Sunday Open Thread #108

 Posted by on 31 October 2009 at 11:00 pm  Open Thread
Oct 312009

Here’s yet another Open Thread for your thoughts:

For anyone in the fiery grip of a random question, comment, joke, or link they’d like to share with NoodleFood readers, I hereby open up the comments on this post to any respectable topic. (Please refrain from posting personal attacks, pornographic material, and commercial solicitations.)

Awesome Halloween Math Lecture

 Posted by on 31 October 2009 at 7:00 am  Cool
Oct 312009

I wish my college math teachers had been this cool:

Happy Halloween!

(Video link via Cynical-C.)

Update on the Update

 Posted by on 31 October 2009 at 12:00 am  NoodleFood
Oct 312009

The slew of changes required to divide my blogging and podcasting output into distinct streams has gone remarkably well so far. (I planned out the process pretty meticulously, thankfully!) It’s now 1 am, so I’m headed to bed. Just know that — for the moment — my various web sites are something of a mess. I’ll be able to get everything into working order tomorrow — Saturday, that is.

The Button

 Posted by on 30 October 2009 at 3:00 pm  Funny
Oct 302009

Oh dear, a moral puzzle goes awry.

The Button – watch more funny videos

Heh. (Via Trey Givens.)


 Posted by on 30 October 2009 at 9:00 am  Announcements, NoodleFood
Oct 302009

I’d planned to record and post my next podcast on design arguments for the existence of God today, but I’ve decided to delay that until Monday. (I won’t have an Explore Atlas Shrugged podcast for Monday. We canceled the Front Range Objectivism Atlas Shrugged Reading Group meetings yesterday due to the snowstorm.)

In the meantime, I’m using the break to massively re-organize my blogging and podcasting output into distinctive streams, based on the nature of the content, with NoodleFood as the river that incorporates everything else. I need to separate out my future career — that’s the practical advice, which I aim to do on radio — from my other projects and interests. More generally, the division into streams will allow me to market my output more effectively to various groups of people. People will be able to subscribe to all and only what interests them — whether one or two things or the whole enchilada.

For now, I am creating three distinct streams:

  • “Rationally Selfish Radio” will now designate just my “practical advice on living well” podcasting. I’ll also blog on those issues a few times per week.

  • My philosophy teaching files podcasts, as well as the podcasting that I plan to do on my dissertation, as well as any blogging on standard philosophical topics, will be collected under the banner of “PhiloFiles.”
  • The podcasts and discussion questions for Explore Atlas Shrugged, as well as future podcasts and resources for studying Ayn Rand’s fiction and philosophy, will continue to be gathered at Explore Ayn Rand.

As I mentioned, NoodleFood will be the river into which all of these streams feed. It will also include other side-interests of mine, like paleo-ish eating, political activism, and funny cat videos. So everything that appears in any of the above streams will be reproduced on NoodleFood. All of my podcasts — on any and all topics — will be gathered into a single “NoodleCast” feed.

So if you want everything, you just need to stick with NoodleFood. Also, I should be able to transfer everyone now subscribed to current “Rationally Selfish Radio” podcast feed to the new NoodleCast feed, so you’ll continue to get everything. Basically, I want the transition to be totally seamless for all of my existing followers. If not — if something seems amiss on Monday, when everything should be settled — please just drop me an e-mail.

Also, I should mention that this update will fix the problem of the wrong dates on podcasts in iTunes that resulted in them being listed out-of-order. (The otherwise excellent Feedburner was the cause of the problem, but I can side-step it by using a nice little program called Feeder to create my podcast feeds, rather than using Blogger.)

Fame and Fortune!

 Posted by on 30 October 2009 at 4:00 am  Fun
Oct 302009

Fame and fortune are just around the corner for me, I’m sure! My picture of the poorly-worded sign at Littleton Hospital was posted to the “blog” of “unnecessary” quotation marks! (They must have quite a backlog of submissions, as I sent that to them in late August.) I’m so pleased!

Objectivist Roundup

 Posted by on 29 October 2009 at 10:00 pm  Objectivist Roundup
Oct 292009

The latest Objectivist Roundup has been posted to Three Ring Binder. Go check it out!

