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  1. Yesterday
  2. About four years ago, I commented on the ridiculous amount of time the FAA was taking to make a ruling that could clarify the legal status of an Uber-like general aviation app: For anyone who subscribes to the notion that we need the government to monitor and regulate every last move we make, I ask this question: "If the government is supposed to be so wise and powerful, why can't it answer even a simple question like this one in the more-than-ample time it gave itself?" This is not to frame the issue of government regulation as a matter of mere competence, although it is an interesting way of considering that issue. As it turns out, the wisdom of the FAA is even less impressive than its speed: Flytenow, the company behind the app, has had to push for legislation just so pilots and passengers can take advantage of electronic communications to share expenses for private flights: ... For decades, private pilots have been legally sharing flying expenses with passengers. For pilots, flight-sharing defrays the high costs of flying, and for passengers, it's an alternative way to reach a destination or experience flying in a private plane. Image via Wikipedia.In 2013, we founded Flytenow, an Internet-based, flight-sharing startup offering an online bulletin board to facilitate cost-sharing arrangements between pilots and passengers. By showing a pilot’s qualifications, confirming them with the Federal Aviation Administration, and enabling both parties to connect via social media and direct messaging, we created a safe, efficient method of flight-sharing that can help pilots defray the costs of aircraft operation and ownership by as much as 75 percent. That was, until the FAA ruled in mid-2014 that any pilot using the Internet to communicate had to comply with the same regulations applicable to commercial airlines. With that ruling, flight-sharing in the U.S. came to an abrupt halt, ...This is a ridiculous intrusion on individual rights, and should be scrapped, along with the FAA, whose job a professional standards body ought to perform, anyway. Flyetnow is pushing legislation in Congress, but I am saddened to see that it is based on the following "guiding principle:" A pilot should be able to communicate to an audience of any size using whatever means he or she chooses to share a flight, including the Internet, so long as the flight is not for profit. [bold added]I suppose it is possible that some aspect of the regulatory or political landscape makes this the best they can get in the current circumstances. Barring that, this sounds more like a plea for permission than a demand that the government do its job, which is to protect individual rights. Although the FAA is unlikely to be devolved from the government any time soon, it has no business blatantly violating right to contract for any purpose, and particularly when someone's ability to earn a living is at stake. This article, by the cofounders of Flytenow, speaks of this bill as possibly saving general aviation in the United States. Maybe so, but unless pilots are free to profit from these arrangements if they wish, general aviation will remain on life support -- as will freedom. Whether the founders are being less ambitious than they should or think this is all they can get, the fact remains that freedom is dying in its cradle, and this bill will not-quite-save an industry that would thrive if it were set fully free. -- CAV Link to Original
  3. Last week
  4. My initial reaction is to interpret it as saying that we determine our own future. It is up to us to make the best future we can for ourselves, and not to make any excuses. The line that follows seems to say that the best results tend to take time to achieve.
