Quick Roundup 182

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

John Lewis at George Mason

The rescheduled John Lewis talk at George Mason University occurred as planned this time, although the event apparently required all the security it had. Nick Provenzo quotes a commenter at his blog as he posts just after the event:

I just got back tonight from Dr. John Lewis' lecture on state-sponsored Islamic-Totalitarianism at George Mason University. There were countless police officers around the building providing security. Needless to say an entire mob mentality broke out as "demonstrators" in the audience disrupted the entire event. Islamofacist groups and their Marxist dhimmi associates hurled invectives, howled, and spat as if in a possessed frenzy. The professor and his supporters, much to their credit, behaved with complete restraint and respect for different viewpoints during the Q&A session. The same absolutely cannot be said of his opponents. So much for tolerance and diversity. Their attempts to disrupt and shut down the talk were a disrespectful, uncivilized display of hate that supported the argument that you cannot reason with or appease this kind of enemy.
As Nick sums it up: "Lewis is a hero just for having been willing to speak before such a rude and hateful audience." The battle of ideas isn't just an uphill battle. It's uphill both ways.

Although I did not get to attend this lecture, I thank the GMU College Republicans for supporting the fight for academic freedom last night. In addition, Nick Provenzo, John Lewis, and Craig Biddle all deserve our acknowledgement for their persistence in the face of tremendous opposition. By their example, they have shown us what making the intellectual case for freedom is going to take.

Upcoming Undercurrent

Via email:
Dear friend of Objectivism,

The Undercurrent is now welcoming orders for its upcoming issue. The issue will be mailed out at the end of April, and is intended for distribution from May through September. Orders can be placed at http://www.the-undercurrent.com/?s=distribute.

The issue will feature a penetrating interview on freedom of speech with Onkar Ghate, the Dean of the Objectivist Academic Center. The interview discusses, in depth, the nature and philosophic justification for the right to free speech.

In addition, the issue will include a campus commentary (by Kelly Cadenas) on recent free speech violations, an article arguing that capitalism is not only practical but moral, Peter Schwartz's excellent ARI op-ed, "In Defense of Income Inequality", and our regular ad for the Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest. Please visit our website to preview this content.

Remember, distributing the Undercurrent is not a major time commitment. All you need to do is take a few minutes once or twice a week to drop off the paper at a campus newsstand or coffee shop. If cost is an issue, let us know and we will work with you to find a sponsor in your area to pay for your copies.

Because May is exam period at most schools, it is a time when students are spending more time on campus, studying, meeting professors, waiting before and after exams. For this reason, it is a time when they are more likely than ever to pick up and peruse a paper like the Undercurrent. Please help us maximize this opportunity.

Please help us bring Ayn Rand's ideas to your campus,

--The Undercurrent
In addition to already listing the home page for this publication on this blog's resources page (accessible at "Some Links" in the upper right), I have just added its blog to the sidebar.

Italians Draft Proposal on Environmental "Crimes"

One wonders why anyone would continue to engage in industry of any kind in Italy if its government actually passes this measure.
Polluters would be jailed for between one and five years and pay fines ranging from 5,000 to 30,000 euros (6,800 to 41,000 dollars), it said.

Those convicted of causing "environmental damage" face between two and six years in prison and fines of between 20,000 and 60,000 euros, or more if human lives or health are threatened.

"Environmental catastrophes" will be punishable by between three and 10 years in jail and fines of between 30,000 and 250,000 euros, and "alterations of natural heritage, flora and fauna" by one-to-three-year jail terms and fines of between 2,000 and 20,000 euros.
What other purpose could such a proposal have besides the crippling of industry?

Mexico: Land of Reproductive Freedom?

Look for Mexico City to become a popular destination for a certain type of medical tourism should the Republicans succeed in banning abortion in the United States and its new law legalizing abortion stands up in court.
Mexico City lawmakers voted to legalize abortion Tuesday, a decision likely to influence policies and health practices across Mexico and other parts of heavily Roman Catholic Latin America.

The proposal, approved 46-19, with one abstention, will take effect with the expected signing by the city's leftist mayor. Abortion opponents have already vowed to appeal the law to the Supreme Court, a move likely to extend the bitter and emotional debate in this predominantly Catholic nation.
This is worth keeping an eye on.

A Manufacturer Takes Moon Phase into Account

No. This isn't a story about some cretin industrialist who has become enamored of astrology! It's much more interesting than that....
Building one of the most advanced jet fighters in the world is a challenge for any aerospace company -- but the one thing you might think you don't have to worry about when you start such a job is the pull of the moon.

But that is exactly the challenge faced by workers at BAE Systems on the Lancashire coast every time the Typhoon build process begins -- because the moon's gravitational pull actually causes the ground to move beneath their feet.

So fine are the tolerances now used to build the Typhoon that even the movements of the tide could throw the jet fighter tolerances out.
(HT: Hannes Hacker)

-- CAV


: Corrected a typo. Left, right. To-may-to, To-mah-to.


Jim said...

I attended the Lewis lecture at GMU.

Dr. Lewis did an excellent job in not only his research, argument, and presentation, but also in dealing with the over-the-top hostility of the audience.

Pictures of the demonstrators could be included in Dr. Peikoff's upcoming book to illustrate the effect of D2.

Gus Van Horn said...

I am not yet very familiar with the DIM hypothesis, but even I know that that's bad!

Anonymous said...


Not knowing any more details beyond what the linked article states, I would say in general, that needing such tight tolerances on shape to maintain performance and controllability is a sign of design failure, not excellence. Using such high tolerances adds enormous cost, and in any case the precision of shape achieved is eclipsed by the airframe distortion due to temperature changes (between ground level and flying at altitude, flying in the sun vs. clouds) and deformations due to aerodynamic forces.

PS: thanks for the great blog!

PPS: Could you break up your round ups into separate posts?


Gus Van Horn said...


On your comment, addressing its separate points in reverse order.

(1) I could break these roundup posts up into separate posts and have thought of doing so, but do not do so for several reasons, the major one being convenience, which is what you yourself achieved by not posting three separate comments. Should I migrate from Blogger, I may revisit the point, but there are a few other reason why I might still do roundup posts.

(2) You're welcome!

(3) Not being familiar with the many competing demands of aeronautical design, I will punt on this one. Having said that, your point sounds good enough. Anyone else out there have an opinion on this?