Monthly Archives: October 2003

Neal Boortz at A&M

I went to hear Neal Boortz live for four hours this morning. He was generally right on everything he mentioned, though he lacked Rush’s smooth delivery. Although he’s known for being a libertarian, he correctly identified the threat presented by Islamic terrorism, and praised America’s military. Unfortunately, he rarely went beyond the concretes of particular events, and when he did so, the results were usually mixed. Still, he has good teachers, and he let off a few good lines this morning, such as “No free nation has ever existed that did not recognize property rights.”

Boortz.jpg

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Egypt won?

30 Years Since Egypt’s Victory Over Israel:”

In the war of October 1973, Egypt crushed the Israeli army of occupation. They destroyed the Barlief Line that was described by military experts as unparalleled in military history and ended the lie that Israel had an invincible army. This year for the first time Egypt is celebrating its victory throughout the month of October rather than just on the day of victory.

And if you liked that, :

Israel was totally devastated even though the Egyptian forces didn’t advance into Palestine. Golda Meir saved Israel by sending out an SOS which was answered by the ever-biased American administration through the great Zionist himself, Henry Kissinger, then at the peak of power.

Here is what actually happened:

Thrown onto the defensive during the first two days of fighting, Israel mobilized its reserves and eventually repulsed the invaders and carried the war deep into Syria and Egypt. On October 22, the Security Council adopted Resolution 338 calling for “all parties to the present fighting to cease all firing and terminate all military activity immediately.” The vote came on the day that Israeli forces cut off and isolated the Egyptian Third Army and were in a position to destroy it.

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Man

Weak and puny, small and frail,
Helpless he with tooth or nail,
In a world of fang and claw
Where sheer power makes the law.
Into battle he had gone
With the shaggy mastodon,
With the cruel beasts of prey
Snarling in their lust to slay,
Thirsting for the taste of blood;
He has fought with fire and flood,
With a heart and soul elate
Warred with nature–and woth fate,
Dauntless, fearless, bold of eye,
Unafarid to fall and die,
Man has battled countless odds
Which would fright the very gods,
But by virtue of his will
Which no chill defeat could kill,
And by strength of heart and soul
He has striven to his goal;
By sheer vigor of attack
Beaten brute creation back
And through countless conflicts hurled
Made him Master of the World!

“Man” by Berton Braley

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Random Quote..

A random prediction from sci-fi writer and futurist Robert Heinlein in 1950: “The cult of the phony in art will disappear. So-called modern art will be discussed only by psychiatrists.”
In 1980: “One pay hope…While “fine” art continues to look like the work of retarded monkeys, commercial art grows steadily better.”

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Listserv: A Theory on the Basic Nature of the Universe

 

A Theory on the Basic Nature of the Universe

October 25, 2003

It’s been a while since I talked about physics, so I’d like to present my pet theory on the origins and the fundamental nature of the universe. To explain it, I will use four helpful analogies: a shattered pane of glass, a spider web, a drop of water, and a computer-generated fractal.

The explanation starts at the pre-big-bang singularity. It does not have to be the popularized version of the “big bang,” but it is some sort of point-like singularity. Initially, the singularity comprises the sum total of the universe – the rest is not just “empty space,” but empty in a fundamentally different way, as I will explain. The common question presented at this level is “why” the singularity is there. There is no “why” – the question of “why” only applies to volitional (human) action. Existence exists – there is no alternative. The only valid question is not why but “how” – and while this is an important question, it is outside the scope of my theory.

At some point, the singularity “explodes.” Although I say “at some point,” the concept of time only applies to change, and because there is no change prior to the singularity, it marks the beginning of time. Thus far, my theory has been consistent with the popular big bang version, but here it begins to diverge. By “diverge” I don’t mean that it contradicts with the big bang, but that it describes the universe at a much more fundamental levels than atoms or even subatomic particles.

