On Sunday, February 17, the Sierra Club will lead what is being billed as the world’s largest ever “climate rally.” In fact, it’s a blackout rally, as the Sierra Club opposes all practical energy sources–fossil fuels, nuclear, and hydro. Join Center for Industrial Progress (CIP) and Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) in our Light Brigade counter-protest. This is an educational counter-protest where energy philosopher Alex Epstein, physicist Eric Dennis, climate journalist Marc Morano, and other experts will be engaging the protesters on camera, while other Light Brigade participants hand out crucial information on fossil fuels and our environment that the mainstream media never mentions.
The chairman of the Idaho Senate’s Education Committee has introduced legislation to require every Idaho high-school student to read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” and pass a test on it. He said he was making a “statement.”
Don Watkins has an excellent piece on Rand’s influence on today’s political landscape:
Rand has helped many people see that something has gone wrong in America. But they haven’t yet understood the source of the problem or Rand’s radical solution.
A political movement truly shaped by Rand’s ideas would not flinch, as Republicans and Tea Partiers do, from charges that it is the mouthpiece of the rich and the mean-spirited. It would declare that it is a movement for all producers, proudly embracing the innovative rich, the ambitious poor, and everyone in between. If you earn your wealth through production and voluntary trade, a Rand-inspired political movement would affirm that it is yours by right.
And instead of looking at programs like Social Security and Medicaid only from the recipients’ point of view, a Rand-inspired political movement would point to the great injustice committed against those who are forced to provide retirement and medical care to others. It would ask: by what right does the government seize wealth from some people so it can dole out unearned rewards to others? Nothing, it would declare, is more mean-spirited than depriving an individual of his property and liberty.
In other words, a Rand-inspired political movement would be a principled movement. It would champion laissez-faire capitalism—the total separation of state and economics—as the only system that fully protects the rational and productive individual, securing his moral and political right to pursue his own happiness. [Happy Birthday, Ayn Rand — Why are you still so misunderstood? | Fox News]
February 2nd is the birthday of Ayn Rand, the author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Ayn Rand developed and defended Objectivism, a philosophy that advocates “rational selfishness.”
To celebrate Randsday, you do something not done on any other holiday: you give yourself a present. Randsday is for getting that longed-for luxury you ordinarily would not buy for yourself. Or for doing that long-postponed, self-pampering activity you cannot seem to fit into your chore-packed schedule.
Randsday is for reminding ourselves that pleasure is an actual need, a psychological requirement for a human consciousness. For man, motivation, energy, enthusiasm are not givens. Psychological depression is not only possible but rampant in our duty-preaching, self-denigrating culture. The alternative is not short-range, superficial “fun,” but real, self-rewarding pleasure. On Randsday, if you do something that you ordinarily would think of as “fun,” you do it on a different premise and with a deeper meaning: that you need pleasure, you are entitled to it, and that the purpose and justification of your existence is: getting what you want—what you really want, with full consciousness and dedication.
In The Fountainhead, Peter Keating comes to realize this:
Katie, I wanted to marry you. It was the only thing I ever really wanted. And that’s the sin that can’t be forgiven—that I hadn’t done what I wanted. It feels so dirty and pointless and monstrous, as one feels about insanity, because there’s no sense to it, no dignity, nothing but pain—and wasted pain. . . . Katie, why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It’s the hardest thing in the world—to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want. As I wanted to marry you. Not as I want to sleep with some woman or get drunk or get my name in the papers. Those things—they’re not even desires—they’re things people do to escape from desires—because it’s such a big responsibility, really to want something.
Randsday is the time to challenge any duty-premise, re-affirm your love of your values, and honor the principle that joy in living is an end in itself.
Have a selfish Randsday!
Dr. Binswanger, a longtime associate of Ayn Rand. He moderates Harry Binswanger’s List (HBL)–an email list for Objectivists for discussing philosophic and cultural issues. Made available from www.randsday.com
New research produced by a Norwegian government project, described as “truly sensational” by independent experts, indicates that humanity’s carbon emissions produce far less global warming than had been thought: so much so that there is no danger of producing warming beyond the IPCC upper safe limit of 2°C for many decades.
“In our project we have worked on finding out the overall effect of all known feedback mechanisms,” says project manager Terje Berntsen, who is a professor at the University of Oslo’s Department of Geosciences and a senior research fellow at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO).
“We used a method that enables us to view the entire earth as one giant ‘laboratory’ where humankind has been conducting a collective experiment through our emissions of greenhouse gases and particulates, deforestation, and other activities that affect climate.”
