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Matus1976

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Matus1976 last won the day on October 21 2010

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    Philosophy, science, politics, atheism, skepticism, technology, history of technology, art, poetry, physics, motorcycles, aviation, inventing, movies...

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  1. I am an objectivist and inventor with two products currently in prototype phase (~80% complete) one has been accepted by one of my state's largest and best engineering schools in their Intellectual Property Law Clinic program to sponsor the patent development and submission. I'm looking for Objectivist or Rand admirer investors interested in making healthy profits with unique innovative products. My two products deal with transportation technologies (NOT electric vehicles!!) currently and I have many other products in the works. I am looking for an Angel Investor or Venture Capital investor, accredited investors preferred but not required. If interested please contact me or if you know someone who might be please feel free to forward my contact information. Michael F Dickey MFD Industries 10 Belval St Norwich, CT 06360 860-986-7422 [email protected]
  2. Female conceptions of Beauty from Atlas Shrugged

    Here are the ones I've collected so far, relevant but not yet edited
  3. Forced to take a 'social science' course and ending up in Sociology, for the assigned paper I decided to contrast the gender conceptions of beauty from common media sources against those portrayed in Atlas Shrugged. I'm pouring over the text again for the goodies, but looking for help from fellow Rand admirers, point out your favorite examples that convey the concepts of feminine beauty, such as Rearden seeing Dagny for the first time, etc. I particularly like the way Rand conveys beauty in the feminine context and it stands as a stark contrast to popular conventions, where women are often portrayed as shy, passive, demure, dependent, etc. Where Rand's beautiful heroines are strong, confident, capable, intelligent, etc.
  4. MY 3D Cities

    I do all my 3D work with Lightwave 3D by Newtek, are you interested in getting into 3D?
  5. MY 3D Cities

    I came across this old thread and I thought I'd post some of the updates I've done to the Art Deco Skyscraper. Here's a short animated fly up the side of the building http://www.youtube.com/user/matus1976#p/a/u/1/N_80STuGkgU Anyone else working on cool 3D buildings / objects?
  6. This is a terrible argument against free markets because the regulations caused these problems in the first place. The truth of the matter is, if Coal mining companies were left to their own devices, they would do strip mining, not tunnel mining. They tunnel mine because environmentalist have made strip mining almost completely illegal, every year it is increasingly harder to get approvals to strip or surface mine. They've forced our workers back down into collapsible holes in the ground digging out flammable rocks in explosive gases. Why did this company have dozens of violations yet was not shut down? Because it is basically impossible to operate a profitable coal mining operation while also abiding by every regulation - the very nature of tunnel mining is not cost effective in most cases - my guess is that regulators know this as well as the industry does, and they all perform a complicated dance trying to operate as safely as possible while still not shutting down. A strip mine in Wyoming Dozens die in coal tunnel mining accidents every year in the US, while virtually none die in strip mining accidents
  7. What do you think about my Art?

    Would you care to share with us some criticisms of your own art then? Actually, she did not ask 'is this art' she asked for opinions about her art. And here you are quite wrong, MissLemon's work IS "ART" in every proper sense of the term, it is a selective recreation of reality based on her metaphysical value judgments. What you think is that it is not GOOD art. That is a different statement. MissL has recreated reality, and no doubt what she chose to recreate was in part based on her assessment of reality and values. Whether you think what she chose to recreate is of any value, or if it is objectively interpretable in a rational sense, is an entirely different question. Art can be properly judged on many different avenues. It can be judged on it's technical complexity, it can be judged on it's efficacious in achieving it's technical goals, it can be judged on it's efficacious on achieving it's formal goals, it can be judged for uniqueness (though no objective rational assessment of art would rank this as significant) it can be judged on the theme it is objectively attempting to convey, and how well it achieves the conveyance of that theme, etc. etc. Miss Lemons work has rich colors, is technically complex, recreates the reality she is attempting to recreate with proficiency, but lacks a coherent objective theme interpretable to rational men. It is on a perceptual reactionary sense aesthetically captivating, but in a cognitive sense lacking meaning or significance. However, it does not contain a bad or negative or anti-human anti life theme. It has no significant theme. The worst kind of art conveys no message in any objective sense, or conveys a disgusting message in an objective sense. Uninspired art contains no message or theme interpretable in an objective sense, but may have technical mastery or rich complexity and uniqueness. I wouldn't call this bad, but nor would I call it good, though specific aspects of the attempts behind it can be judged good or bad in proficiency.
  8. Star Trek, 2009

