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Posts posted by IdentityCrisis

  1. By Diana from NoodleFood,cross-posted by MetaBlog

    <LI>War of the Worlds: This movie was not as bad as I thought it would be. The incompetent divorced father alienated from his children was sooooo cliche -- and sooooo annoying. The daughter (well-played by the delightful Dakota Fanning) was disturbingly neurotic for a girl under ten. The appearance of the son at the end was bizarrely out-out-place, since he seemed to have been wholly engulfed in a large fireball earlier due to his altruistic determination to bravely sacrifice himself in a futile battle with the aliens. I particularly disliked the way in which the aliens perished: deux ex machina -- or rather bacterium ex machina. (Paul tells me that's the fault of H.G. Wells, not the movie-makers.) Really, shouldn't the aliens have considered the possibility of germs?!? To my great frustration, that sudden ending foreclosed the much-hinted-at possibility of the humans discovering some ingenious method of destroying the aliens. That would have been lovely: existing human weapons might be too primitive to defeat the invaders, but clever humans can find some weakness to exploit if they choose to think rather than run screaming in fear.

    In general, this movie confirmed by general view of Stephen Spielberg's action movies: he masterfully places his audience in a thoroughly alien world, but doesn't do anything significant in the course of returning them to normality other than place a bunch of random obstacles in the way.


    I saw this one over a year ago, so my memory may be a bit faded. But there were two things I recall liking quite a bit:

    1) Regardless of how much of a failure the main character was before the invasion, you have to admit he held up wonderfully during the crisis. He should have commited to staying away from the cities instead of trying to reach his urban relatives, but aside from that foolishness he generally kept his head and showed a lot of courage and intelligence under fire. Enough even to single-handedly destroy a tripod, although he wouldn't have survived it without that serviceman's help.

    2) Speaking of a serviceman's help, I liked the way the military was portrayed. Namely as being disciplined, powerful (even if way out of their league), courageous and genuinely commited to saving as many civilians as they could. At no point do I recall seeing a man in uniform and thinking that he didn't deserve to wear it; rather, my emotional sense was that if my life must depend on protection by others, then those are the kind of people I want doing the protecting. Kind of refreshing given current events.

    Aside from those two points, though, I mostly agree with what you said.

  2. The vest issued to our uniformed officers will probably stop most handgun rounds, but are next to useless for most rifle rounds.

    But it would stop rounds from another officer's handgun, right? I'm guessing that's the reason for the new policy. I'm also guessing that you aren't the only officer who will be "religious" about wearing ballistics now, mandentory policy or not.

    That said, most police dogs still don't even like police officers other than their handlers though they do have some training to recognize uniforms. But even a uniformed officer near a K9 can get bit if he does something to alert or agitate the dog.
    That squares with an experience I had years ago. I was walking by a police car parked outside the Wal-Mart I worked at, and my first clue that a police dog was inside it was when it charged up to the edge of the back-seat cage and started menacing me. Quite an alarm, until I realized that the dog couldn't get out. I do remember being quite disturbed at the time by the idea that a police-trained dog would just randomly attack someone, but now I assume that you just never let them out of the cages unless you're expecting trouble to begin with.

    When they are cut loose for building searches, probably their most common use, if one runs up to me I stand still and face him. You have to be careful not to stare the dog down, but you keep your eyes on him, don't turn your back on him and don't move anything (especially your hands) quickly.

    So, acknowledge him without challenging or alarming him. Almost like recognizing a dominant pack-mate, I guess. Does this work if you're not in uniform, or would I be screwed either way then?

    I haven't noticed any particular increase in non-fatal injuries to officers in my city. But the number of lethal force encounters just seems phenomenally high lately. I was just thinking today that my work is finally taking it's toll on me.
    Maybe a vacation and some time on the day shift would help?

    Fortunately, I have what I consider to be the best job on the police department for me. A promotion at this point would really screw that up for me. I do not care for the job the Lts. do, even with the reasonably nice pay raise they get.

    Even if it did happen, couldn't you just turn down the promotion? Or not apply for it in the first place? How does that work?

    I want to see the movie Atlas Shrugged. :thumbsup:
    I hope it isn't mangled, but it probably will be. Too bad AR didn't live long enough to finish the script herself.

