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    New Milford, CT (USA)
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    Multimedia; that being visual and audio creations, particularly computer graphics/animation and music created via MIDI and synthesizers. I am an audiophile-at-heart and love music that has a logically-meaniningful framework. I admit that politics also interests me; not by preferance, but necessity, because it affects my life.

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    Mark Weiss
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  1. J.S. Bach was in the Baroque Period, not the Classical Period, as defined by the span of time between Beethoven and Mozart, who lived in a much later time period. Addressing the Op's question, and it is a personal opinion, I find both of these composers interesting in different ways and for different reasons. Each one reaches me on a different level, stimulates different emotions than the other. Right now, I am enjoying a piece that was co-authored by Rachmaninoff and Fritz Kreisler, Liebesleid. I recorded it last Saturday, for a client who performed with the symphony here in a major CT city. Perhaps it's the young lady's lilting and uplifting performance and the use of tempo changes and dynamics that makes this particular performance such a joy to listen to, but without the composer having written it, I would not be experiencing the enjoyment now. I seem to recall in the 1960s, that Mary Ann Rukavina gave talks on the philosophical meaning of music, how to identify its motives and what these motives mean, philosophically. I believe too that if one is integrated and has developed listening skills, then it is possible to see why a downward chord progression would be deemed depressing, while generally upward progression would be uplifting. Every melody makes an impression upon us. Music stimulates our emotions most of all, but since emotions are the rapid-fire response to incoming information and are based upon a sum total of our philosophical premises, then we can deduce that music does have objectively-definable attributes. There are so many levels on which this operates--at the gutteral level of a savage, all the way up to the sophisticated allegories of a symphony which intertwines many thematic elements into a cohesive whole. Music doesn't just 'happen' and it doesn't lack some sort of philosophical principles--on the contrary, music is an expression of philosophical ideas and there are specific devices in music that express ideas, purely on an instrumental level. I think most of us, if asked, could identify a piece of music that was pragmatic, vs. a piece that was carefully-integrated. To understand why, may take more than a layman's knowledge in music, but I am quite certain that it can be dissected and analyzed and the components of a piece and it's sum total can be identified down to philosophical motives.
  2. If you think that's so bad, try to imagine what dealing with Jury Duty would be like! I just got summoned this week. Hoo boy, here we go again! I cannot vote to convict a defendant who broke an unjust law. They're not going to like to hear what I have to say about jury nullification. My only beef with Motor Vehicle people is that now they are asking for Social Security numbers. I went through a considerable hassle at my last license renewal because I told them it was none of their business; that SS is between a Subject and the Social Security Administration only. After a 15-minute delay, I got my renewal. What a waste of time, given that illegals can get licenses without having to pass any test--just go to any corrupt DMV official and pay a 'fee'.
  3. At about ten o'clock this morning, I heard Greenspan on the radio (he was participating in some sort of hearing--I caught portions of it while driving) giving his explanation for why the economy is in decline. Essentially, he stated that there was a flaw in the free market model that he had been using and which had "worked well for forty years." So now it becomes clear that this is his official 'swearing off' of Objectivist free market principles. For those of us who suspected that Greenspan had jumped ship from the Objectivist thinking, we can now be free of any doubt.
  4. The following quote from the article: For instance, an astronaut moving faster than it would theoretically arrive at a destination before leaving. is a contradiction in terms. This is either a gross misinterpretation by a naive journalist, or, if it is a correct interpretation of what these two scientists stated, it raises serious questions about the veracity of the rest of their theory. The article was too superficial to draw any conclusion from.
  5. I don't take this as an indictment of sports by Miss Rand, but rather a decision she made that resulted from her determination that sports was irrelevant to the intended purporse of Atlas Shrugged. It would neither enhance nor detract from the story; it would be vestigial, were it to be included.
  6. We already have a system in which people have to pay a lump sum once or twice a year. It's called property taxes, and if you think people in my town would raise a stink over having to write two checks per year for $7500 each, you're in for a surprise. So even if it was income taxes, payable in full on April 15, the majority would consider it a 'moral duty' to pay them, just as they do with local property taxes.
  7. Not rare at all if your job is packing tampons in boxes for 12 hours on a rotating shift, year after year, after year. Your examples are just temporary boredom due to unanticipated idle time. I used to commute 90K miles a year when I was in consulting engineering, and my typical commute lasted over two hours for 'local' work and much longer for 'regional' work. I've done both in the course of my life, and I can tell you that the hopelessly-boring existence of a subsistence wage job, working in a factory environment that is uncomfortable, under pressure to keep up with machinery that is chucking out product at a rate just a little faster than you can keep up with, affords you no time for creative reflection and is a truely hellish boredom. Since I quit the job market, I have never been bored.
  8. The best hypothetical argument I could dream up for "pro-God's existence" would be the question of how order in the universe came about. Now, Objectivists pretty much agree that a thousand monkeys, typing for a thousand years on a thousand typewriters, could not write Shakespeare's works. It is the nature of random forces not to generate coherent works. Taking that argument loosely, a religionist could argue that, like the monkeys, random events in the universe could not bring about organized and complicated life, ecosystems and the like. It takes an organized consciousness to write prose. It is easy to think that the creation of the universe would be the same.
  9. Actually, this story was first filmed in 1964, under the title The Last Man on Earth, with Vincent Price in the lead role.
  10. mweiss

