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Everything posted by mweiss

  1. mweiss

    Bach "vs" Rachmaninoff

    J.S. Bach was in the Baroque Period, not the Classical Period, as defined by the span of time between Beethoven and Mozart, who lived in a much later time period. Addressing the Op's question, and it is a personal opinion, I find both of these composers interesting in different ways and for different reasons. Each one reaches me on a different level, stimulates different emotions than the other. Right now, I am enjoying a piece that was co-authored by Rachmaninoff and Fritz Kreisler, Liebesleid. I recorded it last Saturday, for a client who performed with the symphony here in a major CT city. Perhaps it's the young lady's lilting and uplifting performance and the use of tempo changes and dynamics that makes this particular performance such a joy to listen to, but without the composer having written it, I would not be experiencing the enjoyment now. I seem to recall in the 1960s, that Mary Ann Rukavina gave talks on the philosophical meaning of music, how to identify its motives and what these motives mean, philosophically. I believe too that if one is integrated and has developed listening skills, then it is possible to see why a downward chord progression would be deemed depressing, while generally upward progression would be uplifting. Every melody makes an impression upon us. Music stimulates our emotions most of all, but since emotions are the rapid-fire response to incoming information and are based upon a sum total of our philosophical premises, then we can deduce that music does have objectively-definable attributes. There are so many levels on which this operates--at the gutteral level of a savage, all the way up to the sophisticated allegories of a symphony which intertwines many thematic elements into a cohesive whole. Music doesn't just 'happen' and it doesn't lack some sort of philosophical principles--on the contrary, music is an expression of philosophical ideas and there are specific devices in music that express ideas, purely on an instrumental level. I think most of us, if asked, could identify a piece of music that was pragmatic, vs. a piece that was carefully-integrated. To understand why, may take more than a layman's knowledge in music, but I am quite certain that it can be dissected and analyzed and the components of a piece and it's sum total can be identified down to philosophical motives.
  2. mweiss

    Do Not Vote

    If you think that's so bad, try to imagine what dealing with Jury Duty would be like! I just got summoned this week. Hoo boy, here we go again! I cannot vote to convict a defendant who broke an unjust law. They're not going to like to hear what I have to say about jury nullification. My only beef with Motor Vehicle people is that now they are asking for Social Security numbers. I went through a considerable hassle at my last license renewal because I told them it was none of their business; that SS is between a Subject and the Social Security Administration only. After a 15-minute delay, I got my renewal. What a waste of time, given that illegals can get licenses without having to pass any test--just go to any corrupt DMV official and pay a 'fee'.
  3. mweiss

    America's Financial Mess

    At about ten o'clock this morning, I heard Greenspan on the radio (he was participating in some sort of hearing--I caught portions of it while driving) giving his explanation for why the economy is in decline. Essentially, he stated that there was a flaw in the free market model that he had been using and which had "worked well for forty years." So now it becomes clear that this is his official 'swearing off' of Objectivist free market principles. For those of us who suspected that Greenspan had jumped ship from the Objectivist thinking, we can now be free of any doubt.
  4. I happened across a Blue Room (for democrat/Liberals) posting on DSLReports.com, a place where I frequently hang out, reporting on an event of disturbing nature in Utah. Before I get into this, I should state that I don't have any interest in, nor care about "Raves" and the associated people. To me, they're freaks; twisted, perversions of humanity who live hedonistic existences. That said, I read the articles and then read the accounts from various attendees of the event. It seems that the promoters made an effort to obtain the legal permits to operate, it was done on private land with the permission of the owners, and the event was taking place reasonably peacefully. Then after about 11:30pm, SWAT teams descended upon the patrons and performers, as if raiding a terrorist camp in Iraq. What could be deemed as excessive force was documented on video by one or more of the staff/fans. The personal accounts told tales of verbally-abusive behavior on the part of ALL law enforcement on the scene (about 90-100 of them according to the eyewitnesses) and physical violence against a lesser number of persons by a smaller number of police/SWAT team members. In my mind, this gets filed as yet another experiment by our government, to test the reaction of the public to martial law and dictatorship. Waco, Ruby Ridge and other events are but tests in a longer, more sinister plan to move us toward a police state. I think that such abuse is calculated and planned, not accidental. There is just too much evidence and consistency in the statements obtained from the event-attendees. Much information is posted on some web site run by these Rave people and it's listed below: http://www.music-versus-guns.org Statements from attendees can be found here: http://www.music-versus-guns.org/versusstatements.html There is also some video on the site, for those curious. I find the whole event to be yet another step into a grand experiment with administering martial law on a civilian population. My hunch is the the Utah authorities saw this Rave, in an isolated mountain basin, as an ideal testing ground for their tactics. It was out of the way, out of sight of the general public, and easy to contain the spread of information. They were confiscating cameras, smashing cameras and arresting the owners and otherwise taking drastic measures to suppress the gathering of any physical evidence on the tactics being used. The whole thing sounds fishy to me. What do you think? Are we seeing pockets of despotism in America?
  5. mweiss

    Faster than a speeding bullet!

