Derek McGowan

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Everything posted by Derek McGowan

  1. JTS, I appreciate your links. I wasn't commenting on whether the individual characters were consistent in their beliefs, I meant that there should have been a greater variety of beliefs. You can still have the looters fall under the general classification of evil, sure but there are differences in people's motivations. Example, not everyone who is anti-capital simply wants what others have, some people want to be protected from capitalists, some people are scared, some people really want community based production. Some people who take subsidies are lazy, but some see the subsidy as a way to get free resources with which to build the business, some take subsidies and hand outs because they actually are starving. Etc I think that hearing the objectivist philosophy take on the many facets of the opposition could have been educational
  2. Francisco, I took your Galt statement above as a joke, with your current statement I'm wondering if you are being serious.... If you are being serious then you probably need the services of a cult deprogrammer
  3. So I finished the book Only thing I would change, is not the length of the book, nor the length of the speeches, I would add more variety to the personalities of the looters. That would fix two problems with the book. It would fix the unrealistic nature of a world in which everything is either hard edged good or hard edged evil. It would also fix the problem of repetitive conversation, in which the hard edge evil looter explains that they deserve something based on need and the hard edged good says that they don't. There are really just four types of conversations in the book good discusses with good, second tier good discusses with good, evil discusses with evil, and evil discusses while good offers either one word responses or lengthy speeches : ) That is actually fine by me, but if there was more variety behind the motivations of the looters then the good could have still expressed their philosophy but could have explained it to a greater number of readers. Maybe instead of the book being primarily a anthem for those who already believe, it could have been a teaching text to convert those who don't...
  4. Another example would be Exxon who pledge 100 million to research new energy sources over ten years. That's 10 million a year from a company that makes 100 billion per year. Hey, they can do whatever they want with their money, but clearly, if the second highest valued company in the world doesn't have time for exotic research then .... Well the outlook is somewhat reduced for those science and technological breakthroughs that will costs billions if not hundreds of billions to achieve
  5. Also, JTS, I agree that chemical rockets are outdated so I guess that's why they are beginning to use ion rockets... Which I am also not too fond of. To be honest though, I do think that some science is beyond the ability of private enterprise to tackle. Merely from the stand point of cost. The government can basically print, borrow, or tax as much money as is needed for any job. A private company has to watch the bottom line. Bell labs, again a miracle machine factory, simply wouldn't have the resources to build the international space station, the large hadron collider, or run the fusion experiments a Lawrence Livermore
  6. JTS, it's not a question of whether private entities could have done it or if they produce science, my response was to Jonathan who made it seem like NO science comes from state run institutions. I simply feel that that is a claim a bit too far. Again you can say whatever technical issues you have with NASA, you can say that they shouldn't exist, but can you say that they don't produce science... I dont believe so. You did say that they do in your opening statement so I guess at base you agree : ) Francisco, can we please just answer the questions. I don't need a survey of objectivist philosophy every time I ask an inquiry. You sound like a politician....
  7. So Francisco, you would say that the reason Galt disenfranchised stadler is because of the tax element?
  8. Dont you think that that statement might be a little too broad? I'm not going to take away anything from Bell Labs or other private institutions that have created massive advancements, but I don't think anyone can argue that NASA hasn't produced tons of science. The best you could say is that they spend a lot to do what they do, but two things- anytime that you do something for the first time it's going to be expensive, second Neil deGrasse Tyson said that the entire history of NASA's budgets, from the 60s on up would fit into one year's worth of today's military budget.
