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Everything posted by MichaelH

  1. The situation you describe would be considered fraud. Staying with the details of your hypothetical situation, you are presenting the house as one that does not have a persistent bad smell - by getting rid of the smell temporarily - when you know it has the problem. Whether you caused the defect doesn't change the situation. All that matters is that you know about it, you know it's relevant to the buyer, and you failed to mention it. This doesn't mean that you have to list every single downside of anything you sell. For instance, used cars usually need some kind of repair; that is why it is recommended to have a mechanic check out a used car before you buy it. But, actively hiding the problem for the purposes of sale is unethical.
  2. This is...surprising. The horrible response of critics to the original novel is well-documented. Did he expect movie critics to be a completely different type of person? If the film is not creating the public discussion he wants, or doesn't break even with his investment, making the rest of the trilogy doesn't make sense. I agree with him there. But to be surprised that the film gets bad reviews...hmm.
  3. This, I think, is the key point. There are good and bad PowerPoints, and there are a variety of different learning styles. I have seen PowerPoint give structure and support to a presentation that made it enjoyable to watch and learn from. I have students that use PowerPoints as their first reading resource; they only go to the book if they need further details. I have also seen PowerPoints that tossed up random information without regard to importance, usually automatically generated from textbooks. Those give me a several-hour headache while I try to organize them into something that makes sense. For deeper material, there is still no substitute for writing which allows you to provide deeper support. Writing also allows the reader to review at their speed as needed. The bottom line: Bad PowerPoint is as bad as bad writing or a bad speech, but that doesn't mean every PowerPoint will eat your brain.
  4. Thanks for posting! It's great to be reminded that people can, and do, move their lives forward in the directions they choose. I'm cheering for all three of you in 2011!
  5. Media in general has a natural bad news bias. That's because negative events are noteworthy and get views. "Millions of people drove safely to work today" is not news. "Five killed in horrible freeway accident" is. The culture of the U.S. is getting worse as we move toward statism. However, that doesn't mean day-to-day life is the collection of life-threatening dangers you would imagine from viewing or reading the news.
  6. Although there may be some helpful suggestions from the members of the forum, it sounds like you need to talk to a professional. Indecision and hopelessness that are "crippling" should really be treated face-to-face. I promise you, the world is not a completely dark place. Getting some input from another living, breathing person can make a world of difference.
  7. You sound upset that you are being treated differently because of your age. That is completely understandable. Youth laws are necessarily broad nets that sometimes hinder exceptional individuals. If this still bothers you in the future, you can be politically active to get the law changed. Absolutely. Ayn Rand paid income taxes. She was asked in a Q&A session at the Ford Hall Forum if she paid income taxes and why. She said, "They are taken from me at the point of a gun". She objected to income taxes on principle. She was not willing to live in jail for disobeying that law. She weighed the consequences of disobeying it within her full hierarchy of values. It sounds like that is what you are doing now!
  8. You might see if there is a way to make your case in front of a judge. It might be possible to have the restrictions removed earlier. Outside of that, in a practical sense, you just have to live with the restrictions until your license is clear. If you ignore them, you run the risk of losing your license completely. If you ignore that, you run the risk of going to jail. For what it's worth, you do have my sympathy. Independent driving is the beginning of an independent life. It is frustrating having that independence reigned in! If you follow the rules and bide your time, the restriction is only temporary.
  9. Ayn Rand was clear about procreation being optional and volitional. She chose not to have children; does that mean Ayn acted against the Law of Identity? (Source ) She was also clear that her feelings on homosexuality were personal, not philosophical, and gay people were entitled to the same individual rights as everyone else. Per Wikipedia: (Source) Objectivism is not "Ayn-worship". She explicated the philosophy, and wrote and lectured about it extensively. That is why she is the reference for philosophical issues. Her personal feelings and preferences are her own. You agree with her personal feeling, which is fine. You're perfectly within your rights to disapprove. Other Objectivists may not defend that because it is a personal feeling rather than a philosophical position. Any philosophical or legal position which abridges the rights of a gay individual - or two gay individuals as a couple - or any rationally-functioning individual - is contra Objectivism.
