Friday, November 30, 2007

Quite some time before Venn, Euler charted out Aristotle's syllogistic via diagrams (as did Leibniz). Euler diagrams capture hierarchy a bit better than Venn, tho' Venn diagrams can represent certain relations that Euler's charts can't. (Neither can capture predicate logic, however, except with a lot of work.

Euler's charts with basic set relationships: All A's are B's; all C's are A's; thus All C's are B's. Hypothetical syllogism in old logic (say, all Insects are Animals; all Cockaroaches are Insects; all Cockaroaches are Animals. QED)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Slang, n.

"The grunt of the human hog (Pignoramus intolerabilis) with an audible memory. The speech of one who utters with his tongue what he thinks with his ear, and feels the pride of a creator in accomplishing the feat of a parrot. A means (under Providence) of setting up as a wit without a capital of sense." (Bierce)


Monday, November 26, 2007

(to Calibans everywhere)

" vobis qui tribulamini requiem nobiscum in revelatione Domini Iesu de caelo cum angelis virtutis eius flamma ignis dantis vindictam his qui non noverunt Deum et qui non oboediunt evangelio Domini nostri Iesu ..... qui poenas dabunt in interitu aeternas a facie Domini et a gloria virtutis eius..."

Buh bye, CalibanRon.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Politics of Pathos

Reverend Devilstower of DailyKOS appears to be in a patriotic mood:

"The rights were not granted by treaty or government, they were only recognized. Human rights are innate. Preexisting.

So long as we base our policy on what's good for us, rather than what best upholds human rights, we are base pretenders to the legacy left to us by those men who signed the Declaration of Independence. So long as we uphold dictators for our own gain, our soldiers, no matter how individually noble or honorable, are bound to an unjust cause. So long as we nod solemnly over the need to deny others their rights under the pretense of securing our own, we are monsters no less than the worst of our enemies."

Hallelujah! So the story goes. Where doth this “right” reside, however, Rev.Devilstower? Can it be observed, or demonstrated via axiom? What does the word “right” even point to? Does Chas. Darwin discuss rights? Nyet. More like a type of freedom to do something, but obviously if the right means, a “right to torture children” it’s not so great.

One might hold a right to vote to be innately “good” (another problematic word), but majorities voted in fascists, communists and DiDi Feinstein. That one has a right (or appears to have a right) hardly entails that one does the right thing with that right. Intention is generally always an issue.

Even the great Founders did not prove that “rights” were objectively valid, or that they were innate: the rights are merely posited, as Locke himself suggests (tho’ there are other reasons to take issue with Lockean civics). TJ himself was too much the naturalist to argue for innateness of any type.

Rights-philosophy does seem somewhat noble in theory (and Nozick sort of updated Locke’s ideas), yet at the same time, people do act to further their best interests (or what they take to be their best interests). That’s the realism of RealPolitik. And that sort of secular perspective (going back at least to Hobbes) does not necessarily mean cynicism or amorality: it means that politics proceeds via consensus and human decisions, instead of by some vague, intutive–or theological— notion of right. Rights, then according to say an early RealPolitik scribe such as Hobbes (instead of his rebellious son Locke) are constructed, agreed to, contracted, enforced.

Regardless of the theory of social contract, however, most rationalists (that would exclude monotheists, most Kossacks, and DNC-o-crats) would probably concur with Jefferson’s grand dream of the Declaration, or even enforce it. Then have some people in Iran or Bejing or Moscow (or Washington) agree to that Declaration. Lacking some type of world court to enforce that constructed system of rights, it’s mostly just dreamy rhetoric (and now more so, after fascism and communism, and various theocracies)

RealPolitik objects to politics via pathos. RealPolitik writers such as Orwell objected to it (and there are RealPolitik peeps on left and right). Pink Floyd, arguably a RealPolitik sort of band (we prefer Prokofiev, but will do for illustration), offers up some rather cynical and dystopian product as well: “Welcome to the Machine” does not exactly affirm some optimistic vision.

