Charles R. Anderson

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About Charles R. Anderson

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    Charles Anderson
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    The Virtues of Benevolence and Tolerance Benevolence:People as Tolerance:Ideas Freedom of Conscience Respect for the Value of Other Thinking Men The Individuality of a Thinking Human Being Rational Men Must Be Tolerant of Others The Complexity of Reality

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    Columbia, MD
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    physics, history, philosophy, writing, blogging, economics, politics, business, materials development, biking, sailing, exercise, sexuality

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  1. The post on my blog to which Merlin referred offers a number of physics arguments undercutting some of the more common theories offered for substantial to catastrophic warming effects of infra-red active gases on the Earth's surface temperature. Many of those arguments are completely laid out in this post and are hence available for anyone's reasoned evaluation. No one here has yet made such comments. There have been a number of comments that my viewpoint is not a consensus viewpoint, which is indeed the case. Nonetheless, there are many scientists who agree with me on many major criticisms of the UN IPCC viewpoint. Some of those who so agree have made their arguments public and some radiation experts have only been willing to tell me privately that they agree with me. In the end, I leave it to the reader of the referred to post or to another longer post on the basic physics to evaluate my arguments. I do not like the idea of convincing people as an authority despite my using radiation physics daily in my laboratory to characterize materials and to solve problems in the utilization of materials. I tend to use few links, because their use might well just be cherry-picking opinions that suit me. I want my intelligent and diligent readers to use the massive searching power of the internet to check out the issues that they believe should be checked themselves. You should not accept my arguments until you understand them fully. You also should not use the force of government to impose restrictions on the exercise of individual freedom to save the planet from catastrophic man-made global warming when you do not understand the physics that purports to be the basis of that alarm. I put a heavy intellectual burden on those who would prevent the exercise of individual rights with the use of force. I made it very clear that what does not exist is a scientific consensus. One may argue plausibly for a limited political consensus, but not for a scientific consensus. One may say that most scientists believe that CO2 warms the Earth, but you cannot say that most scientists understand the basic physics that causes such a warming and are in agreement about what that physics is. The former case is a political consensus, while the latter is a scientific consensus. Of course, even a scientific consensus can be wrong. As Albert Einstein once said about the book "One Hundred Authors Against Einstein": “Why one hundred? If I were wrong, one would be enough.” I am one of a few at least who provide rational reasons for the fundamental error of the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis. In December 2010, I submitted an article to a group putting together a book called Slaying the Sky Dragon. In doing so, I was not endorsing all of the other articles in that book. Indeed, I had not read them and was busy at the time moving my laboratory into a larger and improved facility. Because of my article, when PSI was set up, I was listed as a founding member of PSI, though I really had nothing to do with setting the group up. A few of my blog posts have been re-posted there since it was set up. Some of the people who have posted there have provided me with good information and have helped to expand my knowledge of the complex field of climate science, however, there are also things published there that I do not agree with. If I submit an opinion piece to the Washington Post, am I saddled with endorsing all or most of what the Washington Post publishes? Now there have been cases in which some of the "Dragon Slayers" have been excessively derisive of lukewarmers who I do not think deserved such treatment, but there are also many cases in which some lukewarmers and many alarmists have been very inclined to call those who do not agree with them nasty names. I have always been respectful in my interactions with such people as Judith Curry, Richard Lindzen, and Roy Spencer. However, I have no use for James Hansen, Gavin Schmidt, or Michael Mann. The effect of CO2 is very small. It does very slightly reduce the power emitted through the atmospheric window, which is a warming effect. On the other hand, it slightly increases the absorption of solar insolation in the atmosphere before it can reach the surface, which is a cooling effect. Because the mean free path length for radiation emitted from the surface into the air is very short and it remains very short throughout the lower troposphere, and because the gas molecule collision rate is very high in the lower troposphere, almost all of the radiant energy that either water vapor or CO2 can absorb is converted into kinetic energy in non-radiating nitrogen, oxygen, and argon gases. That energy is transported by convection which is slow. To the degree that a small fraction of the energy in a CO2 or water molecule is emitted as infra-red, that effect transports energy instead at the speed of light over a short distance, which is a cooling effect. Also, adding water vapor or carbon dioxide to rising thermal currents increases the heat they carry upward due to their high heat capacity compared to nitrogen, oxygen, and argon gases. These last two effects are cooling effects. There is a great deal of data documenting the cooling effect of water vapor in these ways. All of these effects are small and not one of them can produce catastrophic results. The sum of the effects are also small and there is some very reasonable question as to whether the sum is very slightly warming or very slightly cooling. I have been leaning more and more toward a very slight cooling effect. One of the mistakes that is very clear is the idea that infra-red active (so-called greenhouse) gases are responsible for about a 33K warming of the surface of the Earth. This is the so-called greenhouse effect and it is nonsense, as the article Merlin referred to shows. The Earth's gravitational field provides about 29K of the temperature difference between the Earth's surface and the effective temperature providing the net radiative power of the Earth into space. The direct solar insolation incident upon and absorbed by the Earth's surface and all other effects only need to provide another 4K of warming. The difference between scaling "greenhouse gas" effects to 33K and to some fraction of 4K is huge. Since there are other minor warming mechanisms, the effect of all infra-red active gases may well be negative or may be close enough to zero that the effect of CO2 may never prove measurable.
