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  1. 4 points
    He's a child or else a very young adult. The graphic is General Iroh from Avatar: the Last Airbender an anime series that ran from 2005-2008 and is still popular today. The hand gesture Iroh is making is likely part of a kata as he often imparted wisdom to his grandson while they trained together. My 15-year-old and I loved that series and quote from it on a semi-regular basis. The very next line after the graphic, our mystery poster says, "So here I am, trying to draw wisdom from a new source." I read him in the same way I would have read my teenage son - more mature and smarter than average, but an awkward communicator and not sure how to convey that he wants to learn something while maintaining that he knows everything. You know, like a kid would do. Your experience, MSK, led you to read him differently, and you'll get no judgment from me on that, neither in my response to the poster nor in this response to you. However, I was compelled to answer honestly his honest inquiry. No, I did not get the same impression of him as others did.
  2. 4 points
    INTRODUCTORY NOTE: Wow, I haven't posted here in a long time. Unfortunately I've been preoccupied with working on my PhD. Another point I want to make is that, unfortunately, I've been finding that many conversations in the Objecto-sphere have become rather monotonous and rarely are new ideas or new topics being addressed, and thus the discussion has become less interesting for me in recent years. I'm still an Objectivist, I just haven't seen too much novelty in the Objectivist world, which is another reason I've been less than present on this forum. However, I am back with an article I wrote. I couldn't get it published at more general libertarian-outreach-activism places so I thought here would be a good choice. All comments are appreciated! NANCY MACLEAN, LIBERTARIANS AND AUTISM Introduction Criticism of Duke University history professor Nancy MacLean has become a cottage industry ever since she published her demented smear job against Public Choice Theory "Democracy In Chains." Indeed, MacLean's work is full of absurd distortions, misrepresentative quoting, and obvious untruths. Her entire thesis is that Public Choice Theory is racist; frankly I wonder if Nancy is attempting to continue Duke University's proud tradition of racially charged false accusations. Public choice scholars and economists like Michael Munger (see http://www.independent.org/issues/article.asp?id=9115 ) and Steven Horwitz (see https://www.cato.org/cato-journal/fall-2017/democracy-chains-deep-history-radical-rights-stealth-plan-america-nancy ) have done an admirable job in effectively shredding MacLean's thesis, but MacLean knew, just like Mike Nifong and Crystal Mangum, that women's tears are almost always believed and as such she decided to play victim (https://www.chronicle.com/article/Nancy-MacLean-Responds-to-Her/240699). It is no surprise Oprah shilled her book; I'm sure that soon enough Lifetime will be producing a telemovie about the trauma she suffered at being critiqued. But the point of this article isn't to channel my inner Christopher Hitchens and say nasty things about MacLean's screed. Plenty of far better commentators have done this. Rather, I am going to make a qualified defense of something she did say whilst criticizing what she seemed to be attempting to imply with what she said. We all know how utterly frustrating it is when people deal with their political enemies through the use of diagnosis as a substitute for dialectic. The Soviet Union took this to its logical extreme through claiming that political dissidents were mentally ill, because clearly no sane person could disagree with Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism; more recent entries in this category include the so-called "Republican Brain Hypothesis" (see https://www.abbeys.com.au/book/republican-brain-the-science-of-why-they-deny-science-and-reality.do ) that was proposed during the culture wars against the Religious Right during the George W. Bush administration. MacLean decided to add to this genre of political pseudoargument through arguing that there is indeed a libertarian brain, and that libertarian brain is characterized by being on the autism spectrum (see https://reason.com/blog/2018/02/13/democracy-in-chains-author-nancy-maclean/print ). Katherine Timpf at National Review fumed (https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/nancy-maclean-libertarians-seem-autism-spectrum/). Like several other critics pointed out (see https://psmag.com/news/on-libertarians-autism-and-empathy and https://anintenseworld.com/2018/02/10/duke-historian-nancy-maclean-identifies-autism-as-the-source-of-a-malevolent-ideology/ ), MacLean's understanding of autism primarily in terms of lacking empathy and not feeling solidarity with others is based on an outdated portrait of being on the autistic spectrum rooted primarily in the "Mind Blindness" concept of Simon Baron-Cohen; more recent research has greatly questioned whether "Mind Blindness" is a correct portrait in the first place. But so far, the responses to MacLean have focused on the fact she equates libertarianism with a lack of empathy and solidarity with others, and the fact that she equates being on the autistic spectrum with lacking said empathy and solidarity. These are all valid critiques to make of her position, but so far there has been little attempt to wrestle with the question of whether or not MacLean is correct that there might be a link between libertarianism and being on the autistic spectrum. Not only that, but no one to my knowledge has questioned the unstated premise of MacLean's argument, which is that libertarian economics (and Public Choice in particular) is wrong because the brains which formulated these economics are arguably on the autistic spectrum. MacLean's argument is simply not an argument unless one accepts that having autism or Asperger's Syndrome introduces systematic error into one's economic reasoning. Indeed, for MacLean to be correct, having a brain that is positively drenched in "empathy" and "solidarity with others" is necessary to be a good economist. My argument is simple; yes, it is in fact likely that libertarians are disproportionately likely to be either on the austistic spectrum or have subclinical levels of symptoms typically thought of as indicating Asperger's Syndrome. Libertarian thought and philosophy often is characterized by the kind of cognitive style which, in its extreme form, is characteristic of austists and in particular the high-functioning autists commonly described as having Asperger's Syndrome. This is where MacLean is right. However, the implication that this kind of cognitive style makes you bad at doing economics is precisely the opposite of the truth. Indeed, having a degree of autistic symptoms can plausibly be thought of as an advantage for an economist, and that it is the caring-feeling-empathy-solidarity normie-brain which could represent a disadvantage for someone trying to perform economic analysis. On a personal note, I am not just a libertarian with Bachelors and Masters degrees in economics (and in the process of working on a Doctorate in the field), but I also have Asperger's Syndrome. Nancy MacLean's statements therefore constitute an allegation that my very brain is less capable at economic reasoning than it would be if I were neurotypical (i.e. not someone with Asperger's Syndrome). Of course, one must wonder why I would develop an interest in and devote substantial amounts of time and effort to the field of economics if I were mentally impaired at comprehending it! 1. Libertarians: More 'spergy Than Average How someone thinks, their "cognitive style" or what Ayn Rand called their "psycho-epistemology," is partially determined by biology. Of course anyone of any neurology can grasp that 2 + 2 = 4, but research has shown that the biology of the brain influences how people think. Dr. Helen Fisher, for example, researches how brain chemistry impacts things like people's love life and people's politics (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lOPtTbFCMY ). Neurobiology has political correlates, as Fisher points out; she characterizes libertarians as having brains highly influenced by natal testosterone. Jonathan Haidt and several co-researchers also, in a study of libertarian morality, point out that biological factors can predispose one (albeit often indirectly) to different political ideologies (see http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0042366&type=printable ). An interesting thing which Haidt et al. point out is that libertarians rely on reason more, and emotion less, than leftists or conservatives; this is tested using Simon Baron-Cohen's Empathizer-Systemizer scale (see p12-13). This scale is interesting in that it is linked both to being on the autism spectrum and also gender; "libertarians score the lowest of any group on empathizing, and the highest on systemizing. In fact, libertarians are the only group that scored higher on systemizing than empathizing... relatively high systemizing and low empathizing scores are characteristic of the male brain, with very extreme scores indicating autism. We might say that liberals have the most 'feminine' cognitive style, and libertarians the most 'masculine'" (p13). In spite of Baron-Cohen's contested contention that people on the autism spectrum are less capable of empathy, the point remains that there is clearly correspondence between Haidt, Fisher and Baron-Cohen here; persons whom are on the autism spectrum can be described as having an atypically "masculinized" (i.e. shaped by prenatal testosterone) brain. Libertarians (on average) have brains which are more testosterone-influenced than the general population. It stands to reason, therefore, that brains-predisposed-to-libertarianism are more likely to also either be on the autistic spectrum or at least have more autistic-spectrum-traits than the average brain. This also provides a theoretical explanation for why libertarian communities are disproportionately male; strongly masculinized brain development is more likely to happen to natally male individuals. This "systemizer-brain" orientation is evidenced all over libertarian culture, as evidenced by the emphasis we tend to place on logical consistency and reason in general (to the point where our biggest magazine is literally named Reason). As Ayn Rand made clear, she was not primarily an advocate of markets, liberty and egoism, but rather of reason, and if one embraced reason all the rest would follow; agree or disagree with Rand as much as you like, but she serves as evidence of how libertarianism has deep cognitive roots. The fact that libertarian advocacy is ultimately rooted in the Enlightenment, which championed human reason, is further evidence of this. Whilst the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has fallen out of favor with academic psychology research, I distinctly remember discussions in libertarian communities about how libertarians are about 80% xNTx (it is even more extreme amongst Randians/Objectivists, whom are about 85% xNTx and particularly biased towards INTx individuals; indeed MBTI enthusiasts often characterize Howard Roark as an INTP, and Rand herself as an INTJ); this is massively disproportionate relative to the general population, which is about 12% xNTx. The xNTx style of cognition is the "rational temperament" focused on thinking rather than feeling, and high level abstractions over immediate sensory information. To the extent that cognitive style is biological, the implications are depressing for libertarians. The libertarian mindset is strongly correlated with a brain that is heavily influenced by prenatal testosterone, moreso than the average brain. Libertarianism appeals to an atypical style of mind, one that is likely to exhibit more characteristics of Asperger's Syndrome or the autism spectrum generally; libertarianism appeals to a mind which is more emotionally detached, more introverted, more abstract, and less invested in social relationships than the norm (Haidt et al.'s paper substantiates this; libertarians are less likely to define or describe themselves in terms of their relationships to other people). This is consistent with the fact that libertarianism is not a mass movement, and implies that most people will find libertarianism counterintuitive at least initially. 