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  1. Today
  2. Image via Wikimedia.There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth in open source software circles about a recent decision by cloud storage/sync provider Dropbox to confine its Linux support to a single, unencrypted type of file system. As a pro-capitalist user of open-source software, I have found this reaction both annoying and amusing, rooted as it is in a reflexive paranoia, common among open-source enthusiasts, about anything a large company does. To get the annoyance out of the way: When the news first came out -- in ample time for us to consider whether we could or should continue using Dropbox, as well as look for alternatives -- many articles about the change outright stated or implied in some way that Dropbox was going to quit supporting Linux altogether. This included even some of those, like the one I'm about to excerpt, that had intelligent things to say about the change. This made it harder than it should have been to evaluate some of those alternatives in cases of genuine confusion. In my use case, unless Dropbox is lying through its teeth -- and the reps who keep popping up all over the tech forums to correct misconceptions are just well-paid trolls -- I should be able to carry on after making some changes to my three Linux machines. And the hue and cry over the lack of encryption is particularly silly coming from a group of people who pride themselves on figuring things out: After the change, my entire hard drive will be encrypted, and anything sensitive I want to have in the Cloud will be stored within a large file that looks like a blob to the rest of the world, but is actually its own encrypted file system. And transfers are encrypted end-to-end by Dropbox as they always have been. I'll grant that the changes I have to make will be inconvenient, but I have until November 7 to make them and continue researching alternatives. Thanks for the heads-up, Dropbox. That said, there may be a silver lining, long-term, to this change, as Jack Wallen of TechRepublic argues: ... I do believe Linux needs that standard desktop distribution, one that can be the basis for all third-party, commercial application support. Keep all of the choices out there, because those choices make Linux great. However, narrow those choices down such that a single, universal, distribution can be put forth to serve as the public-facing front for Linux on the desktop. Think about this: If Adobe said, "We'll create a native port of Photoshop for Ubuntu Linux, using the unencrypted ext4 filesystem, systemd, GNOME, and the stable kernel", would rising up against that decision (because they chose that combination) do anything but make Adobe regret (or back out of) their decision? Chances are, it would turn them away from supporting Linux for good (not that they will, that was just an obvious example). [bold added]Dropbox isn't being nearly as restrictive as Adobe in Wallen's hypothetical example, and people are getting upset. And this is the amusing part, because if some of these people were half as clever as they say using Linux makes them, they'd have already shrugged and gotten to work on finding some combination of file system, cloud storage provider, sync service, and collaboration software that works for them. And -- just as they see the value that Dropbox brings with its amazing services and Linux support -- they'd be receptive to the idea that if this company takes the lead (intentionally or by accident) in herding cats enough to make it easier for companies to support Linux, the door might open for other software vendors to support Linux. Dropbox doesn't owe me some absurd, Edenic computational paradise. It's a company full of people who want to make a living. I'm glad they're going to continue supporting Linux, and in a way that will make it easier for other companies to do so. It is not reasonable to expect every company to employ an army of specialists to keep abreast of every single file system in use by a minority of computer users. Adopting (or in this case, essentially proposing) a standard is a good way to serve this minority and those who work with it. Thanks, again, Dropbox; and that includes for getting me to look around: I learned a few interesting things I might be able to use along the way. -- CAV Link to Original
  3. Yesterday
  4. merjet

    Holding an idea without accepting it

    Yes, Book IV, Chapter XX.5 http://enlightenment.supersaturated.com/johnlocke/longcontents.html
  5. From the name, I'm thinking Cap-italism would probably wear a cap. Mixed-economy would mix it up a bit. Social-ism would want to be friends with both.
  6. A mixed economy would act like someone who has cancer, but has no understanding whatsoever of this, even if a few people are trying to tell him or her.
  7. 2046

    Holding an idea without accepting it

    There's a similar idea in Locke's Essay XX.5 Those who want skill to use those evidences they have of probabilities; who cannot carry a train of consequences in their heads; nor weigh exactly the preponderancy of contrary proofs and testimonies, making every circumstance its due allowance; may be easily misled to assent to positions that are not probable.
  8. Last week
  9. I think we can use Rand's novels to get some idea of how capitalism and socialism would act. Capitalism would act like Howard Roark or John Galt, and socialism would act like Ellsworth Toohey or James Taggart.
  10. On second thought, can a comparison even be made? I know that Capitalism would be run by his constitution/moral principles and not by mob rule/other people's opinions, fears, doubts, whims, delusions, emotions etc. Again, you can find your own way of comparing a person and a particular social system..
  11. Reidy

