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  1. Yesterday
  2. Socially competitive subtleties

    The concept of an "alpha" individual has a somewhat limited value in understanding human interactions (because one person doesn't always have a set alpha or beta role, they can play one or the other in different situations). And even where it does have value, alpha status isn't really obtained through conflict, it's obtained by being the best at cooperation. (this is true for other species, as well, btw....the "aggressive alpha" behavior is more often than not over-represented, a mistake usually stemming from people looking at the behavior of captive animals rather than animals in nature). In the scenario you describe, the "alpha" would be the person who makes good things happens for the others (i.e. makes sure everyone is comfortable and having a good time, acts as the "common denominator" everyone is friends with, everyone turns to with problems, the person who makes arrangements for parties or getaways, etc.) He/she is also the one who usually brings new people into the group, or welcomes newcomers brought in by others. When you play this role consistently (with or without hot girls around), everyone will turn to you for it, and you will have no problem being the acting "alpha" among your group of friends, at all times.
  3. Socially competitive subtleties

    Right, but he has insecurities that keep him from "letting the losers play dumb games." Nothing wrong with working on insecurities.
  4. George Will discusses a the recent 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court overturning a portion of immigration law, and argues that the decision can have wider ramifications for the federal bureaucracy: Image via Pixabay.Writing for the majority in a 5-4 decision -- and joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor (with Gorsuch concurring in the judgment and much of the opinion) -- Elena Kagan wrote: The law's category, a "crime of violence," is so indeterminate ("fuzzy," she said) that deporting [James] Dimaya under it would violate the Constitution's "due process of law" guarantee. Vague laws beget two evils that are related: They do not give citizens reasonably clear notice of what behavior is proscribed or prescribed. And they give -- actually, require of -- judges and law enforcement officials excessive discretion in improvising a fuzzy law's meaning.Will argues further that vague laws also allow Congress to slough off responsibility for making law, ceding too much power to the federal bureaucracy. This decision can help reverse a very bad trend in this regard: The principle Gorsuch enunciates here regarding one provision of immigration law is a scythe sharp enough to slice through many practices of the administrative state, which translates often vague congressional sentiments into binding rules, a practice indistinguishable from legislating. Gorsuch's principle is also pertinent to something pernicious concerning which he has hitherto expressed wholesome skepticism: "Chevron deference." This is the policy (named for the 1984 case in which the Supreme Court propounded it) whereby courts are required to defer to administrative agencies' interpretations of "ambiguous" laws when the interpretations are "reasonable." Gorsuch has criticized this emancipation of the administrative state from judicial supervision as "a judge-made doctrine for the abdication of judicial duty."Will notes that Gorsuch bucks a conservative trend of "broad judicial deference to decisions because they emanate from majoritarian institutions and processes," which strikes me as a welcome departure from the example of another conservative justice, the one who twice "saved" ObamaCare, the second time by just such an abdication. (Scroll down to the bullet for George Will.) -- CAV Link to Original
  5. Socially competitive subtleties

    This is stupid. Just go up to the prettiest girl and buy her a drink. Then let the losers play whatever dumb games they like.
  6. Last week
  7. Socially competitive subtleties

    Objectivism would say love is a response to virtue. It may not be a virtue to be bossy, but it is a virtue to be comfortable around other men, comfortable enough to be unaffected by their status play. So I say this is a legitimate question. From a guy who's been through this, here are a few tips: Give yourself a few verbal salvos to use when in these situations and you're uncomfortable. Maybe something like, "here's [this guy] acting all cool for the ladies" Get in it and play the status game. It's fun if nothing else. You'll probably get burned and lose a few times but it's no big deal and you're more likely to do better next time; Get into fighting like jiu jitsu to get comfortable with conflict; How are you with your father? If you're uncomfortable with him you're going to be more likely to be uncomfortable with other (stronger, more powerful, older, richer) men. Improve your relationship with him and other relationships will improve. Hope this helps.
  8. Contextually shocking editorial

    I can't figure out how Trump still riles these people up. The irony is long and deep.
  9. "Don't you know that hiding under a rock is the best way to avoid being hit by a meteorite?" (Image via Pixabay)Over at Let Grow, where "free range parent" Lenore Skenazy has set up shop, is some advice for parents who wish to counteract today's widespread pressure to adopt a hypervigilant parenting style. Professor Barbara Sarnecka of the University of California-Irvine recommends three broad strategies: comparing commonly-exaggerated risks to other de minimis risks, shifting the focus of the discussion from avoiding risk to fostering independence, and reminding adults of relevant positive experiences from their own childhoods. I think each strategy can be a valuable part of helping others re-calibrate how they assess risks, reconsider the propriety of doing so for others, or both. Sarnecka's discussion of the first tactic was on the money, and will probably also make anyone weary of a constant stream of ninnyish advice smile a little: When you drove here today and you parked your car, did you choose your parking space based on the possibility that there could be snipers on the roofs of the buildings around you? Did you say, "Well if I park here, snipers on that building could get me ... but if I park here, the awning will shield me from snipers over there ..." Probably not, right? Now, could you really be 100% sure that there weren't snipers on the buildings? No, because it's not impossible. But it's SO unlikely that you just don't worry about it. You would be nuts to plan your parking around it. [bold in original]Many parents today are scolded or even faced with legal trouble for doing such once-commonplace things as leaving a child in a car for a short time, and this problem is worsening. It will take many of us standing up for ourselves when the opportunity arises for this to begin to change. -- CAV Link to Original
  10. Contextually shocking editorial

