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Everything posted by stellavision

  1. There's a difference between the second-hander, who seeks undeserved adulation and thinks that the fact that he is being praised by others makes him great, and the man who achieves and is pleased to be in the company of others who appreciate his achievement for what it is. The former seeks to gain self-esteem from others (an impossible task). The latter is great and knows it, and while he can live without praise, he takes great joy in knowing there are others who recognize his value. He doesn't NEED them, but they enhance his enjoyment of his own achievements (and he happily reciprocates when his loved ones do great things). Galt may not have cared that the world as a whole know what he had done -- in fact, he wanted to keep his discovery secret precisely because the world was not worthy of it. Why share your achievement with those who are just going to loot it? But he was perfectly happy to talk about his passion with Quentin Daniels, because Daniels had both the correct philosophy and sufficient intellect to appreciate it. And remember what Lillian shouted at Rearden during one of their arguments? She said something like, "Rearden Mines, Rearden Metal, Rearden Wife!" and asked him why he had to put his name on everything. The answer is: he wanted his achievements to be known as his own.
  2. They certainly could, and it should not be illegal for unions to form. However, in a proper system of government, any employer, including a school, should be able to refuse to deal with unions and insist on negotiating with teachers individually. If a school doesn't do so, that is their right, and it is theirs to accept the consequences of mediocrity that unions bring, while other schools that refused to deal with unions would reap the benefits of being able to reward individual achievement.
  3. Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: A Philosophical and Literary Companion just came up on my Amazon recommended list, and I'm curious if anyone here knows anything about the book or its author. I've never heard of Edward Younkins before, and before I drop $30 on the book I'd like some indication that it is coming from an Objectivist and not, say, a libertarian perspective.
  4. First of all, thanks to others who gave congrats as well...I kind of hibernated for a while after I finished the race and didn't see this post until today! Yes, I do plan to run another. My original thought was that I would run Philadelphia this year and NYC next year, but since Philly didn't go as well as I hoped this year, I think I might try Philly again before I move on to the more challenging hills of NYC. I'm also considering Chicago, which is also a relatively flat course, but because it's so much earlier in the year, I'm a little concerned about the weather (witness what happened this year!). So I will run another marathon next year, but I haven't quite decided which one yet.
  5. I'll add my experience from the pharmaceutical industry, which is often criticized for churning out "me-too" drugs (that do the same things as drugs already on the market) rather than truly groundbreaking therapies. The critics who say this are usually the same ones who think the pharma industry needs MORE regulation (and drugs are already regulated more than any other consumer product). Where did all the "me-too" drugs come from? They came from the enormous costs of developing a drug in this country. Because of the FDA, a drug needs to go through years of clinical trials, requiring thousands of patients and the resources of many doctors and hospitals IN ADDITION to the company's own researchers who developed the drug in the lab. Then even more money is spent on bureaucratic paperwork submitting the results of these trials to the FDA -- a New Drug Application can literally be hundreds of pages long. Not to mention, the company is being robbed of its patent protection all the while -- a patent protects a drug for 20 years from registration, but as much as half of that time is worthless because the company can't sell the drug until the FDA approves it, but the patent clock is ticking the whole time. The entire process of drug development has been estimated at about $800 million dollars per drug. $800 million! Is it any wonder that pharma companies, rather than risk that much on an innovative, which is by definition untried, therapy, instead plow their money into variations on drugs that are known to work? So instead of a cure for cancer, we get umpteen different brands of birth control pills, cholesterol medications, and such. Not to mention a drug company's ability to sell its product is severely limited by the FDA even after it has been approved. Even if the company has data showing that the drug works in a different disease than the one for which it was originally approved, it cannot promote the drug for that use without conducting additional studies and spending more money on FDA paperwork to get that additional use approved. That's another way in which regulation stifles innovation -- by limiting the potential market for a groundbreaking idea.
  6. I ran my first marathon in Philadelphia today! It didn't go as well as I'd hoped -- I had to walk a bit and battled stomach cramps for most of the race -- but I still finished, even though I was sorely, sorely tempted to quit at the halfway mark. Woohoo, I am a marathoner!
