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Posts posted by emorris1000

  1. I really can't figure out where to put this, so I'm just slapping it here (I know this isn't the right spot.) It's an old Arpanet (very old) discussion between Jim Henson, Ayn Rand, Yoko Ono, and Sydney Nolan. It's an interesting read, to say the least.


    Sadly, from what I can read here, Rand comes off as quite a dick. There's nothign wrong with being rude for a point, but here it comes across as quite pointless. She doesn't seem to be listening to the others and is very much trying to make the conversation about her and her philosophy as quickly as possible, while also being unnecessarily insulting (doing it for its own sake).

    For someone who is not looking for outward approval, there is something that reads somewhat desperate in her writing here. Where the others choose to engage in actual dialogue, Rand is highly pedantic. A modern chatbot could easily have replicated her writing here. It is not the writing of an ego, but simply a reaction to external force.

    It's a bit of a painful read.

  2. I'm not talking about the John Galt speech, I mean, ok maybe I am to a degree (last time I "read" Atlas Shrugged it was a book on tape, that section was like 2 hours long).

    More its the litte one page/one paragraph epiphones/realizations that the characters had. They all had this "he slowly began to understand the true nature of the enemy in front of him." and then would go into a thing about the looters etc. Except that the same character would "slowly begin to understand" the same point over and over again.

    I guess we're well off the original topic at the moment, so I'll attempt to steer it back with this quesiton:

    What responsibility is it for the imbiber of a substance (that is not considered by "experts" to be a drug) to take it upon themselves to determine its deliterious effects? Or, can you plead ignorance as a defence? Like back in the days when 9 out of 10 doctors agreed that Lucky Strikes were good for you, or that a little of the magical cocaine syrup was a health elixir.

  3. Ah ok, well yeah if you use it like that (a historical party at a historical place) its not called fascism (with a little f) but Mussolini's Italian Fascism. Its a proper noun, referring to a unique thing. And it makes about as much sense to call obama a Fascist (with a big F) as it does to say that he got in a time machine, went back in time to the 30s, and joined up with Mussolini and Co.

  4. I think it's fair to say that it was a little from column A and a little from column B.

    The CRA/FDIC thing pulled a number of banks to make riskier loans. Then you started seeing some hints that banks, even non-CRA banks, were under threat of being held to "higher standards" for low income loans etc. The 90s was a really bad time for this. This was a push. With the hole market moving towards these riskier portfolios, particularly during a speculation boom, it was hard for a bank to get the kind of profits that were "the norm" without taking on risk.

    So, they made the choice to push towards riskier financing, but the housing boom, the shift from the internet speculation, the glass-steagal deregulation, etc etc, made for the perfect cattle run to encourage them to lead themselves into the slaughter house.

    Long story short, this is why I use credit unions. Why would anyone put their safe/savings/low risk money into an institution that they have no control of?

  5. True, it is speculation.

    The writing comment is also speculation, and you could be right that it's a matter of the writing style of the time. But there's something about Atlas Shrugged as compared to The Fountainhead or Anthem. Specifically with the speeches. It reminds me of how a person under the influence of meth will repeatedly perform the same task over and over again trying to find perfection, while ignoring the fact that the repetition actually hurts the quality of whatever it is being repeated.

    Edit: maybe its just me, but do you guys know what I am talking about with regards to the writing? There's something...manic about it.

    I guess it really all is speculation though.

  6. Doesn't seem off topic to me. The OP asked how the universe can be finite while being endless. The answer is that the universe is physically finite. Time and space are relational attributes, they don't actually exist.

    Grames did a really good job of explaining this to me. I still find it to be a bit of a weasel definition (by restricting to non-relational attributes), but it works.


    I absolutely do not have "operate on the understanding that space is potentially a bounded infinite set of positions", since such an idea is irrational and doesn't reflect reality.

    Nothing in reality can have an infinitessimally small volume in reality, that's pure rationalism. Nor do actual points or point-like particles exist in reality.

    These are two different statements. For the first statement. If you assume that space is not quantized then it IS a bounded infinite set of positions. There's nothing irrational about that.

    This is different from the second statement, which I agree with. Nothing can have an infinitesimal small volume.

    But, in a continuous space, it can move in infinitesimal increments.

  7. Ok, here's my basis for assessment.

    1) She made statements saying that "drugs" were bad:

    It is the moral responsibility of the individual not to take substances that destroy his mind. I would fight for your legal right to use marijuana; I would fight you to the death that you morally should not do it....

    2) She used amphetamines, which means she didn't put them in this category.  The argument that it's a "productive" drug and not a brain numbing/destroying drug seems a likely justification for this.  However:

    3) Amphetamines DO destroy the mind.  I simply don't buy all the stuff about it being a "productive" drug.  Sure, in the short run, absolutely it is.  In the long run (meaning 1 year or so of use), it will begin to have severe neurological effects that most self aware people will recognize.

    It's kind of like red-lining an engine.  Yeah, it will give you some extra oomph.  But its destroying the engine.

