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Ifat Glassman

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Everything posted by Ifat Glassman

  1. The subject of physical attraction and it's critirions has been discussed in the women's and men's thread under "Beauty". Anyone here looked at the paintings of Royo that I suggested and would like to respond to that post?
  2. First some update about the situation in Lebanon: the IDF has entered south Lebanon in several locations, with the intention of destroying Hesbollah's posts across the border. The problem is that apparently the enemy has anticipated it, and planted powerful explosives in the ground in those areas. After 8 days of massive attack on Hesbollah's posts and resources, they are still able to launch close to a hunded missiles each day. Up until now about 800 missiles were launched at Israel, and about 15 Israeli civilians killed (not sure about the exact number at this time). I heard a wise Saudi reporter saying that this is all Iran's planning, and just a part of it's plan to conquer other Arab territories. I was wondering if anyone can give any evidence to support this? As for the Lebanese: A lot of them just want to have a peacefull life, and have nothing against Israel. The resistance force against Israel that is acting from Lebanon is the result of Lebanon opening it's gates to Palestinian refugees. This later escalated the conflict in Lebanon between groups of different religions and goals, and even cause a civil war, which greately weakened Lebanon into the state that it's army was very weak, it's government had no power, and Hesbollah were able to occupy the South. The Majority of the Lebanonnians are peaceful people, who are not an enemy of Israel. The whole world recognises this distinction between the government of Lebanon (the part of it that does not support Hesbollah)and Hesbollah, and trusts them, (had they had the military ability to control the south), to hold it's army against Hesbollah in that area. The Lebanese have value to Israel as a possible partner for comerse, and certainly we have no intention or profit from killing Lebanese, which obviously don't like Hesbollah on their territory just as we dont (well maybe slightly less...) While it is true that the culture that the Lebanese develope there and the welath they produce enable the existance of Hesbollah in that area, it is Syria and Iran who are the main supporters of Hesbollah, who supply the weapons and the methods of destruction. The wealth of the Lebanese by itself would not be enough to support all the abilities of destruction the Hesbollah hold today. Killing Lebanese indiscriminantly would not only be useless, it would also be unjustified, which is the first thing that we have to consider, and not the second.
  3. "never mind who is behind him" does not equal who stands before him. You seem not only to not see that difference, but also to suggest shooting those around, just in case the attacker will decide to use them as a shield. As for Lebanon: Their country is based on the same values of productivity as ours. Most of the citisens want a peaceful existence with Israel. Lebanon's problems begun because it was generouse enough to open it's gates to palestinian refugees, not knowing that this would later cause to it's lost of freedom, a civil war, and to a government composed of Hisbollah members (Lebanon is a democracy). Israel makes a very clear distinction between Lebanese and Hesbollah members, and hopes to have a fruitful commercial relationships with the Lebanese in the future. The way our army is conducting this war is the most fair way I can think of, and I am proud to be a citisen of this country. We give warnings to the citisens to evacuate and use high percision weapons to destroty Hesbollah and all it's resources to the ground. We also dont hasitate to attack property of the Lebanon official army (like Radars) or to bombard trucks that carried covered equipment (against the instructions Israel gave to the Lebanese). Civilians did get killed in the destruction of that truck, and in other incidents but it was 100% justified, though a misfortunate inccident. These Lebanese are not evil and they do not support the Hisbollah. They have students like me who are becoming engineers, and experts in other fields, and have a cultural life (a culture of life and not of destruction), and I see more value in them alive than dead. Regardless of the value I see in them, the decision wether or not to attack them has to relly on whether or not they innitiated the use of force against Israel. Since the answer is negative, killing them would be unjustified. What value do you see in killing them? The Hesbollah is getting their funding from Iran and Syria and not from the Lebanese.
  4. Thought you might be interested in reading about the extent of Hesbollah, and it's goals: About Hesbollah And also about the birth of the organisation and about the history of Lebanon and how it got to the situation it is in today (having it's south occupied by Hesbollah): Lebanon History
  5. You are looking at it in the wrong way. Our purpose is not to retaliate as a revenge, but to wipe out Hizballa for good (hopefully, entirely and completely). The approach stated above "You blew up our bus? Oh, okay. We'll blow up your town." is silly and childish, and certainly does not represent the targets of our army. We have no intention to "wipe out their town": we use high persicion weapons and destroy specific targets. We also spread flyers from airplanes letting the Lebanonians know that Israel is going to attack any place that Hizballa are active in, in any form, and therefor they should evacuate. Our prime minister informed that we ARE NOT interested in hurtin lebanonian civilians, but only in destroying Hizballa. We also take the same approach in Gasa: our attacks have always been directed for known terrorists and supporters of terrorists, and not the population. I think this is enough to show that we are not acting to "blow up towns" of the enemy.