    Holding an idea without accepting it

    Your advice is good, but, despite what a lot of sources say, the quote doesn't come from Aristotle. It originated in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Crack-Up: "the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." Aristotle says that a good intellect will not require more or less rigor than a topic allows. Nichomachean Ethics I 1 1094b23: "The mark of the educated man is to seek precision insofar as each class allows it, so far as the nature of the subject-matter admits. To accept probable argumentation from a mathematician is like asking a rhetorician for formal proof." I.e. the two are equally absurd. Philosophers other than Rand observe what they call the principle of charity: when in doubt about how to read a text, prefer the interpretation that makes it come out correct.
  12. How would Capitalism, Mixed Economy, Socialism, and/or Communism act if they were people? And why do you say that? You can even throw in a mixed economy moving towards Capitalism/Socialism/Communism For example since a mixed economy is such a hodgepodge of controls and freedoms I think he would act like a schizo... I think history has shown that as well. What do you think... Would Capitalism act like Mark Zuckerberg?
  13. When encountering critiques of Objectivism, I've found the idea of holding an idea without accepting it both very powerful and very true to life. The following two quotes express it for me: "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle "At the root of every significant philosophic theory, there is a legitimate issue." - Ayn Rand I have found this true in work for example. If I encounter difficult systems or difficult interpersonal interactions, rather than trying to escape or deny them, I have found it much more helpful to approach them and work towards understanding them. This isn't quite the same as accepting or resigning myself to them - ultimately I may seek to influence and change them. But it's more about being willing to begin with perceiving and conceptualising them in my own mind, in a way that integrates with the sum of my knowledge. Likewise, in encountering critiques of Objectivism, I've been trying to understand any critique, and the ideas behind it, as clearly as possible. I don't see this as a fruitless exercise, but rather, understanding that there is likely to be some very real and important issue underlying the critique, I try to probe beneath the surface to uncover that issue. The resolution to that issue, if someone has discovered it, might come out of Objectivism, or it might come out of some other school of thought or area of knowledge. Holding a metaphysics of objective reality, I don't see any ideas as completely groundless, having just arbitrarily arisen out of some kind of 'nothingness'. Unicorns don't exist. But neither are they entirely arbitrary and groundless. Rather, they combine, in an imaginative way, elements of perception, which themselves do come out of reality (horses, horns, etc).
  14. Just a reminder of what's going on...or at least what you said is going on: you cut off contact with this person without an explanation. You might want to start the process of re-establishing contact with an explanation for your bizarre behavior, instead of any questions. I would suggest a well composed, written explanation. One in which you assume full responsibility for everything that happened, without being overly dramatic. Good luck: it's a big hole you dug yourself into.
  15. Nicky

    Why are men's clothing so boring?

    If anything, it should be the other way around: women should stop decorating themselves on a daily basis, too. I'm not opposed to the practice, for men or women, but it's a waste of time when done daily. There is no reason why women should only ever leave the house "decorated". And, indeed, women I know who are productive don't waste their time with that. My boss (a woman...she's also my favorite boss of all time) dresses in the same exact, simple clothes every day. She commands the respect and admiration of people around her through her actions, instead of her appearance (not that there's anything wrong with her appearance, it's just plain compared to how most women walk around). She does wear heels, a dress, makeup, etc. but only for special occasions, never for work or casual outings.
  16. JASKN

    Why are men's clothing so boring?

    Like this? XD Even most gays aren't that adventurous with their day to day clothing choices, which suggests to me it's something inherent to men to not get that fancy with their garb, within a given cultural context. There's an ongoing joke that women like clothes that men think are stupid. I'd guess that the "celebrating natural beauty" style is donned for the eye of men, not women. An eye motivated by sexual desire yields different results than an eye motivated by neat patterns and silhouettes.
  17. The questions you suggest are wildly inappropriate. A better idea: Presumably, you know something of the activities she likes. Research those activities to find one that you and she can do as a couple. Suggest an outing. (My ex was way into arts and crafts. Our first "date" was at a crafts fair. She had a blast; I merely tolerated it. But it showed, in action, my interest in her as a person.) Failing that, there's the old standby: "Would you like to do lunch (or dinner)?" It's as simple as that. How she responds will tell you all that you need to know.
  18. by Jason Stotts In case you haven’t heard of it yet, Harvard Psychologist Steven Pinker has a new book out defending the enlightenment and the progress that humanity has made since then called “Enlightenment Now”. The blurb for it is: Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing. Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature–tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking–which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation. With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress. The book does a great job showing how much progress we have made and that the world is getting better everyday. This is an important message at a time when all we hear is how things are coming apart at the seams. While I do have some reservations about the book (which Robert Tracinski does a better job of discussing that I likely would have), I do think it’s a worthwhile read and worth picking up. Link to Original
  19. A criminal, not a capitalist. (Image via Wikipedia.)Notable Commentary "[C]onservatives would do well to offer what Ocasio-Cortez can only pretend to: real concern for our problems, the freedom to find the best solutions, and a moral commitment to capitalism." -- Gus Van Horn, in "When They Reduce It to 'Cost,' Conservatives Lose Fight Against Socialism" at RealClear Markets. "Fortunately, there are organizations like the Institute of Justice working hard to reverse this trend of pointless and counterproductive licensing laws." -- Paul Hsieh, in "How Licensing Laws Harm Mothers, Infants, and Lactation Consultants" at Forbes. "The t-shirts that says, 'American Capitalist' on the front, with a target printed on the back ... was born after the Madoff scandal, when suddenly every American profit-seeking capitalist was assumed to be up to no good." -- Jonathan Hoenig, in "Jonathan Hoenig: Capitalist Pig, Ayn Rand Fan, Highly Successful Manager" (Interview, 2014) at ThinkAdvisor. "The currently-prevailing view of the dollar as money, has its own Medieval retrograde motion to explain." -- Keith Weiner, in "Monetary Consequence of Tariffs" at SNB & CHF. -- CAV Link to Original
  20. In my case the girl did show interest at one point, but I think she’s since lost it and that I am now in the podcast person’s position. I don’t know how to approach finding out. My strategy was going to be to stay away from her for at least a few weeks before contacting her again (we’re now at one week with no contact). I also need to get my life together and get a job after being laid off. But once I’m able to do that, how would I approach her? “What happened before?” ”Are you still interested?” “Are you with anyone presently?”
  21. Nerian

