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  2. I'm hoping you don't need an answer to that.
  3. Superficial yet also one of the day's deadliest issues. Is this a paradox or poor writing by Rand? No. Capitalism versus socialism is the more basic question because it can be answered by using the moral concept of individual rights and ethics is epistemically prior to politics. Nationalism versus internationalism can be such a deadly issue because of the possibility of ensnaring an entire nation into a international agreement or policy which will result in open warfare. This first sentence nicely dovetails with Hazony's Part I critique of liberals Hayek and von Mises supporting world governments. Here's the money quote: From this we have: the primacy of domestic affairs in a nation's interests; an affirmation that individual rights and individual interests can be the basis of defining a nation's interests; and that national interests are the basis of international cooperation. Rand here is endorsing the role of the nation-state in the international political order and definitely not envisioning a utopian future where all the states and their borders whither away.
  4. Today
  5. Not a bad point there, Miss Rand. Indeed, the nationalism vs. internationalism question is superficial and artificial. Nationalism has no virtues, nor does socialism, nor does internationalism per se. Only capitalism does, and international agreements only have virtue to the extent that they facilitate individuals' freedom to trade and move between states. P.S. You really should be more careful about the ghost of a dead individualist philosopher taking over you fingers and posting corrections to your collectivist book review, Grames. It's hurting the cause.
  6. Yesterday
  7. Salting the thread with some actual Rand content: From THE AYN RAND COLUMN
  8. LIG The album cover was made by me. I made all of the instrumentals on this album. I take full credit for all of the vocals on this album. There is an Objectivist-theme within my lyrics. I will post the links to my album at the bottom of this post. A few underlying references to Rand's philosophy on the album: "Dealing with matters of atom and matter, start at metaphysics . . . Existence is without a limit, keeping your principles rigid" - Vitality "Do not lose hold of your focus / mental stagnation is hopeless" - Vitality "Thought so persistent, calling it the intuition / Clarify all of this before nostalgia hits: mental cognition" - Vitality "A valuable lesson from reason, I mean it" - Zenith "I think that if you reinvent your mindset and become more rational you will be better off" - World Revolver "My soul is a vacuum / it's absorbing all my values" - Ravenous Soul "Maybe once the album dips, intellect activist" - Ravenous Soul "You have to remain devoted / to all the things you have rationally chosen" - Mural. Girl "Uplift the broke soul with conscious identity / entities develop mental integrity, it's a necessity" - Mural. Girl "I don't mean be snobbish, I mean use your logic / we are atomic(s) with options" - Mural. Girl "The root of achievement is becoming aware of things that you value in life" - Satellites "The proper extension of living so plentiful starts off with selfish expression" - Satellites "Explanations are too infinite; just like the universe that we are living in" - Satellites "Your rationality is a necessity . . . you can expand your awareness, no mental energy makes things careless" - Eudaimonia "If you use logic you will become broad" - Logical "I think I think every problem through" - Logical "By selling your soul, acting irrational just to get gold / depression once you get old, or happiness if you're bold" - Logical "I do not care about sadness / whatever happens will happen, study Atlantis" - Colosseum "Think about cognitive faculty . . . studying different creations will raise internal motivation, actually" - Galaxies "I do decide to not compromise" - Galaxies "Think about cognitive faculty, making sense of this morality" - Faculty "You should focus on reality, stop those calamities" - Faculty "Have a rendezvous with cognition / no point to sit while reminiscing / I just love all of this profound existence" - Piranha "Decades of pure rationality . . . someday this could be a masterpiece" - Piranha SoundCloud: Bandcamp: https://richardk.bandcamp.com/album/lig YouTube:
  9. Last week
  10. [warning: this is a long post] Chapter IX: The Foundations of Political Order Politics, Done Empirically [these bolded topic headings are my creations, the text of each chapter is a single smooth presentation] definition of politics: "the discipline or craft of influencing others so that they act to accomplish the goals one sees as necessary or desirable." [This is a good objective definition as opposed to a normative definition. ref: The Principle of Two Definitions It establishes a category of observable actions much broader than just 'the actions of or concerning governments'.] Individuals can obtain some values acting alone. Other values either require or are much easier to obtain by working with others. But others have their own values, and may be indifferent or hostile to our values. The fundamental problem of the individual living in a social context is the political problem of influencing others to act to gain or keep one's own values. [Translated into Objectivist jargon.] [Objectivism names one solution to the problem of influencing others: the trader principle. But that is a high level abstraction and a normative one at that. In the spirit of descriptive empirical investigation a lower, intermediate level of abstraction is appropriate. ] One solution to the problem of influencing others is establishing a group of like-minded people. Examples of standing bodies or collectives of individuals are: family, clan, tribe, nation, state, army, religious organization, business enterprise, and chess club. definition of institutions: human collectives that persist over time, keeping particular fixed purposes and forms (ex. the name, procedures for deciding and acting at the group level, facilities, etc...) An institution teaches, persuades, or coerces its members to abide by its own accepted general rules and procedures before action is needed so the collective can act reliably and promptly, rather than persuade or coerce individuals anew as each action is called for. Three Possible Motives for Individuals to Join Collectives [no claim this list is exhaustive] individuals will join if threatened with reprisal individuals will join