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Messages - tencigars

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1
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: Need Laptop Recommendations
« on: June 06, 2005, 09:45:05 AM »
..Regardless of which laptop you choose, I strongly suggest purchasing a warranty with it.  Best Buy has a really good one - when your laptop battery wears out, you can just come into the store and they'll replace the battery for free.  It covers far more, obviously :)  Hope this helps!

I strongly recommend against getting a laptop at Best Buy precisely because of their warranty.  It sounds good, though expensive, at the outset, but I can tell you from personal experience it's very inferior to the warranties you can purchase from Dell, Gateway, etc.

I bought a Compaq laptop at Best Buy for $1100+ and then purchased their extended three year warranty for a whopping $270 extra.  A few months later the power input connection on the back became loose causing my laptop to switch back and forth from AC to battery power, so I took the laptop into the store.  Guess what, during the first year, because there is a one-year manufacturer's warranty, they ship the laptop to the manufacturer rather than working on it at their shop.  What's worse is they wait until they have a few and ship them slow mail.  They told me THREE WEEKS TO GET IT BACK.  I told them I couldn't wait that long and would have to take it elsewhere to get it fixed, to which they replied THAT WOULD VOID MY WARRANTY.

Well, I really couldn't wait that long, so I stopped by an electronics shop and the salesguy there suggested I call Compaq directly.  Guess what, Compaq paid for overnight UPS to and from their service center--I got my laptop back fixed in 4 days!  Why didn't Best Buy mention this option?  Losers.  (The guy at Best Buy had kept referring to me as "chief.")

A year later, after the one year manufacturer's warranty had expired, lightning struck my Florida home and the laptop was fried.  I brought it in for repair or replacement at Best Buy (their warranty covers electrical damage).  Weeks later the store says my laptop is back from their service center (another area of the state)..guess what?  They said the damage was not covered by the warranty because it was abuse.  Further, they said that the service center notes show that they called me, told me, and that I declined to pay the $800 for repairs.  Nobody had called me.  They just flat out lied at the service center.

I asked them how it was abuse?  They said the service center notes said "excessive voltage."  Ugh!  I said, of course..lightning..duh!  Since lightning strikes were covered under the warranty I spoke with a manager back and forth over the course of a week and he sent the laptop back out to their service center where they kept it another week before labeling "dead."

Finally I was given store credit for the depreciated value of my laptop (899.99) and was allowed to apply that toward the purchase of a replacement.

Ugh!

Get a Dell or Gateway, etc., with an on-site warranty.  Someone comes out to fix your machine a day or two after you report the problem.  No questions asked.  Batteries may not be covered, but I consider that a small matter compared to being without your laptop for a month under the Best Buy warranty.


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General Board / Re: Psychopath attorneys
« on: June 06, 2005, 09:16:18 AM »
... they say the herd instinct is obliterated by heroin, and the herd instincts are the ones which control the moral sense ...

Morality is herd instinct in the individual.
Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844 - 1900), The Gay Science, section 116

Humans evolved in small interconnected groups.  Survival of the individual was dependent on cooperation.  Group prosperity benefited individuals, even determined their survival.  Thus, other-regarding morality benefited the individual.

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General Board / Psychopath attorneys
« on: May 30, 2005, 12:19:54 PM »
Chances are you know several psychopaths.  You sit or sat next to them in your classes.  You work or will work with them in your practice.

In The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us, Harvard professor Martha Stout says that "one in twenty-five of us has no conscience and can do absolutely anything at all without feeling guilty.

Contrary to popular misconception, though a large percentage of murders and rapes are committed by sociopaths, most sociopaths don't commit such crimes.  Most are ostensibly law abiding--because of the legal and social sanctions. A high percentage of them are very smart (often charming too). And a majority of them are strongly attracted to power and so seek professions and authority positions with influence over others--without a desire for the actual responsibility, of course.

When stepping on others benefits them a small amount and costs them nothing, they don't hesitate. Worse, when they can get away with it without repercussion, they make others jump or suffer simply for the sensation of power. (Why not? The harm they cause others doesn't trouble them.)

4% of the population. 1 in 25. More in law than other fields. Pretty shocking, eh? Makes you wonder about those around you doesn't it? As well it should, because that 4% is responsible for a disproportionate share of the needless, intentionally inflicted or callously tolerated, pain and suffering in the world.

The disorder arises in part because of genetics and in part as a result of nurture.  The most popular theory is that it arises from an early attachment disorder.  It's an odd and sad fact that orphaned babies in hospitals die if not handled.  Insufficient physical contact and affectionate/responsive care of a baby's needs inhibits development of certain human qualities--apparently conscience is one of them.