* * *

(note to McNW: we doubt you would poo-poo islamic terrorism if you lived in Tel Aviv, or if you had lived in NY during the 911 attack. Or do you think the Hezbollah also are blessed with common sense as well? You don’t quite understand the code of the Prophet, either (a code which has quite a bit of force in LA and SF as well) Carl Sagan himself had harsh words for the Imams).

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Celebrate this Holiday with .............Lee Harvey Oswald!

[E]ntered Kennedy's head through a small hole in the scalp in the rear of the president's head, on the right hand side'.... [with a] final exit of this missile, or fragments of it, through a large lateral defect in the right parietal region of the skull over the right ear".

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Harry Reid, Justice O' the Peace

Senate leader Reid blocks Bush's recess appointments.

Harry Reid's not the worst politician in the USA. Compared to a DINO such as Di Feinstein or corporate buffoon like Al Gore (or his clueless fans), Reid seems nearly principled. Neither leftists or rightists care for Reid's pragmatic style of politics, or his somewhat Wyatt Earp-like manner, yet Reid's about as close as any current politician to a sort of Madisonian Federalism.

Reid has adequate preparation for the job as Senate leader: he formerly worked as a prosecutor and made a living busting Nevada mafiosos and casino owners (some cronies of Reagan era appointees--tho' some pals of dem. politicians as well). Prosecutors should not be idolized, but anyone who spent years taking on Vegas pimps deserves some respect. That's not to say that Reid's moderate-liberal politics will likely prevail: marxist zealots (i.e Hillaristas) and/or rightist theocrats have done their best to defeat intelligent secularism for years.

Monday, November 19, 2007

der Trieb, zu strafen(the will to punish)

"Also aber rathe ich euch, meine Freunde: misstraut Allen, in welchen der Trieb, zu strafen, mächtig ist! Das ist Volk schlechter Art und Abkunft; aus ihren Gesichtern blickt der Henker und der Spürhund. Misstraut allen Denen, die viel von ihrer Gerechtigkeit reden! Wahrlich, ihren Seelen fehlt es nicht nur an Honig. Und wenn sie sich selber 'die Guten und Gerechten' nennen, so vergesst nicht, dass ihnen zum Pharisäer Nichts fehlt als — Macht!"


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Taxing the "God" business

James Madison wanted to tax church property, as did James Garfield, and most notably, Union general and President Ulysses S. Grant:

"In 1875, President Ulysses S. Grant's message to Congress included a 900-foot petition containing 35,000 signatures stating, "We demand that churches and other ecclesiastical property shall be no longer exempt from taxation."

"I would," said Grant to Congress, "also call your attention to the importance of correcting an evil that, if permitted to continue, will probably lead to great trouble in our is the accumulation of vast amounts of untaxed church property....In 1850, the church properties in the U.S. which paid no taxes, municipal or state, amounted to about $83 million. In 1860, the amount had doubled; in 1875, it is about $1 billion. By 1900, without check, it is safe to say this property will reach a sum exceeding $3 vast a sum, receiving all the protection and benefits of government without bearing its portion of the burdens and expenses of the same, will not be looked upon acquiescently by those who have to pay the taxes....I would suggest the taxation of all property equally, whether church or corporation."

Unfortunately, Grant's warning went unheeded by Congress. By 1971, the amount of real and personal property owned by U.S. churches had ballooned to approximately $110 billion.

In New York City alone, the amount was $750 million in 1969, $1 billion in 1982, and $3 billion in 1989.""""""

Cough it up, monotheists.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

La Mort de Mailer

Contingencies declares a few nano-seconds of silence for the passing of Norman Mailer. Sarge Mailer sounded fairly rabbinical near Mort, which might startle some humans who, instead of merely invoking the Name, perused a few of his ugly Hemingway-meets-Stalin rants--like the Deer Park--- back in the day. He was no counterculture person: more like a Major Zhukov of belle-lettres, or is it Leopold Bloom. Even a Kurt Vonnegut had more heart and authentic progressive vision, and Breakfast of Champions, however trite to NY-or Tinseltown style decadents, superior to most of the "New Journalist" hack realism.

