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Being a full-time parent to twin infants is much easier than I had expected. In fact, it seems easier than my time with Samantha as a baby, even though she was a singleton, and had no older siblings for me to care for. There is definitely a lot more work involved when you have two babies, but I don’t feel crushed by the weight of it the way I did with Sam.

Of course, one big improvement this time around is that I have experience. That is huge. The change in perspective can be summed up by my new parenting motto, uttered every time some little thing goes wrong: “They’ll live.” Another improvement is that we are now able to afford some hired help.

But there is more to it than that, and all the other reasons fall under one heading: Progress. In the five years since Samantha was born, our society has progressed so much that parenting is noticeably easier. It sounds fantastic, but it’s true. Here are some things that seem indispensable to me as a parent now, which did not exist (or were very expensive or rare) five years ago:

  • Amazon Prime – I buy almost everything from Amazon, and since shipping is free and fast (Prime is free for new moms for about 6 months), I don’t worry about batching up my orders. The minute I realize I need something, from formula to a new nursing bra, I go to Amazon and order it. It’s on my doorstep within two days. Not needing to bundle up two babies in the middle of winter for a trip to Target each week is incredibly liberating, not to mention the peace of mind I have in knowing that I’m not going to run out critical supplies.
  • Online grocery shopping – This is a stretch because we used an online grocery service in Chicago in 2000 and New Yorkers have had groceries delivered forever. But the service we used in Chicago didn’t outlast the dot-com crash, and we did not have anything in Michigan in 2006. I see that Netgrocer now delivers anywhere in the country (although the prices are pretty steep). Our local service here in northern Virginia is good enough and cheap enough so that Zoe and Leo have yet to see the inside of a supermarket. Do you hear me, parents? I have never had to take my babies grocery shopping! Ever!
  • Zappos – Again, a bit of a stretch because Zappos existed before Sam was born, but I had never heard of it, and I think they started with just shoes, whereas they have all kinds of clothing now. Zappos (now owned by Amazon) not only offers free shipping, but free return shipping, which means that I buy all of my clothing online too. You have to rewire some brain circuitry to take full advantage of Zappos. Think about it: for the price of one pair of shoes, you can buy twenty pairs of shoes at a time, try them all on at home, and return nineteen pairs. Yes, you can.
  • The Kindle – Feeding babies is pretty boring work. After a few minutes of bonding, you need entertainment. I don’t like having the TV on during feedings, and holding a book one-handed, even a paperback, is painfully difficult. With Sam, that left me with magazines, and since a new parent’s brain-power is reduced by about 50%, I couldn’t handle anything more than Us Weekly. The Kindle gets all the credit for all the good books I’ve been able to read since Leo and Zoe were born. I’m not talking high literature – the brain-power problem has yet to be solved by technology – but detective fiction and mysteries…what an improvement!
  • The smart phone – Besides reading, during feedings I often use my phone to check e-mail and Facebook. I’ve gotten pretty good at holding it and typing with just one hand. In fact, I take care of almost all my e-mail during feedings. That’s my kind of multitasking!
  • The tablet – I’ve finally found a use for my iPad! When I’m not up to reading or e-mailing, I turn to the iPad. It’s too heavy to hold and use with one hand, but I can set it on the table next to me and watch streaming media or listen to audiobooks.
  • Streaming media and audiobooks – Okay, these things were probably around five years ago, but the accessibility and selection is so much greater now, that they really count as new developments. How many of you were watching whole TV shows online or regularly listening to audiobooks in 2006?
  • Digital cameras that replace camcorders – having just one photo- and video-taking device makes it much more likely that I’ll take video at all, and it’s so much simpler.
  • Single-cup coffee brewers – Now affordable for home use. Need I say more?

Of course, there are many, many other incremental improvements. Our double-stroller is not a new concept, but it is much better than those sold in 2006. And our Honda Odyssey is just a new model, but it’s the first minivan to allow three children to be seated in the middle row, all using the Latch system (the safest method of attaching the car seats). I don’t think Zoe and Leo are receiving any vaccines that weren’t available in 2006, but Rotateq was brand new when Sam was born, and the twins are getting Synagis (more important for preemies), which became available about a dozen years ago.

