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Everything posted by Maarten

  1. It's sad to read many of the comments. Most of the people there are so far removed from rationality that they cannot even reasonably consider an alternative point of view... It's as if their minds just stop at disagreement and they spout their one-liners.... that usually do not even address whatever point is being made. You never hear someone explain why it would be so terrible and hateful for someone to be responsible for themselves, do you? It just is....
  2. I like my french press a lot. From my experience the coffee tastes better (because most filters get rid of some of the flavor molecules, or something like that), and I think it's a little less acidic. It is also much more efficient because you need less coffee to make it a strong brew. In most drip machines you need to put an insane amount of coffee in to get it to a decent strength coffee.
  3. I'm not totally sure if that works out in the long run, though. Yes, you're motivating them in school because they have an immediate value they can achieve. But what will happen once you start giving them their immediate reward later? In college? Wouldn't that most likely destroy their motivation, because it's mainly based on being given something they want immediately? I think it would make far more sense to teach these children that learning is a selfish exercise that they should do because of its value to them. In most cases it doesn't pay off until the longer term, and an approach like this makes them focus on the short-term gains that much more.
  4. Except both cities were filled with weapons and ammunition manufacturing sites; the Japanese at the time made most such things by hand. To claim that they were civilian targets is absurd.
  5. From reading the news articles, it seems that the first psychiatrist was assigned by Social Services, and that person said she was too stupid and had learning disabilities. The other guy was a second opinion person who disagreed and said she was fine. I think the reason the court didn't do anything was because her state assigned lawyer (she was deemed too stupid to pick her own counsel ?!?) didn't want to appeal to the court's opinion. This stinks to high heaven of big government gone wild.... It's disgusting and sad.
  6. I'll have to see if they allow me to take some classes there on the side =) That'd be really nice if I could do it.
  7. That was a very interesting article. I like the guy =) By the way, has anyone seen how disgusting most of the comments to it were? It seems like there's a lot of liberal trolls on Forbes.com....
  8. That game actually still works, the old link is just dead. It is quite interesting. I've been playing it for a little while now and it is pretty fun to propose laws and try to gather support for it. The different laws and positions you can propose really do a good job of covering the political spectrum
  9. Equivocating between people paying for health care through their employer (which is voluntary) and through taxation is just sad. It's obvious she doesn't get the meaning of individual rights... That's really what you have to go back to all the time. If you turn it into a utilitarian equation with what is cheaper and more effective or whatever, it's pretty much a lost cause. The only way to oppose these people is by going back to the moral issue, not arguing the specifics of their arguments (that are so complex that it's pretty much impossible to prove to them that it is because of factor A instead of .
  10. I personally think that the Federal Reserve might be more harmful in the long run than the income tax as such, because it enables so much government manipulation of the economy through the various programs it has under its umbrella. If you think about all the recessions and depressions and inflation that's been caused by this organization, and the fact that we'd probably still be on a gold standard if it wasn't for the Fed, I think it might be the single most damaging government entity in existence.
  11. I was just wondering about this earlier. There are a lot of discussions about what's wrong with today's government, and how a proper government should be. But what do you think is the single most damaging law (including amendments to the constitution, so you can say income tax) or government agency out there? I mean that in the sense of: If we go back a century or whatever and that whole thing just never went into effect, what do you think would be the single most beneficial thing for ordinary people's lives? Would you say it is no income taxes, or no federal reserve, no EPA, no antitrust laws, no FDA or no Medicare or Medicaid or SS? I think it would be an interesting thought exercise to see what people think is the worst violation of their rights, so to speak, and what makes the most difference in practical terms. I think it would be very helpful to know that, just because when we do get in a position to cause more changes to the political and cultural system of the country in the future. If we can identify what are the single worst contributors to a worsened quality of life for us on the government side, we would better know what targets to pick for a more concerted effort in making a difference. Even if the political landscape and culture change overnight and people are much more rational, there would be some things you'd target first for change: what would be the first change you'd make for the better? Please also explain why you choose what you choose =)
  12. Another thing that I thought was really disgusting was how the President of the UAW was quoted as saying something like: "Everyone had to give up something, and we only got 60 cents on the dollar for our obligations." As if that is even remotely similar to how much the bondholders and shareholders are losing. Pretending their concessions are even remotely similar is just beyond disgusting, and highlights how horrible these unions can be when they get too much political power.
  13. I think it's because individual rights can only follow from a selfish, individualistic view of man's nature. In other words, the acceptance of altruism as the standard of ethics makes individual rights a non-sequitur of sorts, and I think that's why it's so easy for them to ignore rights: rights do not mean anything to someone who is consistently altruistic. At its root, altruism means that man is not a being in its own right, and only lives for others. If your life is not yours (for egoistic systems it's the source of value) then why does it matter if someone takes something from you? It wasn't really yours to begin with, anyway?
  14. Maarten

