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Posts posted by BaalChatzaf

  1. On 12/24/2017 at 7:04 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

    Merry Christmas, Everybody (2017)

    Lots of love and wishes for happiness, health, peace and prosperity.

    I want to add a smart-aleck quip, but it just feels too good to go there.

    Let the good vibes roll for now, even for those who are opposite me.

    Be well, all.

    You are all important, each one of you, so stop for a day and feel gratitude for that.

    Merry Christmas.




    Thank you,  gracious host.  May your days be longer a brighter, at least until next June 21 st.

  2. 11 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

    Trump's Tax Cuts And Jobs Act

    It's finally happening out here in reality.

    Earlier the House passed this bill, but will have to vote on it again in the morning because of a technicality.

    A couple of hours ago, the Senate passed it 51-48 (with John McCain abstaining due to illness).

    I don't see any scenario where the House votes this bill down in the morning, so essentially, the Senate sealed the deal.

    For those who keep accusing President Trump of not having philosophical principles, imagine a universe where his string of achievements this year, reflected in the collapse of the ISIS caliphate, almost 4% growth and over 70 Dow Jones records, massive deregulation, and many others--including this tax overhaul bill--are arbitrary. That means President Trump is one lucky bastard, huh? :) 

    Read about the Senate vote here on Breitbart:

    Senate Passes Historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

    And, of course, the inevitable tweet.






    Just as there is  The Anti-Christ    there is also The Anti-Obama.  Our Donald is erasing the doings of Obama bit by bit.  Since just about everything Obama has done has harmed the U.S.  erasing the doings of Obama  will either decrease the harm  or  actually do some good.  It is a simple plan to follow,  and just about Donald Trump's speed.

  3. 14 hours ago, jts said:

    This is weird.

    More than 400 millionaires tell Congress: Don’t cut our taxes

    They like to pay taxes. Maybe it's some kind of honor.

    Why force them to do what they want to do?

    I have an idea.

    Abolish all taxes. Let people voluntarily donate money to the government. As much or as little as they choose. Or nothing. Then it will be hat in hand instead of gun in hand. Give them some kind of certificate or something that they can put on the wall and it proves that they donated to the government and they can show it off and be proud of themselves.

    A refinement of the idea of donation to the government. People get to choose which department of government their donation goes to. With this option, government would get more money. But people would have more control of government. If there is an unpopular war happening, cut funding.


    These money-bags can afford the taxes. Why?  Because they are getting back far more in preferential treatment  than their taxes cost them.  They are perfectly happy to have the Middle Class taxed unto the limit of their means  to provide the funds  which subsidized them (the rich guys).  What are these people?  I don't quite know, but they seem to live on subsidies and preferential treatment under the law.  And that includes  you, Elon Musk!

  4. 17 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:


    I tried to run down that beautiful quote, but apparently it's something out there all over the Interwebs like a meme.

    You are privileged to be a part of that generation--in fact, this is my own parent's generation (they are now deceased).

    Feel proud. 

    Yours is one of the best generations to ever grace this planet.


    It was my Dad and others like him that saved our asses.  We "lasters"  were just the lucky recipients of a benefit.  People my age did not fight in the greatest battle of the 20 th century. But we enjoyed the benefits produced by those who did.  People like me took up the new technologies and grew them  which produced a new world totally different from the world before 1930.  I don't think our political and economic understanding has caught up with the changes yet. I am one of the folks who got us from hand cranked calculator to computers you can carry in you pocket.  I will say this, it is and was quite a trip. My head is still swimming from it.


  5. People my age occupied  a special place in American history.  We were the ones born in the late thirties and we are the children of the Greatest Generation,  the men and women who were not raised to be warriors, but who defeated the abominations perpetrated on the world by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.   Here is who we were and are.