  10. It may help to read "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" (RDPD) by Robert Kiyoaski. The book cultivates the mind-set that applies to investing. In his terms, you can buy investments ("assets") or doodads. An asset is anything that makes money for you. You have more money at the end of the month (or year) because you own that thing. For instance, stocks that pay dividends are an asset. Doodads are everything else; a home, a car, etc. Your personal residence is not really an asset because you spend money on it every month. It may happen to appreciate, but that is not its primary purpose. Its primary purpose is to give you a place to live. Whether you realize actual gain is complicated by tax benefits and interest; I suspect most people don't realize a real gain on their property. At best it becomes a kind of deferred savings account that you happen to be able to live in. Caveats: RDPD is not good for specific practical advice. RDPD gets you motivated. It's also a hook to get your buying more books. For concrete advice, go to places like The Motely Fool. Most people also need a car to live and get to work. I'm not saying you shouldn't have one! However, the money spent in a car is not considered an "investment"; it's more a "necessary expense".
  11. I think I see the point of confusion. The topic statement, "Should a resident of CA recycle?", is not precisely the question. The question implied in the post is, "Is it rational for John to recycle?". John then goes on to state the circumstances of his life, including that he lives in California. The policies of California are relevant to that decision, which is why he mentions where he lives. The logic being confirmed is his application of his personal hierarchy of values to this decision. [Added:] For the individual, this process will derive the right answer in the context of that person's life. John seems to be encouraging people from CA to post as they will have evaluated circumstances similar to his. [mch] You are correct that, if we are discussing the broader question, "Should anyone recycle?", it would seem silly to limit the discussion to one particular state. However, recycling is not an issue that can be determined on a wholesale basis. As you note, it depends on the values and circumstances of the individual.
  12. The only way to reach a different conclusion would be to change your decisions or the rules under which you live. You could choose not to drink bottled water. You have decided it is worth the cost. As an individual, you can't choose to not pay the tax on the bottles. The government enforces this at gunpoint, and retailers will automatically charge the tax. You could choose to drink bottled water and throw away the bottles, losing all the money the government has taxed you for. You have already evaluated the time involved, and determined it is worth the effort to recycle. It seems to me you've made a rational decision, recognizing in all the relevant facts of reality available to you.
  13. LOVE it. Several related philosophical questions are just plain not that hard. Thanks for posting the link!
  14. Russia is still trying to copy capitalism without implementing the core principles. New Russian science city modeled on Silicon Valley: http://science.slashdot.org/story/10/04/14...-Silicon-Valley . There is an article (which I can't locate at the moment) that discussed how market prices relate to production decisions. In a free market, millions of decisions are made based on market prices, which determine whether less or more of a given good should be produced, and where those goods should be used. The article also discussed the problems central-command economies have with performing the same functions, as no one person or small group of people can effectively make the millions of necessary decisions. Without an active free market, these decisions simply can't be made correctly! I mention the article because it illustrates why this "copy of Silicon Valley" will fail. This new scientific center will be modeled on Silicon Valley with the following differences: 1. Property can only be rented, not owned. This means a significant chunk of any profits will have to be paid to the landowners, in perpetuity. Commenters, who claim to be from Russia, say huge chunks of money also get fed into government corruption. Profits normally reward effort and innovation and encourage growth. Instead, profits will be routed into existing power structures. 2. The government will provide grants for scientists who have trouble obtaining private financing. This means that bad ideas will be pursued instead of being eliminated at conception by market forces. These two facts, taken together, guarantee the ultimate failure of this project. Russia will discover, yet again, that it is impossible to cargo-cult capitalism. What made America successful was not the specific layout of its cities, nor its climate. It was capitalism. Capitalism is a moral system with specific requirements and driving forces, namely enforced individual rights and rational selfishness. If Russia truly wants to copy Silicon Valley, they must copy the causes, not the outward appearance.
  15. That's the point: it is not illegitimate. A waste, perhaps, but it is a choice. When a person chooses non-life, it doesn't take long to achieve. No further analysis is necessary. If, on the other hand, a person decides to live, the next questions are, "what sort of life is appropriate to a human being?", and "how can I live such a life"? That is where Objectivist ethics begins.
