• Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by BaalChatzaf

  1. Quotes, everybody loves to read 'em. What are your favorites?

    A few of mine that I apply to my every day life are:

    "Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong."

    Ayn Rand

    "I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."

    Ayn Rand

    "The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me."

    Ayn Rand

    "In theory, theory is practice. In practice it isn't."

    Yogi Berra

    "Be careful if you don't know where you're going because you might not get there"

    Yogi Berra

    "You can observe a lot by just watching."

    Yogi Berra

    "All pitchers are liars or crybabies."

    Yogi Berra

    Here are few I use:

    When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: For it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.

    David Hume

    Mongol General: Conan! What is best in life?

    Mongol Soldier: Swift horse, the wind in the face, the falcon upon the hand!

    Mongol General: Wrong. Conan! What is best?

    Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

    Mongol General: Yes. That is best.

    From the mouth of Conan the Barbarian as played by the Governator -- Arnoldt Schwartzernegger

    Persian to Spartans: Lay down your weapons?

    Spartan to Persian: Μολών Λαβέ (Come and get them!).

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  2. Thanks guys. You are all too kind. I am going watch my diet and pay more attention to my brother's ideas on diet. You're all great.

    As soon as your doctor clears you to do physical exercise, visit the gym thrice weekly (at least). When there do, but not overdo, gentle aerobics and some upper body work with the weights. Easy does it, but do it.

    A day without a twenty mile bike ride is a day without joy. Like today. It has been raining steadily all day here in the Bad-a-Bing State, New Jersey. Phoo!

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  3. Knowledge is power. There can be great advantages to joining a group of like-minded people, but we must know the dangers involved in such membership, and we must be very certain to keep sacrosanct our own independent view of reality. If we do not, we may not become suicide bombers, but we surely shall become cultists.

    Barbara Branden

    You don't even have to join a cult.


    Normal people can easily be turned into monsters.

    With a little trickery we can all get in touch with our Inner Nazi.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  4. My own idea of the history of philosophy, from the time I was a child, has been summarized by the title of the introductory volume of the Great Books set: "The Great Conversation." I have thought of philosophy as a discourse amongst intelligent minds grappling with difficult questions in an ongoing dialogue over the ages. [...]

    Mortimer Adler, who created the Great Books program and breathed that perspective, was worth a dozen Peikoffs as an educator.

    I am dismayed that more haven't followed Adler's lead in a host of areas. Such as with his small but potent book Aristotle for Everybody. That got me interested in delving into Rand's idol as no other book ever could, including the one she recommended by John Herman Randall. Why haven't more Objectivists or sympathizers found the writing touch to do other such brief, accessible treatments of philosophers for the general public?

    Amen to that. Adler has presented Aristotle in the best light for those not familiar with Aristotle's works. I am not an Aristotle fan myself. I think the blunders he committed in his -Physics- and -On the Heavens- set back real science hundreds of years. In spite of this, Adler has given me an appreciation of just how broad The Philosopher's interests were. He was a smokin' Philosophy Machine and he left his mark on the ages for -both- good and ill. A true genius.

    Men like Adler have done yeoman service to making philosophy both interesting and relevant to the non-scholar. On balance, I think Adler has done a better job of promoting Aristotle's philosophical heritage than either Rand or Peikoff.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  5. If I may stretch the category a bit, I really enjoyed Arthur Koestler's The Act of Creation and The Ghost in the Machine. They're both about a lot more than science, but it figures prominently in them.

    Roger-You're about the third or fourth whose intelligence I respect that has recommended these two books. I have read "Darkness At Noon", but nothing else of Koestler's. Think I'll pick those up(which is the last thing I need, more books I have to read!, but I can't resist any excuse to purchase more books)

    Read -The Sleepwalkers- by Koestler. Embedded therein is the only (partial) English translation of Kepler's notebooks. Kepler is one of the few scientists who kept a stream of consciousness journal of his thinking when he did researches on planetary motion, included self deprecations for making mistakes (oh what a dummkofp, I am etc. etc.). So you not only get Kepler's final results (he fitted ellipses to the data points of Mars which Tycho Brahe's people recorded), but you get the intermediate steps, his false and mistaken tries at fitting the data. Kepler's results are not only the work of genius and inspiration, but of elbow grease and lots of calculations (Kepler did not have calculus as did Newton). Kepler sweated over the Mars ephemarus for eight solid years before he got a decent fit.

