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Everything posted by Weston

  1. Machine guns are much more potent than semi-auto rifles -- the S.A.W. (squad automatic weapon or M-249) is the highest casualty-inducing weapon in a typical fire squad; it even beats out the M-203 grenade launcher. And though semi-auto mode is generally recommended in combat situations like those our military faces in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a legitimate reason for regulating fully automatic capabilities here in the states. One of the main reasons that semi is recommended in combat is because it is more controlled and efficient. The goal there is to achieve a high body count of bad guys and avoid capping a bunch of civilians. If our military wanted to lay down hell on just everybody in the area then full auto may be employed. The SF team that visited my University's ROTC last year told me that he has put his M4 on full auto twice in Iraq, both times when they were in a situation where there was a large number of bad guys and no civilians nearby. For an Active Shooter like Lanza or Breivik, everyone in the vicinity is a target; they require no fire discretion. No such thing as fratricide for a loony loner, and civilian fallout is the goal. Even a well-meaning homeowner who wants to protect his family from harm at the hands of robbers or attackers is a potential threat to his neighbors or family members when he employs a full auto setting. For those reasons, I think that weapons with fully automatic capabilities are legitimate subject matter for more intense legislation. However, I can't really grasp why extended magazines are being cracked down upon. Adam Lanza reloaded what, five times? Not like the time it took him to spill a mag and slap in a new one saved any lives. Oh, and barrel shrouds. What were they thinking? "If the barrel's cool and comfy it's easier to kill children and puppies, obviously!"
  2. I love this thread idea. Recently, I just amassed a 3.3 semester GPA at Texas A&M, while remaining in good standing with the Corps and making time to compete in the Ranger Challenge competition in Fort Knox this October. I was a team-lead on our Ranger Challenge team, meaning not that I led the entire team, but that I was assigned two new guys to teach them our tactics and the skills they would need at competition. We took fourth place out of twenty-something teams from ROTC units across the nation. This is especially meaningful to me because last year I was a newcomer to the team, and we took seventh. This year I got a chance to pass down what my team-lead had taught me, and my kids did awesome at the competition, which made me proud. Oh and also I finally got the contract spot I have been working to earn since I came to A&M in Fall 2011, so I am now officially a cadet employed with the United States Army. I draw real grown-up pay, too!
  3. In that article, Biddle says this in defense of Paul Ryan: "But it is crucial to bear in mind that no politician today advocates genuine freedom, none understands the principle of rights, all support rights-violating policies, all embrace fundamentally false philosophies. This is the political reality of the day. And, in this reality, Paul Ryan is as good as it gets." This is already wrong. Gary Johnson, although an arguably inviable candidate, is a far better choice. He respects individual rights and knows that they don't come from a god or from the government. He argues against the Patriot Act, CISPA, the NDAA, and the stimulus, all of which Ryan voted for. In fact, Ryan even explicitly accepted money from the stimulus. Gary Johnson has a plan to balance the federal budget in 2013, not in thirty years. Johnson believes that marriage equality and abortion are inalienable rights, not a "states issue". Even Ron Paul is a state's-rights Libertarian on these two issues, but Gary is not. Gary Johnson realizes the futility of America's engagement in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, but is not the kind of terrorist-apologist hippy that is so commonplace in the Libertarian party. He's just about as Objectivist-friendly as it gets, and his jump-ship move from the GOP to the LP shows that he is with the LP not because he is a Libertarian at heart, but rather because he is just a man with a plan who will get into the White House on whatever ticket will bring him there. In short, Gary Johnson does dvocate genuine freedom, he does understand the principle of individual rights, and he does not nor has he ever supported rights-violating policies, as Biddle claims all politicians do. Further, Biddle attempts to get Objectivists excited over Paul Ryan paying a little lip-service to Atlas Shrugged: "Ryan’s reverence for Rand, shallow as it may be, is a major positive because it helps to bring Rand’s ideas to the fore in American politics." Ryan's reverence for Rand is about as shallow as possible. As far as I can tell, Ryan's only respect for Rand is for her pro-Capitalism advocacy, and because he subscribes fundamentally to a philosophy (Catholicism) which explicitly denies the moral grounds for Capitalism, I think it is clear that he is only a Rand fanboy because she gives him some thin excuse to selfishly enjoy his own wealth without feeling too bad about it. Getting Ryan into the WH and using him as a posterboy for Objectivism is really only going to confuse people into associating Objectivism with Corporatism, Statism, and greed. He will be all the fodder that the left will need to continue their campaign to paint Objectivism as the "excuse-to-be-an-enormous-dickhead" philosophy, and because he fails to understand Objectivism, he will not bring any positive light to Ayn Rand or her ideas, whatsoever.
