What are you reading?


What are you currently reading?  

41 members have voted

  1. 1.

    • Rand's Fiction (Atlas, Fountainhead, etc.)
      2
    • Rand's Nonfiction (Capitalism, ITOE, etc.)
      2
    • Something about Rand or Objectivism
      4
    • Nathaniel Branden
      1
    • Unrelated Fiction
      11
    • Unrelated Nonfiction
      21
    • Not reading anything
      0


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An idea doesn't apply itself-- it needs people to apply it.

Any determinists in the house?

Agency is the difference between an idea held in the mind and the impulse to initiate that idea into action. Agency is the causal, but not necessitated, initiation of a course of action. For the agent, the principle of motion is within. Agency is proactive causation in a causally reactive world. While choices are determined by principles, they are not necessitated by antecedent events. What if the agent creates a new principle for making a choice by generating new integrations of the evidence? Are his actions still deterministic? Are his actions still necessitated by antecedent events? When a course of action is selected from several choices, where does the energy come from that IS the action of that choice?

Paul

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~ I now have this godawful 'list' of books to get and/or get-off-my-shelf, yet when I get to B&N or Walden's, there I go, picking up something that keeps me from the 'list.'

~ Presently working through SYNC ("How order emerges from chaos") by Steven Strogatz, and then will tackle ENTANGLEMENT by Amir D. Aczel. The latter did FERMAT'S LAST THEOREM (read about it, but, not 'it'.) ENTANGLEMENT centers around what's hyped as Einstein's-Spookiest-Theory...'proved.' Hmmm...

~ The former, SYNC, argues that 'synchronization' is an almost inherent ('emergent'?) property of dynamic systems (biological or non-) should such systems persist long enough. Starts off with examples of the famed synchronously-lighting 'fireflies' in S.A. and Af, exemplifies further re the heart, and...not finished yet.

~ Anyone keeping up on Kellerman's Dr. Delaware or Clancy's Jack Ryan? I think I missed a couple.

LLAP

J:D

Edited by John Dailey
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Has anyone else read Frank H. Spearman. His books are sold by ARI Bookstore. There all about railroads in the West at the turn of the last century. He has novels and short stories, his most famous being Whispering Smith. I recommend him highly.

Edited by Chris Grieb
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Impressions of this thread. Please do not take offence to my observations.

Interestingly, not one answered "Reading nothing"

JennaW wrote about communism as a reaction to Nazism. Hummm? I thought the Russian revolution was in 1917, well before Hitler. I guess she is referring to that period before Stalin was recognized as an equal or greater evil. Which just goes to show the Clinton and Bush haters how good our system is.

Then Paul’s piece on determinism and such. Is it just me, or does this kind of talk go right over your head also? Does “What if the agent creates a new principle for making a choice by generating new integrations of the evidence?” make any sense?

Then to the books (First most recent):

1. The Idiot by Dostoevshy

2. Gifts Differing by Isabel Meyers

3. Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey

4. Guns, Germs, Steel by Richard Dawkins

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Then Paul’s piece on determinism and such. Is it just me, or does this kind of talk go right over your head also? Does “What if the agent creates a new principle for making a choice by generating new integrations of the evidence?” make any sense?

Not to me...

Then to the books (First most recent):

1. The Idiot by Dostoevshy

2. Gifts Differing by Isabel Meyers

3. Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey

4. Guns, Germs, Steel by Richard Dawkins

I didn't know that Dawkins had written a book with the same title as that by Jared Diamond...

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It's interesting to see the diversity of reading topics, and as someone noted, everyone is reading something. There is so much good information out there I can never find enough time.

Currently I am reading

1) Kaizer Aluminum's guide to Aluminum casting. I cast my own aluminum parts and have been experiencing problems in pours lately, doing some research to try to figure out what I am doing wrong

2) The Teaching Centers "History of Freedom in the World". I listen to a lot of audio books and lectures, I recommend everyone integrate these more into their daily routines, I probably read 20 or so extra books per year that I otherwise would not. The Teaching Centers lecture series are often really stimulating and really well done. I just finished "Great Battles of the Ancient World" before this, and am eager to get into the "History of the Roman Empire" Next. Often you can get these lecture series at your local library

3) The Gecko's Foot - Interesting book about the aspects of the laws of physics that nature has exploited that we have yet to, mainly things in the scales just below the limits of our manufacturing capabilities but regularly availble to the molecular machinery of biology. The Gecko's foot, for instance, consists of rows of pads with thousands of hairs, and each hair seperates into thousands of smaller hairs, forming a foot pad engineered at the nano level and exploiting the intra molecular van der walls force. Gecko's can stick to perfectly smooth surfaces, can stick to surfaces underwater or in a vacuum, and remain stuck to surfaces after they die. The effect is incredibly strong and a glove made exploiting the same principle would allow an adult male to hang his entire body weight from one finger tip. The book includes many examples like these and the current technological efforts to get products based on them to the market.