    Bob Kolker

  6. Generosity and Self-Interest

    by David Kelley

    From the December 2004/January 2005 issue of the Fraser Forum.

    People do generous things. They give directions to strangers, contribute to charities, volunteer in hospitals, send food and supplies to earthquake victims. Actions like these are usually described as altruistic, in contrast to the pursuit of self-interest. In a free society, most of our interactions with people involve trade: we provide values to others only on terms that benefit ourselves. Generosity, however, means providing someone with a value that is not part of a definite trade, without the expectation of a definite return.


    I think a case for generosity can be made on the basis of a generalized trader principle. Let us assume your acts of uncalculated generosity do not put you to excessive trouble or place you at hazard. If you want someone to grant you an unpurchased and unrequited favor, it seems fair that you be willing to do and actually do the same sort of thing. If I expect someone to give me directions if I ask them (it isn't all that troublesome to the person being asked) I feel obliged to do the same if I am asked. In any case, acts of minor generosity promotes an ambiance of helpfulness that we can all benefit from. And it promotes a generally friendly and cordial attitude to boot. There is nothing wrong with cordial relations with one's fellow humans.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  7. Inconvenient Truth versus Inconvenient Swindle

    (Thoughts on both sides of the global warming issue.)

    Another very pleasant surprise was the basic science lesson I received from this film. I have never been interested in ecology one way or another, so whenever I have seen the phrase, "global warming," I always assumed that it meant something like the earth getting hotter from the atmosphere all the way down to the core. I was pretty surprised to see that it was merely the weather and the atmosphere (and, to a smaller extent, the ocean). A much better term for me to have understood at my lack-of-interest distance would have been "warming of the earth's weather." I am sure that there are many people who are at the awareness level I was on this and they would be surprised to learn that all the shouting is not over our planet getting hotter. It isn't. Only the weather is.

    Sometime hot makes cold. If global weather warming causes enough melting of the Canadian ice pack and Arctic polar ice, the salt concentration in the ocean region between the Gulf of Mexico and the Northern Canadian Maritime Provinces will be lowered. This could rapidly turn off the thermo-hallicene conveyor which means the Gulf Stream will go away. That means warm water from the Gulf will not be transported to Europe. England, Holland and the areas bordering the North Sea will cool off and these areas will have hard cold winters. Once again folks may be ice skating on the Thames and in the Dutch canals. It will be time for Hans Brinker to get his Silver Skates out of the closet.

    The interruption of the Gulf Stream could have some heavy effects on the El Nino. This could lead to drought and flooding. Alas, the mechanics of the El Nino is not completely understood so there will be more said about that by the experts when they learn more.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  8. Rather, the skeptics were the adherents to Aristotle's doctrines, according to which imperfections in the heavens were impossible. No doubt contributing to his fate, Galileo provoked these philosophers, scoffing at their uncritical reliance on Aristotle's text. When one of them died, Galileo quipped that although the man had ignored the moons of Jupiter during his time on Earth, he might discover them on his way to heaven."

    --American Scientist, Trial of the Centuries

    Galileo's nickname was Wrangler. Apparently he was argumentative and pugnacious. He was also a smart-ass of magnitude 1. His portrayal of Pope Urban VII as Simplicio (an Aristotelean dumb-dumb) in G's famous -Dialogues on the Two World System- did not endear him to the upper management of the Church. In fact, his cheekiness put his arse in a meat grinder. Galileo was truly a ba'al chatzaf!

    Strangely enough, Mr. G's favorite argument for the rotation of the Earth was completely bogus. G had a theory of tides that was essentially the water sloshing in a moving tub model. G, in his correspondence with Kepler, chided Kepler in thinking that the Moon had something to do with tides. Galileo called such speculation -moonshine-! Well Kepler was right and Galileo was wrong. So even smart-ass cheeky geniuses can be wrong sometimes.

    What is even more strange is that Galileo discovered the very instrument with which he could -prove- the Earth rotates about its axis. It is none other than the pendulum. In 1851 Leon Focault displayed his namesake pendulum in Paris proving for damned sure that the earth rotates on its axis (not that anyone at that time doubted it). Galileo had the proof he needed in his hand, but his grasp of inertia was not sound enough for him to make the case.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  9. If it is facts independent of human choices then grok this. Shot an electron through a Stern Gerlach magnet. The electron will go up or down wrt. to the plane dividing the heads of the magnet. All electrons are alike being in a superposed quantum state for there spin. You have a fifty fifty chance of an up or down outcome. Now shoot a stream of up-electrons through another Stern Gerlach magnet. Lo and Behold! The stream splits again. Which way it comes out is not determined by any observable property of the electron. The same electron with spin up on one occasion will emerge spin down on another. Since no discernible factor determines the output I would say the output is happenstance.