if offered payment or other advantage individuals will join if they see the interests and aims of the institution as their own In the face of ongoing cost, effort or adversity the motive of payment creates the weakest institutions because of the possibility of withdrawing or defecting to a different institution based on a cost/benefit/risk analysis. Intimidation against individuals or their loved ones can produce more stable institutions but only so long as a credible threat can be maintained. The strongest institutions are those wherein the individual sees the interests and aims of the institution as their own. Example: Consider a soldier who takes up a rifle in the hope of establishing the independence of his people after a long history of persecution. Such individuals do not need to be coerced to fight, or to be well compensated for their services. The identification of the interests and aims of the collective as his own is what moves him to acts of bravery and self-sacrifice that no intimidation or promise of pay could elicit. Human individuals are capable of regarding the aims and interests of a collective or institution of which they are members as their own, and of acting upon these aims and interests even where such action will be detrimental to their lives and property. No convincing account of how strong human institutions are built can be made unless this capacity is at its center. Extension of the Sense of Self The human individual is by nature fiercely concerned to ensure the integrity of his or her own self. Self refers to the body which has a biological fight to flight reflex. The same fierceness also applies to the protectiveness over land or possessions, defense of one's reputation when accused or insulted, and the defense of loved ones. All of these—property, reputation, family—are all experienced as if they are also a part of him insofar as his consciousness has embraced them. [They are integrated to some degree into his self-concept, his sense of identity.] This capacity to regard others as part of one's identity is not restricted to kinsmen, but can include a friend, townsman, platoon member, or any other human being based on some possibly abstract grounds. [How much is Ayn Rand through her works part of our identities even for those of us who have never met her?] "What we see across the range of human activities and institutions, then, is that the self of the individual is by nature flexible in its extent, and is constantly being enlarged so that persons and things we might have supposed would be outside of him and alien to him are in fact regarded as if they were a part of himself." [Inserting endnote 2 here:] Loyalty definition of loyalty: the attachment that results when an individual includes a certain other within the purview of his or her self. definition of mutual loyalty: the bond established between two individuals when each has taken the other into his extended sense of self. Persons experiencing mutual loyalty remain independent persons, and may experience competition, insult, jealousy, and quarrels as independent persons do that are spouses or siblings. But as soon as either of them faces adversity, the other suffers this hardship as if it were his own and in-progress disputes are suspended or forgotten. When the hardship is overcome, they experience a sense of relief and pleasure, of walking together in joy, each recognizing the happiness of the other as his own. These experiences of adversity and triumph establish a strong distinction between an inside and an outside: an inside, comprising the two individuals; and an outside, from which a challenge arises against them and in the face of which they experience a joint suffering and a joint success. Institutions that are Small and Strong Institutions constructed principally out of bonds of mutual loyalty are the most enduring and resilient institutions. The family is the strongest and most resilient of all small institutions known to human politics, precisely due to the existence of such ties of mutual loyalty between each member of the family and all of the others. Bonds of family loyalty can be either birth ties or adoptive ties (spouse to spouse and spouse to in-laws are adoptive and parent to child can be adoptive). The squad or section is the small scale military unit of about 10 men, led by a junior officer or sergeant. The capacity of this unit to function under extreme duress depends on its ties of mutual loyalty, founded upon each individual's personal acquaintance with all the others and extensive experience of relying upon them for support during training and combat. [Other examples include: small towns or villages, churches, local political factions and unions, and street gangs.] Political Order is Hierarchical Larger scale political institutions of every kind are built upon small institutions such as the family or the squad. Heads of families can be brought together in an association of mutual loyalty to one another, creating a clan. A clan may number in the hundreds or thousands and may be scattered over a considerable territory. Heads of clans can unite to form a tribe that may have tens of thousands of members. Heads of tribes can come together to form a nation whose members number in the millions. This process of consolidation is familiar from the Old Testament history of Israel and from the histories of the English, Dutch, Americans and many other nations. [Note that when consolidation happens the lower layers are not dissolved, they persist.] [Thus the four part hierarchy Hazony uses is: family, clan, tribe, nation. Settling on four is somewhat arbitrary, the scheme could be elaborated upon by distinguishing more layers but there is less room to remove layers. From endnote 7:] Transmission of Loyalty up the Hierarchy For a child raised within a clan it is not possible to directly develop a bond of mutual loyalty with most other individual members of the clan. But his parents, who have direct bonds of mutual loyalty to the other heads of families, experience the suffering and triumphs of the clan as if these were happening to themselves, and they give expression to these things. And so the child, who experiences the suffering and triumphs of his parents as if they were happening to him, is able to feel the suffering and the triumphs of the clan as his own as well. Thus even a very young child will feel the harm and shame when another member of his clan is harmed or shamed by members of a rival clan. In this way, the child’s self is extended to embrace the entire clan and all