    Man, did I segue or what? :P

    No problem. Sounds like you've just got a lot to think about lately.

  3. Ouch. I'm sure you've heard this enough to be sick of it, but I want to say I'm sorry for what happened and I appreciate what you guys do.

    After reading the attorney's report, though, I do have some questions. Keep in mind that I know almost nothing about policework:

    1) Why weren't Darden and Canfield wearing vests? Didn't they come to the scene straight from a job in which they were instructed to wear "ballistics" at all times? Ballistics means a bulletproof vest, right? Between that and Darden's apparently failing to make the radio call he was supposed to, it sounds like they were ignoring proper procedure.

    2) Was Darden personally familiar with Barry's dog? It sounds like the dog recognized Darden as a cop. Kind of a shame, actually, since if the dog had brought Darden down as intended he would probably still be alive.

    3) From what you've said, it sounds like things are getting worse where you are. Have non-fatal police injuries been increasing as well?

  4. I just beat the game yesterday, and while I admit it was fun (bloody camera issues aside) I have no idea where you get the following from:

    What does this game have for an O'ist (nice contraction by the way XD)? The brash protagonist, Dante, is a loud-mouth cheeseball at first who essentially has NO principles, good or bad, soon, through fighting his brother, learns that the pursuit of power as an end is meaningless. He is also, from that point on, dedicated to the preservation of human life. He has rationally accepted that the evils he's fighting against are

    Yeah, I know that it's a very rudimentary O'ist approach to the story, but at least the hammer hit the right place.

    I don't think his character changes at all in this game.

    First, Dante was never after power. Vergil explicitly berates him for not seeking power in their first encounter. If anything Dante's problem is that he's a thrill-seeker and show-off, which definitely does not change by game's end. Remember him yelling how he lives for this sort of thing right before the demon attack in the closing credits?

    Second, I think Dante already had a soft spot for humans to begin with. He let Lady live even though she tried to kill him multiple times (the first time before she even knew who or what he was). By contrast, he was ready to blow body parts off of Jester just for annoying him.

  5. I think we're straying a little too far afield here. It was never my intention to get into details of implementation (which I admit I haven't really thought about in detail), only to explain how fraud could be considered a form of force. I trust I've accomplished that much, at least?

  6. Right, but the full point I made was that your method of reducing fraud to force by contract voiding yields a paradox: that holding without permission results after the contract is voided, but the wrong must arise before there can be legal procedings to void the contract.

    Perhaps my use of the term "null and void" was misleading. I didn't mean to imply that ownership reverts back once the courts officially declare the contract void, I meant that it reverts once the conditions spelled out in the contract are broken. You just go to the courts to get legal recognition and enforcement of it, if necessary.

  7. I agree with most elements of what you're saying, except specifically the "force" part. In particular, the part about failing to satisfy an obligation, and calling that "force". Of course you can chose to redefine "force" suitably -- what exactly do you have in mind?

    My broad definition for the term "force" is "physical contact by the property of one person with the property of a second without the second's consent." I should clarify that I consider a person's own body to be his property.

    I use the word "force" in what I understand to be its literal meaning, something like "whacking" (of course, that's shorthand for hitting, shooting, cutting, poisoning...)
    I use the term "violence" for such things. But I can see why you don't think that fraud is subsumed under force. By your definition of the term, it isn't.

    You don't want to redefine 'force' in such a way that if you say "I'll pick up a loaf of bread on the way home" but later decide not to, you have initiated forced and are therefore subject to prosecution.

    There's a big difference between a statement of intent and a contract. In a contract you are not only stating an intention to do something, but you are also granting to someone the right to forcibly hold you accountable if you don't follow through.

    Another minor but important tweak is that contract voiding has to be done in accordance with the law, thus one party must prove in court that there was fraud:

    The legal mechanisms involved in proving it are a separate issue.

  8. I am still puzzled over your statement in post #14 that "Fraud is an indirect form of force", in light of other parts of your reply:which I agree with. I don't know how to reconcile the two positions, except via the word "indirect". Even then, you would be saying that fraud is a form of physical compulsion, somehow distinct from "direct force", and I don't see how the concept of compulsion is applicable to fraud. If the statement "Fraud is an indirect form of force" is simply a mistake, then I don't think there is any remaining issue here.

