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Everything posted by icosahedron

  1. Yup. And get ready for their power grab, under the guise of "globalization". They want to establish the same pecking order as in the "developed" nations, but on a global scale. That makes the pots bigger and the skimming easier to get away with. Sheesh. - ico
  2. I'd have more sympathy for the medical profession if they didn't do MOST OF this to themselves by their past reckless politics. Further, the medical profession today in America is woefully lost on most issues of human health, has lost the thread of integrity in viewing an individual, and generally sees me as an aggregate of statistical averages, with concomitant "treatment". The mind-body dichotomy in particular is rampant, with doctors papering over mental symptoms with sleep aids so that the body can continue to function, and/or papering over physical symptoms with pain killers so that the mind can continue to function. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is what my mother called it. Until medical science resets its premises back to thinking of individuals as whole beings with unique physiques and corresponding need for specialized solutions, it will remain in the backwater with the witch doctors, prescribing what is at hand by rote and meeting questions with fear-mongering. Personally, I've had it with traditional medicine. I only use it to get my test results periodically, and I interpret them for myself (including the trends over time, e.g., in blood chemistry). The only thing I find that works is holistic practices where the mind and body are considered to be two aspects of the same unit -- and even then, most "holistic" practitioners are even worse quacks than the pill pushers, and it is even harder to find a good one. It took me 10 years to find someone who could help me fix my neck, but now that I have found him, my range of motion is coming back! I recommend hardcore accupressure as a regular tonic ... if and only if you can find a good practitioner at a reasonable price in your area. Otherwise, try calisthenics, yoga, tai-chi or somesuch. Diligence in these practices can really help, as anyone who does them diligently will attest. But they aren't for everyone -- my philosophy is that if 10 people go to the doctor for the same symptoms, and they are not obviously related (e.g. by a common pathogen), then each of them should probably get different treatment, at least in degree -- if not a wholly different diagnosis! As an example, how do doctors treat chronic back pain, perhaps the single most common complaint among adults? Anyone ever have their chronic back pain fixed permanently by pain killers or muscle relaxants? Anyone get a fix without surgery? No one I know. Why not?! - ico
  3. Again you assert the arbitrary. Show me a single example of such a material construct (I'll accept concepts as quasi-eternal, but not the identity of material things). Barring that, show me a logical induction with a single shred of evidence for me to grasp that suggest the Law of Entropy to be false. Your construct is more or less arbitrary; squeeze out the whimsy, and see what you have left. It won't be perpetual, and it won't be able to ignore its survival needs forever. - ico
  4. In the words of R. Buckminster Fuller: "Mind is the weightless and uniquely human faculty that surveys the ever larger inventory of special-case experiences stored in the brain bank and, seeking to identify their intercomplementary significance, from time to time discovers one of the rare scientifically generalizable principles running consistently through all the relevant experience set. The thoughts that discover these principles are weightless and tentative and may also be eternal. They suggest eternity but do not prove it, even though there have been no experiences thus far that imply exceptions to their persistence. It seems also to follow that the more experiences we have, the more chances there are that the mind may discover, on the one hand, additional generalized principles or, on the other hand, exceptions that disqualify one or another of the already catalogued principles that, having heretofore held "true" without contradiction for a long time, had been tentatively conceded to be demonstrating eternal persistence of behavior. Mind's relentless reviewing of the comprehensive brain bank's storage of all our special-case experiences tends both to progressive enlargement and definitive refinement of the catalogue of generalized principles that interaccommodatively govern all transactions of Universe." -- RBF, Introduction from his book Synergetics which is free online here: http://www.rwgrayprojects.com/synergetics/toc/toc.html