  6. While women have many types of wear, with varying designs, men only have two types: "sport elegant" (which means a nice pair of pants, or jeans and a nice shirt, ither a T-shirt, tight or loose, or a shirt with a colar...) and for special events (or for some, for work) a suit and a tie. Now, I don't see what's so pretty about that. A tie, other than the fact that it seems to be a device for suffocation, is a boring little stripe of fabric that hung on the clothes and have no apparent purpose. I think the male figure can be better emphasized in other types of clothing, like the ones that (don't laugh) the show "Hercules" has sometimes (and no I am not refering to the shirt of hercules himself !!. more like something of the king of thieves, if anyone knows what I'm talking about...) On the other hand, women have a variety of beautiful clothes to emphasize their figure (and some of them even over-emphasize it...). I wonder what is the cause of this tremendouse difference?
  7. I cannot give a good answer to that question right now because I do not have sufficient information about the details of that war. I also dont have enough time right now to read on the subject (exam period and stuff), but I will on the first chance I get. I don't think, however, that by spreading those flyers Israel is trying to tell the lebanonians what you said. I think they simply wanted to avoid hurting them. simple as that. We also acted similarly in operations in Gasa. If lebanonian civilians get killed, I am confident that we will not appologise, and I don't think an apology is due. I am simply glad that my country values lives of potential innocent people, and is acting in a "gentelmanic" manner, as DavidOdden put it. I want to state explicitly the things that bother me about the issue of killing civilians: 1) The objectivist stand is that civilians of an enemy country are morally responsible of the actions of their government. My problem with that is that the responsibility was never properly proven to me (and from the reactions of the users on this post, it seemed that they too did not know exactly how to prove this responsibility: they first tried to use the concept of moral responsibility in it's "physical" meaning (like cause and effect, saying that everyone who contributed to the existence of something is morally responsible for it...) and then proceeded to say that it is their moral responsibility to protect their life.) Now, while I agree that it is their moral responsibility to protect their life, I don't see how that makes them responsible of the actions of their government, if they do not support them with a willingful action. In the case of dictatorships, such civilians have no choice but to obey their government. it sounds completely redicilouse to me to accuse them of being guilty of the actions of their own tormentors. (and also a terrible injustice). This argument of moral responsibility is used as an argument for why there should be no concern for vicilian casualties. And therefor that argument is very important to clarify. 2) How is it possible to say that a whole city is "evil", or "supports evil"? A city is composed of many individuals, and I dont understand how they can be made into one giant head, with one set of ideas. This representation is possible for an organisation, whose members all have common beliefes, that are the organisation's stated principles.
  8. Beautiful. The way the artist did her gaze, so direct and penetrating. Just amazing. Don't think that this can be captures simply by copying the picture. Who IS the artist?
  9. I agree about the excessive muscle thing. It seems that their concept of heroism is strongly based of physical fitness. This concept of a hero would suit best the time when men's civilisation and technology were unadvanced, which is also a strong motive in their work. Other than their incredible technique, I also admire the immagination that goes into their work. ot all their paintings suit my sense of life (in fact most do not) but some of them are just beautiful... Another artist which has interested me is Luis Royo. I'm very interested in understanding the ideas behind his work. Before I give the link I have to warn you and also tell you about the kind of art he makes: Quite a lot of his work is erotic/ satan worshiping. Now, don't let that deter you because other than that, his paintings have tremendouse talent in technique, but most of all in the imagination and creativity that goes into them. he, also puts an emphasis on heroism. After looking at his works for years, I managed to identify some motives in his work. the main one being a conflict between dark and light, evil and dark. He paints the beautiful and innocent side by side with the monstrouse and ugly: Wings of reflection. Here is an example of the creativity in his work: Looking into the sun, an example of one of his paintings that describe a woman hero silver glass I detail, and an example of an adventure (this is one of my favorites) : the hormone jungle. If anyone would like to see any more (but dont say I didnt warn you about the erotic and the satan-worshiping stuff): Luis Royo official website. If anyone seen enough of his work and would like to say what they think are the ideas in the basis of his art I would love to hear. I'm interested in this question for a long long time. I want to know what is the reason that he has a side of obviouse romantic realism, and a side of dark satan stuff, and the ideas behind his workd.