    The following quote from the article: For instance, an astronaut moving faster than it would theoretically arrive at a destination before leaving. is a contradiction in terms. This is either a gross misinterpretation by a naive journalist, or, if it is a correct interpretation of what these two scientists stated, it raises serious questions about the veracity of the rest of their theory. The article was too superficial to draw any conclusion from.
  6. mweiss

    One other thing I noticed about AS

    I don't take this as an indictment of sports by Miss Rand, but rather a decision she made that resulted from her determination that sports was irrelevant to the intended purporse of Atlas Shrugged. It would neither enhance nor detract from the story; it would be vestigial, were it to be included.
  7. We already have a system in which people have to pay a lump sum once or twice a year. It's called property taxes, and if you think people in my town would raise a stink over having to write two checks per year for $7500 each, you're in for a surprise. So even if it was income taxes, payable in full on April 15, the majority would consider it a 'moral duty' to pay them, just as they do with local property taxes.
  8. Not rare at all if your job is packing tampons in boxes for 12 hours on a rotating shift, year after year, after year. Your examples are just temporary boredom due to unanticipated idle time. I used to commute 90K miles a year when I was in consulting engineering, and my typical commute lasted over two hours for 'local' work and much longer for 'regional' work. I've done both in the course of my life, and I can tell you that the hopelessly-boring existence of a subsistence wage job, working in a factory environment that is uncomfortable, under pressure to keep up with machinery that is chucking out product at a rate just a little faster than you can keep up with, affords you no time for creative reflection and is a truely hellish boredom. Since I quit the job market, I have never been bored.
  9. mweiss

    Therefore, God Exists.

    The best hypothetical argument I could dream up for "pro-God's existence" would be the question of how order in the universe came about. Now, Objectivists pretty much agree that a thousand monkeys, typing for a thousand years on a thousand typewriters, could not write Shakespeare's works. It is the nature of random forces not to generate coherent works. Taking that argument loosely, a religionist could argue that, like the monkeys, random events in the universe could not bring about organized and complicated life, ecosystems and the like. It takes an organized consciousness to write prose. It is easy to think that the creation of the universe would be the same.
  10. mweiss

    I Am Legend

    Actually, this story was first filmed in 1964, under the title The Last Man on Earth, with Vincent Price in the lead role.
  11. mweiss

    Windows Vista DRM:

    It probably comes as no surprise that Microsoft is under heavy pressure from the film and music industry to implement robust digital rights management (DRM) into the very core components of it's upcoming operating system, Vista. What is less known is the cost of implementing this on a complete gamut of software and hardware and the dangers it will pose to users, economically, and maybe even worse, when used in mission-critical applications. From that economic factor comes a lot of potential economic injury to the users who buy high end computer hardware, only to have the hardware key potentially-revoked because of a code leak and thus a security breach. What made MS kowtow to the music and film industry, when they could have followed the attitude of NZ's TV industry, which essentially did "an Atlas Shrugged" when presented with onerous DRM rules by the music industry there? What sort of moral and legal quagmire is MS opening itself up to, by aggressively engaging in the implementation of DRM, including key revocation that could render a gamer's $500 graphics card as useless as a brick, just by invalidating it's key? The following articles are lengthy, but if you consider personal computers to be an essential part of your business life, this issue affects you, as it affects all computer users. Some key points: DRM will skyrocket the cost of hardware, because of the uniqueness of the method, it won't be possible to use unified drivers, or one chipset for several models of peripheral. Each card model will need to be a completely unique chipset, or it won't be accepted as secure hardware and get the digital signature assigned. Small-time hardware developers will be driven out of business, because this hardware approval process will be way out of reach of small companies and hobbyists who build their own peripherals. Keys can be revoked. As soon as one key is comprimized, all devices using that key will be rendered inoperable. The potential for class actions as a public caught unaware that their expensive hardware could be rendered useless by a few bits over the internet looms ahead. DRM methodology in Vista is to degrade video and audio quality significantly, when outputting to high quality devices. S/PDIF audio devices would be disabled when "premium content" was present on the system. The article goes into great detail on the unimaginable and potentially catestrophic side effects of this scaled degradation method of DRM, when used in mission critical apps. The overhead of all the many steps of encryption/decription will be tremendous. Users are already reporting that the performance hit is substantial. http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.txt http://www.engadget.com/2005/07/21/the-cli...iny-red-button/ Should MS have told the entertainment industry to "stick it", rather than genuflect to the industry, considering that 95% of entertainment content, in the age of Vista, will come through PCs? Will the public be properly informed at purchase time, about these and many more subtle cripplings of their system?
  12. mweiss

