In Quest of a Paper

 Posted by on 24 December 2003 at 9:41 am  Uncategorized
Dec 242003

I just sent this note to the folks over at American Institute for Economic Research (AIER).

I’m looking for a paper that was part of AIER’s 2003 “Dewey, Hayek and Embodied Cognition: Experience, Beliefs and Rules” Symposium entitled “Consciousness: An Objectivist Approach” by Harry Binswanger.

It was available at:

But now that page gives a 403 (access forbidden) error. I can’t find it anywhere else.

Might you be able to send me a copy? I’m a grad student in philosophy at University of Colorado at Boulder in need of this paper for a work that I’m presently editing for publication.

Much thanks, diana.

If any of you happened to have downloaded the paper, might you be able to send a copy to me? I’m quite desperate.

Trust Issues

 Posted by on 23 December 2003 at 9:08 pm  Uncategorized
Dec 232003

You know, if this happened to me, I’d have trust issues with my acupuncturist too… although I doubt I’d be able to write such a hysterical story about it.

The Chris Isaak Show

 Posted by on 23 December 2003 at 6:11 pm  Uncategorized
Dec 232003

One of the wittiest shows on television (Showtime, actually), The Chris Isaak Show will be starting up its third season on January 8th. I was worried that it had been cancelled, as no new episodes were aired for a while (about a year and a half, actually). But hooray, it’s back!

I’ve missed a bunch of episodes… too bad the show hasn’t put out a DVD yet. It would have made for a lovely Christmas present!

Cultural Comparison

 Posted by on 22 December 2003 at 9:49 pm  Uncategorized
Dec 222003

Okay, so maybe I’m just a bit punchy tonight, but I found this comparison of German and American toilets quite funny.

Stacking the Deck for the Kick-Ass Chick

 Posted by on 22 December 2003 at 1:00 pm  Uncategorized
Dec 222003

Okay, so I admit that I was aiming for this result:

If I were a character in The Lord of the Rings, I would be Eowyn, Woman of Rohan, niece of King Theoden and sister of Eomer. In the movie, I am played by Miranda Otto.

Who would you be? Take the Zovakware Lord of the Rings Test to find out.

Kitty Man

 Posted by on 21 December 2003 at 8:06 pm  Uncategorized
Dec 212003

My husband just freaked me out by sending me this link tonight. Soon he’s going to be wanting to take ballet lessons and wear cute little barettes in his hair. Okay, well, maybe he just wants a kitten. But still.

Local Lunacy

 Posted by on 21 December 2003 at 7:47 pm  Uncategorized
Dec 212003

Discriminations blogs on an implausible accusation of discrimination against Glenelg High School of Howard County, Maryland. Here’s what happened, according to the WaPo article: A student refused to change seats according to his teacher’s new seating chart because “he wanted to sit next to his friends.” When he also refused to accompany an assistant principal to the office, the on-site police offer was called in. The student was then arrested because he still refused to leave the classroom.

I’m no fan of seating charts. Students ought to be allowed the small liberty of choosing their seats in class unless they demonstrate an unwillingness to do so wisely. Of course, a student adamant about sitting with his friends in class is likely paying far more attention to his friends than the subject and thus disrupting the class. As such, separation is a reasonable response.

The legal overreaction to the student’s misbehavior is a predictable reaction to the lawsuits filed against schools for physical contact with students. The teacher should have dragged the student out by his ear… or the cop should have forcibly removed him without the arrest. But such is not possible in today’s legal climate, nor perhaps should it be, given the compulsory nature of government schooling.

But were the school’s actions discriminatory? The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says yes for one simple reason: The student is Muslim. But as the very word implies, discrimination would require the unequal treatment of students based upon irrelevancies, e.g. punishing a Muslim student more harshly than a Christian. But this incident merely shows overreaction, not overreaction for some religions and not for others.

Unfortunately, Glenelg High School responded to the charge by appeasement:

Howard County school officials said yesterday that they will consider implementing a program of diversity and sensitivity training for staff members after meeting with parents and advocates for a 15-year-old Muslim youth who was arrested in school last week after he refused a teacher’s order to switch seats.