    (and their children - so they will understand)
    Born in the 1930s and early 40s, we exist as a very special
    age cohort. We are the Silent Generation.
    We are the smallest number of children born since the
    early 1900s  We are the "last ones."
    We are the last generation, climbing out of the depression,
    who can remember the winds of war and the impact of a world
    at war which rattled the structure of our daily lives for years.
     We are the last to remember ration books for everything
    from gas and tires,  to sugar to shoes to stoves.
     We saved tin foil and poured fat into tin cans.
    We saw cars up on blocks because tires  weren't available.
    We can remember milk being delivered to our house early in the
    morning and placed in the “milk box” on the porch.
    We are the last to see the gold stars in the front windows of our
    grieving neighbors whose sons died in the War.
    We saw the 'boys' home from the war, build their little houses.
    We are the last generation who spent childhood without
    television; instead, we imagined what we heard on the radio.
     As we all like to brag, with no TV, we spent our childhood
    "playing outside”.
     We did play outside, and we did play on our own.
     There was no little league.
     There was no city playground for kids.
     The lack of television in our early years meant, for most of
    us, that we had little real understanding of what the world was like.
    On Saturday afternoons, the movies, gave us newsreels of
    the war sandwiched in between westerns and cartoons.
    Telephones were one to a house, often shared (party Lines)
    and hung on the wall.  Computers were called calculators, they only added and were
    hand cranked; typewriters were driven by pounding fingers,
    throwing the carriage, and changing the ribbon.
    The ‘internet’ and ‘GOOGLE’ were words that did not exist.
    Newspapers and magazines were written for adults and the
    news was broadcast on our table radio in the evening by
    Gabriel Heatter, Drew Pearson  and Elmer Lewis
    We are the last group who had to find out for ourselves.
    As we grew up, the country was exploding with growth.
    The G.I. Bill gave returning veterans the means to get an
    education and spurred colleges to grow.
    VA loans fanned a housing boom.
    Pent up demand coupled with new installment
    payment plans put factories to work.
    New highways would bring jobs and mobility.
    The veterans joined civic clubs and became active in politics.
    The radio network expanded from 3 stations to thousands of stations.
    Our parents were suddenly free from the confines of the depression
    and the war, and they threw themselves into exploring opportunities
    they had never imagined.
    We weren't neglected, but we weren't today's all-consuming family focus.
    They were glad we played by ourselves until the street lights came on.
    They were busy discovering the post war world.
    We entered a world of overflowing plenty and opportunity; a
    world where we were welcomed.
    We enjoyed a luxury; we felt secure in our future.
    Depression poverty was deep rooted.
    Polio was still a crippler.
    The Korean War was a dark presage in the early 50s and by
    mid-decade school children were ducking under desks for   
    Air-Raid training.
    Russia built the “Iron Curtain” and  China became Red China .
    Eisenhower sent the first 'advisers' to Vietnam.
    Castro set up camp in Cuba  and Khrushchev came to power.
    We are the last generation to experience an interlude when
    there were no threats to our homeland.
    We came of age in the 40s and 50s.  The war was over
    and the cold war, terrorism, “global warming”, and
    perpetual economic insecurity had yet to haunt life with unease.
    Only our generation can remember both a time of great
    war, and a time when our world was secure and full of bright
    promise and plenty.
    We have lived through both.
    We grew up at the best possible time, a time when
    the world was getting better. not worse.
    We are the Silent Generation - "The Last Ones"
    More than 99 % of us are either retired or deceased, and
    we feel privileged to have lived in the Best of Time.
    That is who we  were and who we are. 
  6. 12 hours ago, syrakusos said:

    Well, therein lies the brilliant exposititon. Roger's thesis is that mathematics is inductive first. To say that it "morphs into a deductive way of thinking" is a sloppy way to identify something complicated and perhaps not well examined. From what little I know, number theory is inductive. (I reviewed a biography of Paul Erdős The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman on my blog.) Yes, when you publish, your proof must be deductive. Also, Objectivist epistemology shows that abstractions can be treated as concretes and from them, wider abstraction can be identified.     

    Have a look at this:    Do you think you can get this inductively?  If so, please indicate how.


  7. 12 hours ago, syrakusos said:

    Well, therein lies the brilliant exposititon. Roger's thesis is that mathematics is inductive first. To say that it "morphs into a deductive way of thinking" is a sloppy way to identify something complicated and perhaps not well examined. From what little I know, number theory is inductive. (I reviewed a biography of Paul Erdős The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman on my blog.) Yes, when you publish, your proof must be deductive. Also, Objectivist epistemology shows that abstractions can be treated as concretes and from them, wider abstraction can be identified.     