    That is not correct. The electrons from the spin-up beam will remain spin-up if there are no other interactions, they are in a pure state, so in a second SG apparatus they'll generate only an up-beam. However, if the second SG magnet is oriented in a different direction (for example in the y direction if the first SG magnet was oriented in the z direction and x is the direction of the beam) you'll get again split beam, half of the electrons with spin in the y direction and half of the electrons with spin in the -y direction. Still strange enough for your purposes.

    Thank you for the correction. Two identical measurements done real quick before decoherance indeed will be the same.

    Still strange: Take an up electron out of the first S.G. magnet and put it through a right-left S.G. magnet. That same electron put through an up-down S.G. magnet again has a fifty fifty chance of coming out down.

    In short, the direction of our much abused electron is not determined by any property it came to possess and what ever its final outcome is , is by chance. No necessity there. So even in the world of the inanimate and insentient you have contingent and accidental events (which are facts).

    The general statement that facts are necessary has been shown to be false by counter example.

    If an outcome different from the outcome observed is still -possible- then the outcome is not necessary.

    In general terms necessary p => not possible not p. That is modal logic for you.

    And lest we think there are hidden determinants (know as "hidden variables"), the experiments showing the failure of the Bell Inequalities throws that supposition into doubt.

    Be that is it may, the last word has not been said.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  10. You're new here so I'll be polite, but please cut out the condenscension. If there's one thing I know it's how to fight a war, from the bottom up or the top down and lots of in between.


    Asking for politely for particulars in response to a rather general unspecific assertion is hardly condescension. What it is, is a request for more data. Apparently you are disinclined to elaborate on your assertion. 'Tis a shame. So be it.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  11. Latin america is currently recovering from years of capitalist policy which was detremental.

    Chavez is increasingly popular and successfull in his policy for developing 21-st century socialism.

    It sets an example how a poor and underdeveloped country can develop itself, using it's own resources for the benefit of the poor masses, helps them to get education and healthcare, etc.

    Chavez is another Alliende. After he gets through running the Venezuelan economy into the ground either the U.S. or China will have to bail him out along with what is left of the oil production capacity of Venezuela. I am worried some that it will be the Chines.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  12. Phil Coates -- and whoever else wants to weigh in on this -- in your considerable experience of hearing Rand and Peikoff (and others) lecture about induction, deduction, and mathematics, do you recall if any of them ever conceded a significant role in mathematics for induction? I just finished listening to the Understanding Objectivism lectures, and Peikoff therein talked about mathematics being atypical (epistemologically) because it was deductive, whereas the typical pattern of human knowledge acquisition was by means of induction. Has he modified this view since 1983?

    Are you aware of any different position on induction in re mathematics from the people who have published in The Intellectual Activist?


    Which mathematics? There are purely formal system of mathematics that are devoid of empirical content and there are mathematical theories which were specifically formulated to deal with the dynamics of motion in the real world. For example; calculus and differential equations.

    Mathematics done rigorously involves proving theorems from postulates. That is deductive. But sometimes deduction is guided by intuition and real world examples and hints. That is inductive.

    LP's grasp of mathematics is rather limited.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  13. My favorite book on cosmology is Eric Lerner's The Big Bang Never Happened.


    Lerner's book presents a rather bogus version of the Cosmos. He leans heavily on the work of Aalfens, but the verdict is pretty well in. The measurement of the Cosmic Background Radiation initiated by Wilson and Penzias in 1965 gives very heaving evidence in favor of the Big Bang. Apparently, according to the best available evidence, really did happen.

    Even Hoyle's theory is better grounded than Lerner's nonsense, and Hoyles theory turned out to be wrong.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  14. Ellen-

    Good luck with the Principia. Hopefully they have translated the mathematics into a readable, modern form as well. I've never read it, but I've heard that mathematically it is trying for even physicists. Not that it is inherently difficult, but I don't think the equations are couched in modern forms.