2. Good Economics Is Counterintuitive Too It has been noticed by many that even very mainstream economics requires thinking that goes "against the grain." As Bryan Caplan demonstrated in The Myth of the Rational Voter, the average American diverges substantially from the economic beliefs of the average economist, and diverges in systematic and predictable ways (in particular, the average American is less pro-market than the average economist). The economists in the survey are a general cross-section of economists, and not "just the staff of the Cato Institute," so it cannot be claimed that there is bias in the selection of experts; the experts are consistently to the economic 'right' (if by 'right wing' one means pro-market) of the average American citizen. Even economists generally associated with the left, such as Paul Krugman, are surprisingly pro-market relative to the average (Krugman, for example, is more pro-free-trade than Steve Bannon). Not all libertarians are economists and not all economists are libertarians, but the presence of libertarians within economics is unquestionably disproportionate relative to the general population. The point to emphasize, however, is that according to the experts, average people are (on average) systematically wrong about the benefits of markets. Caplan notices that even first year economics students come into the classroom bearing the imprints of multiple economic errors which need to be eliminated from their thought. In other words, even non-controversial neoclassical economics goes against the intellectual grain for many, many people. This should not be a surprise. After all, economics is the field that suggests (and this is anything but a controversial argument in economics) people who act selfishly in the commercial realm will make life better for other people alongside themselves; this is hardly the first thing that comes to the mind of most people when they're asked to picture a "selfish" person. Rather, they imagine some bloodsucking brute, not the local shopkeeper. Many people who run various local governments believe that rent control is still a good policy, even if it is literally textbook bad economics. Many people believe that cheap goods from overseas somehow are "exploitation." Many people don't grasp the fundamental insight that voluntary trade where parties have all the relevant information will always make both parties better off by definition. Even non-controversial, non-extreme, standard-issue economic reasoning does not come naturally to most people. Economists in general, not merely libertarian economists, don't think typically. This does not mean all economists have Asperger's Syndrome (economic reasoning can be taught, after all); it means that economic reasoning has to fight an uphill battle against the conventional mindset. 3. Neurology And Systematic Error What I have shown is that libertarians are defined by a cognitive style which overlaps neurologically with certain symptoms of being on the autism spectrum. This is what Nancy McLean is correct about. I have also shown that economists in general (across the political spectrum) are more pro-market than average people, so the "norm" (which presumably includes and is defined by the majority of neurotypical persons) is systematically wrong. What I have not shown yet is that the characteristics of the neurotypical cognitive style (higher levels of empathizing than systemizing, "solidarity with other people" as MacLean claims, that kind of thing) can systematically bias someone towards incorrect economic conclusions. This is what I will now attempt to do. I should clarify that I do not intend to claim someone must have Asperger's Syndrome or substantial levels of autistic-spectrum-traits in order to be a good economist; economic reasoning is a skill which can be taught. All I am claiming is that having at least some level of autistic-spectrum-traits helps avoid systematic error. The first argument that needs to be made is that economics, as a field, is focused entirely on systemizing and has literally no room for empathizing. In economics, society and individuals are dealt with impersonally, as either collections of logical rules or utility functions or value-scales. Every person is merely one item in a far larger picture. Economists think in terms of optimizing systems, not caring for particular individuals (this does not mean they do not care, merely that this isn't the focus of economics). Standard-issue general equilibrium economics is built from mathematical models borrowed from field theory in physics. Individual happiness is just a matter of "utility" - a simple quantity of pleasure/satisfaction. The economy is invariably conceptualized as a system... be it a physical system, a biological system, a network, a machine, but it is still a system. Not only that, but economists are addressing one of the most painful and difficult facets of the human condition - specifically poverty - and how to ameliorate it. We have to deal with difficult tradeoffs that may sacrifice ten lives to save twenty five other lives. This simply is not a field suited to mindsets that focus on things like "feelings" and "empathy" and "solidarity" and "caretaking" and the other things which Nancy MacLean associates with the neurotypical mindset; it is a field which requires cold calculation, and often literal calculation since at times economics is like physics or mathematics. In this situation, a systemizing-oriented brain is exactly what one wants to have solving the problems. It is easier to speak of temporary frictional unemployment than to be confronted with the day-to-day minutiae of someone without any marketable skills trying to secure a job interview. A second, and in my opinion stronger, argument could be made however. Let us look at several "textbook bad economics" policies. How are these policies sold to the polity? How are they justified? Rent control is a fantastic example: "to ensure affordable housing for the poor." The motive here is compassion, solidarity, empathy, a concern for the plight of the poor. And it isn't controversial to say it doesn't work. Welfare states are consistently justified in terms of compassion for the suffering and solidarity between human beings. But, pray tell, why are these welfare states almost always full of massive bureaucracies rather than policies which handle welfare through simple income transfers (for example via a negative income tax or basic income guarantee)? Given the many problems and flaws that bureaucracy and its associated incentives have, one would think that a genuine motive of compassion doesn't necessarily mean one will pick the least costly, most effective means of being compassionate. Of course some environmental protections are easily defensible on the basis of economic reasoning. But what about environmentalist attacks on genetically modified organisms (a proven-safe technology) or nuclear power (which is incredibly safe and efficient if modern technology is used)? Environmentalists consistently appeal to the emotions, to empathizing, to feelings and fluffiness in their campaigns to cast GMOs as "impure" and all nuclear power plants as Chernobyls-In-Waiting. Nordhaus and Schellenberger, both economists, campaign (through their think-tank the Breakthrough Institute, see https://thebreakthrough.org/about/mission/ ) for technological solutions to environmental problems, yet the environmental establishment still demands wind, solar, organic and biodynamic (the latter of which is based on a semi-spiritual framework rather than a purely scientific one). Environmentalism appeals to compassion, feelings, oneness with the earth and all of that emotionalistic illogical bilge, yet consistently avoids the policy proposals actual economists can demonstrate would be effective means to environmentalists' declared ends. Let us also look at the monster example: socialism. Socialism was motivated in many cases by compassion for the poor, by the desire to reduce poverty, by the desire to spread prosperity as widely as possible. Every attempt to try it failed miserably, and to the extent that any socialist system worked it only worked to the extent it preserved property rights and market incentives (for example Titoism, which avoided famine, yet did so through preserving property rights over farmland). It strikes some as counterintuitive to suggest that letting people keep things for themselves (i.e. property rights) can result in a larger and broader distribution of goods than forcibly taking those goods and collectivizing ownership, but the historical record makes it clear that property rights and markets are essential conditions to wide-scale prosperity. Again, not even left-leaning economists contest this; the Economic Calculation Problem is a fact, which is why contemporary economists on the left are Social Democrats rather than old-school Socialists. There is a systematic pattern; advocacy of bad economics is constantly rooted in the same motives Nancy MacLean accuses libertarians and persons on the autistic spectrum as lacking. Compassion and solidarity and empathy are certainly positive traits, yet they seem to be the driving force behind some atrociously bad policy preferences. This certainly doesn't mean that good intentions always result in bad policy, but it suggests a possible theory that I will summarize as follows: "Neurotypical drives towards compassion, empathy, solidarity and other associated feelsy-niceness override rational consideration of what means are actually effective at generating the desired positive outcomes. Because people with at least some level of austistic-spectrum-traits can detach themselves from the compulsive cries of 'feelings' more easily, they may be better judges of what is practically effective." Conclusion Nancy MacLean's book on Public Choice is frankly so bad the only use I can see for it is toilet paper, even though I generally prefer pages of Abrahamic religious texts for that particular purpose. However, she isn't wrong to suggest libertarians may be more likely to have Asperger's Syndrome or at least an atypically high level of autistic-spectrum-traits relative to the general population. But that doesn't make us wrong about the economics. Indeed, the opposite is likely to be true. Highly empathizing brains without much systemizing capability are not the brains you want to have evaluating different economic policies. Frankly awful economics is typically justified on the basis of empathetic, caring, emotionalistic rationales. The more people feel and the less people think (i.e. the more they empathize and the less they systemize), the worse their economic reasoning gets. Even by the relatively moderate (compared to libertarians) standards of the economics profession, the general population is deeply misguided about economic fact. Neurotypical cognitive biases towards "solidarity" and "empathy" can lead away from economic truth, not towards it. Even non-libertarian economists use cold, impersonal reasoning to justify intervention rather than appeals to emotion and fluffy-wuffy-snuggliness. Good economics goes against every instinct of the neurotypical brain, which is why it is so counterintuitive and so many prejudices need to be weeded out. Libertarians, on the other hand, are disproportionately likely to have the kind of brain able to overcome these cognitive biases and see where the policy which appeals to "empathy" and "solidarity" will be counterproductive to these ends. This overlaps (although is not identical) with the kind of brain that is often described as "on the autism spectrum" and in particular the higher functioning regions thereof. Whilst MacLean is justified in suspecting a lot of us are "on the spectrum" at least to some degree, her implication that this is a reason to dismiss libertarian economics is arguably the opposite of the truth.
