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Everything posted by Reidy

  1. Seikan in Japan is 14.5 miles. Daishimizu is 13.8; people died of carbon monoxde while building it but not while traveling in it. Simplon is 12.3.
  2. Looks like it might be interesting. Let me know what you think or, better yet, give me a copy for Christmas.
  3. I'm skeptical of anybody who writes about "Objectivist economics", but maybe the editor had nothing to do with the publisher's blurb. We'll see. Somebody will, but, at those prices, not I.
  4. Another interesting fact about Jackson is that in 1948 FLl Wright built a house there that incorporated a natural spring, so he named it "Fountainhead".
  5. I haven't seen the movie, but as people on this thread are describing the character he seems to have more in common with Robert Stadler than with Howard Roark.
  6. I got into Merwin & Webster a very long time ago at the now-defunct Acres of Books in Long Beach CA. Favorite of the ones I've read is Comrade John , at once a satire and an adventure story that pits an architect against a flimflamming prophet based unmistakably on Elbert Hubbard. I suspect it was where Rand got the idea for the architectural ghosting that Roark does for Keating. (In the NYT interview that Boydstun mentioned, Rand also said that Dagny and John would marry. One of the Objectivist forums once had a thread on what practical difficulties the characters would face in picking up the pieces and building a new order.)
  7. Roark's hair may be, after Samson's and Rapunzel's, the most famous in literature, and it's not blond.
  8. Nikki Haley is looking hard core. The point of the Ponnuru article is what Haley said, not what Ponnuru thinks of it.
  9. You have to keep in mind that she died in 1982 and was well into retirement several years before that. Computers figured your bank statement and your utility bills, but that was as close as most people got to them. (Did anybody have a personal computer that long ago?) In one of her lectures (I think it was Philosophy: Who Needs It at West Point circa 1976) she cited the adage of "computer operators" as she put it, "garbage in, garbage out", observing that it applies to our minds as well as to software. She probably meant developers, not operators, who in those days mounted tapes, fed cards into a reader and typed system directives into a paper or CRT console and did not create software. In any event, it was an old-fashioned slogan by the time she cited it. It seems to have originated in the 50s and 60s when hardly anyone knew what a computer was. Most people thought that running your numbers through a computer rather than through a 10-key adding machine magically made your conclusions infallibly sound; the adage she quoted was a reminder that the was never true. In her 1960 efficient thinking lectures at NBI, Barbara Branden used "Univac" as a synonym of "computer". The company was soon (or maybe already) overtaken by IBM. As the name suggests, they were prominent only in the infancy of computing. Rand would have loved personal computing and the internet. She was at pains to explain that the big industries of her day - metals, railroads, heavy manufacturing - were an embodiment of our minds. This is much easier to grasp when you look at IT.
  10. Coming late to the conversation. Am I hijacking if I go back to the original question? The most important point here is one that the participants have barely touched on if they have touched on it at all: to the extent that an idea is the cultural norm, people won't be aware of it as somebody's philosophy at all. As long as the only people who accept Objectivist ideas are the ones who got it from Rand and could tell you that they did, those ideas are not the cultural default. Once they are, people will treat them as ordinary common sense. Many Americans, perhaps most, would accept that an action is meritorious to the extent that the actor has nothing to gain from the outcome, and that any personal interest somehow weakens the merit of the act. Most of them, though, have never heard of the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, much less read it. To pick another example, people nowadays accept without question that in politics we should do what's effective without attention to rigid ideology. Very few, though, could name any of the Pragmatists, and fewer still have read their writings. The pop culture in the last forty years has come to appreciate assertiveness as a character trait and to admire entrepreneurship of the disruptive kind. I suspect that Rand's influence was part of it, but most who cite such notions could not tell you this. (Nathaniel Branden made this point on occasion, though the current formulation is mine.)
  11. The Objectivist Ethics had a limited print edition, as an NBI pamphlet, at least as early as 1962. In the background here you see a shelf of such pamphlets, which sold for $.25 - $.50.
  12. Another Rand-Pittsburgh link is Fallingwater, some 60 miles away, clearly enough her source for the Wynand country house. It was originally a weekend place for Edgar Kaufmann, a department store president, and his family.
  13. Some impostors are gathering names for a sucker list. I hope you didn't give them your contact information.
  14. Historical note: Rand was more enthusiastic about Nixon in 68 than in 72. She endorsed him in the June Objectivist (which actually came out in the fall), mainly for his opposition to the draft and his support of the Anti-Ballistic Missile system. She also said that "spokesman for capitalism" would get a hearing in a Nixon administration. Presumably she meant Greenspan, who worked for Nixon's campaign at the time, though she didn't mention him by name.
  15. The video you link to does not give sources, at least in the part I watched. Do you have this information?
  16. An alternative explanation, requiring no special access to the inside of anybody's mind, is that zombie movies need less makeup, less skillfully applied, and no digital special effects and are thus cheaper to produce.
  17. http://aynrandlexicon.com/about-ayn-rand/faq.html
  18. While the typewriter story can't be true, I can believe that Rand told it to BB among others. She was solicitous of her family's political security in the USSR, and the Remington-Rand explanation would have kept people from prying further and finding out her birth name. The Cyrillic story, while probably true, would have given the secret away.
  19. Rand's recommendation of Hugo paid off handsomely. I struck out on Dostoyevsky and Conrad. The Secret Agent has some amusingly contemporary allusions, but otherwise both authors escaped me.
  20. No, because the money to support these schools was taken from you and others by force. This is not your doing. See Rand's The Question of Scholarships.
  21. My advice is always to read the novels first, then the anthologies - The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism the Unknown Ideal and The Romantic Manifesto - depending on what topics interest you. Then the secondary sources the others have mentioned. One reason to start with the novels is that the non-fiction writings (by Rand and others) refer back to them constantly, revealing their storylines in the process. You won't understand the essays if you haven't read the novels, and you won't enjoy the novels if you already know how they turn out. A reason to read Rand before you move on to Peikoff, Bernstein, etc. is that the secondary literature constantly refers back to Rand's essays. For the New Intellectual, The Early Ayn Rand, the letters and the journals are optional.
  22. A new way to fight the brain drain
  23. This is a quite different statement from the ones she made about Branden. She approved works of Peikoff that she had already seen. By contrast, she said Branden's word was Objectivism and that she approved his future statements in advance. (Come to think of it, "intellectual heir" has a meaning after all, namely this blank-check endorsement that she did not give to Peikoff.)
  24. As far as I know Rand never named anybody but Branden as her intellectual heir. Can you provide a citation about Peikoff? (Not that the phrase means anything anyway)
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