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Everything posted by Alexandros

  1. If the internet is any indication, the progressives have already won.

  2. I've been messing with Google+ all evening, and I like it a lot. In comparison, Facebook feels unintuitive, bloated, and out-of-date. Not wanting to keep up with two social networks, I can see myself migrating over there permanently. Now if only everyone would follow me, I'd have no reason to stay here.

  3. TIL: Starbucks has a pro-gun agenda, and allows open carry in their stores that are located in states that allow open carry. Cool!

  4. Some of what has been said in this thread has been surprising, given that the people participating are supposedly rationally minded. Reidy has the right of it, and has explained it well, so not much else needs to be said. Still, I'd like to share my personal experiences, with the hope that someone might better understand how choosing volunteer work can be one of the most incredibly selfish things a person can do. I was born to dysfunctional parents, who divorced when I was 3 years old. My father disappeared, leaving my brother and I to be raised solely by an emotionally unstable mother who would later bring an abusive, drug dealing, adulterous father-figure into our lives. When the two of them would leave us (getting drugged out of their minds, reappearing days later) with our alcoholic grandfather, we were lucky enough that he despised us so much that we were encouraged to play outside a lot (We were put outside early in the morning, and the door was locked. We would wander the area, playing with whoever could come out that day. He would whistle at lunch time, we'd go eat, and then we were put outside again, and the door was locked until sunset. Sometimes, we'd wander for miles, get lost, and have to beg for change so we could use the payphone to call him. Then, we'd wait several hours until he was sober enough to drive.), which taught me a great deal about the world at a very young age. Luckier still, when we came in at night, he'd sit us down, give us a book, and tell us to read. I doubt I have to tell anyone the kind of hope books can give to people. As for my teenage years, I'll be brief, so as to not bore you with a story you've probably heard over and over again: I spent my teenage years stoned or rolling on ecstasy, in and out of jail (shoplifting, assault, serving time for warrants granted because I never showed up to court), and had resigned myself to the life of my mother, and her father, and his father before him (normally, this type of dysfunction is passed down as dysfunction breeds dysfunction breeds dysfunction). The reason I say I was lucky to have the alcoholic grandfather that I had is because most of my friends were not fortunate enough to have someone in their life who forced them to read for hours on end, and it's the reading that gave me the tools to change my life. Reading taught me that there was more out there, that there were happy people in the world, and that I didn't have to be so unhappy. I just didn't realize it until I hit rock bottom. I began spending most of my days thinking about the best way to kill myself and about how sorry everyone would be when I was gone. And then I came across a book (http://www.amazon.co...s/dp/0932194532) that changed my life. I got into therapy and then into college, where I met the love of my life. I'm still in therapy now, but I won't need it for much longer. Through therapy, I've been able to acquire the skills and tools that people born into health families take for granted, but are absolutely necessary for a successful and happy life, and I am happy most days. It's been a hard road, but I'm almost at the end of it. I haven't told this story so that I can appeal to anyone's emotions. I don't want to make anyone feel bad. But I do want the full impact of what I'm about to say to be felt: my story is not rare; what is rare is becoming happy and productive in spite of it. It's no wonder that I find incredible happiness in volunteering to help children who are in similar circumstances. These children are frightened, incredibly suspicious, and, a lot of the time, hostile towards anyone who attempts to help them. I doubt I have to discuss the difference it makes when I, having actually been in their shoes, tell them my story and then tell them that I want to help them. It is a unique gift that I have to offer, and I can't imagine being happy without being there for these kids. That's why I volunteer. Edit: I forgot to respond to the initial claim, that volunteering hurts the poor. It isn't just their families that have failed them, but also their schools. Unless something external (e.g., a volunteer) comes into their lives, they will never learn skills and mental tools that are essential to them having a successful and happy life. It is not, contrary to what so many people believe, simply a matter of adults just getting their lives together and doing what they need to do. You can't build a house without the right tools; the same goes for being happy. The tools I'm talking about are learned and internalized during childhood, and there are a lot of kids who will never acquire them unless someone volunteers to help them. These are the facts. I hope I've been able to clear some things up.
  5. Diablo III purchased. Pre-loading has commenced.

    1. CptnChan


      Oh to be able to play it for the first time again.

  6. This "Societal Impact of Technology" class is all over the place. Last week I was reading articles that were singing the praises of capitalism. This week, the assigned articles read like Karl Marx's journals.

  7. So, today I noticed that pirate boots have come into style. I see women wearing them everywhere. To any venture capitalists: I've got a great idea for a chain of eye patch and pirate hook stores. Get in on this quickly! I'm sure I'm not the only one to realize that these pirate boots are just the beginning of a pirate craze.

