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.

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.

Reminder: Sunday’s Rationally Selfish Webcast

 Posted by on 28 January 2011 at 10:15 pm  Uncategorized
Jan 282011
 

Come join my next Rationally Selfish Webcast! As always, it’s on Sunday morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. You can watch the webcast and join in the text chat via this page. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers will be my audio co-host once again.

Each week, I answer six questions on practical ethics and the principles of living well. I select the most popular and interesting questions from the ongoing queue of questions. Please submit your questions, as well as vote and comment on questions that you find interesting!

Here are the questions that I’ll answer this week:

  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • From Objectivist Answers: 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.

Questions that aren’t answered this week will remain in the question queue for me to answer in upcoming webcasts. So please go vote on questions that you find interesting — and don’t forget to submit your own questions.

You can listen to these webcasts later as NoodleCast — meaning audio-only podcasts — by subscribing in iTunes to the feed in either the enhanced M4A format or the standard MP3 format.

The live webcast is a good bit of fun, so I recommend that you stop by as your schedule permits. I appreciate the immediate feedback — serious comments, funny comments, and follow-up questions — in the text-based chat during the broadcast. It’s a lively get-together!

You can support the Rationally Selfish Webcast (and Podcast) contributing to our tip jar. I suggest $5 per episode, but any amount is appreciated. If you would prefer to send a check, please send it to “Diana Hsieh; P.O. Box 851; Sedalia, CO 80135.” Please write “RS Webcast” in the memo field.

Even if you’re unable to contribute financially, I’m grateful if you take a moment to help me spread the word about the Rationally Selfish Webcast to anyone you think might be interested. Send an e-mail about the webcast to friends, share the event for the next webcast on Facebook, or even just “like” the Rationally Selfish Page on Facebook.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

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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