Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Great War (extra credit)

Image result for indy neidellI mentioned in class the "Great War" series on YouTube. This series follows in detail the key events of the war week-by-week. There's an interesting "Stupidest Moves of the First Year of World War I," highlighting some particular senseless things going on in 1914-1915.  There's another great episode on the Stupidest Moves of 1915-1916.

The series has episodes with more details on each of the stupid moves.  Watch either summary, and then choose *one* event you want to know more about and view the episode that gives details on that event or choose any of the other "Great War" videos and comment here on your impressions. If you look at the links to the right on the video here, you'll see all the "Great War" videos in chronological order.

For extra credit, click on the comments link below and note something you learned from the video that would help you write a good essay on the senseless violence of World War I.

Those of you who are interested in guns may like some of the "special" episodes that talk about rifles used by various countries, e.g., this video on German rifle.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Extra Dostoyevsky Readings

If you enjoyed "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man" (and even if you didn't), you might enjoy some of the other selections in the Signet Dostoyevsky book.  If you like romances, you might find "White Nights" particularly appealing. If you want to know what it's like to be in a Siberian prison camp, you might like the selections from the "House of the Dead." 

Read either or both selections, and add your comments here. What would you say to encourage students to read the selection for themselves?

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Eugenics Movement (extra credit)

Some of the 19th and 20th century followers of Darwin hit on a novel way to speed up the "natural selection" process.  Their ideas led to the development of what is called "eugenics." Wikipedia has a good history of the eugenics movement article and lots of other information on  eugenics. Be good if you could read the first article, and, if you like, some of the 2nd. What do you see here that suggests that there is a dark side to the Darwinian idea of progress?

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Communist Manifesto (extra credit)

In the "Communist Manifesto," Marx and Engels suggest some "wonderful improvements" for society. Cite a line from the Manifesto highlighting one of these improvements, i.e, something Marx and Engels want to see changed. Would the change they suggest be a good one? Why, or why not? Do you get a feeling of deja vu when you read through the Manifesto? Any issues raised similar to those in contemporary American politics?

You do not need to read the whole of the Manifesto. Part II (Proletarians and Communists, pp. 135-142 in the Dover anthology) will be sufficient.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Rousseau's Ribbon Story

As part of my introduction to Rousseau, I retell his "ribbon story."  I have to shorten things up quite a bit, and my cartoon version may be a bit misleading.  Please read the original version of the ribbon story and
compare it to the version of the story I told in class.  How does reading the original version of the story add to your impressions of Rousseau?  Do you find yourself more sympathetic to him or less sympathetic to him?  Does the version of the story I told you in class seem close enough to the original, or do you think that students definitely should read the original version and draw their own conclusions?

Condorcet--Progress of the Human Mind

I summarized for you Condorcet's Progress of the Human Mind in class.  You will get a somewhat better feel for Condorcet is you read the essay for yourself.  Please read through this abridged version.  What do you see here that adds to or modifies the impressions of Condorcet you got from lecture? 

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The French Encyclopedia

Reading the articles in Diderot's Encyclopedia is one of the best ways to understand the French Enlightenment. It shows the attitudes of the philosophes toward everything from Islam to Women to Intolerance to History. While the online translation of the Encyclopedia articles does not include the wonderful illustrations of the original, you will probably still find much of interest.

Browse to an article on a topic of interest to you. Comment on what you found particularly interesting in that article.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Get Involved--September 16-21: Faculty Recital and Constitution Week Events

There are lots of campus and off-campus activities related to course themes this week.  Please consider attending one or more.

If you are at all a fan of serious music, I encourage you to attend the faculty recital on Thursday, September 19, at 7:30 p.m. in Krikac recital hall. NSU has an amazing music faculty, and, for music lovers, getting a chance to hear them perform is an opportunity not to be missed.

Tuesday is Constitution Day.  There are lots of Constitution events, and it would be great if you could participate in some of those.

Also on Tuesday, conservative talk-show host Bradlee Dean will be sharing his thoughts on the Constitution.  The talk starts at 6:30 p.m. at the AmericInn.  This is not a campus event, and it's not sponsored by any campus organization.  Should be entertaining, though.  Might even draw some protestors.

On Wednesday, we will continue to celebrate the Constitution with a Noon Forum presentation from Dr. Jon Schaff.  Dr. Schaff will be speaking on Lincoln and the Limits of Presidential Power.  The forum will be in the Rotunda of the Williams Library.

To get your extra credit points, just click on the comment button below and share your impressions of the recital or any of the other events you attended. What did you particularly enjoy?  Did you see/hear anything you can see that relates to course themes?

Monday, September 2, 2019

Get Involved--Club Rush

Please stop by the "Club Rush" tables set up on the campus green on Wednesday, September 4 (11-2). Which of the organizations/activities represented at the Fair interests you the most?

Bonus: which organization offered the best "freebies"?

No chance to visit the Fair? Well, you can do the next best thing: look at the on-line list of student clubs on the NSU web site (see the drop down menu when you scroll over the "Clubs" link in the left-hand sidebar on this page:


No free food, but you can earn your extra credit (one whole point!) by commenting here on the organization that looks most interesting to you.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


Congratulations! You have successfully navigated to Inherently Interesting Fall 2019, the most wonderful, most interesting, and most important blog at this particular URL. Your comments and questions on this blog will help make the class even more wonderful and interesting--and occasionally earn you a bit of extra credit!

 To add your comments, click on the "comments" link immediately below. You may leave your comments as an "anonymous" blogger so that you don't have to set up an account. On extra credit assignments, be sure to include your name at the end of the post so I know who to give credit to.

To get started, here's a test of the History 122 extra credit system. Click the "comments" link below and tell me what historical figure or event you think most interesting or important.