  2. Beyond Little League baseball, my organized sport was only cross-country. Basketball in Rhode Island was a pick-up game at the Marine Gym. Football in Tulsa was a regular Saturday afternoon game of tackle football played at La Fortune Park. We usually had 4 or 5 guys on a team. No pads, but plenty of hard hitting. I was usually a receiver on offense since I had good hands, ran hard, and focused only on the ball. But I always liked defense best, since nothing beat tackling. I was usually the smallest guy on the field, but I always had twice the number of tackles anyone else had. Tulsa Memorial had a good football team, but they had all played together since Pop Warner. Coming in as a Junior and only having played some pick-up football in my last year in RI, being small, and definitely not being a good sprinter, the high school team had no need for my "talents," except that some of the football players would seek out advice on what questions I thought might be on the exams! But, I also played chess, bridge, and debated. I did not learn to really like writing until a couple of decades later. But, I did get into writing an outline and the beginning of a book about three kids from Newport beginning about 1772 who became involved in the resistance to the renewed enforcement of the Navigation Act and the burning of the British enforcement schooner the Gaspee. That was a fun exercise late in my Senior year. My Senior year, my family hosted a student from Brazil. Benecio da Silva was bright, a bit young and immature, and he was in America to party. But, he did go on to become a doctor. Of course, kids often fall into cliques due to friendships formed over many years and it may be harder for them to perceive the limitations and foolishness that is more readily obvious to someone new to the scene. There is a good side to living in a place a long while too. The opportunity to know more people and to have been able to follow their trajectory over a long time, is something I never experienced. I was also often in the situation that more people seemed to know me than I knew. In one of my earlier posts, I said I was often disappointed that people did not respect good character enough. That is true, but my expectations are very high on that issue. It should be said also that kids did generally give me credit for good character and so I was usually fairly popular pretty quickly. Not class president popular, but sometimes class treasurer popular. I was invited to join the Key Club in the second half of my Junior year, which then was an honor. Kids do mostly recognize good character, but not necessarily if you are not pretty friendly and outgoing. I was never the life of the party. Indeed, I have never felt at home at parties. Still, other kids usually treated me with respect and seemed to think I was a decent guy. Nonetheless, I often did wish that loyalties and friendships ran deeper than they did. Someday, we should talk about girls and how we experienced getting to know them. But not tonight.
  3. Thanks Phil. Perhaps I will elaborate on a few other observations that were important to me later. There is much more, of course.
  4. Have you noticed that you put Objectivism in the same category as a religion? Hmmm.... I find that a bit disturbing. Do you ? Ba'al Chatzaf I am talking about human nature in the quoted part. I am not saying that Objectivism is like religion, except insofar as it and religion are belief systems and philosophies. The point is that very many people will not allow their beliefs to differ very much from those of others around them. They want to be accepted in business, in the Elks Club, and by women. On that last, I cannot tell you how many men have told me that they go along with religion because if they did not, women would not find them appealing. We certainly know that no American politician will be elected if he does not pretend to be a Christian, at least with very few exceptions. I am not sure that I know of a single exception. Note also that in the Northeast and on the Pacific Coast, the only thing to be is a moderate or liberal. In Oklahoma, liberals are much more rare. People have a tendency to flock together in their beliefs. In any case, this wanting to belong and wanting to be accepted effect is a strong one with many people. It is not a trait compatible with Objectivism, so I have my doubts that Objectivism will ever be broadly ascribed to. Consequently, I will be fairly satisfied simply to see it tolerated and not severely criticized. I hope it will be believed in by a substantial number of intelligent and thinking people with considerable influence in our society.
  5. I believe Glenn Beck is a valuable ally in what has become a desperate fight to preserve freedom in America from Obama and his socialist hordes and manipulators. Mike has effectively stated how what Beck has been doing has been a good thing. He is definitely able to get large numbers of Americans to read and consider books with important ideas, such as Atlas Shrugged and The Road to Serfdom. Yes, he is a religious man, but so are most Americans. He serves as a bridge to get Americans to read Ayn Rand for her ideas, despite the fact she was an atheist. For many, that was a barrier they could not overcome and they would not read her work because of it. Yet Beck has and that he has made it OK for other believers to do so also. Most will retain their religion, but most will come away from the reading with a greater respect for individuality, rationality in other domains, productivity, self-responsibility, and a different viewpoint on good human character. Beck is eccentric and some of his acting is annoying to me, but I am willing to put up with it because it appeals to enough Americans that he has built a large audience for issues which have never before had a large audience. I love history, especially American history. The more he encourages people to read, the better off we will all be. As he has pointed out, ignorance of America's history is a serious deficiency if we are to defend the essential American idea that we each have an equal, sovereign individual right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He also makes it clear that the Declaration of Independence defined legitimate government as that which protects those individual equal, sovereign rights. The Constitution is the document that limits the government to that function. These are extremely important lessons that the vast majority of Americans had forgotten. Many are renewing this knowledge now and this is a great help in moving our society toward one which appreciates individuality, reason, and productivity much more than our has recently. Glenn Beck has stated over and over that he has just been awakened to many important lessons in our history and about the evils of socialism in the last few years. This is a man whose character was not John Galt-like and he has really just seen the possibility of a whole new world. He is reading many books while he is spending prodigious time on his business and media pursuits. He has not had the luxury of sitting in an ivory tower to devour these books and ponder over the merits of each paragraph carefully. It is clear that some of his understanding is not as deep yet as it might be wished, but then it should not be a surprise. Judge him in the context of his life. I think he deserves to be cut some slack. In that context, I think he deserves a pat on the back. One of the great faults with many who think of themselves as Objectivists, is that they make the perfect the enemy of the good. In the process, they often discourage the good from trying to become more perfect or others who are not yet good from trying even to become good. Men of good character are always of value. They are rare enough. We should learn to welcome them. John Stossel is a man who has thought longer and who does so carefully. I enjoy his show and admire his work. While Judge Napolitano has some religious beliefs I do not share, I also find him interesting and generally a strong force for the good. Charles Krauthammer is good, as are John Fund, Alan Reynolds, Richard Rahn, Mark Steyn, Robert Romano, Rebekah Rast, Chris Edwards, Byron York, Thomas Sowell, Walter E. Williams, Larry Elder, Jonathan Hoenig, Michelle Malkin, and even Ann Coulter. I am also a fan of PJTV. I do not agree with all the people in this list all the time, but I do find them interesting and useful. I have serious doubts about whether most people can be Objectivists. It is certainly true that few Americans now want to ask so much of themselves. I also think that Objectivists will have to ratchet their numbers up slowly over time and as their become enough of them, some additional people will join in. Most people will not join in until almost most people are already Objectivists, in the best case. Few people have the character to be very different than others, at least not too different. This is why most Americans are Christians, while most Indians are Hindus, and most Iranians are Muslims. At best, it will be a long time before most Americans are Objectivists. Meanwhile, it would be great if they simply believed in the Declaration of Independence and the real Constitution.