Also, I’m hosting next week, so my OBloggers are hereby required to write something extra-spiffy!

Snow, Snow, and More Snow in Colorado

 Posted by on 29 October 2009 at 9:00 am  Personal, The Beasts
Oct 292009

We’re in a bit of a snowstorm right now in Denver. It began snowing on Tuesday night, and it’s expected to snow until this evening. The result? About a foot so far. Yikes! Paul and I have lived in Colorado since 2001, and we’ve never experienced a snowy fall like this one. It’s our fifth snow so far! (I blame global warming.)

Here’s the view from our front door as of yesterday afternoon around 2:30 pm. That’s a fence, a gate, and a clematis vine loaded with snow.

Here’s the same view as of this morning. We’ve got a bit more snow, eh?

Then we have Conrad, who had tons of fun running around in the snow this morning. After being cooped up all day yesterday, he had lots of energy to burn off!

And here’s the front of our house. Yes, that is a glacier forming on our roof.

Thankfully, Paul is off work today. We’ll have to dig out in time for him to go to work tomorrow though.

Oct 292009

The Objectivism Seminar is working through Dr. Leonard Peikoff’s all-too-topical book, The Ominous Parallels. In it, he explores what gave rise to to the fascist, totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany — and analyzes whether and how a fascist, totalitarian regime could emerge here in America.

Our focus this week was Chapter 7, “United They Fell” — a reference to Germans’ widespread agreement on important fundamentals despite often fierce political differences that were evident as they strove to create a new, constitutional republic. Topics we discussed included:
  • A tour of the political diversity in both means and ends that was present as Germans drew up their nations new, republican constitution: the four major groups forming two broad coalitions in the Wiemar Assembly — and the two paralleling major groups in the “street”.
  • How despite the seeming ideological diversity, all of the major groups battling to shape Germany’s new government nonetheless shared the same essential ideas in epistemology (anti-reason, mysticism), ethics (sacrificial, altruistic), and politics (anti-capitalist, collectivist). They argued fiercely, even violently, over more derivative matters: In the formal discussions of the Wiemar Assembly, in the end the marxist Social Democrats and their allies sought state control of the economy for the benefit of the lower classes — versus the conservative/monarchical Nationalists who sought state control of the economy for the benefit of the upper classes. And at the same time the major parties active in the “street” were more pure in their desired ends, and more direct in their means to achieving them: the Communists fought for an all-powerful state to determine the fate of individuals’ lives, versus the Free Corps who fought for an all-powerful ruler who would determine the fate of individuals’ lives.
  • And much more…

The chapter closes:

Wherever the German turned — to the left, to the right, to the center; to the decorous voices in parliament or to the gutters running with blood — he heard the same fundamental ideas. They were the same in politics, the same in ethics, the same in epistemology.

This is how philosophy shapes the destiny of nations. If there is no dissent in regard to basic principles among a country’s leading philosophic minds, theirs are the principles that come in time to govern every social and political group in the land. Owing to other factors, the groups may proliferate and may contend fiercely over variants, applications, strategy; but they do not contend over essentials. In such a case, the country is offered an abundance of choices — among equivalents competing to push it to the same final outcome.

It is common for observers to criticize the “disunity” of Weimar Germany, which, it is said, prevented the anti-Nazi groups from dealing effectively with the threat posed by Hitler. In fact, the Germans were united, and this precisely was their curse: their kind of unity, their unity on all the things that count in history, i.e., on all the ideas.

If this sounds interesting, you can listen in on the podcast — just download the session’s MP3 directly, or listen to it with the little player on the right, or subscribe to the podcast series over on the Seminar’s TalkShoe page. And if you have something to ask or add, please do pick up the book and join the discussion! We meet at 8:00pm Mountain on Mondays, for about an hour.

Podcast #20: Noticing Change in a Spouse or Lover

 Posted by on 28 October 2009 at 5:00 pm  Podcasts
Oct 282009

For Wednesday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I posted a podcast on “Noticing Change in a Spouse or Lover.” That podcast is now available for streaming or downloading.

Remember, you can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:

Podcast: 28 October 2009

I discuss the error of expecting a spouse or lover to notice some change about you – and the proper approach.

Listen or Download:


  • The problem with the wrong approach
  • The right approach

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