September 1, 2015

January 21, 2015

Atlas Flunked: Galt Goes Broke

On the internet I run into a lot of Ayn Rand supporters and they're kinda like the hardcore laissez faire capitalists of society. Their motto? Read Atlas Shrugged, full of wisdom! Of course it's just a shameless defense for self righteous profit seekers who try to sell you a kind of snake oil since they want to make you believe that an unrestricted free market will somehow magically creates a prosperous society. They hardly seem to realize that their actions have consequences for others, you can't be hyper individualists on a finite planet with billions of people...
Rand supporters are the entrepreneurs that seek the optimum playing field so that they as individuals can profit. Rand's shortsighted, selfish philosophy helps in that regard. What I find so hilarious is that they actually made movies of Ayn Rand's books and they did very poorly. For 3 movies they had a combined budget of $35 million and in the box office they acquired a revenue of $8.8 million. Which resulted in a loss of $26 million. Bad investment for sure! So with some sarcasm I can proclaim: 'Atlas Flunked!'

November 12, 2014

Solar Can Heater

After seeing a video on YouTube about solar can heaters I thought it was fun to build one myself and test it. I had plenty of wood laying around from building my greenhouse so I used the "leftovers," that's why there are different planks on the backside. I deliberately made the container 100 centimeters tall and 50 centimeters wide because plastic plates that go on the front are also sold in those dimensions.

Once I had the box ready it was preparing the aluminum cans that go inside. I drilled extra holes in the top and bottom of the cans for the airflow that must occur inside. I used an extra sturdy can to house the aluminum cans because they crunch and break very easily without support. For the solar heater I used 35 aluminum cans in rows of 7 wide, 5 high. 

Next came the paint job. I also screwed 2 additional pieces of wood in place that give some airspace on the top and bottom. Drilled holes in them for the air to move. The cans are also firmly in place and can't go anywhere. I used dull black spray paint. Wanting to be thorough I had to get one more, so the paint cost just under €10. Spraying paint is fairly easy. The paint does has to settle for 24 hours so doing everything takes a couple of days. 

Finally, I screwed a plastic plate (2 millimeters thick) on the front. I keep this heater indoors but I suspect for outdoor usage you need a thicker sheet or glass. I drilled a hole through the back to where the upper vacant area is and ran a hose through it.
Results so far are encouraging. I have a simple thermometer on the back that measures the box itself near the exit hose and even after 10-15 minutes sunshine it shoots up to 24-25 Celsius. A few weeks ago on a really good day it got up to 33 Celsius. Maybe inside it's even warmer but I don't have a fancy gizmo at this time for measuring. When you put your hand over the exit hose you can feel the warm air rushing through your fingers. At the very least I can say that it definitely works.

September 19, 2014

Molyneux's Debate Technique

In the video above Stefan Molyneux tries to win a debate by deciding what a valid argument is and what isn't, which basically amounts up to him being right and the other person being wrong. Others have noticed his debating techniques as well and complied a list 7 years ago that is valid till this day. Here are some points.

1. Tangents;
When you ask Stef a question (in a verbal debate), he has the habit of very briefly and unsatisfactorily responding to it and then going off on a tangent for two minutes possibly in the hope that neither his discussion partner nor the audience will return to his unsatisfactory answer to his question and instead reply to the last thing he said (the tangent).

2. Misrepresentation;
Stef will misrepresent positions:
1. Create straw men and attack them
2. Say something like ‘but isn’t one plus one two?’ (in other words, put forward something that is both completely true and uncontroversial and completely irrelevant) so that there seems to be agreement when in fact there is not.

3. Cherry picking and ignoring questions;
Very often Stef does not even try to create the impression that he has answered your questions and will just downright ignore them.

4. Confusing quantity with quality;
When you call Stef on his not having answered your questions he tends to say something like ‘I participated in several threads on this topic, did 3 podcasts and had 2 personal conversations with listeners so don’t tell me that I haven’t engaged in the debate.' He sure has engaged in debate but he has not actually addressed let alone answered your most important arguments.

5. Psychologizing;
Stef wont address your arguments but instead try to steer the discussion toward your psychological state (that may account for your position in his eyes).

6. Ridiculing & Bullying;
While psychologizing, when applied wrongly, is already a form of bullying, there is also more obvious bullying going on on the board, like when Stef makes fun of other posters.

The video above falls under point 15.

15. Ending the debate;
Usually, in large part thanks to Stef's evasiveness, debates don't go very well, the core problem is not being discussed explicitly and instead there's a circling around that problem, with points being revisited and revisited.
The clever thing that Stef then does is take the initiative to end the debate, by for example sighing or just saying something like "okay, I don't think we're not moving forward anymore, so I'm gonna stop' or 'this has been a merry-go-round and I'm getting off now' or something like that. So he identifies what has been happening in the debate and then says that therefore it's time to stop. By so taking the initiative (especially if he accompanies it with a sigh or some other mild form of contempt) he can make it seem (to the audience and even in some cases to his discussion partner) as if the cause of the fruitlessness of the debate was his discussion partner (who kept going around in circles, who just wouldnt accept some point, whatever), not him.

Before you debate Stefan Molyneux it's probably a good idea to familiarize yourself with his debating techniques because in my opinion he's a pathological narcissist who convinced himself he's some great philosopher who simply can't be wrong and he'll put you through the wringer to maintain that public perception.

Peter Joseph found out as well. See video below.