup account and switch to some other service or set of services, such as Google Groups, which, in fact, evolved from the age-old Usenet maillists. Ultimately, no one needs Meetup.com. That is something to keep in mind. Michael E. Marotta
  2. That's all well and good, but the word "sex" has been dropped from the conversation. Beyond NOIF, what does it mean to be treated "fairly" in sexual encounters. Ethics vary with social context. Can sexual ethics be different for different genders? I assume not, as my primary. But it is easy to come up with social situations in which ethics depend on context. Good ethics are objective, but they are not all the same for everyone in every case. In business, if I am paid by the hour, and it is time to go home, and if I have a family waiting, then punching the time clock and leaving is ethical. If I am on salary and live alone, then leaving when the work is done - not when the clock says 5 - is ethical. I have worked in a lot of places because I am a contractor. So, I know a lot of ways that people get along ethically in business. I do not have much experience in sexual encounters with others. One ethical rule I have is "ladies before gentlemen."
  3. I am sorry, Ba'al, but I find that your description is too reductionist, so it misses the essence. Just for starters, I already pointed out that living things do not necessarily replicate themselves: hybrids are often sterile, but are alive nonetheless. At the cellular level, not all cells reproduce. Red Blood Cells (erythrocytes, which is only Greek for "red cells") are made in the bone marrow. Perhaps your description properly puts them outside the definition of "life". But, evolutionarily, maybe they were independent at one time and just "devolved." Animals without interior bones must have some other ways to transport oxygen. But, again, I regard my own words above as falling into the reductionist fallacy. You can take something apart and never find the "it" that you took apart because "it" is the sum (greater than the sum?) of its parts. As for intelligence, I think that it is possible that intelligence reverses entropy. Ideas are immaterial. That opens the door to our nature as "spiritual" beings. I think that perhaps all other living things are also "spiritual" only that they have less "spirit." And, likely, other living things have more than we do: higher orders of angels, you might say. I went back and read some of the posts by jts in Sports and Recreation about chess programs. How are they not intelligent?
  4. My degrees are in criminology (BS) and social science (MA). In any arbitrarily "large" business, about 20% of the employees are criminals. In addition, many enterprises are criminal by nature, with 100% participation by the employees. The suburbs suffer as much crime as the inner cities, only that the worst crimes are often different, being worse in the suburbs. For a close analogy to inner city crime, you need to go to rural areas. That statement expresses a criminogenic attitude. It is a version of the cultural foundations of Sharia Law.
  5. Thanks. That was sad and compelling.
  6. We need to go back to what it means to be ailve. Binswanger's essential assumption is to be engaged in action to sustain itself. By that definition, all of the cells in a baby are alive, but the "baby qua baby" is not. We might accept crying as an attempt to sustain itself, which I believe is inadequate. On the other hand, is the growth of a crystal an expression of its having life? Back in the mid-1980s, discussing software life, I looked up definitions for "life" in biology textbooks. As you can imagine, they were general and intuitive, not rigorous. The attributes of life do not apply to all living things. For instance, "mules" (real donkey-horses, and other hybrids) do not reproduce their own kind because they are born sterile. (Some exceptions apply. It depends on the species of the jack/jenny and mare/stud. That seems true in other kinds of hybrids. In the wider context, fertile hybrids call Darwinian definitions of "species" into question.) At any rate, Binswanger is just adhering to Ayn Rand's definition, which, again, is intuitively obvious, but perhaps not rigorous. Almost every cell in your body would be alive, of course, but by that definition your gametes (sperm, ovum) are not. I worked in robotics and factory automation in the 'nineties. For one robot show, Kawasaki had two six-axis mechanical units controlled by one computer, to which was also included a vision system. It solved Rubic's Cube in a minute. (Can Binswanger do that?) I built hobby robots since then. Right now, we have this toy for our cat. The toy has a simple mechanical servo to back away and re-direct after hitting a barrier. That is more that a sperm can do. Then, of course, her in this Board, we have discussions of computers that play chess. In fact, as I understand it, we are now at the point where humans are relegated to a different arena because the computer always wins. If not "always" certainly "often." Autonomous machines are important to space exploration. That they cannot reproduce their own kind does not disqualify them as "life." They certainly do perceive and react to their environments to sustain their range of actions.