  9. That was a joke above, by the way : ) But seriously, when Rearden is looking for Dagny and is offering awards for the wreckage and such, I couldn't help but wonder if he should have been broke by that point in the story. He had signed away the metal, the vast majority of the successful (meaning able to make use of large orders) business men were gone, there were limits on how much he could produce, and I'm sure his regular living expenses were high. I could be completely wrong about the time period but it seemed like he was under strict governmental pressure for more than a year, I don't even know how he was making payroll with government cronies being given jobs. His staff was bloated, orders were down, couldn't get ore, didn't have his other businesses to subsidize.... At this point in the story (Rearden is gone) why is Dagny sticking around? She even says that she can't do anything for the railroad and that the cronies will destroy everything. The part of Galt's speech that I never quite understood is that it seems that his?Ayn's idea of sacrifice to be completely arbitrary. Perhaps this is because I have never believed in pure altruism- people do things either because they want the reward of feeling good, or they want to avoid the punishment of feeling guilty. Seems to me that if someone avoids feeling guilty by sending their last dollar to some starving kids in Africa, then they have done it for themselves and are thus still acting selfishly. THe whole rest of the speech I love (except for its length) especially above, existence is existence and how he said that people try to avoid that fact by blanking out. Also can someone explain why did Galt condemn the physics professor on the day (!) he said he would back a state science institute? Is it because the principal that the institute will be funded by taxes and he is against taxes, or does he simply feel that state science doesn't produce economic returns, or it would eventually lead to evil, or what? 2-3 hours left in the story
  10. Existence is existence And... Resistance is futile John Galt of the Borg
  11. Should I be flattered, delighted, or just plain flabbergasted?!
  12. Selene, Those are the conditions prsent in the gulch. I'm not asking a real world question, but one based on the book. Dean, I understand your point in the real world. I also understand you point in the atlas world "down the line" when some businesses weren't money makers. I don't know exactly how long some of those folks had been in the gulch but it seemed that they choose employment rather than entrepreneurship rather quickly. Anyways, just a question.... Back to the audio tomorrow and back to the story : )
  13. Selene, While that job would be immoral (to my standards) and I wouldn't be okay with doing it, I'm just saying that I would be believe that there is someone in the world for which enforcer would be a dream job. Dean, I was more asking why do they work for others. Of course things needed to be produced but if I was a professor of history on the outside and I had bankroll, courtesy of ragnar, and freedom from force, courtesy of the gulch's rules, annndd a community that appreciated what I did, I wouldn't work on someone else's farm, I would open a school where I would teach, or open a book store which only sold my books, etc
  14. Had a conversation to day that may take the question of this thread in a different direction. So the Randian heroes are not portrayed as simply people with strong individualistic tendencies and creative ideas but (at least in Atlas Shrugged) people who can/do move the world, meaning that they can restart it if/when it goes to hell. So I would rephrase the question as, Do you know of any people, you don't have to know them personally, just be aware of them) that you can say you would take on the Ark if 90% of the population died for whatever reason. These wouldn't necessarily be people that you like or could have a profound conversation with, but people with real world skills needed to rebuild from the ground up, the same as the individuals in the gulch were able to take what they were presented with and create a world that lessers would be envious of
  15. Okay, so the conversation between Dagny and the night operator of the other train line. (Right after the train she in on is deserted and she walks with Owen Kellogg down to the track phone to call for help. Reaching the Taggart phone, they find it out of service and resolve to call from the other train company's phone) So, I know that Rand has Dagny go through a mental transformation where she realizes that she can't help to prop up a dying system, but I'm wondering if this particular conversation is playing out along that same theme. She is upset because the night operator doesn't know how to proceed to help them and appears quite incompetent. He doesn't know what to do and doesn't want to risk doing anything to help. She is struggling to stay calm, but secretly cursing, in order to get help for her train. Owen sits back and just smiles at her struggle. Is he sitting back in silent communion that the guy on the line is an idiot, or is he really looking at her as the poor soul who still doesn't realize that it's useless? Why does she expect to get help from a competitor anyway? Is this because she hasn't been to the gulch yet and heard the oath? Once she heard the oath, would she no longer ask for help in a similar situation? Im currently in the chapter where she is having dinner at MIdas's house (I wonder if he asks for payment at the end of dinner?) The one thing that I have to say that I don't like about the gulch is exactly what she brings up, that many of the inhabitants aren't spending ALL their time working on the things that gave them happiness in the outside world. I fully agree that all work is good work (there are no lowly jobs) but I believe that ALL work isn't for everybody. Just because I'm working for a great man doesn't mean I will get joy out of a profession that I'm not inclined to do so I dont see why they would, especially since they were soo into their chosen fields on the outside. Also, why do they have to work for someone else anyway? Didnt they get money placed in their accounts by Ragnar? Shouldn't that money be enough to finance their personal business there in the gulch?