    Advanced number theory (analytic number theory) is beyond induction. It uses the full machinery of real and complex function analysis.  Many of Gauss prime number theorems are deducible from the properties of the zeta function.  There are also probabilistic extensions of number theory which are derived deductively.  When a mathematical subject is deep enough it has to be developed deductively.  Also any mathematics involving infinities or infinite sets must be developed deductively because there are no infinite sets or quantities in the physical universe -- they are purely abstract and idealistic.

    A puzzle for you.  What is the cardinal number of the set of first rate mathematicians who are adherents to Ayn Rand's philosophy?


  8. On 8/15/2017 at 11:45 PM, Roger Bissell said:

    This video is great fun, Ba'al. Thanks for sharing it!

    I confess that I did not go through any complicated logic in order to discover my method for generating Pythagorean triples. I just made a table showing various values that worked, and eventually I saw some suspicious looking patterns. I generalized from those patterns, tried some more variations, generalized a bit further, then realized I had a method that seemed always to work. Then I realized that I could solve the Pythagorean equation for x (though with difficulty, since it required completing a rather messy, unwieldy square), and then I found that I could plug any rational number less than -1 or greater than 0 into my solution for x and generate a Pythagorean triple. It's all in the book, for anyone who wants to see both the inductive jungle I hacked my way through, or the rather straightforward, though difficult deductive mountain I scaled in order to validate the inductive result. (The Einstein/Martians essay was supposed to have illustrated in a briefer, more enjoyable way the two paths to knowledge that my Pythagorean triple essay rather long-windedly illustrated, but I'm not sure that the message has gotten through.)


    You got to Pythagoras' Theorem inductively.  That is clever.  The ancient Egyptian stone cutters and surveyors got to the special case 3-4-5  which was handy to make a "T" square out of knotted rope. All mathematics starts out life as an inductive  enterprise.  Only later on does it morph into a deductive way of thinking.  The Greeks learned their  geometry from Egyptian surveyors and stone cutters. In fact the word "geometry"  is derived  from the Greek word for surveying (earth measure  ---- geo  metrein.)  Historically all mathematics started out from answering two questions --- how many  and how big.


  9. 9 hours ago, syrakusos said:

    The thing is though that this is well known. Bissell's proof was his own invention.

    When I was 14 years old I thought this up all by myself.  It turns out that hundreds of mathematicians  got to it hundreds of years before I did.  Every mathematician or wanna-be mathematician goes through a Pythagorean phase.  

    Every metric geometrical space which is smooth enough to be differentiable  with continuous first derivatives is locally Euclidean.  If you take a very small patch of the space, very very small it is nearly flat and Euclidean.   So the geometry of planes is a kind of limiting case for all differential manifolds.  The space may be bumpy or curved globally (like the surface of a sphere)  but locally  it desparately wants to be Euclidean.  A Euclidean space is one where you can have arbitrarily large right triangles that obey Pythagoras' Theorem.   



  10. 9 hours ago, syrakusos said:

    You are wrong. Moral choices have real consequences and to be pro-life, they must be based on identifications of reality.  True enough: the stars do not care if you live a good life, but in order to live a good life, you need to care about the stars, i.e, to whatever extent possible, you must understand the world you are in.  The scientific method, rational-empiricism, or Objectivism, can and does lead to a workable realistic morality. That morality is the source of individual happiness. 


    The statement "You cannot get an ought from an is" is false. You can. In truth, that is the only way to discover a pro-life moral code.


    Physical law -constrains- morality.  It does not -determine- morality.   Any moral code that contradicts the natural physical laws is doomed to failure because it cannot be maintained.


  11. On 12/10/2017 at 7:44 PM, syrakusos said:

    How the Martians Discovered Algebra: Explorations in Induction and the Philosophy of Mathematics by Roger E. Bissell delivers an algorithm for generating Pythagorean Triples. Central to the thesis of the work, Bissell explains how he discovered this by means of induction, not deduction. From there, Bissell takes the reader into number theory in order to validate his new explanation of the proper understanding of multiplication, and to challenge widespread assumptions about the empty set and infinity.

    The relationships between music and mathematics go back to Pythagoras. So, this set of essays by musician Roger Bissell enjoys a solid foundation. Bissell also dabbles at mathematics and has several philosophical explorations to his credit, published in The Reason Papers and the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.