  10. As the attack in Lebanon goes on, I would like to share with you a gesture that our army did to the citisens of Lebanon. I quote from "Yediot Achronot" (here is the link to the newspaper in English, but not to the article I am talking about): "The IDF airplanes scattered flyers warning the Lebanonic citisens to evacuate areas where Hizballa are operating, so that they wont get hurt: "Due to the continuouse terrorist actions of Hizballa, the IDF is operating in Lebanon. For your safety, in order to prevent harm for citisens who are not involved, you should avoid being in areas where Hizballa men are active" the flyers said. Well, what do you think of this gesture?
  11. The link is not good, the page has beem probably moved. Can you give a good link?
  12. I did respond to what you said: I said that if a gun is held for an hour or for years it is still the same. As for kicking me out of this forum: As long as my arguments are based on reason, you cannot kick me out. Objectivism is not about agreeing with everything you say, and it is also not about agreeing with every statement that Ayn Rand ever said. Objectivism is about reason, and independent thinking, and not about blindly mimicing the opinions of others. If you say that my argument are not rational, show me one. Proove what you say!You won't find any. As for my views being altruistic: since when having a desire not to kill innocent people is altruistic? what is your reason for saying that my premises are altruistic (you gave none)? As for repeating myself: I repeated myself only because I was misunderstood several times, so I had to repeat what I said to show that. it is not my fault if someone failed to grasp my point. And in case you havent noticed, I am the one who started this post. if you don't like it, kick yourself out. And if the true reason you want me out of here so much is because I blame some of you of being immoral, then isn't it too bad for you that you wish to ignore rational claims just because you fear analysing the source of your ideas? I'm not here to be nice, I say what I think, and I expect rational arguments in response to my ideas, nothing else.
  13. You missed the entire point I was making: I'll first repeat what I said, and then explain. I said that if a person killed someone at a gunpoint "If you don't shoot this man, I shoot you" I would hold this man innocent. If, however, a person is facing some danger, and has several options to defend himself, yet he chooses the option that involves killing innocent poeple, then that man is a murderer. The analogy to this in the case of countries, I said that a country should make any effort to avoid killing innocent people, but if there is no other choice and that country which has been attacked faces ither annihilation or using the bomb then it is moral to use it, just as it is moral for that person in my example to kill when instracted so by a gunpoint. I am not denying an individual's or a country's right to defend itself (god forbid), However I am saying that killing innocent civilians of enemy countries when other options are available is bad, wrong, unjust. And if you claim that killing them is justified because they are morally responsible for their government, then you are holding responsible every victim of every crime because they did not oppose. Might as well hold the jews in the haulocast responsible for their slaughter because "they didn't oppose". If you are claiming that victims of crimes are responsible for the crime commited against them, please justify your stand. If not, admit that you support killing innocents not because they are guilty of anything, but because you are concenred with your own physical safety rather with morality.