  5. The municipalities of Silicon Valley have decided to stop letting tech companies offer their own employees free lunches in any new facilities they build. Demonstrating complete ignorance of both why people run businesses and the purpose of government, the executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association explains why she supports such government meddling: "With food being provided for free ... there's no competition in terms of choice, nor a reason for employees to leave their building," Borden said. "Perhaps that's great social engineering to get employees to work longer hours and never leave their offices, but it doesn't do much to support the city around them." Image via Unsplash.Whatever one might think of "social engineering", it doesn't hold a candle to the central planning Borden seems so fond of: At least these employers aren't threatening anyone with fines or imprisonment for participating in a particular kind of lunch arrangement. Government is supposed to protect freedom for everyone, making it possible for them to run a business or pursue any other activity that does not harm anyone else. By forcing "employees to leave the building" for a decent lunch, these laws are interfering with how many individuals plan their days. This will probably cause many to work less efficiently -- or stay at work later than they'd like, and perhaps eat out with their families less often during the week ... incidentally harming other restaurants. But that's beside the point. It's wrong to unleash the government on non-criminals for whatever purpose, no matter how kind one's stated intentions. -- CAV Link to Original
  6. by Jason Stotts It’s now been just over 6 months since Eros and Ethos: A New Theory of Sexual Ethics came out! I am happy to report that so far the book is selling well and the reviews have been good. To date, we are just shy of our 200th copy! Currently, most people are buying ebooks (75%), with the rest of the sales being paperbacks. Moreover, the reviews have been really wonderful with a score of 4.5 out of 5 and 13 reviews (the overall score was brought down by 1 negative and unsubstantial review). Here are just a couple of the really nice things people are saying: “Get ready for the first part of a very thoughtful and enlightening ride. I can’t wait for the next installment to arrive!” “I was raised in a sex shaming household, and it is very difficult to live with conflicting thoughts about my own sexuality, desires, and societal pressures. This book is imperative for anyone struggling to reconcile their sexuality with morality.” “This is an important book for anyone seeking a rational approach to sex” “This was a fantastic book, an excellent purchase, and well worth my time.” “This is a vastly important (and possibly life-changing) book for anyone floundering and/or seeking growth and happiness within a romantic/erotic relationship.” “I’ve never read anything related to the topic of sex that addresses the subject so thoroughly, so positively, or so helpfully.” “Bottom line, an excellent addition to my library. Suitable for academics and laymen alike.” Go take a look at the full comments yourself, they’re amazingly kind and speak highly of the book. The audiobook has been delayed due to production issues, but I hope to find a new narrator soon (if you’re interested, let me know). No current ETA on the audiobook, but I’ll be sure to announce it when there’s something more definite. Overall, I’ve very happy with the launch and I hope that the sales keep climbing as new people read the book and recommend it to their friends. If you’ve already read the book, please take a second to leave a review, it makes a big difference and I love seeing them. Link to Original
  7. I can't make full sense of this quote but I like it for some reason... I'm looking for an interpretation that would sound rational even if it wasn't intended to be that way Tupac says, "Though things change, the future's still inside of me" What could he mean by, "The future's still inside of me"? Here is the context of the quote: In this game, the lesson's in your eyes to seeThough things change, the future's still inside of meWe must remember that tomorrow comes after the darkSo you will always be in my heart, with unconditional loveIn this game, the lesson's in your eyes to seeThough things change, the future's still inside of meWe must remember that tomorrow comes after the dark Again, I'm looking for an interpretation that would sound rational even if it wasn't intended to be that way Radiohead also said something similar: "The future is inside usIt's not somewhere else"
  8. Over at the Manhattan Contrarian is a connection I've never seen made in the immigration debate -- between immigration and the distribution of congressional seats among states with more vs. fewer immigrants: Image via Wikipedia. Granted, the effect of this phenomenon only registers with the decennial census, and nothing about new immigration this year is going to affect the apportionment for the 2018 or 2020 elections. Nevertheless, the overall effect is that Democrats get to represent in Congress something in the range of 15 to 20 million non-citizen immigrants, without those immigrants ever needing to vote. As a rough approximation, this represents about 20 or so seats in Congress, and it could even go up somewhat after the next apportionment. This swing dwarfs any possible effect of actual illegal voting. [bold added]In my own thinking about immigration, I have long advocated reform of the process by which immigrants can become citizens. Should we also rethink how we apportion representation? It might help to consider the hypothetical situation of this "bump" being in support of whichever party you find most congenial to America's best interests. I haven't thought for long about the issue, so won't offer an opinion on it now. Having said that, I do find it worthwhile to recall something frequently missing from conversations about immigration. As I noted some time ago: [T]he real problem is the existence of the welfare state. Immigrants did not start socialized education. Immigrants did not force law-abiding emergency care personnel to accept non-paying customers. Immigrants did not make it illegal for some of us to ingest chemicals that others disapprove of. Americans, forgetting that their government was established to protect the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, passed (and support) these laws. Americans chose to plunder each other's pockets and run each other's lives.The "freeloading" problem is one created by improper government rather than immigration. Likewise, the importance of apportioning our representation precisely might be less important were our government confined to its proper scope, leaving us less at the mercy of Democrats wanting to put their hands on our wallets, not to mention Republicans wanting to put their hands in our pants. In such a context, the strongest case I can imagine for representation reform along the lines the first quote suggests would be: Large numbers of immigrants in some area might sway voters one way or another on a foreign policy issue pertinent to an election. But I can see such an effect going either way, so even that case seems difficult to make. -- CAVLink to Original
  9. The context is different because the person in that podcast has a crush on a girl who had no romantic interest. In your context, it's a girl who did show interest, but you chose to do nothing. The advice there kind of presumes that you acted on your feelings and were honest about them, enough so to figure out what the other person thinks. Are you looking to talk about something specific? Or are you looking for advice?