    Here's my understanding of it, perhaps this will help you:

    When you buy a good or service, the agreement typically takes the form: "I will transfer ownership of this quantity of money to you ON THE CONDITION that you do X," where X is the good or service you're purchasing. The "on the condition that" is the important part here.

    If I give you $10 now to mow my lawn next Sunday, that $10 only remains yours if you actually mow my lawn next Sunday. If you don't, then the condition I placed on the transfer of ownership has been violated, the agreement becomes void and ownership of the money reverts back to me. You are now holding MY $10 without my permission, which comes under the definition of force.

    Of course, not every such case will be a case of fraud. If you weren't able to mow my lawn because of an unforseen rainstorm, for instance, the contract is still null and void but it wasn't a criminal act on your part. That's an accidental use of force, not a deliberately coercive one. It becomes fraud when you intentionally do not fulfill the conditions and yet still refuse to return my money.

    Does that help?

  9. I can see though that someone else might have taken the "passionate neutrality" to spell "identity crisis"

    Actually, the nick is just a joke. Back when I tried to sign up on my first ISP I couldn't proceed because all the nicks I kept trying were already taken. I got agitated because all I wanted to do was check out the internet and I was being held up over what should have been a trivial issue, so I typed in "IdentityCrises" (refering to my inability to even pick a name for myself) as a frustrated joke. The misspelling (plural form instead of singular) was unintentional, but it's probably why it didn't get rejected.

    Though I can see why such a nick would be a bad thing on this forum. I really should pick a new one.

  10. I think your joke was mistaken for a serious comment. (In the context of the exchange, your intent seemed pretty clear to me personally. I can see though that someone else might have missed it!)

    Hmm... I figured that if a blatant self-contradiction like "passionately indifferent" didn't give it away, the smiley would.

    On the other hand, if JMS took it seriously it would explain why she didn't respond. So maybe you're right. <shrug> Oh well. Making friends was never my strong point.

  11. And of course deliberately giving up on such values once you are in a position to know what they are and to know the consequences of giving them up has to rank right up ther amongst the most evil actions possible (on an individual scale) .

    I'll second Felipe on wanting to know what you're talking about. Was this in response to what I said? Claiming to be neutral and "passionately indifferent" was only a joke, in response to JMS's crack about using my powers for good.

    Whether she was joking is another matter, but hey... :confused:

  12. Reminds me of an amusing slip-up on my part years ago. After glancing at a newspaper article about a woman who had decided to stay in a physically abusive marriage because she believed that she would burn in hell if she broke her wedding vows, I muttered "thank God I'm an atheist" under my breath. A split second after the words left my mouth, I realized what I had just said.

    It was one of those moments where you really wish someone else had had a camera ready to go, because you know the look on your face must have been priceless.

  13. What the heck. Okay, here are a couple of speculations of my own for book 7:

    1) Dumbledore is dead and gone, but will still be able to return briefly (in a sense). Remember how it was established in book 4 that a wand can be made to "replay" the spells it had cast in reverse order, and how shades of Voldemort's last five victims popped out of his wand? If such was done to Snape's wand...

    2) There may be an extra Horcrux around. The diary that Harry destroyed in book two was one of them, and Voldemort learned that it was gone. If he's obsessed with keeping the number of his soul fragments at 7, he's had years to create a replacement...




    Of course, take these predictions with a grain of salt. I knew that having Voldemort be the half-blood prince would be too obvious, but I actually thought it would be Hagrid! I figured the book would focus more on making and breaking political alliances (such as with the giants)...

    Clearly, I do *not* have a future in fortune telling...

  14. Bah.  Young women are the epitomy of grace, good sense, and good judgement.  And if you believe that I have some farmland down in Florida I can sell you . . .

    Sure. I'll trade you the Brooklyn Bridge for it. B)

    Though to be fair you don't come across badly from what I've seen of your posts, and a quick glance at your profile confirms that you are indeed a young woman. Hmm... it also shows some interests similar to mine, such as computers. What kinds of computer games and RPGs are you into?

