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Jay P

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Everything posted by Jay P

  1. (Emphasis added.) Probably one reason is that most of the state government in Alaska is funded by loot stolen from the oil producers. And in addition, that state has a "permanent fund", which consists of money from oil production taxes and "royalties" - this fund is then used to pay a welfare check to each resident of the state every year.
  2. Anti-sodomy laws are not limited to public sex; they apply to private sex as well. So if one were advocating that all laws must be enforced, that would include laws against private sex. And it isn't true that you run virtually no risk of being caught in private. That's what happened in Lawrence vs. Texas. They were caught in private, and if it hadn't been for the US Supreme Court overturning their conviction, they'd have been punished for it. Laws against some kinds of sex; against all sex with somebody you're not married to; and laws against unmarried people living together, have less impact than they otherwise would because they are often not enforced. If they were enforced, they'd ruin many people's lives. Somebody who is advocating that all laws be enforced needs to think about the impact of these unjust laws if in fact they were enforced.
  3. Elastic deformation of a material is non-permanent deformation in which the bonds between the atoms get temporarily deformed. It is governed by Hooke's law, which states that strain (the amount of stretch per unit length) is proportional to stress (the amount of force per unit cross-sectional area). So for a spring, the stiffness is a function of the material and the geometry, but it will always be the case, because of Hooke's law, that the amount of stretch is proportional to the force applied, for any particular spring. If it takes 1 pound of force to stretch it 1 inch, then two pounds will stretch it two inches. (That is assuming you don't stretch it so much that it deforms plastically.) Every material has its own inherent stiffness, called the "modulus of elasticity", from which you can tell how much a bar of it will stretch when loaded. Why is Hooke's law valid? To really understand that, you'd have to study elasticity theory. Plastic deformation is permanent deformation that is caused by the motion of line defects ("dislocations") in the material. (Slipping whole planes of atoms over each other would take much more force.) Stretch a piece of metal, and it first deforms elastically. Eventually, when the stress reaches the "yield point", it begins to deform plastically. Then, eventually, when there is too much plastic deformation, it will break, at its "tensile strength". The yield point and tensile strength, which deal with plastic deformation, are affected by alloying and thermal and mechanical history, because these things can affect how many dislocations there are and how easily they move. Modulus of elasticity, on the other hand, which affects elastic deformation, isn't strongly affected by these variables. A first-year physical metallurgy text would be a good place to begin a study of this.
  4. Yes I saw it, and I also could not figure out what the point of the whole movie was. I left the theater with the question "what was that all about?" in my mind. I'm already starting to forget about it after only a week. I didn't understand the significance of most of the characters, other than they turned out to have some inexplicable supernatural powers. And the significance of the characters was not believable to me. For instance, the young man writing the book. To me, he came off as somthing of a disorganized flake, but then he suddenly finds his inspiration and is supposedly going to write something of deep significance. But I hadn't been shown anything about him that would lead me to believe he could do this. In other words, I'm told that a certain character is important, but am not shown why he does. For the most part, the people depicted were either just plain weird (i.e., spending your life strengthening the right side of your body, for no apparent reason; or being deathly afraid of cockroaches or whatever that bug was) or at minimum were people that, in real life, I wouldn't have cared to meet. The doctor was presented in a way that I can only empathize with him (given what happened to him in the past), but I didn't think that was enough to drive the plot.
  5. I wonder which Objectivists you mean here. The Objectivists I know are very enthusiastic about Cline's Sparrowhawk books, and (like me!) are always looking forward to the next one. I too encourage everyone to go out and read them.
  6. I enthusiastically second the recommendation for Rainbow Six. In addition to being a good story, it does a very good job of concretizing the man-hating evil of environmentalism. And yes, the ending is wonderful!
  7. I knew I'd heard "Keep Your Sunny Side Up" on a band organ before, and sure enough, that song is listed in a catalog of Wurlitzer style 165 band organ rolls under the title "Sunnyside Up", written by De Sylva, Brown and Henderson, July 29, 1929 (song number 6 on roll 6655). (The catalog of these rolls is on line: http://wurlitzer-rolls.com/ - it has lists of songs on each roll, together with dates, so one can see what music was popular just when. There is also some Wurlitzer 165 music available for listening, on this site.) For all I know, this song might be arranged as well for other kinds of band organ rolls; I don't remember which organ I've heard it played on.