  7. (emphasis mine) I agree, and that's part of why I'm so conflicted about it. I need to decide which comes higher in my hierarchy of values -- keeping my name, which is perfectly suited to me and my line of work, or the visible symbol of my love and admiration for my man? (We are not engaged, for the record; I only thought of it because the subject came up in passing -- in fact, it was my 13-year-old niece who precociously asked us about it.) If my last name were anything other than what it is, this wouldn't even be a question for me (especially since I like his last name). As others have mentioned, there are ways to have both, but they're not entirely satisfying to me. Hyphenation would produce a sixteen-letter, six-syllable mouthful, and I suspect most people when addressing me would shorten it by dropping his last name. Using my last name as a middle name probably means that people will drop my name when referring to me. My last name appeals to me only as it is, so merging it with his name to form a new name would be less satisfying than simply taking his.
  8. His last name happens to be 11 letters long. So hyphenating is technically an option, but in my case would produce a rather unwieldy result. I know I could change it legally and still use "Daily" professionally -- Ayn Rand did this, no? (Legally she was Mrs. Frank O'Connor.) I'm curious as to how well this actually works. Is there confusion if the professional world and the social world overlap? Is there really a point to it if the only people who refer to me using my last name on a regular basis are those I know professionally? (I doubt my friends refer to me as "Stella Daily," just "Stella.")
  9. This is a bit of a hijack since Cogito has already decided not to change his name, but I'm not sure this is worthy of a new thread. I just wanted to ask about the more traditional type of name change -- that is, a woman's taking her husband's name upon getting married. I'm of mixed feelings about whether to do it myself, and would like to hear from some of the married folk. Why did or didn't you (or your wife) do it? Are you happy you did(n't), and why? For the record, I do like the idea of sharing a name with my husband, but happen to LOVE my own last name. After all, I'm one of the fastest crossword solvers in the country and I have a well-established sideline as a puzzlemaker...does a last name get any more perfect for that than "Daily"?
  10. I sympathize. In the past, I have spent a good deal of time admiring men who weren't interested in me, and being close friends with those men both because I enjoyed "hanging out" with them, but also because I hoped for something more. As tps_fan says, of course it hurts when you partially lose a major value. But, it may be a good thing to spend less time with this man whom you can't have. Both because the more time you spend with him, the more it hurts when you realize you can't really have what you want from him, and because, if you are seeing this man 2 or 3 times a week, that's 2 or 3 opportunities a week you could be using to find someone who will value you fully and want a romantic relationship with you. I'm not saying you need to go cold turkey, but cutting back could help you both to hurt less and to pursue a romantic relationship with someone whose heart is free for you. What to do with your admiration? I've found that of the three men I've hopelessly admired in the past, two of them, while fine for nonromantic friendship, have serious incompatibilities with me that not only make them inappropriate for a romantic relationship, but that caused me to stop admiring them in that manner (one is religious, the other is a bit flaky and doesn't have a great deal of ambition). The third is sort of like Hank Rearden to my Dagny Taggart (except, of course, that Dagny's love for Hank was requited!). That is, he's still an admirable, wonderful man -- but I've found one I like even better. And once that happened, my admiration for my friend became just that, admiration for a friend, and all of my romantic interest transferred to my boyfriend. What to do with admiration between now and when you do meet Mr. Right, though? I think it's a wonderful thing to contemplate exactly what you love about your friend, and use that to form your mental template of what you want in a romantic partner. Which qualities that you love about him are the essentials, and which are just window-dressing? (For example, you could love that a man is passionate about his law career, and realize that the important thing is the passion for a career, not that he's passionate about law in particular.)
  11. I have a pretty high food budget, but I'm more obsessed with food than most. Still, here are a couple of inexpensive recipes I enjoy very much: Chunky Vegetarian Chili -- very tasty, low in fat, high in fiber, and mere pennies per serving since canned beans cost next to nothing. Corn and two-bean burgers -- again, low in fat, very tasty, and they freeze well.
  12. My man doesn't actually use the word "slut," but I will say that I like it when he uses language that lets me know he's in control. And that's as much as I'm going to say about that
  13. Wonderful! You'll be living just a few blocks from where I work, so feel free to PM me if you want some restaurant recommendations.
  14. I thoroughly agree! Yup, just did that last night. I've actually thought about joining for a while now -- I've kept another blog for several years now, but since I almost never touch on Objectivism in that blog I didn't feel quite right joining the list. But now that I have this more topical blog as well, I'm in!
