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Everything posted by Skylab72

  1. Trying to find an “Objectivist” position in public policy debates is usually frustrating. I find it useful to fall back on Ayn Rands admonition, ”Check your premise.” Given borders are an attempt to separate something from something else I assume the 1st poster was stating premises in his threats list. So, let’s look at the other "threats"... Cartel violence -- Key word here is cartel, not violence. The issue then is the organized resistance to law enforcement. Organization is about the flow of information not product. (The crime may be about product or violence, the organization and its reach is not.) Arbitrary lines drawn on a map have next to NO impact on information in a world with a global information network with largely sub-second latency. This threat is pertinent only to other topics about limiting unethical people from bad behavior, not walls. Human trafficking ("Coyotes")-- The key question here should be efficacy. The initiating question is pro<>con a border wall, so the issue boils down to, “CAN a wall impact the currently successful methods of these ‘Coyotes’?”. Currently -well over- 92.5% (three full standard deviations) of the successful border crossings of smuggled humans is by, a) legal port of entry, b) at a coastal port, c) flying, or d) tunneling. Quantities, I am given to believe, are in that order but that’s from memory so look it up. ROI on a wall near zero. Sex Trafficking-- Here again, a complex criminal behavior. For the “trafficking” part see above, for the “organization-cartel” part see above, and for the rest, violence, sex, and coercion, I see little that a wall even could impact. ROI on a wall near zero. Foreign Terrorists-- The key point of premise three seems to be a juxtaposition of “old” invading armies Vs terrorists toting “suitcase nuclear devices”. Please, I wish we could put this myth to rest. Allow me to explain. Yes, fusion based nuclear devices have been shrunk to remarkably small dimensions. But using only well known high-school level physics, it is easy to estimate real physical limits on that device. Without boring you with gory detail, suffice it to say the lightest functional fusion device will be very close to one hundred pounds. Portable, but requiring planning. It can be revealed without triggering a visit from MIB that there have existed so-called “back-pack” devices but they were packed in a minimum of three packages and they have never been actually used because the deployment was difficult enough that the primary risk was providing an enemy with fissile material. In order to smuggle one across a border, you are dealing with a cylindrical device of approximately 100 lbs plus a half ton (non-negotiable, laws of physics again) of shielding or your presence can be detected with a $25 Geiger-counter. Our government does not buy consumer grade Geiger-counters. Basically, nucs still face “invading armies” style obstacles. Walls are ineffective at keeping out chemical bombs as well. “Suitcase nuclear devices” do not and can not exist. Anyone well informed, using them as a premise, is fear mongering. Ill-informed? Well, that is its own problem.
  2. Good thread. I must add that starting a philosophical discussion with reference to Quantum Mechanics is fraught with pitfalls. First among them from a objectivist point of view (actually from scientific point of view as well) is the concept of identity. When Maxwell Planck derived the equations defining the minimum rate at which a black body could radiate energy, he was drawing a line in reality. Above this line you can have things, below this line you cannot. Below that line you can have energy behaving similarly to a thing on occasion, but keep watching and it will be just energy. So when you contemplate sub atomic "particles", remember they have the same kind of "identity" that a curl traversing the bonsai pipe-line has. When I am in the curl I know all about it's speed and direction, but I have no idea where the beach is, beyond "not here".
  3. There seems to be some confusion between philosophy and physics. It is the philosopher's concern that: A=A it is the physicist's concern that E=m*c*c. If the former is true, why is it a surprise that when, given the latter, one combines E in the 'proper' way some m will 'pop out'?
  4. Reality is real. Existence exists. A is A. Puzzling over the philosophical implications of states of matter is a bit like trying to figure out when a 'soul' inhabits a fetus. E=m*c*c 'Objective' reality is a complete package. Just because we have yet to discern all it's states and rules, does not change it's relationship with philosophy.