    You are right. Newton derived his results using his newly invented calculus and differential equations, but his math was far too advanced for the readers of his time. So he translated the mathematical formulation to the more traditional Euclidean Geometric mode. In his time calculus was like the kind of mathematics used nowadays to express super string theory. Very few are sufficiently trained to follow it.

    Ironically, modern readers can handle the calculus based presentation, but are hard put to comprehend the older geometric approach. The central position of Euclidean Geometry in the mathematics curiculum has been denigrated and a watered down version is taught in American high schools.

    For a clear (but not easy) presentation of -Principia Mathematica- read the new translation edited by I. Bernard Cohen. The translation avoids some of the old fashioned locutions (in English) found in the Cajori translation. Really, who understands phrases like hemidemisubsesquintial ratios. (I exaggerate only slightly).

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  15. Where principles and rights break down

    This is going to be one of the shortest articles I have ever written.

    If some evil son-of-a-bitch wants to starve a child to ill health or death on purpose, irrespective of the reason, he better not do it in front of me or near me, because no principle or right on earth is going to keep me off him.


    Interesting. May I ask why? I assume you are not related to that hypothetical child. Do you have a dog in this hunt? If so, what is it? Would you react strongly (or even violently) simply because you disapprove? Why is your approval or disapproval substantive? Is it substantive?

    I would caution you as an apparently decent and reasonable fellow that appointing yourself guardian of interests that at not rightfully or factually yours and without invitation or permission leads you down a dangerous path: the Path of the Buttinsky.

    This is not to say that I don't understand your emotional charge. I really do. But emotions, per se, are not proper warrants for actions. Have a care, lest ye become dangerous to your fellow humans.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  16. The Objectivist position of existence is that no alternative to the fact of reality is possible or imaginable. All facts are necessary. In Ayn Rand’s words, the metaphysically given is ABSOLUTE. A is A. Facts are facts. Existence exists.


    Really? It is a fact that the United States consists of fifty States. Is that a necessary fact? Not at all. There was no law of nature compelling congress to admit Alaska and Hawaii as States. So the fact that the United States has fifty States is -contingent- on certain decisions having been made.

    Be careful now. You are on the verge of denying free will.

    Ba'al Chatzaf


    Welcome to OL.

    That either Alaska and Hawaii is a state (or at one time not) of the United States is not a "metaphysically given" fact, (which there is no alternative to) but rather a man-made fact. I take it that you are not too, too familiar with Rand's work, of else you would not have presented this type of challenge to me. :}


    First of all, I have read Ayn Rand (AS, TF, WTL) and I used to subscribe to -The Objectivist-.,

    A Fact is Fact. A Fact is that which is. The distinction between metaphysically given facts and facts arising from choices (by man, beast or plant) is nugatory. Whatever is, is a fact however it came about.

    If it is facts independent of human choices then grok this. Shot an electron through a Stern Gerlach magnet. The electron will go up or down wrt. to the plane dividing the heads of the magnet. All electrons are alike being in a superposed quantum state for there spin. You have a fifty fifty chance of an up or down outcome. Now shoot a stream of up-electrons through another Stern Gerlach magnet. Lo and Behold! The stream splits again. Which way it comes out is not determined by any observable property of the electron. The same electron with spin up on one occasion will emerge spin down on another. Since no discernible factor determines the output I would say the output is happenstance.

    The odds on the outcome are fixed (50 - 50) by the symmetry of the electron spins but the particular outcomes are not determined, hence are accidental, happenstantial not necessary etc. etc.

    Yet another. How about your conception or mine or anyone's. Zillions of sperm racing to the egg (and which egg? I could have been one of many.). Which one gets there is a function of the when and the where of the ejaculation, not a matter of necessity. We are all accidents. So much of life is a horse-race. So much is accidental. So little is necessary.

    The facts are just what happen to be the case. Which is not to deny the existence of laws governing what facts may be. But these laws are constraints, not determinants. Many outcomes are possible, but not any old outcome.

    Ba'al Chatzaf.

  17. The Objectivist position of existence is that no alternative to the fact of reality is possible or imaginable. All facts are necessary. In Ayn Rand’s words, the metaphysically given is ABSOLUTE. A is A. Facts are facts. Existence exists.


    Really? It is a fact that the United States consists of fifty States. Is that a necessary fact? Not at all. There was no law of nature compelling congress to admit Alaska and Hawaii as States. So the fact that the United States has fifty States is -contingent- on certain decisions having been made.

    Be careful now. You are on the verge of denying free will.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  18. There are effective ways to take care of Iran without doing a WWII on Iranians.


