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Doug Morris

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Everything posted by Doug Morris

  1. Doug Morris

    Heirs to dictatorships

    Suppose that instead of burying a container of chemicals on the land, a very sick person goes to a hill away from the land, but from which the land is visible, and sets something up which will detect when the land is being built on and fire an incendiary at the building when there are no people present. This booby trap is sufficiently inaccessible and well-concealed that no one detects it, and it still works after the thirty years. Wouldn't that violate the twenty-year-old's property rights?
  2. Doug Morris

    Heirs to dictatorships

    Is the point that this sort of possibility has to be accepted as part of the risk involved in claiming new land?
  3. Doug Morris

    Heirs to dictatorships

    Can you elaborate?
  4. Doug Morris

    Isn't inheritance theft?

    In a proper system 2. will happen only when the person inherited from fails to make his or her wishes known. In this case, all that can be done is to have a rule based on a best guess as to what most people's wishes will be. It is the responsibility of the person inherited from to make his or her wishes known.
  5. Doug Morris

    Ethics and Nature

    How does the APA define and measure self-esteem?
  6. Doug Morris

    Heirs to dictatorships

    Let's consider this scenario. Through negligence, maliciousness, or expediency, I bury a container on unclaimed land without warning anyone. The container holds chemicals which, over time, will deteriorate and become dangerously explosive. Thirty years later a twenty-year-old claims the land and builds a house on it. (I've died by then.) Before anyone finds the container, vibrations from the building process set off the chemicals. The resulting explosion damages the house, causing delay and additional cost in completing it. Haven't I violated the twenty-year-old's property rights?
  7. Doug Morris

    A Short Discussion On Ethics

    Have you considered Rand's article "The Question of Scholarships"?
  8. Doug Morris

    Heirs to dictatorships

    If I leave a land mine or bear trap set and lying around where I shouldn't, and ten years from now a five-year-old child blunders into it and is maimed or killed, I have violated that child's rights, even though the child did not exist when I committed my active misdeed. Likewise deficit financing eventually steals from people who did not exist yet when the actions were committed.
  9. Doug Morris

    Just Shut Up and Think

    Is counting all that's involved? What, exactly, do you count? Are all concepts and propositions equal for this purpose? What about relationships among the concepts and propositions?
  10. Doug Morris

    Just Shut Up and Think

    Or to also avoid a summation, express it as -2 to a power, minus 1, divided by -3.
  11. Doug Morris

    Just Shut Up and Think

    To avoid recursion in c), express each number as a sum of consecutive powers of -2, starting with an empty sum.
  12. Doug Morris

    A Short Discussion On Ethics

    Objectivist morality may not say how you should brush your teeth, but it does say you should be rational about it.
  13. Doug Morris

    Just Shut Up and Think

    If I was willing to undertake a search of that kind, my initial inclination would be, rather than trying to search through every possible function, to search through every possible algorithm. If I take Church's thesis as a working assumption, the possible algorithms are recursively enumerable, so this could be a mechanical process. I would have to devise a system of time allocation that would allow for lack of knowledge about which computations terminate. Before trying to answer your other two questions, we should first ask, can we be certain there is a best one possible? Could it be that no matter how good one of them is, there's another one that's better?
  14. Doug Morris

    Just Shut Up and Think

    An open ended problem has many possible answers, and usually has multiple acceptable answers, but that doesn't mean that any answer is just as good as any of the other answers. There can be good answers, bad answers, and silly answers, and within each group there are likely to be variations of degree and quality. For example, consider the open ended question "What do you intend your situation to be in five years?" Which answer has what quality would depend a lot on the person giving it. One kind of answer would have the form "I intend to make progress XYZ in my career and/or my relationships and/or my fitness and health and/or the breadth of my interests." This is basically a good approach to an answer. Answers of this form would vary in quality, but some might be equally good, and what answer was how good would depend a lot on the person doing the answering. For some people, it would be a good answer to say "I will have beaten this addiction that is plaguing me, I will have been clean and sober for at least four years, I will have repaired, restored, or replaced much of what I have lost due to this addiction, and I will have made a good start on building further." Bad answers: "I will have extensively explored the pleasures of cocaine and heroin." "I will have gotten extensive and gratifying revenge on that ^&*%^#$ who rejected me." Silly answers: "Potato." "i will be worthy of a unicorn." "I will have literally physically visited Gondor, Rohan, Rivendell, and the hobbits' Shire. I will be staying in one of those places, consolidating the learning and growth I have achieved in these travels."
  15. Doug Morris

    Just Shut Up and Think

    It would literally take forever to try every function. I have a variety of things to spend my time on. Attempting a definition of elegance is not at the top of the list now. But it is a worthy activity and maybe I'll come back to it later. I would certainly welcome a good attempt from anyone else.
  16. Doug Morris

    Just Shut Up and Think

    Having read the problems and your answer, I'm tempted to ask you about the next five potatoes.
  17. Doug Morris