  4. Nicky: are Paul's and Objectivist foreign policies really antithetical? Sure, they're not entirely congruent, and there are a number of issues on which they disagree (Iran being the most obvious one), but I shouldn't hardly say that they're complete and total opposites. Paul understands that America's traditional reluctance to become involved in foreign conflicts are justified by more than just good diplomacy; that they come from the idea that no American individual's resources should be spent for a militaristic cause that is not directly related to the protection of his own rights and safety. I'd say he's got the jist of it, at the very least. In response to the Kony nonsense, Che's revolution in Cuba killed just as many, and was even on many accounts a blatantly racist genocide. One of those two men is Facebook's least favorite terrorist, and the other can't seem to escape all the celebration that the same teenagers who hate Kony are so eager to give him. How a man is treated by these "activists" is entirely dependent on how the few in the lead can make them feel about him.
  5. For those of you who opposed SOPA/PIPA and have enough free time or willpower to do anything about its inevtiable resurgence under some other name, http://nwlinux.com/what-politicians-received-money-to-support-sopa/ ^This is a list of politicians who received money from support groups to vote for SOPA. www.maddox.xmission.com ^This guy has compiled a list of large companies that supported SOPA/PIPA, which you can choose to boycott if you really want to help get the point across. They're color-coded by difficulty to boycott for your convenience (eg. MasterCard is red because it'd be near impossible to boycott completely). If we contact the politicians who voted for these bills and boycott or complain to the companies that supported it, we can hopefully discourage Congress from trying to pass similarly invasive legislation in the future.
  6. In non-Detroit v Green Bay news, looks like Romo's on the upswing. With a walk in the park schedule remaining, no question they make the playoffs. I predict four more wins this year for the 'Boys: against Tampa Bay, Arizona, Miami, and at least one on either the Giants (who we play twice) or the Eagles.
  7. Promestheus, I'm aware of the Wikipedia article on the subject (it's the first place I looked for an explanation, being the lazy bastard I am), but my issue is accepting that (ix) works the same as (x) or any other real value when it comes to the Taylor series for e^__ Why should (ix) be treated as just another value when it's not? Warning: I have only taken math up through Calc II (multidimensional), so if the answer to this is obvious, I apologize in advance.
  8. We all know it's e dude, tenth grade math is not beyond most of the posters on this board. That being said, I'm still unsatisfied with the commonly accepted explanation for why e^(pi*i)=-1, care to comment?
  9. In spite of the several condemning tirades written in this thread, I am here to defend atonal, virtuosic, prog-rock/metal/jazz fusion bullshit music. Using two music groups as my examples, I will briefly outline three reasons why atonality and overcomplexity (difficulty of listening, as some would call it) kicks ass. In an effort at being well-defined in my argument, the kinds of music I'm talking about is this: (Behold... The Arctopus) (Spiral Architect) You can see that it's a nebulous genre. And here are my three reasons why it's also the best genre: 1)It doesn't fuck around. It's sort of self-explanatory: this music is hard as fuck to write and harder to play. It's technical, mathematical, and all-around mindblowing. "Virtuosic" is a common word for this style of music, but one must consider that typical "virtuoso" pieces of the classical and baroque periods were intended for one virtuoso with a group to back him up. These new guys put four or five virtuosos in one room and have them all take center stage. The fact that a clusterfuck doesn't result is an achievement in itself. 2)It makes you focus. Try listening to one of those three songs like you would elevator music; let it wash over you, half-hearing what the artist wants to portray. You can't do it, because this shit is right in your face. This is not background music; to appreciate its splendor, you must drop everything and concentrate solely on what you're hearing. It's like reading a book that's a little too difficult for you: no skimming allowed. 3)It shows you the universe as it is. This one sounds sketchy, but hear me out. When you hear the first few phrases of each of those songs, it sounds like gibberish. All you can hear is atonality, lack of any dependable rhythm, and a general dismissal of all musical decency. It's like five-year-olds banging on pots and pans. But keep listening, and invest true focus and effort to uncovering the music that lives intertwined amongst the seeming madness, and you will shortly see the forest from the trees. Soon enough, given enough hard work on your part, you can discover (of your own means, no less!) the systematic, entirely logical way that these songs work. The time signatures are not random, they're just complex. The modulations are not liberally sprinkled around where they don't belong, you just haven't discovered the pattern yet. And when you do, you feel like Newton when he first watched the apple fall from the tree and learned: there is a law for this! Everything makes sense, everything in the world. This music just doesn't hand the sense over to you on a silver platter. Sorry for being so long-winded; that was not my intention when I began writing. In conclusion, I assert that, for these three reasons (heroic virtuosity, demand for focus, and infusing method and reason into complexities that seem to border on madness), this is the best, and most Objectivist, music in the world.