  14. My question was: Before there was any knowledge of what was about to happen (i.e, before the first plane blew up), but assuming there was intelligence that there are wanted terrorists on those planes, would it be ok to kill those hostages, in order to kill the terrorists, because the passengers are responsible for the actions of the kidnapers because they did not oppose them? Now to concept of responsibility: Responsible can have a moral meaning and a non-moral meaning: it can ither be responsible in the sense of "the cause of something" (like a horican being responsible for ruining houses, or a robber being responsible for a bank robbery because he planned and execute it) or it can be of moral meaning: "a person should be held responsible for their own actions" or "the citisens of a country should be held responsible for the wrongdoings of their government". Notice that in the cases with moral meaning of responsibility I said "should be held responsible", because that statement requires further justification. it does not come automatically like cause and effect, in the case of non-moral responsibility. A person can be responsible for something in the non-moral sense only if that thing happened as a result of their action. A person can be held responsible for something in the moral sense even if they were not the cause of that thing, but have the option of trying to change it. For example, I am not the cause of hunger all over the world, but some poeple might hold me responsible for it in the moral sense. I am not the cause of high taxation in Israel, but I may be held responsible for it in the moral sense. Note that just the fact that I have the ability to change something does not make me morally responsible for it's existence: moral responsibility has to be argued and proven, and certainly not determined on the fly because someone "fells like it", be he an objectivist, or anyone else. Now, saying that a hostage is responsible for the deeds of his kidnaper would be based on the premise that every person is the cause of other people's choices, or that every person has the moral obligation to oppose evil, even it means risking their own lives. According to this idea, a young woman who is being raped should be responsible for opposing the rapest (who holds a knife to her throat). if she doesnt, then she is responsible for the rape, and if the rapest threatens to kill her if anyone tries to catch him, then we should allow that, just to catch him, because, she should not expect anyone to sacrifice their safety for her, if she didn't oppose him. According to what Myron Azov said, if that person is not willing to fight that terrorist and risk dying, then he (Myron A) has the right to kill them for that, to save himself. consider his answer to my question: "So if somebody pointed a gun at you in a busy street, and you had the option of shooting back, but with a great chance that you would hit other people on the way, would you justify killing other poeple in the street to save your own life?" Answer: "Yes." This ides is based on the thought that egoism = no regard for other people's rights, when one is in need of something. And when we combine the tow ideas together (that each person is responsible to deal with their own attackers, and that a person has the right to hurt innocents who stand in one's way of defense) what we get is Anarchy. pure and simple. I want to summarise the questions that were raised here so we will have a more orgenised discussion: 1) Is it moral to carpet bomb countries that do not pose a threat to your country but that do not respect individual rights? (My answer to this is, that of course not, not just because it would be a terrible waist of money but also because this is simple murder. if we allow this then might as well cancell freedom of speech and point someone to kill everyone who does not support your opinions. 2) Is it moral to attack a country that poses a threat to your country but that the majority of it's citisens are "held captive" by their government , with little possibiity of opposing the government, by: a) attacking selected targets that will destroy the army and the regime's sources of wealth. b ) carpet bombing all cities that government members, or other activists are suspected to hide in, to get the fastest and safest result for your country, with no concern whatsoever to the citisens.
  15. You still haven't answered my question though. My question was, and I quote: "Would you say it is ok to blow up the plane to bits (before you knew what would eventually happen with it) because the passangers are responsible for the deeds of the kidnapers, because they did not overthrow them?" You answered my question while knowing the faith of the airplane. About the hostage situation: Again, your answer was irrelevant to the question. The question was is it ok to hurt the hostages to get to the criminals without any attempt to save the hostages' lives? As a policeman, I'm sure you would answer "no". That the hostages are innocent, they are not responsible for the actions of the criminals, and any attempt to rescue them should be made. You would not say that "Well, they are guilty in the bank robbery because they do not oppose the criminals, so let's choose the easiest way to get to the robbers, even if it means huring those people." And then my next question is: but the situation of citisens of a dictatorship is just the same, only they are citisens of another country. The question is what justifies killing them? (and please think about my example before jumping to the conclusions you already have) if we agree that they are innocent (like we agree that hostages should be rescued and not shot if it means an easier access to the criminals), then why are their lives worthless by default? Why is it ok to choose the easiest way to destroy the Nroth Korea government, if it means killing innocent people? In the individual case, it would be like the example of the busy street when sombody points a gun at you, and you can ither shoot back, with a great risk of hurting other people on the way, or try to defend yourself in other ways, which are more risky, but do not involve hurting those people.
  16. First of all, I would like to say that what Sophia said is correct. I did not say that those who have means should liberate those who dont have means. I actually wrote it as well, if you paid attention to what I wrote. I actually agree with your last paragraph. I agree with that as well, and I don't underestimate the power of promoting the right philosophy at all. However, if the US is freer, shouldnt it be easier to oppose the things you don't like in your government and their laws? Are you really doing everything you can to fight the things you don't like, or do you find it more comfortable to just wait around for things to change? why is your method of waiting around for the majority's opinion to change is good for taxes issues, but not good for issue of individual rights? it's pretty easy to point the finger at someone else and say "guilty". But you don't have the right to do so before you pointed it to yourself and asked the same question. Now: you entirely avoided the main point I was making. If it is "their responsibility to fight for freedom" then it is also the responsibility of any hostage to fight it's captors. According to what you say, if they don't then taugh luck. We will have to wipe them out along with the bad guys. Think about the example I gave about the 9 11th people in the ariplanes and what would you decide. I also got no answer for my question "Why would you protect innocent americans by law but feel free to kill innocent citisens of an unfree country to prevent the slightest risk your army would have to endure"? And please, if you reply to what I say, I prefer counter arguments instead of an arbitrary "Both of your points are fallacious", which has no value to me whatsoever. One last thing, I didn't understand why you said "Your position seems to assume that no American has ever had to die to achieve the (relative) freedom and prosperity we have earned today". I have no idea how you came up with that conclusion.