  10. http://www.peikoff.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/2011-12-12.194_D.mp3 http://www.peikoff.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/2011-04-25.161_A.mpp3
  11. Nicky

    Reblogged:Delimiting Required

    a one-day meeting ------------- An all day meeting? Dear sweet God. I hope the windows were locked, to keep people from jumping.
  12. ARI has just uploaded all of Peikoff's FHF lectures, with the Q&A's, to YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/user/AynRandInstitute/videos?disable_polymer=1 This one was of interest to me, not for the lecture (it's the same as what Rand delivered) but for the material before and after concerning her illness and death. It's been available before, but I'd never heard it.
  13. Blog Roundup 1. At Roots of Progress, Jason Crawford explores the transition, during the nineteenth century, away from the use of biological sources for many common materials. (He provides interesting synopses for ivory, fertilizer, fuels for lighting and smelting, and shellac.) The humpback whale, an unsustainable source of industrial feedstocks, in either sense of the term. (Image via Pixabay.)These are just a handful of examples. There are many other biomaterials we once relied on -- rubber, silk, leather and furs, straw, beeswax, wood tar, natural inks and dyes -- that have been partially or fully replaced by synthetic or artificial substitutes, especially plastics, that can be derived from mineral sources. They had to be replaced, because the natural sources couldn't keep up with rapidly increasing demand. The only way to ramp up production -- the only way to escape the Malthusian trap and sustain an exponentially increasing population while actually improving everyone's standard of living -- was to find new, more abundant sources of raw materials and new, more efficient processes to create the end products we needed. As you can see from some of these examples, this drive to find substitutes was often conscious and deliberate, motivated by an explicit understanding of the looming resource crisis. In short, plant and animal materials had become unsustainable. [bold added, link omitted]His exploration of the very common misuse of that last word is as timely as the rest of his post is interesting. 2. In "Sully vs Sully," the proprietor of You Can and Did Build That compares the book to the movie and finds the former far more profitable in terms of understanding the heroism of Sully Sullenberger, who famously saved all his passengers by landing his aircraft on the Hudson in 2009. [T]he passionate pursuit of excellence in a career, the commitment to a lifetime of choices directed at acquiring knowledge and improving one's skills, is as far from "selfless" as could be imagined. Sully's choices (including an awareness of his own motivations and self-critical appraisal of his own near misses) represent the creation of a self. Only devotion to one's own chosen goals over the span of decades could result in a man becoming the kind of person, the kind of character or self, who could accomplish what he did on the Hudson. [emphasis in original]Although I think I rate the movie higher than he does, I found the discussion of the kind of context required to evaluate an action quite enlightening. 3. At New Ideal, Ben Bayer of the Ayn Rand Institute argues that the "Trump-Kim Summit Betrays Victims of Dictatorship." The entire post is worth reading, but I think presenting two paragraphs of it in quick succession might show why. Bayer opens: In a video that went viral in October 2014, Yeonmi Park gave an emotional speech about her escape from North Korea. She recounts how she was nine years old when she witnessed the public execution of her friend's mother, thirteen when she saw her mother raped as the price for escaping the country, and fourteen when she had to bury her father secretly in China. [links in original]Later, comes the following after he notes Ayn Rand's commentary about Richard Nixon's 1972 meeting with Mao Zedong: Every word of this applies to Trump's meeting with Kim. This time the president has not only shaken hands with the dictator but has gone further by calling him "very talented" and a "funny guy" with a "great personality" who "loves his people." Asked whether it was wise to sit down with a killer, the most Trump could bring himself to disparage about Kim was to say "it is a rough situation over there." Asked how Kim could love his people and oppress them, Trump said "he's doing what he's seen done." [links in original]Regarding Trump's last remark in light of what Yeonmi Park and other North Koreans have "seen done," this is outrageous. That said, Trump doesn't own all of the blame for it. As unprincipled and coarse as he is, Trump is regurgitating (and acting on) the same kind of garbage leftists have spewed about criminals for the past few decades. But the juxtaposition should illustrate how disgusting this stew of determinism and moral relativism really is. Obscene notions left unquestioned lead to obscene actions. 