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Everything posted by tnunamak

  1. Then this hypothetical person is a broken unit, correct? If he/she were not, then the definition of man would have to be modified from "rational animal" to "usually rational animal." What I don't like about this idea is that you're essentially saying that an individual's rights do not depend on his individual nature. If I were physiologically an ape who, by some mutation, gained a complete rational faculty, I would hope that I'd have the appropriate rights which most apes would not. Don't we already do this for children and criminals?
  2. Then how does someone in a permanent vegetative state fall under the classification of man if he/she doesn't survive by reason? Are you arguing that it is this person's nature to survive by reason, even though they cannot physically do so?
  3. How can rights necessarily apply to an individual if you derive them from characteristics which do not apply to him? Do I have rights because my DNA indicates that I'm human? Or do I have rights because I have the ability to reason?
  4. I'd just like to know if I've got the Objectivist approach to rights correct. Is it that rights are not inherent, but that in a productive society they are necessary? In other words, rights are needed because in order for people to live and work together, they must respect each others' life, property, etc? From this angle it makes sense to me why rights would probably make life for each individual better, but what does the phrase "every person has a right to life" really mean? Under what circumstances do rights apply? I'm just trying to figure out what might make them inherent, regardless of context or circumstance. Also, why is government necessary as described by Objectivism? Why does a morally objective philosophy require that a single government exists, and exists with a monopoly over force?
  5. For my thermodynamics class my professor (who has environmental tendencies) is having us write a short paper about (alternative) energy sources. What would you argue should be the primary energy source to power the country/globe? I think coal currently powers over half of the power grid, so I wouldn't be surprised if it was economically the best option. Right now, I'm listed to write about nuclear energy. Any thoughts about these or others? If the utility of certain resources is downplayed due to things like green house gas emissions, which aren't all that bad, then that would be a good angle for me to argue for the use of a resource, whilst simultaneously presenting a case against the global warming scare (which is being force-fed to us in my engineering program now and again). Thanks
  6. Your explanation makes sense. I do have a question though. In your 2-D hexagonal feasible region example, I take it that the cardinality of the set of all possible degenerate solutions is the same as the cardinality of the natural numbers or the reals (not sure which). If you extend the feasible region to higher dimensions, does the cardinality of this set remain the same? If not, then wouldn't that indicate a correlation between degeneracy and solution-space dimension? I apologize for the late reply... the semester has gotten off to a quick start . We do plan to publish a paper or two before Christmas, and I'll be going to a conference in November to present our work and ideas. Thanks for the comments.
  7. Is the compatibility with windows office files any better?
  8. I think before this discussion can make any sense, we have to identify the issue we're actually talking about. The term "great" IS relative to some standard, so in that sense a person can achieve greatness in many ways, depending on what you're comparing his actions to. I was under the impression that the idea was to determine the best standard. Personally, if I look at the reality of my life, push myself to my most extreme capabilities and achieve them, I will not say "What a mediocre job I did! Good for me!" even if someone else could do what I did ten times better. Some of the people I personally admire most are far from succeeding at the level of the geniuses leading their industry, but I still consider them to be great because they do push themselves and succeed at it. But that's just my opinion...
  9. Fair enough, I agree with you there.
  10. How else would you characterize greatness so that it is not on a relative scale? Great, big, small, wide, important, slow, these adjectives can only be used on some sort of relative scale. When we are talking about an individual, which scale is most important? A scale determined by societal standards? Or a scale determined by the individual's standards?
  11. I thought that's what parents were for. Edit: When it comes to things such as driving, or anything that has the potential to harm others, the law should do its job to protect people by ensuring that drivers, etc are competent. I think using an age limit for this is lazy and also dangerous, as age might have a correlation with responsibility or capability, but does not guarantee it. I'd feel safer on the road with 10 year old drivers who passed rigorous exams than 25 year old drivers who aren't able to stay in their own lanes.