  5. Actually Nicky that is exactly how it works. Objectivism does in fact imply a set of morals, and the poster has already satisfied them. He reported the problem. For practicality it would be wise to hold the surplus aside for possible remuneration, until one is comfortable the employer has taken all the action they will.
  6. Bearing in mind there is no such thing as "Objectivist music". A lyrical poem set to music, that made some headway in pop culture, had a chorus containing what I take to be a profoundly Objectivist message. "I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadows If I fail, if I succeed At least I'll live as I believe No matter what they take from me They can't take away my dignity Because the greatest love of all Is happening to me I found the greatest love of all Inside of me The greatest love of all Is easy to achieve Learning to love yourself It is the greatest love of all"
  7. Stopped reading the thread at post #11. Ilya seems to be a better satirical humorist than philosopher. Sadly this can only be true if he admits trying to make us laugh. Oh well, thanks for the chuckles anyway.
  8. Sorry, reparations for 200 year old behaviour is a fools errand. First the "damage done" is a work in progress, so you cannot "buy off" ill will without addressing ongoing serious issues of justice. The problem is no consistent standard of justice protects ANY of us, so when the endemic injustice is deliberately or by default tilted toward any given previously victimized class of victim, the "problem" is compounded. Forget promoting "reparations" and work on meaningful improvements to justice systems, both formal and social.
  9. Kinda figured FH was a root cause. Just wanted to emphasize some known, (and documented elsewhere), AR bio data...
  10. LOL, given how far afield some folks seem willing to go to have something to fight over, you may have a point. However, as someone so old as to have actually had a face to face conversation with Ms. Rand, I can assure you she was one of the most sincere people I have ever met. So much so, it frustrated her no end that her attempts at marketing, (both herself and her work), were actually hampered by her devotion to truth. It seemed to her the general public was obtuse, because the LAST thing she wanted to respond to her effort was gullibility.
  11. If you study the history of IP law you will find it is wholly a legal construct, invented to avoid the need for thousands of non-disclosure agreements. The common law attitude has long been trade secrets have identifiable protections, common knowledge does not. The very lack of 'moral' common ground has made IP law the gnarled, convoluted mess it is today, pretty much the world over...
  12. I don't know, it seems to me there is an elephant in the room here, and no one has backed into a leg yet. Let me try the 'different words' tack. O'ism is 'closed' in the sense that AR is dead and is no longer adding clarification to her thoughts on philosophy AND no one has the right to 'modify' what she did say, even in light of post Rand scientific discoveries (about the nature of Reality). {I add that last part since some folks seem to think that 'spooky' phenomenon in the scale range smaller than 10 to the -32nd meters justifies questioning the existence of 'reality'. I would suggest to them a career in something other than science or philosophy.} O'ism is 'open' in the sense that it is an incredibly robust framework, ranging from phenomenology, through epistemology, expanding across metaphysics, and more than capable of supporting speculation (hypothesis formation) in a broad range of topics including, but not limited to, philosophy itself.
  13. Human motivation is a touchy subject. For some folks money is a motivator, while for others it is only feed-back from action. Money is most useful only as a score-card and a liquid resource for additional action. I would suggest you simply use post tax net in your ROI calculations and stop worrying about things you cannot change. Just do those things that return a combination of satisfaction and ROI (profit) that make you want to do it again. If the whole tax thing is such a de-motivator for you, try to confine your economic activity to the 'underground' economy.