It doesn’t seem possible that so much could change in so little time, but the wider context is even more staggering. Consider Dr. Harry Binswanger’s brilliant exercise in perspective:

The actual living conditions for Americans of 1826 were essentially those that had obtained during most of human history. If you transported Shakespeare from 1600 London to 1826 London or New York City, he’d find little that was strange to him, only improvements on what he already knew. That would be mostly true even of bringing Aristotle to 1826. But if you took Jefferson from 1826 and transported him to contemporary America, he would think that we’ve become a race of gods. He couldn’t even grasp radio, let alone DVDs, Mars rovers, Googling, gene therapy, and 3-D printing. Yet, it takes only two 93-year lifespans to stretch that 186 years.

In the history of mankind, an awful lot has happened in a very short time.

(Quoted, with permission, from Dr. Binswanger’s e-mail list, HBL)

I imagine a not-too-distant future where mothers are making casts of their breasts so that they can manufacture customized nipples for their babies’ bottles using their 3D printers, where there is a device that automatically removes the white part of a baby’s fingernails, no clipping required, and where we finally have the “brain in the sky,” as I like to call it – the computer from Star Trek that holds all the data you’ll ever need, which you access with your voice and which talks back to you if you want it to. We’re getting close to the last development already. We have Google, wireless access, and Siri. All we need now are the implants that allow us to get rid of those clunky input/output devices we call smart phones, and some refinement. That’s when technology will have solved the new parent brain-power problem.

If you, too, look forward to such an amazing time, take note – you’re  living in it now. We are a race of gods.

I’m 20 weeks and 1 day along now, and feeling great!

 

I’d be feeling even better if I could manage to slow down and get more sleep, but we have been incredibly busy since we returned from our trip. (I have the next installment about half-written – hold tight.)

We’ve been to three movies in the past two weeks. This is just crazy. We usually see one movie a year if we’re lucky. But there was a “parents night out” babysitting thing at Sam’s gym which we took advantage of (we saw Source Code which was ok), then Sam had a friend sleep over (yes, she is at that age already) and we took them to see African Cats (which was also just ok), and that’s when we noticed that Atlas Shrugged was still playing here and there, so we got a babysitter and saw that with some friends. (Too bad that one didn’t even rise to the level of ok.)

On Friday, we bought our new car, the Honda Odyssey! It is so full of technology and good design that I feel privileged to drive it. We got the remote engine starter and a tent that attaches to the back and other accessories to make it even cooler. There are two things I don’t like about it, though. First, it’s hard for me to get in and out of it. This might be partially my big belly, but I think it’s more about being short. I was so used to my RAV4, which is the perfect SUV for short people, and I was spoiled. Also, the Odyssey is really hard to park. I’m sure I’ll get better at it, but nothing will change the fact that it is so wide it takes up almost an entire parking spot. Sure, it has sliding doors for the kids, but I still have to get in, and it is a rare thing when I can open the driver’s door past the first notch. This makes getting in and out even more difficult.

Oh, one other thing I don’t like about my new car – apparently, it is invisible. Twice in the first few days, people came really close to crashing into me. Once someone turned left in front of me, causing me to have to slam on my brakes almost to the point of squealing tires. Then, a taxi came into my lane on the freeway and I had to slow way down to avoid a crash. I honked at him and he followed me until I turned off on a side road. Strange. I’m a very defensive driver and these things don’t happen to me often. But worst yet, yesterday, on my way to the dealership to get the accessories installed, someone actually did hit me. I had pulled over to put the dealership address into my GPS (I was being safe, goddamn it!) and I stopped in a parking lot in the lane so that I was blocking some parked cars. But the lot was very quiet and I figured if someone needed to get out they’d honk. I could have parked in a spot, but, well, you know, parking that car is really hard! Bad call. I put my car in park and put on my hazard lights. Ten seconds later, a woman backed out of her spot and rammed right into the side of my car. I cried for ten minutes. I cried the entire time we were exchanging information, and then pulled into a parking spot and cried some more. The damage isn’t too bad, but my side and front bumpers will need to be replaced. My perfect, shiny, new toy will never be quite the same. Luckily, the woman was honest and her insurance company has already accepted full liability. Now I just have to go through the hassle of getting it repaired. Sigh.