    Objectivism is an integration of rationalism and empiricism. Objectivism rejects the false dichotomies of Descartes, Hume, James, and the myriad other philosophers before and after. Consequently, Bissell and other Objectivists provide logically consistent, reality-based and practicable methods for understanding the universe including our inner selves. Objectivism is what the scientific method was intended to be: a guide to living.
    That said, this book failed to convince me on several points with which I was pre-disposed to agree. And I concede that the ultimate failure may be mine, not the author’s.
    Bissell begins with some techniques in speed math. These discoveries from his senior year in high school demonstrate his inductive method.  They also provide an introduction to his algorithm for discovering Pythagorean Triples. That alone is worth the price of the book. It is easy enough to explain, though hard to show with the typesetting available here. Basically, you want three integers such that a^2 + b^2 = c^2. Easily, there must be some number, x to begin with. The other number must be some number added to x that can be expressed as x+a, and the result of adding their squares must be some (x+b)^2. It all follows from there.
    But I had a hard time following it. I tend to read at bedtime. So, I filled my notebook with pages with arithmetic when I was tired. I told Roger that his algorithms did not work. He asked me to send him PDF scans. I did. He corrected my homework. So, I agree that the Bissell Algorithm will, indeed, generate Pythagorean Triples.
    The central essay, “How the Martians Discovered Algebra” (Chapter 4) is a parable to demonstrate induction in mathematics as the doorway that opened to the world of algebra. 

    Bissell's original algorithm for generating Pythagorean Triples is worth the price of the book. If you have any interest in epistemology, mathematics, or the problem of induction, then Roger Bissell's book delivers more for the money.

    Full review here:


    Let A = (M^2 + N^2),  B = 2*M*N  and C = (M^2 - N^2)   where M > N > 0   

    Then A^2 = M^4 + 2*M^2*N^2 + N^4, B^2 = 4*M^2*N^2  and C^2 = M^4 - 2*M^2*N^2 + N^4   from which we get

    A^2 = B^2 + C^2  by simple algebra.  Let M > N >0 and M and N  range over  positive integers that satisfy the inequality  and you get all the pythagorean triples.

    Feel free to use this formula --- no charge.

    Let''s try out one set  to see how it works.  Let M = 2, N = 1  than A = 5,  B = 4  and C= 3   which gives the famous 3,4,5  triangle, the simplest Pythagorean  right triangle. 

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  12. 8 hours ago, anthony said:

    "Objectivism is what the scientific method was intended to be: a guide for living". (MEM)

    Well, there's something cart before horse in that. Do I read it right? The scientific method can establish ~what we know~ of reality, and even so, its method is dependent on (metaphysics and) epistemology - how we know - to which Objectivism (uniquely) and the axioms of existence, identity and identification is integral and fundamental. (Nothing new, straight from the O'ist canon). So, knowledge, as the prerequisite for man's life is primarily answered by the O'ist identity/ identification. Second, I can't see the scientific method coming up with "a guide for living", or how to live; discovering the laws of nature alone, has no means for discovering the 'good' in nature, or what is best or better or bad or worse, i.e. - value - to life. I'd put it extremely, that all scientific knowledge has equivalence - if there's no corresponding theory of value, and an objective one, at that. Also nothing new to you.

    Michael: From past debate you'll know I am always interested about Rationalism in contrast to Empiricism (also the effects on O'ism when they each, largely rationalism, re-appear from Objectivists - not to rule out myself either...). Basically I don't believe the two poles of this false dichotomy can be integrated (or combined, matched, etc.) as you suggest. ("Objectivism is an integration of rationalism and empiricism"). I sense by their particular identities there would unavoidably be in the mind a varying cognition-gap between empiricism and rationalism, a clash, then to a resurgence of one over the other, in turn. Even as a rough explanation for Objectivism, the observed facts of reality "without recourse to concepts", Empiricism -- and 'a priori' abstractions without facts, Rationalism, can't share a methodological middle ground - I think. Simplest is to discard both concepts: radically outside the dichotomy, the system of Objectivist methodology starting at the senses and percepts, to identification and integration into one's concepts, gives us the fundamental path to individual knowledge. That establishes THE process and structure within which, most significantly too, all scientific knowledge (found and learned) can be integrated. Therefore, there's no contradiction here with science - as the special, empirical disciplines - either. Sorry to be pedantic or maybe picky about all that, but I think this subject is core to Objectivism.

