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About shakthig

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  1. Even as things are, there is no shortage of people wanting to move to the USA. What limits immigration are the laws that restrict it, not a lack of recognition about how good the USA is.
  2. Use Free Download Manager. When you download files using this program, if downloading gets interrupted due to getting disconnected, you can continue from where you left off once you reconnect. There is no need to begin again from scratch.
  3. Just posting this since those who are interested in immigrating to the US would find it useful. Participating in the lottery is completely free. Make sure to do so through the official website of the state department and make sure to read the instructions carefully and double check all the information entered in the electronic application. dvlottery.state.gov Unfortunately people born in certain countries do not qualify to participate (Unless special considerations apply) Taking the trouble to participate in the lottery is definitely worth it since it doesn't cost anything and since the probability of winning is non-trivial. Also note - Winning the lottery doesn't guarantee being issues an immigration visa. There are many complicated requirements that lottery winners have to fulfill to be able to immigrate to the US.
  4. There is an abridged version in the web site of this documentary.
  5. This story about Jens Naumann who lost both eyes and subsequently regained some vision through artificial eyes is amazing. *** Mod's note: If link above does not work, here's a link that has some info on the topic. ***
  6. And if air travel ever becomes 100% safe due to security measures, the terrorists will just find something else to blow up.
  7. Here is a description of the "Age of Enlightenment". It's the foundation of modern civilization. The Age of Enlightenment arose in the west and it has spread to other non western countries through a process which is usually referred to as "westernization". In some countries westernization was facilitated through imperialism. (Though in many cases the explicit goal of the imperial powers were "power", "trade" and "spreading the gospel") My own post was a response to the comparison of the British to modern terrorists. That has to do with the general nature of the history of their nation. So I will continue to take into consideration all aspects of their history. It wouldn't be fair to blame ancient peoples and call them stupid for "tolerating feudalism". Exactly how would they have gone about refusing to tolerate feudalism? They would have had to demand their rights and fight for their rights and most of all; they would have had to know that they had rights! But the fact that Man has rights was discovered only during the Age of Enlightenment and was unknown prior to that. People didn't have the intellectual tools necessary to fight feudalism prior to the Age of Enlightenment. When evaluating a political system, the most important consideration is the degree to which the rights of men are respected and the degree to which capitalism is a part of that system. Other considerations such as whether the rulers are "outsiders" are less important. The kings who ruled various countries in ancient times imagined themselves to be the owners of their countries and didn't consider their subjects as being the owners of those countries. You’re abandoning all contexts when evaluating history and focusing on the one and only issue of whether the rulers are natives or foreigners. My assertion that a single evil element wouldn’t make a political system or a country evil wasn't based on any individual principles vs. group principles dichotomy. (Actually what precisely do you mean by "individual principles" and "group principles"?) It was based on the fact that the nature of the life of a single individual man and the nature of a political system that governs millions of men for hundreds of year are vastly different. You can't use the same principles to judge entities whose nature is so radically different. And in any case, if you insist on using principles that are applicable to individuals, you should confine your judgments only to those individuals who did evil things rather than comparing the whole of the British nation to modern terrorists. I didn't study all political systems that ever existed, but I know enough to say that a purely capitalist system never existed anywhere at any time. The non capitalist elements of any political system are the "evil elements" that I had in mind. With the kind of harsh standards you are applying when evaluating countries and political systems, we wouldn't even be able to admire the ancient Greeks because they had thousands of slaves! Ancient Athens would have to be regarded as "evil" because a single element of evil is enough to classify anything as being evil in its totality regardless of the context!
  8. Modern terrorists are not motivated by power at all, let alone "power at any cost and by any means". (I assume that by "power" you mean the ability to rule other people.) Why do they commit suicide while bombing others? What power do they gain after having committed a suicide bombing? To take the worst form of terrorism as an example, how much power has Bin Laden gained from his terrorist atrocities? Did he ever stand any chance of gaining any "power" by organizing the 9/11 atrocity? Could his motivation have been "power" when the fact that there was a very serious likelihood of becoming the most hunted (and therefore the most powerless) man in the world (as is now the case) was so clearly predicable? Modern day terrorists are primarily motivated through a desire for "deriving perverted satisfaction through destruction of the values and achievements of civilized people." rather than by "power at any cost and by all means." Their level of mysticism is so deep, they actually believe that they'll go to heaven and get 72 virgins as a reward for loosing their life while destroying the lives of others. That's what makes it possible for them to conceal their motivation from themselves. They don't murder people for the sake of gaining something for themselves; they murder people just for kicks! Somebody who strives for some positive goal (even a totally second hand goal such as "power") would never do the kind of totally senseless (and suicidal) things that modern terrorists do. Only those who are totally without any (this worldly) goals whatsoever can go that low. Given this description of modern terrorists, there is no way to justify comparing them to British imperialists. Nor were the British imperialists motivated by "power at any cost and by any means" though they certainly would have been motivated by "power". For all their faults, they did dismantle the feudal order that existed prior to their rule, and established semi-capitalist political systems in most countries within their Empire. They also spread the cultural and philosophical values of the enlightenment. In most countries they ruled, they respected individual rights such as the freedom of speech and property rights far more than the monarchs who preceded them. They were instrumental in ending the international slave trade. (And if their motivation was "power at all costs and by all means" I wonder why they abolished slavery throughout the British Empire in 1833) For accurate examples of systems based on "power at any cost and by any means", you should refer to countries such as Soviet Russia under communism and North Korea, Cuba etc. To the argument that the British were instrumental in modernizing those part of the world that were within their empire, you respond that a single act of evil is enough to declare the British nation (at that time) to be evil! That's applicable to individuals in the sense that a single act of murder would be enough to regard the perpetrator as evil no matter how exemplary his life had been prior to him committing that act of murder. But it's not applicable to political systems and nations. Has there ever been a political system in this world that never had any evil elements whatsoever?