    It's funny how left-liberals are suddenly becoming reborn laissez faire free traders when it comes to international trade, because of Trump of course, as Obama and Clinton did the same type of thing.
  11. Seattle is generally 6 miles to the left of Stalin, and the Seattle Times is the fundamental propaganda tool of anticapitalism disserving the Seattle area. It is utterly surprising, then, that they published this editorial entitled "Crony capitalism and protectionism are the despot’s way" linking crony capitalism and unfree markets to despotism. It was just so surprising, that I just had to share.
  12. Four Things 1. A software consultant describes a government software "project from hell". A little after noting that the project consisted of six million lines of code, he provides a couple of anecdotes, one being: At some point end-users reported that "Load data from CD-ROM" did not work at all. This one took several weeks to sort out, but in the end the bug report was flagged as 'already solved', because data were indeed being loaded. The only point was that it took 7 straight days for 700 MBytes to get in. Patience is a virtue.The whole bureaucratic setup screams featherbedding, but for the fact that average staff turnover time was "3 months, the legal time to leave your job in France." It warms the heart to know that pride -- or at least the desire for sanity -- can beat the temptation of job security for so many. 2. Do you have a common surname? If so, you can consult this map to see in how many states it ranks in the top three. 3. A couple of years ago, I got wind of a couple of once-common dietary items that have now been all but forgotten. We can now add yaupon tea, a drink, to the list that includes skirret and ground nuts. Ilex vomitoria: It's not just for gardening anymore. (Image via Wikipedia Cassina, or black drink, the caffeinated beverage of choice for indigenous North Americans, was brewed from a species of holly native to coastal areas from the Tidewater region of Virginia to the Gulf Coast of Texas. It was a valuable pre-Columbian commodity and widely traded. Recent analyses of residue left in shell cups from Cahokia, the monumental pre-Columbian city just outside modern-day St. Louis and far outside of cassina's native range, indicate that it was being drunk there. The Spanish, French, and English all documented American Indians drinking cassina throughout the American South, and some early colonists drank it on a daily basis. They even exported it to Europe.One of the factors causing this drink to disappear was the small ... marketing ... problem caused by the Latin name assigned to the plant: Ilex vomitoria. Contrary to the name, the plant doesn't induce vomiting, but the association is certainly there. Interest in yaupon tea is only now making a tentative comeback. 4. Also at Gastro Obscura is an amusing piece on the commonality of family recipes that actually come from such sources as labels from common items: When Meyer arrived, the sous chefs had a big bowl of potato salad that brought back memories of his grandmother. He tried it, smiled, and told the chefs, "That's exactly right." They grinned back at him mischievously. Eventually, Meyer broke and asked, "What's so funny?" A chef pulled out a jar of Hellman's mayonnaise and placed it on the table. Meyer looked at it, then realized that the secret recipe his grandmother had hoarded for years was on the jar. It was the official Hellman's recipe for potato salad.But don't laugh too hard: Sometimes manufacturers change their products or recipes. The few people who notice this and make adjustments end up being the only ones who can make these things the way others have grown accustomed to. -- CAV Link to Original
  13. Welcome to OO! -though i haven't read very much about it yet, there was a non-religious group based out of NYC that was having some success with this kind of approach: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aesthetic_Realism#Aesthetic_Realism_and_homosexuality
  14. An article at Reuters depicts in grisly detail the mass exodus of quality personnel from PDVSA, Venezuela's state-run oil company. For those workers whose pay remains appreciably above the cost of their commute, here is what awaits them: Image of Alcatraz from Pixabay.The company's ongoing decay is evident ... in the once polished office tower: Broken elevators, poor cafeteria food, empty desks in once-crowded divisions. Maduro has overseen the arrest of dozens of high-level PDVSA executives since late last year, sometimes at the Caracas headquarters as shocked employees looked on. Workers now feel watched by supervisors and are loathe to make any business decision out of fear they will later be accused of corruption, the sources said. PDVSA workers, often visibly thinner, sometimes surreptitiously hand out resumes to executives from private companies, according to a source at a foreign firm. [bold added]The article makes too much of the fact that this outfit is being run by a military officer, saying that it is under "military rule." But taking orders from superiors is the essence of any "planned" economy. The fact that it feels more like a "barracks" just means that the velvet glove has slipped a little from the iron fist. In fact, even that description is too kind. Venezuela is a prison: Some PDVSA offices now have lines outside with dozens of workers waiting to quit. In at least one administrative office in Zulia state, human resources staff quit processing out the quitters, hanging a sign, "we do not accept resignations," an oil worker there told Reuters. [bold added]Bernie Sanders once said that "the American dream is more apt to be realized in ... places such as ... Venezuela." The above should give his supporters pause, but if it doesn't, there might be job openings for some of them. -- CAV Link to Original
  15. This is from the first night of the '76 lecture series: There are various areas of human endeavor where under certain circumstances it’s practical to accept the advice of an expert, and declare: "he knows best—this is not my field". But you cannot do it in philosophy. And this is so even if you found a certified, completely rational expert. It would be useless, for instance, to turn even to such an expert and say to him, I need a philosophy, you’re an expert, so I’m asking you, should I for instance be selfish? Just tell me, yes or no, so I can act. I haven’t time for discussion and proofs, just give me answer. Now that expert could just say, well that’s easy, just be selfish, and then leave the room, but would that do you any good? After all he told you the truth, but what else would you need? Now, just in pattern, just to give you a taste of what would be involved, just one example. You’d need to know what selfishness is. That would be very helpful. And how do you apply such a wide abstraction in particular in real life situations? And to be selfish, does that mean do whatever you feel? If so, what do you do if your feelings are irrational and clash with other people, and how do you know what’s rational anyway? And who can say how another man should live? Maybe what’s true for the expert, isn’t true for you. Or is truth objective, or what is truth? What is objectivity? And what’s the use? How do you know if you can achieve your goals in this kind of a world, so is there any point to being selfish, or what kind of world is it anyway? And if everyone was selfish, wouldn’t that mean cut-throat competition, and dog-eat-dog, and child labor? And how do you know the answer to all these questions, by what method of knowledge, etc. Now that’s just a taste, a sample of the pattern. The point is you need to know it all—the whole system, not on faith. Faith doesn’t work. It’s useless, even if what you have faith in happens to be true. You need to know it all firsthand with objective proof of each point on strictly practical grounds, to make use of it, to function, to live. In answer to the question: Does one have to create one's own philosophy?, the answer is no. Without validation, however, it is useless.
  16. Thanks for the responses.
  17. Not quite. I don't have a reference, but what various Objectivists have said is that you should do your own philosophical thinking (as you should do all thinking) and live by whatever you conclude. You should do this even if the result of your thinking is not Objectivism. If you err, the fact that you erred while reasoning leaves open the possibility of discovering your mistake. If you didn't reason, you have no way to know whether or how your philosophy is wrong.
  18. What do you mean by "create" a philosophy? If the correct philosophy already exists, and one identifies that it is correct, it would be decidedly irrational to set oneself to the task of "creating" a new one. I think the answer you seek, to the question you almost asked, is tied to the concept of "independence" and in particular the independence of judgment and thought (as opposed to second-handedness). As worded, the claim is incorrect and any so-called objectivist making such a claim is making an error.
  19. This is a pretty simple question - did Rand actually say that you should create your own philosophy? If so, where? I've seen Objectivists make the claim, but Google does not turn up a source.
  20. Reblogged:Lucas on Setting New Expectations

