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    Kurt Colville
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  1. I agree -- totally awesome! Her race was so inspiring, especially considering how technical the upper turns were and how trecherous that last jump was. In her post-race interview, you could hear how proud she was of her effort and determination and how much work she had put in. Lindsey is phenomenal, embodying the best in athletic competition!
  2. Hey, sweet, your link is to my alma mater, Syracuse University. If this doesn't click with him -- and that would be understandable, because the propagation of light is hard to relate to in everyday terms -- you might try an example using sound, to show how two people can see/hear the same thing at different times. Like how someone standing close to a loud boom hears it slightly earlier than someone standing far away, and how light travels through space like sound. That will give him the feel for how the things that we see come from light traveling through space, and that that traveling takes a certain amount of time, depending on how far away the thing is. Yeah, I'm not really sure what you tell him about string theory, other than that it's something that physicists work on. I'm glad the ideas helped. You're most welcome!
  3. Sure. Totally understandable that it would be tough to explain, and I'll be happy to elaborate. In one sense, we talk about the universe as the sum of all things. It's as if you said, "I want to consider everything as one giant thing. It's everything. What shall I call that? How about 'the universe'. When I say 'the universe', that's my term for everything that is." (That also distinguishes it from everything that isn't, such as your 83-year-old granddaughter, George Washington's living body, ghosts, and the warp engine.) In another sense, we talk about the physical size of this sum of all things. Physical things have size. How big is the thing that contains them all? Well, it's endless. It has no boundaries. If it did, it would be a thing that exists within the boundaries of something else, but since the universe is everything that exists, that can't be something that exists physically apart/outside the universe. It's all there is. So you use the same word to mean two rather different, but massively useful, ideas. One sense focuses on the container of all existence, the other sense on the physical extent of this all-encompassing container. So how to explain this to your son? Well, off the top of my head, I might say this. Let's look at your room. Your room has only so much stuff in it, right? You know all the things in your room. There's a certain amount of stuff there. So let's say your room is everything in your room all added up. Now let's imagine that your room had no walls, ceiling, or floor. Your stuff is just floating in the same spot, but in space. Does that change the amount of stuff there? Nope. It's still exactly the same amount of stuff in your room. But there's no container for your stuff anymore. Your stuff could go and be anywhere. It isn't limited spatially -- it has no walls. But it's still the same amount of stuff that you had all along. Two senses of the same word: amount of content and physical extent. You could also explain how a word can have two different meanings. Such as, he's "five-years-old", which means the length of his life. But "old" can also mean a lot of length of life, such as someone who is 83. When you say that someone is "five-years-old", you're not saying that they've been around a long time, like they're old -- you're just using it to say how long they've been around. Two different senses. You can probably think of better examples. Right, hence the "uni-", meaning "single". There's only one sum of everything. Mutliple sums of everything is a contradiction in terms. It might be tough, but I think you can relate it in familiar terms. Show him a string. Explain what motion is possible along that string, and how that's called motion in one dimension. Then take a piece of paper. Now your range of movement expanded. Still no up and down, but you've added left and right to your original back and forth. Now take a box. You've got all three dimensions inside the box. (This will be the tough part.) Every time you added a new way to move, you did it at right-angles to your original way. That is, left and right on the sheet of paper is motion orthogonal (at right-angles) to the back and forth on the string. Likewise with the up and down of the box to the (effectively) two-dimensional paper. Physicists talk about time being the fourth dimension, but I've never understood the justification for this. The first three refer to spatial extent. Time refers to extent of motion, not spatial extent of motion, but an entirely different concept: duration of motion. So time may warrant status as a dimension, and my understanding of general relativity confirms that, but not in the same sense as length, height, and width. As for some purported 5th dimension, there is none. Easy. Hope this helps!
  4. Seriously! And, of course, I have to be more long-winded with my post.
  5. Now, if you want to talk about Jenni's and my ESP, that is demonstrably infinite.
  6. Freestyle, good post. Your suspicion about infinity not being a potential is correct -- it isn't. Infinity is a pure, albeit extremely useful, abstraction. It has no physical form -- none. One has to be careful not to get hung up on a particular instance of a word. When you see a puzzling usage, you have to ask, "Wait, what is the context in which this is being used?" In Peikoff's quote, the "it" that he's saying is potential is not infinity as such, but merely the fact that there are always other numbers to be potentially counted that you haven't enumerated yet. In 1, 2, 3, 4... "5" and everything else can be thought of as a potential, a potential quantity in your list of numbers. But infinity is a different concept. It is "endlessness". Its quantity will never be named; it has none. The thing to remember is that the concept "potential" is only meaningful with respect to some thing that actually could exist. Clearly, a physical infinity is impossible. To be is to be something. As to existence, that's another understandable miscomprehension. "Existence" is all that exists, whether man knows about particular far-off or subatomic existents or not. If it is, it's included in that biggest of all things, existence. It doesn't matter whether man has discovered it or not. Man is saying, "There are things out there. Things are. I don't know all the things that exist, and that's demonstrated by the fact that man regularly discovers new existents. I want a concept that stands for everything that is, known or unknown. There's no problem of appealing to the arbitrary, because I'm not saying anything about anything that is unknown to man. I'm simply saying that for anything that is unknown to man, if it exists, then it exists in existence. I'll talk about it itself when it gets discovered." That could only be arbitrary if you extended your statement to saying something about the unknown, such as its attributes, its location, etc. Observe that you're not talking about a particular unknown as if it existed. That would be arbitrary. No, you're just saying that everything that is, is in existence, with the implicit recognition that man's knowledge doesn't encompass every existent; that claim is for a primacy of consciousness. Lastly, the universe is infinite only with respect to its spatial boundaries. There is nothing outside or apart from the universe. But in the context of the universe being the sum of all physical objects (entities), that is most definitely finite. You have one hell of a sharp five-year-old. Your conversations must be a blast!