    Jesus Found Dead in His Grave

    This ought to really shake up the religious world: http://urbansemiotic.com/2007/02/25/jesus-...d-in-his-grave/ What if enough of the Bible is exposed to prove that it is nearly all, if not all, fiction? What then will the religionists cling to? Anyway, if there is a movie coming out as this article suggests, then I'm going to be interested in seeing it. Why isn't this all over the major news media? Has anyone else heard of this discovery?
  13. mweiss

    Designer Babies

    Having just watched the Spielberg movie "Artificial Intelligence" about robot children who look, act and love like real children, this topic caught my eye for a few reasons. Assuming one could choose all or most of the attributes of a their children raises some interesting questions: How does this affect the natural balance of genetic traits distribution among the population? Would a large number of parents choosing a certain set of attributes have the effect of reducing the available pool of humans with other genetic attributes by gender, and hence reduce the possibility of certain humans with a preference for the less-chosen genetic attributes, of finding a mate? If nature designs in certain traits for a reason, and we design them out, how does it affect the survivability of the race? In the movie AI, interesting metaphysical and moral questions were raised. One was the issue of self-aware robots that could learn to love and to have empathy. The moral issues of destroying said robots was raised, in the event a set of parents did not want the child robot any longer and after "imprinting" had occured, forever bonding the child robot to its new family. It was quite an interesting flick, a little Kubrickian toward the end with the 2000 year leap in time, but raised a lot of the same issues as talked about here.
  14. mweiss

    Why did my post end up in the Trash?

    I too noticed that I could no longer find my posts in the 'recent' list and did a search, only to find that they were in the Trash folder as well. And they were not spam or links with no text. They were thoughtfully-written comments about things that happened to me. Worse than BroadbandReports.com, ObjectivismOnline's moderators don't even bother to send you a note that you've broken some rule. Instead, one ends up wasting time hunting for a post that no longer exists where it was posted. I know that the board's admin has contempt for me as a person, ever since I pointed out last year that OOL had a problem with popup spam ads. It turned out in the end that the problem was with the board and not my computers. Instead of an apology, I get more of the same belligerant attitude from the admin and, to a lesser extent, the other mods here. You folks are pretty bright here, and closer to the real Objectivist thinking than folks on another board where Barbara Branden hides out, but in terms of personability, you leave something left to be desired. Not to rant, but I think it would be decent and courteous to inform someone that their post was unsuited and being trashcanned. Don't leave us to go hunting for nothing.
  15. Yes, naive of me to even think that they who don't even read constituents' letters can't read a novel.
  16. I've got an idea: Why don't we all sent a copy of Atlas Shrugged to ever congressman and senator? I think that would be more effective.
  17. mweiss

    Jesus Found Dead in His Grave

    My wife listens to the radio and all she mentioned was that computer glitch on the Dow-Jones, not this... I found more information on the topic of Cameron's new documentary here: http://www.plastic.com/comments.html;sid=0...13231591;cid=43
  18. It's been all over the news, and it reminds me of the cases where our servicemen are being given long sentences for killing the enemy. Here's a summary from Mike Galagher's site: The wife of jailed border patrol agent Ignacio Ramos had been told by her husband how a group of Hispanic inmates had beaten him bloody a few days earlier. The inmates had watched “America’s Most Wanted” on TV which featured a sympathetic host, John Walsh, telling the tale of the two border patrol agents who shot a low-life drug smuggler in the butt and how those agents wound up with long jail sentences while the drug smuggler was given total immunity and a promise of a few million bucks down the road for his sore fanny. http://www.townhall.com/columnists/MikeGal...he_border_guard
  19. mweiss

    Is it ever moral to go on welfare?