    Designer Babies

    Having just watched the Spielberg movie "Artificial Intelligence" about robot children who look, act and love like real children, this topic caught my eye for a few reasons. Assuming one could choose all or most of the attributes of a their children raises some interesting questions: How does this affect the natural balance of genetic traits distribution among the population? Would a large number of parents choosing a certain set of attributes have the effect of reducing the available pool of humans with other genetic attributes by gender, and hence reduce the possibility of certain humans with a preference for the less-chosen genetic attributes, of finding a mate? If nature designs in certain traits for a reason, and we design them out, how does it affect the survivability of the race? In the movie AI, interesting metaphysical and moral questions were raised. One was the issue of self-aware robots that could learn to love and to have empathy. The moral issues of destroying said robots was raised, in the event a set of parents did not want the child robot any longer and after "imprinting" had occured, forever bonding the child robot to its new family. It was quite an interesting flick, a little Kubrickian toward the end with the 2000 year leap in time, but raised a lot of the same issues as talked about here.
  11. I too noticed that I could no longer find my posts in the 'recent' list and did a search, only to find that they were in the Trash folder as well. And they were not spam or links with no text. They were thoughtfully-written comments about things that happened to me. Worse than BroadbandReports.com, ObjectivismOnline's moderators don't even bother to send you a note that you've broken some rule. Instead, one ends up wasting time hunting for a post that no longer exists where it was posted. I know that the board's admin has contempt for me as a person, ever since I pointed out last year that OOL had a problem with popup spam ads. It turned out in the end that the problem was with the board and not my computers. Instead of an apology, I get more of the same belligerant attitude from the admin and, to a lesser extent, the other mods here. You folks are pretty bright here, and closer to the real Objectivist thinking than folks on another board where Barbara Branden hides out, but in terms of personability, you leave something left to be desired. Not to rant, but I think it would be decent and courteous to inform someone that their post was unsuited and being trashcanned. Don't leave us to go hunting for nothing.
  12. Yes, naive of me to even think that they who don't even read constituents' letters can't read a novel.
  13. I've got an idea: Why don't we all sent a copy of Atlas Shrugged to ever congressman and senator? I think that would be more effective.
  14. My wife listens to the radio and all she mentioned was that computer glitch on the Dow-Jones, not this... I found more information on the topic of Cameron's new documentary here: http://www.plastic.com/comments.html;sid=0...13231591;cid=43
  15. This ought to really shake up the religious world: http://urbansemiotic.com/2007/02/25/jesus-...d-in-his-grave/ What if enough of the Bible is exposed to prove that it is nearly all, if not all, fiction? What then will the religionists cling to? Anyway, if there is a movie coming out as this article suggests, then I'm going to be interested in seeing it. Why isn't this all over the major news media? Has anyone else heard of this discovery?
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