    How tardy was the employee? Was there an excuse, and how plausible was it?
  21. This woman is handing out terrible advice. Short of a situation where safety is at stake, insisting on employees being on time every single day, without exception, causes unnecessary conflict (and stress and resentment, which leads to poor job performance). If they evaluated and rewarded their employees based on their overall level of commitment to the job, instead of setting up inflexible rules for them to follow, they would have a more productive business and happier clients.
  22. Years ago, wrapping up a post on Poe's Law, I stated: Past a certain point, Poe's Law doesn't just describe a resemblance between the words of a "fundamentalist" and a jokester, but an identity: Depending on how well a given pronouncement is crafted to "fit in with" the overall mis-integration of a system that incorporates the arbitrary, the only difference between a frank statement and a joke will be in who is making it.Thoughts like this kept going through my mind when I read a Yahoo News report by one Alexandre Grosbois about the upcoming changing-of-the-guard in Cuba. I'd say that the following quote quite well summarizes the facts on the ground over there: "They are changing the government, but it's still the same kind, it's always going to be influenced by the Castros. Even if it's another man, it's always going to be a Castro government," said Ariel Ortiz, an unemployed 24-year-old in Havana.That said, much of the rest of the piece smacks of disgraceful boot licking, coming as it does from someone who is free to write a report any way he pleases. Here's a taste: The outgoing president will remain at the head of the Communist Party until its next congress in 2021 -- when he turns 90 -- time enough to ensure a controlled transition and to watch over his protege when, inevitably, old-guard communists challenge his reforms. Cuban political scientist Esteban Morales said the two would likely work in tandem, with Castro continuing to act as the ideological figurehead, while [Miguel] Diaz-Canel concentrates on the "very complex and difficult" task of running the government. The heir to the Castros will be faced with modernizing the economy at a time when Cuba's key regional ally Venezuela, its source of cheap oil, is stumbling through an acute economic crisis, and amid a resurgence of the US embargo under President Donald Trump.As usual, socialism, the cause of the misery in Cuba and Venezuela, remains unmentioned. Venezuela's "economic crisis" might as well be the result of Donald Trump sticking pins into a voodoo doll of Nicolas Maduro; and in any event, he's being blamed for not saving the skins of that openly hostile regime. That passage is bad enough, but this is the one that reminded me of Poe's Law: However, despite striving for a low-key transition, there's no getting away from the fact that this represents a monumental change in Cuba. It will be the first time in almost six decades that the Cuban president will not be named Castro, will not be part of the "historic" generation of 1959, will not wear a military uniform and will not be the head of the Communist Party. If elected, Diaz-Canel is expected to be able to make up for his lack of revolutionary pedigree with the support of Castro watching benevolently from his perch atop the all-powerful Communist Party.Grosbois forgot to mention that it will also be the first time in six decades that the Cuban president will not have facial hair: Maybe that will make Ariel Ortiz more optimistic about his future employment prospects in the centrally "planned" economy. Image via Wikipedia. Were Grosbois a Cuban reporter, the above passage would rightly read as biting sarcasm, because we would know that he'd need cojones to even think about slipping it past censors, and then again about someone sharper-witted bringing it to Castro's benevolent attention. But Grosbois is in the employ of a Western news agency, so it does not. And were his admiration of Castro not so obvious, and his evasion or ignorance of the difference between slavery and freedom not shared by so many other journalists and intellectuals in the West, it would be a lot easier to laugh about his hunting around for reasons to call this non-event "monumental". -- CAV Link to Original
  23. Earlier
  24. Coercive School Photos