    Why are men's clothing so boring?

    Sorry for necroposting but I don't wan to start a new damn thread just to reply. I had the exact same thought recently and found this thread through google. (coincidentally, I'm already a member here) Male fashion is so boring. Men in our culture tend to be very utilitarian. Suits are all the same. If you're lucky you get an interesting tie or one colour other than white, black or grey. I've decided there's no good reason why men shouldn't or couldn't decorate themselves and dress in interesting ways like women. If anything, the ancient Greeks would be disappointed to see only women celebrating their natural beauty.
  22. In "Democratic Socialism Is Totalitarian Slavery," a remarkable essay at Medium, S.G. Cheah builds an inductive and very readable case for capitalism and against socialism. I'll present two excerpts here, the first as an example of how she builds her case: Making everyone into slaves is ... a way ... to do away with slave markets. But I'd prefer doing away with slavery, thank you very much. (Image via Wikipedia.)It is important for people to learn the connection between property rights as being directly protected by liberty, and how this connection ensures life. To help picture this clearly, think of yourself as Robinson Crusoe. Or Tom Hanks in Cast Away. Or if you're talking to the very young, Matt Damon in The Martian. These fictional characters illustrate this bond between property and life. When these castaways were shipwrecked alone, the only choices presented to them is either to survive or to perish. In order to live, they will have to employ the use of their mind and direct their body to produce the necessary requirement of survival: shelter, water, food. Socialist Guilt Tripping A socialist will bring up the example: imagine if a year later, another castaway is stranded on the same patch of land as you. Don't you have the moral obligation to share your shelter, water and food with him? The answer to this is not "yes you're obligated morally to share" nor "no, you're not obligated morally to share", but rather, the correct answer is: "you shall decide". Why is "you shall decide" the right answer? It is because the shelter, water and food you've created is a product of your mind and body, which is an extension to your very life. The laws of survival which applies to you when you were first shipwrecked applies to the new castaway, as well.... [format edits]Almost anyone who has sought advice on writing has heard the maxim, "Show, don't tell." Much of what you'll find in this essay is a good example of putting that advice into practice. Cheah builds up in her closing to what ought to become a rallying cry against Bernie Sanders and his acolyte, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: In their narrative, Democratic Socialism might not be a logical nor is it even a reasonable way to organize society. This is why they brazenly brush away and ignore the many economic and historic evidence of its consistent failure. Rather, their argument is built upon on how Socialism is the moral system politically because it is the system which "takes care of the needy in society", even if that outcome is just a pipe dream. Fortunately what you, the vigilant and the informed, have in your arsenal is more powerful, because you can address this farce with both logic and morality on your side. Now that you understand the principles behind property rights as being indispensable to life and liberty, you can properly address the perils of Democratic Socialism. Socialism's goal is to eradicate the power of private property. Without control over your own private property, you will not hold any power on your own life and liberty. The threat of slavery is how you should advocate against socialism. Let it be said, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants socialism, and Socialism is slavery. In truth, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez advocates for slavery. [emphasis in original]Thank you, Ms. Cheah, and I hope I have persuaded a few more people to read this piece. (The site estimates it to be a ten minute read.) -- CAV Link to Original
  23. 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
  24. 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.
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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"
  28. Earlier
  29. 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
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