its members, even those whom he has never met. And because of this extension, he will be willing to set aside even bitter disputes with other members of his clan when a threat from the outside is experienced as a challenge to all. [also from endnote 7:] Like ties of loyalty to the clan, the bond of loyalty to one’s tribe or nation grows out of loyalty to one’s parents: The child experiences the suffering and triumphs of his tribe or nation as his own because he experiences the suffering and triumphs of his parents as his own, and the parents feel and give expression to the suffering and triumphs of the tribe or nation as these unfold. endnote 5 Cohesion definition of cohesion: the bonds of mutual loyalty that hold firmly in place an alliance of many individuals, each of whom shares in the suffering and triumphs of the others, including those they have never met. The concept of cohesion can be applied at any scale. endnote 6: The Limit of Consolidation Nation can develop attachments to other nations. The English-speaking nations are sometimes referred to as a "family of nations" due to both common descent from English influence and experience of common struggle against the Axis powers of WWII and then against the communist bloc of nations during the Cold War. The Hindu peoples of India have a similar relation to each other founded in common struggle against Islamic and English domination. What has never been seen is a genuine movement toward mutual loyalty of the entirety of the human population worldwide. That would require a worldwide common adversity as an impetus. [The conclusion from this point is that a world government is compatible and possible with an imperialist political order, but a nationalist political order will not have impetus to organize itself beyond international agreements among groups of nations.] Biological Kinship Not Essential to Mutual Loyalty Long years of joint hardship and success are essential to establishing ties of mutual loyalty, not kinship. The husband-wife bond is adoptive, families can adopt children, clans can adopt families, tribes adopt clans and nations, tribes. An isolated individual, having been cut off from his own family due to war or disease will invariably attach himself to a new family or a new clan, lending his strength to theirs and gaining their protection. The constant regeneration of bonds of mutual loyalty implies that there can be no society whose member individuals are without loyalty to anyone other than themselves. Even in modern society, where the traditional order of clans and tribes is weakened or supplanted by formal state structures, collectives built from bonds of mutual loyalty are visible everywhere: there are still churches, political chapters, schools, and other community organizations equivalent to the clan level. On a national scale, powerful religious, ethnic, sectoral, and professional associations vie with one another as if they were tribes. The attraction of individuals, even under the modern state, to ally themselves to collectives is a constant. [I would call it a facet of human nature, an attribute of the identity of humans.] [Anecdotal evidence from an entirely different perspective: the progression of American situational comedies from family situations (Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Brady Bunch, All in the Family, etc...) to modern "found family" situations (of Friends, Seinfeld, Cheers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Big Bang Theory, etc... ) The depiction of mutual loyalty remains the same and is necessary to the format which seems to work as well even without depicting kinship.] Health and Prosperity of a Collective Words such as 'brotherhood' 'health' and 'prosperity' when applied to collectives are metaphors drawn from the life of the individual, but the underlying referent of the usage is real. "Health and Prosperity of the Family" refers to at least three things: physical and material flourishing - health and property and their increase strong internal integrity - the bonds of mutual loyalty, honoring differences in age or status, minimizing discord the extent and quality of the cultural inheritance that is transmitted by the parents and grandparents to the children (3 is a significant means of accomplishing 1 and 2) The individual at all times experiences the strengthening or weakening of his family as something that is happening to himself. And because this is the case, he is constantly moved to take action to defend and build up the family in its material prosperity, in its internal integrity, and in its capacity to transmit an appropriate cultural inheritance to the children. Thus parents will take employment not to their liking in order to feed their family, spouses humble themselves for the sake of peace in the home, the older devote long hours teaching children even though the children have a limited ability recognize the value of what they are taught. All of this happens not out of altruistic impulse to help a stranger, but because strengthening the family is experienced as strengthening themselves. In principle the health and prosperity of every human collective can be measured in much the same way as that of the family. When individuals take into their own hands the task of strengthening the tribe or nation, they do so not out of altruism, but because strengthening the tribe or nation is experienced as strengthening themselves. No universal ideology—not Christianity or Islam, not liberalism or Marxism—has succeeded in eliminating or even weakening this intense desire to protect and strengthen the [particular] collectives to which an individual also belongs. As that desire is derived from the individual desire to defend his own life and improve his material circumstances it cannot be and should not be diminished. The devotion of individuals to particular non-universal collectives creates persistent division among mankind. But division is necessary for diversity, innovation and advancement. The separate nations of mankind are as validly viewed as walled gardens as fortresses, where what is original and different is given a space of its own to be tested. The figurative walls of language and culture provide both a means to nurture beneficial innovations in laws, morals and industry as well as means to inhibit the spread of what is destructive and misguided. [I put in all these endnotes to show that Hazony does not coin neologisms nor invent the definitions he uses. ] [endnotes 1-17 , the endnotes of part two are their own series]
  11. Eiuol