    Really? Do tell us what these ways are. Be very specific, if you please. No generalities, now. Just very specific ways of pulling the fangs out of the Iranian Mullahs.

    The Israelis may have had the right idea when they paid a visit to the French build reactor in Iraq back in 1981. These magnificent pilots of the IDF Air Force gave an entirely new meaning to the term: "surgical strike".

    Let us know how to make the Iranian Mullahs and politicians stop building A-bombs to kill the Jews and passing their nukes on to the Wahabites, without slaughtering the lot of them.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  19. It required more than 3,000 police, the merciless beating of the students, and the killing of several, before the riots and the bloodshed ended.

    Are these students and other Iranians like them the people we should be nuking? We shoud be helping them in every way possible, helping them to break free of their tormentors, as we helped so many other courageous rebels in Eastern Europe when they were strugging to to break free of their Communist tormentors.



    If you can come up with a nifty technique for separating the wheat from the chaff and the sheep from the goats would you let us know what it is?

    In the mean time killing lots of folks, many of them mothers and babies is one of the unavoidable infelicities of modern warfare. The Allies killed over 700,000 civilians in air attacks during WW2. But just keep in mind who started the war. In addition, if our enemies ever got wind of our soft feeling they would line their rooftops with their own children. What would you do then?

    We are living in hard times, and hard times call for hard actions. If you think it is o.k. to kill the bad guys, just keep in mind that they deliberately live among the not-so-bad guys. So how do you propose to kill the bad guys without killing some of the not-so-bad guys. If you can think of a nifty way, pray do let us know. In the real world we cannot fight Platonic wars. We can only fight by the means and tactics available to us. When Muslim fanatics do another number on New York City (and they will. because that is where the Jews are) I would really like to hear your response to that. Really and truly.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

    Eem yavoh l'hargechah hashkeem l'hargoh -- If he comes to murder you, rise up early and slay him first.

    Babylonian Talmud, San Hedrin 72A. This is the survival manual of a people who have been on everyone's hit list for over 2000 years. We are still here.

  20. "The problem with the global warming issue is that in popular public and political policy discussions the matter it is an ill-defined, epistemological mess. Asking 'Do you believe in global warming?' has the flavor of 'Do you believe in Jesus?' with lots of unstated implications. We need to break the matter down.

    The proper way of putting that question is: Are you convinced by the models and the data so far presented that

    1. global warming is largely anthropogenic and 2. said global warming will lead to catastrophic conditions?

    My response to those questions would be no and no.

    I have stated my reasons in another post concerning the nature an quality of climatic science and climatic modeling.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  21. Kyrel -- You're right! E=mc2. The stock of energy and matter is the stock of the universe. The only things in short supply are rational minds that can figure out how to free energy at an economical price and the political freedom to do so!


    In reality only a small amount of mass can be converted to energy in fusion and fission reactions. In fusion reactions about 0.007. That is 7/10 of one percent. When multiplied by c squared that is one humongous can of whoop-ass. HOO-RAH! But being an astronomer you should know we are not going to ever convert large percentages of mass to energy. The underlying physical processes have gone to a great deal of trouble to solidify energy into mass, since the Big Bang.

    Yodah says: Do not your breath hold, Young Ed, until all mass into energy converted is, else blue turn you will.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  22. These people in Sydney are trying to save their lives - in the best way they know how. There is nothing altruistic about this! They honestly believe that global catastrophe is a reality - or at least a likely possibility. I am NOT advocating what they're doing - I am NOT advocating blackouts or suspension of human technology. Like I said before, I don't know what to think of global warming or how we can deal with it. I would think that there are other ways of going about saving the world besides an all-out shut-down of technology. I don't find anything inspiring about the coma of a city. And neither do these people in Sydney. That is WHY they're doing it. They don't want to see their lives and their homes and their loved ones lost under the unforgiving waves.

    The good folks of Sidney would be much better off if they replaced all incandescent bulbs with standard base florescent bulbs. The savings in in current is about 60 percent with no loss of illumination. In addition the fluros last five times longer than incandescents.

    Now to the main point: The basis for the dire predictions is so-called Climate Science. Climate Science which is based in part on physics is really not well grounded theoretically. Climate Science (so-called) is a collection of -models- (implemented by computer programs) and constructed to fit data measured from various sources. That, in itself, is not bad. When dealing with something as complicated as climate, it is unlikely that anyone is going to come up with some mathematically elegant axiomatic type model, such as we have in theoretical physics. Climate is much more complicated than the interactions of particles and fields.