  9. And what exactly are the (alleged) fundamental similarities between the British then and the terrorists now ? For the life of me, I can't think of any! [Mod's note: I've moved the follow-up to this to an earlier thread on Colonialism - sN]
  10. I used the word “arbitrary” to indicate the fact that the choice of the person whose birth of date would determine the likelihood of civilization ending soon depended on your discretion. [http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/arbitrary] Why wonder about the date of your birth? Why not wonder why Einstein was born in the 19’Th century, why George Washington was born in the 18’Th century, why Christopher Columbus was born in the 15’Th century and why Alexander the Great was born around 2000 years ago etc. The timing of their birth days was as random as yours. I get what you mean by “observational experiment” (Though I think that the word “experiment” would be redundant in this case. Wouldn’t it be simpler to say that most knowledge in fields such as astronomy and archeology depend on data gathered from observations?) But it is important to keep in mind the context within which the observation is taking place. I think the issue gets complicated by the fact that you are both the observer and the subject of the observation. You are the one making the observation and the one who interprets the results of the observation and you are making that observation in the year 2006. That is the context within which the observation is taking place. That being the case, the “probability” of you “observing” that you happen to be alive in the year 2006 is 100% regardless of when civilization is to end. The calculations you outline would not be relevant. Those calculations will be relevant only for an experiment that would result in a “pointer” to one person out of all people who ever lived (and are ever to live in the future) within civilization.[And only when there is an equal probability of any individual being pointed to by the result of the experiment.]
  11. David, The calculations you made will be relevant only if something along the lines described below takes place - Out of all the people who lived (and are ever to live) during the timeframe of human civilization, one person is randomly chosen. Now if it is a given that human civilization will end in (or around) the year 2056 (i.e. in 50 years), then there is a probability of that randomly chosen person being alive in the year 2006 (the present) of (around) 60%. On the 0ther hand, if it is a given that human civilization will last for more than 100,000 years, then the probability of finding that the individual who was randomly chosen exists in the year 2006 would be less than 0.1%. Now say we make such a random choice. Out of all the people who have ever lived and are ever to live within human civilization, we choose one individual and it turned out that the person chosen is alive in the year 2006. Now what are we to make of such an eventuality? Should we conclude that civilization is very likely to end around the year 2056? Intuitively, such a conclusion would seem reasonable. The thing is, it is fairly obvious that it would be impossible to conduct such an experiment where one person out of all the people who ever lived (and are ever to live) within this civilization is chosen randomly. [One would have to be a supernatural and semi-divine being to do so.] The error in your thought experiment is the implicit assumption that such an experiment had been performed and that you are the result of such an experiment. The reasoning seems to be something like – If civilization were to last around 100,000 years, then the probability of me living within the very beginning of that civilization is extremely low. On the other hand if civilization were to end around the year 2056, then the probability of me being alive around the year 2006 is 60%. Well it turns out that I am in fact alive in the year 2006. WOW! That probably means that one way or the other (either through extinction or by achieving immortality) this generation is likely to be the last generation of this civilization! I think pointing at yourself as being one among all the people who ever lived (and are ever to live in the future) within this civilization would amount to an arbitrary choice rather than the result of a random experiment. Therefore the calculations that you made would not be relevant. [Also, there were no Greek philosophers in the year 2500BC. I think Greek philosophy began to appear around 600BC. But that is not central to the thought experiment that you described.] [Edited to correct a grammatical error.]
  12. Dec 28, 2025 I always tip 30% if the service is average and make it 40% if it is good. If the service is poor, I tip only 20%.
  13. This speech given by David Davis is interesting. http://www.david-davis.co.uk/news/news_id.asp?id=29 He is probably the best that can be hoped for within the present cultural/philosophical climate.
  14. You published that essay ? But you had not been born yet !
  15. I am from Sri Lanka. I had lived in India for a few years and I don't think I would have discovered Objectivism if it weren't for that. I just wouldn't have encountered it. I have never seen any of Ayn Rand's books in bookshops here in Sri Lanka but they were always available in many bookshops in Bangalore.
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