"He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars: general Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, and flatterer, for Art and Science cannot exist but in minutely organized Particulars." (Wm. Blake)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Be a hip Nasa nazi and win friends.

McNasa the Feinsteinocrat!

Instead of debating budget allocations for NASA–i.e. do we choose rockets instead of funding medical research for dying and diseased women and children, or upgrading public education, saving national parks, etc.–Max rubber stamps NASA Corp and Mars dreams. Weldon would be proud. As would Nixon/Kissinger, NASA allies.

Speaking of the Mars business, even a WaPo pundit has her doubts:

""None of which is to say that it isn't interesting or important for NASA to send robotic probes to other planets. It's interesting in the way that the exploration of the bottom of the Pacific Ocean is interesting, or important in the way that the study of obscure dead languages is important. Like space exploration, these are inspiring human pursuits. Like space exploration, they nevertheless have very few practical applications.

But space exploration isn't treated the way other purely academic pursuits are treated. For one, the scientists doing it have perverse incentives. Their most dangerous missions -- the ones involving human beings -- produce the fewest research results, yet receive the most attention, applause and funding. Their most productive missions -- the ones involving robots -- inspire interest largely because the public illogically believes they will lead to more manned space travel."""""

Das stimmt.

(and those 1-2 people lurking on Goy Worlds may have noted one crypto-rightist Betya misquoting Scripture and what he takes to be the "sophists". After admitting his mistake, he claims he was quoting Nabakov. What a laugh. Nabakov sagt auch: "Du bist Scheiße").

Zubrin, current Mars guru, has approved of substantially increasing the NASA budget, and he defends Bush’s recent Mars hype; a Pilate-like approach would entail debating the NASA budget (ye olde cost-benefit analysis perhaps?), in light of other concerns, social, economic, environmental, etc. INSTEAD of taking Mars exploration as sacred gospel.

The Jeffersonian-Madisonian tradition of American politics would indeed require such rational debates–not that that occurs too much given the hysteria of most Dempublicans. Madison, secularist, himself a bit closer to a Pilate than to a Yeshua (in fact the Founding Fathers were all quite well read in Latin political classics, Plato’s Republic, etc., while perhaps objecting to some of the greek authoritarianism). Let’s ask Gary Hart, who knows his Mad-Jeff, what he thinks of Zubrin.

Max googles "Sophist!" THe spammed in definition doesn’t really apply. It was your pal who alluded to historical figures: Pilate/Yeshua (he misquoted a literary text, but it’s quite obvious “sophist” was being used to refer to the ancient sort of rhetorician or disputant). A debate exists even over the status of the sophists. They opposed the greek authorities of the time (including Plato). Probably sort of a school of lawyers and politicians, maybe cutthroat, but skilled debaters.

The history lesson (and semantic clarification) isn’t the central point. The point concerns the need for rational discussion of NASA, and one might say in Popperian terms, an OPEN society, where NASA, defense, economic reform, democracy as a whole–even blog politics and communication issues– are on the table, instead of always being taken over by “experts” and apparatchiks of left or right.)

Monday, November 05, 2007

.........things you aren't/Jarrett


Tasty Doc KJ

Lunes con Maestro Bierce

Brain, n. An apparatus with which we think we think.

Bride, n. A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her.

Cabbage, n. A familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man's head.

Cat, n. A soft, indestructible automaton provided by nature to be kicked when things go wrong in the domestic circle.

Dawn, n. When men of reason go to bed.

Erudition, n. Dust shaken out of a book into an empty skull.