    Physical science can offer very little in the domain of values.  The best physics can say is whether an ethical. code is physically realizable or whether it is physically impossible.  Nature does not give a hoot as to what we think is right or wrong. 


  13. 2 hours ago, regi said:

    Aren't the real numbers all numbers that have decimal representations that have a finite or infinite sequence of digits to the right of the decimal point,  positive, negative, or zero?

    Aren't complex numbers all the real numbers, imaginary numbers, and sums and differences of real and imaginary numbers?

    Why aren't these definitions?

    Just curious?


    These facts about real numbers tell us nothing of the topology of the real number line. 


  14. On 2/8/2015 at 2:20 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:


    Have no fear.

    The cavalry is coming to the rescue of the global warming scare project.


    Schwarzenegger Calls For More Effort To Fight Climate Change

    Since institutional science funded by government couldn't scare the public into giving the technocrats more power, maybe Arny can kick some ass for them.



    Do you know what Climate Change said to Schwarzernegger?    I'll be back.

  15. 1 hour ago, jts said:

    TCEC season 10 superfinal finished just now with Houdini beating Komodo. The champion from season 9 was Stockfish but it was only 3rd place in stage 2 of season 10 and didn't make it to the superfinal.

    But the latest greatest supersensation  that is rocking the world of computer chess is AlphaZero. This is a modification of AlphaGo for chess. It beat Stockfish in a 100 game match with a score of 28 wins, 72 draws, 0 losses.

    You don't believe me? Click on this link on and read for yourself.

    Google's AlphaZero Destroys Stockfish In 100-Game Match


    How do the top computer chess machines compare to the best human players?  Who is beating whom?


  16. On 12/6/2017 at 8:53 AM, Brant Gaede said:

    The brains will tend to do what the money says and the government controls a lot of money. As this is contra brainwork, the brainwork tends to deteriorate over time.

    John Galt is not the way of the world but the end of the world. That's what happened in the novel. Emphatically that's not the way of the human world. The point Rand wanted to make was made with an unreal man or a man realer than real like Michelangelo's statue of David. But Galt was not heroic; he turned his back on Goliath and walked away to demonstrate the impotence of evil meme of her philosophy ignoring the impossibility and lack of desirability of seeking and achieving human perfection, for Galt could only be perfect. That's contra free will. This dresses out and demonstrates the basic contradiction running through her fiction and philosophy and why the original Objectivist movement of the 1960s came a cropper: Students of Objectivism couldn't make perfection work.


    That is a very clear eyed and clear minded  observation. Well done!


  17. On 11/28/2017 at 6:44 PM, Wolf DeVoon said:

    It does happen, you know. You can argue in favor of licensed professions including hazmat transport, excavation, tunnel engineers, mining, doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs, or whatever, but government itself is the greatest polluter, creates truly horrible hazards on the ground and in the air, compared to private actors. The ultimate question is whether government should have a monopoly on strategic weapons. I've argued in favor of Galt withholding strategic technology from idiot government.

    Even if  a technical whiz True Capitalist withholds technology from the government, there are enough people who will work for the government, directly or as contractors to provide the government with more "nasty"  technology than it sanely needs.  You may bet a year's income that the government has nasty disease pathogens  being kept alive  in its vaults, for example.  The fact that "John Galt"  withholds will not prevent the government from having enough bad stuff to hand,   to kill the world ten times over.

  18. 3 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

    Like I said--you have no understanding of individual rights' philosophy. Law follows philosophy not philosophy follows law. That's just for starters. This cart before the horse can result and has resulted in the codification of any evil. In your literalness you will now state, "It's not evil to drive a truck filled with nitro through a residential neighborhood?" (Why, BTW, does the law forbid it? Because it's evil. Why is it evil? It violates both property rights and the right to life of many people. True, those who came up with HazMat transport regulations likely think as you do, but the regulations are correct and do not violate anyone's rights for there is no right to transport nitro through residential neighborhoods, not that any driver would be stupid enough to take that gig. Yes, you can state this is an example of regulating the economy, but we've already discussed that and you've not answered. In the context of the original discussion regulation is above and beyond and contra rights' philosophy. The alternative can only be anarchy--your position--if there is no operative rights' philosophy in the first place. And, of course, we don't start with anarchy; we start with what is, so we don't in any case end up with it, but with the operative statism.)


    Just as I said.  There is no right to transport nitro through residential neighborhoods