    Fred Miller

    This looks wonderful! I found a translation by Joe Sachs which is pretty precise, but I felt it was lacking in terms of going for the flow of ideas. Thanks for sharing.
  12. Boydstun

    Fred Miller

    Most recently, from Prof. Miller: Aristotle - On the Soul and Other Psychological Works Notre Dame Review ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Peek into Fred Miller's paper at Ayn Rand Society Meeting 2005 here. I expect this paper will be included in a planned volume on Aristotle and Rand in the series Ayn Rand Society Philosophical Studies.
  13. merjet

    Correspondence and Coherence blog

    China From Above Information and Investment #1 Information and Investment #2 Information and Investment #3 Information and Investment #4
  14. Notable Commentary "Read With Me is a free app I created (available for iPhone, Android, or as a web app) to put the classics, and my guidance through them, at anyone's fingertips." [format edits and more below -- ed] -- Lisa VanDamme, in "Read With Me: Crime and Punishment -- A Sneak Preview" at Medium. "The real problem is not "Islamophobia", but Islamophilia, which is rampant in the West." -- Bosch Fawstin, in "I Became White After I Left Islam?" at FrontPage Magazine. "Wealth creation is the answer to global warming." -- Raymond Niles, in "The Power of Compounding and the Power of Scaremongering" at Medium. "[Trump's] dictatorial traits, displayed in his brutish coarseness, is prepping Americans for future dictatorship." -- Raymond Niles, in "Laying Down the Gauntlet of Dictatorship" at Medium. In Further Detail Every once in a while, my near-daily blogging routine turns up a real gem, and the app mentioned above appears to be one of them. Already wanting to resume my reading routine after our move, I will now have even more motivation to plow through all those boxes. I plan to install the app and pick a book. Here is an excerpt from the Android app description linked above: If I have a unique talent as a teacher of literature, it boils down to this: I am passionate about great books. Hugo wrenches my heart and makes me weep tears of anguish and of wonderment. Rostand stirs me to noble ambition in work and love and life. Tolstoy challenges me to think -- and to feel -- on planes higher than I had ever known. Ibsen, Dostoevsky, Balzac, Jane Austen, Maupassant, Rattigan, Sinclair Lewis -- all have helped me to see, in the words of English professor Mark Edmundson, "that life is bigger, sweeter, more tragic and intense -- more alive with meaning than I had thought." I derive profound personal joy from literature, and I have a knack for helping others do the same. That is why I started Read With Me. I know so many people -- thoughtful, intelligent, motivated people -- who avoid reading the classics. And for understandable reasons: they're busy, they don't know what to read, they've never been taught how to enjoy it, they have unpleasant memories of tedious discussions in high school English ... This sounds exciting and I am looking forward to this. -- CAV Link to Original
  15. StrictlyLogical