  16. My only problem,Moralist, and I'm not trying to start an argument (i see my mistake with my statements toward JTS) is that I may NOT be able to watch certain things going forward. Comcast bought NBC and the threat of them throttlling or blocking sites that don't promote NBC properties is so great, that the merger agreement had a contractual statement written in it preventing such actions by Comcast until 2018. After that date, all bets are off. So if, say Netflix, doesn't renew it's licensing with NBC (which happened in 2011 when they stoopped streaming new shows) then Netflix will likely be UN watchable because it will either be blocked or throttled to the point that load times destroy the experience
  17. You are correct JTS, I correlated you with the article you posted, for that I apologize. P.s. just so that you know, I have posted a link in my previous rant that shows that not only can you currently pay for download speeds that are ten times the average (prosumer and business plans) but that the current infrastructure allows for gigabit downloads which is somewhere around 80 to 90 times faster than average. In other words, there is no need to wait for the future
  18. MSK, regardless of who is doing it (and I would even approve of an open internet being enforced by a raving and torch bearing mob) isn't an open internet the preferred environment? Also, what is your position on these new powers (powers to regulate commerce as they see fit) that the carriers have invoked? Now my rebuttal of JTS's article which is linked here http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?id=12767 The carriers have spent billions on certain infrastructures. Infrastructures like cable television and phone lines/towers. That is their business, they can run that business how ever they see fit. However, to say that they can control the invention of others (the internet itself), the commerce of others (the buying and selling between voluntary parties), the advertising of others, and the social lives of others, simply because the genius inventors of the internet found that coaxial cable can carry a signal, would be the same as saying that- because UPS operates their fleet across a previously built highway system, the US government can now tell UPS how, when, and if they can conduct their business. The US government can tell UPS who their customers will be. This is nonsense. Same paragraph, quote- "this would enable content providers to offer high quality live TV and videoconferencing...." Uhh, these services are already available "...without the delays and unreliability that plague the internet today" Sheer exaggerated fear mongering. What delays and unreliability? I just watched and episode of Star Trek Voyager on-demand, using a low mid-tier Comcast internet plan, without a hiccup. And honestly, attribute that success to the vast network created and maintained by Amazon, not Comcast. The "freedom and innovation" in the final line of the paragraph works if those who participate on the internet are allowed to innovate, not by being blocked like Verizon has blocked voice calls through Skype (a competing and innovating service) Second paragraph- This is true, see my links and examples of how this has already happened and see the actual reasons for Verizon going to court. Third paragraph, ISP's in most of the US, do not compete and I'm sure that the writer knows this. Even if they did, many if not most plans now come as yearly contractual agreements that roll over automatically and their marketing departments know quite well that when you put it in the individuals hands to stop service, rather than having it stop at the end of the contract, most people will just forget and miss the deadline. Same paragraph, if the idea was for some sites to have faster service, i.e. a speed boost over the standard download speed, that would be one thing, but lawyers for the carriers have been quoted as saying that the carriers should have the power to slow any or all traffic from whatever sites that choose, for whatever reasons they choose. Again, is this China? Afghanistan? Besides the carriers ALREADY offer faster speeds. If a customer wants faster speeds, they pay for a faster plan. This is already a standard. Why would a customer want faster speeds to just one or two sites? Wouldn't they want their entire experience to be faster? And what if a site pays to have priority service and I as a customer don't even visit their site? That's the beauty of the internet, that I'm free to visit any site I want, the same as I can visit and store in the mall I want (the owners of the mall can't cause one store to look better than another to attract my business just because they like that business), but its a beauty that will be trampled on. Sites online that want superior access to customers can advertise better, they can gain word of mouth kudos, offer better service, and move up on the search