Future OList Webcasts

 Posted by on 31 January 2011 at 2:00 pm  OList
Jan 312011
 

Lately, I’ve been talking to some Objectivist intellectuals, in the hopes that they might step into the uncharted waters of webcasting by doing one of my monthly, pledge-funded OList Webcasts. (My very exciting February webcaster will be announced soon!)

Before I make too many definite arrangements, however, I’d love to hear from the people who might pledge for these webcasts. So… please tell me in the comments:

  • What Objectivist intellectual would you be particularly eager to watch in a webcast?
  • What topic would you particularly like covered? (Any topic is possible… science, art, history, literature, economics, psychology, law, politics, ethics, etc.)

Please suggest only one webcaster and/or topic per comment. That way, if other people like your suggestion, they can just hit the “like” button. (Please do that!) Also, please feel free to say why you’re interested in that particular webcaster and/or topic.

If you have any other suggestions for the OList Webcasts, you’re welcome to post them in these comments too.

Jan 312011
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on unequal incomes in marriage, men and women as friends, unpaid-for college classes, stealing from a thief, causality and free will, cultural pride, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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


Whole Podcast: 30 January 2011

Listen or Download:

Remember the Tip Jar!

The mission of Philosophy in Action is to spread rational principles for real life… far and wide. That’s why the vast majority of my work is available to anyone, free of charge. I love doing the radio show, but each episode requires an investment of time, effort, and money to produce. So if you enjoy and value that work of mine, please contribute to the tip jar. I suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. In return, contributors can request that I answer questions from the queue pronto, and regular contributors enjoy free access to premium content and other goodies.


Podcast Segments: 30 January 2011

You can download or listen to my answers to individual questions from this episode below.

Introduction

My News of the Week: Let’s get started!

Question 1: Unequal Incomes in Marriage

Question: Is it moral to have a sugarmomma or sugardaddy? My fiancee and I both have demanding careers, but she earns several times more than I. How should a married couple with very different incomes share income and/or expenses? If we agree to split household expenses evenly, my lower income is a significant constraint on her enjoyment, e.g., she can’t buy an expensive house because I can’t afford half of it. On the other hand, if we split expenses unevenly or if we treat all income as pooled, it seems that I’m benefiting lavishly from things I didn’t produce. Is it moral for me to enjoy an expensive hobby which I couldn’t have afforded on my own? I’d love to hear more about how you and Paul manage income and expenses, and especially what ethical principles apply.

My Answer, In Brief: Money shared by two productive people in marriage is not unearned, but part of integration of two lives into single whole. Whatever their incomes and expenses, spouses need openly settle on ways to fairly structure their finances.

Listen or Download:

To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 2: Men and Women as Friends

Question: Can men and women be “just friends”? (This is a follow-up to the discussion on infidelity from January 23rd.) Where is the line crossed from friendship to something more intimate that would be a threat to a committed relationship? Is it fair for me to expect a romantic partner to keep his female friends at a distance?

My Answer, In Brief: Yes, men and women can be just friends. However, a person must adopt certain policies of thought and action to prevent some friendships from developing an undercurrent of sexual interest.

Listen or Download:

To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 3: Unpaid-For College Classes

Question: Is it wrong to cheat a partly government funded institution? There are a couple of classes I would enjoy sitting in on at my university. They are large, and I would not be noticed. Would it be wrong to go without paying for them? I wouldn’t do this with a private college, nor would I have qualms about a completely government funded school. But colleges are partly privately paid for. Would it be immoral for me to get some of that value without paying?

My Answer, In Brief: Regardless of whether the university is government-funded or not, a person should not sneak around but rather openly ask to join (or audit) classes.

Listen or Download:

Links:

To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 4: Stealing from a Thief

Question: Would it be wrong to steal from a thief? If an individual were placed in a position where they could steal from a con-man or a common burglar, and they did, would their decision to steal from a thief be moral or immoral and why?

My Answer, In Brief: To steal from a thief is to reject the value of objective law, not to mention court a world of trouble.

Listen or Download:

To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 5: Causality and Free Will

Question: How are causality and free will compatible? If my mind is an effect of my brain, and my brain is a complex physical system which operates in a deterministic way, doesn’t that mean that my thoughts and actions are ultimately determined, too? What is wrong with the popular notions of causality and free will that make them appear incompatible?