  3. 4 points
    Greetings all, This will be my first and only post on OL. Ted lead a compartmentalized and complicated life. My being here has crossed a circle that he kept private. At one extreme, he was a loving Uncle, excited to share all the joys of life with his nephews and niece. At the other, he could be bitter and angry, throwing darts at targets that may not have been the intended recipients, but were instead opportunistic proxies for an unknown true target. He suffered with demons that I hope have lost their grip now that his spirit has departed this plane. I will not dwell on the sorrow of it all. Rather, in true "Ted" fashion, I will share that which made Ted happy. Simply put, Ted loved books. He read more than anyone I know and if the local library were a for-profit business, they'd have lost money on him. His interests spanned everything from proto-indo-European trees to Heinlein, Thomas Aquinas, and Uralic languages. Just prior to his passing he was learning American Sign Language. He shared his love of books with my children, his nephews and niece. Upon his passing, the kids donated money to the library and asked that they purchase books on snakes, rocks, mythology, languages, science fiction, Doctor Who, and Ayn Rand. Ted loved the woods and found great joy in collecting remnants of deer and other creatures and teaching the kids to bleach the bones. I now have a collection that looks like something out of a natural history museum. Ted loved rocks (especially geodes) pecan pie, old movies, and building couch forts. He had a vast and encyclopedic collection of music. He loved a good joke, like the time he would hold telemarketers on the line and tell them off in Russian. He loved his own past, learning about his Carpatho-Rusyn heritage. Ted enjoyed unconventional horticulture, nursing poinsettias between seasons and propagating opuntia from the dunes of NJ (I now have some in my garden). He loved to argue. He loved Legos. Ted loved the Szechuan Garlic Chicken at our favorite Chinese Restaurant and following it up with a Hacker-Pschorr. May this parting bit hopefully bring a smile...He was buried with a copy of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology minus a few pages from which the kids crafted origami boats and sent off some honorary ashes downstream where he often wandered. - With Love, Ted's Sister.
  4. 3 points
    Michael, Ghate is not stupid, true. What's been irritating to me is that while ARI authors show their expertise when they mostly stick with pure Objectivist theories, and finding new ways to re-present them - they are singularly poor at applying theory to reality (or, as you say, applying reality to the ideas, rationalistically). And to top it off, prescribing their own judgments to other O'ists with Randian authority. Surely: Identify the entire situation as it is as a conceptual whole. While also keeping high standards in mind, not what it ~should be~ in an imagined, future perfect world. Where's context? What is the hierarchy of values here? Do actions and positive results matter less than airy words, style or sweet delivery? (Kant's - the noble intention, above all - comes to mind) What is the moral character emerging under pressure (and not the conventionally conformist 'character' - the public and media persona) of the actor(s)? This is after all, raw politics, and as it's been turning out, at its low-down dirtiest, anyone in and out of the US can see. One sees a sort of naivete when ARI Objectivists, going back to Peikoff, come down to the real world, so I'm not so certain there're other motives like financial gain/power involved. Maybe. But they do sound sincere. Perhaps it is all about making Objectivism "relevant". When you've ( I think it was Elan Journo, also generally a good thinker) predicted "a Trump dictatorship" - when hardly had he entered Office - and you now see you were wrong, damn, have the grace to admit your bad judgment and personal dislike in another article.
  5. 3 points
    There's an overwhelming over-abundance of more than enough information. And that's just in any single frame of the video. Consider all of the content of all of the frames, and there are multiple, layered, redundant means of determining whether or not any entity, attribute, action or effect seen in any frame conforms to reality. The space, the objects within it, and the motions are all precisely measurable. Then add all of the visual information from other cameras at other vantage points... Each participant on this thread who has commented on the visual evidence is right about some things, yet wrong about others. The issue is not that the visual evidence is insufficient, but that none of you has the technical knowledge to be making any conclusions, or to be dismissing anyone else's observations or concerns, or to be throwing accusations of kookiness or conspiracy theorizing at anyone who thinks that something in a photo looks a bit odd. J
  6. 3 points
    https://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-milkyway-over-beaverhill-county-jestephotography-ltd.html Something a lil different than my Wildlife photography. Nikon Z7 mirrorless with a Sigma 14-24mm f2.8 Art series lens for Astrophotography.
  7. 3 points
    Ted (in) Lieu (of fill in the blank) pulled out his cell phone and on the Congressional record called Candace Owens a ****er lover. I saw it !
  8. 3 points
    William, rumors of Bill Dwyer's demise have been greatly exaggerated! ;-) I don't know who Mary Ann is or was, but Bill is still going strong at age 78. Dennis
  9. 3 points
    And I'm not too proud to admit that I started leaning into the corners by the end of the second vid. J
  10. 3 points
    out of the mouths of , you know, what you call those very young uneducated beings...you know the quote, but under no circumstances could one call Jan Letendre a babe. However , that charming Billyboy has more class than nearly everyone we know, is indeed wisdom, and worth any amount of baked goods.
  11. 3 points
    Thanks for noticing, Max. It’s easy for me, to be honest. I don’t mind stupid, it doesn’t rub me the wrong way at all. It’s only when snippy gets added to stupid that I have to explode or walk away. I have, without any doubt, much more patience than most everyone here. I substitute taught elementary school for five years. Classroom teacher, gym, art, music, librarian, special needs - I filled every position in the district’s elementary schools except Principal. I raised two daughters from infancy, was the at-home parent and they’re getting (almost) straight As in high school now.
  12. 3 points
    “I'm a bit confused, so are you saying that the news about packages targeting the Obamas, Clintons, and others is fake news and a false flag? If so, then why does Trump say the packages exist?” Oh boy. Someone doesn’t even know what a false flag is.
  13. 3 points
    I don't want to talk about it. --Brant
  14. 3 points
    I would agree with those who say that Rand's aesthetics do not cover everything. OTOH I also think that one source of puzzlement is that Rand (as usual) traces things back to their roots, and rarely speaks of proximate causes. The closest I come to art is photography, and that might be a particularly simple example. What determines what I chose to take a picture of? I think that goes back ultimately to the kind of things Rand talks about, but I am not conscious of that as I take the picture. If you asked me at the moment I might say that I loved the way the new mown hay looked in the late afternoon sun, but why that appealed to me is probably far below the conscious level. A lot of my photo work records the history of the American Industrial Revolution. Some of it is just a record of the past, but some of it has an artistic element. Why is it that when I go to these dying cities that were once centers of industry I record the mills and factories rather than the winos in the alleyways? I think it reflects a judgment of what is important.
  15. 3 points
    Amen to that. McCain-Feingold in particular, which led to the Citizens United case. As to the rest, all I wanted to establish was that he did "something more than getting captured and held prisoner of war for years", no matter how we project what his motives at the time were. He made a choice, and (hard to believe I'm about to type this) it was something comparable to John Galt advising his captors how to fix their torture machine.