Faith, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

Freemason, n. An order with secret rites, grotesque ceremonies and fantastic costumes, which, originating in the reign of Charles II, among working artisans of London, has been joined successively by the dead of past centuries in unbroken retrogression until now it embraces all the generations of man on the hither side of Adam and is drumming up distinguished recruits among the pre-Creational inhabitants of Chaos and Formless Void. The order was founded at different times by Charlemagne, Julius Caesar, Cyrus, Solomon, Zoroaster, Confucious, Thothmes, and Buddha. Its emblems and symbols have been found in the Catacombs of Paris and Rome, on the stones of the Parthenon and the Chinese Great Wall, among the temples of Karnak and Palmyra and in the Egyptian Pyramids -- always by a Freemason.

Friendless, adj. Having no favors to bestow. Destitute of fortune. Addicted to utterance of truth and common sense.

Genealogy, n. An account of one's descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own.

Guilt, n. The condition of one who is known to have committed an indiscretion, as distinguished from the state of him who has covered his tracks.

Happiness, n. An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.

Hers, pron. His.

Idiot, n. A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling.

Inhumanity, n. One of the signal and characteristic qualities of humanity.

Justice, n. A commodity which in a more or less adulterated condition the State sells to the citizen as a reward for his allegiance, taxes and personal service.

Laughter, n. An interior convulsion, producing a distortion of the features and accompanied by inarticulate noises. It is infectious and, though intermittent, incurable.

Learning, n. The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious.

Liberty, n. One of imagination's most precious possessions.

Logic, n. The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding.

Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder. This disease is prevalent only among civilized races living under artificial conditions; barbarous nations breathing pure air and eating simple food enjoy immunity from its ravages. It is sometimes fatal, but more frequently to the physician than to the patient.

Mad, adj. Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence; not conforming to standards of thought, speech, and action derived by the conformants [sic] from study of themselves; at odds with the majority; in short, unusual. It is noteworthy that persons are pronounced mad by officials destitute of evidence that they themselves are sane.

Monday, n. In Christian countries, the day after the [football] game.

Ocean, n. A body of water covering seven-tenths of a world designed for Man - who has no gills.

Once, adj. Enough.

(from Devils' Dictionary, as fine a piece of Americun religious writing to be found. One rarely hears a Biercian sort of eloquence at the Cafe Cockaroacha Karaoke nite.)

Praise be, Maestro Ambrose: sort of like Vonnegut, with twice the IQ (and AB not such a bad latinist).

Friday, November 02, 2007

"Matter endowed with thought"

Jefferson, letter to John Adams:

"Were it necessary however to form an opinion, I confess I should, with Mr. Locke, prefer swallowing one incomprehensibility rather than two. It requires one effort only to admit the single incomprehensibility of matter endowed with thought: and two to believe, 1st. that of an existence called Spirit, of which we have neither evidence nor idea, and then 2ndly, how that sprit which has neither extention nor solidity, can put material organs into motion. These are things which you and I may perhaps know ere long. We have so lived as to fear neither horn of the dilemma. We have, willingly, done injury to no man; and have done for our country the good which has fallen in our way, so far as commensurate with the faculties given us. That we have not done more than we could cannot be imputed to us as a crime before any tribunal. I look therefore to that crisis, as I am sure you also do, as one 'qui summum nec metuit diem nec optat' [Who neither fears the final day nor hopes for it]."

Proof of atheism? Maybe: at least proof that Jefferson did not subscribe to a Cartesian ghost-ego, instead siding with Locke's somewhat physicalist view of consciousness: in a few select sections of reality (such as human brains), matter thinks (or appears to think). Either way, TJ generally affirms Locke, whether in terms of metaphysics or politics--i.e. TJ's no pal of monarchists, or mafiosos--tho' TJ perhaps a bit optimistic in regards to his hopes for democracy. Of course, even Lockean natural law presents some conceptual difficulties for the typical Americun Caliban (buh bye, Calibanonius). That doesn't prevent Caliban from invoking ye olde Founding Fathers ad nauseum at his weekly Shriners' meetings.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A little Learning is a dang'rous Thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring.

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