Berntsen and his colleagues’ results derive in large part from taking account of the way that global temperatures have remained flat for the last fourteen years or thereabouts, instead of climbing as they ought to have done with increased carbon levels.
“The Earth’s mean temperature rose sharply during the 1990s. This may have caused us to overestimate climate sensitivity,” explains the prof.
“We are most likely witnessing natural fluctuations in the climate system – changes that can occur over several decades – and which are coming on top of a long-term warming.”
At the moment levels of CO2 stand at around 395 parts per million (ppm), climbing at around 2 ppm each year and accelerating. In pre-industrial times the levels is reckoned to have been 280 ppm. Depending on various factors, the amount of atmospheric CO2 might have doubled to 560-odd ppm around the year 2050.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that would be disastrous as it would probably mean 3°C warming or more: and the IPCC considers that anything above 2°C means terrible consequences for humanity. Thus the organisation has long sought to limit atmospheric CO2 at 450 ppm, though this is regarded as a lost cause by many.
But Berntsen and his crew say that analysis is much too pessimistic. They consider that the likeliest result from doubled carbon (which would actually occur some decades after the doubled level was reached) would be just 1.9°C – within the IPCC target. According to the Research Council of Norway, the government arm which funded the new research:
When [the] researchers instead calculate a probability interval of what will occur, including observations and data up to 2010, they determine with 90% probability that global warming from a doubling of CO2 concentration would lie between 1.2°C and 2.9°C.
This maximum of 2.9°C global warming is substantially lower than many previous calculations have estimated. Thus, when the researchers factor in the observations of temperature trends from 2000 to 2010, they significantly reduce the probability of our experiencing the most dramatic climate change forecast up to now.
Other recent research has suggested warming of this sort with doubled CO2, but so far the IPCC and the warmist-alarmist community generally has been reluctant to accept the new findings. However the state of the accepted science is beginning to change, with Britain’s Met Office lately revising its forecasts of warming sharply downwards.
Renowned Swedish climate boffin Caroline Leck, who was not involved in the research, commented:
“These results are truly sensational. If confirmed by other studies, this could have far-reaching impacts on efforts to achieve the political targets for climate.”
The Research Council’s announcement of the new results can be read here.
To quote Harry Binswanger “While President Obama is calling for more tilting at windmills, pun intended, the news on the climate front continues to go against him.”
We have spoken out in the past about the valuable contributions highly skilled immigrants have made at Google. From developing products like Google News and Google Maps to managing our business and global marketing operations, talented foreign-born individuals have played and will continue to play a vital role at Google and throughout our economy.
Our experiences here at Google and in the tech sector show us that immigrants to the U.S. are a powerful force for entrepreneurship and innovation at every level, from startups to multinational corporations.Immigrants have founded 40 percent of companies in the tech sector that were financed by venture capital and went on to become public in the U.S., among them Yahoo, eBay, Intel, and Google. And according to a recent Kauffman Foundation study, nearly a quarter of the engineering and technology companies founded in the U.S. between 2006 and 2012 had at least one key founder who was foreign-born. In 2012, these companies employed roughly 560,000 workers and generated $63 billion in sales.
Still, at a time when the U.S. economy needs it most, our immigration policies are stifling innovation. The 2013 cap for the H-1B visas that allow foreign high skilled talent to work temporarily in the U.S. was exhausted by June 2012, preventing tech companies from recruiting some of the world’s brightest minds. Additionally, the severe backlog of green card applications has forced many foreign-born, U.S. educated entrepreneurs to look elsewhere to start their businesses. Other countries, like Chile and Canada, have responded with immigration policies and programs that welcome these innovators who have been turned away from the U.S.This is why we strongly support the bipartisan efforts being made to reform our high skilled immigration laws. We look forward to working with Congress and the Obama Administration to ensure that talented individuals will continue to innovate in the U.S. – a critical part of getting the economy back on track and making it stronger for the long-run.
ARI has produced a free e-course based on Leonard Peikoff’s Philosophy of Education lectures. This course will answer the following questions.
What is education?
What is its basic purpose?
What subjects should children be learning in school?
How should these subjects be taught?
What can we do about the dismal state of today’s public schools?
This course presents an account of the philosophy of education from an Objectivist perspective. The course is adapted from recorded lectures that Dr. Leonard Peikoff gave at a conference for fans of Ayn Rand in 1985. Primary and secondary education are Dr. Peikoff’s focus, but many of the principles discussed apply to all levels of education.
Topics include: different theories of the basic purpose of education; how to teach thinking methods, with special emphasis on the principles of proper motivation, integration, and hierarchy; a proper curriculum; teacher’s colleges and the politics of education.