    Precedents in law

    I think the first point you mention is a very good one. It is indeed important for the law to be rather permanent. However, when bad decisions are constantly being made (and especially because there are so many different courts with potentially very different ideological concerns) it makes it very easy for the wrong rulings to become entrenched in the legal system... It seems that a lot of times other judges are very hesitant to go against precedents set before, even when a child could see that those rulings are absurd and wrong.
  15. Maarten

    Precedents in law

    I have been reading about the state of property rights in the US, and one thing that constantly seems to pop up there is the power that legal precedents play. Can anyone explain where that comes from? I am not altogether sure that such a reliance upon earlier decisions is correct and desirable, because it seems that to a large extent it just allows people to acquiesce to past decisions whether they were good or bad. It seems that the mere fact that it happened, as such, is taken to mean that it must therefore be a good decision. That's probably an oversimplification, but could anyone with more experience in legal matters explain where this concept comes from, and if I am missing something?
  16. I saw Duplicity and it isn't really a story about Successful thieves....
  17. Well, they're saying that her novels are still sold and read in high numbers, especially in neoconservative circles. I think to some extent that is probably true. Just by itself that doesn't mean that her novels are neoconservative in nature, or anything like that. Maybe some people would get that impression, though.
  18. It would be pretty wonderful I think if Obama has to deal with a republican congress from 2010-2012. Maybe that'll work out better than this current mess. At least it shows that Democrats still know how to outspend the Republicans! That's some certainty for you, sNerd =)
  19. Obama pledges to reduce deficit This is just sad. And disgusting. As if it is somehow a good thing to first create a record budget deficit with your retarded economic policies, and then take credit for "cutting" what should be temporary increases in the first place by a percentage that is totally insignificant and will STILL result in higher deficit levels than before. That's like someone who just gained 60 pounds by overeating claiming it's impressive if they lose 15 pounds. And then pretend that they really are better off than before. God, I don't even have words for how dumb this is. After all, half of 1.5 trillion is still 750 billion, and that's almost twice as much as Bush's deficit was last year. And 1.5 trillion is a low-ball estimate for next year's deficit....
  20. That was pretty amazing. He's perfectly right about this. The whole series of bailout following bailout is like an orgy of altruism in its most naked and evil form... Rewarding the failed and punishing the good... The founding fathers must indeed be rolling over in their graves.
  21. Maarten

    Junk science

    I think the same holds true in biomedical sciences. I can't really think of any classes where they teach us flat out wrong things, or real propaganda. I mean, you have some of the biofuels stuff if you are a biotech major, but if you're in the medical fields I don't really see much of it as long as you steer clear of the ethics courses =) The courses that teach you how to better apply for government funding are kinda mixed, but at the same time that's pretty much the only way to get money these days so I don't think you can consider it bad to learn how to do that.... You kind of have to in academic research environments if you want to succeed at all, or survive for that matter.
  22. And I think even Washington ran into some popularity problems later in his presidency, and he was a war hero who was basically responsible for the country's survival. Obama doesn't really have anything remotely similar to lean on, after the initial euphoria wears off.. I am mostly concerned by the huge democratic majority in Congress. I hope that changes in 2010, but they can do a lot of damage in the mean time..
  23. I read in the newspaper that this bill contains provisions that more than DOUBLE the department of education's budget for the next two years. They're investing about 130 billion dollars in education, it seems. And that at a time when we badly need to get the government out of education =( I thought it was interesting, when I watched CSPAN today some texas republican in the house was opposing it, and gave tons of reasoned arguments for why it was a bad idea. Then the committee leader (a democrat) responded with a series of emotional appeals that didn't address anything that the other guy had brought up, and they repealed the proposed amendment (that would have removed all the extra spending from the bill).
  24. Oh, the test is actually about 300-4000 dollars to do. But yeah, it's ridiculously expensive compared to pretty much anything that is handmade. Besides, why the hell are we testing a wooden hedgehog (for example) for lead poisoning anyway. How does a huge amount of lead get in that product anyway? It's just dumb as hell.
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