My Answer, In Brief: The deterministic premises underlying this question are false. If understood properly, causality and free will need not conflict.

Listen or Download:

Links:

To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 6: Cultural Pride

Question: Is it wrong to be proud of or obtain your pride from your culture, family and ancestors? Is it correct to have pride in one’s culture, family and ancestors? For example in Samoan society a Pe’a is a traditional male Samoan tattoo. According to my friend the pe’a tells him that the wearer has pride in their culture, their family and their ancestors. It is not just a physical marking but an indicator of his/her soul according to him.

My Answer, In Brief: Pride, whether as virtue or feeling, must be selective and based on your own choices and achievements. To speak of “pride in one’s culture” is to distort the term beyond all sensible meaning.

Listen or Download:

To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Conclusion

Be sure to check out the topics scheduled for upcoming episodes! Don’t forget to submit and vote on questions for future episodes too!

  • Start Time: 1:01:56


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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Funny Tale of Street Justice

 Posted by on 31 January 2011 at 8:00 am  Ethics, Humor
Jan 312011
 

Here’s a funny real-life story of street justice, “How I got an uncooperative eBay buyer to pay for her purchase“.

Here’s the setup:

I had tickets to a sporting event and couldn’t attend. I made a 1-day listing and clearly stated that the tickets must be picked up in person within 24 hours (the game was the evening after the auction ended, so there wasn’t any time to ship the tickets).

A woman won the auction for about $600. The auction had ended at 10:00am and by 5:00pm she still hadn’t responded to my emails trying to organize the exchange. Finally, at 9:30pm, I got a one-liner email: “I overbid and my husband won’t let me buy these. Sorry and enjoy the game! :)”

I first tried explaining that I wouldn’t have the time to resell the tickets (I already got turned down by the losing bidders). She said, “… that’s not my problem. It’s eBay, not a car dealership. I can back out if I want.” I still don’t understand the car dealership reference.

I was pretty upset. I was basically going to be stuck with tickets to an event that I couldn’t attend. That’s when I got the idea to convince her to change her mind…

You can read the rest of his post to see what he did.

My immediate reaction was that this was a perfect example of unofficial “street” justice. But the author of the post does ask the legitimate question, “Was it unethical?” If anyone wants Diana to cover this question on her radio show, they should submit it through this page.

(Story found via Keith Schacht.)

Activism Recap

 Posted by on 30 January 2011 at 1:00 pm  Activism Recap
Jan 302011
 

This week on We Stand FIRM, the blog of FIRM (Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine):

This week on Politics without God, the blog of the Coalition for Secular Government:

This week on Mother of Exiles:

This week on the blog of Modern Paleo:

Open Thread #238

 Posted by on 30 January 2011 at 12:00 pm  Open Thread
Jan 302011
 

For anyone wishing to ask a question, make a observation, or share a link with NoodleFood readers, I hereby open up the comments on this post to any respectable topic. As always, please refrain from posting inappropriate comments such as personal attacks, pornographic material, copyrighted material, and commercial solicitations.

Seafood Curry

 Posted by on 29 January 2011 at 10:00 am  Food
Jan 292011
 

A few weeks ago, I made a fantastic impromptu seafood curry. It’s similar to the ground beef and butternut squash curry that has become a staple for us. Here’s the basic instuctions, but I can imagine all kinds of fantastic variations:

Cook in coconut oil over medium heat, stirring every few minutes, until caramelized:

  • 2 large onions

That will take about 30 minutes, and you’ll likely need to add water periodically to prevent the onions from burning, rather than merely browning.
Then add:

  • 1 small (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk, preferably only the solid portion
  • Curry spices to taste, e.g. coriander, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, garlic

Stir to combine. Then add:

  • 1 lb raw shrimp

Cook and stir until cooked through, about five minutes. Then add:

  • 1 lb cooked crab meat

Stir and heat through, then serve!

That recipe made four full meals for us. Oh, and that was the first time that I’ve ever cooked shrimp. It was super-easy!

Last night, I made a phenomenal beef curry, again using the same basic template. I hope to blog about that next week.