More importantly, buying this expensive vehicle that would be totally useless if we weren’t about to have three children has not made me more paranoid about losing the twins. Maybe the 20 week ultrasound was the real turning point for me.

Besides all of that, we’re also getting our new deck stained (we had to wait through the winter for the wood to dry out), and we planned a quick trip to see the grandparents in early June, and we got rid of a ton of stuff from our basement including a refrigerator, and we attended Jean Moroney’s Thinking Tactics Workshop (which was excellent – I wish I had more time to write about it, but if you have the chance, you MUST go), and Sam started up swim lessons again, and I made a little progress on my homeschooling plans, and I contacted some people about some ideas I have about a new Big Project I’m working on (Montessori-related), and I got my hair done, and had two moles removed, and had my final meeting of the year with Sam’s teacher, and, somewhere in there, I finished unpacking and got caught up on the laundry. Oh, and Adam got a motorcycle!

 

I am so tired, but now is the only time I have to do all of these things. And they’re all really good things that I want to do. So blogging is taking a backseat, yet again. In fact, I was considering taking an official break from blogging, until someone posted a quote on Facebook that reminded me of how valuable it is to me. The quote was about travel, which made me tune in:

‎”The difference between travel and tourism is simple. A tourist experiences disconnected sights and sounds and enjoys them without drawing meaning. A traveler roams the earth, digests what he sees and hears, and collects them in a framework of understanding, which he both brings to his travels and deepens with travels. The former is a pleasant interlude in your life. The latter is about life itself.”  –George Friedman of STRATFOR (HT: Jason Crawford)

Of course, this reminded me of what I’m trying to do by journaling our Italy trip. But it also reminded me of the purpose of my blog. My blog is my way of integrating my experiences. It’s my way of making everything in my life meaningful, by tying all the Little Things to my greater values. I didn’t even know that this was what I was doing, until Lisa VanDamme helped me to understand it. In her Making Poetry Part of Your Life course from OCON 2010, she taught us how to first understand the words of the poem, then to isolate what is important about it, then to abstract away from the concretes to understand the universal meaning (which, in poetry is often just a particular emotion or type of experience), and finally, to find a moment from our own lives that has the same meaning. She taught us that once we had internalized a poem this way, it would always be there as a concrete reminder of that meaning, so that in the future, when these moments occurred, we could recognize them and bring all the depth and beauty of the poem into the experience. She called it living life “through the artist’s lens.” She taught us that this is how we could find meaning in everyday experiences. And after class, she came to me and told me that that was how she saw my blog.

It was the greatest compliment I’ve ever received about my writing, even though, in some ways, I don’t feel that I live up to it. But she was right – this is what I am trying to do. And so I won’t quit blogging. And, finally, ten months later, I’m ready to reveal The Little Things’ new design and tagline to reflect what I learned in that class. Tune in tomorrow.

Shameless plug alert!

Adam’s ARC lecture from November in Chicago is available for free on ARC’s web site. Its full title is:

Why Should Business Leaders Care about Intellectual Property?—Ayn Rand’s Radical Argument

It looks like they have a separate video for the Q&A, so if you don’t have time for the whole thing, you might just check that out. As most people will tell you, Adam is excellent in the Q&A.

This lecture is a modified version of his OCON talk from 2010. This one is geared more towards non-Objectivists, so if you like it and want a fuller version, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase the OCON lecture at some point. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to let you know when it is available.

More Nepotism

Adam was interviewed for the Wall Street Journal’s blog, Digits, about how his work relates to the current lawsuits over smartphone technology.  Pretty much the whole article is about Adam and his work and he is quoted extensively.  Cool!

