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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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    Austin, Texas
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    Numismatics, Physical Security and Computer Security, Aviation

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  1. Actually, this seems to be a permanent problem. You will see that it is "two years old" but was reported three years ago. Haiti: Drought Snapshot (July 2016) - Haiti | ReliefWeb The drought that has hit Haiti in the two last years has caused the agricultural production to fall about 60% in comparison to 2013. The drought in combination with Haiti: Drought Worsens Food Crisis, U.N. Agency Says By RICK GLADSTONEFEB. 9, 2016 Continue reading the main storyShare This Page Share Tweet Email More Save More than 1.5 million Haitians are threatened with malnutrition — double the number of six months ago — because of a three-year-old drought that has been worsened by the global El Niño weather phenomenon, the anti-hunger agency of the United Nations said Tuesday. WORLD NEWS | Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:53pm EDT Haiti drought cuts harvests, lifts prices, food crisis looms: WFP By Anastasia Moloney BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A severe drought in Haiti has led to acute water shortages, shriveled harvests and raised food prices, weakening the fragile food supply and worsening hunger among the poor, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said... Drought, poor harvest to worsen Haiti food crisis - WFP by Anastasia Moloney | @anastasiabogota | Thomson Reuters Foundation Tuesday, 18 June 2013 05:01 GMT And yet…. “The National Meteorology Office (ONAMET) actually benefited because the authorities and key sectors like agriculture and water paid more attention to us,” said Juana Sille, an expert on drought, which was a major problem in the Caribbean and Central America in 2015. It is an ill wind that blows no man good.
  2. Following Wolf's link to Helen Mirren as Ayn Rand, gave me this: Five of the ten films are about Nietzsche. Also, despite the actual ideas of most of these, I found it typically sad that their "official" review of The Passion of Ayn Rand was such a slur: Take Socrates… In The Clouds, he is satirized as offering "wrong logic" that can be used to disprove obvious truths. In The Clouds, the father of the wastrel youth wants Socrates to teach him "wrong logic" so that he can argue away his creditors. Meanwhile, Socrates is in a washtub hung from the ceiling so that he can be closer to the highest truths. Just sayin'… by what standard is any philosopher not guilty of "eccentric" ideas? We saw Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure back in the 1980s, and we still speak of "philosophizing with So-crates." Like when my wife is going to ask me what I have been doing all afternoon, I am going to say "philosophizing with So-crates and my Objectivist friends."
  3. Dictionaries only report how their editors believe that most people use a word, including the important nuances, and inherent contradictions. (If "to fast" means to go without food, how much "fast food" do you have to eat before you starve to death?" -- Dogbert.) I recommend Simon Winchester's The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary (Wikipedia here). Objectivists know that Ayn Rand was very specific about her intentions when writing about "selfishness", "capitalism", "romanticism", "rational", and "realism" among many other words. At the introductory lecture to "The Basic Principles of Objectivism" in Cleveland, Ohio, in September 1966, Nathaniel Branden was asked if rationalism is the same as realism. He replied that as the words are used commonly, yes, but as they are used in formal philosophy, they are very different. He meant that someone who is rational is realistic and someone who is irrational is unrealistic. That much is easy -- and supported by common dictionaries. As we know, however, philosophical rationalism and philosophical realism are two sides of a false dichotomy. Whose ice cream is it? You need to supply context. If you were invited to a birthday party and the hostess is serving ice cream, that is one context. If you share an apartment with friends and you bought yourself a gallon of Häagen-Dazs, and ate it while watching TV, then that is a different context. Ayn Rand used the phrase "man qua man" to mean something similar to what Aristotle called "the good life." Indulging in a gallon of ice cream may not be in your best interests -- in fact, I assert that it is not. Such behavior is not selfish and ignores the fundamentals of Objectivism. Similarly, being a boor at a party violates many expectations of a truly selfish person who does not demand that others live for them, as, for instance, by supplying a birthday party with all the ice cream that you can eat.
  4. Not just any piece of paper. Not all paper is equal, equally profitable, or profitable at all. Among the firms delisted from the NYSE are: Lehman Brothers, Great A&P Tea Co., Circuit City, Gottschalks, and Sara Lee. Those are just some of the Big Name firms that have gone under recently. See the Top 11 of all time here: Knowing what to buy and when to sell require intelligence: knowledge plus insight. Every trader suffers from "the conceit of knowledge" the belief that they have special understanding that will let them beat the market. Some do. Their names stand out in history. It is no different from the millions of people who can change a lightbulb, but not build (or invent) a generator. "All you have to do it take some wire and wrap it around a magnet... and millions of people pay you for doing nothing..." I am sure that you see the fallacy there. Your view of finance is just as erroneous.
  5. I have to point to Ayn Rand's essay, "The Monument Builders." Space travel was technically feasible in the steam age of Jules Verne. Willey Ley tells the story of the Germans around von Braun having called all their committee supporters to a roundtable because they needed a special pump to handle the booster stage. They thought that one would have to be specially created. A representative from some firm or other suggested that they contact the firm that makes fire engines, because those pumps are pretty good. Collectivism prevents space travel, and always had. Two world wars - the first, especially - drained the resources and the will of the world. Remove World War One and we would have had a Lunar colony by 1950. I am enthusiastic about space and always have been. Always. Before the loss of Challenger, I had applied for the "Journalist in Space" competition. I was facing Walter Cronkite and John Denver, so I was at the back of the line. Still, I learned to fly, and to write about aviation. And I have a soft spot in my heart for those old Bolsheviks, of which Ayn Rand was (romantically) one: big dreams, big ideas, women in engineering... But for all of that, the USSR threw human lives at every problem. We throw money. Which way of life do you prefer?