engine sites. (Let's not forget that the carriers can now simply block Google or any other search engine they feel in order to direct attention to their buddies or away from their enemies) Here we go, the author throws out the ultimate emotion raising word "entitled". Websites feel they are entitled to equal access. First, websites do not have equal access, most will never see the light of day, the major ones did what they had to do to get noticed, THAT'S what makes them superior, NOT the whim of a toll booth operator. So Angie's List can spend millions on advertising in order to build a reputation, but since they won't pay the carriers, their online experience is shot to shit?! And its is not a smoke screen- again, see history. Yes the internet is a association of many, many individuals and businesses. Now the carriers feel that they can control what happens in a world they had only the most minimal contribution in creating? No one is trying to compel others for ad space, publicity, bandwidth or data prioritization, as the author says "the internet's ultra advanced state today is the achievement of..." I have bolded today to emphasize that an open internet is what lead to the state it is today, not one where the experience is controlled by anyone. Neutral is not a demand... this guy is an idiot, it's a natural starting point. Everything begins neutral until something comes along to change it. The carriers are the ones demanding. How does little Sally's website demand and get a unearned share of the internet's profits? Just because her site loads as fast as Facebook, doesn't mean that her site is in anyway equal, nor does it mean she gets any profits. Again, this author gets NO respect from me. Creative, innovative activity?..... What creative innovative activity will the carriers now participate in? So Sally's website demands bandwidth that she didn't earn? Isn't her site hosted on a server that PAYS FOR ITS BANDWIDTH???!!! I pay for my service and it includes uploading. Doesn't this mean that I have earned my bandwidth?????? Ambitious competitors are welcome online. OL has competing sites (or sister sites), I have thousands of other artists competing against me for commissions, FaceBook has MySpace (okay, bad example) so why would the author make it seem like the current system is so entrenched and favoring of anyone? It's wide open, that's hat makes it free, ya dipstick! Having someone control the commerce from the outside is the opposite of free. Why is my experience as a placed at the bottom of the totem pole? I pay for a certain experience online but because some websites wont pay the extortion fees, now my online experience has to suffer? Then the author has the nerve to use the term moocher in order to get the Rand audience riled up. Clearly, any company that decides that it will control the commerce and interactions of others, through threats, is no better than the government. And any company that attempts to make money off an invention that they did not make and cannot control, is the real moocher. JTS, what is your response?
  19. Just so you know selene, the FCC is the party that is advocating for a open internet. Verizon is the one that wants to chop it up and distribute it however they feel
  20. A... This quote is my main problem. You cannot and I repeat, cannot have a problem with government regulations that prevent free open transactions between adults and yet at the same feel that the internet CARRIERS should somehow be able to do the same. The CARRIERS do not own the internet, they did not found it, do not own the servers that Amazon, or Google use, they did not write the software that makes communication among computers possible, they can't even claim ownership of the modems that are in the end users homes (and that they "rent" to most of those end-users), that would be the Netgears and Ciscos of the world. The ONLY thing that the CARRIERS have rightful ownership over is the lines themselves and the funny part is that MOST of those CARRIERS did not install/invest in the lines for the sake of the internet..... THE LINES WERE ALREADY THERE FOR CABLE TV! The geniuses of the world realized that, the same as the telephone lines, coaxial cable can carry a signal other than television shows. So now the CARRIERS find themselves in a position to extort money out of others through threat (might as well be by gun) and yet under the auspices of their "freedom to innovate". WTF?! You tell me how is a CARRIER, that stifles and slows the connection to specific websites, going to somehow produce innovation from that practice? That's the total opposite of innovation. Speculation? How about some history http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100310/1508408512.shtml AT&T, in 2009, deliberately stifled connections to SKYPE because they offered voice over internet, which competed with their phone services. Verizon, 2010, makes a (government style) agreement