  17. So if somebody pointed a gun at you in a busy street, and you had the option of shooting back, but with a great chance that you would hit other people on the way, would you justify killing other poeple in the street to save your own life? I wouldn't. I would let your ass sit in jail for a long time if you start shooting everyone just to save your own life. Especially if you have the option of running, hiding, calling the police, or calling for help, even if it means greater risk, you should take that risk rather than killing innocents. As you said, a person in this case would have to prove that this was the only self defense action available. Why, then, does this rule do not apply to citisens of different countries? I don't get it. why are innocent americans better than innocent Iraquies? why would you protect the first by law, but feel free to kill the later to prevent the slightest risk your army would have to endure? No, I wouldn't. I do think that in case that there is no other option available, and we are facing ither annihilation or using the bomb, then use the bomb against the attacking country. (which would be the same as letting free a man who killed someone under a gunpoint, on the individual case). Besides, the bomb is a good method to deter enemy countries from attacking. I have a simple question: Why? Why are they responsible (if they didnt vote for the government or accept any of their ideas)? it's like saying that it is the responsibility of hostage people to oppose their captors (or like saying that the people in the ariplanes on 9 11th were responsible for opposing their kidnapers. Would you say it is ok to blow up the plane to bits (before you knew what would eventually happen with it) because the passangers are responsible for the deeds of the kidnapers, because they did not overthrow them?
  18. "Because my life is at stake" is not a good enough justification. "Because your life is at stake" does not justify killing an innocent man, stealing, or violating anyone else's rights (assuming they did nothing to hurt you). I didnt say that you should commit suecide to save the hide of a stranger. I am telling you that anyone who is willing to kill innocent poeple as the first resort to save their own life, is bad (and some other things, that I won't say here, excuse my hot temper). Take Israel for example (The country I live in): We act very aggressively against terrorists, and we destroy any site of missiles launch, even if it means destroying nearby vilages in gasa, and killing palestinians. However, we do try to avoide hurting them, and that is the main point. Of course that the easiest solution would have been to carpet bomb them. (ignoring the sanctions that would follow) it would be the easiest because it would be minimum risk for Israel soldiers and citisens. But it won't be moral, as long as we have the chooice not to kill them. To make my point clearer, I want to say that I do think that if there is a demonstration of palestinians that support terror organizations, I will gladly wipe them off (kill them all). Because they protest to be an enemy of mine in an open way, and this enemy has acted against Israel. However, I do not have the right to do the same thing to people in their house, just because it would save me the risk of going after the bad guys. If we compare this issue to the individual case (instead of countries) then your suggestion would mean that the law should support you if you started spraying people in the street with an automatic weapon because one of them has pulled a gun at you. What would be the justification? the fact that your "life is at stake. I cannot and will not commit suicide to save the hide of a stranger" As for all of you who say that the people who live in evil countries (like north Korea) are responsible for the doings of their government: two things: 1) They are under a life threat. you, are free to act against their government and you have the resources. according to your definition of "responsible", who is more responsible to the existence of those regimes? They, who have little means of opposing their dictators, or you, who have the means? (I'm just asking, I'm not implying that it is the liability of a freer country to liberate a less freer country). and 2) How many of you actually do anything to oppose what you dont like in your government? (and no, being a member of this forum does not count). If you don't so much, and you are freer men, how can you hold them responsible for their government? As for human life's value being intrinsic: yeah, why not? I value another person's life even if I don't know them, because I assume they are good until proven otherwise.