By the way, I would like to stray further from the law and interject here that I think the modern western practice of housing a baby in a separate room and ignoring its cries (a practice only common in a recent fraction of human existence, and still not common practice in most of the world--where sleeping with the baby is still the norm), though endorsed by some modern doctors peddling new parenting concepts such as "teaching the baby to self-soothe" (read: facillitating parent rationalization) is very harmful.  Not only does it cause the baby very real and unnecessary anxiety (throughout evolution abandoned babies were at risk to predators, etc.) and create a lack of trust in their parents, it stunts their development.  Just because lots of other people you know are now isolating their children doesn't mean it's best or even right.  Similarly, the very recent practice of sending babies and toddlers to day care is, though prevalent and in the cases of working mothers often necessary, usually a poor substitute for traditional mother/home care, and may be detrimental.

---------------------
Note: Sociopathy and psychopathy are synomyms. Modernly, the APA terms it a personality disorder: the Antisocial Personality Disorder.

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I agree with most on here that said that there isn't really a correlation between admirable personal qualities and a high GPA and/or LSAT. I would agree that it should be correlated more often than not with dedication, motivation, and other characteristics that would make sense in a good student, but even that is not guaranteed. There are some people who don't study all that much yet do ridiculously well in classes. Sure, it's not very common, but it is possible. As far as desirable personal qualities like kindness, compassion, and the like, I don't think high GPA or LSAT would be predictive of these. Being a good student may indicate reasoning ability, or at least the potential for it, but I don't think it would be accurate to state that this reasoning ability would be used to be kind and compassionate and be a generally good person. Loads of people use said reasoning ability for entirely different claims. Many people may use that ability to build themselves up at the expense of others, so some may even claim that these things could be evidence of a correlation in the reverse, although I don't believe that, either. I think they're pretty independent of each other, personally.


You would say zero correlation then?  Or would you allow for some small amount?

5
Would you say, then, that there is some inherent value to reasoning ability, and that there is some correlation between high reasoning ability and admirable character and interesting personality (which I will define as being dynamic with depth)?

We may only disagree on how much.  (And I already admit that I was wrong in my previous assumption of a strong correlation [in the case of law students at least].)

Oh, I definitely think reasoning ability is a valuable and generally positive quality.  Very useful, etc.

That said, performance on the LSAT is not a perfect reflection of reasoning ability (some people perform poorly due to test anxiety, time pressure, not all forms of reasoning are tested, test prep has effects, etc.).  Additionally, the ability to apply logical reasoning in one type of circumstance (a game-like standardized test) does not guarantee or even really imply an ability to apply logical reasoning in everyday life.  Personally, I can do LSAT logic pretty well, but am often horribly unreasonable and illogical when it comes to real life problems and decisions.  ;)  Finally, while being "reasonable" is a good thing, I don't think it really has much to do with being "interesting" and enjoyable to be around, but those are pretty subjective qualities.

I agree that the LSAT is far from a perfect measure of reasoning ability.  Your mention of the time factor hits home with me.  I have a slight learning disability--visual processing speed--but did not take the test with accommodation.  As a result, I ran out of time in most sections.  I actually sent a photocopy of my Scantron along with my application to a couple of the very top law schools hoping it would tell the story: columns of bubbled C's.  I didn't "get to" (guessed C) more questions than the total number of questions I answered incorrectly.  Ironically, bubbling B instead of C would have raised my score a couple of percentile points.

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So ... I guess my argument is that any correlation there is would probably be weak enough as to be masked by all of the other factors that contribute to whether or not one is interesting and admirable.

Maybe so.  As you know, I had hoped otherwise.

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And even if we were to say that good reasoning ability is necessary if one is to be a good/interesting/admirable person, I wouldn't think that it could possibly be sufficient in and of itself.

Agreed.

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What do you think "interesting" and "admirable" mean, anyway?  We're arguing about something pretty vague.

For definition of "admirable character" I kind of have in mind the original definition of character.  Edith Hamilton wrote of how the ancient Greeks celebrated what we had in common rather than our differences as we tend to do today, and how they especially celebrated those who showed an exceptional amount of a particular type of character.  They imprinted coins with the faces of those individuals, which is actually how the meaning of the word "character" originated.

When I say someone has character, I usually mean he has a great amount of some of the qualities that most people admire and respect: honesty, compassion, loyalty, etc.  (By the way, I rather suspect that you have character, beano.)

As for "interesting," I don't have a definition in mind really, and it's more subjective.  I haven't gotten around to making a case for that correlation.  I can say, however, that people who have the ability to reason well are more interesting  to me.  They can hold an intellectual conversation and can engage my interest when others might bore.

6
I bet Hitler would have done well on the LSAT.

C2

But he might not have maintained a high GPA; I heard he was very lazy.

Most leaders who did not inherit their positions probably would have done well on the LSAT, I suspect.  I'm not claiming that high reasoning ability equates to admirable character, not by a long shot.

7
If anything, if we were to assume that tencigars has a high GPA and LSAT combination, he proves that there is no correlation. How pedantic! (This would hardly be seen as an admirable trait.)


I never implied that I had high scores.

Your argument is flawed, by the way.  A basic LSAT flaw, too.