with SKYPE that they will allow the program to work over their network but only in a severely limited fashion. HOW THE HELL IS THAT INNOVATION? The government picks winners and losers..... what is the difference if Comcast picks the winners and losers? What is the difference? They get to decide who gets gets access and to who? IS THIS CHINA WE ARE LIVING IN??? This is a quote "AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast will be able to deliver some sites and services more quickly and reliably than others for any reason," telecommunications lawyer Marvin Ammori (he's the man quoted above) observed even before the ruling came down. "Whim. Envy. Ignorance. Competition. Vengeance. Whatever. Or, no reason at all." http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-net-neutrality-20140114,0,522106.story#ixzz2qbGtpxBj Within the full article you will discover that Comcast in 2007 was doing just that.... bottling up service between individuals using Bit Torrent. Two adults, making a transaction amongst themselves and Comcast steps in and says no, no, no, we choose who and what types of transactions get to happen around here. Let me state again, THE CARRIERS HAVE NO CLAIM ON ANY PARTS OF THE LIVING INTERNET. They own the roads, fine then, charge me to travel the road, but don't tell me that if I'm going to 1047 Appleton Rd, that I have to get there exactly how they say, at the speed they dictate and handle my transactions exactly how they demand. How about an analogy: So we have a productive factory town, full of privately owned businesses. These businesses own the buildings and equipment that they use while putting intellectual ideas, that they invented, to work. Now the land under which they operate IS own by some other entity and for that they pay rent. This is all fair and clear. What wouldn't be fair and clear is if the land owner decided to dictate terms on how they can or can't conduct business with customers. The land owner can't say that factory B will only be able to sell to the east coast while factory A sells to the west. That would be total nonsense! I'm disgusted just by the thought of it and yet that is not even as bad as many instances of this possible net neutrality fall-out. Imagine the same town, the same separate land owner. Again, you want to do business with someone in that town but their is a road that takes you there and the owner of that road decides who you can and can't do business with!!! I live in Baltimore, we have Comcast. Comcast does not own the the grid that Amazon (Operating and headquartered in Washington State) operates on. THEY CAN"T EVEN CALL AMAZON A TENANT AND YET THEY CAN TELL ME OR THEM (Amazon) HOW TO CONDUCT THEIR BUSINESS??!! This is/could become complete and utter BULLSHIT. Imagine a scenario where, every ten minutes, your internet stream shuts down while the CARRIER runs a commercial. Oh, not possible? YouTube didn't run commercials at first, but atleast that is a specific site that I can choose not to visit, the internet has become a world in and of itself, that multiple aspects of our lives rely on, and now the CARRIERS feel they can cash in on something that they didn't invent, and don't own? Cable TV, didn't have commercials either at first, now the Cable television experience is so chopped and screwed that no, Moralist, I don't watch TV and haven't for quite sometime. Imagine a scenario that 20 years from now, we look back at a time of "Remember when the internet was useful?" A future where the CARRIERS in such an attempt to prevent anything that they see as competition, and through extortion for bandwidth practices, that we the internet falls apart like the world in Atlas Shrugged. The CARRIERS could very well be the biggest moochers ever. Let's address this claim of "freedom to innovate" which is bandied about in an attempt to get anyone with a love of freedom to go along. Hey, they said freedom right? They gotta be on to something good. We don't want to enslave the CARRIERS. We don't want to prevent innovation. WHAT INNOVATION? What will the CARRIERS suddenly start to do now that they can extort? All of a sudden they are going to open R+D labs? Uh no. What about choice? Now the CARRIERS will be able to offer more "choice" to consumers. WTF??! How can I have "more" choice if I already have free and open choice over ANYTHING online. How will I now get "more" choice? Choice to pay more? Choice to choose a merchant that the CARRIER doesn't like? If the CARRIERS want to charge for faster downloads, then that is their rightful ability. They have multiple tiers of speed now, I CHOOSE the one that works for me. That's it, that's where their domain ends. R+D..... How about this http://www.bloomberg.com/slideshow/2013-07-23/top-20-where-to-find-the-world-s-fastest-internet.html The US isn't even in the top ten of internet average speeds! Somehow the lazy CARRIERS will suddenly invest in a better grid