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  1. Today
  2. I hear you, however, the ultimate and entire moral and economic purpose of a Corporation is the interest of the shareholders, who are the owners. The owners themselves are individual people with finite life spans. Ownership means their individual interests are paramount... at least it would in a moral society. So in the end, although there may be no foreseeable end date for an entity such as a corporation, and although long term flourishing of the corporation is in the long term interests of the owners, that long term cannot be so far outside the range of human life that the individual shareholders will not be the beneficiaries of that which they own. The owners are not morally held to sacrifice their own individual interests to future generations. Any savings, or investments, or any other action a corporation takes, must be to the benefit of and intended to accrue to the current living shareholders, or as the shareholders voluntary designate, their beneficiaries, assigns or transferees, etc.
  3. The long-term investment may also be of value to organizations that have longer life expectancies than individual people.
  4. Four Things 1. Over at In the Pipeline, Derek Lowe discusses a paper whose authors are taking a new approach to treating Lyme disease -- by looking for an antibiotic that might treat the infection more specifically while sparing the gut microbiome:The authors conducted a screen in soil actinomycetes, which as they note are a pretty well-studied source of antibiotics -- but not so much for really selective ones, because that's not where the focus has been, historically. And they uncovered a compound that's been known since the 1950s, hygromycin A (also known as totomycin). To the best of my knowledge, it's never been developed for human use, because it was not seen to be especially potent against panels of common disease organisms. But it does hit B. burgdorferi and several other spirochetes, interestingly, while having much lower activity against common gut bacteria.The paper goes on to suggest that the compound could also be used to tamp down the presence of the disease in the wild. 2. Twitter recently updated the behavior of its site in a most unhelpful manner: If you keep multiple tabs open in your browser, leaving Twitter's tab and then returning to it results an a very irritating page refresh -- causing you to lose your place and wiping out any Tweet you might have been composing. Shortly after, I found a better place to compose: Twitter Character Counter. (Fellow Emacs users can find similar functionality without having to use a web browser here. (HT: Mark Gardner)) 3. Speaking of useful web sites, GeekPress links to a discussion thread titled, "What useful unknown website do you wish more people knew about?" As he warns, it is a rabbit hole, but I quickly found several I could use, not including the above. 4. Scrimmaging with my son's soccer team the other day reminded me that, as I approach codgerdom, I might want to look into "walking football." My brother sent me the link to the YouTube video above, which I found to be a hybrid of the somewhat Monty-Pythonesque and -- as you might expect from the cultural reference -- worth filing away for later. Skip through the first five minutes or so to see a couple of English teams playing. -- CAVLink to Original
  5. To save mass, instead of cladding the entire ship with the idea humans should be able to run around essentially naked everywhere inside... designate only a small percentage of ship for "relaxation" areas (where people can wear jammies and slippers) and the rest of the ship requires full protection of specially designed radiation (but not pressurized) suits. Of course sensitive electrical and other equipment will need proper shielding... and the greenhouse/chicken coup as well.
  6. I wonder if given the parameters of solar activity and its interplay with galactic radiation and the varying benefits of differences of thickness of the theoretic cladding , if there won’t be engineering in mind of interchangeable ‘cladding’ systems. ’Tow’ some extra cladding and apply when needed and then shed when it is more beneficial for thinner cladding. As obviously necessary as radiation protection is needed, isn’t still the largest hurdle to over come a means of food production or hauling capacity ? I think I’ve seen mentioned that radiation protection will be presumably ‘figured out and engineered’ well before the food issue.
