My problem with Objectivism is the same problem I have with doctrinaire Communism; they are both, in engineering parlance, trivial solutions.
When you try to model any complex system you often find yourself trying to solve a complex mathematical model with many parameters. You want a number to plug into each that makes the whole thing balance. Very early on in learning how to do this you discover that setting some of the key parameters to zero lets you do this much more easily, but the result is useless because it tells you nothing about a realistic system. In a classic predator/prey population model, for instance, you can easily set the number of rabbits to be zero, and find it very easy to solve for the number of foxes (also zero). This is a valid solution, but a useless one for modelling population dynamics.
And, IMHO, extreme political theories do this with human society. "Let's set X to zero!" the Objectivists/Communists/whatever exclaim, where X is variously altruism, property rights or some other aspect of society that they first assume can be reduced to a single number and then further assume can be switched off by sheer Application of Will. But their pretty little toy society that results is a trivial solution to real-world social concerns; unrealistic, unhelpful and downright unachievable unless you overcome that pesky human reluctance to have our deep-seated social goals reprogrammed for us. Which is why the Communists end up resorting to Gulags, and the Objectivists don't even get that far, because it turns out that even trying to beat altruism out of people doesn't work.
- Simon Bradshaw/major_clanger
I have (within the last year)
Over the last year or so, and if you have multiple bank accounts answer for all of them
- Date 37% of your pool and then choose the next one that beats all the previous entries.
- Oh, how I love the blogosphere.
- France is 50% bigger, and Denmark nearly twice the size!
Of course, they don't actually mention what the chances are of us getting cancer, nor what the change that processed meat causes is, thus making it completely impossible for readers to make an informed decision.
Fortunately, a look at the basic research shows that there is a definite increased risk, although my understanding isn't good enough to tell me exactly what it is. Anyone care to dig into those figures and tell me what the percentage chance of me getting rectal cancer is both with and without meat-eating?
Of the 500,000 people (age 51-70) in the study, 50,000 of them got cancer in the following 8 years. So if you live to be 50-odd then you have a 10% chance of getting cancer. If you eat meat then your chances of getting cancer are 20-60% higher than if you don't. Which presumably means that your chances are nearer 6-7% if you don't. So, an extra 3% chance of getting cancer in your old age if you eat meat.
Hardly worth panicking about.
Afghanistan is passing a law which will let husbands starve wives who withhold sex. When Western leaders protested against it it was
But they just released a song/video, and it's well worth a watch:
(cheers to sneakingyoda)