4. At Separate!, Anders Ingemarson takes the impending Supreme Court nomination battleas his cue to consider an interesting question: With the range of views being closer to a bell curve than what media talking heads would like us to believe, is there an opportunity for breaking the supposed deadlock and come to some level of mutual understanding? Perhaps not tomorrow, next year or in a decade, but maybe in a generation? [bold added]This comes after a quick review of American polling data and a look at a couple of historical instances of religious people accommodating scientific discoveries in the West. I'm not as sanguine as he, but he raises good points to remember should Brett Kavanaugh be named to the Supreme Court. -- CAV Link to Original
  14. Not sure if this was the right decision, but today I asked her to remove me from the group text. Doing so will sever my main connection to her since she doesn’t talk to me 1-1 anymore. I hadn’t texted in there in a week, and people started asking where I was, so I had to take a stand. I lied every time I said I wanted to be friends.
  15. I'm going to limit myself to a single idea, which I suggest you repeat over and over to yourself like a mantra: If you don't get this area of your life handled, sorted, managed and mastered, you are in for a very unhappy life. You'll not only make yourself miserable, but crazy as well. From what you've written here, it seems like you're well on the way. You talk about driving past this girl's house to check on the cars parked outside? I don't know if that's immoral per se, but it sure is loony as hell. You come across in your posts as very young, totally inexperienced (you admit as much), and utterly, absolutely naïve about women and relationships. This is not a crime, but also it's not a state you want to remain in for long. While you're crushing on and obsessing over this one particular girl, the reality is she is of no significance whatsoever. You think (or rather, you feel) that she is someone extremely important, when in fact she is nobody, irrelevant to the big picture. The important person here is YOU. You need to focus on improving yourself, bettering yourself, and above all gaining a mature sense of emotional perspective, particularly where sexual emotions are involved. In short, you need to make yourself into the kind of man who doesn't get irrationally obsessed with girls like this. Now that I've beaten you up, let me say there isn't a man reading your posts who can't sympathize with you, at least a little. Fortunately for some of us, your story serves as a reminder of our distant past. For others, the pain you describe is like an experience out of the movie Groundhog Day, something to be revisited and re-encountered again and again. The unfortunate reality is that most men never get this area of their lives handled, sorted, managed and mastered. They never really figure out sex. To the average man, sex — and its attendant features, such as attraction, masculinity and femininity, etc. — is always a bit of a mystery, which is why so many men make such humiliating wrecks of their sexual lives.
  16. this was not a personal question, the OP asks in the abstract. and he poses a new abstract question after the initial discussion on that one. even still, Eioul did start by asking questions! the other posts were good general advice. i don't see anywhere where someone has changed what they've said, even though when it finally did become personal (13 posts down the thread!), it clashed somewhat with the topic (as Nicky complained, not actually being an instance where the woman is known to be "unattainable"). a lot of interesting issues have been discussed here: the validity of "league" thinking, whether avoidance of pain should be a motivating factor in decisions, how much inferiority/superiority in certain aspects counts in a relationship pairing, the possibility of self-perception being off, the error involved in jealously vs taking responsibility for one's own emotions and outcomes, the importance of communication.. exactly what part of this do you wish had been avoided?