    Note that I said they were not necessarily sensible; many specimens with good sense and good judgement do exist.  However, I have always admired the amazing single-minded drive young men seem to possess in abundance.  Now if only we could get you to use your powers for good :D

    Sorry, I've taken an oath to use my powers only for neutrality. I'm passionately indifferent, you see. :)

  15. There are intentionally no heroes or villains in the series – just pathetic individuals who act as if they don’t deserve to have survived their holocaust.
    I disagree. What about Bill Adama? He's portrayed as a very strong and wise leader, who truely understands the proper role and limits of the military and abides by it (he could have established a military dictatorship from day one if he had wanted to). The only serious mistake I can recall him making is refusing to give up on the search for Starbuck for so long after she got shot down.

    Also, Sharon and Helo. The Caprica version of Sharon, at least, has rejected her cylon programming in favor of independance and love for a good man. And speaking of Helo, how has he been pathetic?

    As for the younger Adama, I'll grant you he's got some serious issues and is not so good. But he is also portrayed as being brave, resourseful and strongly commited to the principle of proper, limited government (even if he's fighting for partial democracy rather than full capitalism). He could easily become great if he gets his act more together.

    I'll concede the point on the rest of them, though... Baltar is weak and cowardly, Tigh can't face up to what a horrible little creature his wife is and has even let her drag him back into the bottle just when he was climbing out of it, Starbuck needs way more self-control and Rosalyn is turning into a full-fledged mystic (although I have a horrible suspicion that the writers will have such mysticism be justified in the BSG universe).

    One other thing that annoys me about “man vs. his creation” stories like this one – by any rational definition, the cylons are human, not machine.

    I think you mean "sapient" or "rational," not human. The objectivist definition of human is "a rational animal," and cylons aren't animals. A cyclon would have to be defined as "a rational machine."

    For really great science fiction shows, I recommend shows like Stargate SG1 and Firefly.

    Very much agreed on Stargate SG1. I like the way they treat religion (mostly as a cover for blatent power-grabbing), and I especially like the fact that Kinnsey - Earth's advocate of religion - is portrayed as being little more respectible that the Gua'old!

    Haven't seen Firefly yet, but the sci-fi channel's about to start airing it next week and I'm looking forward to it. But wasn't the series canceled after less than one season? Is it being renewed?

  16. Okay, but at no cost to you, you could be concerned about interrogatives and imperatives. I'm just suggesting that you integrate the three sentence types. If you understand why they should be integrated: if not, you should object and I can justify this integration.

    I've been away for a while, but I gave the matter some thought and I've come up with an answer for you. Assuming that we already know what declaratives are:

    A question is a declarative that you desire someone else to make a declarative of a particular nature. For example, the question "What color is the sun?" is equivalent to the declarative: "I want you to state what the color of the sun is."

    An imperative is equivalent to a declarative that you will either do something or suffer some unpleasant alternative (like getting fired from your job, being charged with disobeying an order in the military, etc.). For example, if your drill seargent orders you to "Stand at attention", the full, implied declarative would be something like "You will now come to and maintain attention OR you will be considered to be disobeying a direct order and penalized accordingly."

    Is that what you had in mind?

  17. This thread deserves a bump. It's a beautiful piece of work, Elle... I can detect an errant note here and there but I can put that down to it being improv. Otherwise, quite lovely and relaxing.

    How long (on average) does it take to reach that level of skill? I've started taking voice lessons this semester and have been thinking of adding piano lessons...

  18. I think Ayn Rand considered Jealousy an irrational or negative state of mind. Look at how she handled Francisco and Rearden after they ultimately lost in the romantic competition for Dagny. If there was ever a situation for jealousy, that would seem to be it, but Ayn Rand went out of their way to show them as not jealous, and to the extent they did show some form of jealousy, it was shown as an error on their part.

    I'm not sure the situation is comparable. We know that Dagny was honest about her feelings; it was always clear to one man that she was done with him (romantically, at least) before she became intimate with another.

    Unfortunately, in real life a woman as ruthlessly honest as Dagny is very rare. Nearly all of the women I've known (there have only been two exceptions) indulge in deceits ranging from "little white lies" (like "I never got your e-mail" or "I just don't have time") all the way up to... well, far worse things.

    I've personally had two very rude awakenings this year (from differant women) to the effect that being too trusting and forgiving only gets you jerked around and burned.

  19. (That's a stub, so refer back to the post to get the context). I don't understand the question. You're mixing ideas in a way that I can't consistently pin down.