What Smartphone Makers Can Learn From the Sewing Machine Patent War

I have two good links for you today.  (My blog seems to be very political this week.  Don’t worry – it won’t last.)

First, check out Adam’s latest publication:  How the ‘New GM’ Can Steal from Toyota. From the abstract:

This essay explains how a 2006 court decision arising from the manufacture of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet paves the way for government-owned General Motors to steal intellectual property. In Zoltek v. U.S., the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that a loophole in the Tucker Act (28 U.S.C. § 1498) prevented owners of patented processes from suing the federal government for certain types of unauthorized uses of their patents. The Zoltek court also held that patents are not secured as constitutional “private property” under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. At the time, many judges and lawyers thought that these statutory and constitutional loopholes for patent-owners were insignificant; at worst, they argued, this benefits only military contractors and the like.

Fast forward four years and the federal government now owns the “new GM.” It was inconceivable in 2006 that Uncle Sam soon would be in the business of making cars, not to mention in the businesses of banking and insurance, setting salaries of CEOs, purchasing mortgages, etc., etc.

The only part of that I would take issue with is the word “inconceivable.”  I do not think that word means what he think it means (heh!).  Ayn Rand certainly conceived of it.  But seriously, if the idea of reading an article in a law journal scares you, give this one a chance – it’s short and easy to read.  (Click “one-click-download” at the top of the screen to get the full article.)

Next, we have Harry Binswanger‘s excellent article on the Tea Party Movement.  This is the best statement I’ve read anywhere about the Tea Party because Dr. Binswanger does the opposite of what most journalists do: he essentializes.  I’ve been struggling to get to the heart of the Tea Party myself, and this article helped to clarify my thinking a great deal.  (It also includes a great list of the best Tea Party demonstration signs!)  I’ve come to agree with Dr. Binswanger that:

… Objectivists should recognize and value what is a startling, unprecedented phenomenon: the rise, in an eyeblink, of a pro-freedom, pro-American, avowedly *individualistic* political movement–a movement friendly to Ayn Rand, favorable to Atlas Shrugged, and popularizing the phrase “Who is John Galt?”

This week’s Objectivist Round Up is sitting out there, waiting for you, in the Titanic Deck Chairs.

And just in case there is anyone out there who only reads the Round Up on my say so, you can find last week’s edition at The Playful Spirit.  Last week was Rachel’s first time hosting so you might want to go check out her blog if you’ve not seen it yet.

Oh, my!  Is it really Thursday?  I think Sammy is way overdue for a bath.

Oh, yeah, and there is that Objectivist Round Up thing today, hosted by Kelly at Reepicheep’s Coracle.  (Someday I’ll be able to spell that without double-checking three times.)  Will someone please read it for me this week?  I’m booked.  Seriously, go!

Welcome to the March 18, 2010 edition of the Objectivist Round Up!

Ayn Rand says:

I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows.

This—the supremacy of reason—was, is and will be the primary concern of my work, and the essence of Objectivism.

“Brief Summary,” The Objectivist, Sept. 1971, 1.

If you would like to know more about Ayn Rand and her philosophy, the best resource is Ayn Rand herself.  Read her fiction – it’s thrilling!  But if you’d like just a taste of what Objectivism is all about, try reading some of the posts below, or browse the excellent web site of The Ayn Rand Institute.

And now, on with the Round Up!

Amit Ghate presents Force and Violence: How the Left Blurs Terms posted at Thrutch, saying, “A post in which I introduce a new editorial.”

Jared Rhoads presents Reversing the takeover posted at The Lucidicus Project, saying, “Krugman is right about one thing: this takeover is the culmination of decades of government intervention in healthcare.”

Rachel Miner presents Thyroid Latest: Reverse T3 posted at The Playful Spirit, saying, “I wrote an update on my thyroid issues for those collecting data points on this concern being experienced by so many.