  14. Oh No! The bundling thing was the DOJ's 'supporting evidence'. My accusations are in two parts. First those that stem from the behavior of MSFT software. The refusal to do some function implied by the UI, being only one. Another being the imbedding of function hidden from the machines owner, the trojan horse concept. There are others, but I really do not want to rant, and MSFT has even ceased some of those that resulted in consistent customer push back. Part two has to do with behaviors of the corporation, relative to customers. The single market behavior that galled me most, was the so called 'Microsoft tax' on hardware. To this day, it is very difficult to purchase an assembled commodity hardware computer without paying for a Microsoft 'operating system' to run on it, even if you persuade the assembler to not install the software. Before I gave up buying MSFT entirely, this single "Microsoft accomplishment", cost me hundreds of dollars, well north of a thousand, and cost one of my employers a documented $208,788 in a single year. We purchased fewer than 1500 commodity unix machines that year! We spent the two hundred grand assembling servers from components the following year. Call that 'caveat mercator' if you like, but that was a business we would rather have left for someone else. The total 'profit' from the exercise was about $75k (about one man year O/H loaded, at the time), mostly part margins and a little labor. Another part two behavior had to do with business customers. MSFT ties their license pricing agreements to a "published table" (their website). They then can increase the rates late in any given quarter (the MSFT 'xmas present' if you let them bill annually), just in time for billing. They have found a way to implement, in essence, Ex Post Facto billing. Under US law this is acceptable for software, just not for hardware or services, thus 'caveat mercator'. After the first year I added a line item to my budget called 'MSFT rate increases'. You have a point about my use of the word unethical. I was attempting to draw out a connection to Objectivist ethics, as yet not codified in law in the real world. Connections that I might hope would be codified, in a 'perfect world'. I will try to be more explicit. I do want to stress here, that I do not concern myself MSFT, other than to studiously avoid their products. What damage they can do, is by and large done. The past is only useful for instruction. Even the 'MSFT Tax' is falling by the wayside. Just last week Dell, the most staunch tax collector for the giant in Redmond, announced they will work with Red Hat to engineer a system for 'enterprise customers' to be built using Dell hardware and the latest version of 'Open Stack', (ironically called Havana), featuring Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5, though were I still making choices in that realm, I would be cautious. If you do not have the in house expertise to assemble such a stack from unbundled components, you may not have the in house expertise to effectively configure and admin such a stack. Sorry, I digress...
  15. Any technology sufficiently advanced, is to the naive observer, indistinguishable from magic. [isaac Asimov]
  16. Sounds like a serious approach. By the time you finish, you will be in position to attempt writing a prequel.
  17. Good advice. I would stress though, that the phrase, "monopolies that thwart innovation" refers to behaviour, and behaviour could be adjudicated by an objective court system, however long it takes...
  18. You don't know what my objection is, because you are obtuse. My use of the word is covered by definition two in the New Oxford American Dictionary, and I quote, " 2 cause (something, esp. an issue, argument, or debate) to become concerned with personalities or feelings rather than with general or abstract matters : the mass media's tendency to..." I do not worry about your posts, I am amused by them. I do not need to worry about my posts because I actually think about them before I post them. Your second paragraph is so far off in left field, it might be fun to continue the snarky dialogue, line by line, but I shall refrain, there really is no point. You have made it abundantly clear your mind is closed, you read all I say in scan mode, looking for phrases that trigger some pet talking point. Since you seem to have difficulty figuring out where the "goal posts" are, I will try to make it easy for you, in case you again fail to follow through on your opening threat in post#69 of this thread. Copied from prior posts, where I tried to make it easy for you: #54 opening assertion, referring to Bill Gates: his behavior, his words, and his legacy are all of one moral stance, a looter, not at all similar to a moral O'ist. Just a reminder BlackDiamond opened the morality question all the way back in post #45 #58 I reiterate: My point is simply that from an objectivist ethical point of view, Mr Gates and the company he founded, both leave a great deal to be desired should an O'ist want to use them as a model for behavior. #65 Closing point to another poster: Once unethical behavior is detected however, it behoves a moral system to offer recourse to the victims. #68 I took offense at your "my mind is made up don't confuse me with the facts attitude", and I STILL tried to make it easy and clear: My ONLY point is that from an O'ist ethical point of view Mr. Gates, does not, has not, and unfortunately may never, measure up to even the most modest of standards. #88 I try to help you out, explaining why my implicit use of the word 'fraud' in a statutory context was misleading and why therefore, your objection was valid, and still you do not 'get' that I intend the word in the 'moral' context as Ms Rand used it. Sorry no retraction. Any piece of software that arbitrarily refuses, with zero user feedback, to execute functions it is capable of performing and for which it has UI support, is fraudulent software. And I do not care who wrote or 'sells' it. I do understand much better why you admire Mr. Gates though. You share some interesting characteristics.