  5. Concepts are NOT material things, they are mental things that require a physical substrate in order to exist. Patterns of thought MUST be reflected in the material body, but, just as a river etches a path through dirt but is not that path, so concepts etch patterns in the brain's dendrites, but are not those patterns -- no more than the vibrating electrons in a radio wire are the message that is being projected. Concepts are eternally re-callable into one's mind without loss of detail, so in a sense, they are eternal -- they can be discovered and applied independently by minds all over the Universe without loss of generality. But concepts are NOT the experiences they represent. Concepts are IDEALIZATIONS of experience, and a conceptual archetype is not necessarily (maybe not ever?) observable by direct experience. For example, has anyone actually experienced a real example of a perfectly balanced triangle? I don't think so ... every real instance of inter-related three-ness is not some static, symmetrical arrangement, but a vibrating, interacting, buzzing around that may approximate symmetry, but never stops/settles there for any finite amount of time. Your eyes may take a snapshot at just the correct moment of perspective on a twirling triangle, but even then, the triangle itself must be made of material, and it is not possible to manufacture triangular symmetry to such perfection that every single atom on one side-tube has a correspondent on the other two sides. - ico
  6. I wonder, do O'ists need to do missionary works? Like, for starters, making sure that more than just Ayn's two big novels are translated into all the living languages spoken on Earth? - ico
  7. An understanding of the role of synergy in Universe is essential to devising efficient problem solving strategies. It's sort of like "don't drop context", where the context not to be dropped is the integrity of the system under consideration, i.e., that it IS a system, not a grab-bag of unrelated parts. If you understand synergy, you will be able to see that micro->macro design strategies, otherwise known as "building-block approaches", only work in the absence of significant synergy. For example, building block approaches don't work at all when attempting to deduce the properties of water by considering the properties of hydrogen and oxygen separately. In math, 1+1=2; in reality, 1+1>=2. The alternative, which DOES work efficiently, is a macro->micro strategy of starting with the observable properties of the whole system, plus the properties of SOME of its parts, and using that information to deduce the properties of the rest of the parts. This is how nuclear physicists are able to interpret scattering experiments, because they KNOW that energy is conserved and can use that fact to be certain that any niggling bit of missing energy must be SOMEWHERE, so they give it a name. Hence the standard model's particle zoo. Or, if you prefer a jock's perspective: "I grab the whole backfield and throw 'em out one by one until I find the guy with the ball." -- Too Tall Jones describing his strategy on defense. - ico
  8. I think it is simply the fact that MOST are ignorant of the concept "synergy", and how it operates in Universe. Synergy means behavior of whole systems unpredictable from examining ONLY the parts of the system. One should not be "in awe" of synergy, i.e., when one discovers gravity between two things, but not in any one thing, it does not mean their is a ghost in the machine -- it's simply how things work. Another way of seeing it is that systems have INTEGRITY, and that is a holistic thing, can't be broken down into pieces, by definition. And the integrity of systems is GREATER THAN the sum of the parts. Not magic; SYNERGY. - ico
  9. Social dictatorship culture is what I call all those flavors of thought which believe that social engineering, rather than freedom, is the correct means to a thriving society. To me, freedom in a social context means freedom from the arbitrary dictates of others. Cultures which fail to embrace freedom are socially dictatorial to the extent that they sanction restriction of freedom. - ico
  10. To do a dynamic, data-driven website, you'll want to find a good host who can sell you db space and tomcat cycles (or whatever appserver you choose to use). All that is in addition to the boilerplate webserver hosting. Pick someone with a good reputation for security. It's not something to try on for yourself lightly. In principle, it's not hard; in practice, bugs will be bugs. And maintenance is a headache, often, too. Best advice I can give (I have 20 years work experience with this stuff) is find an expert to assist you, or do it for you according to your specifications. If you have the capital to do that, or know a well-versed friend you can trade services with, you'll get further faster. Having said that, I think it is helpful to know how these kinda things work, and it won't hurt you in life if you gain a decent working understanding of website programming concepts. I encourage you to try learning it, but unless you are a CIS major, why bother with all the foundational stuff? Jump right into a good Java (or C#) tutorial, throw in something like Groovy (or its C# equivalent) for scripting (can you tell I'm a Java user these days?), and something like GWT or its C# equivalent for making web applications. The rest of the machinery, including