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    Cosgrove Alexander
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  1. It's undoubtedly more difficult making choices when there are more to choose from, even for ice cream flavors as opportunity costs slow down the decision-making process, but I like an ice cream store that sells 30 flavors better than a store that only sells three (given that quality, etc, are all equal). Even if I do end up choosing one of three flavors provided in the second store, I'll have the satisfaction of knowing that it was my choice, my decision that narrowed the flavors down to one. I don't want to shirk the responsibility of thinking for myself by letting the second store think for me and limit my choices. As for the Subway sandwich, for the sake of convenience, the store could just add the option of a standard sandwich in the beginning. I mean, it would save their employees the time the interrogation would take and potentially serve more customers, right?
  2. The college admissions process is a twisted process. The number of applicants each year has risen dramatically, meaning that the acceptance rates have dropped, some to less than 8%. I think the fact that there are more applicants is great, because colleges have more students to choose from in order to admit the best students. However, colleges have not been especially objective about who they admit. Private colleges in the US by law cannot set "quotas," or limits of how many students of each race they admit (even though it is fully within their right to do so, as their owners should have say), yet they make sure that they have a good percentage of "underprivileged minorities," often at the expense of other, more qualified applicants. For example, Asians are hugely over-represented in the college process: in private colleges such as Yale, Asians make up about 13% while at public universities of a similar caliber, such as Berkeley, Asians make up nearly half of the student population. These colleges are sacrificing these brilliant applicants for the sake of diversity. They are also more willing to accept already accomplished students and looking less and less to accept students who haven't done much but have potential (i.e. potential that can be seen from test scores, initiatives in high school, etc.). Sometimes, they would much rather take a great pianist or a legacy student rather than a straight-A student at the top of his class yet has no special "hook." They're not technically doing anything wrong, however, because they never say that they choose the students that are the best academically, even though their reputations seem to imply this, but the side effects include taking valuable education away from someone who deserves it more. Though, great men find their own way to create and are not reliant on what college they attend. However, it would be more difficult for them if they are forced to find mediocre alternatives and do the rest on their own. The elite colleges hold an oligopoly over higher education for the greatest students, yet I find the values of the colleges disconcerting. Especially when most, if not all, of the Ivy schools are adherents of saltwater economics, i.e. a mixed economy. As a past applicant, I watched as definitely less qualified classmates get into schools from which I (and a few friends like me) had been rejected simply because of their race and their connections. It sickened and angered me, but I don't care about that anymore. I'm curious, however, about the alternatives. New schools founded upon Objectivism, that have an explicit method for recruiting students? It's a possibility. What do you guys think of this? --Cosgrove
  3. It's an old thread, but from this it doesn't seem like many people have read The Catcher in the Rye. It wasn't required reading for school, but I read it on my own last year, and was delightfully surprised at how much I liked it. Holden Caulfield, however, is not Hank Rearden or Howard Roark; he has an honest passion for literature and does well in that subject at school, but he is skeptical of everyone around him and holes himself up in his gloom, refusing to try in school (which results in him getting expelled from a few places). But his chief weakness is his self-pity: He sees "phonies" everywhere around him, and he is justified to some extent as many of those around him are sycophants who lack passion for everything and pretend to rise in society. Caulfield holds himself as higher than them, but at the same time he wallows in this misery and seems to have no purpose in life. Aside from that, I think the novel's valuable in a way that is to me reminiscent of why Fahrenheit 451 is valuable: they lament the pointlessness of many people nowadays, who have nothing better to do than discuss the latest movie star or tell stories because they are afraid to venture into what is beyond and curse those who do. (I've seen my fair share of those people.) My conclusion: This book is an interesting read that doesn't require much commitment. It's an easy read that is worthwhile to pick up sometime.
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