  10. You'll be pleased to learn that my professor for Business 101 is named Shontarius Aikens. In response to the article, is this even allowed? "Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that he was with assistants and students at the Louvre in Paris when he got the message that he’d been found guilty of criminal tax evasion." Can a man be convicted of a crime in Norway without being present to defend himself? That seems a little messed up. Also, the guy sounds like a classic tinfoil weirdo, especially given this declaration: "He said in court that he thinks the tax evasion charges were a means of pushing him towards suicide."
  11. I agree that Iran pursuing a nuclear program might one day lead to some cause for minor concern for U.S. safety. What Paul was arguing is that Iran's pursuit of a nuclear program is probably not done with the intention of using it to harm the U.S. He makes a good case - Iran is surrounded by a very nuclear-capable Israel (who is funded by the U.S. for no good reason; I understand that they're our allies, but you shouldn't have to spoon-feed a decent ally. They're really more like our adopted son who can't stop getting into fights at school.), China, Russia, North Korea and the U.S. Iran knows that each of these countries has its own very good reason to want to mess with their shit, and as long as all of these potential threats have nuclear capability, well, if I were Iran, I'd stock up for the sole purpose of self-defense. Ron Paul does not argue that Iran deserves a nuclear program, or that we should help fund a nuclear program for them like we already do for Israel (I can't stress enough how shitty of an ally Israel is), but rather that Iran's pursuit of nuclear capability is probably not a declaration of malice toward the U.S. Again, if Iran began to show legitimate intent for war (i.e. suddenly establishing an Air Force or a Navy, neither of which they currently have), then and only then are military sanctions a feasible option. Why should Paul praise Israel? It's a theocratic nation (like it or not) teeming with intolerance and a serious love for making sovereign nations angry at it. It upholds none of the principles that an Objectivist (free-thinking, Randroid or any combination thereof) should require of a nation of favor.
  12. The part about the spiders moving in and "terrorizing the neighborhood" came off a bit... racially aware. The story is funny and very realistic otherwise though; I enjoyed it.
  13. He claimed not that Iran was justified, but rather that American military nosiness was the primary catalyst behind this whole cluster of nonsense in the first place, so it is reasonable to assume that even more American military nosiness will only lead to more of the same. He is right in thinking this. It was a failed mess the second it began; the only justice the entire endeavor ended up bringing was Bin Laden's battlefield execution, and that was at the cost of a decade of war and thousands of American lives. He's not a pacifist, he's just simply not an interventionist either. He (rightfully) expects a legitimate war, not declared on "terrorism" or "radical Islam", but on an opponent country to be the sole reason for deploying American troops in a foreign land. This is his greatest flaw. I agree with you one hundred percent; this is an example of Libertardianism at its most ridiculous. So were our Founding Fathers, if you'd care to check out the Declaration of Independence. I still don't understand why this is such an issue for you people. Actually, his pro-free market (not pro-Capitalism though; you are correct in that) ideas and policies, however poorly founded, would provide Americans the breathing room they need to start being prosperous again, his fiscal responsibility would allow America to begin to pay off her debts, and his "bring our troops home" conviction would save the government billions. America could begin to enjoy prosperity and productivity like she hasn't seen in thirty years, and all would know that it was because of our slight (however slight, indeed) return to liberty. I don't even know why I have to say this, but fuck Israel. And your fear for the U.S.'s safety from Iran is a bit phobic; first, Iran will have to actually demonstrate a motive and capability to harm the U.S. (as in, acquire an Air Force or Navy), then we can begin to consider military action against them. All in all, Ron Paul is not an Objectivist candidate, and I'd never claim that he is. What he is, however, is an Objectivist-friendly candidate, in that he will be very eager to step out of the way of the free market and all of its productive individuals as they make better lives for themselves and bring America back from the brink in the process.
  14. SoftwareNerd, Nobody seems to want to give Perry even a sliver of good credit, but I maintain that his decision to cut from Texas' education budget to balance the state's deficit was a grand one. That said, I don't like the guy or his ridiculous stance on immigration, Iran, and selling public highways. Also, I agree that he has a grinning complex of sorts. I think that, from an Objectivist viewpoint, Gary Johnson is the best candidate for President, but (and I hate to have a loser's attitude about this) he just doesn't stand a chance. Ron Paul is on the same wavelength with Objectivists when it comes to the economy, the debt crisis, and our senseless military occupation of the sovereign state of everywhere. While he has a decidedly anti-liberty stance on abortion (I myself think that abortion in the second or third trimester is in fact murder, and I realize that I disagree with conventional Objectivism on this point) and gay marriage, he's still the best viable option. Plus, even with three years in the White House, Obama hasn't done anything to further gay marriage in the U.S. so it's foolish to think that electing a "pro-gay marriage" President is a sure-fire way to change anything in that regard. I'm throwing my support fully behind Ron Paul for President in 2012.