  6. The framework of my early life was about all I gave, despite the length. But, those many early moves played a big role. Each move brought on a need to adapt to a new school and to develop new friends. When I first moved to a new place, I read an awful lot. As I developed more friends, I more and more played a lot of sports, often with special emphasis on a new sport. I was also a bit inclined to become more mischievous as I became comfort in the new surroundings. It was probably a good thing that I moved before I got into too much trouble! All of this does seem to have set up a certain inclination to becoming restless with doing the same thing too often. New books, new schools and teachers, new friends, new sports, all forever bringing a constant need for new effort and new understandings. I left the Navy lab after 10 years because I was bored with the excessive similarity of the science I was working on. I wanted to get into new applications and new materials. So I worked for Martin Marietta Labs Baltimore for 6 years and did acquire a new set of expertise. Then I started my own lab and built on both prior sets of expertise and opened myself to a huge variety of materials problems from virtually every industry and application area. Just what my restless mind needed. That restless nature started with my constant moves to some extent, though it was also fed by my constant submersion into the history of many times and the lives of many people. I like living in this time, but I also would have liked to have been involved in the American Revolution. In general, I have always felt as though no state was big enough for me and neither was any particular time. I feel comfortable being an American, but not so with being a Marylander or an Okie. Nonetheless, the states are important as a counterbalance to the federal government and need to be stronger. Part of the reason I think outside the box relates back to being presented and choosing to be presented with a constant flow of new challenges, all of them requiring thought. That thought in turn benefited from my reading and a wide range of experiences in growing up. My friends in the many places I lived often had very different characteristics from one place to another. Some were quiet and studious and some were jocks. Often they were a mix. At school most of my close friends were the most intelligent kids, but in the neighborhood, they were more commonly just into sports. But, I learned a lesson that there were interesting aspects of all the people among my disparate friends. There were also limitations. Almost none of them ever seemed to have quite the range of thought beyond the commonly accepted viewpoint of their time and place that I had, which I found very disappointing. Those who had the widest ranging minds were the most interesting. Everywhere I went there were cliques to some extent. I always tried to be above them and to straddle many of the divisions between them. Frankly, I thought they were childish in many cases. There is nothing wrong with people who are especially good friends hanging out with one another, but when they tried to make of point of excluding others based on some notion of being superior when they were not, it really bothered me. By the second year in a new place, I was commonly winning some class office and the reason was simply that I treated everyone with respect. This was a lesson learned partly from my father, but one reinforced by the many moves and the many friendships I developed. I found something else that I thought was strange. I found that when I really liked someone, I was much more willing to show that I did like them. Many people are superficially nice, but they actually have no real depth of feeling. I was also surprised that many people do not develop very strong loyalties to the people they know who are of good character. Good character seemed not to count as much with many people as it seemed so clear to me that it should. It seems to this day that I am wandering the earth in search of a few people of outstanding character. Enough for now. I have a breakfast engagement with my wife and three daughters for Father's Day.
  7. No, I have no diary. Some things my family help me remember, there having been so many of us! Actually, part of the reason I got into it was because I wanted to push myself to remember the names of some of my friends and my better teachers. To do apologize for the length. I really got carried away.
  8. The socialists and Progressives believed they were about to gain power on a permanent basis with Obama and heavy majorities in the House and Senate. They thought that still more of their agenda would be in place now than they have been able to accomplish and that they never dreamed so many Americans would become so passionate in their opposition. They are frustrated to no end, especially because everyone they know is so on-board with the Progressive agenda and the peasantry was thought to be too mindless and incompetent to oppose them, the elitists. The many calls for a dictatorship are a sign of that frustration and are proving to be very revealing to many Americans who could never bring themselves before to believe that American Progressives were simply evil.
  9. I love the heroic, the history of man, science and its applications, conversations about ideas with intelligent people, and writing. Of these, I came to a love of writing only after computers and printers became available to me. Before that, the fact that I needed to edit what I wrote to achieve any satisfaction from it caused too much frustration. The result was that I did not practice writing enough and I was never good enough at it before computers to get much enjoyment from it. Writing well is hard work and takes a very sustained effort. I remember many years in school and college of really not liking writing assignments. My first hero was my father, who was a naval aviator. He served two tours of duty in the Pacific Campaign of WWII, flying first a torpedo/attack plane and then an attack aircraft. At the end of the war, he was on Okinawa to participate in the invasion of the first Japanese home island, Kyushu. Dad served in the Navy for 22 years, during which he graduated from the Senior Naval War College and became an instructor at the Junior Naval War College. By the time I graduated from high school, I had lived in 17 states. The longest I had lived anywhere was Middletown, RI, near Newport, where we lived 4 years. Every move was a great new adventure. My first memories were of living in the Norfolk, VA area. I remember finding snakes. I remember two bulldogs knocked my little sister down and I ran to drive the two dogs away from her, only to wind up under one of the dogs and slamming my fists into its chest furiously. Then there was the time two boys were throwing rocks at my little sister and I charged them, pausing in a ditch to pick up some stones, which I threw so fast and accurately that the two boys ran away as I renewed my charge against them. We had a woman come in to help with the cleaning named Virginia Baker. We called her Gina. She was a woman of great strength and character. We all loved her. She was black, so I was never able to understand why anyone would not judge anyone else on the basis of anything except their character. We moved to Rod Field in the Corpus Christi, TX area. The field had been a training field during WWII, but only the officers quarters were still in use. There were several large, abandoned swimming pools on the base and one smaller one in use. There were many unused barracks and hangars. Most of the base was leased out to cotton farmers, who stored their baled cotton in the hangars part of the year. My