    To be honest I think that her amphetamine use may have contributed to some of the overtly poor writing in Atlas Shrugged (like the repetitive speeches and overly dramatic pacing.)

    I'll admit that its subjective whether it was dumb or not, but....I dunno.  If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.  And anyone using amphetamines should have realized that.

    Edit: Here's a good quote on the subject from her essay Apollo and Dinoysus:

    Is there any doubt that drug addiction is an escape from an unbearable inner state, from a reality one cannot deal with, from an atrophying mind one can never fully destroy? If Apollonian reason were unnatural to man, and Dionysian "intuition" brought him closer to nature and truth, the apostles of irrationality would not have to resort to drugs. Happy, self-confident men do not seek to get "stoned."Drug addiction is the attempt to obliterate one's consciousness, the quest for a deliberately induced insanity. As such, it is so obscene an evil that any doubt about the moral character of its practitioners is itself an obscenity.
  8. Space may be quantized, and there are arguments for it out there (loop quantum gravity for instance), but the argument you have presented is not sufficient. For those of us that are not theorhetical physicists at the top of our field (ie none of us), this means we have to wait until physicists figure this one out.

    Until then, you have to operate on the understanding that space is potentially a bounded infinite set of positions.

    Another problem with that quote, which is the same problem with the arrow paradox, is that there is a difference between a point and an infinitessimal.

    Something can have an infinitessimally small volume, but not be a dimensionless point. Two different things.

  9. Grames and I were arguing this topic in another thread.

    Every unit of length, no matter how small, has some specific extension; every unit of time, no matter how small, has some specific duration. The idea of an infinitely small amount of length or temporal duration has validity only as a mathematical device useful for making certain calculations, not as a description of components of reality. Reality does not contain either points or instants

    Either space and time are quantized, or this is wrong. Any unit of distance (1 foot, 1 mile) or any unit of time (1 second, 1 year) is an infinite set that is bounded. If you want to assert the opposite you need to make an argument for why space is quantized.

    Note that this doesn't necesarily matter, because when you are talking about "physical infinities", that doesn't include relational attributes like position and time. So while these infinities exist, they only exist as a relational attribute.

  10. The one thing that fiat currencies and gold have in common is the fact that their value is a tautology.

    Fiat currencies, however, are harder to counterfiet, easier to handle, and as fictions go, I would rather have a managed fiction than an unmanaged fiction.

  11. When you're making a serious argument about finance as complex as this, it should probably be more than 2 paragraphs long.

    Here's a very good look at the involvement of the CRA that actually changed my mind from the "the CRA didn't do it" camp.


    And the reason it did that? Because it is a thorough argument. Understand though, that his argument doesn't just lump all the blame on the CRA. Frankly that should be immediately recognized as a specious argument in such a complex system.

    Same thing with the F&F arguments, something that have been a bit of a sticky wicket for me. I never actually found any reliable/sourced documents out there that show that F&F securitized subprime loans. From what I understand, they bought subprime securities, but they didn't actually securitize/underwrite any of them.

    One of the sticking points on that is that people treat Alt-A loans as subprime, which I'm not sure is a fair definition. F&F definitely did do a fair amount of business in Alt-A mortgages.

  12. The better question is more simple: why would there be a moral obligation to help someone else in ANY situation? Where does that come from?

    There's a great quote from the Fountainhead on that.  "I would die for you, but I would never live for you."

    There's nothing wrong with saving another person, as saving them may very well be worth a value to you. In fact, for that reason it is irrational not to save them. But when you save them at a net loss of value (living for them, ie slavery), then you have a problem.

  13. Wow this is a terrible thread, and I'm not referring to the OP.

    With regards to your actual questions:

    1). Is it wrong for children to cut each other down over race or is it free speech?

    It's both. Not everything that is right or wrong has to be managed bythe government. How that's managed for children is far trickier though, as emotional damage/trauma over this stuff can have very significant effects on a developing mind, which soaks up culutural values like a sponge.

    The offenders soak up racist mentallities around them (either through their parents or friends) an from them truly come to believe in racial differences.

    The offended soak up racism and that causes them to change their own views on themselves, causing them to loose self respect and confidence etc.

    Ultimately, in a proper society parents would be able to control their childrens environments and would not have to subject their children to a public school where this takes place.

    However, in the current scheme of things parents are mote or less forced to relenquish control of their childrens environments to the public schools, which means it is then the responsibility of the teachers/principles to ensur that this does not occur on school property/time

    A lot of people have this "toughen up" attitude which seriously underestimates the fragility/vulnerability of a childs mind. Here, in an objectivist forum where we often lament the corruption of the students mind by the school system, there should be none of this attitude, as we understand this fragility.


    2) Sgould I change my name?

    Absolutely not. You have a choice to live your life through action or reaction, and the latter can often be understood as not living. Changing your name in response to non life threatening issues (like "let's go kill all the 'steins' in the country") means that any time you hear your name you will only be reminded of how you sacrificed your ego.

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