The basic building blocks of the universe can best be described as “super strings,” because just like common strings, they connect discrete points together by a thin line. In fact, the (extremely small) diameter of the strings is the basic physical constant of the universe. The “strings” connect every single particle in the universe to one another. In fact, the interconnections between the strings [i]are[/i] the basic particles of the universe. Consider a pane of glass that is shattered by some small object. The cracks proceed outwards from the center, forming a spider web-like network of cracks. The points where the different cracks meet form the basic existents of our universe. Now imagine a drop of water into a body of water. When it impacts, the drop sends concentric waves radiating out at a specific speed. Just as glass and water conduct the change at a certain velocity that corresponds to their physical nature, so do the super strings. That speed is what we know as the speed of light, and it measures the speed at which the universe expands. The universe is thus a sphere of finite size, with a radius equal to the distance light has traveled since the beginning of the expansion — approximately 13 billion light years.

The strings conduct vibrations just as normal matter does. They have specific frequencies and amplitudes that represent the energy generated in the original bang. The vibrations they carry may be converted into new strings or vice versa – allowing matter to be converted into energy and back. Because the energy cannot be dissipated into any other particles, (there are no other particles) it is gradually converted into more and more string-connections (or “cracks” in the glass) until the universe becomes a uniform, extremely complex network. This is equivalent to the “heat death” or eventual entropy of the universe. (What happens afterwards is outside the scope of my theory, but a possibility is the web collapses onto itself to start a new round.)

The interactions between the strings explain the basic physical forces of our universe – the nuclear, electromagnetic, and gravitational attraction and repulsion of the particles made from the string interconnects. Because the string is like a web, the motion of any one particle affects every single other particles in the universe – but the change is propagated at the speed of light. This explains the so-called “ether” theory of space-time, by describing how the fundamental forces are able to act at a distance.

Now regarding the “random” pattern formed by the strings: it is not at all random. That is, the structure of our universe is a string-generated fractal pattern than can be reduced to a few simple string properties, but aggregates together into very complex patterns. If you have ever seen a Mandelbrot fractal pattern, it is the same idea. Simple rules can generate highly complex patterns at large scales. If there were multiple “bangs,” but the properties of the strings remain the same, the same universe would be created each time. This means that there is no “quantum uncertainty” at the basic level. The strings interact in an entirely causal manner according to their properties.

A side note: if it were possible for a number of strings to separate from the main cluster that comprises our known universe, than that cluster would in effect become a completely independent system, with no casual link to our system. (I don’t say that it would be “it’s own universe” because “universe” denotes everything that exists, including multiple independent clusters.) It is even conceivable that there exist many such systems in the same space, since the strings are small enough to allow many coexisting system. (To say that they could become “entangled” is taking the string analogy too far.) This is merely arbitrary speculation, but the point is that the strings are the basic causal link between all known existents. The string patterns (including spaceships) cannot travel outside of them or outside of the sphere comprising the expanding universe.

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Hey Kids!

Perhaps in response to the widespread ban of “Jewish” Barbie dolls in Muslim countries, an American company has created Razanne, a Muslim Barbie. Um…no comment.
Praying Razanne

In related news, a survey by a evangelical Christian group claims that that 81% of American’s believe in some sort of an afterlife, and 90% are open to the possibility, but only .5% believe that they are headed for hell. 48% of the younger generation believes that it is possible to talk to the dead, and 18% believe that they will be reincarnated. I wonder how many of them watch John Edwards, the “biggest douche in the universe?” No comment on this either, other than a favorite quote of mine from Thoma’s Paine’s “The Age of Reason“:

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My mind is my own church.

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Comments on the GLBTA/YCT Service Fee Debate

The university-funded “Gay Lesbian and Transgender Alliance” debated with the self-funded “Young Conservatives” tonight. Here are the comments I posted at a local forum:

The GLBTA president is a typical leftist. His sole argument was: “Students are not capable of deciding which groups they should support, so their money should be forcibly taken from them for their own good. This is justified because the free flow of ideas and my freedom of speech is limited if I can’t forcibly take other people’s money to promote views they oppose.”