Jan 282011
 

As you might recall from my prior post, some local developers seeking to build two dams to make a reservoir on the Penley Ranch, a property that borders our neighborhood. Many of my neighbors are adamantly opposed to that project. After seeing the presentations offered at the Douglas County Planning Meeting in mid-December, I decided that the project was fully within the rights of the owners of that property.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the follow-up meetings in mid-January, when I might have been able to speak my opinion to the Planning Commission. However, a friend volunteered to do so for me, and here’s the statement of mine that he read:

26 December 2010

Dear Members of the Douglas County Planning Commission,

We are residents of Indian Creek Ranch. Unlike many of our neighbors, we support the right of the owners of the Penley Ranch to develop their property. We support the building the proposed dams and reservoir, if that’s what they choose.

The reason that we support the developers is simple: property rights. Property rights say that what’s yours is yours and that what’s mine is mine. Property rights protect every person from undue interference in his affairs by others. Property rights enable every person to live his own life, using the resources he’s earned as he sees fit.

The owners of the Penley Ranch deserve to have their property rights respected and protected–just as we do. As far as we can tell, the proposed project would not violate anyone’s rights by imposing a tort or taking land by eminent domain. Of course, some neighbors might not be happy about the proposed project. But the Penley Ranch is the property of its owners, not of anyone in Indian Creek Ranch, and we ought to respect the rights of those owners.

For those reasons, we urge Douglas County to approve this project. In addition, we urge our neighbors to reconsider their opposition. We urge them to uphold the principle of property rights. Remember, the Penley Ranch will be developed–somehow, someday. Indian Creek Ranch can work with the developer now to make the project a win-win for everyone–or we can find ourselves living next to a landfill in ten years. Let’s choose our course wisely.

Sincerely,

Diana Hsieh, Ph.D and Paul Hsieh, MD
[Address omitted]
Douglas County

Unfortunately, the Planning Commission caved to the public pressure by recommending against the project. The debate now moves to the Douglas County Commissioners. Unfortunately, they moved the date of that meeting to an evening when I already have settled plans, so I don’t imagine that I’ll be able to torture myself by attending. However, I’ve updated and submitted the above letter as follows:

27 January 2011

Dear Douglas County Commissioners,

We are residents of Indian Creek Ranch. We support the right of the owners of the Penley Ranch to develop their property. We support the building the proposed dams and reservoir, if that’s what the owners choose.

We support this project based on the principle of property rights. Property rights protect every person from undue interference in his affairs by others, including interference from neighbors and government. Property rights make civilized society and economic growth possible, including the development of much-needed water storage resources.

The owners of the Penley Ranch deserve to have their property rights respected and protected–just like everyone else. As far as we can see, the proposed project would not violate anyone’s rights by imposing a tort or taking land by eminent domain.

Of course, some of our neighbors are quite unhappy about the proposed project. But the Penley Ranch is the property of its owners, not of anyone in Indian Creek Ranch. To deny this project due to public pressure would be to violate the rights of the property owners. That would be a grave moral wrong.

Hence, we urge Douglas County to approve this project.

Sincerely,

Diana Hsieh, Ph.D and Paul Hsieh, MD
[address omitted]
Douglas County

That will form part of the record, even though I cannot attend to read it myself. If you live in Colorado, you’re more than welcome to write a letter too. You can write in support of property rights, as well as the development of much-needed water storage resources in Colorado. Please send any such letters to the following address:

Curt Weitkunat, Chief Planner
Douglas County Planning Services
100 Third Street, Castle Rock, CO 80104
cweitkun@douglas.co.us

E-mail is fine, but please send them by Thursday, February 3rd. Also, be sure to include your address.

Objectivist Roundup

 Posted by on 27 January 2011 at 2:00 pm  Objectivist Roundup
Jan 272011
 

3 Ring Binder hosted this week’s Objectivist Roundup. Go check it out!

Also, I’ll be selecting the questions to answer on my next Rationally Selfish Webcast tomorrow, so please take a peek and vote on those that you’d most like me to answer.

Cats Versus Dog in Zero-G

 Posted by on 26 January 2011 at 2:00 pm  Animals, Science
Jan 262011
 

These cats didn’t seem to enjoy zero-gravity:

In contrast, this dog seems totally fine with weightlessness:

(Via MeFi.)

Open Thread #237

 Posted by on 26 January 2011 at 12:00 pm  Open Thread
Jan 262011
 

For anyone wishing to ask a question, make a observation, or share a link with NoodleFood readers, I hereby open up the comments on this post to any respectable topic. As always, please refrain from posting inappropriate comments such as personal attacks, pornographic material, copyrighted material, and commercial solicitations.

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