friend Rusty and I used to ride our bikes all over the base, with my little sister sometimes tagging along. We hunted water moccasins in the cotton field irrigation ditches and played cowboys and Indians running through the barracks and over the stacked cotton bales. We used to jump off the back side of the seats at the abandoned baseball field. We hunted for horned toads, tarantulas, and scorpions. When the fields were freshly plowed, we made forts out of the large dirt clods and threw the smaller dirt clods at one another in wars. For a 6 and 7 year old boy, Rod Field was just about paradise. But, the schools were very bad. We moved to Brigantine, NJ on the island just north of the very run-down Atlantic City. I started playing baseball and swimming on the beaches. I entered 3rd grade and Mrs. Cobb, an elderly teacher with strict standards, learned that I could not read. I was also getting all of my math problems wrong. My Mom discovered that this was because all of the math problems were written down from the board and I was writing them all down incorrectly, but then doing the math correctly. Soon, I was fitted out with glasses and math was a breeze. Reading was still a problem, however, and Mrs. Cobb told my Mom that if I did not learn to read before the end of the year, I would have to repeat 3rd grade. For a few months, I was tortured by having to read Dick, Jane, and Spot at home every night. But, in the end, I was passed on to fourth grade. Mrs. Leeds, another elderly teacher with strict standards, took over. We had to read a book and write a book report. I decided to read a book on John Paul Jones and for the first time, I found that I loved to read. This was the first book I ever read that was interesting to me. I still own the book. Of course, it was about a heroic man. I then read a Landmark book about Chief Black Hawk of the Sauk and Fox Indians. I started reading just about every book in the Landmark series, the We Were There series, and all sorts of other biographies of historical people. I found I loved history. I branched out into mysteries and science fiction also, but mostly I kept returning to history because it was just as interesting and there was so much more to learn from it. Other than reading, I played in the dense thickets or the top soil piles of a construction company with friends. In baseball, I played shortstop, second base, left field, and right field at various times, but mostly shortstop or second base. I remember that I loved going to the beach whenever we had a heavy storm. We had a few hurricanes that passed by out to sea, but the waves on the beach were great fun to watch. Dad was away on cruises leading a detachment of all-weather, low-flying attack planes for a long stretch in a Pacific Ocean cruise. We moved back to Virginia, this time closer to Virginia Beach. Gina rejoined us for awhile, but she had left a better job to do so and she really could not afford to. She returned to it, but she helped my Mom to get through some difficult times when Dad was away on cruise. My fifth grade teacher was Mrs. Sochek (phonetic spelling). She was young, fun, intelligent, and beautiful. Her husband was a Navy officer. She made up great math problems involving such things as calculating the area of an aircraft carrier's deck. Oftentimes, I was the only one who could solve her problems, so she would frequently call on me to explain how to do the problems to the rest of the class. She had us write lots of book reports. My Dad was taking extension courses in Business Management with Cornell University at the time, so he was subscribing to BusinessWeek and the Cornell School of Management Review (or similar), so I started reading them. I was also reading the newspaper, Time magazine, and Compton's Encyclopedia regularly by then. I continued reading history. My best friend was Doug Pauley, who was a jock. We played baseball about 3 hours every summer day and most Saturdays any time of the year, except a few in the Fall when we played football. At home, I talked about politics, foreign affairs, defense policy, and history all the time with my Dad and Mom, when Dad was home from cruises. Dad was the skipper of an attack squadron and had two cruises, one to the Caribbean and one to the Mediterranean while we were here. In 1957, when I was ten, Sputnik was launched and I told Doug Pauley I was going to be a physicist. We were in his garage at the time. He did not believe me. He kept insisting that some girl in his class was more intelligent than I was. For some reason, that was important to him. I told him it was fine with me if she were. My 6th grade teacher was Mr. Duggan. He was an interesting teacher for social studies. I won an American History book for being the only student to list all 50 states with their state capitals and spelling them all correctly. We moved to Middletown, RI. The high school had been 7 - 12 grades, but there was no longer room for the 7th grade. We were bussed to a barracks on the Naval Base at Melville overlooking acre upon acre of stored mines. My teacher was Miss Jolivet, who had been a nun, but left. She was intelligent and strict. But, she liked True/False questions and I had occasional problems with her because I knew the exception that often made what most people thought was true to be actually false. Jerry Wells was my best friend in the 7th and 8th grades in the neighborhood. His father was a warrant officer who did not think much of book learning, so Jerry was an under-performer at school, but he was really very bright. We used to go to the Naval Base Library and we soon read all of the science fiction books there. He moved away, so I started playing a lot of one-on-one basketball with Paul Larkin who moved in and was a year older. The summer before the 9th grade, I read the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and concluded that fascism and communism were very similar and both forms of socialism. In the 9th grade, I was in the first algebra class offered for advanced students at that grade level. A schedule conflict kept me out of the advanced science course, so Mr. Rezendes, who taught General Science, allowed me to read science books while he taught the class. I read books on particle physics and nuclear physics and many other topics with an ear cocked to pick up anything new he might get into. He was a good teacher. Katie Webb, a redhead, sat behind me in his class and used to play with the label of my shirts. She became my first girlfriend, though I also became good friends that year with Mary Hutchinson, who was the most intelligent girl in my grade, at least barring the really screwed-up and dark Leslie Michaels, who later showed up as a Pembroker in my class at Brown University. Dad received orders to a new station so we put our house up for sale. Dad shook hands on a deal with a buyer and the Navy changed his orders to have us stay. No papers had been signed on the house, but Dad said he had given his word, so we were homeless. Dad, Mom, myself, Karen, Betsy, Scott, and the newborn Peggy all packed up and went on a camping trip through New Hampshire, Maine, Quebec, Ontario, to Niagara Falls and back. We then spent six weeks in a small duplex at Ft. Adams before moving into a small Navy house near the Marine Corps Base area, so we could return to Middletown schools. That house was small. Scott and I shared a small bedroom. Karen slept in a closet. Betsy and Peggy shared a room. Dad was taking an University of Rhode Island extension course on International Law and used to study in the bathroom to have some quiet. This neighborhood had many more guys my age and we went to the Marine gym most Fridays to play basketball. In the Fall, there was