  16. 3 points
    While I was no fan of McCain qua politician, and regard his prisoner-of-war heroism as misdirected, the story bears reviewing. This comes from David Foster Wallace's piece on McCain from 2000. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/david-foster-wallace-on-john-mccain-the-weasel-twelve-monkeys-and-the-shrub-194272/ But there’s something underneath politics in the way you have to hear McCain, something riveting and unSpinnable and true. It has to do with McCain’s military background and Vietnam combat and the five-plus years he spent in a North Vietnamese prison, mostly in solitary, in a box, getting tortured and starved. And the unbelievable honor and balls he showed there. It’s very easy to gloss over the POW thing, partly because we’ve all heard so much about it and partly because it’s so off-the-charts dramatic, like something in a movie instead of a man’s life. But it’s worth considering for a minute, because it’s what makes McCain’s “causes greater than self-interest” line easier to hear. You probably already know what happened. In October of ’67 McCain was himself still a Young Voter and flying his 23rd Vietnam combat mission and his A-4 Skyhawk plane got shot down over Hanoi and he had to eject, which basically means setting off an explosive charge that blows your seat out of the plane, which ejection broke both McCain’s arms and one leg and gave him a concussion and he started falling out of the skies right over Hanoi. Try to imagine for a second how much this would hurt and how scared you’d be, three limbs broken and falling toward the enemy capital you just tried to bomb. His chute opened late and he landed hard in a little lake in a park right in the middle of downtown Hanoi, Imagine treading water with broken arms and trying to pull the life vest’s toggle with your teeth as a crowd of Vietnamese men swim out toward you (there’s film of this, somebody had a home-movie camera, and the N.V. government released it, though it’s grainy and McCain’s face is hard to see). The crowd pulled him out and then just about killed him. U.S. bomber pilots were especially hated, for obvious reasons. McCain got bayoneted in the groin; a soldier broke his shoulder apart with a rifle butt. Plus by this time his right knee was bent 90-degrees to the side with the bone sticking out. Try to imagine this. He finally got tossed on a jeep and taken five blocks to the infamous Hoa Lo prison – a.k.a. the “Hanoi Hilton,” of much movie fame – where they made him beg a week for a doctor and finally set a couple of the fractures without anesthetic and let two other fractures and the groin wound (imagine: groin wound) stay like they were. Then they threw him in a cell. Try for a moment to feel this. All the media profiles talk about how McCain still can’t lift his arms over his head to comb his hair, which is true. But try to imagine it at the time, yourself in his place, because it’s important. Think about how diametrically opposed to your own self-interest getting knifed in the balls and having fractures set without painkiller would be, and then about getting thrown in a cell to just lie there and hurt, which is what happened. He was delirious with pain for weeks, and his weight dropped to 100 pounds, and the other POWs were sure he would die; and then after a few months like that after his bones mostly knitted and he could sort of stand up they brought him in to the prison commandant’s office and offered to let him go. This is true. They said he could just leave. They had found out that McCain’s father was one of the top-ranking naval officers in the U.S. Armed Forces (which is true – both his father and grandfather were admirals), and the North Vietnamese wanted the PR coup of mercifully releasing his son, the baby-killer. McCain, 100 pounds and barely able to stand, refused, The U.S. military’s Code of Conduct for Prisoners of War apparently said that POWs had to be released in the order they were captured, and there were others who’d been in Hoa Lo a long time, and McCain refused to violate the Code. The commandant, not pleased, right there in the office had guards break his ribs, rebreak his arm, knock his teeth out. McCain still refused to leave without the other POWs. And so then he spent four more years in Hoa Lo like this, much of the time in solitary, in the dark, in a closet-sized box called a “punishment cell.” Maybe you’ve heard all this before; it’s been in umpteen different media profiles of McCain. But try to imagine that moment between getting offered early release and turning it down. Try to imagine it was you. Imagine how loudly your most basic, primal self-interest would have cried out to you in that moment, and all the ways you could rationalize accepting the offer. Can you hear it? It so, would you have refused to go? You simply can’t know for sure. None of us can. It’s hard even to imagine the pain and fear in that moment, much less know how you’d react. But, see, we do know how this man reacted. That he chose to spend four more years there, in a dark box, alone, tapping code on the walls to the others, rather than violate a Code. Maybe he was nuts. But the point is that with McCain it feels like we know, for a proven fact, that he’s capable of devotion to something other, more, than his own self-interest. So that when he says the line in speeches in early February you can feel like maybe it isn’t just more candidate bullshit, that with this guy it’s maybe the truth. Or maybe both the truth and bullshit: the guy does – did – want your vote, after all.
  17. 3 points
    That's what it says at the top of the page. Your point? It's not like this thread has devolved into a medley of cat videos. Yet.
  18. 3 points
    I hope my posts get a lot of sads (from the anti-Trump bitches!)
  19. 2 points
    Totally tasteless. But funny. So, I was walking through the mall in Portland and I saw that there was a Muslim bookstore. I was wondering what exactly was in a Muslim bookstore so I went in. As I was wandering around taking a look, the clerk stopped me and asked if he could help me? “Do you have a copy of Donald Trump’s book on his U.S. Immigration Policy regarding Muslims and illegal Mexicans?” The clerk said, “F— off, get out and stay out!” I said, “Yes, that’s the one. Do you have it in paperback?”
  20. 2 points
    Peter, People don't do conspiracies out in the open (except in America where certain conspirators have a complicit press and this still leaves me with jaw dropping ). One characteristic of a conspiracy is that it is meant to be hidden until the right moment. That's by definition. So how can one demand observed fact about something hidden? One has to dig and expose. The idea that a suspicion is loopy just because you can't see who is doing the bad stuff is a very dangerous one. You can't see a cancer cell inside you with your eyes alone. Not even doctors can. And if you ignore it, it will kill you. I don't know if you ever read some posts I made about a professor in Florida--I forget his name right now. He's a leftie. He tracked down where the term "conspiracy theory" came from. And he holds conferences at the university level where "peer reviewed" material is presented about the different conspiracies that have turned out to be true. The term "conspiracy theory" came from the CIA to quell the unrest that happened, both in America and abroad, after Kennedy got shot and the Warren commission issued it's lame report. People were having a fit in public--the press, radio, TV, speeches, and so on. There are copies of a memo by the CIA at the time. It is available to anyone who wants to see it. The CIA circulated it to the press offices and the Embassies explaining how to discredit public doubters of the Warren Report or the public version of the Kennedy assassination by smearing them as loopy conspiracy nuts. Before that time, "conspiracy theory" was a phrase used to describe serious musings on events. I can't think of an example from that time off the top of my head, but the later economic term "trickle down theory" has the kind of emotional load "conspiracy theory" used to have. Nobody today thinks a person espousing the "trickle down theory" is a flaming kook. Instead, they think the person is serious even when they disagree. Before the CIA did that little masterpiece of persuasion engineering to shut down discussion of speculations, people going overboard on a conspiracy were generally linked to the theory they espoused. For example, "red baiters" or "McCarthyites." Not even the John Birch Society people back then were called "conspiracy theorists." Lance deHaven-Smith Here... I just looked and found where I wrote about my man. The professor's name is Lance deHaven-Smith, Professor Emeritus at Florida State University. Here's a great start of a reading list if you ever get interested in historical conspiracies that were not believed at the time, but ended up being true: Also, here is a little more on Lance deHaven-Smith. First a post by William (with the snark against those who think differently than him, mostly meaning Trump supporters, removed). He posted a very good video of Lance deHaven-Smith in a 2013 talk. Then a response by me that gives some more nutshell information on Lance deHaven-Smith: I know I can dig up a lot more if I get going. But that's enough to make my point--that taking seriously a potential conspiracy is not the same thing as being batshit crazy. (Besides, this is getting so long, I'm not sure you will read it all. ) Asymmetrical Warfare Now that the military has openly embraced what it calls asymmetrical warfare, you can find paper after paper published by the military on conspiracy theories in the original meaning of the term. QAnon is a phenomenon that has all the marks of such asymmetrical warfare. It is intentionally designed to attract the fringe and nonfringe alike, that is, the way this project has unfolded, it is a way to inject narratives into the mainstream that are different than the ones offered but the fake news media, narratives that discredit the elitist mainstream culture. It's been a resounding success in that regard. Just think of how this has led to Epstein's fall--before, nobody believed he was trafficking in pedophilia among the superpowerful, but now everyone says he was. And he got dead and croaked and suicided as part of the show. Not even a fifty million dollar special counsel investigation into the idea that Russians elected Donald Trump through covert means worked. Nor an impeachment. Don't forget, the mainstream press deployed everything they had to support the narratives behind that investigation and impeachment, both during the leading up phase and after both fizzled. The fake news mainstream culture did this for over three years, day in and day out. Part of the reason these efforts didn't take is that the narratives pushed by the mainstream culture were not accepted by the general population. One of the reasons this happened was QAnon's skillful injection of counternarratives and doubt into the general population at places the mainstream fake news culture did not control. Back when you and I were young, this would not have been possible since there were only three nationwide TV stations, radio was mostly pop tunes and religion, and the printed press carried the day. The Internet ended that monopoly on controlling the narrative by the few. One day, after all this blows over, it will be very interesting to look at and study all the different techniques deployed on both sides. I have already identified a few, but it's still too early to write anything definitive about it. (That goes for me and others.) I'm still--we're still--observing--still gathering conceptual referents so to speak--since important history is unfolding right in front of us and hasn't wound up. Michael
