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About Tenzing_Shaw

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  • Birthday 08/25/1986

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    Tenzing Shaw
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    I became an Objectivist after reading Atlas Shrugged in my senior year of high-school. I am currently a graduate student in electrical engineering. My personal heroes (in order of importance to me): Ayn Rand Nikola Tesla Sir Isaac Newton
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    University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
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    Electrical engineering (currently a student)

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    Urbana, Illinois
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    Science (especially physics and computer science)<br />Mathematics<br />Objectivism<br /><br />Hobbies:<br />Chess (I am a tournament chessplayer)<br />Reading (primarily fantasy and science fiction)
  1. I think the crucial thing to remember here is that this experiment really tests low-level perceptual brain function rather than high-level concept formation. Since chimps live in the wild, they need to be able to perceive and react to observations very quickly. I am guessing that the chimp's brain provides faster reaction time, as well as a more vivid "after-image", which explains the animal's success at this game. What you have to do to test for a true conceptual faculty is overload the creature's perceptual faculty: give it far too many things to keep in its consciousness simultaneously. For
  2. I agree. I am not very knowledgeable about architecture, but those look like very well-designed houses.
  3. I think this quote covers most of what people today call "luck" very well. In competitive chess, there is a similar saying which I really like: "The stronger player is always lucky".
  4. Now that you put it that way, this certainly makes sense to me. I maintain my position regarding the full-spectrum lighting, however. See the "Full-spectrum light sources and health" section from an article produced by Rensselaer's Lighting Research Center: http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/programs/nlpip/lightingAnswers/fullSpectrum/claims.asp
  5. I think the answer is that value is objective. Thus, the key part of the (bad) definition you cited is "considered as having a higher or more pressing claim". "Considered" by whom and for what purpose? If the answer is anything other than "by the actor" and "to enhance his own life", then the action is a sacrifice; otherwise, it is a favorable tradeoff (i.e. a profit). The definition from dictionary.com is bad because it does not explicitly distinguish a sacrifice from a profit, and yet these two concepts are obviously very different (you don't need a dictionary to know that). Instead of being
  6. From what I saw of the sources you provided regarding the effects of sunlight on mood, you have missed my point. This effect is well known and not controversial to my knowledge. However, the use of artificial "full-spectrum" lighting devices to produce the same effect requires more proof than pointing out this fact. Basically, these devices assume that it is the specific solar frequency spectrum that counts, and not the intensity of the light (note that sunlight is typically vastly more intense than most artificial lights). In fact, the sources you cite seem to correlate serotonin levels with
  7. Beware: full-spectrum lighting is probably pseudo-scientific. See the Independent Verification section in the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full-spectrum_light#Independent_verification. I have also heard that the benefits of vitamin supplements are questionable, so I would look for a credible scientific/medical source which can verify their usefulness before trying them. Just a caveat; I have no objection to the rest of your advice/observations.
  8. The following two dialogues from The Wrath of Khan show why James Kirk is one of my favorite movie characters of all time: [After allowing the simulated Enterprise to be destroyed.] Saavik: "Permission to speak freely, sir?" Kirk: "Granted." Saavik: "I do not believe this was a fair test of my command abilities." Kirk: "And why not?" Saavik: "Because... there was no way to win." Kirk: "A no-win situation is a possibility every commander may face. Has that never occurred to you?" Saavik: "No sir, it has not." Kirk: "How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with
  9. From High Noon: "You're a good looking boy, you have big broad shoulders, but he is a man. It takes more than big broad shoulders to make a man, Harvey, and you have a long way to go. You know something? I don't think you will ever make it." -Helen Ramirez to Harvey Pell, contrasting Harvey to the hero, Marshal Will Kane
  10. Very well said indeed. Last one to Alpha Centauri is a rotten egg!
  11. By the way, if you are looking for engineering schools with very practical curricula, there are a few I have heard of which strive for this explicitly. One I visited (when deciding where to transfer to for engineering) is Rensselaer in New York (I was impressed with what I saw there, but ultimately chose UIUC).
  12. I would just like to point out that most engineering graduate programs do not require subject based tests (typically only the general GRE), so GPA will be particularly important in the case of the OP.
  13. This (the union of theory and practice) is certainly one of the most important aspects of an engineering curriculum. I have mostly been very impressed by the department here in this regard. Most of the core classes involve significant and challenging lab/design exercises. To give you an example, I took a robotics class in which we applied inverse kinematics and simple computer vision techniques to program manipulators to move blocks around on a table; I thought this produced a near perfect combination of theory and practice. There have been a few courses (maybe 1 in 5) which I felt could have
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