    I quite liked that too, I was hoping at the end in front of the black hole they would say something like 'hey can we go back in time and ?' only to have someone else say 'no that is utterly ridiculous' then, oh well, on with the world... Again to distance themselves from tired Star Trek plot lines.
  9. Fear Mongering and the Swine Flu

    Experts predict that the swine flu will kill 30,000 people this year! oh wait, that's the regular flu, and that's every year. I've seen no evidence that this swine flue is more deadly or contagious than any other common strain of flue, it just had a catchy name and was new. In 6 months it will be as forgotten as SARS and Avian Flu.
  10. Ability

    Unfortunately you are the one in error, my previously cited example of the young climbing girl clearly demonstrates that, for instance, skeletal proportions are not *entirely* genetically predisposed. Not only are they influenced by nutritional factors during growth, but also stresses during growth and development. I suggest you actually examine such claims before you so confidently assert their validity when you are utterly wrong. The young girl in question has an arm and finger length that exceeds all but the smallest minority of humans, neither of these did she inherit from her parents or anyone in her lineage, but instead came directly from the stresses of climbing while she was growing as a young girl applied to her body. Muscle length is similarly effected, and muscle fiber composition (fast twitch vs slow twitch) is still hotly debated, current evidence suggests that the ultimate configuration is predetermined, but a large portion of muscle fibers in any individual can change from one to the other depending on the type of exercises applied to them. Science does not back up your claim which is apparently born of a very cursory knowledge of physiology. A few minutes in google scholar can do wonders On muscle fiber types: A calcineurin-dependent transcriptional pathway controls skeletal muscle fiber type http://genesdev.cshlp.org/content/12/16/2499.abstract Slow- and fast-twitch myofibers of adult skeletal muscles express unique sets of muscle-specific genes, and these distinctive programs of gene expression are controlled by variations in motor neuron activity. It is well established that, as a consequence of more frequent neural stimulation, slow fibers maintain higher levels of intracellular free calcium than fast fibers, but the mechanisms by which calcium may function as a messenger linking nerve activity to changes in gene expression in skeletal muscle have been unknown. Here, fiber-type-specific gene expression in skeletal muscles is shown to be controlled by a signaling pathway that involves calcineurin, a cyclosporin-sensitive, calcium-regulated serine/threonine phosphatase. Activation of calcineurin in skeletal myocytes selectively up-regulates slow-fiber-specific gene promoters. Conversely, inhibition of calcineurin activity by administration of cyclosporin A to intact animals promotes slow-to-fast fiber transformation. Transcriptional activation of slow-fiber-specific transcription appears to be mediated by a combinatorial mechanism involving proteins of the NFAT and MEF2 families. These results identify a molecular mechanism by which different patterns of motor nerve activity promote selective changes in gene expression to establish the specialized characteristics of slow and fast myofibers On skeletal development Growth and development: hereditary and mechanical modulations http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pi...889540604001908 Growth and development is the net result of environmental modulation of genetic inheritance. Mesenchymal cells differentiate into chondrogenic, osteogenic, and fibrogenic cells: the first 2 are chiefly responsible for endochondral ossification, and the last 2 for sutural growth. Cells are influenced by genes and environmental cues to migrate, proliferate, differentiate, and synthesize extracellular matrix in specific directions and magnitudes, ultimately resulting in macroscopic shapes such as the nose and the chin. Mechanical forces, the most studied environmental cues, readily modulate bone and cartilage growth. Recent experimental evidence demonstrates that cyclic forces evoke greater anabolic responses of not only craniofacial sutures, but also cranial base cartilage. Mechanical forces are transmitted as tissue-borne and cell-borne mechanical strain that in turn regulates gene expression, cell proliferation, differentiation, maturation, and matrix synthesis, the totality of which is growth and development. Thus, hereditary and mechanical modulations of growth and development share a common pathway via genes. Combined approaches using genetics, bioengineering, and quantitative biology are expected to bring new insight into growth and development, and might lead to innovative therapies for craniofacial skeletal dysplasia including malocclusion, dentofacial deformities, and craniofacial anomalies such as cleft palate and craniosynostosis, as well as disorders associated with the temporomandibular joint. Since you asserted none of these changes 'such as muscle fiber composition' are subject to change, and are "utterly determined by genetics" and I have easily shown otherwise, I hope this is enough for you to realize your assessment is incorrect and to re-examine your stance. Unless by 'determined by genetics' you simple mean we have bones and muscles made up of particular material, the stresses applied to bones and muscles during growth and development do have a significant effect, and stresses applied even after that period still have major effects. She had a gene for liking to climb trees? uh huh. I suppose she had a genetic predisposition to liking spider monkeys as well, and not, say, sloths. The more likely explanation is that you are incorrect and unable to admit it. Ah, I see now, you single anecdotal story completely disproves legions of studies. It also conveniently excuses you of failure. Perhaps those other runners ran more as younger children. Perhaps they practiced smarter than you (and not just more) perhaps the way you trained was wrong and actually made it worse for you. You error is that upon observing differences in ability, and upon being unable to with a few minutes of thought identify an explicit cause for that difference, you automatically attribute it to genetic pre-determinism. And yet, our genome differs very little across individuals, the vast majority of beneficial mutations would have permeated the vast majority of humans during the 200,000 years which we were subjected to immense selective pressures, and not the last 200 year where we have not been.
  11. Ability