How about some insensitivity training for the folks at CAIR instead? They need to turn down their discriminat-o-meters, as they are getting too many false positives.

Oddly enough, Glenelg High School is the public high school that I would have attended if my parents hadn’t saved me from the hell of the public middle school. After a hellish 7th grade, they sent me to Garrison Forest School, a private, all-girls school outside of Baltimore, for 8th grade onward. It was incomparably better, both socially and academically.

People don’t believe me when I tell them that I would not now be opinionated intellectual if I had continued in public school. But it’s absolutely 100% true. The hatred and resentment of intelligence in public school would have killed my mind dead in just a few more years.

A Worthy Cause

 Posted by on 21 December 2003 at 5:40 pm  Uncategorized
Dec 212003

OxBlog reports that Lawyers Without Borders is looking for monetary donations so that they can send copies of the U.S. Constitution and The Federalist Papers to Iraq for teaching to Iraqi law students. How about Arabic versions of Ayn Rand and Aristotle?

Oh No!

 Posted by on 17 December 2003 at 12:23 am  Uncategorized
Dec 172003

Oh no!

Luc Bovens (epistemology, decision theory, philospohy of science, ethics/political) at the University of Colorado at Boulder has accepted a senior post at the London School of Economics, where he is currently visiting. He does still have a counter-offer outstanding from Colorado until next fall, and so there is some prospect he might return to Boulder.

I took Luc’s ethics class last semester — and thoroughly enjoyed it. I do very very very much hope that he returns to Boulder. But granted, LSE is would be cool.

Post-Rome Inventions

 Posted by on 16 December 2003 at 5:07 pm  Uncategorized
Dec 162003

Eugene asked his readers about fairly obvious and useful inventions developed after ancient Rome. He blogged:

Here again is the query: I am looking for items that match all of the following conditions, and I’d love some help, if any of you would be kind enough to provide. Which items (products or processes) satisfy all these criteria:

  1. They were unknown to people in ancient Rome circa 150 B.C.
  2. They could be manufactured with then-existing technology and then-available raw materials.
  3. They would be at least modestly useful in that era.
  4. Even a nontechnically minded person today — say, a smart 12-year-old — would know how to make and use them. This is particularly important, and one on which many suggestions seem to founder.
  5. Their absence would be pretty clearly visible.

Eugene notes the common suggestions include stirrups, whipped cream, cowpox as a vaccine for smallpox, penicillin, Arabic numerals, sterile technique, distillation, the printing press, the scientific method, pasteurization, the horseshoe, the toothbrush, the compass, the wheelbarrow, glass lenses, gunpowder, soap, and horse plow collars.

So here’s my proposal:

My suggestion for your query about Ancient Rome is the chimney. I thought of this invention due to the historical/time travel fiction novel Household Gods by Harry Turtledove and Judith Tarr. In it, the protagonist (a liberal LA lawyer) travels back in time to Ancient Rome, where she slips into the body and life of a proprietor of a restaurant. When she first arrives, surveys her cooking implements, noticing:

There didn’t seem to be a chimney. There was a hole in the roof above each fireplace… and the window was open, unglazed and unscreened. That was all the venting there seemed to be. Soot stained the roofbeams and the plaster of the walls.

“You would think,” she said to the nearer fireplace, “someone here would have thought of the chimney.”

– Page 70, found thanks to Amazon’s “search inside the book” feature

Although certainly chimneys could have been built in Ancient Rome, apparently no one really thought of them until about 1000 A.D. (See here.) Apparently, they weren’t common until a few centuries later. (See here.) From what I’ve read, it is somewhat tricky to build chimneys that don’t smoke, but I suspect that a smart 12 year old could, with some trial and error, figure out how to do it.

I love these little historical puzzles!

P.S. On a totally unrelated note, don’t miss this interesting commentary on the Democrats by Orson Scott Card.

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