  15. There are many, many alternatives to Kaletra, at least many available in the United States. (As mentioned in my blog, there are 26 different drugs available, most of which have to be combined with each other to produce effective results.) I've only just started working for the brand (I work for the medical advertising agency that handles Kaletra), so I'm learning about all the competitors, but I know one of the reasons the Thai government wants Kaletra so badly is that it doesn't have to be refrigerated -- many of the alternatives to Kaletra do require refrigeration, something that many Thais cannot afford. The drug you are talking about, Prezista, is starting to catch on in the US. I don't know about the price, but I wouldn't be surprised if it costs more than Kaletra, which has been around for several years. I've just heard about the Brazil decision, and will probably write about it later.
  16. I've finally decided to start a blog on the pharmaceutical industry (I'm a copywriter for a pharm ad agency) from an Objectivist perspective -- I think the world could use an awful lot more reason in regard to health care, and all the essays I've had stewing in my head need to get written, darn it! So, here it is: ReasonPharm. There's only one essay up at the moment (re: recent uproar among AIDS activists about Abbott Laboratories), but I'm hoping to put a new one up every week. Enjoy!
  17. I loved, loved, loved Ratatouille. I haven't seen Cars and so can't comment on how it compares, but I will say that Ratatouille is every bit as good as, and maybe even better than, another of Pixar's great achievements, The Incredibles. What I loved about this movie was how joyful it was. Remy the rat goes after what he wants, no matter what it takes -- he's a very human little hero in a rat's body. And, while this very easily could have turned into a humans-versus-rats movie, Ratatouille doesn't go there. In fact, Remy at one point says he admires humans because they invent things, instead of stealing things like rats, and that that's what he wants to do himself. Even better, Remy's adventures are totally inventive and original -- not the usual summer retread fare. The comedy in this movie is brilliant. If I have a complaint, it's only that the movie had me laughing so hard I couldn't hear the next line of dialogue! When I wasn't laughing, I was smiling from ear to ear. This one is worth seeing again and again.
  18. Finding my career has been, rather than a singleness of purpose, a series of steps (and sometimes stumbles) in the right direction. I was a huge Disney fan through high school, and would draw animated characters in every corner of my notebooks. I was also a straight-A student who did better in science classes than any others. I initially wanted to be an animator, but my parents pushed me in the science direction, fearing I'd never be able to make money as an artist. In retrospect, I am glad they did, as drawing remains a fun hobby to me rather than a deep and passionate pursuit. I majored in chemistry in college, thinking I would be a doctor. I got not-so-great grades, which made me think maybe I should consider grad school in chemistry instead, since medical schools are much stricter about grades. But when I had to do an undergraduate thesis, I realized I'm not cut out for lab work. So, I applied for every job under the sun, not knowing what I wanted to do, and ended up getting a management trainee position at a mail-order products firm. After a few months there I realized I hated just about everything about the job (which was mostly project management), and that the one bit that I did enjoy was the writing (yes, I derived pleasure from writing something so cheesy as a letter asking the customer to buy yet another die-cast miniature truck, and that sort of thing). So I tried to get a writing job. I flooded journalism outlets with my resume, but didn't get any bites. Then I was offered a job doing writing for a summer camp, of all places. I took it, figuring any writing job was better than none. I was miserable at the camp job, because the writing was boring (Lots! Of exclamation points! Praising! Children! For! Unimpressive! Achievements!). I took a journalism class, hoping to get some clips and get a job at a newspaper or magazine, but still no luck. About five years ago the departmental administrator from the chemistry department at Princeton, who was like a mother figure to us students and remembered me as someone who enjoyed writing (I infinitely preferred writing my thesis to doing the lab work!), told me she'd heard of a freelance opportunity to ghostwrite medical journal articles for a professor who was too busy to write them himself. I tried it out and LOVED it. I had never heard of medical writing as a career path before, but as I did more work for the lab, I realized I enjoyed it more than any other work I'd done before. I tried to get a job at a medical advertising agency, but was turned down due to lack of experience. So I stayed at the awful camp job, picking up as much freelance medical writing and advertising work on the side as I could. It led to 60-70 hour workweeks, but I finally felt like I was on the right path. About a year after that I moved to Pittsburgh to follow my then-fiance. A large medical society is headquartered there, and they were seeking an editor. I applied for the job with not-so-high hopes, because I'd been turned down for similar jobs in New York before due to lack of experience. But the talent pool in Pittsburgh is much smaller, I passed the application test with flying colors, and got the job. I started out editing, but as soon as they found out I could write, they had me doing that too. Several months later, the same advertising agency in NYC that hadn't been interested in me before was looking for editors and writers. This time, even though I only had a few months' experience on paper, that experience was in the therapeutic area they were looking for, and they offered me the job. I took it, in the process dumping my ex-fiance (something I should have done far earlier), and now here I am in medical advertising. In retrospect, if I had known about this career path earlier, I probably would have started on this path before I did. I've always had a deep love of words and I've always enjoyed learning about scientific advances, if not actually doing the lab work myself, and this career path allows me to do both. Of course, in parallel I've also been growing as a crossword puzzlemaker, and I get a deep pleasure out of doing crossword work on the side. It doesn't pay well enough at the moment to make me quit my day job (which I do enjoy, as I've said), but if I'm ever offered, say, the crossword editorship of a major paper, then I wouldn't hesitate for an instant in making it my full-time job!