    Perhaps you trained poorly, or incorrectly, or not at all. Learning to play chess, for example, by randomly moving chess pieces in random manners, is not very productive. Learning to play by studying strategy, rules, etc, is. A person such as yourself might very well look at two individuals, one who spent decades learning the poor nearly random way, and the other who spent days learning the strategic, intelligent way, and conclude that one is 'genetically' gifted for chess, the other not. The best speed rock climber in the world today did not become so because she was genetically gifted, but because as a young girl she played with spider monkeys in trees in Africa, altering her physiological structure because of choices she made, for the rest of her life. Similarly engaging in particular activities at a young age, especially during the years of mental and physiological development, can have drastic consequences on your subsequent ability in many other things. A slightly better performance or training, at 1 or 2%, something below the threshold or perceptibility, can compound over years into huge differences with no apparent cause. These and many other objections to the outright attribution of ability to genes have been discussed throughout this thread, I suggest you review them. While there is indeed an egalitarianism philosophical bias to downplay individual ability as a product of genes, there is a anti-individualistic and material deterministic bias to down play the role of choice in variations in ability, the latter being the mainstream scientific bias and the former the old school bias from the days of eugenics. Your generalizations and hand waving are not compelling arguments. The popular debate in science today, after all, on human behavior is not between volitional consciousness and determinism, but between "Nature vs Nurture" (i.e., which brand of determinism more strongly pre-determines your behavior) "choice" is conspicuously absent from consideration.
  12. Ability

    I do as well, except my conclusion is the opposite, that genes play very little ultimate effect on ability. It is glaringly obvious to me that the vast majority of ability normally attributed to some kind of innate or natural advnatage is more properly attributed to the correct kind of training and practice, skills acquired as a corollary to other behavior, or skills acquired and compounded from a young age from seemingly unrelated behavior. Coupled with the fact that our choices can actually alter our expressed genetic code (research epi-genetics) and the philosophical bias popular in modern science toward materialistic determinism, the result is to glorify irrationally the deterministic and reject irrationally the volitional.
  13. Highest Value