  21. 2 points
    Rand had good things to say about the American "common man." Nonetheless, her expressed views about the large majority of humankind were dismissive. Google the word "ballast" in Rand's work. Here's an example from the title essay of For the New Intellectual. This isn't early Rand. It was written after Atlas Shrugged. Ellen
  22. 2 points
    Ellen, LOL... You definitely are not the target audience for this TAS project. But think about presenting Rand to social justice snowflakes. Like it or not, these people vote and will soon be the ones in power. The hardass no nonsense battle ax figure is not going to get a hearing with snowflakes. It's not that they will disagree. They will not even get near that. Would you prefer to see the world ruled by them after they had some positive contact with Rand to prompt their curiosity, or with them believing the caricature sold by the progressives? That caricature is their starting point, not ours. So I, for one, don't mind an image of Rand that will draw them near enough to get curious about her rather than comfortable with the default stereotype in their minds. And just to be a pain in the ass, here is something for your viewing pleasure. I even followed a like by William just now to be reminded of this. Michael
  23. 2 points
    Methinks the pollsters are hoping to produce a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ellen
  24. 2 points
    So, after Bandler finally let the Holocaust denial flag fly one too many times and Linz banned him, SLOP sort of lay there basking in the sun like a fetid marsh stewing in its own juices until Linz's new Great White Hope, Bruno Turner, came along. They did podcasts and everything! The idea being that Yaron Brook is a lousy public speaker, so they'd produce something far better. The one I was able to watch any of began with Linz butchering Italian--I guess Linz decided that if Brook could butcher a beautiful language, then he'd butcher a beautiful language even more grotesquely. Anyway, some people, including, one gathers, regulars there, made comments sotta voce to Turner that he of course reported to Linz, like any good enforcer does: Bruno, we'll never go broke overestimating the number of craven cowards, cultists and lickspittles within OrgOism. That includes the very people right here you've just rightly called out on other threads for their uselessness and gutlessness. It includes the jellyfish who attacked me to you in secret Faecesbook societies when we started our series. (Seriously, who thought it wouldn't get back to Linz? Maybe that was their way of informing him his performance in the series was lacking, or maybe they thought Turner was a man of enough honor not to report something told to him in confidence? And who knows if Turner even reported their comments correctly?) So, Linz sicced his new enforcer on the denizens of his own swamp. Turner wrote (highlights given; I urge you to read the whole thing), One of her philosophy's most crucial points is complete and total atheism, as opposed to agnosticism. Given her rejection of God is in more than one place indicated as being based on "moral" grounds (i.e. her distaste), she in fact comes out to be a hater of God and anything that could possibly be above human beings. Her "ideal man" is in fact her god; in other words she is an idolater. Her idol is a fictional character of her imagination, and her philosophy is the attempt to change human nature to become such a being. To the extent her idol is a "light bringer" he is very close to being a satanic symbol. Rationality, which in its pure form can only be of God, as recognized by nearly all the major philosophers, is in her philosophy given place only within man. However, since a man can obviously never obtain pure rationality, because he is in fact a creature of dual nature - animal and rational being - he can never attain this ideal. Linz then indicated 100% agreement with the non-religious sections of this screed. Luke Setzer and Gregster then asked the obvious question whether Turner is a Christian, and being a forthright brave new intellectual in the Perigo mold, Turner ignored the actual question (a simple "yes" would have sufficed) and went on the attack: " You useless cucks, who contributed NOTHING to MOGA, can you argue with what I said?" After more back and forth with Turner posing as an independent thinker while considering it a valid argument to count up the number of previous thinkers who argued there must be a god (far from the only logical fallacy in his new patented SLOP Swampwater), Linz's camp follower Olivia replied: If the world of Objectivism actually bred “first hand” thinkers, the movement would be successful beyond words. Appallingly, it did not, hence the cultism... and the “Ayn Rand said... Ayn Rand said” squawking mentality which always relies on a written prescription from her on every single topic, for all time. Luke’s “anyone who rants this is clearly not an Objectivist” line is a classic example. Just like many Christians say “anyone who doesn’t believe such-in-such, is clearly not a Christian.” As a thinking human being, I have been influenced by many philosophers, writers and thinkers, but what sits well in my own conscience when everything gets weighed up in my own mind will be the motivating principle into actions or arguments. Again, the question of whether a site that claims to be Objectivist is still actually Objectivist in any meaningful sense is studiously ignored--can't have your cake if you eat it. Luke Setzer replied in part: Thanks for making it abundantly clear that this is no longer an Objectivist site. Y'all have fun. I will be sure to renew my monthly contributions to ARI this coming week despite my disagreements with them on immigration since they expose fine young people like this one to the philosophy. At least they are not prattling about how rotten are the foundations of Ayn Rand's thought while also praising the rationality of God and concurrently saying they want to MOGA, a hash of contradictions if ever I heard one. Indeed. (Though I would urge him not to contribute to ARI; among other reasons, his money would would mostly go to salaries.) No response to this has been posted yet; I doubt it will be particularly insightful, just Linz dismissing from his sight yet another of his former friends and admirers, with abuse piped in from the heroically posed enforcer and camp follower. This wouldn't be worth comment except for the fact that Linz calls his site Objectivist--it's in the damn name. One wishes he would show the independence of mind and heroic endeavor needed to finally create his alternate theory of Non-Sacrificism or Selfism or whatever other watered-down alternative to "selfishness" (which alienates people, doncha know, and a brave herioc individual can't have that!) he keeps claiming he is hatching. Please do, Linz--if it's as good as you claim it is, we'll all be the better, and if (as seems rather likelier) it's more SLOP Swampwater, then at least you will clarify what is currently as foggy as the modern world you so hate. But to do so, Linz would have to do at least two things: (1) Get off his lazy ass and actually produce something, and (2) assuming he were as honest as he claims, stop calling his site "Objectivist." A person who argues, as Linz does, that the body-soul dichotomy is in fact valid, that abortion should be banned once the fetus has a heartbeat, and that Rand was an unemotional Vulcan, among other things--why would he want to call himself an Objectivist? (The amusing part about her supposed lack of emotion is this complaint: "She had no idea of convivialism—with good food, good wine, good fellowship, good converstion—except in the entries in her journals when Roark, Dominique, Mallory and Mike got together after work. These are very brief, non-defining passages, alas." So basically, because she didn't have her protagonists get together after work for a cold one or two [I leave it to you to consider whether he is even correct here], and because she didn't make that a Leitmotiv of her fiction, then she was an unemotional Vulcan. In other words, she didn't include everything under the sun in her novels, regardless of whether they even pertained to the plot--that is, she actually was so much of an unemotional Vulcan as to exercise esthetic selectivity! A supposed Objectivist condemning Rand for not being a naturalist? That's some truly fetid SLOP Swampwater!) So, if Rand was so wrong on so many basic issues, if the coy theist enforcer and the studiously irrelevant camp follower are the only good ones of the bunch, why continue calling yourself Objectivist? That's obvious: It's the only branding the guy has. If he left off "Objectivism" and renamed his site more accurately as, say, "Emotionalist Spittle Duct," how many hits would he get in searches? None. He would fade even further into irrelevance. So, like any second-hander, he keeps the name while doing nothing to earn it and, indeed, doing his damnedest to undermine it for his admirers, but not forthrightly enough to save his integrity or, alas, lose his brand. He poses heroically as the great alternative to Rand, ready to correct all her mistakes and create something new and valuable and admirable, but in actual deed he just sits there holding court in an ever-diminishing salon, a bullfrog in a fetid swamp, damning the small channel of Objectivist water trickling into it through the occasional Google hit while making damn sure not to dam(n) it all off, because then his tiny corner of the world would all dry up and he wouldn't be able to market any more SLOP Swampwater. Second-handers are pitiful, Objectivist second-handers most of all.
  25. 2 points
    Jon, And of course being bullied, right? That's the subtext everyone is responding to. And that's rich coming from you. Since when do you stand up for social justice warriors, anyway? Talk about weird and bizarre. You wanna do tough-guy talk, tough guy? Here's some tough talk. Tone it down. I mean it. My patience is wearing thin. Michael
  26. 2 points
    This seems like the best place to file this topic. I have just come back from work, where across the street most of the blood has been hosed off the sidewalk and the lovely, futile flowers, mostly donated to crying mourners by local florists, pile up and up. About half my students were absent today, but as far as I can determine they are all OK. All classes were cancelled yesterday, the whole area shut down. Does anyone else remember the awfulness of SOLO before it imploded, and specifically "Doug, " the pick-up artist" who eventually revealed himself to be the prototypical Incell, right down to his utter conviction that if he had only come of age in the 1950s he would now be happily married to a very pretty wife (very pretty emphasized, more than once.) Those long-ago posts haunt me at this time. "Doug" proved to be a fictional creation, dashing ski photo and all, but his deepest passions were all too real in their bleak terrifying ugliness. I am sure he is honouring Alek Minassian now as Minassian honoured Rodgers. As Jon Letendre relishes the thought of the torture and death of anyone connected with whatever happens to outrage him personally. As Keith Rainiere relished the pain of his sex slaves Me, I honour Ken Lam, who honoured reason, and I relish the lucky life I live, that such men defend me.