  12. If an individual finds himself in an emergency situation and commits a crime, not because of evil intentions, but good ones, should he still face the same judicial penalties? I present a few hypothetical examples of different situations to consider: A man 1) kills another man in order to preserve his own life. 2) steals from another in order to preserve his own life. 3) kills another in order to preserve the life of another. 4) steals from another in order to preserve the life of another. ...the notable difference between stealing and killing being that it is possible to later pay back the value of stolen goods. I'm predicting the possibility of context being important, but if so, if someone could point out circumstances under which context changes penalties imposed, it would make it easier for me to understand. A bigger underlying question that is driving my thoughts, I think, is when should a man be penalized for his actions by the government? I'd like to point out that this includes paying for damage caused and thereby repairing it, and also paying with jail time, etc, as a means of justice but not repairing damages.
  13. Thanks Before this summer, I didn't even know what a linear program was. My background in math is three semesters of calculus, differential equations and a bit of linear algebra, and an abstract math course (proof writing/logic). That said, this project has been heavily directed by my advisor and much of the thinking has come from him. I have come at this project from the computer science side of it, mostly parsing text, etc. Luckily, I think I have gotten fairly proficient with the basics of using a language such as Ampl, and am becoming comfortable with optimization techniques. I still don't know a lot of the theory behind linear optimization, so I am constantly forcing my advisor to fill me in . This is something I'll have to ask my advisor about, as it was his idea. I would be surprised to find there was not even a slight correlation, but you may be right. I'll follow up when I return for the fall semester. Indeed. That was what really motivated this project in the first place. FBA is an established technique which involves an established model. Much of the literature in the field, from what I understand, is coming from people without much of an optimization background. They all seemed to have overlooked the possibility of the optimal solution being non-unique, which is why we have defined new terminology. I hope this reply is suitable. Thanks for your comments!
  14. To put it as plainly as I can, I think I am a bad (or mediocre at best) conversationalist and that that makes it more difficult for myself and other people to be comfortable. I'm not just talking about friends, but also people I admire who I don't know very well. In other words, people I am interested in talking to. Maybe it means I don't always know how to express my thoughts, or don't think about what is being said to me. Communication involves someone converting information into a transmittable medium, such as English, transmitting it, and it being received and decoded by another person. I would like to make this process more effective. I am not only referring to my immediate thoughts that I just have to work into nouns, verbs, etc, but also other ideas I have that are relevant, or how I feel about what is being discussed, that might not immediately come to mind. If this doesn't make sense, I will try to clarify it further. Thanks Edit: Deleted unnecessary quotation
  15. I would take this to mean that "quantum theory" contradicts reality and thus is invalid. I'm not sure what they mean by "quantum theory that is in agreement with experiments," however. "In agreement" as in, quantum theory is supported by the experiments? Or "In agreement" as in, the results of the experiment prove that quantum theory is valid. If it is the latter, than the experiment must be invalid, since it depends on a theory that contradicts reality . Or maybe it's just getting too late and I need to go to sleep...
  16. This summer I spent 10 weeks working with one of my favorite professors, an optimization mathematician, using Ampl, a mathematical programming language (to write linear programs in), to model the behavior of single cell organisms (we have been using ecoli and yeast to test it). I'll let the poster speak for itself, if you have questions I'll happily answer them. It can be found at the URL given below. Thanks for looking http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~tnunamak/PosterFinal.pdf Edit: Fixed a spelling mistake in the title
  17. I think every man can be great by his own standards. I think that is what counts, regardless of whether he builds the most magnificent skyscraper the world has seen, or a modest doll house for a single child. Greatness, in my opinion, should be measured by a man's own yardstick. With that in mind, I think everyone can achieve greatness by doing the best he can possibly do.
  18. Thank you both for your words of encouragement and sound advice Almost. I think I can be boring/annoying but that doesn't really stop me from interacting with people. Really I want to learn to be a more comfortable and better conversationalist. I think I am subconsciously being too shortsighted to see the value other people have to offer, considering the trade off to be time and energy I could use to enjoy myself without the trouble of other people. Don't get me wrong, I have a girlfriend and a few close friends and people that I enjoy and respect. I see plenty of room for improvement however, and that is what I'd like to venture into it.