Rachel Miner presents Autism Follow Up, Sensory Integration Dysfunction posted at The Playful Spirit, saying, “I answer a question explaining more fully the sensory issues which can be combined with autism, but may be exhibited alone. I think the book recommendation I include is useful for any child because every kid, by their very nature, is learning to integrate sensory data.

Sandi Trixx presents World Malaria Day – Blame Environmentalists for 3 Million Deaths a Year posted at Sandi Trixx, saying, “The left, without admitting their wrongdoing, have decided to have a warm and fuzzy World Malaria Day so they can feel all good inside.”

Jared Rhoads presents Hold a sign, speak out posted at The Lucidicus Project, saying, “Washington officials are saying that this could be the last week in the healthcare debate. So get out and be heard!”

Jim Woods presents My State of the Union Address posted at Words by Woods, saying, “What is the state of our union? What should be done?”

Earl Parson presents We Are All Coloradans posted at Creatures of Prometheus, saying, “In the face of the recently passed Amazon Tax, I declare my solidarity with those working toward its repeal.”

Paul Hsieh presents Health Care Endgame posted at We Stand FIRM, saying, “This is make-or-break time for health care — and for the future of freedom in this country. Find out what you can do.”

Trey Givens presents Who Pays on Guy-Guy Dates? posted at Trey Givens, saying, “This week, I’m submitting some lighter fare for the carnival. As I understand it, heterosexuals don’t even have consistent rules of conduct about this and homosexuals are not struck dumb and blind at their first thoughts of sodomy, but, still the question comes up with surprising frequency. That and “Who leads when you slow dance?” That question will have to wait for another day. But here you have a rather definitive guide to figuring out who will pay on guy-guy dates to apply in your own lives. ENJOY!”

John Drake presents Mind mapping software posted at Try Reason!, saying, “I give a quick overview of a tool for that is said to support the Getting Things Done personal productivity framework. Mind mapping might be a really useful to for getting ideas organized.”

Rational Jenn presents Interesting TED Talk on Motivation posted at Rational Jenn, saying, “In many ways, the Mommy job is very similar to other people management jobs I’ve had in the past. A TED Talk about motivating employees got me thinking again about the issue of motivating children.”

Stella presents “Too much” care posted at ReasonPharm, saying, “How much care is “too much”? It’s individuals who should decide.”

Amy Mossoff presents My New Hobby posted at The Little Things, saying, “I really had to work hard to be selfish when starting up an Objectivist discussion group.”

Jason Stotts presents Relationships: A Continuum of Permissiveness posted at Erosophia, saying, “In this essay, I want to explore the concept of permissiveness and exclusivity as they relate to relationships. I want to explore the idea that relationships exist along a continuum of permissiveness with a completely jealous relationship at one extreme and an open relationship at the other, with exclusive relationships and swinging relationships in between.”

Adam Reed presents Healthy Weight posted at Born to Identify, saying, “The ideal dragoon, and therefore the ideal Prussian conscript, had to be light enough to ride all day without exhausting the horse. If one accepts the Prussian pseudo-standard, 68% of Americans are overweight or obese.”

Ari Armstrong presents The Amazon Tax and the Affiliates Amendment posted at Free Colorado, saying, “Detailed analysis of Colorado’s “Amazon Tax.”"

Rory presents In which Rory pursues knowledge for the sake of knowledge – Part One posted at Mind To Matter, saying, “”Coupled with a healthy recognition of the value of knowledge to one’s life, it is good to pursue knowledge for its own sake – that is to say, because one finds satisfying one’s curiosity to be valuable and enjoyable – without necessarily knowing the concrete practical ends which that knowledge might or might not achieve.”"

Mike Zemack presents The Wreckage of the “Climate Consensus” posted at Principled Perspectives, saying, “For the second time in my lifetime – 1970s global cooling and today’s global warming – an climate catastrophe movement is unraveling.”

Diana Hsieh presents Pushing the Boundaries of Personal Privacy posted at NoodleFood, saying, “Personal privacy is dying with the rise of social media. Is that a good or a bad thing?”

