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    Objectivism Is The Everyman's Philosophy

    In the universe, what you see is what you get,

    figuring it out for yourself is the way to happiness,

    and each person's independence is respected by all

  • Rand's Philosophy in Her Own Words

    • "Metaphysics: Objective Reality"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed/Wishing won’t make it so." "The universe exists independent of consciousness"
    • "Epistemology: Reason" "You can’t eat your cake and have it, too." "Thinking is man’s only basic virtue"
    • "Ethics: Self-interest" "Man is an end in himself." "Man must act for his own rational self-interest" "The purpose of morality is to teach you[...] to enjoy yourself and live"
    • "Politics: Capitalism" "Give me liberty or give me death." "If life on earth is [a man's] purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being"
  • Objectivism Online Chat

    Reblogged:Assessing Risk Assessment

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    Computer security Bruce Schneier wrote some time ago about how easy it can be to accuse others of misjudging risks, even though most people actually have a good intuition about risk:
    Coming across this post again after listening to one of Alex Epstein's podcasts on human flourishing provoked my mind to make an interesting connection. (I don't specifically recall which one(s) this was -- my time for listening is currently limited mostly to time I set aside for running errands around town.)

    One of Epstein's major themes is how to evaluate the many claims to knowledge that one encounters, and two obstacles that he has named to doing so are (a) experts don't explain things well, and (b) the importance of many such claims are exaggerated. Here, we have an expert quite possibly not being clear enough about an explanation (about, to be fair, a topic that is difficult to begin with) addressing an audience jaded by lots of bad and or over-hyped security advice. Schneier's advice cuts through both problems, and he ends his post by basically advising computer security professionals to be sure they understand risk from their audience's perspective before giving their recommendations.

    This is good communications advice, but it can also be turned around and made into good thinking advice regarding claims to new knowledge one encounters. As with any claim, one should try to evaluate it as knowledge by asking oneself how well it integrates (or doesn't) with the rest of one's knowledge. But, assuming the claim is knowledge, how urgent is acting on it? That depends on integrating it within the full context of the rest of one's values. It can be easy to get carried away with new knowledge and forget to do this -- to assess one's own risk of not applying the knowledge. (The most obvious costs of unnecessarily acting on new knowledge are wasted time and effort.) If your primary use of a pen drive is to transfer music or video files between a couple of devices you own, the urgency of encrypting the data is probably zero -- if you work in a nuclear power plant, and use one at all, it is almost certainly for work, and you probably should be fired for it not being encrypted. With any claim to knowledge, one faces two questions: (1) Is it true? and (2) How important is it? 

    -- CAVLink to Original

    Reblogged:Recycling Insanity

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. -- Narcotics Anonymous

    The folks over at 99% Invisible have fallen into the above-mentioned trap regarding the folly of post-1970's recycling, in an interesting piece about a documentary that may have led to China's recent ban on imports of foreign "recyclables." The film, Plastic China, portrays the squalor of some of the modern rag-pickers this craze has produced:
    At the intersection of our current technology levels and the value of these materials to the furtherance of human life (i.e., the lack thereof), this is exactly what saving everything we possibly can takes. The mask of respectability of recycling has finally been tugged at. Hooray!

    But recycling is only one person in the unholy trinity still being worshiped at 99 Percent Invisible:
    And so, predictably, just as one nation is stepping back from the abyss of wasted time that is modern recycling, they call for us to double down on the folly by doing more of the grunt work of recycling here and wasting even more money and effort kowtowing to the other two.

    They -- and we -- would do well instead to consider the work of John Tierney, who also notes that some of the packaging we're supposed to "reduce" keeps food from spoiling, among other things. But I am getting ahead of myself, and I must first give the angels of 99 Percent Invisible their due, so to speak. I heartily agree with the conclusion of this article:
    It is, but not in the narrow sense of saving a mantra at all costs. As I noted early last year, "around the 1970s, hippies changed the goal of recycling from benefiting human life to preserving the natural world."

    It's time to ask ourselves the same question the Chinese seem to have asked themselves when they saw a poor girl's life being wasted and degraded by this barbaric rite of slow human sacrifice: Why should we recycle? This is an important question, and the quality of your life depends on it.

    -- CAV Link to Original

    Reblogged:NRO's Latest Derailment

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    National Review is no friend of Ayn Rand, as amply demonstrated first by its infamous non-review of Atlas Shrugged by Whittaker Chambers and confirmed by the fact that it stands by same decades later. As I argued ages ago, this tells us much more about that publication than it does about Rand:
    I explored this infatuation with conformity at some length and concluded in part about its author:
    Kevin Williamson hardly goes to such lengths, but his take on the recently-killed California bullet train is similarly unjust regarding Rand. That he bizarrely includes the false and gratuitous smear of Ayn Rand as a "utopian" shows -- at best -- that he is either incredibly sloppy or hates Rand to the point he can't see straight:
    Think about the bolded sentence for a moment in light of the fact that an important point Rand makes in the novel is that central planning can't and shouldn't run a even railroad, much less society at large. When called on his lumping together of Rand with her ideological opposites on the left, all of whom he calls "utopians," his feeble defense is basically more of the same:
    No. The book doesn't end with the chapter on the "Utopia of Greed," but with the men who went on strike returning to rebuild America, including the following lessening of government control over the economy:
    If by utopian, Williamson means "dictating how others are to live," he is plainly wrong about Rand. If by utopian, he means "thinking deliberately about how men should organize as a society," perhaps he should admit that he has big problems with the fact that the founding fathers and Ayn Rand did so at all. And if by utopian, he means that Rand asserts that there is a way of life proper to man, he should come clean about why he has a problem with Rand doing so, but not one with other philosophers or with religion.

    -- CAV Link to Original

    Portrait Generator

    AlexL
    By AlexL,
    Portrait generator: https://thispersondoesnotexist.com/ (refresh for a new image; still some visible glitches...) Non-technical explanation: https://www.theverge.com/tldr/2019/2/15/18226005/ai-generated-fake-people-portraits-thispersondoesnotexist-stylegan https://bigtechquestion.com/2019/02/14/online/thispersondoesnotexist-com-is-this-the-most-terrifying-website-ever-created/ Technical details: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1812.04948.pdf

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