  19. Lately I've been thinking about some things I can improve on and what will help me develop more as a person. I think I've got a decent picture, looking back, on some stages I have gone through... I'll try to go through them. As a small child, I was pretty shy for the most part. I always had one or two close friends and had difficulty talking with other people much, except for those whom I knew closely. As I grew into the early stages of adolescence, around 12, my parents divorced and my mother took us with her back to the US while my father stayed in Germany (military). At first it was a fairly normal, but after both parents remarried, their new spouses were very strict and often unfair, overly authoritarian. In some ways my siblings and I felt alienated from the family. I think this was a pretty severe blow to my ability to relate to people and drove me to be more insecure. This, coupled with normal teenage problems like skin problems and the ridiculous high-school drama pretty much shattered any remaining confidence I had in interacting with people. I remember that I would constantly be thinking about what other people might be thinking of me. That, by the way, really kills a conversation. It's hard to talk to someone when you're wondering about how they will critique the next thing you say. Anyway, I got to college and things started looking better. I had been looking forward to it, and everyone was very eager to make friends while no one knew each other. I also made a pretty solid effort to talk to people. After a while though, that kind of died down and I kind of fell into a certain circle of friends. Between then and now, I've become completely comfortable with who I am and I am a very confident person (I don't think it's a coincidence that I discovered Objectivism during the summer after my freshman year <am I spelling that wrong or does the spell checker really flag Objectivism as a wrong word?>). I think I have followed something similar to the following trend: First I was shy and didn't interact much with people. Then I interacted with people due to social pressure and did okay... but only because my insecurities were a rigorous motivation to be socially correct. Finally I overcame my insecurities and stopped worrying so much about what people thought of me. I think at this point I am a fairly confident, well grounded person, but I must admit that I am not as eloquent as I'd like to be, and I think I sometimes come off as arrogant (or so I've been told). One acquaintance apparently thinks I am an ass about helping him with his classwork (I'm a few years ahead of him in my major) when really I've tried eagerly to help him and thought I was being very polite for going out of my way for him (a close friend told me this). At this point in my life, I feel comfortable with myself. I feel ambitious and I think I am pursuing my career goals very well. What I could do better with is how I intertact with people, I think I am struggling with that. I know that sometimes I can be a bit dull to talk to and I think I keep to myself quite a bit, I don't express myself very well and often healthy relationships need better communication. I can have conversations with new people but I often find myself uninterested. Even with people that I look up to quite highly, like my research advisor, I can tell that I make it difficult for them to continue a conversation (let alone an interesting one), if it's unrelated to work we are doing. Especially when people are different from me, I have a hard time being myself and being moderately amiable. How can I spur on these kinds of changes? I would like to be more comfortable and enjoy myself more around people in general, but I sometimes think I make the situation a bit awkward. Thanks for taking the time to read/listen. Cheers.
  20. I'd be interested in hearing what people have to say about the following issue in the news (if I dare call CNN news): http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/04/25/baby.emilio/index.html
  21. I just realized my typo. Is there a time limit on editing posts?
  22. Every year my university has a distinguished lecturer come to speak to the school. The school takes suggestions from students and faculty, and I'd like to make a few. Before I do, do you guys have any suggestions? Here are people who have come in the past: "Previous speakers for these lectures include John Edwards, Doris Kearns Goodwin, George H.W. Bush, David Kay, Jose Maria Aznar, Queen Noor, John Glenn, Lord George Robertson, Benazir Bhutto, Lech Walesa, Madeleine Albright, Thomas Kean, Brit Hume, Barbara Bush, Rudolph Guiliani, Michael Beschloss, Benjamin Netanyahu, Shimon Peres, Colin Powell, Lawrence Eagleburger, Mario Cuomo, William Bennett, Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, Juan Williams, Pierre Salinger, Tom Brokaw, Sam Nunn, and Dan Rather."
  23. Do you spot it? http://www.shop.com/amos/cc/main/ccn_login/ccsyn/260 It's always nice to run into things like that
  24. At this point all I can do is refer you where I'm getting my information from, a professor I had for a physiology of exercise class, Dr. Robert Hockey (a description http://nbezpage.com/advisory.shtml). Also, a description of the processes I'm referring to can be found on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaerobic_exercise. I'm not denying that weight lifting requires oxygen, just questioning whether it requires enough to make the heart do enough work to develop it.
  25. Interesting. If they are correct, and if the exercise they are describing has the same benefits as traditional weight lifting, then I'll have to do a bit of research Thanks for pointing that out.
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