    If there's one thing I'm certain about in all this, it's that it should not involve any lawyers. It's not a legal issue, it's an issue that should be dealt with by people talking to each other.
  25. Coercive School Photos

    I vaguely remember something similar when I was a kid in school, and that was over 50 years ago.
  26. A manager asks "Evil HR Lady" Suzanne Lucas how to remedy a tardiness problem in his office. Her reply, which she essentializes as, "Make them believe you," is applicable in many situations, and is worth thinking about for that reason: Image via Pixabay. [P]resent the employee with two printed copies of the new policy, and ask them to sign both. Keep one for your files, and send the other one home with them. They will not like this. Not one bit. Someone will likely test you out, and here's the critical part: You must follow through. You need to give them the unpaid suspension day, and you might need to fire an employee who pushes a third day, so start searching for new employees before you embark on this process. If you do not do this, your problem will continue because your employees won't believe you. [bold added]Granted, firing isn't always an option, but the basic advice is very good and memorably put. For example, as a parent, you should make sure your kids will believe it when you offer a potential reward or punishment. Conversely, don't make an offer or a threat you can't back up. I have found that, unlike other parents I know, I can take my kids to a store and leave with just what I came to get simply by setting expectations beforehand. (For example: We're here to get something Mom needs for her trip, and that's it.) Lest you think I'm sore from slapping myself on the back, be aware that the real value of the piece for me was that Lucas shows how to create belief in a situation where one doesn't have it for whatever reason. In my case, I've not made keeping the house tidy a priority and I plan to change it now that my son is old enough to understand picking up a mess. I'll clearly need my own version of laying down the law there. Yes, it's helpful to know that my habit of setting expectations and sticking to them is good, once established. But Lucas also helped me see that my intuition is good: I was going to keep mostly quiet about the issue until I knew in more detail what I want and what incentives and punishments I would use. -- CAV Link to Original
  27. Coercive School Photos

    If photographers asked whether parents want photos, for price $ XYZ, they would get less revenue. That's the basic assumption under which they operate. Photographers used to do this at certain tourist destinations too -- though, for the past many years they have not needed to print them out. So, they send them home, assuming that parents will go mushy seeing their kid's photo, and will buy. Very often, the school -- usually the P.T.A. has a motivation too. Since many photographers would like to get this business, the P.T.A. will sometimes do a deal with one of them, and get something from the photographer in exchange. I think a lot of parents buy them because it's a tradition that they had when they were kids. We never bought these for our kid -- maybe the first time, and not after that (memory fades). I think our school asked parents to sign releases, and (presumably, because I always gave permission) kids photos would not appear -even in the year-book as part of a group -- if permission was not granted.
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