webservices and application services and database services should be managed by your hoster (unless you are a real guru with your own setup -- and don't do that unless you know your way around internet security). You'll have to learn how to deploy your applications, and be careful that they don't crash on you, but other than that, it is more or less a recipe -- once you have built the application/content you want to present. Oh wait, one more issue: making good application "skins" is truly an art. If the look and feel of the site is not your biggest concern, learn as you go. Otherwise, you may want an expert to consult with on that, too. (Note: in well-factored web applications, the "skin", or presentation layer (what you see on the screen), is loosely coupled to the application layer, where the real work happens. Even for a quick-n-dirty, this separation of concerns saves headaches. - ico
  11. The entropy gradient does indeed indicate the direction of equilibrium, i.e., what is most likely to occur; but don't forget that, despite its title, Thermodynamics has nothing to do with detailed dynamics of how changes occur. The Second Law of Thermodynamics (non-decreasing entropy) says NOTHING about how fast the transition to equilibrium will occur. That is not to say that the idea of entropy maximization can't be used in a detailed dynamic context; it just hasn't been done yet. But, if my hunches are correct, then all the energy minimization ideas could be translated whole hog into the lingo of entropy maximization without loss of generality nor applicability, and with (I think) great gain in clarity. Its not how much iron you have that matters; what matters is how you invest the iron, e.g., to make plows or swords. Just so, energy is not the fundamental issue; how the energy is arrayed to form a useful structure is the issue. All in my estimation. - ico
  12. Also, Leonid, your claim that all sapient beings are moral independent of life or death is an empty definition unless you define "sapient" and "moral". And when you do, you'll need to do at least the latter in terms of life and death alternative, and your definition of moral at least will become contradictory to your premise of independence. Or you can make it circular and cut it off from cognitive connections, but I don't find tautologies beyond the self-evident to be useful, personally. - ico
  13. While I disagree with your last statement, I really don't need it: by definition, Ayn's robot is indestructible. But, if I manage to take out your robot's battery, it dies. They are not the same thing. You are confusing "a long time" with "eternal". Eternal is not a long time -- eternal is when you OMIT time considerations altogether. - ico
  14. I understand that there were extenuating circumstances, but the moral equation does not balance. It is not appropriate to use slavery to gain value, even if you are in debt. Jefferson knew that, but acted in contradiction to his principles in his personal life, at least in regard to continuing to possess slaves. If the slaves were collateral, then I guess you are saying he didn't want to forfeit them into some even greater horror than simple slavery. But then again, he did find the funds to build Monticello, so who are we kidding? - ico
  15. Good point re Jefferson, thanks for helping me salvage that memory. So really, my only remaining beef with TJ was his consistent practice of slavery -- i.e., why did he not, once it was so clear to him how important freedom was, stop using slaves? Unlike religion, the use of slavery was not ubiquitous in the colonies, and I sure wish TJ had reformed himself so that I could hold him up as the shining example that the Declaration suggests he was. Oh well. - ico
  16. "Give me Liberty, or give me death!" -- Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775
  17. Thanks Marc. BTW, I meant "flamed" in a good way, like, I knew I was coloring outside the lines and appreciate being corrected when I stray and miss my "exit". You are of course correct, and I think I was trying to say more or less the same: the development of a conceptual faculty was gradual, a genetic induction as you point out. And that also makes my point, i.e., I am not contradicting O'ism nor you by saying that there IS a curve here, and while the curve may be a very steep exponential as a function of organic evolution, any creature that is animate has some degree of control over its environment in terms of moving to a better place for it, if it is capable of doing so. You can say this is automatic, but it certainly not dull and automatic like a rock or river; there is a "spark" there, however dim. I imagine drawing an exponential curve and then zooming out from it ... the region close to x=0 will not noticeably deviate from 1 relative to the scale at, say, x=100. I don't see why one would object to drawing this curve based on volitional power, and then drawing a horizontal threshold above which cutoff conceptuality is available as a non-automated feature. Whatever, I think I'll drop it now, not particularly useful. But thanks for your time, Marc. Really appreciate it. (edited to add: I too have yet to find flaw with Ayn's works -- the only "flaw" is that the logical conclusions have yet still to be worked out in the special sciences! That's up to us, eh?) - ico
