Archive | January 12, 2010

Life on Mars

Arizona or Barsoom?I’m back from the Phoenix conference (schedule here) – my first ISIL event since the glorious 1997 Rome conference. It was a good conference, and I enjoyed the chance to catch up with old friends and meet new ones (as well as meeting folks in person that I’d previously known only online, whichever category that falls under). Plus I got to do my left-libertarian shtick.

Flying in, I caught a glimpse of a canal flowing through the reddish desert and was irresistibly reminded of my days on Mars. (Oh wait, I’m not supposed to talk about that ….)

Nathaniel BrandenThe keynote event of the conference was an award for Nathaniel Branden, coinciding with the long-awaited release of his original NBI lectures in print form. I’ll have more to say about Branden’s session in a future post, but for now I’ll just note that when I asked him about the claim in Jennifer Burns’ Rand bio that Leonard Peikoff was the originator of Rand’s thesis that Kant was the most evil force in history, Branden replied: “I don’t remember [when and how she formed that idea], but [Burns’ claim] sounds very implausible to me; Rand was a grand master at determining who were the good and evil people in history – she didn’t require any pipsqueak assistance.”

Sky Harbor AirportBeing in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area was a bit frustrating, since it’s one of my hometowns but the all-day schedule meant we never got out of the hotel to see anything. (I had to fly back before the Taliesin tour, since classes start this week.) Still, there weren’t any sessions I would want to have missed; and at least I could see Camelback and Papago from my hotel window. (We also had a good meal at the Golden Buddha – better Chinese food than one can find in Auburn, anyway.)

Incidentally, I think it’s cool and edgy for Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport to feature, as a decoration, a plane crashing into the terminal.

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