    What is "Appreciations" relationship to "Value"

    This example is quite different from the first. Any assessment necessarily depends on who gave the person the money, and WHY? Was it part of a trade for spiritual value with a very close friend of loved one? Was it a gift to a wife who raised a billionaire's family, and although she did not directly earn it "out in the marketplace" , she surely earned it from the very hard work expended for the family... Was it simply charity given not for the virtue of the person but specifically for their vices (odd I know)? Let's move on to the first hypothetical (two variants... helicopter and climb) and assume that the person got to the top NOT as a result of any charity, i.e. ONLY because of their own effort. 1. Be careful not to set up a false alternative between appreciation and value. Values are objective, but appreciation itself can be a value. Moreover, and this is obvious, you can appreciate values. Much of the value in "being" at the top of a mountain IS "appreciating" being there. In fact, one could argue there is little to no value in the sheer act of locating oneself at the top of the mountain (for example blindfolded and comfortable in an environmentally controlled box), and most of the value is in virtue of the act of experiencing and appreciating being at the top of the mountain. "Appreciation" is both emotional and cognitive, it is a state of "awareness" of the full import of something, I would say, at all levels. (here I divest the appreciation from any mystical sense of "thankfulness" to the universe). The value of "appreciating" a loved one is of a different nature of the value of appreciating the dangers of mowing the lawn while sloshed, and it depends much on who you are, who your loved one is and what kind of lawnmower you have, so too, the kind of value IN appreciating being at the top of the mountain varies from person to person. 2. Although an assumed "goal" is not the same as the "means" of its "achievement", in reality, all of the consequences of the means are achieved, not just the goal. In this sense "how" you got there is a part of the "end results" which have real consequences psychologically, financially, physically, etc. Those consequences, might separately be values in their own right. Moreover, those separate values might also be appreciated. 3 Notice that your capacity to achieve values, whatever mental and/or physical skills, abilities, capabilities, expertise, etc. useful to achieve values, IS itself a crucial value. Interestingly, expending effort often increases your capacity to expend that kind of effort. The pursuit of values then, increasing your capacity to achieve values, ITSELF becomes a value. In such a case one can and should appreciate and be proud of the act of pursuing values. 4. Struggle, as such, is not a value, and should not be "appreciated" as a value. Achieving values sometimes require struggle, but they always require some effort to be spent. But choosing to slash one's finger off to use it as a paper weight rather than simply using a normal paper weight because its "not enough of a struggle" is simply wrong. Now, your capacity to achieve things despite struggling, or your capacity to endure through a struggle, THAT is a value, and that value should be appreciated. 5. Man and individual men have struggled with achieving values and maximizing his productivity, his capacity to achieve those values and to live. One should keep in mind that the value represented by the achievement of a helicopter ride represent a host of efforts and achievement and their trade among free men. The best brain surgeon in a hypothetically free country might work for months on a multitude of desperately ill very rich people to earn enough money to buy a helicopter and learn to fly it. Compared to a starving pioneer forced to make a several months journey through the mountains against his will, with the only moment to "appreciate" being at the highest point on the mountain, perhaps the brain surgeon's journey, starting with all the work he has done over all those years and then continuing into flying himself to a nice perch on the mountain, AND his appreciation of the place and how he got there are just as, if not more, sublime. To summarize: Values can be appreciated and appreciation can be a value. Results include the original intended goal along with all the consequences of how one achieved the intended goal. The capacity to achieve goals is a value itself, and the act of fortifying and increasing those capacities through the pursuit of values is itself a value and one to be appreciated. Struggle is not itself a value. The capacity to achieve despite struggle or enduring through struggle is a value. Men who achieve goals though different ways though their own effort, should appreciate themselves and how they got there, and that appreciation itself is a value. One's own efficacy in action is the currency of pride and appreciation of one's self - one's self-esteem - and that pride is part of the reward of every achievement.
  16. In a recent column, John Stossel, discusses "The Creepy Line," a conservative documentary about leftist bias in social media companies. Fortuitously, he has his own war story of social media "censorship," which should serve as a lesson to anyone concerned about this problem. Stossel's war story comes to the following successful conclusion: Image via Wikimedia.We asked Google and Facebook to reply to accusations of censorship made by "The Creepy Line" and to explain why YouTube restricted my anti-socialism video but allows other videos that include violence. So far, they haven't replied to questions about bias, but right before this column's deadline, Google emailed us saying they will remove the age restriction on my video. Good. [bold added]Contrast Stossel's response to what too many conservatives wrongly call "censorship" to the solution proposed by the film's writer, Peter Schweizer. Schweizer wants to address this problem by "[putting] them under the same shackles as other media companies." Stossel correctly notes that this would place innovation in social media into the hands of bureaucrats. But that's not all it would do. Schweizer and others are wrong to use the term censorship -- something only governments can do -- to refer to one company's wrongheaded exercise of its property rights. By doing so, he is providing an excuse to deny those property rights and effectively impose actual censorship à la the old Fairness Doctrine on us all -- not to mention opening up the possibility of government bureaucrats serving as (actual) censors. This is a cure far worse than the disease. Many thanks to John Stossel for helping indicate the danger of conservative calls to regulate social media, and for demonstrating the proper way to respond: By publicly calling out such companies, while also standing up for free markets and freedom of speech. -- CAV Link to Original
  17. softwareNerd