    Argh. This (formal english) was never my strongest subject, and I don't have my old textbook with me to look things up in. So for now, I'm just going to concede that I probably am getting my terms mixed up.

    This, AFAIK, is utterly true, and a pretty good characterisation: I'd say it's the quintessential characterisation of "proposition", or "statement".
    That's what I'm looking for. Not the specific rules of any given language, but what is required to form a valid statement in any language. Thanks.

    However, statements are declarative (not interrogative or imperative), and in fact what you say is also true of declaratives, interrogative and imperatives.

    Perhaps. But it's the declaritives that I'm worried about right now.

  20. I still don't know any more about what you expect to accomplish or what you need a concept of infinity for to do it.

    Alright, let me see if I can spell my intentions out in a little more detail:

    1) Fully and exactly identify all of the concepts and rules at the base of deductive logic, since I've found that Aristotelean deductive logic is not complete.

    2) Use them - and ONLY them - to reconstruct the language and tools of logic (such as "if...then", "all...are", etc.).

    3) Construct the concepts at the base of mathematics ("one", "plus", the process of counting, etc.) from the above.

    4) Once I have the root of mathematics (counting natural numbers), I will then construct the foundations of various branches of mathematics (arithmatic, calculus, etc.) from the above. I don't intend to exhaustively recreate all of mathematics single-handedly, but I do intend to demonstrate how it can be done.

    The essentials of steps 1-3 are finished, though I still have a lot of little details to attend to. Step 4, however, will involve my having to define even more concepts, the most troublesome of which is that of infinity. Since calculus (for example) deals with infinity, I must have a definition for infinity to be able to deal with calculus.

    Does that clarify things?

    Your project sounds dubious with respect to your goals, based on what you have said, because your description, such as it is, has relied on solely traditional terms and without indicating any understanding of Objectivist epistemology or new insights, or how it would be used in a new and unique way.
    I told you, to go into detail about my "new insights" I would have to write a paper, not a post.

    First I intend to finish the above, then I will program the basic components of my system (those identified in step 1) into a computer and use them - and ONLY them - to reconstruct the rest. That will be my "acid test;" my proof that my system really is functional and complete, and that I'm not just unwittingly glossing over any details.

    Then I will write a paper on all of this, once I've proven to myself the validity of my work.

    Oh, and as far as my "indicating any understanding of Objectivist epistemology" goes, I have read ITOE and OPAR (though it's been a while). But as I said, I'm not working in an objectivist context. Rand and Aristotle were my starting points, but I do not take every word out of their mouths as gospel. I question them too.

    There is much more to both the conscious and subconscious processes than you seem to be aware.

    ...And that is precisely what I am investigating.

    Formation and expansion of knowledge is not a matter of "linguistic housekeeping".
    No, but explicitly identifying the roots of those concepts you've already formed is.

    That this can be done does not mean that everything beyond "volition" can be implemented in software like a calculation.

    Please quote the part where I claim that everything beyond volition can be, because I don't remember saying that.

    but we also do not form basic concepts like "man" out of extensive numerical measurements and mathematical descriptions.
    That's certainly not all that there is to the concept of "man," no. But it is a component. If you see a patch of color and - based on that alone - classify the object you're looking at as a "man," then how did you know that it was a man and not, say, a chair?

    If you're comparing, say, the shapes of a man and a chair to the object you're looking at, then those shapes can be descibed using geometry. And if you're not comparing shapes, colors, etc. and still somehow ariving at the conclusion that you're looking at a man, how are you doing it without divorcing your conclusions from sense data?

    but we don't start with a "mathematical description of what a man looks like" and neither does our subconscious provide one behind the scenes.

    When it comes to the task of identifying what is and is not a man by shape and color, I suspect that we do.

    Earlier you said, "To know how the subconscious works, which no one now does, will take a lot more than defining concepts "programmed" into it." (emphasis mine). Now you seem to be claiming precisely that sort of knowledge. Would you care to elaborate, or is this a contradiction?

    Nor do we (or could we) consciously reprocess sensory data as such; that is not what it means to validate conceptual knowledge.

    Again, would you care to elaborate? My school library has copies of OPAR and ITOE, so if you want to at least give page references...

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