  7. Yesterday
  8. Philosophy, Engineering - a life, a mind Interview of me:
  9. Dealing with radiation: Optimal Radiation Shielding of Astronauts on a Mission to Mars
  10. ... it's that he accepted Mission Impossible. An article in The Hill dings the Transportation Secretary and the President by implication for poorly handling the current spate of shortages and supply chain issues that started during the pandemic and have only worsened. I am no fan of Pete Buttigieg or Joe Biden, but this line of criticism is neither fair nor accurate: There is no such thing as a person or even a government that is "qualified" to run an entire economy, and the whole idea is ridiculous. I have quoted the economist George Reisman on this numerous times before, and I'll do it again:Image by U.S. Dept. of Transportation, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.The overwhelming majority of people have not realized that all the thinking and planning about their economic activities that they perform in their capacity as individuals actually is economic planning. By the same token, the term "planning" has been reserved for the feeble efforts of a comparative handful of government officials, who, having prohibited the planning of everyone else, presume to substitute their knowledge and intelligence for the knowledge and intelligence of tens of millions, and to call that planning. (as quoted in Andrew Bernstein's Capitalist Manifesto, p. 345) [bold added]This is in no way intended to let Buttigieg or Biden off the hook: They subscribe to the incorrect view that government can run the economy and to the morally bankrupt view that it should, overriding our individual judgement and our freedom in the process. It was this anti-freedom notion that led to the disgraceful and disastrous combination of "lockdowns," redistribution, and inflation (but I repeat myself) here and abroad that threw numerous monkey wrenches into the world economy in the first place. These immediately caused obvious problems; the current shortages are knock-on effects of those, and will not be helped by more rights-violating and heavy-handed attempts to "fix" them by the likes of Buttigieg or Biden. It is for those things that we should roundly condemn the Democrats (and any Republicans who attack them on the grounds of "incompetence"), while offering the superior alternative of freedom -- rather than merely carping that a small town mayor can't solve all our problems, as if any central planner could. -- CAVLink to Original
  11. As far as motion in place, Aristotle should not be thought of as offering a strange and totally off base theory compared to modern physics. Rather, much of what he writes could work as fluid dynamics. Even assuming Newtonian physics, we can't disregard when objects move through mediums. If anything, Newton and Galileo underappreciated the notion of objects going through mediums. The way bodies according to Aristotle move to their natural place is similar to how objects of different density move differently in fluids. Aristotle was not wrong about physics in the sense that an astrologist is wrong about the stars influencing your life directly. He was wrong like Newton, in the sense that his theory didn't predict as much as he had hoped, in the same way Newton could not predict how subatomic particles move. In the world we live in, moving through air and water, Aristotle's observations and analysis are the right approach. Rovelli, C. (2015). Aristotle’s Physics: A Physicist’s Look. https://doi.org/10.1017/apa.2014.11 Book IV 1 – Bodies are carried to their own place if not obstructed. 2 – Place is compared to a jar. So, to the extent that place is separate, it is not form; to the extent place contains, it is not material. 3 – A thing can not be within itself in the primary sense. 4 – The question of place only comes up because of the question of motion. We don't need to bother asking about places outside the context of motion, certainly not if the concept place is inductively dependent on motion. The heavens have no place because nothing surrounds it; if it did have a place, something would be around it. All things are within the heavens. Place is the limit of the limited. 6 – It might seem like that void is real because things contract or compress. By compressing, it might seem as if void is within the thing because void might seem like the reason it can go into itself. 7 – Things do not need to move by void, alteration is enough. A thing does not need to move into nothingness. 8 – Within the void, nothing is differentiated. Every direction is equally the same, every movement is to the same extent. In this sense void is not treated as simply a vacuum, but the complete absence of anything whatsoever of any particular nature. A true nothingness. At least a vacuum implies some nature of how things move through it. Aristotle sees movement in place as always through a medium. 9 – Some people think that things can compress because they contain void. Being smaller or larger, in the sense of being compressed or expanded, really has to do with material, not so much a movement in place. The material would have to do with the potential of something to be smaller or larger. 10 – Find the impasses deliberately. Aristotle likes to find ways to get stuck in reasoning, I would say as a way to question common sense assumptions that might otherwise be hard to notice. Time is not composed of nows. Each successive now is destroyed. Time is like part of a circuit, but not a circuit itself. In these ways, now is not exactly a time. 11- Time is only perceived when there is motion so in this sense time must have something to do with motion. Time is a number of motion fitting along before and after. It is a number of motion as what has been counted, in the same way that 5 might be a number of particular horses in front of you. Time is motion only insofar as motion has number. The now is not time, in the same way that a point is not a line or part of a line. Instead, now is an attribute of time. 12 – Time is a measure of motion. Time is a number of change as being counted. Things are in time just as things are in number. They are not within a literal time as a physical space, but within time because they belong to the concept time. Spacetime treats time as a space, but I suspect that the technical definition that Einstein used of time is different than what Aristotle used, not as an improved definition, but referring to something else. 14 – If there can't be a counter, there can't be anything counted. This might sound like primacy of consciousness, but Aristotle treats time as only a measurement. Time is not something primary, entities are primary, so its existence already depends on concrete things. Furthermore, motions must be measured - the resulting measurement, time, only exists after someone does the measuring. This whole chapter has a lot about measurement. Time is like a circle because change of place can be uniform, circular motion is the most uniform, and all motions are measured by time. Book V 1 – The form is not moved. It is motionless, as it is a state of being that things move towards, and does not itself exist independently. Change from: one subject to another = motion to contraries subject to what is not that subject = destruction from what is not a subject to the subject = coming into being. 2 – Motionless things are considered at the rest if they have the capacity to move. There is no change of a change. 3 – The continuous has limits that touch, are the same, and hold together. This would be like a relay race. 4 – When something is continuous, and its ends are one, the motion is one. 5 – Things that do not have contraries, change from them is contrary to change to them. Coming into being has no contrary since that which doesn't exist can't itself change into a state of existence. But if change from existing into nonexisting is destruction, then doesn't coming into being have a contrary? Perhaps the question is about if there is a contrary that can become the thing that changed, in the way you can go from sick to healthy to sick again. 6 – Is rest a coming to a standstill? Does movement by force or by nature affect this? Book VI 1 – The continuous is always divisible so what touches whole to whole is not continuous. 2 – Disproving Zeno. If the parts are finite, then passing through them is finite in time, if the part can measure the whole.