Diana Hsieh presents Welcome to Modern Paleo! posted at Modern Paleo, saying, “I’ve just launched my latest project: Modern Paleo. It offers writings and other resources by Objectivists on the principles and practices of nutrition, fitness, and health most conducive to human flourishing.”

C.W. presents Fed and the Money Supply: Details posted at Krazy Economy, saying, “Understanding exactly how our money supply expands is important both for intellectual combat and making personal decisions. This post should complete the discussion of the Fed.”

Qwertz presents Rand’s Razor v. Gay Marriage posted at WoPSR.net.

Kelly Elmore presents Parenting Toolbox: Family Meetings posted at Reepicheep’s Coracle, saying, “This is another tool I am adding to my parenting tool box.”

Sandi Trixx presents The Last Word posted at Sandi Trixx, saying, “A follow up to my earlier post on World Malaria Day”

That concludes this edition.  Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Objectivist Round Up using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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My New Hobby

This past weekend I accomplished something I’ve been trying to do for many months:  I started an Objectivist discussion group!

I started thinking about this project when I realized that the most important thing I get from my friends is intellectual stimulation.  I noticed that when Adam and I have friends over – friends who share our philosophical views and take ideas seriously – the conversations we have make me feel great for days.  Sometimes I learn something new from the content of the discussion, but more often than not, the important thing is that the exercise of my mind refuels me and puts me into a more active-minded mode than I would normally be in.  After these visits, I feel charged up, energetic, and on my game.  Everything I do is more intense, and I enjoy my routine much more.

I like lots of different people for lots of different reasons – this is not the only value of friendship for me.  However, this particular value is something that I need in a deep and serious way, since my day-job, although challenging in many ways, is not really an intellectual endeavor.  I mean, I use my mind as a parent.  My god, I use my mind in ways that I never knew that I could!  But the truth is, parenting is full of a lot of mind-numbingly boring tasks (cooking, running errands, wiping bottoms, telling Little Bear stories, etc.).  Happily, I actually enjoy most of these things.  But the sheer volume of minutia involved in full-time parenting makes me long to fly up high and see the forest instead of the trees.  It’s funny, because I noted long ago that Adam, whose career is intellectual, feels a strong need for hobbies that are physical and/or give instant gratification.  When we had a nice yard in Michigan, he took up yard work, and got a great deal of satisfaction from something as ordinary as pulling weeds or mowing the lawn.  I think most people would like to have both kinds of activities in their lives.

So anyway, I decided I wanted to start an Objectivist club, but it took me a long time to nail down exactly what kind of club it would be.  I’m pretty sure most of my readers know what Objectivism is, but if not, you can check out The Ayn Rand Institute’s web site.  People have been forming Objectivist clubs for decades, and most clubs fall into one of three main categories:

  • Study clubs.  The most common type of Objectivist club, these groups devote serious effort to understanding Ayn Rand’s ideas.  Most college campus clubs fall into this category.  These clubs can have anywhere from just a few members, to dozens.  Usually, there are some formal requirements for membership and, if the club is large enough, there are elected positions such as secretary, treasurer, etc.  Many of these clubs also organize speaker events which are open to the public.  I founded a study club at Michigan State University while I was there, although I did a terrible job with it and it appears to be dead now.  I wish I had OCN back then to help me!
  • Social clubs.  These are a way to network with local Objectivists and hopefully make some friends amongst like-minded people.  Many clubs organize activities that have nothing to do with Objectivism – the idea is just to get everyone together and have fun.
  • Activist clubs.  I’ve never had any experience with an Objectivist club dedicated to activism, but they do exist.

Well, I spent many months being very confused about what I wanted to do.  I knew I wanted a study club, but my experience at MSU made me realize that I didn’t want a typical one.  Most of these clubs seem to have a second, implicit purpose of promoting Objectivism to the local community, which is not something I want to do.  Most are more formal than what I was looking for, and involve more time than I’m willing to put in.  Finally, I was tied up in knots about who to invite to join my club.  With campus clubs, the idea is always to get as many members as possible.  I know a lot of Objectivists in the DC area whom I like and would like to spend more time with.  But the kind of conversations that I want and need have always happened with a small group of people.