  19. Goodness. I order takeout 3 or more nights a week, and I generally tip the delivery person as well as I would a waiter, precisely because I know the system, for better or for worse, means that wages are part of their tips and because I appreciate their coming directly to my door when I'm disinclined to go out myself. (I give the guy who brings my laundry even more, because I certainly wouldn't want to carry a 35-pound bag up and down 3 flights of stairs to my walkup apartment.) But my tips are a sign of my appreciation, not a contract. They're optional. If I thought the guy who brings me my Chinese takeout thinks as you do -- that his customers owe him a certain amount just for showing up, and that he's entitled to take that amount if he doesn't get it -- then I'd probably stiff him. If you feel you aren't being paid enough, then look for another job that pays better. Or start your own pizza business and pay your servers well.
  20. Hugh Laurie, as in House, M.D.? Interesting! In addition to Rand's novels and non-fiction, I have really enjoyed: The Harry Potter books Pride and Prejudice Northanger Abbey (less for the brilliance of its heroine than for the hilarious satire) Gone With the Wind Sparrowhawk Ivanhoe The Agony and the Ecstasy (wonderful portrayal of an artist thoroughly dedicated to his work) I used to enjoy Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series but I have lost patience with it. Just finish the story already, without 1000 extra subplots!
  21. I agree -- this sentence in particular was what did it. "She is a very good person, and has treated me very well. She is from a good family, has a good job, is very pretty, and we get along well. I don't know if I could ever meet someone like her again." To me it sounds like you're describing your sister, or maybe a good friend, not a woman you're passionate about. To me the value of "freedom" -- of being theoretically able to go out and strike up a new relationship on a whim, of being able to pack off and move anywhere in the world without giving anybody any notice, of being able to make major life decisions without consulting someone else first -- pales in comparison to having a partner in life, someone to share your joys and sorrows with, someone to build a life together with. But only if it's the RIGHT partner.
  22. I'm not 100% sure that a child of 12 or so would read the book and think, "That's silly, of course we're not just a dream." The child of the novel, after all, accepts the irrational ideas of many of the philosophers that are presented to her without a great deal of criticism. I wonder if a 12-year-old might not think, "Well, I've never seen a talking dog or seen my reflection wink with both eyes, but the whole idea that this world is a figment of someone's imagination -- maybe that IS possible" -- and the child would not have the intellectual ammunition against this idea. Which, as you said, would make for some excellent discussions -- so I wouldn't just hand the book to a child to read, without talking to the child about it as s/he is reading it.
  23. Lots of points in this thread to consider! I'm processing it all slowly, but wanted to react to this particular point. Wouldn't there be a way to solve this problem without bankruptcy -- say, creditors who are "first to the trough" could include in their contracts a limit on the amount of additional debt the debtor could take on? Or would such a provision be too difficult to enforce?
  24. As a history of philosophy, it was quite an interesting and unusual presentation. But as a novel, I didn't enjoy it as much, because the novel presents the world as though philosophies like Kant's are true. I found it too mystical -- while I love the Harry Potter books, the difference between HP and Sophie's World is that in HP, the "magic" is not really presented in a mystical fashion. The world of Harry Potter is our world, plus an extra *natural* phenomenon -- natural in that magic in the books behaves according to rules and can be harnessed by a thinking person. Sophie's World, while it begins in what looks like our world, is not our world -- as the novel progresses, it becomes clearer and clearer that reality is malleable to whim. That's what I didn't like about it -- it presented a world in which acting rationally would not necessarily get one anywhere.
  25. Is there any place for declaration of bankruptcy under a proper system of government? To me I don't understand why anyone should be able to cancel his debts (even at the cost of a very large black mark on one's credit rating) without the consent of his creditors. If someone has gotten himself into bad financial straits, isn't it his responsibility to get himself out? And shouldn't any reduced repayment plan require the voluntary consent of the creditor?
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