  27. 2 points
    I don't think Barney is Gang connected - just a pretty successful common variety con man who started using "education" as his gimmick when he was involved in Scientology. Ellen
  28. 2 points
    Billy has closed further comments on his "Placeholder for GW/CC 'How I got here’” climate doom thread, and just when I thought that he might finally be interested in actual discussion. So, I’m starting this thread to answer some of the responses that he gave in his last post — and thanks, Billy, for those responses, instead of your typical non-responsiveness. Billy replied to me: My understanding is that Tyndall's testing of his hypotheses were well-defined and carefully controlled, and his results were and are repeatable. I’ve been asking you to provide the same in regard to hypotheses of man-made climate change. Do you understand that Tyndall’s work does not answer my questions? Billy: You reap what you sow, Billy. Heh. Don’t like being accused and psychoanalyzed? Hmmm. Maybe consider not doing it to others. Let’s have a conversation. I’ve been asking for one for years. I’ve been asking the same questions, and you’ve been ignoring them, dodging them, and serving “tasty steamed octopus” (in other words, posting everything but answers to my questions while acting as if you’re answering the questions). I’ve also asked if you have a problem with my requests for you to show me the science, and, if so, to explain why you think that my questions are invalid, improper, not applicable, or whatever. No response. No explanation. Instead of having a discussion, you decide to ignore questions, and then devise ways of testing what I know about Tyndall or Weart, or whomever else. You don’t need to know how much I know. Science isn’t about establishing authority. He who knows the most doesn’t become right just by having the most knowledge. All that matters is repeatable results of successfully tested predictions of hypotheses. That’s what I’ve been asking you -- over and over and over again -- to provide. That’s the question that I’ve been asking you to provide the answers to. Show me the science. I’ve displayed the patience of a saint. I’ve asked countless times in regard to the hypothesis of anthropogenic climate change: "Show me the repeatable, successful predictions. Identify specifically what was the hypothesis, precisely what predictions were made, when were they made, what potential results were identified ahead of time as falsifying or invalidating the hypothesis, what the start and finish dates of the experiment were, provide the unmolested data, the untainted control, and the unmanipulated historical record." My belief and understanding is that you have not answered my questions. Nor did Brad when he was here, nor the second meatball. I’m not interested in suspecting what will happen in regard to "predictions of global warming to come.” Predictions are not the end of science. For the billionth fucking time, I’m interested in the predictions of the past having come true in reality after having been precisely defined. I'm interested in climatology following the requirements of the scientific method. As I’ve asked ad nauseam: "I'm asking to see 'the science' which puts the hypothesis to the test, and succeeds reliably and repeatedly. I'm asking for open access to all of the information. What was the hypothesis, precisely what predictions were made, when were they made, what potential results were identified ahead of time as falsifying or invalidating the hypothesis, what were the start and finish dates of the experiment, what are the unmolested data, the untainted control, and the unmanipulated historical record?” "How long of a time period must we observe temperatures rising, without leveling off or falling, in order to conclude not only that temperatures are indeed rising enough so as to be considered climactic change, but also primarily caused by human activities? Which models/experiments have identified this timeframe prior to the models' predictions being made, and prior to reality then being observed? Where may I find the details of these types of ground rules? We already know that some scientists are asserting that a 12 to 15 year "pause/hiatus," or even a 15 to 18 year one, is not sufficient to falsify their favorite models. With such assertions, determining exactly when the ground rules were established becomes very important. Without these details, it can seem that people are just making it up as they go along." "What are the specific conditions of falsifiability? What results in reality would invalidate the hypothesis? And why? "Which single model is the settled science model? I've seen a range of models with a range of predictions. Some have fallen by the wayside over the decades, and we don't hear about them anymore, but, anyway, which of the differing and competing current models settled it once and for all, and what date was it officially determined by the consensus scientists that that single model nailed it?" It isn’t a card game. Science isn’t about seeing the other guys' cards. It’s about identifying reality via a specific process. You seem to want to believe that I have beliefs that you need to counter. I don’t. I’m asking to see the science. No other method will work. I don’t accept substitutes, and all you’ve been focusing on is substitutes. Focus on the science. Focus on answering my questions rather than trying to guess my beliefs so that you can formulate a strategy to counter them. I haven’t read it. I’ve come across references to it, and quotes from it. I’m neither excited about reading it, nor opposed. Does it answer my questions? If so, please just cut to the chase and say so. Cite the relevant passages. There’s Billy doing exactly what he complains about when the Others™ do it right back to him. Anyway, to answer your question, no, your recommendation isn’t the kiss of death. Why are you so passionate about getting me to read it? Does it address the questions that I’ve been asking for years? If not, why would I find it worth reading? Are you hoping that, since it convinced you, it will do the same for me, and make me forget all about the questions that I’ve asked that you can’t answer? You poor darling. Victims who can’t take what they dish out are the most victimized of all victims. It's do damned unfair that people treat you almost as poorly as you treat them. Yes, please do come back if you learn that new material, especially if it answers my questions. We really don't need any more of your new material that doesn't answer the questions, or doesn't explain why you won't answer the questions. J
  29. 2 points
    I could, abundant passages, like approximately the whole book. But I don't have the time, and if I did have the time, I wouldn't want to spend it on so frustrating a proceeding - way worse than trying to explain a joke Ellen
  30. 2 points
    I haven't read the article , so I don't know who is shilling for whom. But whenever I hear about conspiracy theories relating to tech companies becoming seemingly tech behemoths it makes me wonder whether the behemothing was orchestrated by other than market forces. Especially things tech/social/media. I get there can be tons of money chasing info /data the sellers can take advantage of for marketing and such. It would be hard to direct all that spending toward mining that data if it were spread out far and wide, fortunately the behemoths aggregate a lot of it and fortunately since a large majority of everyone uses the behemoths we are pretty comfortable using them . It's odd there is Coke and Pepsi but no Google and .., or YouTube and .., no? I get Carnegie built US Steel , but he acquired and built his way to that, bought other independent companies , integrated supply chains ect. US internet behemoths feel like they sprang from nothing to everything , did Facebook ever experience a lack of servers that limited their capacity ? Or YouTube? Did they acquire others' capacities ? How much investment is/was needed for the hardware ? I am completely ignorant of the cost structure for the industry , but I assume the price of raw computing power has decreased in at least the last decade, though I doubt Mom or Pop would be able to out compete the existing titans just on the hardware costs alone. But as I said I'm ignorant of the cost structure and perhaps that just feeds my bias toward sympathy for the idea that Big Brother helped to make sure all the lovely data and control bottlenecks seem to be limited to a few players.
  31. 2 points
    Sunny Lohmann hosts a podcast featuring Ed Powell and Ed Mazlish: youtube.com/watch?v=995Riq8JdUo
  32. 2 points
    That guy is a Christian Nazi. He should stay away from the holy smoke if he wants to be a rational holder of public office. I despise people who want to wed their religion to public law. Even with a powerful Episcopalian entity in England, there was some separation of church and state going back to earlier times, which was reinforced in the U.S. Constitution. Back then, you couldn't be an atheist without being lynched or booed in the mid to late 1700's but you could be a Deist. And the more intelligent of the West's leaders and intelligentsia called themselves Deists.
  33. 2 points
    I thought, reading that, "You would [report posts]." Nanny time. I'm not surprised that William tried backstage pressure. Again, he would. I like Jon quite a bit, though I think the name-calling is becoming overdone. I'm puzzled about the hostility between Jon and Jules. How did that get started? Ellen PS: Michael, agreed with your remarks about OLand and the absurdity of prominent O'ists supporting Hillary Clinton, and about this site's helping elect Trump - not in any big influence way, your readership isn't large enough, but some help, for which "Bravo!"
  34. 2 points
    Because it doesn't address the problem of the paradox, namely how the points of the "forced" wheel are mapped onto the longer distance on its track. For the "forcing" wheel it's rather obvious: circumference and traveled distance are equal, so it's easy to construct an 1-1 map, while for the "forced" wheel the circumference and traveled distance are unequal. What the old guys didn't know, is that it is also possible to map a smaller segment 1-1 onto a larger segment, but if you do that, you'll have to take into account that the smaller wheel is slipping (supposing that the large wheel is the "forcing" wheel). Well, that was obviously irony, the apparent result of Aristotle's paradox. Does that invalidate the article? And if Aristotle writes about two circles, the mechanical implementation would be two wheels, so nothing wrong with that either.