  12. Six Poems (YouTube video)
  13. Last week
  14. The Washington Times editorial staff complain via this title, "Why don't liberals [sic] know what conservatives believe?" That's a fair question, but I think they need some help with understanding the confusion -- especially after making themselves sound so like leftists (or worse) in the process. Let's look at their two examples, but in reverse order. Take the issue of school choice. The piece correctly complains that opponents of school choice see the whole idea as a racist plot to deny decent educations to poor, black, inner-city children:Scylla and Charybdis, aka The Left and the Right in Modern America. (Image by A. H. Payne, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.)Moving to the second tweet, University of North Carolina-educated Nikole Hannah-Jones of 1619 Project fame wrote last week, "Why do 'school choice' advocates never advocate eliminating school district boundaries/funding schools by local property tax and allowing poor, Black students to attend white, wealthy schools in neighboring municipalities? They don't really want choice, just privatization." As Hannah-Jones would have quickly discovered if she bothered to read the replies to her tweet, many conservatives have advocated for this policy for years... [bold added]Such a step might be good, as a step towards making parents best able to choose schools for their own children -- but that's only because privatization is the way to achieve meaningful choice, via competition. But the Times leaves off that meaningful qualification. (Chance to engage minds? Lost.) I haven't heard a conservative make a point like that in a long time. In fact, now that I consider this reply, it reminds me of so many times in the past when some craven conservative -- faced with some false widows and orphans will be thrown to the streets-type accusation -- quickly backed off with the equivalent of, Oh, no! I'm not a capitalist at all! But at least on that issue, one can imagine that some conservatives are at least trying to smuggle a modicum of freedom into a horrible system that we're stuck with for the foreseeable future... On abortion, there is no room for such hope, which is a shame because that's an issue the left is actually correct about, except for its statist method of funding it. Take a gander at what the Times has to say about the oblivious leftists wondering why anti-abortion states don't force men to pay child support (including pre-natal medical bills) to the mothers of their unwanted children:[A]nyone with even a passing familiarity with the pro-life [sic] movement would know that conservatives are perfectly fine with forcing men to pay for the pregnancies of women they impregnate. In fact, the state of Utah, a deep-red state with a Republican Legislature and Republican governor, passed a law doing exactly that earlier this year! Yet Ioffe is completely clueless about this conservative viewpoint. [bold added]Wow. This makes the government forcing me to pay for someone else's abortion look positively humane and borderline capitalist compared to the enslavement of a woman and a man to the not-yet-living that the Times here is asserting as a conservative position. This radical capitalist/classical liberal will offer his two-part answer to the question above. First, one can forgive the left for part of the confusion -- which is still shared even by many who think of themselves as conservatives: Conservatives themselves used to at least pretend to be pro-freedom and pro-capitalist. Hell, some of them actually were, to an extent. Second, the left is so rabidly anti-capitalist they can't even think straight when the idea of ideological opposition rears its head: Voice a desire for school choice or anything that sounds vaguely free-market and you'll probably be called or thought of as racist, as wrong as that is. The left routinely smears all its opponents, and many of those doing the name-calling -- thoroughly indoctrinated by a school system conservatives won't even discuss abolishing -- believe their own propaganda. What a surprise! I was merely disappointed by the school choice concession, but I am appalled by that We're way ahead of you on your child support idea! That one reminds me of when conservatives claimed to support both economic freedom and the draft, as if they thought you could own your wallet, but not your own life. Thanks, Washington Times, for clearing the air, I guess. At least, this time, you're being honest. -- CAVLink to Original
  15. We discuss rhetoric and persuasion in this latest episode of our podcast. What exactly is rhetoric and what are some important principles of persuasion? We answer these and other related questions. Check it out!