The presence of one less-than-admirable trait would not necessitate the absence of any, much less all, other admirable traits.

If I was, arguendo, being pedantic, that would by itself fall far short of "proving that there is no correlation."

End of lesson  ;)

Okay, pedantic AND argumentative. The poor use of grammar and the predicatable stylistc lapses connote,  perhaps, a low LSAT score; the tone, however, screams self-doubt. Despite containing routine grammatical errors, and suggesting a poor understanding of cognative theory, the original post is a lovely example of simplistic thought, which--ironically enough--is rather long-winded! 

What a lot of completely unsupported, pretentious gibberish.

I guess you couldn't defend your fallacious reasoning.


8
If anything, if we were to assume that tencigars has a high GPA and LSAT combination, he proves that there is no correlation. How pedantic! (This would hardly be seen as an admirable trait.)


I never implied that I had high scores.

Your argument is flawed, by the way.  A basic LSAT flaw, too.

The presence of one less-than-admirable trait would not necessitate the absence of any, much less all, other admirable traits.

If I was, arguendo, being pedantic, that would by itself fall far short of "proving that there is no correlation."

End of lesson  ;)

9

Racism is certainly unreasonable. The basis, a belief in the gross inferiority of another race, is fallaciously arrived at, as are racists' reasons for the treatment of members of other races, even if one assumed, arguendo, the accuracy of the first premise.

Sexism..similarly unreasonable.

Religious persecution..also very similarly unreasonable.  Come on!  Launching a crusade to kill men, women, and children..in the name of Christ?  A guy who historically taught against such actions.

So some great evils are based on and facilitated by very poor reasoning.

A couple things.  First, *maybe* people with high numbers are less likely to be racist, sexist, religious fundamentalist crusaders.  I don't personally know any openly racist, sexist, or religious crusader-type people, or their LSAT scores and GPAs, so I don't even have any anecdotal evidence that addresses that question.  But there is a long way to go from being "not openly racist" to being interesting, kind, admirable, and enjoyable to be around. 

I don't agree that all, or even most of the qualities that make somebody unpleasant are related to poor reasoning -- and further, even this were true, and a person had such perfect reasoning that they were free of all unpleasant personal qualities, that wouldn't mean they would necessarily have positive good qualities, like creativity, etc. (ie, just because you don't suck doesn't mean you're admirable).

Also, I would tend to agree with sugarsh -- you *can* use logic to support various "evils," and not necessarily by applying it poorly.  It depends what assumptions you make (and you always have to make some assumptions that aren't necessarily logically arrived at).

Would you say, then, that there is some inherent value to reasoning ability, and that there is some correlation between high reasoning ability and admirable character and interesting personality (which I will define as being dynamic with depth)?

We may only disagree on how much.  (And I already admit that I was wrong in my previous assumption of a strong correlation [in the case of law students at least].)

10
LSAT type reasoning and personal accountability and behaviour are entirely seperate.  Much of the intolerance/evil (IMHO)in the world comes from selfishness, not flawed reasoning.   People are all out "for themselves" and fail to be kind/help others because they are busy looking out for their own self-interest.

I would add that self-interest is not by itself an "evil."  In fact, it is inherently a good.  Doing something for someone, even yourself, is a good thing.  Doing something for yourself only becomes an evil when it is at the significant expense of others.

Wouldn't good rather than poor reasoning ability better facilitate the achievement of goals for both one's self and others?  Help one avoid potentially harmful blunders?  Help one become a better person if that is a goal?  (I wonder how common that particular goal is.  I'm hopeful.)

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A prime example of this would be politicians.  Almost all are lawyers (once you get past the very local level) and most of them do things that one person or another considers immoral or wrong.  They aren't doing these things because they can't reason properly, they are doing it because they are selfishly doing what is going to get them reelected or help them in their political career rather than the most "reasonable" course of action.

Still, in addition to self-interest, many if not most operate with the benefit of their constituents in mind as well.  Wouldn't better reasoning ability facilitate them in this pursuit?  (Aristotle said that the ultimate goal of government is the happiness of the people.)

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The humble and meek don't seem to be going to law school in droves; it is those who think they are smart, fast talkers, good at arguing, assertive, etc that seem to be the majority.

Yes, that may be why I'm finding some disappointment in the caliber of law students: a disproportionate presence of avarice and the like in addition to higher than average reasoning abilities.

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As for the movie theater example, isn't it equally possible that those who were coming out were mostly with someone else (people rarely go to the movies alone) and were protecting their self-interest (ie: the relationship with the person they went to the movie with) by helping someone rather than failing to do so and looking "bad"?

Good point.  I believe the study tried to eliminate such possibilities, and I think it has been reproduced by others.


I agree with most of your post.

Could you argue an case for there being some inherent value to reason?  And, separately, some correlation between reasoning ability and qualites of admirable character or at least interesting personality (the original description of the correlation, I believe)?

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