  19. Why should there be "no concern"? Of course there should be a concern, if those people oppose the government. Every attempt should be made to avoid killing innocent poeple. You think that choosing the absolute safest, easiest solution, without any risk to your army should always be chosen, even if it means killing millions of innocent people, so that one american soldier wouldnt get hurt? if you think that, you dont value human life much. It would be just like a case of killing everyone in a bank, hostages and bank robbers as one, just to get the bank robbers. Another question is, what if anither country drops a neuclear bomb on your country? does that mean that the best way to react is by doing the same? Why? why isnt it better just to focus on anihilating the regime and the army and resources of that regime? What would be the purpose of neucing them as well? ("You punched my nose, so I'll punch yours twice as hard?") As for the responsibility business? what if there's a tornado and the roof of my house flies 500 metters and destroys somebody else's house? does that mean I should be held responsible (by law) of the damages of that person's house? and if not, what is the difference between this case and the case that my tree falls on my neighbor's roof during a storm? I dont think that in any case there should be any blame on the person's whos property is flying and destroying things. it's not his fault that his property is flying around . and if you hold him responsible for the accident, might as well hold responsible the man who sold him that tree in the firstplace, or the gardener who watered it. They all contributed to the existence of that tree.
  20. To answer your original question: How to cope with alienation of friends: First of all, you should answer the question: why do I need friends in the firstplace, and why these friends? I don't know you personally too much (or at all), but the answer is probably why most people want friends: With friends you can laugh about funny things, if you share a sense of humor, you can go places with them (which is also a psychological need: a person can't sit on their ass in their room all day, and stare at the walls or read books. person goes insain from doing that for too long ). Friends are people you can trust to help you out if you missed class or if you need some sort of information that they have. With friends you can have more fun while you're at school (which is a major part of the day) and you can go out. Without friends, you can suffer from boredom during the day (unless it's an interesting class, which is rare, let's face it), and stay alone at home, and have a daily routin which is quite, hmm, depressing. True, you could use that time to read and learn, which is fun, but a person also needs fun from the type of going places, being physicaly active , seeing places (and not just working hard for your future all day long)... The problem is that the option which you are facing now, in this immidiate period in your life, is to loose those fun things that you used to do with your friends, because you became different than them. (Let me know if I way off). moreover, they have been your friends for a long time. you have feelings of affection for them, you used to think they are good people, and all of a sudden you feel betrayed, and you cant understand why. Am I correct? it hurts especially when you see them having fun together without you, and when you sense that they are talking about you behind your back (well, maybe I'm way off now). Anyway, The simple and fun things that friends do together require that they feel comfortable, or intimate with one another. For a lot of people, that intimacy is achieved by conforming with the group. Ask yourself if the fun that you can get from being with them is worth conforming all your intelligence, all your love of justice, all your love of truth, to their "group rules", to make them feel comfortable with themselves, so that they will agree to hung around with you. I say, heck no. Better be alone and invest my time in my own hobbies, until I can have a true friend. As for searching for a true friend, I think that people gave you some great advices here. examin them, try them, and dont let them slip away. You might also have a hard time figuring out if your friends are good or not, and why they act the way they do (to you). Especially in light of your past history and all the mutual fun you shared. My suggestion is to figure out why they act the way they do, and then to decide if you approve of the reasons or not, and whether these friends are worth fighting for their friendship. You can try asking them why they alienate you. If they don't give a straight answer try to figure out by yourself why they do what they do. You can stay friends with them until you figure it out. The answer to why they treat you the way they do is very important. Another important thing is to tell the truth aloud. I discovered that when I am surrounded by a bunch of creeps there is nothing more fun and relaxing than telling them what I think right in their face. Not in an agressive way, but simply telling them the truth, or asking questions that people usually try to sweep under the carpet (like questions about jelousy, motives, etc). The feeling of being clean and proud of yourself is worth everything you put against it. When I was in juniour high I decided that I want to always tell the truth (I have no idea what led me to that decision, maybe it was the hero of a soup opera that I admired). Well after a while (few months) my friends started to alienate me, and talk about me behind my back. To make a long story short, they didnt like how I described myself as better than them in some things, like painting. One friend, which was my best friend, thought that I dont value her at all. The other friends had different reasons, which I didnt like. So I decided to go back to talk to that friend of mine and I never went back to be good friends with the rest. Aparently that one friend actually liked how I tell the truth, and she admired my painting talent, rather than being nerrow eyed about it. The conclusion is that knowing the reason for alienation is important. if they were your friends for years, maybe there IS a good reason for that. you can also try to tell them interesting things about the book and persuade them to read it. Try meeting a lot of people. Assume that people are good until proven otherwise. it's easy to meet people when you have that attitude (which is the right attitude to have). You seem like a very sharp fellow, with high self awareness. Never give it up, for anyone.