  17. I don't have any comments on this particular situation, but I'd like to note how much the advice and evaluations being given altered once more details were provided. I've seen this happen before on this forum - someone provides an initial description of what they think is going on in their personal life, advice is given, and then the advice changes once more context is provided. In the future, I would suggest a "fact-gathering" period prior to the giving of advice on personal situations, in order to make sure that the advice being offered is accurate and helpful. This would consist of asking plenty of questions and clarifying any unclear aspects of the situation.
  18. i agree with Eioul here, if you think there could have been confusion and maybe even bitterness on her part, the best approach would be to let her know that you -are- interested in her, and didn't mean to come across otherwise. if you're able to explain it to us, you should be telling her instead! she's the one you want the relationship with. even ask her out, because it's not clear that the opportunity is lost yet, even if there is someone else in the picture now too. think about how much worse you'd feel later if you found out you'd called it and given up too soon, when you still did have a shot. my only caution is to really look at why you hesitated before and make sure before you get her involved again that the relationship moving forward is actually something you want and would be ready for. it's easy to idealize something after the fact when the possibility is far away, but your reaction at the time may be more reliable. don't assume that you just flaked out arbitrarily, maybe there was a reason, maybe it wasn't a mistake. even if it was, if you're not comfortable with her and feel "out of your league" because of her personality or experience, it's not going to work out. you should deal with that first. find out where it's coming from and get to a place where you can be confident that you're a good choice for her. then help her see that too. so your first step is to think. 1- make sure that she is actually what you want 2- make sure you really believe that you would be good for her (convince yourself) 3- let her know both of those things! (convince her) if you've done this and she isn't interested, you won't feel the way that you do right now, because you'll know you did everything you could, and you'll think she's the one making the mistake.
  19. it's not a matter of it being immoral, it's just not a good way to handle it. from what we know about her (assertiveness, then texting the group about her potential romantic activity), she would be perfectly willing to tell you how serious the new interest is, all you have to do is ask. driving around would be wasting more time to obtain far less reliable info. and what it would show her if she did find out is that you'd rather try to collect information on her secretly than openly have a conversation, which doesn't reflect well on your ability to be in a relationship! should she want someone who would talk to her about their feelings and concerns and ask her questions directly, or someone who would snoop around and make assumptions? which would you prefer in a partner? if being with her is your goal then you want to work on being that kind of person, and these actions wouldn't be consistent with it, which is why it isn't feeling right to you.
  20. It's immoral to pointlessly prolong your own suffering. How she feels and who she is seeing is her business, not yours. You really have just two choices here, assuming you respect yourself and you respect her: Either you talk to her and explain your prior stupidity or you absolutely abandon any possibility of a relationship beyond friendship. Anything else is a self-destructive compromise. If you can do neither, you have doomed yourself (and maybe her, depending on how screwed up you let yourself become) to wholly unnecessary misery. If you do the former, the worst that'll happen, beyond the embarrassment of admitting your own foolishness, is that she'll tell you that you had your chance and blew it. But even then, you'll at least know where you stand. If you do the latter, you can then begin self-policing the part of you that insists on the impossible and thereby hasten your psychological recovery from your mistake. I'd recommend, in this case, staying away from her until you've managed that recovery, but I wouldn't say that it is essential to do so.