    Objectivism is not about a list of commandments or dictates about what ought to be moral. Objectivism is an objective morality because if you desire to live and exist in the real world, there is, objectively, only one standard of morality that is conducive to such a thing, and that standard is loosely life, but is more accurately life qua man. People looking from a religious perspective tend to use the word 'objective' in the sense of absolute dictates that are unavoidable and unquestionable, like 'objective morality' and I see this even in the scientific secular skepticism people, like Michael Shermer. It's wrong to look at objectivism as a standard of morality in this sense. Objective, in the scientific context (and not omniscient religious context) means it is logical, rational, real, and available to anyone using tools of cognition. It does not mean it is absolute, unyielding, and perfect. All scientific knowledge approaches, asymptotically, the 'ultimate' truth, but we'll never know when we reach it, because we would need to be omniscient and step outside the quest for knowledge in order to know when that quest is complete. But we know we are getting better because we are able to do more things and more of our scientific models work better and better as they are developed. While there is an 'objective' truth we strive toward, it's a never ending quest. Objective in science then is the ever more accurate understanding of something when tested against reality derived through appropriate tools of cognition. When we say the mass of the proton is 1.27 x 10^-27 that is, indeed, it's 'objective' mass, even though it will change, it is a value testable and derivable by anyone. Objectivisms morality is not a list of Rules that say Rand said you must do this or this, it's the identification that the only proper standard of morality is life, if your goal is to live, because as entities that exist in the real world, an objective reality, all of our actions have consequences that are unavoidable. Anything else is only suicide slowed to the extent with which you deviate from that standard. Rand's character flaws, whatever you believe or don't believe them to be, are as irrelevant to her identification of the standard of morality for sentient beings that wish to live as Newton's cantankerous nature and obsession with religion was to his laws of motion, calculus, and optics. What is moral in objectivism is that which is proper to the life of sentient rational beings who are not omniscient that live in an real universe. But not just proper to 'life' as in the mere mechanical existence, but a particular kind of life, an Aristotlean Eudaemonic life, or Life Qua Man, as mentioned. It's important to be clear about what you mean by self-ish. It's most common to associate selfishness with 1 of 3 definitions 1) acting on the immediacy of the moment in accordance with some desire you have or 2) acting in some loose sense to benefit yourself but at the expense of someone else 3) not doing what I think you ought to do (you're being sooo selfish!) But what you are trying to achieve, and why you are doing it are dropped contextually. Mugging someone is 'selfish' in this manner just as going to school instead of hanging out with your friends and playing video games is 'selfish' This is where that notion that 'everything you do is selfish' comes from, and why it is of no value to discuss, in the sense that you are a volitional being and you choose to move your muscles and speak words, all your actions are the result of something you desire to do. But this is a concrete bound context dropping. Though you choose to initiate movements, the actions are not necessarily in your self interest, let alone your long term rational self interest. So even though she feels compelled to save the stranger, merely because she is acting on a desire does not mean she is acting in rational self interest, but in she sense that she is in control of her actions, she is acting under a 'self-ish' desire. But to use 'self-ish' in that sense is really rather pointless, because other people can not directly make your muscles move. Altruism, in Objectivism, is not merely 'helping others' there is nothing wrong with that, in fact it can be good and conducive to your own fulfilling life if you identify shared values you and the person you are helping hold and help them achieve that value. When you help others at your own expense, that's different. When your helping others results in your own immolation, that usually always bad. However, we are not omniscient, so we don't always know when our help will result in our own demise, most of the time people do such things they operate on the assumption that they themselves will survive, sometimes there assessment is irrationally derived, but the motivation is not self destruction to save another. If she is a fire-fighter, for instance, rushing into a fire to save a stranger is not an unreasonable thing, her skill set will make it much more likely for her to survive and save the person. Firefighters, politice, and Soldiers are not acting 'altruistically' any more than you are when you choose to go to school instead of play video games, instead they are acting in accordance with their highest values, fighting to maintain and promulgate the things they desire and the world they desire to see come about. They are acting in their own long term rational self interest, ensuring the world they desire for themselves and for their loved ones. Selfish-ness in objectivism is rational-self interest, which is long term, logical, non-pejorative, and based on proper values. It is not merely satisfying whatever whim you as a self happen to have. You should always critically examine your values against that standard of a fulfilling life to you. It's dangerous to confuse the 'altruism' of sacrificing short term comfort and conveinences for long term goals with the sacrificing of your own well being for the well being of - not people that you care about - but in fact people that you dislike. Words are what we use to represent ideas, and without words to identify clearly what we mean, the ideas are muddled. The former form of 'sacrifice' is really a proper 'prioritization' of values, while the latter is a reversal in the prioritization of values! Often the struggle and effort is the same between the two, it is that struggle which we usually come to associate as indicative of 'sacrifice' but just as it is wrong to call both getting your next heroin fix and not helping a parasitic 'friend' in 'need' selfish, it's wrong to call the struggle to cut one's own throat the same as the struggle to ensure the people who love and care about have the basic necessities of life. I think that's an important component of it. But what is more important is the clear identification what your values are and why they are your values, of upholding ones values, proper to a good life and existence in the real world, and working to promulgate those values either by helping other similar spirited individuals or one's self. They should all, ultimately, contribute to your long term rational self interest, even if in the short term they might be difficult. But if they are difficult in the short term, AND work AGAINST your long term rational self interest, with or without subjugation - empathy, altruism, or compassion - are not acceptable to a morality based on life. I'm not sure how you figured he chose the non-selfish value. Ephialtes seemed to embrace a short term irrational angry reaction (that he could not serve with the Spartans) and bound it to a concrete permanence in betraying the Spartans to the Persians. He values the short term hedonistic pleasures offered to him more than the long term well being of the land he loved. While you could say his physical actions were 'selfish' in the sense that he chose to act, they were not focused on the promulgation of his highest values, but only on his short term emotional reaction and temptations. I think (my interpretation anyway) that when Leonidas condemns him to a very long life, his doing so makes Ephialtes realize that he has in fact betrayed that which he values the most and his existence will be a torture. Evey was willing to die in order to prevent V's location from being discovered, because her mere mechanical existence was not what she valued most, but it was a particular kind of life and world she wished to see promulgated. She was tortured over and over again, at any moment she could have betrayed V and been let go, so it was not to avoid pain. That was the lesson that V taught her, that there is something she values more than just existing, and doing so has a profound impact on one's life. ** I found it funny that her very first response upon realizing it was V was "...... You cut my hair!!!.... you TORTURED ME!" apparently she valued her hair more than not being tortured =P
  14. Highest Value