    Just Shut Up and Think

    Spooky Kitty, Thank you for the compliment. For your alternating sequence my 1) answer would be (-1) to the power of n + 1 or a sinusoid. I could still use a polynomial for 2). For c) and d) we could experiment with a sinusoid times an exponential plus something simple and see what that gets us. Polynomials are a conceptually simple general solution, but we could try all sorts of functions. One option would be to say that the given finite sequence just repeats. Providing a context might help us decide which is better. Elegance, like beauty, is at least to some extent in the eye of the beholder, and I'm not sure how to give a good definition of either off the top of my head. But elegance is partly about simplicity.
  18. Doug Morris

    Just Shut Up and Think

    1) a) These are just the non-negative integers in order. The next five are 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. b) These numbers are one less than consecutive powers of 2. The next five are 255, 511, 1023, 2047, 4095. c) After initializing with the first two numbers, each number can be obtained by subtracting the previous number from twice the number before that. The next five are 43, -85, 171, -341, 683. Another rule that gives the exact same answer forever is, after initializing with the first number, each number is 1 minus twice the previous number. d) I don't see an elegant answer here so far, although I presume there is one. I notice that the ninth number is 9 and the eleventh number is -11, but I don't know if this is helpful or just a coincidence. e) I'm not sure about an elegant answer for this one. If we treat these numbers as reduced forms of 0/1, 0/2, 2/6, 8/24, 16/120, 56/720, 584/5040, ..., then the denominators are successive factorials, but I don't see offhand where the numerators are coming from. If we look at ratios of consecutive nonzero numerators, we get 4, 2, 3.5, 10 3/7, which looks a little strange. Are these the first several coefficients of the Taylor series of a reasonably simple function? 2) a) To get a number, add up the previous 11 numbers and divide by 5. The next five are 13.2, 15.64, 18.368, 21.4416, 24.92992. If we extend the sequence backwards so that it follows this rule, the number before the 0 is 5, and the number before that is 4. For the rest I will give a strategy that is conceptually lazy but computationally not so lazy, and for now I will be too lazy to carry out the computations. b) Fit a polynomial of degree at most 7. c) Fit a polynomial of degree at most 6. d) Fit a polynomial of degree at most 10. e) Fit a polynomial of degree at most 6. To answer 3) and 4), we must choose a criterion for deciding which is "better". The first two approaches that come to my mind are i) Use elegance, which would give us 1) as being better than 2). ii) Demand some context before answering.
  19. Doug Morris

    Link needs fixing?

    Somebody sent me this email. I'm not sure why they sent it to me. I'm posting it here in hopes it will be seen by someone in a better position to respond. Heather from Staysafe.org <[email protected]> 3:30 PM (16 hours ago) to dougmorris66 Hi there, I was reading your site and noticed a dead link on: http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php. The website, www.ncjrs.org (National Criminal Justice Reference Service) is sending your readers to an irrelevant site. The correct site is www.ncjrs.gov. Thought you might want to make that change so your readers can get the information you intended for them. I'm with The National Home Security Alliance. We publish articles on a wide range of issues related to safety and crime and I think a lot of our content could serve as a beneficial resource to your informative site. I'd be honored if you would you consider adding us a resource. https://www.staysafe.org Thanks for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Heather Nye Outreach Intern National Home Security Alliance Staysafe.org 1200 G Street, NW Washington D.C. 20005
  20. Doug Morris

    Potential rights... abortion vs. comas etc.

    In some respects, a person in a coma is a potential similar to a fetus. But a person in a coma also has a history as an actual and normally has earned a lot during that history.
  21. Doug Morris

    A theory of "theory"

    Spooky Kitty, I take it that you're thinking of causality in terms of one event causing another, contrary to the view preferred by Rand, that actions are caused by the entities that act. Is this a fair statement?
  22. Doug Morris

    Reblogged:Lucas on Setting New Expectations

    How tardy was the employee? Was there an excuse, and how plausible was it?
  23. Doug Morris

    Coercive School Photos

    I vaguely remember something similar when I was a kid in school, and that was over 50 years ago.
  24. You phrase your question generally. The answer might vary with the individual, especially if there are variations in the reasons why people are homosexual. An Objectivist psychiatrist I saw long ago told me about introspecting, looking inside yourself, to see what's going on and why. If you want to make changes, you have to get all the way down to the mental processes that led to the subconscious (automatized) premises that are governing your emotions. (A logical error? An overgeneralization?) He also said that attempting to reason out what's going on is incompatible with introspecting, so one must avoid the former to succeed at the latter. I eventually came up with my own example, which I did not share with him, that may help clarify this. Suppose you are seated at a table with a place mat in front of you, and the question comes up whether there is something under the place mat, and if so, what. You can try to reason it out, or you can lift up the place mat and look. The latter will work better. Sometimes introspecting can be a lot harder than lifting up a place mat, especially if there are defense mechanisms in the way. He compared it to trying to remember something, which is sometimes hard. It might come to you at a time when you aren't consciously trying. One thing you would need to get at in your introspecting is whether it is partially or wholly, and if the former, what else there is. I wish you well.
  25. I am copying the following link to a Frontline presentation about Putin's interference in USA elections. The person who presented this link finds the presentation very alarming. (She is not an Objectivist.) I have not, as yet, had time to watch this myself. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/?utm_source=promourl&utm_medium=direct&utm_campaign=frontline_2017 For anyone who has watched this or researched the matter another way, how much danger do you think we are in? Is there anything ordinary citizens can do about it?