usually a game of tackle football on a field nearby on Saturdays, so I was usually there. While living in Middletown, I cut lawns in the summer and delivered newspapers the last two years. I was on the debate team in the 9th grade. I ran cross country in the 10th grade, the year the new high school opened. That was the year I took geometry, which I loved. I had a fairly good English teacher, Mr. North. The best course was Honors American History, in which we had a surprisingly good book and we had many classroom discussions. Mr. Anthony was magnificent. He also organized a class trip to New Hampshire to go skiing. That was my first skiing experience. Some kids did some drinking, so that was the last of the larger group trips, but Mr. Anthony took a few of us from the Honors History class on two more ski trips. Mr. Anthony was a retired Army major who had fought in the Korean War. Dad retired after 22 years of service and we moved to Tulsa, OK, where Dad intended to get a job with American Airlines, though he had no offer from them until after we had already moved there. I went out with Dad on the trip to buy a house. We found a great stone house. I helped Dad make the down-payment by giving him the $1500 I had saved cutting lawns and delivering newspapers. The cost of the beautiful house was $36,000, in 1963. Leslie had been born shortly before we left RI. The new house was short a bedroom, so I slept in what was meant to be a small study off the large family room. It was often a noisy place to try to study. I took Honors English, Honors Algebra II and Advanced Geometry, and Honors Chemistry. Mr. Dikes was a good English teacher, Mrs. Matthews was a good math teacher, and Mr. Bernard was a good chemistry teacher. Mr. Hickman was pretty good for Oklahoma History and Civics. Soon, I had a new group of friends, generally from the advanced classes, and we had a group that played tackle football most Saturdays for about 3 hours. We had serious discussions, with a number of us being Goldwater supporters, and we played bridge fairly often. We were not party-goers, though the school had a strong contingent who were. Of my group of friends, three became doctors, one a mathematician, one a dentist, two became lawyers, one an Economics professor at Northwestern University, and one a successful businessman. Another, very unacademically inclined, became the much acclaimed future principal of our high school! He was always very funny and always talking about how stupid he was. I used to tell him that no one so humorous could possibly be stupid. He was a character. The summer between 11th and 12th grades, my counselor, Mrs. Stansberry, helped me get into a summer program at Brown University, where we studied calculus, computer programming, and materials science and engineering. I loved it. Especially the calculus and the materials science. I did well and that helped me to get acceptance into Brown University when I applied. In my senior year, I flew through the calculus course and took physics, which was taught with the greatest imaginable incompetence. I took Honors English, but old Mrs. Higgins was awful, so at the end of the semester, I transferred to a Creative Writing class. A couple of the girls in that class were really very good writers. That class was an interesting challenge, though the teacher was more enthusiastic than intelligent or knowledgeable. I was on the debate club team. About December, a friend told me he had read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I had never heard of her, but I got the book and read it early in 1965. Then I read Atlas Shrugged about April. That summer, I had a job as a geophone placement technician for oil exploration crews and I got all of the back issues of the Objectivist Newsletter and read them. I went off to college as an Objectivist. The next adventure was going to Brown University. I was a physics major who had never had a decent course in physics. There were 52 people in the physics course for physics majors that year. A number of them were actually Applied Math majors, with a median Math SAT score of 800. Others were graduates of the Bronx School of Science. In any case, my Oklahoma high school was definitely in the minor division compared to the schools that many of the Brown students had gone to. I studied 16 hours a day and pulled off an A- that first semester. I pulled the A- up to an A the second semester. That was back in the day when few A's were given in any class, especially in math or science classes. Sophomore year, the number of physics majors was half what it had been at the start of the Freshman year. Junior year, the number was half what it had been the sophomore year. I took a lot of math course as well as physics. Through the mid-term, I did well in each math course, but in the late semester I turned all my concentration to physics and did well in it, at considerable expense to my math courses. But, I figured that I learned enough in each math course to have an idea of what I could do with various math techniques and I could always read up again on it as I needed it as a tool. That approach has always worked fairly well for me. Other courses tended to get my attention or not depending on whether anything useful was being taught. About half the time the teacher was doing something worthwhile and about half the time it was a waste of time. But, I loved solving physics problems. While at Brown, I also became involved in many a bull session, of which there were many due to the Vietnam War. Commonly, I was one side of the debate and several socialists were the other side. I met Larry Bellows from Dallas who was an Applied Math major and an Objectivist. He met Roger Donway and introduced me to him. When we were Juniors, David Kelley was a freshman and Roger brought him around to meet Larry and I. Earlier, Roger had introduced us to his older brother Walter Donway who was two years ahead of us at Brown. Larry, Roger, and David were my best friends at Brown, though there were a couple of physics majors who were also friends. Well, that was long-winded! But it was good to force myself to remember the names of many of my teachers. I was fortunate that at least some of them had not been brought down from the professional level to the blue collar level by socialist labor unions at that time. Also, living near Navy bases also meant one was in a somewhat more cosmopolitan environment that that of the average town. Even Tulsa, now relatively parochial, was less so then. It had been an oil capital and it still retained that world-traveler influence back then.
  10. Angie's photos are fascinating and beautiful. Her love of natural lighting results in her catching some incredible moments, which pass too quickly for most people to even notice them, let alone appreciate them. Her gift is holding an instant forever, so we can all revel in the beauty of that instant for as long as we like. Angie is a time-stretcher with a perfect eye for the selection of the time worthy of eternal appreciation. I like the idea of this exercise Phil. I have to leave the lab now for a few winks and must return soon to finish a report on the surface chemistry of combustion-formed carbon particles as a function of post-combustion temperature processing, which is covered by one of my many loves in life, namely science and its applications. But, I will post something here later. It is interesting how many here with active minds were also active in their childhood adventures. I have a few myself, though there was never a time I can remember when I did not know better than to be a pyromaniac. It's a good thing you grew out of that Phil! You probably would have become good at it with disastrous results!