  21. Hey. if anyone wishes to know how the cochlea device (implant) works: the cochlea is an organ that looks like a snail's shell, and it is the last part of the ear (called the inner ear). there is a membrane stretched throughout the organ, in the middle of it, with variable flexibility (according to the density of fibers in it). sound that goes into our ear (eventually) passes through the cochlea. Higher frequencies cause the membrane to react most strongly where the membrane is tightest (not flexible) and lower frequencies cause the highest response in the parts of the membrane that are most flexible. Beneath this membrane there are lots of cells with tiny hairs on their "heads", that sense movement of those hairs and change the voltage of the cell in response (by opening membrane channels that lead certain positive ions into the cell). The voltage change only happen if all the hair of the cells are moving in the same direction (which means only when the vibration of the membrane is the strongest and is typical of the frequency of the sound (BTW, the frequency of the sound is how fast the density of the air/medium the sound passes through changes). The change of voltage is then transfered to neurons, so that each location in the cochlea encodes different frequency (and what the cochlea does, actually is to seperate the sound we hear into all the different frequencies that it's composed of. amazing isn't it). The frequency of the sound is encoded by the location and the intensity of the sound (how loud that frequency is) is encoded in the firing rate of the neurons that recieve information from the receptors on that location. (Firing rate is the rate at whice the cell produces Action potential). Sometimes the receptor cells are unable to sense the virbations (I wont go into why), but the neurons are still intact and active. The purpose of the device is to sense vibrations of the membrane and to create electrical pulses that the neurons of that location can relate to (basically to replace the function of the receptors). However, there is the problem of compatibility of the device to the environment of our body, which I'm not sure how it was resolved... As for devices for the blind, and devices for the cripple, and devices that can read our minds and write text to the screen in response: There is still a LONG way before we can do the last thing. To do that physics must develope, and not neuroscience. The reason is that the information in our brain is encoded by the cells that are active and by the pattern of their activity. To know what you think we need to monitor the cells of your brain. There are 10^11 cells, in layers. it is virtually impossible to connect every cell with an electrode and to sense the voltage changes (unless you want to spend your life without your skull, in a room without jerms of any kind, and you get the picture...) There is no way to know the location of the cell that caused the change of electric field that our device, located outside the skull can receive. There are just too many variables to the problem. The changes in the electrical field that our brain produces are very tiny, and the tiny electrical field that a single neuron produces when it fires an action potential is quickly swalloed in the tissue of the rest of the brain before it travels out. EEG is a method in which there are electrodes connected directly to the scalp, with a special jell that improves conductivity. In this method we can record patterns of brain activity. These are good to know in general what regions of the brain are active, but not good enough to be able to know the words a person is thinking of, the exact type of movement he plans to do (but it is capable of knowing the direction of it, as I was told). There are a great deal of research done with electrodes inserted into the brain (of monkeys) that recieve information from aprx. 3 cells at a time, to record the behavior of the cells when the monkey performs different movements and from that information to try to figure our and predict the exact movement the monkey wants to do. This task has not been established yet, because the patterns of the brain as not very simple. sometimes a single cell encodes several things, and it's hard to figure out what is the purpose of each cell (bunch of 3 cells). This method is good for stretching one's arm to a specific direction, but it is not good enough to allow a percise movement of the fingers and to do high percision movements such as holding a fork, and lifting things with it. As for blind people... in case that the receptors on the retina are damaged, the idea was to insert a tiny chip into the retina, which will communicate with the neurons through electrical signals in response to light (in short it replaces the receptors). However, the device is very far from being usefull... it only allows a person to see a dot of light, or a stain of light. the person cannot identify the form, see colors, etc, and on top of that the device has a problem of being in a biological environment (our body doesnt like strangers and it starts attacking them. covering them up with a scar tissue, or the device can undergo corosion, which is also bad. In short, things are not so pinkish as all of you made it sound (today, a hearing device for the deff, tomorrow, a super human with the ability to jump to the moon and back while reporting the journy straight into a computer using a device that reads his mind)... Especially not in the sight sense. There is more to talk about in this subject of devices to overcome blindness and about blindness, but some other time...