  18. <grandma> Just be careful with the meds. </grandma>
  19. Wait, I just thought of the essential problem with inferences from background radiation: what if the next batch of radiation, from further out, shows that, whilst our LOCAL region is expanding, a further region is contracting? I know, arbitrary claim on its face, but then, is the induction from the observed expansion back to a single kernel not equally arbitrary, given that the two models would agree on the facts? I doubt the maths are much harder, so Occam won't help here. Why should I choose Big Bang over Boltzmann's Universe? The keys are Hubble and Heisenberg, I think. As I have pointed out, the maths of subdivision and aggregation are isomorphic except for one aspect: subdivision does not assume Universe to be embedded in a container, whereas aggregation does. That's my take on Hubble, as I said -- subdivision is simpler, and Occam does help me here. Heisenberg was correct. But he didn't generalize it far enough. You see, I have discovered that Heisenberg Uncertainty is a function of relative size step-up/step-down resolution, so that any two entities sufficiently disparate in energy will have trouble seeing each other clearly. Heisenberg effects (quantum fluctuations) are assumed to be the cause of the initial symmetry break, are they not? I may have got that mixed up, so correct me if I am wrong. But Heisenberg applies, according to my logic, only between pairs of entities, and would not exist in the unitary kernel of Big Bang lore. This is fun, thanks for converting the thread, Dante. Happy to noodle and speculate on this until you are tired. - ico
  20. If the Big Bang is correct, then the initial entropy of the Universe was at a minimum, in a quasi-stable "equilibrium" (like a rock teetering on top of a spire, like in the old roadrunner cartoons), which was broken somehow (what caused THAT?), and now entropy is in the process of increasing as Universe expands from a pinprick of minimal entropy to eventual heat death. But if the entropy is constant, then the current state and initial state have the same entropy (a path-independent state function, so it matters not how we got here, the argument is valid without knowing the intervening states). Contradiction. As for cosmic background radiation, the physicists are miscounting it, conceptually. I haven't yet tried to, but I am willing to bet there is at least one other model to account this radiation -- a model in which entropy is constant. Time will tell, right now I am more interested in showing that atomic transitions correspond to entropy changes, with the entropy determined as the (logarithm of the) number of ways the atom can retain its observable properties while its parts pirouette. I expect electronic "orbitals" to develop from my description, too. - ico
  21. Great speech! Wish it could have been more radical on two points, though: 1) He all but suggests that the Constitution needs rewriting according to the Declaration's logic; why not come right out and say it? After all, that is where the Tea Party is heading, is it not? 2) He (like Ayn) doesn't take Jefferson et al to task for crediting a "Creator" with providing my inalienable right to life. I would like to see this highlighted and fixed, if possible. Ayn says its a minor point, but I disagree -- this is the ESSENTIAL crack in the philosophical base. Would religious groups have gained the level of current influence in a nation that did not so credit an imaginary father-figure as monarchical dispenser of rights? Again, great speech, really made my day to see this stuff developing in my lifetime, while I am still relatively young. Hey, the economic situation may have a silver lining if it gets folk off their mental sofas and into the salon (meant in the old French way, not a hair salon). - ico
  22. “Die Energie der Welt ist konstant.” -- Rudolf Clausius “Die Entropie der Welt strebt einem Maximum zu." -- also Rudy "The energy of the Universe is constant" -- lots of folk have repeated this in many ways, and it is an easy extension of Clausius. "The entropy of the Universe is constant" -- this is, I think, my innovation; I'd be happy to be wrong in that claim, as it would mean there is an interesting person I need to meet and talk to. I can't of course prove it beyond doubt to others, but my buddy and I have been discussing the implications of a Universe of constant entropy for 15 years. Two big implications: 1) The big bang is wrong 2) Hubble's "expansion" is not expansion per se, because that would imply an increase in entropy (same "gas" in greater volume means greater entropy). - ico
  23. Even a credible threat of allowing it, coupled with concrete steps in that direction, and see how fast China starts genuflecting. - ico
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