  11. I had the pleasure of meeting Chris at events of The Objectivist Center and The Atlas Society, as well as at a few events in the Washington, D.C. area, such as at the Cato Institute. I have noticed him in a few audiences for authors on CSPAN TV also. I enjoyed our conversations and his presence at OL. In every instance, he always seemed to be a gentleman with a deep interest in developing his understanding. He was a man who valued his own mind.
  12. Charles, But wasn't that what many of her followers did? Maybe you were unaffected by it, but from what I have read, many elevated her to guru status, for example started smoking because she advocated it, or hid their homosexuality because she thought of it as "disgusting". Your observation has some substance to it, especially among those best known because they tended to gather around her and seek her approval. But, we have to remember that most people who enjoyed her books and found value in her philosophy went about their lives and did not try to remake themselves in the image of one of her book heroes. This is not to say that their lives were uninfluenced, only that they had a sufficient appreciation for who they were that they did not necessarily try to reinvent themselves. I am sure many did find ways to improve themselves, however, due to things they thought about because Rand induced them to think about their lives somewhat differently. By the way, I have never smoked, because I always found the smell of cigarettes repugnant. As for homosexuality, there is no reason to hold it immoral or unnatural that I am aware of. Imo it is both. Isn't prescribing a "one set for all" of so-called "objective values" for "life proper to man" the very opposite of individualism? Other ideologies, be it catholicism or marxism - they too present a catalog of alleged objective values and claim to know exactly how "life proper to man" has to look like ... Rand simply tries to work out the core values she thinks man needs by virtue of the nature of life on earth for a being with the nature of man. The Catholic or the Marxist tries to do something similar, but the nature of man and the nature of earth differ dramatically. Rand examines the nature of man, while the Catholic looks to ancient texts and dogma about a god, while the Marxist imagines that history marches toward progress and man is consumed by envy and jealousy. The Marxist in particular eradicates individuality because no central planning authority can deal with the complexity of the individual. Catholicism forces man to have a relationship with a fictional god, who will simply decree to man what his values will be. Rand, on the other hand, believes man is capable of choosing his own values and of living his life competently in accordance with his self-chosen values. Yes, she has her ideas on what core values a man needs by virtue of the effort needed to survive on Earth and given the nature of man, especially his need to use his mind well to identify reality and to provide him the power to control it to give him security and joy in his life. But, she hews to the prescription that society will enforce few values. She wants a society which allows man a maximal range of choices, such as available in the free market of ideas, goods, and services provided by the Capitalist society. This society allows one to choose to be Catholic and it even, within a context, allows one to be a Marxist. Her society would surely allow 50 people to gather in New Harmony, Indiana and buy large plots of land and live in a commune. She just would not allow those same people to go out on the roads and kidnap people to put them into slavery on the commune. To be sure, she did not think highly of Catholicism, but she had no desire to burn any Catholics at the stake. She did not like Marxism, but she would not have sent those hypothetical New Harmony Marxists to the Gulag. As for Objectivism being anti-individualist, it seems to me that there are plenty of individualists at OL and there are plenty at The Atlas Society. Personally, while I admire and hold what I think are the core values of Objectivism, I have never felt any lack of elbow room with regard to choosing my own values. There are many, many to choose which are not inconsistent with Objectivism, but are right for me based on my independent thinking, my life experiences, and my unique DNA and biochemistry. I am unique, as I am pretty sure are you. There is no problem being unique and exceedingly complex within the scope of Objectivist principles as I understand them. For me one time was more than enough. I found plowing through it mostly tedious, with Galt's speech sticking out like a verbose 'atheroma'. In terms of the plot - although I was curious to find out where all these people vanished, when it turned out they had chosen the 'brave new world' of Galt's gulch, I lost every interest in it. For that 'Pleasantville-like' place populated by Galt clones was just too surrealistic to be true. Rearden, D'Anconia and Galt are odd birds too. Rearden obviously has problems sexually relating to women, either putting them on a pedestal or wanting to drag them down. Rand basically rehashed the old cliché here, where women are seen either as to be worshipped or dragged down, as "madonna or whore". 'Peeping John' Galt is very weird in clandestinely stalking Dagny for twelve years, and his following her every move made me think of a voyeur. Needless to say, Galt has no sexual relationship with any other woman during all these years, and (no surprise either) D'Anconia lives like a monk as well during all his 'playboy' years. So, despite their obsession with the heroine, in a way, all three are strangely devoid of sexuality. I found the people of Galt's Gulch to be quite interesting and I enjoyed every moment of being in their presence. They were such a relief from the helplessness and jadedness and the dullness of so many "real" people. I do not see them as clones and it did not offend me that they were capable and thinking people who greatly enjoyed one another's company. I want friends of like them myself and such people are so rare that in one's day to day life, I almost never get that kind of one-on-one personal interaction with such friends. This is a part of the book I have read many times. I should give myself the pleasure of reading it again soon. I cannot put myself into your mind, x-ray, and see them as you see them. I once again note that the only mind I really know is the mind I can know by introspection. Other minds are always a mystery, and some such as yours are more a mystery than most. Yes, there is no question that Rearden has problems relating to women. Guess what? Many men do. But, I admit there were times when I wanted to slug Rearden myself for being so slow in figuring out that Lillian was sad and evil and Dagny was a marvelously earthy goddess. You do not believe in God and neither do I, but when I find the best in the people I know, I do feel what I would want to feel in the presence of God, if he were as he ought to be. As for Rand seeing women as either to be worshiped or dragged down, that may be a recurring dramatic theme. Rand probably does view issues of love in more dramatic terms than I do. You seem to think this is a core Objectivist way of viewing love. I simply view it as Rand's way of viewing love. It is not uninteresting to me, but it is not so subtle as love really is. Rand was a dramatic novelist and drama was always a part of her life, by experience and by choice. Others may choose otherwise and still be Objectivists, in my opinion. Of course, this makes it clear that I do not see Objectivism as a closed philosophy. It is my job to fill the philosophy out to make it suitable for my own life. I expect other thinking people to do the same. There is no simple relationship between sexuality and a lengthy period of abstinence that I know about. Galt's