4) The Good Man of NanKing - this is an absolutely fascinating book about John Rabe, a Nazi stationed in the Nationalists capital of NanKing in China during the Japanese invasion of mainland China. Rabe negatioted a safety zone with the Japanese Government and nearly single handledly fought off every japanese soldier's incursion into the safety zone, literally pulling soldiers off of chinese civilians while they were raping, beating, or molesting them. There were a few American missionaries and doctors that halped patrol the grounds, Rabe and his fellows are estimated to have saved the lives of about 250,000 chinese through their actions. Rabe organized the effort and essentially became the de facto mayor of NanKing. It has been estimated that over the few weeks of the invasion and occupation of Nanking that Japanese forces slaughtered about 400,000 Chinese Civilians (note - more than both US Atomic bombs combined) they used civilians as target practice, bayonet practice, beheading competitions, you name it. The brutality was overwhelming. Rabe filmed many of the attacks and snuck footage back to germany and petitioned Hitler to end the alliance with Japan. He showed the flims at halls until he was ordered to stop by the SS and threatened. After the war Rabe returned to Germany and was absolved of his Nazi affiliation by the Allies preceeding over Germany, partly for his efforts in Nanking. Even so the stigma of his Nazi membership remained and he couldnt find work and he and his family were on the brink of starvation until survivors of Nanking heard about his plight and sent tons of relief packages and food to him and his family. He was a hero among the survivors on Nanking and many many people named their children after him.

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Impressions of this thread. Please do not take offence to my observations.

Interestingly, not one answered "Reading nothing"

JennaW wrote about communism as a reaction to Nazism. Hummm? I thought the Russian revolution was in 1917, well before Hitler. I guess she is referring to that period before Stalin was recognized as an equal or greater evil. Which just goes to show the Clinton and Bush haters how good our system is.

I imagine if people were not reading anything, they'd just not answer.

As far as Jenna's thread is concerned, I did not at all infer from it that the Bolshevik Revolution was a reaction to Naziism, but rather her reply seemed to deal with why people became communists in America during the "Red Decade."

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I imagine if people were not reading anything, they'd just not answer.

As far as Jenna's thread is concerned, I did not at all infer from it that the Bolshevik Revolution was a reaction to Naziism, but rather her reply seemed to deal with why people became communists in America during the "Red Decade."

I guess you are right about the reading. It just seemed odd.

Same with Jenna. It was just my observation, colored by my interest in the USSR and it's variants, including here in the USA. I often wonder if the first 10 years of this century will be considered the "Red Decade" ;)

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Ivan; What are you referring to you? What I observe is that most leftists seem to reject Marx, Lenin and the former Soviet Union. The seem to talk about saving the commons, air,water, aminal, and the climate. Many agree the government running everything does't work. This is far different from the 30ths.

Edited by Chris Grieb
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Ivan; What are you referring to you? What I observe is that most leftists seem to reject Marx, Lenin and the former Soviet Union. The seem to talk about saving the commons, air,water, aminal, and the climate. Many agree the government running everything does't work. This is far different from the 30ths.

Maybe we are talking to different leftists. :pirate:

But seriously, it does not take a lot of brains to disassociate yourself from the USSR now. Lenin? I don't here anyone talking about Lenin, it's mostly that dirty rat Stalin. Of course they don't want anyone to think they are Marxist. Mention Marx and most of them will ask "Harpo, Groucho, or Zeppo?"

Anyway, I have little proof, and I'll be gone anyway, but mark my words and in 50 years you will know if my intuition is correct. Not one of those people that want to save the commons, air, water, animals, and the climate, queers and abortionists will vote against government interference in your life.

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Ivan; Maybe I'm touchy but we don't need to be using the word "queer". I of course mean as reference to homosexuals. I think there are some words that are offensive and should not be used on Objectivist Living. I don't think Ayn Rand would have used that word.

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I have been gone for a long time from the USA, so I am not very sensitive to some uses of the English language that have evolved. Kat gets lots of laughs from this because an expression that is standard for her is something I do not understand at times. I also translate some Brazilian expressions straight into English and they sound pretty strange to her. (Not as bad as the cow went to the swamp, but close.)