  7. Sexual ethics derive from morality. Like metaphysics, and epistemology, morality rests on absolutes. Alone on his island, Robinson Crusoe needed morality. Proper ethics are objective, but not absolute. Subjective thoughts and actions, and arbitrary thoughts and actions are destructive. A business dress code is not absolute, but it does define a kind of ethical conduct. So, too, with sex, are the moral rules absolute, and the social rules objective. The worst outcomes are the result of subjectivism and intrinsicism. Socially, we trade value for value. Sexually, your pleasure is primary and as a consequence you find pleasure in your partner enjoyment and celebration. The business rules of creating and delivering the best at the highest price the market will bear have sexual analogs. Getting it done and over with is an expression of failure within, a lack of self-esteem, even a consequence of self-loathing. Again, it is similar to the way people slog through jobs they hate. If a male birth control pill were invented, it would be incumbent on the man to accept primary responsibility for the consequences of sex with a woman, though her own responsibility to herself still exists. Each has a primary responsibility to themselves, from which comes their responsibility to their partner. Not to recognize that and live it, would be like short-changing a customer, or weighing goods with your thumb on the scale. A schoolmate of mine from a social psychology class said that sex is what is between your legs, gender is what is between your ears, and orientation is what goes on between the sheets. That seems like a nice vernacular summation. It addresses some of the errors that have been posted here as claims of truth. On the subject of rape, the claim that women use the false accusation of rape as a weapon against men is completely inadequate. I doubt that in a discussion of business ethics, Dallas Korben would have opened with an assertion that businesses routinely use false accusations of fraud as a competitive strategy, though, historically, you might find some examples of that. Moreover, the other tet-a-tets failed to include male-on-male rape which is more common than most people consider. Male-on-male rape brings into sharp relief that fact that rape is primarily about dominance and control, not about sex. Sex is just the modality of expression. Moralist's traditionalism is likewise unworkable as an approach to understanding and defining sexual ethics. We think of men as hunters. But in an anthropology class, we read about a tribe where the men had long ago convinced the women that fire is a dangerous demon. So, the women leave the men at home to tend the children who are (1) off the breast and (2) too young to be gendered and therefore (3) go hunting with their mothers, while the men tend the home fires and get dinner ready. People have a wide range of possible behaviors and within the bounds of objective good, can choose many paths. The claim that "males must be men" is hollow for lack of objective meaning. On a positive note, a friend of mine who is sexually active told me a time when she picked up a guy and was shocked when he entered without a condom. It stopped right there. "I felt violated," she said. And I agreed. Our society is at a point, personally, where I would be hesitant to have sex with a stranger unless I were wearing a frogman suit. Myself, I think that it is that bad out there... It has always been the case that the best behavior is to get to know someone before you open up to them. In some traditional Jewish culture, the betrotheds were housed together for a month, but, supposedly, without sex. They were to get to know each other while waiting for the woman to have a menstrual period to show that she was not already pregnant, and therefore marriageable. It seems like a workable theory. In our society, while "dating" you learn about your partner, including, and especially, their commitment, at least to to serial monogamy -- while you wait to see if they break out in herpes or something... Interviewing the owner of an manufacturing company that sought Tier 1 contracts with the automotives, he referred to "doing the mating dance" with a potential customer. It did not work out, and they called it off before a contract was signed.
  8. I am not sure what Atlashead means. I grant that it is difficult to say it all in a few paragraphs, even for someone who writes for a living. But what was offered was internally disconnected. 1. "Thus, in any toxic relationship, only the woman can totally control whether a baby is born." That would make a "toxic" relationship the default. The loaded word "toxic" opens many doors of discussion. 2. " Thus, a relationship between any man and a woman can be moral, as long as a child is not created." That does not follow from any premise. The word "thus" is misleading. 3. "A relationship between a man and a woman where the child is born into slavery is immoral. A relationship between two who are capable of not hurting the child, and the child's not born into compulsion, is a moral one." The "slave" status of infants and children is much debated here an elsewhere in O-land. As an infant matures into childhood and beyond, it gains more rights by its nature. 4. "Thus, it is WOMEN, by nature, who can use sex as a weapon, but men cannot use sex as a weapon, because ..." I agree with DLL that this is confused, at best, and mostly just wrong. I do point out, however, that rape is not about sex. It is about violence. Sex is just a part of that, much of it cultural. When you are punched in the nose, you do not suffer a special kind of "nasal assault." Maybe if we were elephants, you would... Some feminists argue cogently, that our Puritanical foundations make rape something other than physical assault. We are just irrational about sex. 5. "... an unborn child; which objectivists believe to be potentially good in all cases, because objectivists do not believe that one's parentage=a person." Again, that is not a logical statement. The premise "parentage does not equal person" does not mean that unborn children are all potentially good. All unborn children - all newly born infants; and probably most teenagers; and many adults - are "potentially" all manner of alternatives, from good to bad. Moreover, as an Objectivist, I assure you that parentage can indeed define the person, both genetically and culturally. It need not be so in every case; and it depends on the person, probably in every case. However, as a card-carrying criminologist who finds the "rational choice" theory of crime most explanatory, some people do seem to be beyond all remediation: they are born criminals.