  8. If you are ever given the choice between renting a textbook online through CourseSmart and buying the text outright, don't think twice: buy the book. What could have been something very convenient is making me wish I was carrying around a 15 lb. book instead.

  9. This "Societal Impact of Technology" course is turning out to be very interesting. The first reading assignment highlights the importance of free markets to prosperity, and provides historical examples in support of the claim (Europe, China, and the Middle East in the Middle Ages). Good stuff.

  10. Does anyone have any recommendations for tech, engineering, and science websites? I need some new sources of info.

    1. ASUK


      This website is pretty cool for lectures on all sorts of subjects.


  11. To all my friends: WARNING! The PROFILE VIEWS app going around is malicious! Do not use it! WARNING! The PROFILE VIEWS app going around is malicious! Do not use it!

  12. My total profile views are: 4444 Find out your total profile views http://apps.facebook.com/profviewsxcount/

  13. I read Grant Morrison's "Arkham Asylum" last night, and I'm still thinking about it some 16 hours later. His story combined with Dave McKean's art impacted me in a way no comic ever has. It actually made me uncomfortable, and I'm not exactly sure what to think about that.

  14. One day I wanna copy someone's status word for word and see if they notice.

  15. It's a beautiful day here, and the forecast says it will get down into the 20s tonight! Huzzah! I thought Winter would never arrive.

  16. I think the worst of my Batman fever is over. Unfortunately, I'm coming down with a huge case of The Walking Dead-itis.

  17. From http://www.rushbackstage.com/rushbackstage/accessories-etc/rush-hollywood-walk-of-fame-starman-sculpture.html
  18. I've been updating my Facebook page today, and while listing my favorite things in the info section, I noticed there was no Objectivism Online page. If you're interested in getting more exposure for this site (which deserves it, imo) starting up an FB page is one of the best free ways to go about getting it. Setting it up will take probably no more than an hour, then it's only a matter of posting the link here for the member of this site to "Like". I imagine most of us have FB pages and that a lot of us are involved in the Objectivist FB community. The great thing about FB is that when someone chooses to "Like" something, it's broadcast to everyone on their friends list. I can't think of a better way to get some free publicity and bring in some new members. Alex
  19. I think the worst of my Batman fever is over. Unfortunately, I'm coming down with a huge case of The Walking Dead-itis.

  20. If this is what you mean, then talk of lions and cavemen is useless. You should be able to, without mentioning others species or time periods, provide logical argument for why it is in our best interests to 'cooperatively share'. Anecdote and history is fine for making your arguments more effective, but are not arguments themselves. So far, you've provided nothing more than "we once picked apples off trees for free" and "lions are awesome". This can hardly be considered argument, as you are dropping all context to relate different time periods and different species. So, in all of this, you have only really said one thing: "Our self interests and survival are best ensured through cooperative sharing of resources." And you have provided no argument to support that claim. I'm surprised you've been taken so seriously here, and by some members who I have much respect for.
  21. "The reality, again, being we are here to survive as a species and group, not just as individuals. We are a family." What do you mean by this? "We are here to..." implies purpose. This could be written as, "We are meant to..." Who or what means for us to do something? Humans are the only species that can attribute meaning to anything or be aware of the meaning behind something. For example, turning a sound into a word by giving it a definition (the former), or deducing the meaning of a hug between two people who care for each other. So, you see, I'm confused. Are you suggesting that humans, as the only being capable of such a thing, have created this purpose for ourselves? Then how could it be anything but arbitrary? Or, are you suggesting that there is something supernatural that has given us this purpose? I don't see any point in any further discussion until this issue is addressed, especially because it seems to strike at the core of your entire argument. Your philosophy, so far as I can tell, requires that you answer yes to one of the questions I posed above. Unfortunately for you, you can't possibly provide a logical argument in favor of either position.
  22. I always love a tale of a washed up loner becoming more virtuous as he comes to find value in life, so I thought the movie was good for that reason alone. That being said, Bridges let me down as Cogburn. Even when he was sober, the gravel in his throat made him unintelligible at times. Also, the Coen bros. stripped down heavily the character of Cogburn, making him a man that was only good at hunting and killing. I prefer John Wayne's Cogburn, a character with a sharp tongue and quick wit. I give it a B+. Definitely worth the $10 ticket.
  23. I'd be happy to sign and even help you proofread your letter, but it's going to take much more than a letter from even a thousand rational members of an online community to affect change. The EPA has been granted such powers for the expressed purposes of circumventing the legislative process. For the president, and the former Democrat Congress, AGW is a fact of reality, and is so pressing an issue that they are completely backing a "whether they like it or not" approach to dealing with it. I recommend letters to our representatives at the state and federal levels. They are the ones that must stand up to the EPA on our behalf. By this point, the EPA probably has a permanent shred policy for every letter coming from a red state.
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