  16. I see two ways to address this, I'm sure there are others. "You" in these items refers to the person championing solipism. 1. You live in a world full of the products of other people's minds, most of which you can't fully comprehend or recreate. How do you explain the existence of a technological society? How are you able to learn new facts, read books you've never written, if yours is the only mind in existence? 2. You state that you exist and you have a mind. You have a mind because you are human. You can perceive the existence of other people directly. You can confirm other people are human by inspection. (If they are not human, they are such a good copy as to be indistinguishable.) On what basis do you claim that you, who exist and are human, have a mind, but they, who exist and are human, don't? Ultimately, the solipist is correct that you (the original poster) can't prove to the solipist that you exist. This is not because your existence is logically unsupported, but because people can believe any arbitrary thing they choose to believe. [Edited to fix verb tense in #2]
  17. You must look at your values objectively, within the context of everything you know about reality. For instance, say you were to devote your life entirely to your relationship with your girlfriend. Would the loss of income mean you would have to stop eating? If so, that's obviously not a rational choice. Would your girlfriend be up to such sustained, long-term focus? Would you and she both be satisfied with you not working and her (or any other spouse) being the sole income? The outcome of this value-evaluating process is not pre-determined. In relationships where one partner makes enough money, it is entirely possible for the other partner to reshuffle their values to reflect their new financial freedom. As far as focusing on work as well as your girlfriend, people must often focus on our #2 and #3 values in support of #1. In the long term, I'd think it would be normal for your relationship to be a higher value than this particular job. People typically change careers several times, but relationships can last a lifetime.
  18. Not to sidetrack the thread, but if you're losing your home, it makes sense to sell what you can out of it. There is a question of what belongs to the bank and what you can morally take with you. Some people trash the place out of spite, but there are other reasons to remove things like appliances. Regarding the original subject, I feel obliged to mention that DeVry offers Associates in 1.5 years and 90% of graduates are employed in their field of study within six months of graduation. We offer several computer technology-related degrees. DeVry is my current employer, but the previous statistics are common in public company communication. Please PM me if you'd like more information!
  19. Merriam-Webster's relevant definition is: a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation. To bolster fountainhead's post about earned/accredited professions, I was told in college that what makes a job a "profession" is whether there is an exam required to practice. However, that would make police officers professionals, but I don't think that's a definition many people would agree about. As commonly used, it's a term for jobs that require a relatively large amount of formal education. It's a subjective definition - does three months of study for a real estate license qualify real estate as "professional"? - but reflects current usage.
  20. This is a thoroughly rational solution.
  21. I can second that. I recently finished my MBA, and every course included some variant of "change happens faster than ever in the modern fast-paced global business environment". Some classes had the word "internet" stuck in there as well. The line was a bromide, used as a stock intro or closure of most of the outside articles we were required to read. Business students are absolutely encouraged to see the world as a constantly changing mysterious soup in which your best guess for the next quarter is your guide to life. There was education about long-term strategy, but it would be easy to dismiss given the prevalence of "everything's going to change!!" panic in the curriculum. [Edit: To be fair, some of this was in contrast to the old hierarchial business model where companies expected to keep doing exactly the same thing for 40+ years. However, it seemed out of proportion to me.]
  22. Your post illustrates the difference between a reality-oriented mind and a politically- or socially-oriented mind. Your response to the problem is to address the problem as it is. Your concern is fixing the problem. Your results are to produce solutions. Your bosses' response to the problem is to make sure the problem isn't theirs. Their concern is who will be blamed when things go wrong. Their results are to produce problems for other people. (When done correctly, this is delegation, and a fundamental management tool. It sounds like your boss is doing it to a pathological extent.) A few managers retain their reality orientation and focus on actually solving the problems brought to them. I have (and currently do) work under such managers, and they are a joy to have a work relationship with. It seems to be less common than it should, because management attracts politically-oriented minds.
  23. The given examples illustrate pathological perfectionism rather than extremism. According to Wikipedia: The basic flaw seems to be the automatized judgement that anything imperfect is utterly unacceptable. It leads to frustration as nothing physical is "perfect". We can achieve "completely functional" and "within specifications" and "within reason". I encourage others to provide psychological analysis. (!)
  24. I'm collating what several people have said in this thread: Objectivism does not prescribe a specific course of action in this case. The CEO is morally obligated to make a rationally self-interested decision based on their own values. That is the guidance Objectivism provides for this, and most, decisions.
  25. Emotional arguments can be persuasive as well. Think of the arguments you would most hate to defend against. (In this case, it might be, "But organic food saves the environment for the children! Don't you care about the children?") You can make a very powerful, if not very rational, argument using this technique. Even if you know the rational, appropriate response, you don't have to provide it. That job belongs to your debate opponent.
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