  7. Having lived in Switzerland myself, I can attest to the apathy. I gather you're in one of the smaller German-speaking cantons, where folks are extra conservative. The pervasive mantra is "don't rock the boat". The Swiss like things the way they are, and political and cultural changes move at a glacial pace. Sorry to hear about your plight.
  8. Right, I'm saying that Favre got great relatively quickly. He was rather poor in his first two seasons, but still managed to chuck up 3,000 yards. By season three, he figured it out. That's quick. By contrast, Jon Kitna took a good seven years to get going, and Carson Palmer is still trying to figure it out.
  9. Why? All that denotes is a personal preference, which fits with a discussion of hair style. If someone says, "To me, 2+2=4" or "To me, slavery is bad," then you can object, but if the context is a personal value, language that reflects that is rational.
  10. Yeah, Warner is a good example of just how tough assessing QB ability is. While I'm sure nearly every coach has sizeable flaws in his objectivity and epistemology, most of these guys are very sharp. Often enough, the player has the talent, but just takes a while to put all the pieces together or needs the proverbial "change of scenery". Drew Brees, Jeff Garcia, and Jake Delhomme all took several years to figure it out, and at least the first two were high draft picks (not sure about Jake). Matt Cassell toiled in anonymity for years behind Brady. A lot of teams would have liked his stats from last year. Now he's pretty old, and he's just beginning his career as a starting QB. Then there's guys like Manning (Peyton) and Favre who get it right away.
  11. Well, there are plenty of objective criteria for judging a QB (or any position). Generally, better stats indicate greater ability to win games. Leadership, coolness under pressure and late in games, and intelligence applied to running the offense are all skills that coaches have made a science out of assessing. Training camp is a proving grounds for finding out if your QB understands the playbook, recognizes defensive alignments, blitzes, and feints, audibles successfully, looks off receivers, and dozens of other essential skills. For example: Joe Montana. So-so arm. Superb leadership. Off the charts feel for the game. Adds up to one of the greatest ever. Ryan Leaf: Outstanding arm. Rocks for brains. Spastic loser. Thanks for playing. Arm strength and accuracy contribute considerably less towards consistently great play than automatizing the complexities of opposing defenses. You still have to have enough arm to get the ball in the right guy's hands, but knowing when and where that should be is more important than shaving a couple tenths of a second off your pass.
  12. In some cases yes, and in some no. But my personal experience doesn't determine what principles should govern employment. That is derived from grasping the nature of man's rights. How does the employer force the employee to do work? Physical assault? All the employer can do is threaten to fire the employee, something that is well within his right to do. This is the law being used to engineer society, forcing men to deal with each other not through mutual agreement, but according to the capricious whims of bureaucrats. Nor do one's rights hinge on whether one has gotten (or provided) a written job description. I'll say it again: apart from contractual terms, enforced by objective law, people are rightly free to associate and dissociate from each other however they wish.
  13. It sounds like your employer was guilty of breach of contract. As has been noted here, that does warrant your suing him. Contract breach is fraud, which is a form of force, which is prohibited in a free society.
  14. Yeah, that was a horrible accident. The city proper is about 450,000, while the Greater Kansas City area (which is the city + suburbs) is right at 2,000,000. I don't envy NFL coaches their jobs. Assessing the ability of a player to transfer his talent to game performance is a real art. There are so many variables, the best coaches learn how to limit uncertainty and risk, rather than expecting to groom every draft pick to the roster. So many studs looked horrible in college or the combines, and vice-versa. Preseason games only give you the slightest hint of a player's actual ability over several NFL seasons. Final roster cuts are a major roll of the dice. It's a tough, tough job.
  15. Well, is this merely a statement of the status quo, or an analysis of proper employment law? If your answer is the former, my response is, "So what? It's wrong, here's why it's wrong, and here is the right view of the employer-employee relationship." I most certainly would not. I respect every individual's right not to deal with me as a moral absolute. No one owes me anything that hasn't been mutually agreed to. So what? That is subjectivism, the idea that a person's view of something makes it a fact. It doesn't matter whether an employee is offended by some task. Don't like it? Leave. Men must deal with each other by mutual consent. I have to ask, have you read Ayn Rand's ethics, and specifically, her explanation of how men are to deal with each other?
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