    This understanding of Objectivism is incorrect, though it is a common mistake I've found among those just learning about Objectivism. Have you read Atlas Shrugged yet? In it, the culmination and embodiment of Rand's Philosophy, the main character, threatens seriously to kill himself if the woman he loved was going to be tortured (someone else mentioned that you should read that section, I concur) This is the most obvious and glaring counter to the notion that one's 'life' is one's highest value. However, the motto of that character is "I swear by my life and my love of it, that I shall never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine" which is what usually leads people to the understanding you seem to have here. The apparent contradiction is only from the superficial understanding of the philosophy. The "Life" that is your 'highest value' is not merely your mechanical existence. Consider for a moment what kind of life you would have if everything you did was focused SOLELY on perpetuating your mere mechanical existence. You would spend every waking moment building barriers to the world and the various random threats it poses, you would not talk to people, lest you get sick and die, you would not visit people, lest they betray you and kill you, you would do nothing but wall yourself and try to find the biochemical fountain of youth. In short, you invalidate the possibility of valuing anything but your mechanical existence when your mechanical existence is supposed to be your highest value. You would readily and willingly sell or exchange anything else you value in order to secure your mechanical existence, be it your wife and child, or your career and principles. So when you see "Life is my highest value" you should not read that as 'existence is my highest value' the 'life' that Rand talks about, and is proper, is a particular KIND of life, and particular KIND of existence, one that is proper to sentient rational beings that exist in a real world, and one that is proper to YOU based on your values and interests. That is why in Objectivism the standard for morality is not "life" but "life qua man" (which should more precisely be - Life qua man qua YOU) Two popular concretizations of this recently in film. In V for Vendetta, when Evey was being tortured by V, she learned that she did value something higher than her own existence, and this made her realize that her whole life had been spent cowering in fear. When threatened with execution to expose to whereabouts of V, she refused, thinking full well she would die, because the life (her existence) she would have lived if she did turn V would have been miserable, as she betrayed one of her highest values. In 300, Leonides 'condemns' Ephialtes, the deformed Spartan who betrayed his beloved land to it's greatest enemy for sex and out of spite of the King, to a 'very long life' because he knows he has betrayed that which he most loved, and his continued existence will be torture to himself. Life as in mechanical existence is normally a pre-requisite for values, so it is a very high value, but it is not an end of it's own in the context of an individuals self value, it is not the goal of all actions. It is what is needed in order to achieve the things you value, it is a particular kind of existence that is our goal. An Aristotlean Eudaemonic life. As sentient rational entities that live in an objectively real universe, we understand that things perpetuate beyond our own existence. We are not solipsists who think existence is a convenient figment of our own imagination, but it continues on regardless of our inclusion. As such, we know that things we value can perpetuate beyond our own existence as well, so no, values are not things relevant only in the context of YOUR existence.
  15. Savant's minds are different in the sense that they are not using vast resources in perpetual pattern recognition, this simultaneously accounts for their amazing mental feats and inversely proportional social skills. Discover magazine has a good write up on the topic http://discovermagazine.com/2002/feb/featsavant including a device which will artificially and temporarily induce savant like abilities in 'normal' people. The human brain is an incredibly powerful supercomputer, probably 10 - 100 times more powerful than the most powerful one built yet, but a huge proportion of it's resources are used for subconscious pattern, primarily visual, recognition. When a 'normal' person draws an animal, for instance, they sketch out the rough shape and then add in the details, working backwards from the concept of the animal to the concept of it's details. A savant, in contrast, will draw a hoof, then a tail, then an eye, then a shoulder muscle, all proportioned and spaced exactly, they draw by recreating every minute detail, but do not understand the concept or pattern behind it, and if you ask them to do a different angle, or create their own angle / vision, and they will not be able to. This is also why a savant / autistic person can be seemingly captivated by something others might find mind numbingly boring, like clothes tumbling in a dryer. For them, every single instance is a unique and fascinating sensory stimulation, for everyone else, the brain eventually get's it, and moves on.
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