  21. Earlier
  22. Or: Every Yes Begins With a Bunch of Nos I ran across a list of items by Greg Wilson on how to run a meeting, but that's not the take-home for this post. Rather, it was an aside near the end of his piece that caught my eye: Image via Pixabay.I once chaired a one-day meeting in New Orleans where I tried to introduce a whole bunch of meeting management techniques at once while also contributing. I did it so badly that they replaced me as chair at the mid-point, and were right to do so.This is interesting because so much of Wilson's own advice could be subsumed under the umbrella of delimitation: Have a purpose. Formulate a clear agenda. Lead with the most important topics. All of these things pertain to the need for the human mind to be able to focus in order to be effective. Each of these positive goals -- choosing a subject, concentrating on different aspects of that subject, and deciding what was most urgent about it -- required eliminating a whole host of other considerations. The cause of running an effective meeting is no different, although that might not seem apparent. To his credit and our benefit, Wilson admits this, and I think it's his most important point. Taking all of Wilson's advice at face value for the sake of argument, if one's goal is to run effective meetings, one can run with his anecdote and think of that goal as a meeting. What points about how your organization runs meetings depart furthest from this ideal? Which improvements would pack the most punch, and maybe even kill two birds with one stone? Start with those, most urgent first, order the rest, and create a time table for implementing improvements at a pace that will show results quickly enough to get others on board, but is slow enough to allow everyone to acclimate themselves to a set of changes before introducing others. Wilson has given us a wealth of information, but it, like the topics of a meeting, must be organized within the contexts of what an organization needs and how human minds can grasp and hold on to it. -- CAV Link to Original
  23. I think that's the right conclusion. But there might be a simple solution to resolving your feelings. If you realize now that it was a major mistake to not take her up on her offers and overtures, you can admit that. You can tell her that you know now it was a mistake, and now that you lost the opportunity, you feel bad about it. If you resolve things maturely, at the very least, you might actually feel okay being her friend. Who knows. Maybe she will appreciate the honesty.
  24. Would it be immoral to drive past her house to see if her car is there or if anyone elese’s is? She lives on s public road, so the act wouldn’t be illegal assuming I didn’t do it in a way that was harrassing, and it could provide valid clues about her relationship status; however, if she knew, she’d undoubtedly be creeped out, so I think it would be immoral.
  25. Agreed! She put herself out there, if you did nothing with that it would rightly be interpreted as rejection. Makes sense for her to "go cold" and it's understandable she has a bit of an edge now making it clear to you that she's moved on, since she's probably feeling hurt herself.
  26. These are usually three very different things: 1. the way person A is 2. the way person A sees him or her self 3. the way another person sees person A That's why it's very important to always be open to the possibility that you are wrong, about pretty much everything, except logically and scientifically proven truths. Odds are, she doesn't see herself as particularly witty or smart, or you as particularly dull or stupid. It's even possible that she isn't wittier or smarter than you, you just think so. As for the other three, you're probably right there, but those things don't really matter. Who cares who's stronger at work, has more sexual experience, or talks a lot? (women talk more than men, so they're better at it...whatever) It's silly to think any of that matters.
  27. She expressed interest. You played hard to get and then acted disinterested. Anyone would likely have dropped you under those circumstances. She then went looking for someone who was interested and not playing games. (Yes, I know that's not how you see it. But it is likely how she saw it.) What else would you expect? If you want her, stop playing games with yourself about being "not in her league" and get your ass onto the playing field. Otherwise, get out of the situation and stop making yourself miserable. Remember: You and you alone are responsible for your choices. And if you want a consequence, you and you alone are responsible for enacting the cause of your desired consequence.
  28. Image via Wikipedia.Or: Appeasing Socialism Always Fails The recent primary victory by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a golden opportunity to advance capitalism, but conservatives don't seem to realize it. Joe Crowley assumed voters would tolerate the status quo, disdained his opponent, and counted on inertia. This was a bad strategy against an energetic opponent. By contrast, Ocasio-Cortez seemed concerned with voters' problems, offered a means of solving them, and stood behind her solution. Yet, conservatives seem intent on channeling the defeated Crowley, despite the fact they could offer a real choice, instead. The following are poor ways to advocate capitalism: Repeating ad nauseum that socialism always fails, calling her voters stupid, and not challenging the principle that socialism is an ideal. This is unfortunate, because capitalism is the real alternative to our current stagnant mixture of freedom and smothering government control -- and the alternative to the century's worth of slavery, starvation, and death that is socialism. First came the smug jokes: The Democrats have gone "full Venezuela." "What could possibly go wrong?" "How many times do we have to learn that socialism doesn't work?" Unfortunately, the answer to the last joke is: As many times as we fail to oppose it on moral grounds.... To continue reading my latest column, please proceed to RealClear Markets. I would like to thank my wife and Steve D. for their comments on earlier versions of this piece. -- CAV Link to Original
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