  16. Dupin, that writing of Dewey's is contained in The Later Works - Volume 3, which covers 1927-28. "Dewey traveled to the Soviet Union in 1928 as a delegate with other American educators. He reported somewhat glowingly on the possible Soviet trajectory for cooperative life and experimental education, but he was soon to alter this bright prophecy as the Stalinist faction's 'revolution from above' began its murderous purge. . . . Dewey remained prosocialist yet anti-Marxist." (Dewey by Steven Fesmire - 2015) One part of Marx I doubt Dewey would ever have bought into anyway: dialectical materialism. When Dewey was a young beginning philosopher, although he was a Hegelian (later rejected by Dewey), he did not accept Hegel's dialectic. I imagine Dewey would have found Marx's dialectical materialism similarly otiose. I'm not yet much versed in Dewey's social philosophy, but I gather that his stout support of democracy was tied to his experimentalism philosophy and his views on social criss-cross process (as in science) for arriving at the better in knowledge and social arrangements. Though he hoped for democratic socialist outcomes from the democratic processes (if I understand correctly), I seriously doubt he had confidence that his favorite contender (socialism) would be the democratic outcome. Then 'so be it', would be the attitude of one so committed to experimentalism and democratic process. I notice John Dewey and the Soviet Union
  17. It looks like the Southern Illinois University Press leaves out Impressions of Soviet Russia and the revolutionary world ("and the revolutionary world" is not capitalized on the title page). The first six chapters, the ones about Soviet Russia: Impressions of Soviet Russia
  18. Over at RealClear Markets, David Clement of the Consumer Choice Center cautions against legislation in Congress purporting to regulate PFAS, a class of compounds with a variety of uses in industry. He takes a recent rant by British talk show host John Oliver as his point of departure:The issue with the "one size fits all" approach, advocated by Oliver and being pushed by Congress, is that this fails to appropriately address the hazards and risks presented by each of the 5000 chemicals that fall under the classification of PFAS. This is an important distinction, because the risk that PFAS presents for human health largely depends on how humans are exposed to these chemicals. [link omitted]I oppose government regulation of industry and will note here that the dumping of C8 Clement cites would have been dealt with by better respect for and enforcement of property rights -- if not preempted altogether. That said, we are likely decades away from any substantial or meaningful repeal of such regulations. Given that fact, I agree with Clement that whatever regulations there are should be as scientifically sound and well-considered as possible:In a regulatory state, other people's panic can be hazardous to your health. (Image by Andrey Metelev, via Unsplash, license.)For example, some of these chemical compounds are vital for contamination-resistant gowns and drapes, implantable medical devices, stent grafts, heart patches, sterile container filters, needle retrieval systems, tracheostomies, catheter guide wire for laparoscopy and inhaler canister coatings. To declare all these chemical compounds hazardous, without evaluating the risk associated with each use, puts lifesaving medical technologies in jeopardy and patient safety at risk. In fact, Congressman Larry Bucshon, who was a heart surgeon, criticized the PFAS Action Act for failing to include a revision that would exempt PFAS use in medical devices, stating that the bill in its current form would jeopardize access to life-saving drugs. [link omitted, bold added]As with other bogeymen -- single-use plastics and fossil fuels immediately come to mind -- we have some small, ignorant, and vocal part of the population zeroing in on a real or imagined hazardous side-effect of a great innovation and -- apparently completely oblivious to any benefits that innovation might bring -- essentially trying to do away with it. I am grateful to Clement for calling attention to this latest example. -- CAVLink to Original
  19. Tomorrow October 12, a discussion of Leonard Peikoff's lecture "My Thirty Years with Ayn Rand" will be carried over YouTube Channel. The specifics are here.