    What is "Appreciations" relationship to "Value"

    It is a bit of a paradox: that we want certain values and the easier they come, the more of them we'll be able to achieve, yet if everything is super-easy where's the mental satisfaction to come from? Evolution "made" us feel positive about the work that goes into creating/achieving value. The stoic who achieves value too easily keeps piling on more "to-dos" on his list. This is a good approach, but must be done consciously and by questioning whether one really wants to achieve that value and why. There's a yarn about a young, ambitious MBA vacationing on a small island, chatting with a local fisherman about his life-plan. "I'll join a great company"... "And then what, senor?" ... "I'll form my own company" ... "And then what, senor?"... "I'll go global"... "And then what, senor?" ... and it ends with "And then, I'll buy a plot on this far-away island and retire here to fish for the rest of my life". The epicurean, on the other hand, tells people to chill out and enjoy life. Don't be lazy, he says, but don't be in the rat-race for fame or fortune either. True laziness, in this perspective, is to work so little that you cannot provide for a comfortable life: a nice home, nice food, ample wine, time to relax, and throw in a good bunch of close friends. This approach too makes sense, but can leave the stoic feeling unsatisfied: will I die having done nothing to be super-proud of? The point that's missed in the fisherman's yarn is that the young MBA has a lot of fun (or at least he ought to) through the process of his achievement. Chances are, he'll never even retire the way he dreams of. He'll have the means, but it'll just seem too boring. As an individual, one has to think this through, and make the choice that suits you.
  18. Well, not anything like Everest, but it's possible on a much smaller mountain. Just meant that I could appreciate being at the top or one without the climbing. Way too scared of heights to attempt a huge climb. Just watching someone do it in a video get's me panicky feeling.
  19. dream_weaver

    Biologists Replicate Key Evolutionary Step

    Life has a new ingredient Inosine could be a potential route to the first RNA and the origin of life on Earth Date: December 3, 2018 Source: Harvard University Summary: Our prehistoric Earth, bombarded with asteroids and lightening, rife with bubbling geothermal pools, may not seem hospitable today. But somewhere in the chemical chaos of our early planet, life did form. How? For decades, scientists have created miniature replicas of infant Earth in the lab in order to hunt for life's essential ingredients. Now, one of those replicas points to a possible new ingredient in the world's first RNA. First, some new versions discovered to test. Recently, however, researchers discovered a way to make versions of adenosine and inosine -- 8-oxo-adenosine and 8-oxo-inosine -- from materials available on primeval Earth. So, Kim and his colleagues set out to investigate whether RNA constructed with these analogs could replicate efficiently. And while these substitutes failed to perform, the crux per this excerpt is: nosine enabled RNA [replicated] with high speed and few errors. It "turns out to exhibit reasonable rates and fidelities in RNA copying reactions," the team concluded. "We propose that inosine could have served as a surrogate for guanosine in the early emergence of life."
  20. Nicky