  35. 2 points
    So what you are sayin is Billyboy has more class than you? 😈
  36. 2 points
    Right, and thanks. The "should" was that of the poser of the problem. I thought after I'd posted that Tony might mistakenly take the "should" as mine, even though I'd said "Here's how the problem goes" (i,e., here's how the person posing the problem was thinking), but I didn't have time to edit by adding a parenthetical stating that the "should" was the assumption of the problem's formulator. Regarding Tony's continuing to call the track superfluous: The track, like the "should," was put into the problem by the person who formulated it. Quite agreed - and I've said before - that the problem isn't a genuine paradox - defined as "an apparent contradiction between two true premises" - but instead an actual contradiction between a false assumption and reality. Ellen
  37. 2 points
    Laser cut iceberg---it's about THE TRUTH people: Believe!
  38. 2 points
    Don't you see a difference between keeping group members in line with blackmail and controlling, for instance, whether or not the North Korean government resorts to using nuclear weaponry? Also, a difference between affecting what happens and running the show? Even on the level of keeping group members obedient with blackmail, there's no guarantee of compliance. Plus, the greater the number of people in a group, the smaller the chances of unanimity. There are just too many factors for there to be a central control on the scale you appear to be saying exists. Anyway, I don't want to be arguing with you about who is or isn't a Gang member and to what extent the Gang runs world affairs. My concern is with a small group of people who are not Gang members, who include a couple brilliant biochemists in their number, and who are developing ingenious biological methods of thinning out the globe's human population. A few things you said sparked my curiosity as to whether or not your sources are aware of the schemes I mean. Doesn't sound as if they are. Ellen
  39. 2 points
    Re this post, echoing a discussion we had before (I forget where and haven't time to search): The status of bloodline aristocrat is conferred by birth and can't be lost. An aristocrat who's socially ostracized by other aristocrats is still an aristocrat. With the academic enablers of whom I'm speaking, on the other hand, whether or not they feel that they're some sort of superior life form, they have a constant need, and anxiety, to prove to themselves and to others that they hold the right sentiments. Their "club" membership is always in jeopardy. Come the day, however, if it came, the humanities blokes would be expendable, their usefulness past. Good plumbers, electricians, carpenters, car mechanics, etc., would be needed - and persons in hard and applied sciences who actually know something about how to make technology work. But folks whose skill is talk, talk, talk....? Ta, ta. Ellen
  40. 2 points
    Jon, They think tobacco is something. They ought to try crack cocaine. I'm lucky I didn't kill myself. I'm so lucky, I still have my goddam teeth. But, still, when it started wrecking my life, I felt like Slim Pickens in Doctor Strangelove riding an A-Bomb like a rodeo horse as it was falling out of a plane. It was one wild ride while I was on it... It was my life, so no regrets. I did it. I lived it. I loved it. I paid the price. But I won't be doing that one again. One ass-kicking of that magnitude is enough. Later on, I might take up motorcycle riding, though. Every time I've been on one, I've loved it. Seeing you do it in your videos tugs and something primal in my heart and makes me see a flock of wild geese I want to chase down... Michael
  41. 2 points
  42. 2 points
    For the record they aren't "world leaders." The UN is a diplomat dumping ground. --Brant
  43. 2 points
    Hillary dindu nuffin! She's an angel. Sweet, and innocent, and honest. If she were unintentionally guilty of anything, first of all, she'd admit to it right away, because that's how honest she is, and, second, if she somehow accidentally didn't admit to it, she would've been caught, charged, tried, and convincted, because that's how much integrity that democrats and Obama's Justice Depaetment and investigative and law enforcement agencies had! It's just silly nonsense to imagine that the Clintons had a powerful political machine and abused anyone. That kind of stuff doesn't happen in reality. Conspiracy theory kookiness. You're stupid if you've bought onto the vast right wing conspiracy lie that Hillary is anything less that a saint.
  44. 2 points
    Alex Jones is a fighter. He will kick their asses so hard that they will have to clear their throat to fart. They will wish to God they never tangled with Alex Jones.
  45. 2 points
    The perjury trap ...
  46. 2 points
    Can a person really be economically coerced, or is it simply a choice? Was Cohen using the tapes for insurance or a way to blackmail President Trump? Can he be disbarred? In Maryland I don’t think you can record someone unless they know what your are doing. Peter From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Re: sophistry Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 01:29:41 -0500 a.d. smith wrote: "Recently, I was arguing with an anarcho-socialist friend about fundamental political and ethical principles. I had stated that I was opposed to the use of force in social relations (except in retaliation). He said that I was inconsistent in that I was not opposed to the use of "economic coercion" (e.g., the threat of firing someone) as well as physical force. I was wondering how my fellow Atlanteans would reply to this argument I think I did a fairly good job in elucidating the differences between physical force and "economic coercion," but I could have done better. What would you guys have said in this situation?” I find that well-constructed examples and counter-examples can sometimes communicate the distinction better than abstract arguments, or at least serve as an introduction to them. Many years ago, during a college seminar on Marxism, my professor gave the following popular example: Suppose I am stranded in the middle of the desert, and I run across the only oasis in my vicinity. It is privately owned, and the owner tells me that I must (a) work for him at fifty cents per hour, or (b) stay off his property. And since he is charging $5,000 for the food and water that are required to sustain my life during the remainder of my journey, this means that I am being economically coerced -- indeed, enslaved -- since I must either accept the offer or face certain death. I responded by changing one condition of the example. The same oasis owner has more money than he knows what to do with, so (as before) he tells me that I must take a job to earn my supplies, but he now offers me $10,000 per hour instead of fifty cents. So now I can earn what I need in 30 minutes (during which the owner, who is starved for intellectual companionship, only requests that I talk to him about philosophy) and even walk away with a handsome surplus. The professor then protested, "But that's not a realistic example." "Neither is your example," I replied, "but that's not the point. The purpose of the example is to isolate the key elements that generate what you call economic coercion. If your example, in which I am economically coerced to work for 50 cents an hour is valid, then so is my example where I am economically coerced to work for $10,000 per hour by discussing philosophy. I didn't change anything essential in the hypothetical; all I did was change some details, which should be irrelevant to the point you are making. So if you claim that my example doesn't qualify as economic coercion, then why doesn't it? I will die just as surely if I turn down the offer for $10,000 as if I refuse to work for fifty cents. What's the difference? According to your definition, I am being coerced in either case -- but it sounds a little strange to say that I am being 'forced' to work at the higher wage. You are loading the example in your favor by including very low wages, but the amount of the wage is immaterial to the point you wish to make. Surely the validity of your argument should not depend solely on its emotional appeal, so it should make equal sense to take about a wage-slave who is forced to discuss philosophy at $10,000 per hour." I don't remember my exact words, of course, but the preceding is a fair representation of my argument. It took the discussion in some interesting directions that might otherwise have been overlooked – such as whether the CEO of a multinational corporation is also economically "coerced" to accept his multi-million dollar salary -- and the discussion ended when the Marxist professor said, "Well, I'll have to give some additional thought to your example." That's about as close to an unconditional surrender as a student is ever likely to get from a professor. Ghs From: BBfromM To: atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: sophistry Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 04:40:33 EDT A. D. Smith wrote "Recently, I was arguing with an anarcho-socialist friend about fundamental political and ethical principles. I had stated that I was opposed to the use of force in social relations (except in retaliation). He said that I was inconsistent in that I was not opposed to the use of "economic coercion" (e.g., the threat of firing someone) as well as physical force.” There is no such thing as "economic coercion." We owe it to people not to use force against them; we do not owe it to them to supply them with employment nor to keep them employed if we do not choose to. People have a right to seek jobs; they do not have a right to *have* jobs if the employer finds them unsuitable. So to threaten an employee with firing is in no sense of the term "coercion." The job is not his by right, but only by the decision of the owner of the business. Barbara From: "a.d. smith" To: "George H. Smith" Subject: Re: ATL: Re: sophistry Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 05:06:07 -0400 (EDT) On Fri, 27 Jul 2001, George H. Smith wrote: The example of the oasis brings up my friend's second basic argument --- the possibility that first-comers may claim all the natural resources in an area to the detriment of people who arrive in the area later. These people may hold their property without improving or with mixing only a token portion of their labor with it.