    In answer to this very question at a lecture I attended of Ayn Rand's sometime in the late '60s, someone from the audience asked this question, in general terms. Her very general answer was this: "The system is already there. Use it."
  20. mweiss

    Sorority removes "unpretty" girls

    One can probably argue that it may be 'immoral' to single out those less physically gifted, but then it depends on the criteria. If it were Miss America pagents, where the objective criteria were based on appearance, physical proportions, weight, etc., then the concept of "moral" would be in conflict with the objectives of the pagent. However, in a scholastic environment, I would find it more difficult to defend a decision which eliminates people based on given physical appearance. But it is a microcosm of the macrocosm. Being born ugly DOES limit your job opportunities, ability to sell yourself if you're in business for yourself, and affects your overall social relationships with everyone from the clerk at the department store to how law enforcement treats you. Believe me, it's much harder for the big, fat, bald man to get justice in a courtroom than for the man who looks like Gary Cooper. Throughout life, these overweight dames will probably grow resentful of men in general and some will be destined for miserable and lonely lives, while others will deal with it as best they can and get on with their lives to whatever extent they can manage. Personally, I don't think that these clubs have any important role or value in academia and should be no longer officially promoted or supported by universities. Too much crazy behavior goes on as a result.
  21. mweiss

    Tax protesters in NH?

    I don't understand your absurd comparison. What the Seastead project is attempting is a free society outside of the many tolatiarian nations' control and since there isn't anymore land available, the new fronteir is the ocean.
  22. mweiss

    Tax protesters in NH?

    And here's a modern alternative to Galt's Gulch: Seasteading: http://www.seastead.org http://www.seastead.org/commented/paper/faq.html
  23. mweiss

    Tax protesters in NH?

    This site is very interesting. If the wealthy are leaving the US to escape rising taxes on the wealthy, then we may be seeing a version of "Atlas Shrugging" going on right now. This article has facts, figures and links to specific US code to back it's statements. Poor and middle class could be paying over 300% more in income taxes once the top wealth earners leave the US. A fascinating read: http://www.actionamerica.org/taxecon/tickfast.shtml
  24. mweiss

    Town Hearing

    Two weeks ago, I became aware of a developer’s plans to build a 5-unit “affordable” housing development just 300’ from my property line. There’s going to be a town meeting on the 15th, and the neighbors are having a pre-meeting tomorrow afternoon. I have a longtime friend and neighbor who is a civil engineer, licensed in NY, who will be our “expert testimony” at the hearing. The area to be built on is zoned for 2.5 acre lots. The subject lot is about 3 acres and the builder want to construct five homes on lot sizes as tiny as .7 acre. Because 3 of the homes are to be “affordable housing” and that the town hasn’t met the state’s quota for such housing, zoning and wetlands regulations can legally be swept aside. The concerns are that the septic system design submitted by the builder is inadequate and will result in contamination of our wells. My civil engineer/neighbor claims the situation created will be dire and that where he works in Westchester County, such a septic plan would fall short of compliancy with minimum standards for separation of leaching fields. He emphasizes that housing this dense only works when you have city sewer system serving the complex. I can only add historical perspective, being a 42-year resident at this location and being very conscious of the drinking water quality. In the late 1970s, when a small development was built 1/3 mile east of me, I noted a decline in the taste of our well water shortly thereafter. I can only conclude that adding more homes and septic systems will degrade our water still further. The town will only allow two arguments at the hearing: if they concern a public health issue if they concern a public safety issue I think we can argue the health issue. But obviously, the state-mandated quota for “affordable” housing implies that 3 of the 5 homes to be built are to be reserved for the “economically disadvantaged.” This hints at the possibility of undesirables moving into the neighborhood, with it’s median income of $150K. Typically when the poor move in, there are other problems that they bring with them, including misbehaved children. Historically, over the past four decades, there have been some relatively poor families in this neighborhood and virtually all of the vandalism and property destruction caused to private property has been traced to the children of these families. One advantage of living in a wealthy neighborhood is that the kids seem to be better behaved and educated, wherein they don’t feel the need to go out and cause property damage for kicks. This latter concern is certainly one I share. But equally so is the potential damage to the quality of our drinking water. Given that our ability to argue against this development will be hamstrung by the restrictions mentioned above, does anyone have any suggestions for ways to approach the issue in a manner that is satisfactory to the Hearing’s rules, but gets across these other points? Towns aren’t rational, and while it may be somewhat effective to make a case that their construction will be an “initiation of force” against us by pollution of our aquifer, I think the stance will come across too bizarre for town officials to comprehend. If you were in my shoes, how would you argue, given the situation as descibed?
  25. mweiss

    Tax protesters in NH?

    It appears that the Ludwig von Mises Institute supports Ed Brown: http://blog.mises.org/archives/006190.asp