    What is "Appreciations" relationship to "Value"

    I don't think a helicopter will take you to any reasonable definition of " the top of the world". A combustion engine tends to run out of oxygen after a few miles above sea level.
  21. I know this is for OP, but I'd personally just want to see the view from the top of the world and would be fine with taking a helicopter to the top to do it, as I'd classify a chopper ride as much safer than attempting to climb a mountain for that experience.
  22. Craig24

    What is "Appreciations" relationship to "Value"

    What will make you happier. Having the ability to climb a mountain or just being at the top of it?
  23. Just before the mayhem of moving (with bonus mayhem, and not even counting the holidays) started -- I ran across an thought-provoking piece at Jean Moroney's site, Thinking Directions. Moroney reports on her decision to test, for a few weeks, a "Rule of Six" planning tactic expounded by Chet Holmes in The Ultimate Sales Machine. Moroney lists five findings from her test, and closes as follows: Half a dozen is way too low a number for some kinds of tasks. (Image via Unsplash.)The concrete lesson? Six is not a magic number, but the discipline of listing a set number of to-do's each day can boost your productivity. The abstract lesson is more interesting. A productivity "rule" may sound arbitrary, but contain an important principle. You can find out the principle by experimenting with the rule, keeping your eyes open to see how it does or does not make your work more productive. [bold added]I'd forgotten about this post until yesterday, and am glad I flagged it for later review. As I experiment with a new project before the holidays, part of my goal is to figure out how much of the kind of work I can actually fit into a day. Six tasks may be too low or too high, depending on how I divide or measure the work. But the point that it is useful to list goals each day is well taken: It's really the only way to begin learning whether one's planning is realistic. -- CAV Link to Original
  24. Nicky

    What is "Appreciations" relationship to "Value"