    The correctness of climate models is very dependent on what and how much data is gathered. There is currently a bias built into temperature data, to wit, too many measuring stations are in or near cities. Cities have become "heat islands". The steel and concrete structures of a large city heat up under sunlight during the day and radiate the heat at night. This makes the temperature readings higher than they should be. Temperature gather stations should be spread out further away from cities. Unfortunately cities are where most of the universities and weather data gathering companies are located.

    The accurate collection of temperature data has no been going on long enough to accurately establish trends. That is another problem.

    So we have empirical models built on biased and potentially incorrect data. In addition there is really no theoretical underpinning to climatology. Let me make an analogy: climatology is where astronomy was in the time of Kepler. Kepler was the first to -fit curves- to data gathered from Tycho Brahe's instruments, then the best naked-eye (non-telescopic) data collection enterprise in the world. That is how Kepler derived the idea that planet orbits are elliptical (which is true to the first order of approximation). However Kepler did NOT have a theory underlying the motion of the planets. His understanding was data limited and the best he could do is fit curves to data. In short Kepler constructed a model. It happened to be a good model and it was left to Isaac Newton to produce a THEORY to account for the observations. The theory consisted of force laws and differential equations. Climate Science is still waiting for its Isaac Newton.

    O.K. So we do not have a well grounded -theory of climate-. All beginnings are hard. If this was the only problem it would be a matter of working smarter and thinking better until a theory is developed.

    Unfortunately, major policy decisions are based on climate models of dubious quality. In addition, many of the conclusions are -politically motivated-. Governments have an interest in making a case for telling foks what to do, what not to do and charging them for the privilege of being ruled in a less than reasonable manner. The UN IPCC has a genuine ax to grind in the matter of global warming. They make quasi-dire predictions to enhance their reputations for far-sightedness. Unfortunately their sight is derived from bent and dirty lenses.

    If Chicken Little is going to go around telling everyone that the sky is falling, it would behoove him to, at least have accurate data to that effect. The Chicken Littles of global warming have not yet met that requirement.

    Ba'al Chatzaf -- ever skeptical of those who think themselves wiser than the rest of us

  23. Bob or Cheek; Welcome! How old are you? Where do you call home? What have read of Ayn Rand?

    Thank you for inquiring.

    71 years old, born in the Bronx. I now reside in the Bad-a-Bing state, New Jersey, but my heart is still in Massachussetts, the home of the American Revolution.

    Yes, I have read Ayn Rand and I even subscribed to the Objectivist.

    No, I am not an Objectivist, but I am joined at the hip to Reality. If I were still religious, my god would be the facts.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

  24. Blackhorse:

    ~ Hadn't seen this I-have-no-doubt not-to-be-missed movie yet, but, did catch the History Channel's 'History in Focus' 1/2 hr 'analysis' on the movie. Quite interesting, overall. The only 'flaw' (if one doesn't grant any 'artistic license') was the lack of maximum armor the Hoplites used; expectably, their chests (et al) would have been covered with bronze plates, but, for macho-appearance-effect movie-wise, weren't.

    Perhaps the movie should have been entitled -600 Pectorals-

    Bob Kolker

  25. I've also heard Objectivists argue convincingly that the universe is eternal, that there can't have been a time prior to which anything existed. They also argue that there can't be a place outside of which anything exists. This sounds like they are saying the universe is infinite, but it also sounds like the idea from cosmology that the universe is finite but unbounded. (Whatever that means.)


    Here is what it means. Let T be a topological space and S be a subset of T. p is boundary point of S if

    and only if every neighborhood of p contains a point in S and and point not in S.

    Now consider the surface of a three dimensions sphere. This a a two dimensional topological space where the

    neighborhoods are defined by "circles" around each point on the surface of the sphere. A neighborhood of p is the set of points whose great circle distance from p is <= r where r is less than the great circle distance between antipodal points. Under this definition, no point on the surface of the sphere is a boundary point. But the distance between any two points must be less than or equal to the distance between any pair of antipodal points. This makes the surface of the sphere -finite-. Hence the surface of the sphere is both finite and unbounded (no boundary points on it).

    It is a technical term requiring some grasp of basic point set topology. I hope you find this useful.

    Ba'al Chatzaf