  6. Well, yes, him and the Wall Street Journal, which provided the basis of his report. In short, in the free market - which actually operates today (as the existence of this very report demonstrates) - would and does! provide a multiplicity of modes and methods. You would have to decide for yourself... which we all do... So, the Chimp is behind the power curve once again, shouting "Theater" in a crowded fire.
  7. This also came up on the Galt's Gulch Online discussion board, but with a different host site. It is apparently being picked up on. Here is the link to the discussion there. Within that was this offered by EAJewett a few comments down from the top. Note that it garnered four votes for a +5, so it had some approval from the audience. That link, "One Woman's Thoughts About Life on the Spectrum" had several more similar at the bottom of that page. =georgia> In LS's topic on RoR, I suggested that the popularity of the subject as well as television shows such as Bones and of course Big Bang Theory indicate that NA (neuro-atypical) people are becoming less statistically atypical. Like IQ - and, I submit, the continued success of the works of Ayn Rand - it suggests a shift in our fundamental sociology. On my blog, I have four posts under the rubric "Nerd Nation."
  8. I really wish that we could vote on this board.
  9. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. The problem with the Golden Rule is expecting that others will have the same values, the same needs that you do. Broadly, that is true. However, in many specific circumstances, it surely is not. Statistically, it is likely that within your own body no two hemoglobin molecules are identical. Individual differences run deeper within us than is commonly known. Aesop's fable of the Fox and the Stork demonstrated quite clearly that different people have different needs. Yours are not theirs.
  10. On the Galt's Gulch Online forum, Dale Halling pointed to this video as a refutation of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle: (Like Ed Hudgins, I am having trouble inserting a video.)
  11. You do the Presidential Press Conference Dance: side step, side step, side step, and never face the music. In my book on codes and ciphers, I gave an example of Goedelized codes taken from The Gold at Starbow's End by Frederick Pohl. You are ignoring the simple challenge to show how this applies to integers. If you cannot, then you must admit that it does not. And therefore may well not apply to Objectivist epistemology. Goedel's Theorem involves the highest abstractions of arithmetic. The paragraph above can be expressed as a single number. Each statement of my proof likewise can be expressed as a single number. Goedel's theorem only says that we have no a prior way to know if the entire set of those numbers is complete and non-contradictory. That is two different assertions. If the set is non-contradictory, then it is not complete. We know that. The body of knowledge is always expanding. You have asserted nothing substantial. ... unless, of course, you have something substantial to assert. (Take your time.)
  12. In the words of Davy Crockett: "Not perzactly." In other words, you skipped Step 2. First of all, this relates entirely and only to arithmetic. Another system can be consistent. Objectivist epistemology is not alone in resolving apparent contradictions with a wider abstraction that incorporates the essential consistent attributes of the elements. For example: "You say that the basic choice is to think or not to think, but in order to choose, do you not need to be thinking?" A very common question from Objectivist ethics (also consistent) is: "Isn't everyone selfish?" I have some questions of my own about ITOE because Rand does not credit value to meditation, for instance. She says that a child first identifies and then integrates objects by their shape. For me, some that was function or operation. Realize that we are talking about an infant here, but for me, although dogs and cats have the same shape, they behave differently. Dogs come when you call them; cats run away. So, if you want to read the essay and address something substantive, please do. However, the Goedel thing is just sophomoric. It is nice to quote an authority, Ba'al, but as you brought it up, would you care to give us an example of the problem from, say, the set of integer arithmetic?
  13. This is old and mainstream. It is theorized that the little webs that we do have between our fingers evolved when we lived near the ocean, or, perhaps, in some other very watery place. I point out that cats dislike baths, but eat fish. How did that come about? As I recall, the ears of terrestrial animals evolved from the gills of fish.
  14. Rand was cogent and correct in noting that when we make New Year's Resolutions, we celebrate our control over our destinies. This year, for Christmas, among the cards I sent out were some of Pygmalion sizing up his work: "May your plans for the new year come to fruition." Best wishes to all, Michael M.
  15. We saw it last night. We were pretty sure that we had seen it before. Discussing it at work with another fan, the movie deviates from the post-Lucas story arc. Here in Austin, a few years ago, I attended a National November Writers Month (NaNoWriMo) with the now-late (sadly) Aaron Allston (Wikipedia here) and as a result of that, I read through several of his and others' Star Wars novels. Trying to avoid spoilage here, I just note that, like Atlas Shrugged or Pride and Prejudice, you have a core of fans who know the work inside and out. Beyond that, you have the masses who just want common enjoyment. The problem of the second-hander plagues the current Star Trek movies, which also are under the artistic control of J. J. Abrams. While splitting off an alternate universe gave the story writers a lot of freedom, it also violated several fundamentals. The love relationship between Uhura and Spock is just one. One of the rules of the Star Trek universe (as controlled by Paramount) was that no new romantic relationships could be introduced between existing characters. In part, that was to deflect the many Spock-Kirk love stories that fans were writing. With Star Wars, the relationship lived by Han Solo and Leia Organa after the Return of the Jedi had already been defined in professional fiction (not fan fic) under the license of Lucasfilms by Aaron Allston and several other writers. Just check your local bookstore or library. This is known. So what? In the worst case, it is Courtland Homes. In The Fountainhead, picnicking with Gale and Dominique, Roark explains to Wynand that we inherit the wheel and invent the automobile. But in another scene, Keating confesses that he has not brought so much as a new doorknob to architecture. The gang that took over Courtland made their own changes, but none of those was an inventive improvement. So, too, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.