I have noticed a marked increase in politically correct control freaks in USA society who try to enforce rules of language and behavior based on just about anything and my own nature is to resist succumbing to control freaks. So this leads me to ask the following question about the observation Chris made in all innocence (and, of course, I have no intention of insinuating that he is a control freak—he is one of the really good guys around here).

Does the use of the word "queer" for homosexuals by a straight person now have the same harsh derogatory and bigoted connotation as "nigger," "chink," "wop," etc. when used by a wasp to express racial prejudice?

Michael

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Chris and Mike

Yes, my use of the word queer, worked to perfection. It got a comment from both of you that I am happy to reply to. You see, also, that I don't mind ending a sentence with a preposition. I know the rule in standard English, but I think the web rule is that you can type anything you like, just the way you speak.

It's fun getting to know you this way. I'm surprised again about the Brazilian connection. Bon Dias! My first exposure to the language of Brazil was about the time you were born (1957) when my Physics professor told how he had lived in Brazil for several years. He said he lived on hot dogs and Coke until he learned to speak. Then he showed us how his dog would sit up with a kibble on his nose until he counted to ten in Portuguese.

I don't have any AR books nearby, but I think she used words much stronger than queer. In fact I think I'm more accepting of minorities than she was. But that doesn't matter. Quoting AR is never a good way to win and argument. I think that all words are acceptable, except for those like “Fire!” in a theater. This habit I hear of people saying “The N-word” is just silly. I have know many black people over the years and seldom would I use that word to describe them, but now and then I see a nigger and I see no reason to abandon the word.

So, back to my question about state control. How will you vote? May I use the N or Q word? On this board? Standing on Main Street?

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While I am on a David Mamet roll, I am now reading his excellent new book, "The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-Hatred, and the Jews."

Powerful stuff: He takes aim at the self-hating Jew, the Noam Chomsky types who claim they are anti-Israel, but magically not anti-Semitic. His message is that faithful or atheist, lapsed or orthodox, while one might not consider himself Jewish, his enemies certainly WILL, and do not make such trifling differentiations. He makes a great case both for filial loyalty and for the state of Israel's right to exist and defend herself as a nation.

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While I am on a David Mamet roll, I am now reading his excellent new book, "The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-Hatred, and the Jews."

Powerful stuff: He takes aim at the self-hating Jew, the Noam Chomsky types who claim they are anti-Israel, but magically not anti-Semitic. His message is that faithful or atheist, lapsed or orthodox, while one might not consider himself Jewish, his enemies certainly WILL, and do not make such trifling differentiations. He makes a great case both for filial loyalty and for the state of Israel's right to exist and defend herself as a nation.

Interesting! I wonder who is going to make one about the self-hating WASP or WHAM (White Able-bodied Heterosexual Male). You know the guy who thinks we should not say queer, bitch, nigger, A-rab, or Spic, like for example, Ernest Hemingway in Winner take Nothing (1934, page 200) wrote "I wish I could talk spik . . . I don't get any fun out of asking that spik questions."

I watched FoxNews, that bastion of conservative thought, the other day and they went on and on about Barak Hussein Osama I mean Obama. NOT once did they mention he is black. Finally some black fellow came on and said "He has brown skin". Yea, no shit Sherlock!

The silly thing is that if I were a pinko then I would like the guy. He kicked ass in his debate with Alan Keyes, who I like a lot. Poor Alan has not been seen since.

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Actually, I don't care about the words. They are only words. Sticks and stones can break my bones... etc.

You can tell when a person is a bigot and when he is not. It's the bigot I can't stomach.

Still, like they say in Brazil, there is no point to poking a jaguar with a short stick.

I think common sense is the best rule in using these loaded words. We usually know when we are going to antagonize people. So if we do that on purpose, we shouldn't complain when we get our arm bit off.

Michael

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No I don't care for bigots either, and I've met a fair amount of them, but I'm a fan of George Carlin and Lenny Bruce. I'd also say that the Internet is a pretty long stick. I guess it's time for me to shut up or take this to another thread. This has nothing to do with books.

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I stand by my point. I don't believe in pc but I do find some references to people. Miss Rand never used "queer" as a reference to homosexuals.

That isn't so queer however, how often did Miss Rand refer to homosexuals at all? And why should we do what Miss Rand did anyway? Then we would have to limit our repertoire to "bastards", "mystics", "whim-worshippers" and "evil looters". Well, for me I prefer a bit more diversity. And in my opinion it's more offensive to be called "evil" than to be called "queer", and Miss Rand was rather lavish with the first term.

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Michael; I just noticed you complemented me and I don't say Thank you. I hope I can take it as well as dish it out I suspect that are places where I live that I would have to worry more than a sharp stick if I used some of these terms.

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