not presenting himself to Dagny early is explained by the plot. Real life would most likely be different and that difference is what you are making your judgment on. When Galt makes love to Dagny, it does not seem to me that he was asexual. Frankly, when he carried the injured Dagny to his home after her plane crash, and many other times while she is in his home, the sexuality is very hot. Again, I can only see this using my mind. But isn't judging a novel in its own terms actually circular reasoning? This is what e. g. Jehova's Witnesses do when asked how they know what the Bible says is true. They then quote a Bible scripture as alleged proof of truth. Circle closed. They can't move out of their world. With some fervent Randites, one can observe the same phenomeneon. They quote from Galt's speech like theists quote from Jesus' Sermon on the Mountain. A wedding couple actually decided to use Atlas Shrugged instead of the Bible at their wedding ceremony. You do need to evaluate what Rand's purpose is and consider whether the form her novel takes is appropriate to that purpose. That evaluation should determine the value of her purpose in real life, but it is not necessary that the novel try to recreate all of real life. Dramatizations and black and white choices may be appropriate, or they may not, given the purposes being addressed. Or the themes, if you prefer. Her purpose is to help the reader understand some critical real life issues, but these are very abstract issues. In a way you are right about the Bible. It has a purpose and its value as a book is tied to how well it achieves its purpose. Many think it a fantastic book, so it does serve its purpose pretty well. But, when I evaluate the purpose and how that relates to the issue of man's ethical choices, I see many problems. Using Atlas Shrugged rather than a Bible for a marriage sounds fine to me. A marriage should be about sharing values and forming a partnership to pursue those shared values. A marriage is a spiritual bond. If you find that spiritual bond in Atlas Shrugged, use it. If you find it in the Bible, use it. It is not the central theme but Rand's theory of sex certainly plays a major role. The superman-like hero choosing as mate a heroine with equal "rational values", whatever Rand's idea of 'rational' was ... John Galt, AS, p. 1022: "Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but ratioal goals, seeks nothing but but rational values, and finds joy in nothing but rational actions." This statement implies that Rand considered considered sex as a 'rational' action. Yes, her ideas of love and happiness do play important roles. I found her ideas interesting and agreed with her in some respects, but I also depart from her in significant respects. Where I depart, it is not so much that I think there was something wrong with her understanding or desires, as that I believe my own understanding is more appropriate for who I am and want to be. Each human being is too complex to copy the lifestyle of anyone else and to then expect to achieve happiness from it. We have to tailor our values, goals, and dreams to our unique selves. Sexuality is especially complex for each unique individual. I did not expect to find the sexuality that was right for me in Rand's works. Frankly, I am still constantly working on figuring out and developing my own sexuality. If it is complex enough that that is the case after all these decades, then there is no way I am simply going to adopt the sexuality of someone else! In the John Galt quote above, he was talking about happiness, not sex. Huge difference. Even then, we need to note that happiness is likely to a more likely outcome to the rational man is what this is really saying. The rational man, may have an irrational moment, and if he is lucky, his life will not be ruined. But, if he makes a habit of being irrational, he will not achieve happiness. It remains possible that he will act extremely rationally and yet have an unhappy life. Suppose he his loving parents are killed by Visigoths when he is 6. He finds the woman of his dreams when he is 19, but she is killed by the Golden Horde when he is 20. Then the Turks move in and make him a galley slave for the rest of his life. Rational action and choices are the best route to happiness, but no guarantee. Now, Rand did think that one should only have sex with someone you loved. Love, she also thought, should be based on a rational evaluation of the character of the one considered for love. The rational man would then rationally choose the woman he would love and then he would rationally choose whether to have sex with her. This is not the same as saying that sex is rational. Clearly it may or may not be rational to have sex with a given person. In AS it says Rearden lost sexual interest in Lilian after one week already. If memory serves, it was the merely the 'challenge of the conquest' which made him want to marry her. What chance did Lilian have in such a union? None. Lillian should have wanted out of the marriage as much as Rearden should have. People should not usually stay in dis-functional marriages. There may be some lifeboat cases which may be exceptions, but usually marriage is too important in our lives to be tolerated when they really do not work. But Rand did claim realism, despite the surrealistic elements in AS. Like another poster said it so well, AS is a non-fiction treatise disguised as novel. Rand is dealing with many fundamental issue of real life for man in the real world. This does not mean that she re-creates the real world as such. The issues are abstract and complex and it takes a major effort to lay them out and resolve them. She has little time to describe the pine forest that Rearden and Dagny drive past in Wisconsin when looking for the motor. Throughout the novel, she has a tight focus on critical abstract and complex issues and to do that, she ignores more peripheral issues. There are times when she deals with the details, where those concrete details give the right feeling for the scene. But, her novel is not of the real life genre, with its everyday people and small themes. She presents complex ideas about life dramatically, leaving out many shades of nuance, which she assumes the reader should be competent to think through on his own. I can see your point. What sexually turns people on is their own businsess. But Rand did not did not leave it at that. She had an ideological agenda, presenting her heroes as man should be, which involved their sexuality as well. The violent sexual encounters described in AS outnumber those few encounters where violence is not present. The degree of violence is carried to the point of bleeding, it involves things like arm-twisting, elbows deliberately knocked in the face, etc., and downright sexual assault in The Fountainhead. I doubt that you are right about the number of encounters which are violent outnumbering the number which are not. But, there are more rough encounters than I would prescribe. Some rough sex may be quite appropriate for some people and there were no cases I know of between Rand's heroes and her heroines in which the heroines objected to the sex they had. They loved it. Where did I say that jealousy is a "virtue"? To avoid possible misunderstanding: My position is that there exist no objective values or virtues. One look at the many moral values and virtues thought of as "objective" in former times (virginity for example), is ample illustration of that. But, from the point of empathy, I can understand, merely by putting myself into Frank's and Barbara's shoes, that they would feel hurt, despite agreeing to it. One can agree to an arrangement and still be very unhappy about it. Frankly, who would just sit there and have no feelings of jealousy and pain when one's partner tells them they have a lover? In a hypothetical scenario, would you stay calm and say to your