The president of the YCT replied: “Students should be able to decide which groups they support by choosing which organizations their money will go towards.” (Of course if they do this, they might as well support them by paying dues.)

What he should have added:
The right to free speech is solely the right not to have the government forcibly stop you from presenting your views to others, not the “right” to force others to support your views. Governmental coercion is the only valid meaning of the word “censorship.”

I disagree with the conservatives because I think that universities should be able to limit what students can and cannot say on campus and where they can say it. The function of a university is to educate, not to provide a forum for different political views. While school-sponsored events like “Muslim Awareness Week” and “Coming Out Week” are thinly veiled attempts to brainwash students with leftist multicultural garbage, their conservative versions (school-sponsored religious groups, strict visitation rules, etc) are no more justified at a public university. While I believe that all education should be private, I think that private schools should implement the same guidelines.

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New Essays

It’s been a few months since I added any essays to my site, so it’s time for a new one: “Creativity, the Man-Made and the Metaphysically Given” (Let me know if you have a better title for it.) I also added my essay on sex. I wrote it several months ago, but was never satisfied with the results. (Though the conservatives at Texags seemed to like it.) However after 6000 words, I’ve gotten so sick of the topic that I slapped on a “work in progress” and uploaded it.

I’ve been lazy about writing essays lately – mostly because my blog allows me to jot down my thoughts without the formality of writing a self-contained and structured theme. It doesn’t help that I’m taking a full load of classes and working. However, I’ve almost finished my first round of exams, and will try to write a few editorials before the next deluge of class work hits.

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Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the Beirut suicide attacks that killed 241 Marines. How have our politicians commemorated the first victims in the terrorist’s war against America? By demanding that we open up trade with Cuba. Dictators of terrorist regimes don’t pose any threat to America…right?

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Creativity, the Man-Made and the Metaphysically Given

 

Creativity, the Man-Made and the Metaphysically Given
David V

October 23, 2003

The metaphysically given is that part of reality which exists without human participation, and could not have occurred any other way, whereas the man-made is that which occurred because of volitional human action and could have been different. Everything that is metaphysically given had to be, whereas everything man-made came about in part because of human choice. The metaphysically given forms the standard by which the man-made should be judged. Man is not limited to judging the man-made: he has the power of creativity, the ability to rearrange the elements of reality. He does this by using his imagination to rearrange the elements he sees in reality and applying his mind to bring his ideas into physical existence. This power of creativity does not contradict the fact that the metaphysically given is absolute, but rather requires that man recognize the difference between the metaphysically given and the man-made in order to exercise it. Failure to recognize the given and the man-made as such can only render man’s creativity impotent.

Man’s creative power is to rearrange the elements of reality, not to change the nature of reality itself. Treating the metaphysically given as the man-made renders man’s creativity impotent because it is an attempt to turn imagination into a tool of cognition. Viewing the laws of reality as optional and flexible is like flooring the accelerator while the stick is in neutral. It’s possible to think of any number of arbitrary inventions, but if they are not based on the laws of reality, they will remain mere fantasies. If an aerospace engineer wishes to design an airplane with a smaller wingspan, he cannot do so while ignoring the laws of aerodynamics. He can fantasize about a million different designs, but if he does not recognize the laws of nature as absolute, his plane will never get off the ground. In order to make his dreams a reality, a man must recognize the metaphysically given as absolute.