if they are able to dictate transactions? At least the asymmetrical internet of the future could have bonus speeds for the preferred merchants. If I pay for the 25 Mbs download tier now, at least the preferred merchants could get a 30-40-50 Mbs download bonus, but no, we all know that it won't work that way. What will happen is that the non preferred sites will get a speed DECREASE to say 50 Kilobits per second. Sure, that's innovative. What about this: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/12/why-comcast-and-other-cable-isps-arent-selling-you-gigabit-internet/ THE CURRENT INFRASTRUCTURE ALLOWS FOR GIGABIT DOWNLOAD SPEEDS! That's right, with little to no investment at all, speeds could literally be 10 times the current average. Now let's talk about competition, after all that's what it is all about right? The market, competition among peers. Uh no. Verizon has stated blankly that they will NOT build FIOS lines into Baltimore. That means I'm stuck with Comcast or a satellite service. That, my friends, is no choice at all. That's like the choice between broadband and dial-up. The latency on wireless is so large that gaming online is impossible. So I guess Comcast has me by the balls.... guess my only choice is to weigh my options and move to another state. Then again maybe I should move to Singapore where they average speeds destroy ours. Or to Hong Kong where you can get 500 Mbs speeds for.....$25!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! per month. What happens when the CARRIERS request extortion money not just from the big companies, but from all websites? What happens when they also extort from the consumer? I can see it now, they will wrapped it up in a glossy bit of spin. The commercials where a disgruntled Bob is in front of his computer. In walks a shining Mary who says, "Whats wrong Bob" "Its my internet, I can't get Netflix" "Well Bob, if you just pay an extra 20 bucks a month, you can move up to the 'all access' plan and get all the websites the internet has to offer," Mary says with a smile. "Yeah, I can afford that, why didn't I do this sooner." Bob says, then gets on the phone to order something that should have already been available. That's my rant, next I will do as promised and refute JTS's article paragraph by paragraph. But for now, I need a break
  21. I'm sorry JTS, but that article you provided is complete flim flam. I haven't watched the video yet and I cant respond fully as I'm on my phone at the studio, but as soon as I get home I shall refute the article paragraph by paragraph, with history (not idealized speculation) and with current facts (not smoke and mirrors)
  22. So Verizon wins against FCC. You can look up the details, I'm only here to proactively rant. I'm not even going to defend a businesses inherent right to handle their business and product as they please. I'm not going to mention government intrusion and rules or any of that. I'm here to say only, that if my internet experience slowly becomes what my cable tv experience is...... I swear to god ..... I'm going to blow something up..... Ok, maybe not but I will certainly follow what ever hacks, cracks, or outright theft of bandwidth or access that the underground comes up with to circumvent the carriers. I have reduce my piracy of digital to a minimum over the years. I buy singles for .99, I switched from bootleg Photoshop to shareware Gimp.... But all that morality will come crashing down ........ Whatever chip, descramble box or whatever else is available to beat throttling, I swear I will get it and recommend it to my friends.... I...... Ok, I'm calm. None of this may even happen. No need to speculate. But if it does...
  23. Derek: Did you believe that Clark Kent flew? Is there not a willing suspension of disbelief that one dons when one enters fiction in it's various mediums? A... I understand what you mean Selene, but its like my wife says, (paraphrasing) my level of belief suspension is based on what is presented as the thesis of the story. When something breaks from that thesis then sometimes I just have to laugh. So, yes Superman can fly in a movie where the opening scenes reveal that aliens of a dying world send an infant across thousands of light years, alone, to earth. On the other hand the world of Atlas Shrugged, while populated by great men and women who have incredible accomplishments under their belts, those men and women could very much be "real" and the world they are presented in is a alternate timeline of our current "real" world. There are many occurrences of these great men and women recognizing the other's meanings without a word and I'm fine with that. There are occurrences of recognition of greatness by speeches of deep depth and meaning, but I simply thought that this one instance was a little over the top. That's okay though because I still love the book!
  24. This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you