(I pointed that historically most examples of land speculation of this type were made possible by the state, but his point was that even in a stateless society, this type of engrossing could be possible. My reply was that under a system of competing governments, a protection agency that enforced an obviously illegitimate claim to unimproved natural resources would likely arose the anger of the community at large). From: "William Dwyer" To: Atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: Re: sophistry Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 09:34:02 -0700 a.d. smith wrote, >The example of the oasis brings up my friend's second basic argument --- the possibility that first-comers may claim all the natural resources in an area to the detriment of people who arrive in the area later. These people may hold their property without improving or with mixing only a token portion of their labor with it. > I fail to see how this is an argument against capitalism, since capitalism doesn't sanction this kind of unearned appropriation. In order to acquire property under capitalism, you need to mix your labor with a previously unowned resource, or acquire the property from its previous owner by mutual consent. Obviously, there are issues with regard to the specifics of acquiring previously unowned land, but these cannot form the basis of any serious argument against capitalism. I n any case, the Coase Theorem in economics (for which Ronald Coase was given the Nobel Prize) states that if property rights are clearly defined and transaction costs are low, resources will tend to flow towards their highest valued uses, regardless of who owns them. In other words, even assuming that people could appropriate land without mixing their labor with it, in a free-market economy, the land could be bid away in exchange for money. The highest bid would tend to reflect its most profitable uses, by reflecting what consumers would be most willing to spend their money on. Thus, under capitalism, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference how the property is initially acquired. It will eventually be allocated toward its most popular and desired uses. If laissez-faire capitalism existed in Latin America, for example, the large landed aristocracies would not last, because they would either be induced to sell their land at an exorbitant price, or to use it in ways that are the most profitable and consumer-friendly. Bill
  47. 2 points
    I needed to include this here in the conspiracy thread, over in the Donald Trump thread I uncovered a conspiracy against Thomas the Goose, but this was only the tip of the iceberg: That goose did not die of natural causes! The Wellington Bird Rehabilitation Trust where Thomas died accepts funding from the Koch Brothers! See here: New Filings Show Koch Brothers Give Millions To Anti-Gay, Anti-Choice Groups. Thomas did not die of natural causes---he was slaughtered for getting too much press coverage!!! And nobody else is outraged by this!?!? #justiceforthomas I did some more digging surrounding the Thomas the Goose murder, and what I uncovered was a conspiracy and coverup much bigger and wider than anyone could have ever imagined. It turns out the Koch Brothers are part of a much larger group responsible for many of our world's problems today, a clandestine group called: The Avian Order. These people have money and power----and they are sick fucks, twisted individuals and evil, and they do not want their existence to be found. But I've done it, I pieced it together, and good Lord I hope they never find me. For decades The Avian Order has influenced policy, and even attempted a plague, but their beginnings date much further back, and originally they were benevolent. Centuries ago, man looked to the sky and was inspired by birds. The freedom they possessed, their grace, their efficiency in travel. As time went on, pockets of civilization allowed for division of labor---and thus more time for human thought. Men that were inspired by bird flight gathered to figure out how they could do the same, and after several meetings they decided call their group The Avian Order. Their purpose was to use knowledge and creativity to lift man off his heavy feet and make him soar in the skies like the birds---but there was only one problem: after a decade of progress, including now in major civilization centers around the world, some men were actually becoming jealous of bird flight, by the fact that the birds can fly unassisted while man cannot. This created a deep hatred for all birds in these men, but they hid their true intentions through the centuries while the honest, noble development of aviation continued. Research and development cost money, and eventually the men in power of The Avian Order were part of the ruling class, jealous of their condition of being man and not having wings of their own. While the honest scientists and inventors kept working on the problem of flight, the men with the power and money began exacting their hatred deforesting lands and exacting mass genocide of birds during the industrial revolution. It was around this time that there was a shift in The Avian Order's purpose: the men in power wanted flight invented for mankind because they believed man was the superior animal---not birds---and they wanted all birds to die so that true animal flight could only be done by man. The Wright Brothers knew this. The Wright Brothers were part of the resistance, and they had hoped that if they could invent sustainable flight, the genocidal intentions of the evil hearts in power of The Avian Order would subside when they experience the weightless revelation of flight itself. But of course, we know today that that did not transpire because The Avian Order has power over all mankind and rules without the majority of mankind knowing about it. It was the product of the industrial revolution that allowed the ruling class Avian Order fucks to take control of a new marketplace: aircraft manufacturing and commercial flight. This only allowed them to gain more power---and they began exacting their influence into politics, mind programming in media and entertainment, and the destruction of the environment----and yes, you are right to think that the United States' two party system developed in response to a shadow war protecting the existence of birds on earth, it's The Avian Order that wants to kill them all and they have gained enormous power and influence to do it. Do you really think that the reason so many conservatives like "sport hunting" just for the sport of it? No, peace is in ornithology---these "sport hunter" fucks are part of The Avian Order and want to act out their sick tendencies by sanctioned murder of innocent birds. Yes, that's right---the reason conservatives are against animal rights is from Avian Order influence. The right is also against environmentalism---this is because of The Avian Order's influence to destroy every bird's natural habitat and render them extinct. The fucking killers. Do you think Global Warming is actually about the random pollution of several entities that is causing the problem? Think again. The pollution is expertly organized by the Avian Order, causing toxic air to birds to end all bird life as we know it. And that's not all. The Avian Order actually created the bird flu virus in a lab and unleashed it. This was an obvious attempt to create a new plague to repopulate the earth with people programmed with Avian Order ideology. We know that this failed, but that doesn't mean The Avian Order doesn't have complete influence over media and entertainment: Do you really think that Sesame Street's move from high ratings at PBS to low ratings at HBO was due to a business decision by some execs? No, not a chance. It was The Avian Order----they did not want our children to see Big Bird on screen and be inspired by birds. Twisted fuckers. And even earlier in the 1980s with the release of the popular Nintendo Entertainment System the console came packaged with Super Mario Brothers and: DUCK HUNT. Yes, that's right: Avian Order influence to program your kids to murder birds. And nobody even knows this is going on, yet our kids are being targeted! And today we still see it---the wildly popular game Angry Birds depicts innocent birds being viciously thrown at objects in nothing other than what can be described as sensationalized video game violence against birds. It's our youth at stake here, folks. China isn't immune to The Avian Order, either. The country has been murdering millions of birds as part of their "industrial revolution," yet what this really is about is covert control of The Avian Order pulling the strings behind the scenes under the guise of economic progress and enrichment of China's citizens. Yea, that's right-----make life better for their citizens by genocide of billions of birds, but once The Avian Order gets enough power they will turn on the citizens and try to start a plague like they did with the Bird Flu. So who are the members of the Avian Order? Like I said before, the Koch Brothers are, and poor Thomas the Goose got taken out as part of a larger, multi-ideological hit job. Here is more proof of the Koch Brothers being anti-bird: This Goofy Bird Just Defeated The Koch Brothers Undermining protection for migratory birds But some if its most prominent members don't hide in the shadows anymore, they hide in plain sight. If you're smart you can tell if it's a sick Avian Order fuck because they like to take public pictures with birds, fucking murderers: Reagan: George HW Bush: George W Bush: That's right, US PRESIDENTS ARE PART OF THE AVIAN ORDER. Just looking at them makes me sick to my stomach. Makes me want to go out and do something---all of these men are connected with the Koch Brothers, and here they are evilly taking PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHS as part of virtue signaling and outright bragging about destroying America, the environment---the world, your children, and their genocide against all birds. This is the brazen symbolism of The Avian Order at work here... And you think these are the only recent US Presidents that are part of The Avian Order? Think again: But here is proof that the resistance has already begun! These birds know the truth! Watch this evil Avian Order businessman get attacked by the resistance: Look at this Avian Order college student, the video starts out by him feeding the birds in an apparent display of kindness, but 30 seconds into the video the birds knew the evil truth and they attacked both him and his girlfriend---proof both of them are part of the evil Avian Order: And in this video you can see that these swans are part of the resistance because they are identifying members of The Avian Order in a park, and subsequently attacking them for their horrific crimes! Go for the eyes! So wake up people! The media is lying to you, Thomas the Goose did not die of natural causes, that story was planted by members of the The Avian Order. Thomas the Goose was a hero! Don't let his blood be spilled in vain! The Avian Order has compromised your government! The Avian Order is destroying your environment! The Avian Order has control over your media! The Avian Order controls big business and regulation! The Avian Order is programming your children through entertainment for Christ's sake! The Avian Order shows no signs of stopping----or being discovered! You must do something----now!!! Save all of humanity and protect our future generations from this evil! The time is now! #justiceforthomas #stoptheavianorder
  48. 2 points
    Carol, (Image by Ward Sutton from here.) Michael
  49. 2 points
    Michael, First I lost my dollar signs, now I get no heart symbol on my posts. No money, no love. Are you trying to tell me something?
  50. 2 points
    Ah, Rowlands... that's that lunatic who wrote the following rant (emphasis added): Anyone still amazed that Objectivists are seen by many as a bunch of loonies?