  22. What about countries that are not pro individual rights, but that didn't attack your country - do you still have a right then to carpet bomb them because of their opinion? What about Iraq? Do you think that the US should carpet bomb the cities where terrorists are active, even though the terrorists themselves are not Iraqi? Moreover, I think carpet bombing should be the very last resort, and not the first resort. It is not always possible for an individual, or a group of men to take off the government. There are cases of dictatorships that the citisens do not support the actions of the government, They don't like the government, but they would be risking their lives if they oppose it. Would you hold these men guilty of the actions of their govenment and kill everyone indescriminantly?
  23. First of all, the DNA of your cells is not sufficient to make a perfect copy of yourself. The DNA can create a baby that is the same as the baby you were, but the genetic code does not store information about your current state (it doesnt hold information about how fat you are right now, the knowledge you have, the scars on your body etc). However, I do think that if someone created an exact replication of you, with your brain exactly as yours is, (but with different atoms) it would be you. The reason is that your identity is the different connections in your brain, the unique wiring and unique strength of connections between different cells in your brain. if you replicate that, even if you'd use different molecules, the product will undoubtably be you.
  24. "Any country that doesn't embrace indivual rights should be wiped out", when "wiped out" means to carpet bomb the whole country. Would you say that a person who thinks that is moral? and why?
  25. One of my two biggest interests is brain research. And I also know a lot of things about how the brain works. I'd be happy to share my knowledge with you, to "brush it up" and to hear interesting questions, and also because this subject is so fascinating that I would simply enjoy telling about it and summing up what I know. First of all, the operation that was suggested (replacing the brain by electronic devices, that would "store" the memories, so that the person would not feel the implant) is not possible. Our (and all animal's consciousness) is expressed is changes is electrical fields of the cells in our brain called "neurons". These neurons controls the behavior, movement, and a lot of things I'm sure nobody has a hard time thinking of. The human brain contains about 100 billion (10^11) cells (neurons), which are organizes in specific regions in the cortex (which is the surface of the brain most close to the skull). The cells in the cortex recieve information from our senses, encoded in the frequency of action potential firing of the receptor cells. "action potential" is a quick (1 milisecond) change in the voltage of a cell (which means that there is more positive charge inside the cell than outside it, in comparison to before the action potential). it is said that "action potential" is "fired" or that the cell "fires" because this action potential, once generated, advances through the axon of the cell, which is a long, thin wire, that is capable of causing the action potential to propegate until it reaches the end of the axon. the axon of each cell is connected to other cells, by a structure called "synapses", through which the cells in our brain transmit information to one another. if, in a certain instance, a neuron recieves enough inputs (action potentials in it's synapses with other neurons) it fires an action potential of it's own. here's a great link that explains it: Action potential demonstration. As I said, the rate of action potential firing encodes information. For example, if you're looking at a dog then the cells in your brain that encode a shape of a dog, sound of a dog etc will start firing with higher frequency. The connections between the cells can be replaced by an electronic device (though there is no such device today) and the consciousness of the person will not be harmed (his ability to learn will be harmed though, for reasons I will explain later), but the cells themselves cannot be replaced by an inorganic device without lost of consciousness. Our consciousness is composed of the neurons in our brain. For some reason, if you put a piece of metal that reacts just like your brain cells, it will be able to transmit information, but not to produce "thought" or "awareness". We know that a rat that was implanted stem cells into it's spinal cord with growth factors to encourage it to develope into brain cells, developed into brain cells and acted as normal brain cells do. There was actually no expiriment done which included replacing parts of the brain that produce awareness (not all the cells of the brain produce "consciouse" thought. some just calculate things and encode information we are NOT aware of) so I can't be 100% sure about this... However, with electronic "cells" we will loose our ability to learn, unless these cells will be a pretty good replicant of the original thing. The reason is that when we learn, what actually happens are chemical changes in a certain synapse that make it stronger (or make other synapses weaker). if the cell wont be able to respond with chemical changes to the stimuli it recieves from other cells, our brain will be incapable of learning. I'm going to post this now and continue later.
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