  20. Easy. The form of "Christianity" that's actually practiced today (even by such open Bible-bashers as Prager) bears very little resemblance to the original form of Christianity that's actually expounded in the Bible. You can find plenty of alleged "Christians" who believe in liberty and individualism; sure. And you can also find plenty of alleged "Muslims" who find the idea of a political Jihad morally abhorrent and want nothing more than to live in peace and freedom (I've met a few at the gas station I used to work at). Find me a "Christian" who has actually read their own holy book, in its entirety, takes its moral teachings seriously and still believes in the founding principles of America. I would be very surprised if you could. In that respect the founding fathers were even less Christian than today's right-wingers. Dennis Prager has made multiple YouTube videos (and maybe I'll have to track them down and link to them) arguing that there can be no conception of morality except in a religious context and that secular values of any sort (any value which isn't derived from the Bible) lead politically to Communism and mass slaughter. It's not that no religionist can be a conceptual thinker; it's that no true religionist can be truly pro-liberty. They can mouth the sound "freedom" (just as the Communists do) but if they believe in it then they don't take their religion seriously; if they take their religion seriously then they don't believe in freedom. The alleged "Christians" who truly are pro-freedom are our allies, just as the alleged "Muslims" of that sort are. I just don't believe that's the camp Prager belongs in.
  21. Picture of Particle AND Wave (at the same time!) (Although likely we should be saying particle-like AND wave-like: a wavicle.) HT - Dan Edge
  22. Your conclusions don't seem to follow from your premises. How is it relevant that there are different kinds of infinities? Nietzsche's eternal recurrence does seem logical, assuming that it's physically possible for things to turn back the way they were. After all, eternity is eternal... So sooner or later, it will happen. But that's also a separate issue than the question of life after death.
  23. Sev, There is another formulation of immortality that does not invoke a conveyance entity and is argued as a certainty, not a possibility. That is Nietzsche's 'eternal recurrence'. This is not a situation in which the recurrence of one's self and same life would be felt as sameness to prior same-existence(s), but the situation of recurrence can be reasoned to. The argument goes that because the future is infinitely long, all the things composing the sequences of the world and one's life and person in it must eventually recur. Even granting the assumption of Nietzsche's day, that the chemical elements will be capable of forming the molecules of life for an infinite time to come, the recurrence Nietzsche envisioned is impossible. The failure is not realizing that there are different sizes of infinity. The infinity of real numbers is larger than the infinity of integers, such that the probability that a number picked randomly from the real numbers will be an integer is nil (zero). Similarly, the infinity of future hours (we are going along with as assumption in the setup for the doomed argument) is a smaller infinity of courses of hour-fires I can have in my fireplace and smaller than the infinity of life-courses I can have in front of any particular course of fire in the fireplace. The hour of life I have just now passed will never recur.
  24. No. The notion is only a childhood brainwashing holdover. More is required for possibility than lack of surface contradiction. Isn't it possible that cellular life is possible only through attendance by a non-physical life force? No. Genuine inquiry about brain/consciousness - real possibilities
  25. I realize that the standard objectivist answer is that the afterlife/reincarnation is arbitrary, but is it really? After all, we know that consciousness is real, and we don't have the scientific explanation for it yet. Isn't it then at least a possibility that, if there's an entity which contains the essence of your consciousness, that entity might later come into a physical formation that gives you a life as a living being again?
  26. If you ever wondered why every other country in the world but ours seems to be able to build things, wonder no more... At City Journal is an article by Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) about the negative regulatory impact (to understate it) that a Nixon-Era environmental regulation has had on our energy sector:Hoover Dam was completed in less than half the time it took to approve work on a short stretch of Interstate 70. Image by Nathan Roser, via Unsplash, license.)Fifty years since [the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)] was signed into law, the process has become a bureaucratic nightmare. The latest data show that completing an [Environmental Impact Study] takes four and a half years, on average. One-quarter of the statements take upward of six years. Some projects drag on even longer: the approval process for a 12-mile expansion of Interstate 70 in Denver took 13 years to complete, with a final impact statement running 8,951 pages (not including an additional 7,307 pages of appendices). Before NEPA, projects could be completed quickly. Congress authorized the damming of the Colorado River in 1928; construction began in 1931, and the Hoover Dam was opened five years later. The federal government approved the Golden Gate Bridge in just seven months. The NEPA process would have rendered the swift completion of these projects impossible. [bold added, links omitted]Thirteen years to approve a short stretch of a road versus less than five years from start to finish for the Hoover Dam! If the Biden Administration were serious about improving American infrastructure, it would at a minimum consider rolling back or eliminating NEPA altogether, or perhaps even enacting the reforms Schweikert and Lee propose. (This is the first I've heard of them, so I haven't an opinion on their merits.) If our infrastructure is worth spending $3.5 trillion on, then surely making that money go farther and the improvements faster deserve serious consideration. -- CAVLink to Original
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