  19. Excellent summary! Barksdale seemed to often take the attitude, "the ends justify the means", the slipperiest of slippery slopes.
  20. Are you under the impression I didn't? Get off the personalization BS. I am attempting to point out implications of O'ist ethics. There is a distinct difference between, "Microsoft has the right to make their software in any way they wish to make it", and, "Microsoft has the moral right to make their software in any way they wish to make it". If you think the latter statement is as true as the first, I see no point in continuing.
  21. I assume your question is bounded by the context of the discussion. Strictly speaking (by that I mean, within the formalisms used to define the American legal system), I would say those specific requirements are very reasonable. However, that opinion applies only to the class of fraud defined by that body of law, all of which is the consequence of direct action. Federal law addresses no other kind. I know of no legal system, and I seriously doubt one exists, that has developed a systematic approach to malfeasance whose 'action' is delivered embedded in software. Software developers have no legal culpability for the behaviour of their product. As an Objectivist, I ask, "How can you ask me pay you for the privilege of using your software if you are unwilling to either warrant it's behaviour or assume culpability for the result of it's behaviour?"
  22. "Game" is evolving. Thanks. I'll check this one out...
  23. O.K. perhaps I misunderstood your intent, but the phrase, "ambition was to beat those who are your inferiors" specifically omits competing against equals or superiors. I will chalk it up as unintended, but my concern was the seeming desire to limit competition to opponents one could more easily vanquish. Speaking of a bad turn of phrase, yes, that is just plain false. The failure is in, "must be filed by a complainant". Let me try to say better what I was trying to convey. US Fraud law requires an injured party or there is no fraud. <the point I stated so badly> Similarly the magnitude of the injury is to be expressed in economic terms. The 'injury' accrued to any one user from the software behaviour I described is very small, therefore in order to be meaningful the case would need to be class action, preferably with a lead plaintiff (the role Ellison, among others, declined). In addition, in any 'fraud scenario' US law requires proof of "intent to defraud" on the part of the defendant. The US attorneys felt that the most highly contested point "intent to defraud" would be difficult to "spread over a whole class" and therefore declined to prosecute. Is that clearer? I hope so, because it is history.
  24. Actually it is. The DOJ charge was antitrust because that is what the DOJ could file. They cannot file fraud charges because under US law that must be filed by a complainant. So, whoever it was in DOJ that had their knickers in a wad for MSFT, filed what they could. No fraud complainant came forward with deep enough pockets to pursue the case, even Larry Ellison declined. He preferred other litigious issues, civil usually, that netted him several millions of dollars along the way. Why is it even interesting whether I 'feel' bullied? Are you a second hander too? The answer is a simple NO. FYI I am away too arrogant to 'feel' bullied by the likes of you. I simply interpreted "If your ambition was to beat those who are your inferiors (as it should be)" as 'it should be someones ambition to beat ones inferiors.', which still sounds like a bully at heart. Do you care to explain?
  25. Good points, all. My angst with twentieth century software, (MSFT naturally leads the front here, but is not the sole perp), is that every design decision involves some trade-off. It is always development cost, vs speed of execution or resource usage, vs feature count, vs security considerations, vs ease of use, vs actually solving a real problem for the user. The reality is, for the majority of the history of computers these trade offs go overwhelmingly to minimizing development cost and maximizing feature count to the detriment of all the others. Even protests from the code developers fall on deaf ears. Similarly an unreasonable number of these same design decisions plus many development tool choices were made, that have and have had, the old pay me now or pay me later dynamic attached. So we all pay later, but only a few know why.
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