While mistaking the metaphysically given for the man made leads man’s mind into a fantasy world of the arbitrary, mistaking the man-made for the metaphysically given cripples man’s ability to improve his condition. Creativity requires that man not take any man-made fact for granted and explores all the alternatives to the status quo. Creativity requires an “unborrowed vision” – the ability to question the man-made truths that others view as an eternal, unchanging given. The aerospace engineer who wants to design a radically new airplane cannot rely on the same ideas that were used to design past models. He must be able to re-evaluate all previous assumptions and determine which ones are necessitated by the laws of physics and which ones are man-made assumptions that can be altered or discarded. In trying to build a plane with smaller wings, he may discover that the assumption that large control surface are required is wrong, and that computer-controlled micro-flaps will do the job of large flaps, and allow a smaller wing. His discovery does not change the laws of physics – it allows the new plane to more effectively use them to achieve flight. Creativity demands two things from man: the willingness to question every man-made fact, and that he hold the metaphysically given as an absolute by which man made facts are to be judged. Thus, the essence of a rational man’s attitude towards the metaphysically given and the man-made is: to accept what had to be, and to judge what was chosen.

The attitude man has towards the rest of the world applies to his own actions and his own mind as well. Just as all other men’s actions are chosen, so are one’s own actions. A rational man recognizes that he is in control of his thoughts, and (to the extent that he is free from oppression) his actions. He knows that nothing he does had to be done, and that his actions are a man-made choice. However, once a man acts on his choice, that choice become a fact, and he must accept the responsibility for its consequences. If he makes a mistake, he judges it as such (because the man-made should be judged) and changes his actions or attitudes appropriately.

A rational man also recognizes that his mind has an identity — that his thinking is it is not automatic or infallible, but must be in line with the metaphysical nature of his mind. Because he understands that his reason is not infallible, he questions his own premises just as he does those of everyone else. Even if the engineer spends a lifetime working with a traditional wing design, he does not hesitate to question whether the assumptions he has accepted for many years are true, or whether the laws of aerodynamics allow his to design a radically new, more efficient wing.

Because the rational man recognizes that all of man’s ideas are chosen, he knows that they can only be accepted by an act of choice. He deals with other men by persuasion rather than by force because he knows that cannot force them to accept his idea, but must convince them of its truth – and even then, it takes an act of choice to accept even a self-evident truth.

Because he knows that his mind has a certain metaphysically-given identity, a rational man also has a certain attitude towards his creative endeavors. He understands that the nature of his mind is such that his creativity is not innate, automatic, or mystical: it requires conscious effort and consistent application in order to make his creative process a habitual and useful skill. This applies whether a man is an artist, engineer, teacher, or carpenter – all productive work requires or benefits from some degree of creative effort. A rational man exercises his creativity by asking, “Which commonly-held notions conform to the facts of reality, and which should be modified or scrapped?” and “How can I improve the ways things are done today to achieve my values?”

A great example of a man who did both is Frederick W. Smith, the founder of FedEx. He saw a market for an overnight delivery service and persisted with his idea despite a C for his idea from his college professor. He challenged the premise that packages could not be delivered overnight, and that no one could compete with the USPS. He recognized the metaphysically given limitations of a package delivery business — such as the laws of physics that limited how fast a given plane can fly to its destination, but he rejected the stale assumptions that were man-made – such as that the efficiency of package delivery could not be greatly improved, and that no one could compete with a government monopoly like the USPS. He saw that computerized information systems could be implemented to increase the speed and accuracy of deliveries, and made his ideas a reality. As he built his company, he kept offering new services that took advantage of the latest technologies long before anyone expressed demand for them. He implemented online package tracking services long before anyone thought it possible. Such creativity requires a consistent and continual examination of reality to determine which elements can be brought together to improve man’s life.

Man’s power of creativity does not contradict the fact that the metaphysically given is absolute. It is not the power to create or redefine reality, but to rearrange the existing elements in reality to achieve his values. To exercise his creativity, man must use his knowledge of reality to question man-made ideas and determine whether they conform to the metaphysically given facts of reality, or whether they should be altered or discarded in favor of a new idea. Confusing the metaphysically given for the man-made is an attempt to use man’s imagination as a means of cognition, and can only lead to a fantasy world. Mistaking the man-made for the metaphysically given paralyses man’s mind from imagining any alternative to the status quo. The only rational approach to the metaphysically given and the man made is a consistent focus on accepting what has to be, judging the chosen, and learning to know the difference.

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