wife "I feel so happy for you?" Like Rearden and D'Anconia, who seemed to have no problem with Dagny discarding them for Galt? If you think there are no objective values, then what do you mean when you say Rearden cheated on Lillian? Or what does it matter if Rand and Nathaniel had a love affair? If Frank and Barbara were hurt, this is not necessarily sufficient to say that Rand and Nathaniel should not have been lovers. Frank and Barbara were and are good people and one should not want them to be hurt, but life does not always save us from hurt. I am neither an advocate of nor a critic of the fact that Rand and Nathaniel were lovers. I am a critic of some aspects of how they handled that love affair, but in the end, such things are too complex for me to analyze them too far from afar. Overall, I think Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Branden, Frank O'Connor, and Barbara Branden are all good people and I hope they have all had much happiness in their lives. As for my wife, I will only say that I love her and I want her to be happy. If she really did choose to leave me for a man she thought was better for her, it would hurt because I would miss her badly, but, I would handle it, probably much as Francisco and Hank did, especially if I agreed with my wife that the man she left me for was a better man for her. This is easily said when the situation does not involve one's own person. It sure was a problem for Barbara and Frank, who suffered a lot. Barbara B. spoke of an "ugly tangle of deceit and emotional savagery and pain" following the disastrous "arragement". Since they wanted to hide the affair to the public, they persuaded Frank to agree to the sexual encounters taking place in his own bedroom. Don't you think of this as a very humiliating situation for Frank? Frank never told me. I do not choose to speculate. Barbara has spoken ably for herself. While at the beginning of the affair, Rand announced that she would do just that, when the time came she seemed to have forgotten about it. That Rand was blind enough to present her wanting a sexual affair with NB as a "rational" decision reflects the problematic of the whole Objectivist philosophy: purely emotional decisions were called 'rational', and those disagreeing were accused of having 'irrational' arguments. The actions people take are not necessarily consistent with the philosophy of principles they have laid out. Ayn Rand's life was not the perfect example of how an Objectivist should live their life. Nonetheless, all in all, she was a remarkable woman who gave millions of people the benefit of her heroes and a very rational philosophy by which to guide their lives. You are a kind of inverse cultist. You want to make a cult of Ayn Rand and then claim that that cult is not suitable to an independent thinker or to you in particular. Well, no, an independent thinker examines the principles of Objectivism and chooses those he believes are rational and uses those to guide his life. He does not try to copy Ayn Rand in her daily living. It sure would be sad if we were all novelists! We need some doctors, bankers, farmers, steel makers, and dress makers too. Imo ITOE is a very chaotic and confusing work. For example, Rand believed that love can be 'measured', thinking that terms like 'affection', 'tenderness' etc. had comparable objective quality as degrees have on a measuring scale. Chaos? I do not remember that. I love four sisters and three daughters. My feelings of tenderness, for instance, towards each do vary with their character. I do not make a practice of trying to distinguish my overall love for each sister or for each daughter, but I do know that aspects of that love vary from one to another. Tenderness or affection are emotions based substantially on evaluations and shared experiences in a very complex way and it is not like laying a protractor down and measuring 25 degrees in one case and 45 degrees in the other. This, however, does not mean that there is no scale of measurement attached to each. The error bars on these emotions may be large, due to the fact that they are so complex an evaluation and matrix of shared experiences. The error bars on each may be in more dimensions than we can even visualize. Still, there is a scale attached to each and we can often make at least ordinal measurements of these emotional evaluations. For some, the input into those emotional evaluations is more rational and for others it may have little rational input. It is probably easier for someone with more rational evaluation processes to be able to have a decent sense of the scale of the emotional response to the person loved than for the largely irrational person.
  13. Michael, I would be very happy if you threw everything into the garbage after the cock ring discussion. As I write this, I see that George is present, so chances are he will have time to read my last response to him before it goes to the garbage. It is important to protect Angie and the very fact that this nastiness occurred here is hardly beneficial to Objectivism or the promotion of a rational forum for discussions. Thank you!
  14. You are right about men not infrequently taking offense that a woman is sexually confident. It is oftentimes even more likely that other women will take offense at the woman who is sexually confident. Generally, it is easier to be a man who is sexually confident. This contributes to my admiration of women who are sexually confident. It also helps that they are often more fun. I also admire people who are confidently individualistic. People are very complex and highly individualistic, but many want to do everything they can to deny their individuality by aligning it to the median of almost every trait distribution or to some "commonly accepted ideal." Our sexuality is one of our more complex and highly individualistic traits. I see our individuality as an extremely critical factor in free market, free association societies that enriches our lives immensely. In particular, our wealth of sexual individuality is a strongly positive force, contrary to the convictions of the many who wish to suppress it. That very will to suppress it is good reason to make the effort, however much some traditionally minded multitudes may try to ridicule us for it, to include sexual individuality as a key right of the individual. Each person's sexuality will be of different value to them in their lives for many legitimate reasons, not just because of sexual repression. That value will depend upon who you have to love, unknown differences in our brains and biochemistry, how a person's nervous system is wired and how its signals are interpreted by the brain, our sense of smell and taste, our response to visual and aural stimuli, our explicit values, our sense of life, how much time we can make available for it, and the quality of the places we have to do it in. Sex will result in differing levels of pleasure for each of us based on many individual characteristics. Which acts of sex provide each of us with the most pleasure will also be highly individualistic. Those who corral sex with tightly acceptable bounds and wide taboo zones are commonly guilty of suppressing perfectly rational responses to human individuality. One of my many fortunes is my ability to greatly enjoy sex. It provides me with a sense of heaven on earth. I can understand that some people may not be able to experience this, but that should not cause them to believe that they should deny heaven to those of us who can experience it here on earth in our many varied ways. But, jealousy and envy are among the most base of human emotions. Now, in my advancing years, it is about time for me to get serious in experimenting with cock rings. The couple I tried in the past were too small and hurt too much. The hair scrunchy suggestion or maybe just a larger O-ring from my vacuum supplies might be just the thing!