  8. Thanks - yes, it does sound like a Dutch street organ. The best source I know of for band organ music is a company called "Carrousel Music" (note the two r's in their name): http://www.carouselstores.com/cgi-bin/caro...music/index.cgi. (I'm having trouble putting this link in my post, but their web site can easily be found by simply doing a Google search for "Carrousel Music".) They have tapes and CD's of quite a few different band organs and other automatic musical instruments, and there are samples on the web site. My favorites are the recordings of the Wurlitzer 153 and 165 band organs: this is the "American sound", and is mostly songs written in the 1930's or before. Besides band organs, there were other automatic instruments back then also, for instance, there were machines that played automatic versions of banjos or violins. They're fascinating to watch and listen to.
  9. I liked Cinderella Man. It's a good story of a virtuous, principled man being true to his values in spite of facing difficult times.
  10. Jay P

    We The Living

    That's right. It was made in 1942, when Italy and the United States were at war, and the Italians didn't bother to get permission from Ayn Rand to make the movie. The book of essays on WtL that I recommended a few posts back in this thread has a chapter which tells the story of the making of the movie. Evidently, it was very popular in Italy.
  11. Speaking of the band organs found on carousels, one of these tunes "Get Out and Get Under", is one that I first heard played on a band organ (and I have the recording; it is commercially available). I don't know if "Destiny Waltz" or any of Ayn Rand's other favorites were ever arranged on a music roll for a band organ. There are many carousels in the country that still are accompanied by band organs playing their wonderful music. And recordings of this music are available too. Often called "the world's happiest music", band organ music has always been my favorite.
  12. That's right. Bad spelling and grammar should never be tolerated in any discussion in which ideas are to be taken seriously. Tolerating them will create a "Gresham's law" problem: bad discourse will drive out the good. Those who take ideas seriously will leave, and those who are too lazy to proofread their postings will remain.
  13. The big problem with forfeiture today is that you don't even have to be convicted of a crime to have your property seized. For example, in the case of drug laws, all the authorities have to do is have some reason to believe that the property was used to commit a crime. (I'm pretty sure there have been cases of the police confiscating large quantities of cash from a person because he "fit the profile of a drug dealer", but he never was charged with a crime; certainly not convicted of one.)
  14. I agree that fusion will have advantages over fission, if and when controlled fusion is ever perfected, but in the meantime, the case for fission is pretty good. Regarding a few of your points: 1) Rarity of uranium. It's true that uranium is somewhat rare, but it's more abundant in the Earth's crust than such elements as bromine, antimony, mercury, iodine and silver. And uranium is not of much use for anything besides fission. And if commercial breeder reactors are ever perfected, uranium resources will be extended in usefulness by a factor of over 100. And don't forget thorium! It can be turned into fissile uranium, and used to fuel a fission reactor; and there is almost 4 times as much thorium in the Earth's crust as there is uranium. 2) Waste products of fission. Yes, they're quite toxic, but they are also produced in small volumes and are easy to deal with. We've known how to dispose of them for a long time; the barriers against safe disposal today are political, not technological. And while the fusion reaction itself does not produce any radioactive products, it's likely that there would still be lots of radioactive waste to deal with from a fusion reactor because the structure would be very strongly irradiated by neutrons, so it would end up becoming radioactive. It won't be a problem we can't deal with (even though the ecofreaks won't like it) but then, we can deal with the fission products too. 3) Using plutonium to make bombs. The plutonium that's produced in a fission power reactor is of an isotopic composition that makes it hard to use for making bombs. Using this "kind" of plutonium, one is likely to get a bomb that doesn't work, or "fizzles" spontaneously in a low-yield explosion. 4) Small scale reactors. There are plans today for fission reactors that are less than 1/10 the size of today's large commercial reactors, so they could be made small if there was a reason small ones were needed. Anyway, I don't mean to disparage fusion, because some day it will probably be an important source of energy. But, it could take a long time to develop. (It already has.) In the meantime, nuclear fission is a pretty darned good source of energy.