    Well then the problem is your method for choosing and defining goals. A rational man's goals are part of a hierarchy, with the ultimate value, one's own life, at the top. This goal has no discernible connection to that hierarchy, you just randomly picked a pointless goal. There are a few ways in which you can identify whether a goal is connected to your hierarchy of values, or not: 1. Is it challenging? Going sight seeing in a helicopter is not an achievement. At least not unless it's your first time in a helicopter. Then that's a new experience worth having, because you are leaving your comfort zone, and that is a challenge in itself. But if you spend all you free time being a typical tourist, avoiding challenges, then it's just lazy. In general, over-achievers don't engage in lazy activities. Even when they're on holiday, they are wired to do challenging things. It's not a habit you can turn on or off: if you're lazy when you don't work, it's gonna make you lazy when you work as well. And if you're challenging yourself in your free time, that's a habit that will carry through to your work as well. So doing challenging things, no matter what they are, automatically serves that higher purpose. 2. Re-define it, make it more clear what the motivation really is behind it. For instance, if you're taking this helicopter ride with friends or family who are physically limited, or with kids who are experiencing it for the first time, then the mountain isn't your goal at all. Your goal is to socialize or be a teacher. If you're taking it with an attractive girl, your goal is to get in her pants...even more important to be honest then, because that's the only way it will actually work. Another way to re-define a goal like this is: I just want to waste a day. Because, if you can't find a way to connect an activity to your hierarchy of values, that's precisely what you're doing: wasting time. More exactly, you're doing meaningless tasks as an avoidance mechanism (you're avoiding unpleasant problems that require your attention).
  25. [reminder that comments in square brackets are mine, and what text I present outside the brackets is heavily paraphrased] Part Two: THE CASE FOR THE NATIONAL STATE Chapter VIII: Two Types of Political Philosophy Philosophy of politics has, since the ancient Greeks and into the modern liberal university, been a philosophy of government. I. Philosophy of Government Assumes people will organize themselves as a state. A state being a community sufficiently cohesive that it can be ruled by a single government independent from other governments. [Greek political philosophy started with the city-state. Cities on islands or which were walled were the obvious discrete political units of that time and place.] Such a philosophy inquires about: Form of the state (monarchy, aristocracy, democracy i.e. the who should rule) should the authority of the state be concentrated to dispersed should the state be formally designed with a constitution who gets to decide when a constitution is violated should a state guarantee individual rights, and what rights II. Philosophy of Political Order Humans have not always lived in unified independent states, so the existence of the state should not be assumed and political philosophy should ask more fundamental questions. [I would characterize this as starting political philosophy with a close look at actual anarchic societies, rather than dismissing them as a "politically atomistic" chaos from which the state is born.] philosophy of political order inquires about: what causes the internal cohesion necessary for a state to be at internal peace, or to be formed at all is the state formed by consent of individuals or the unification of existing political structures comparing and contrasting the state to clan, fuedal, or other forms of political order if a state is the best order, should there be one or many states Philosophy of political order "seeks to understand the causes of political order, and on the basis of this understanding, to determine what are the different forms of political order available to us and which of them is best." III. The Dangers of Not Observing Epistemological Hierarchy [terminology inserted by me] Whatever is assumed without argument comes to be regarded as self-evident, whether it is true or false. Assuming the existence of a cohesive independent state trains the mind to assert the existence of such states even where there are none, or to assume such states can be brought into being easily. [This brings to mind American military adventures in Somalia, Afghanistan and Libya.] Concerning their own states, such minds will take for granted cohesion and independence and will blithely advocate policies that erode cohesion and independence while thinking their state will remain as sound. [Paris is burning again today because of this mistake by French leader Macron.] The Hebrew Bible is a large text with much pre-state politics in it. It is a useful source for inquiry into the causes of the formation, cohesion, independence and destruction of a state, as well the possibilities of living outside of a state. Closing quote: [zero endnotes] [Hazony does not use the terminology "epistemological hierarchy" but he plainly spells out that political order is prior to the emergence of states. Therefore a study of states cannot be well founded without a study of political order.]
  26. Veritas

    What is "Appreciations" relationship to "Value"

    Does that mean I should take the hardest path in every endeavor? In this scenario, all I want to do is get to the top. I will use my local gym for my fitness needs.
  27. Image via Wikipedia.Writing at American Greatness, Edward Ring outlines how central planning by entrenched environmentalists set the stage for California's latest rash of deadly forest fires. The whole thing is worth a read, and correctly calls out the most consistent greens for wanting to "destroy industrial civilization." Here's a sample: "For decades," [investigative journalist Katy] Grimes notes, "traditional forest management was scientific and successful -- that is until ideological, preservationist zealots wormed their way into government and began the overhaul of sound federal forest management through abuse of the Endangered Species Act and the 're-wilding, no-use movement.'"Although Ring unfortunately does not bring up the possibility of privatizing our forests and national parks, this is an opportune time to consider this long-range solution to the problem of widespread forest fires. I will not do so in depth now, but a few questions should show why I think so. Would the owner of a forest, valuing trees for whatever purpose, depart from proven best practices for managing his forest? Would he do so, knowing that nearby property owners damaged by such a decision, could sue him? Almost certainly not, on both counts, but people do have free will. And this leads to a final question: Without top-down planning, what would the chances be of widespread, entrenched mismanagement? Nil. Although these questions indicate that privately-owned forests and parks would almost certainly have prevented the wide-scale forest mis-management that set California ablaze, we should remember that this is a benefit. The underlying reason we should privatize our forests is that running parks and forests is outside the proper scope of government in the first place. -- CAV Link to Original
  28. EC

    Health & Evasion.

    Beauty is something you were born with; it can be somewhat enhanced or reduced based on health, but, in general it's something that just metaphysically is. Therefore, for the most part, it's irrelevant when it comes to ethics, except maybe at the extremes, i.e., massively overeating, etc.
  29. Nicky

    What is "Appreciations" relationship to "Value"

    My end goal is to have the greatest life I possibly can. Taking a helicopter ride does little to help with that. Climbing a big ass mountain all by myself, on the other hand, just might... So we're in agreement, it's not about getting to the top, it's about personal achievement.
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