  9. Fascinating. Thanks!
  10. I launched "Necessary Facts" on January 2, 2011. Since then, I wrote 458 articles. The site has had 178,00 page views. With the new year, I wrote three summaries of the work. "Most Popular Page Views" "Ten Most Popular Page Views" "A Partial index of Ideas Within This Blog" The blog was named after the book, Necessary Factual Truths by Gregory M. Browne, an Objectivist professor of philosophy whom I met while in college in 2009. Among the surprises for me is the fact that there are two mirror sites, that I did not create, one in Norway, the other in Japan. Occasionally readers from Russia, India, or China outnumber those from America. Most quizzical is the fact the all time most popular article is "What (if anything) did Dorothy Learn?" about the penultimate scene in the 1939 movie version of The Wizard of Oz. My motivation stems from the fact that as a technical writer and even as a freelance magazine writer, I work for other people. With "Necessary Facts" I write for myself. I never sought out a lot of visibility. I never invested time in "search engine optimization." I have all of seven followers. Still, the 179,000 page views and the tendrils of global readership are interesting.
  11. You can find many anthologies of "Anti-Federalist Papers" via Worldcat http://www.worldcat.org/search?qt=worldcat_org_bks&q=anti-federalist+papers&fq=dt%3Abks I mention that because my reading of one such is that among the several proposals was that the governors of the states should choose the President. The former colonies had a lot of experience writing constitutions, starting with the Mayflower Compact. If you goto the Avalon collection from Yale, -- http://avalon.law.yale.edu/ -- you can find very many of those documents. Agreement of the Settlers at Exeter in New Hampshire, August 4, 1639 The Articles of Confederation of the United Colonies of New England; May 19 1643 The Charter or Fundamental Laws, of West New Jersey, Agreed Upon - 1676 The Concession and Agreement of the Lords Proprietors of the Province of New Caesarea, or New Jersey, to and With All and Every the Adventurers and All Such as Shall Settle or Plant There - February 10 1664 Frame of Government of Pennsylvania - February 2, 1683 Frame of Government of Pennsylvania - November 1, 1696 Government of New Haven Colony; October 27-November 6, 1643 Government of Rhode Island-March 16-19, 1641 ...among many others in the 17th and 18th centuries... As I recall, you lived in Chicago. I grew up in Cleveland. I now live in Austin. I just point out that merely showing up in "Chicago" or "New York" or "Los Angeles" will not get a candidate a majority of votes in those places. They are cities comprised of neighborhoods and also of special interests. If you speak in the Bronx, you are not in Brooklyn. If you speak to the bakers, you do not speak to the retail clerks. There is no easy win.
  12. We had this discussion at work, and I could only repeat myself. I had no further explanations to make my point. Many states - 20, as I recall - have legal punishment for so-called "faithless" electors. My argument is that states have the right to set the method for choosing electors. The legislature could pick them. In Maine and Nebraska, they are elected by the people according to Congressional districts. In many other states (most?) they are chosen by the two largest parties at their state conventions. That much is all fine. However, once chosen, they can vote for whomever they want. My cubie neighbor said that if you are pledged to a candidate and vote for someone else, you have broken your pledge and should be punished. Thinking about this now, it is easier to come up with counter-examples. Politicians are elected for the promises they make. Breaking them might cost the next election (perhaps), but they are not sent to prison. (An elector in Colorado faced that for not voting for Clinton-Kane.) Apparently, this has been challenged in the past, but the federal courts have upheld the right of the states to punish "faithless" electors.
  13. I don't care that Donald Trump got elected. I do care about the Constitution. Maybe you find that funny. A Federalist, a Republican, and a Democrat walk into a bar. The Federalist does not order because he sees that it is 1:50 AM and figures that he cannot finish his beer before closing. The Republican waits for the Democrat to order, but the Democrat goes behind the bar and serves himself. (Maybe you had to be there...)
  14. I found this at the bottom of the display. Thanks. I shared several with my wife this morning. MEM
  15. They are not "faithless" electors. Rather, they are fully faithful to the original intent of the Constitution... as was Roger Lea McBride when he voted for John Hospers.