  15. A somewhat ironic one-liner in reference to Atlas Shrugged: Me (to a friend): "Have you read Atlas Shrugged? If you have not, you should." Friend: "I'll torrent it as soon as I get the chance." You can't write irony like that.
  16. No mention of Gregory Peck? This "man thread" is grossly incomplete without him.
  17. Mr. Whitacre, if you would take the time, I was interested by your Virtual Choir project, but I'm fuzzy on its details. Did you invite individuals to sing whatever note they choose, and then place their voices into that song's order by yourself, or did you send out sheet music for them to sing along to? The first would be a more impressive answer.
  18. Maybe it does and maybe it doesn't, but this is hardly a moral issue at all. After nine months (give or take) of willing pregnancy, the woman has by now implicitly consented to give birth and to raise the child. She had nine months' worth of chances to end the pregnancy, and choosing not to do so is like signing a contract that says, "I will give birth to you and I can't complain that you forced it on me without my consent." This of course barring any weirdo extraneous circumstances anyone might come up with.
  19. Can we get some around those, please? Jeez.
  20. Have you considered studying how computers work? Taking a compsci class might be able to help you, as next time your computer malfunctions, you'll at least be able to recognize why and put a technical term on your predicament. I've noticed a similar trait of my own that has me getting exceedingly frustrated when things don't go my way, and I have little or no knowledge of the problem and therefore no idea what I might do about it (calculus and girls are my most imposing stimuli). If your frustration stems from a feeling of helplessness that arises when you look at a "404" screen with no earthly idea what might be going wrong behind that mysterious contraption of wires and lights, then I definitely recommend reading up on computer science; greater knowledge of your problem will help you shed some rational light on it, and that will help you behave rationally about it in the future.
  21. Although I fear that her influence will not spread significantly among the worldwide population, it is clear that those who do accept her mode of thought will prove to become some of the most successful, innovative, and therefore influential people of the near future, so in that way, her influence is bound to grow immensely in years to come.
  22. This is definitely bad news. Living in Texas, I was proud that the nationwide recession hardly affected the industry around where I live. My neck of the woods is currently growing and progressing faster than it ever has; what was twenty years ago unclaimed countryside is now a small city, and is on its way to becoming a large city (with a waterpark!) to which new businesses seem drawn like flies to honey. This outreach of the long arm of federal law is a serious damper on the upward momentum my home city has earned for itself, and I can only imagine how many other growing cities in this great state will be likewise affected. In fact, this warrants a personal letter to the administrator of the EPA. If there are any Texans on this forum who think the same way on this and would like to group-sign my letter once it's written, and maybe even look over it and add a thing or two, I think we might be able to come up with an effectively persuasive message. At the very least, we'd be making our opinions heard. The picture I included is the new toll highway that's being extended right behind my neighborhood (paid for by the tolls I willingly and proudly paid) that I use every day to get to and from school. This highway has brought with it a concert center, movie theatre, shopping complex, athletic center, dozens of brand new businesses (one of which I was happily employed with for three seasons), and soon the newest Schlitterbahn in the state. This kind of productivity makes me happy to get out of bed and on the road every morning, and to think it might be stifled at the will of a few buffoons on capitol hill is frustrating to say the least.
  23. I thought that the acting was atrocious, was anyone else bothered by that? Also, the "cherry lines" that the father and Clue liked to spit out got exceedingly annoying. The underlying theme of altruism, from the glorification of the son stealing private property in the beginning, to the father's mantra of "less of yourself, more of others" (or something like that, I out the line out of my head as soon as I heard it), was also jarringly offensive. All in all, I thought the movie had little to offer, though to be fair the motorcycle scenes were visually spectacular and almost all of the women were beautiful, which I appreciate.
  24. Don't feel so bad, when you think about it, the event itself has no actual significance other than the fact that most of us humans consider it "nifty". You'd be better off making sure you catch the next moon landing, whenever that comes. In fairness though, I've heard they look really cool.
  25. I had no intention of denying Hobbes any credit, I'm just severely limited in what I know about philosophy at the moment, so materialism was the only idea of Hobbes' that I'd read of up to yesterday. Thanks for calling me out on that, now Hobbes' philosophy is back on my list of things I should read more on before I talk about!
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