BYU 26 Utah 23 (OT)

November 28, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 7:41 pm   Category: Sports

The game came down to the wire again this year. As with the ’06 and ’07 games, BYU took care of business in the end. Rock on Cougars.

And for your viewing pleasure, I present the last play of the game:

and of course: (more…)

Global Warming TEDTalks 2

   By: Jacob J @ 12:06 pm   Category: Uncategorized

No, this is about an entirely different global warming scandal. In this 2007 presentation, David Keith lets the cat out of the bag by revealing a cheap, fast, effective solution to global warming which we’ve known about for as long as we’ve been worried about global warming. Yes, you read that right.

Keith is a Canada Research Chair in Energy and the Environment at the University of Calgary and the opposite of a global warming skeptic. He loves conservation so much he is conflicted about telling everyone about the cheap, fast, effective solution to global warming because they may not want to conserve once they know about it. In fact, he cites political correctness as the reason no one discusses this cheap, fast, effective solution. (more…)

Vindication

November 26, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 9:56 pm   Category: Life

The first time I went to the temple was about a month and a half after my baptism. It was the day after Thanksgiving. I had just introduced the girl who had given me the Book of Mormon to my family (from here on, merely the girl). It was odd to me how much better she was at talking to my cousins and aunts and uncles than I was. It turns out that she had a ton more experience dealing with family than I did, as my family only ever got together for Christmas and Thanksgiving, and my brother and I were the ones who snuck off and ignored them. Speaking of my brother, perhaps my most memorable moment of that Thanksgiving was going over to his house with the girl. He opened the door, wearing nothing but his boxers, and thus my normal life was introduced to my new religious life. (more…)

Thankfulness: Gateway to (synthetic) Happiness

November 22, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 4:07 pm   Category: Happiness,Life

Jacob’s recent post came to mind today in sacrament meeting. With Thanksgiving coming up this week we had a few excellent talks on gratitude. I was struck by how closely the stories of gratitude matched with the idea of synthetic happiness described by Dan Gilbert here. Further, it is striking that this so-called “synthetic happiness” — the state of happiness we can attain when we make peace with not getting what we want — is a form of happiness that is just as real as the “natural happiness” we feel when we do get what we want.

The interesting thing is in all the stories told today the specific method used to arrive at this real form of happiness was to consciously count one’s blessings. In other words, it seems from the stories that more grateful people are more happy people. And if Dan Gilbert is to be believed, the kind of happiness we can arrive at after not getting what we want is just as “happy” as the kind of happiness we arrive at after getting what we want.

So count your many blessings folks. Name them one by one. According to Lehi the purpose of life is to have joy, and being grateful may be the most sure-fire way to be joyful.

Nice wins by BYU

November 21, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 7:04 pm   Category: Sports

The football team took down AFA fairly easily today. Utah is next.

Also the men’s basketball team overwhelmed Hawaii last night and moved to 3-0.

Fear the Stache

November 18, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 6:54 pm   Category: Life

As some of you might remember, I was participating in a Sept. 15 to Nov. 15 mustache growing contest with my five brothers and one brother in law. The contest is now over and entries are in.

BEHOLD! (and tremble)

The judging is taking place right now. (Judges are mostly extended family members on a family emailing list.) The three categories are Bushiness, Coolness, and Goofiness. While most of the bros went for bushy staches of sorts I decided to mix it up and focus on the goofiness/coolness angle. We’ll see soon how that works.

Anyhow, Kristen created the grand prize. Here it is:

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Synthetic Happiness TEDTalks 1

November 17, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 10:31 pm   Category: Happiness,Life

This talk by Dan Gilbert is one of my all-time favorite TEDTalks, I must have listened to it a half-dozen times. I can’t help but think of my mom who has as one of her principal catch phrases, “I like to keep my options open.”

(more…)

Explain it to a convert: Naming your kids crazy stuff

November 16, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 10:48 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

I can’t get my head around it. Why do Mormons name their kids crazy gibberish words? Or if they go with a normal name, they have to spell it in some insane way that makes no sense? What is up with that? There’s at least one in every ward I’ve ever been in. Is it Cree-L’s fault?

No wonder missionaries all go by Elder and Sister. No one would listen to a guy named Bucket.

Movie Review: A Serious Man

November 15, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 9:14 pm   Category: Life

If I’ve counted correctly, A Serious Man is the Coen brothers’ 14th film. As the 2000s got underway, I was starting to think the Coens had lost their mojo. With Intolerable Cruelty in 2003 and then The Ladykillers in (2004) things were on a bad trajectory. Luckily, after taking a few years off they proved they still had some genius left by adding another masterpiece to their body of work with No Country For Old Men. Last year brought Burn After Reading which, despite having its moments, was not in contention for their best work. (more…)

BYU scores 70 in win

November 14, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 4:29 pm   Category: Sports

No, seriously. See here.

Oh, and the BYU football team managed a win this weekend too.

BYU crushes Wyoming

November 7, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 5:59 pm   Category: Sports

52-0. Just the way I like it.

The danger of analogy for Mormon cosmology

November 5, 2009    By: Guest @ 7:01 pm   Category: Spirits/Intelligences,Theology

A guest post submitted by our good friend J. Stapley:

In this post, I hope to successfully describe what I believe to be a prominent and persistent failing among individuals seeking to explore Mormon cosmology. Specifically, I will describe the common use of analogy, its limitations and highlight how, when employed in the exploration of Mormon thought, it frequently yields conclusions that are highly unreliable.

When forming an analogy, an individual takes a source and then maps attributes onto a target. For an analogy to be successful, both the source and the target have to be systemically continuous. That is to say, they have to be playing by the same rules. Furthermore, for any likelihood that the analogy be accurate, the observer has to be aware of the rules.

Let’s look at some historical examples of failed analogies and how they relate to the two requirements of likely analogical success:
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More On the Nature of Spirits

November 1, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 6:43 pm   Category: Spirits/Intelligences

In the absence of revelation on the subject, we are left to speculate on the nature of spirits. In this post I will to sketch out some of the possibilities.

Spirits vs. Intelligences vs. Minds

One of the first difficulties we have is with definitions. There is no clear revelation that explains whether a spirit is the same thing as an intelligence or not. There is some evidence to support the idea that spirits/intelligences/minds are all names for the same thing, or at least that Joseph Smith considered them to all be names for the same thing. But counter arguments have been made that spirits are a more complex things than intelligences/minds. (Eternal minds and intelligences are almost universally considered to be the same thing in Mormonism as far as I can tell.)

Beginningless or not?

Near the end of his life Joseph Smith taught that the “mind of man” is co-eternal with God and thus without a beginning. Brigham Young was away on a mission when Joseph Smith publicly taught this idea and Brigham taught years later that the mind of man does indeed have a beginning. BH Roberts and others later attempted to bridge this gap between Joseph and Brigham with the tripartite model of spirits where our spirits are essentially bodies (with a beginning) made of spirit matter that are powered by our beginningless (presumably immaterial) minds/intelligences. Orson Pratt speculated that spirit matter is made up of atoms or particles like all other matter and that at least some individual spirit particles have a rudimentary intelligence. He further suggested that these intelligent particles could somehow unify to create higher order minds. So in his model, only the rudimentary parts of the mind of man are beginningless while the human-level mind clearly has a beginning.

Cartesian minds?
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