  15. Yes, you're right. In fact, something like this happened once. Remember "cold fusion"? For those who don't remember, about 15 years ago, some scientists in Utah thought they had figured out how to cause deuterium-deuterium fusion in electrolytic cells, at temperatures close to room temperature. It turned out that this was a case of bad science: the heat being measured wasn't really due to nuclear fusion at all. (Their measurements had been faulty.) There probably were some physicists who knew all along that there really wasn't any fusion taking place, but for at least a few weeks, the popular news was all positive, to the effect that here was a new energy source that would mean cheap and plentiful energy. And indeed it would have, if it had been real. So there was hope and excitement. And right in the middle of this, I read an article by some leading environmentalists, on the front page of a major local paper. These ecofreaks were all upset. Why? They were in a panic that man would have a source of plentiful energy! That's right. They weren't worried about some specific environmental effect of cold fusion (since none were known anyway): what they were worried about was that man would have plentiful energy, and that would be a bad thing. Really. Their thinking was that man couldn't be trusted: he'd just mess up the planet, and so it would be better if there were no source of plentiful energy at all. Which is just yet one more piece of evidence that the environmentalists will oppose any practical method of large-scale energy production. The only ones they support are impractical ones like solar and wind. And they'll turn against those too, as the lead posting of this thread shows. .... The good news, though, is that environmentalism is losing strength: people are taking it less seriously as 1) one doomsday scenario after another proves to be bogus and 2) awareness of the evils of environmentalism spreads.
  16. If there was a turning point for me, it was listening to Peikoff's old taped lecture series on the Philosophy of Objectivism (I think it was recorded in about 1976). Hearing him give a systematic treatment of Objectivism, I got to see clearly for the first time how all of the different pieces of the philosophy depended on each other. Before that, I hadn't quite appreciated just what it meant for Objectivism to be a philosophical system.
  17. Jay P

    We The Living

    It's a good one! Kira, especially has always been one of my favorite characters in Ayn Rand's novels. What a picture of dedication to the pursuit of values, of feminine strength, of a love of life! (And what a contrast she is to people I hear whining about today's culture and politics in the United States.) And be sure not to miss the collection Essays on Ayn Rand's We the Living, edited by Robert Mayhew and published in 2004. It's a set of essays (most if not all of the authors are Objectivists) about the novel, covering topics such as: Rand's early drafts, contemporary conditions in Russia, Rand's family members as possible models for some of the characters, and many others. After you've finished WtL, this book of well-written essays will give you lots more to think about. And then there's the We the Living movie, made in Italy during WWII. Have you seen it? It's remarkably true to the book. And the actress who played Kira, Alida Valli, did such a good job that the director remarked to her: "I won't tell you how to interpret Kira because you are Kira. What you'll do will be fine." [From the above-mentioned book of essays.]
  18. Trying to shut down wind farms is exactly what I'd expect of the environmentalists. Nobody should be surprised by this, but thanks for presenting more evidence of their anti-man philosophy. "Renewable energy" is the big lie of environmentalism today. (Over the past few years, The Intellectual Activist has had some good articles about this.) The environmentalists claim they're for "renewable energy", but as soon as some form of it looks like it might become viable, they turn against it. I've expected this for a long time on the wind farms, because after all, those do kill birds. Another form of renewable energy that the ecofreaks have ended up attacking is "biomass", which is mostly the burning of wood waste. And they turned against hydroelectric power (the one large-scale form of renewable energy that's been viable for years) a long time ago. If solar power ever became viable on a large scale (doubtful because the sun's radiant energy is so diffuse), they'd turn against it too, becuase after all, look at the huge land area that it takes up. There isn't any means of power generation that doesn't affect the environment.
  19. That depends on the state. Some states have "preemption laws", which prohibit local governments from passing their own gun bans.
  20. Canasta: now there's a game I like, but haven't played for a long time. I especially used to play the two-person version a lot, which is convenient if you can't find four people to play. (In the two-person version I played, you draw two cards but discard only one.) I've never played bridge, but in the past I played another game that also involves bidding in which one "contracts" to take a certain number of tricks: "five-hundred". I think its rules are simpler than bridge, although there is an interesting twist in that the cards of the trump suit are ranked differently than those of the other suits. And five-hundred also has a good two-person version. I also used to play hearts a lot.