In the end, I decided to start a very small group, and to keep the structure of it to a minimum.  There are 6 of us, and we meet monthly.  We don’t have a statement of purpose or anything formal like that, but I made it clear that I want to focus on what I call “applied Objectivism.”  I’m not interested in philosophy as such, but how to live my life better, which, of course, is the purpose of philosophy.

I determined the subject of our first discussion just to get us started.  I suggested some reading and a few questions to consider.  At our first meeting on Sunday, we started with that, but just let the conversation flow in whatever direction it would.  (I’m not going to report on the content of our discussions here.)  We stayed mostly on-point, but it was done naturally, without the need for moderation.  During our discussion, we all became interested in another subject, and agreed that we would make that our topic for next month.  Another member will take the lead for that discussion, and we’ll probably trade off that “lead” role going forward.  This loose structure seemed to work very well, but we might change it if necessary.

I am really happy with this group, and I feel very proud that I met the challenge of doing it selfishly.

Titanic Deck Chairs hosts the Objectivist Round Up this week.

Next week, it’s my turn!

Rational Jenn hosts the Objectivist Round Up this week.  I see three posts about selfishness in sports, inspired independently by the Olympics, Tiger Woods, and basketball, and there is a fourth that examines selfishness more generally.  Interesting.  There is some stuff about sex and booze in there, too.  You don’t want to miss this one!

I think we have a new host this week!  The Secular Foxhole has published The Objectivist Round Up.  There are 4 parenting posts this week, and a lot of other great stuff.  Check it out!

Lynne has the Objectivist Round Up this week at 3 Ring Binder.

Titanic Deck Chairs hosts the Objectivist Round Up this week.  Enjoy!

The 2010 Objectivist Summer Conference schedule and details are here!  I’m super excited because we are actually going this year.  That’s a certainty, because my husband, Adam Mossoff, is giving a general lecture - Intellectual Property Rights: Securing the Values of the Mind.  Here is the session description from the OCON web site:

The extraordinary achievements in the modern pharmaceutical, biotech, telecommunications and computer industries are dramatic evidence of the significance of intellectual property rights to man’s life. Yet patents, copyrights and other intellectual property rights are under attack—theoretically, morally and legally.

This lecture explains why intellectual property rights are fundamentally important property rights by grounding them in the values that man must conceive and produce in order to live and flourish.

Fundamentally, all property is at root intellectual property, which is why Ayn Rand believes that intellectual property rights represent “the legal implementation of the base of all property rights: a man’s right to the product of his own mind.” In explaining why this is the case, this lecture identifies the radical political and legal implications of Rand’s innovative ethical theory, such as her novel concept of value and her discovery of the role of man’s mind in sustaining his life.

Adam’s presentation at the conference will be geared toward Objectivists, but this lecture is not some side-line of his intellectual work as a law professor.  This is his intellectual work!  And if you are thinking about how lucky he is to be able to do this for a living, shame on you.  Luck had nothing to do with it.  Adam created this career for himself through a relentless, passionate, independent, selfish quest.  There was no road-map for him, and being an Objectivist made everything more challenging.  And just last month, the faculty at George Mason University School of Law voted in favor of tenure for him.  There are a few, mostly bureaucratic, hurdles left, but we can pretty safely say that Adam has earned tenure!

I’ve learned so much from the way Adam has managed his career goals, and if you can’t tell, I admire him greatly for it.  I actually think that he could give a conference lecture on the subject of pursuing a career in academia, but in the meantime, he’s promised to guest blog about it here sometime in the near future.

Anyway, I hope to see and/or meet many of my readers at the conference.  With Leonard Peikoff giving another series of lectures on his DIM Hypothesis, Adam’s lecture, and what looks to be a really nice venue, it should be quite an event!

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