  21. If it's a matter of the weather being a chaotic system, then my experience is that it's chaotic enough that after 3 or 4 days, a precise forecast isn't worth much. If I look at a 2 or 3 day forecast, typically it ends up being good enough to be useful. If it predicts rain, it's likely that it really will rain. But a 10 day forecast is another matter. These often end up getting modified radically - i.e. going from "clear and 65" to "rainy and 55" - so are practically useless. In any event, saying there's a "27% chance" of rain seems pretty lame, unless the data really are good enough to predict the probability to within 1%. But given the uncertainties in prediction, rounding it to 30% would be more honest.
  22. The question is: what would the government do in order to try to keep the dollar price of gold constant? And whatever it was, would they really stay with it? When we had gold convertibility of the dollar, in effect that meant that the government kept the dollar price of it constant. So before 1971, when Nixon ended the last vestiges of gold convertibility, the government stood ready to buy or sell gold at $35 an ounce. (Or it may have been $38 or a little more - I know they raised it by trivial amounts a few times.) What this meant in practice is that from sometime in the late 1940's up to 1971, the government was constantly selling gold in order to keep the price at $35. So much so that during this time period, they ended up selling about half of the gold they once had. That policy can obviously only go on until the government's gold runs out. (Of course, they could also have put the brakes on the money supply so that people would not have had all these dollars they wanted to exchange for gold, but obviously they were not willing to do this.) Another way to try to keep the gold price constant would be for the government to limit the growth of the money supply. I suppose that would work. But if they announced this policy, I for one would not believe that they'd stick with it. Keeping the gold price constant would take discipline, of the kind that our leaders have repeatedly shown they do not have. They could say they were going to try to keep the price of gold constant. But as soon as they had some reason to inflate the money supply, they'd go back on their word and inflate it. (Reason's to inflate the money supply?? Oh, maybe to provide people on medicare welfare with free drugs, or to rebuild un-insured houses in a disaster, or maybe to prevent a large financial institution from collapsing. There are always incentives for politicians in a mixed economy to inflate the money supply so they can subsidize some constituency or another.) (Or the government might decree that the reason the gold price is going up is because of "greedy speculators". They'd just pass a law that interfered with the ability of people to freely buy and sell gold, so that they wouldn't have to worry about the price. Of course, there'd be markets and a price outside of the US.... which might make things interesting.) It comes down to being a moral issue. Does the government take the integrity of our money seriously, or not? Do they consider keeping its value stable to be some kind of moral imperative? Or is the value of every man's savings to instead be sacrificed for various altruistic schemes?
  23. Absolutely right. Those who advocate limits on campaign contributions seem to be under the impression that whoever can spend the most money on his cause will triumph. More generally, this is the idea that it is money that moves history. (This view is sometimes stated cynically as "Follow the money.") But history is not moved by money. Human history is moved by ideas. A good exploration of an example of history being moved by fundamental ideas is Peikoff's The Ominous Parallels. Other people in this thread have already given examples of political candidates and causes whose backers have spent money to try to win elections, but failed. I myself can think of plenty of examples in local politics in which the losing side has spent much more money than the winning side. People ignore advertising all the time. They ignore junk literature handed out by religious fringe groups - it just ends up in the trash can. They're also quite capable of making up their own minds about whom to vote for.
  24. I think it's quite correct to say that the inches are curved when the length being measured is curved. This would apply to a curved railroad track, a waistline, or a piece of string on the floor. All of these instances of inches are referents included in (subsumed by) the concept "inch". These referents are just as valid as the inches we see marked on a straight ruler.
  25. There are curved inches, in that the length of a curved line can be measured in inches. For example, one speaks of the the length of the circumference of a circle as being a certain number of inches. If one were to mark off those inches on the circle, they would be curved. Another example of a curved unit of length measurement: when I drive my car a certain distance which registers a total of 1 mile on my odometer, it's likely that the mile I just drove was not straight.
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