Eating on a Budget

 Posted by on 31 January 2009 at 12:14 pm  Food
Jan 312009

Some of you might remember Ari and Jennifer Armstrong’s Food Stamp Challenge in 2007. They ate within a tight budget of less than three dollars per day per person for a month — and they did so largely by eating real, whole nutrient-dense foods rather than expensive, nutrient-poor processed foods. They ate things that I wouldn’t eat, but overall their diet was extremely healthy — particularly in comparison to the Standard American Diet.

Not long ago, I discovered someone who did the same for his family — limiting them to the new food stamp allotment of just under six dollars per day per person — but she eats the same kind of paleo-ish diet of real foods that I do. So see what she bought with a week’s grocery budget of $121. It’s impressive.

It’s remarkably expensive to eat processed foods and restaurant foods, including fast food. I’m not on a strict food budget — so I enjoy some luxuries like raw milk, raw cheese, and farm eggs — but it’s certainly possible to eat very, very well with strict budget constraints.

Forget Substitutes: Eat Real Food

 Posted by on 31 January 2009 at 8:05 am  Food
Jan 312009

Cooking in Our Cave explains why better eating shouldn’t be about substituting foods. Here’s the opening:

When people begin a new way of eating, they often look to ‘substitute’ for foods they used to eat that may have been less than ideal. For example, a person might ‘substitute’ a bowl of oatmeal for the danish they used to eat in the morning. The ‘substitute’ is supposed to be an improvement on the usual item consumed.

Here’s why I don’t like the term ‘substitute.’ It somehow implies to me that what you’re eating is merely standing in for what you WANT to eat. You are will to accept something other than what you really want for whatever reason (typically because the new food is in some way a better fit with your new style of eating) but by calling it a ‘substitute’ you are implicitly acknowledging that item’s second class status in your mind.

I agree wholeheartedly. I don’t substitute foods: I choose to eat healthy, delicious real foods rather than highly processed junk. It’s simple — and oh-so-very satisfying.

Not Your Father’s Axe

 Posted by on 30 January 2009 at 4:00 pm  Technology
Jan 302009

Via Flibby, not your father’s axe:

Cool! I wonder how widespread the device is.

Talk Objectivism Needs Help

 Posted by on 30 January 2009 at 12:19 pm  Announcements
Jan 302009

Jason Mosely of the podcast talkObjectivism e-mailed me the following request:

The blog for is in need of someone to update it. I work two full-time jobs (day job and freelance) so I don’t have time to do it myself.

All you would have to do is write the show notes for the shows. I can give you a login to the blog or you can just post the show notes in the Facebook group. I can copy/paste them into WordPress.

We have a lot of new listeners (300+ per week) and I think the show notes help people catch up when they first find the show.

If you’re interested, contact Jason at jmosley(-AT-)

Ray Niles Hits Two Home Runs

 Posted by on 30 January 2009 at 12:03 am  Activism, Economics, Technology
Jan 302009

I’ve just had the pleasure of reading two of Ray Niles’ recent articles, one on financial regulation and one on proposed government internet regulations to guarantee “net neutrality”. Both are clear and excellent applications of Objectivist principles to important and timely issues. If you have an interest in these topics (or know someone who does), these are “must reads”.

His article on “net neutrality” appears in the Winter 2008-2009 issue of The Objective Standard here: “Net Neutrality: Toward a Stupid Internet”.

Given the widespread prevalence of the “information wants to be free” viewpoint by libertarian tech types, it’s refreshing to read a principled defense of property rights as applied to the issues of internet traffic and the “net neutrality” debate.

If you’re not a subscriber, you can purchase a PDF of the entire piece for $4.95. But you really should be a subscriber, if you’re not already.

His second piece is on the issue of financial regulations in the wake of the recent economic crisis. Here is his description (reproduced with his permission):

I am excited to announce that an article I wrote has been published in CFA Magazine, a magazine with global circulation of 100,000 that is published by CFA Institute, a finance professional organization. It is part of an “Agree / Disagree” set on the proposition: “The global market crisis calls for an expansion of regulatory oversight.” I have permission to email it; if you want a copy, let me know and I will email it to you. Please feel free to re-distribute it, but do not post it in its entirety on the web.

In the article, I call for gold money and the abolition of regulatory agencies. I identify the need for government to recognize the right to life, liberty, and property. The editor featured the article as the magazine’s cover story under a scary image that says, “Big Government Is Watching.” In the print version of the magazine, a yellow banner also asks, “Is more regulation the answer to market woes?”

Here are the opening paragraphs. Later, I discuss the specific causes and solution to the crisis.

Regulation cannot be the solution to the financial crisis because it is the cause of the financial crisis. The only proper action for governments to take is to remove existing regulations, fully recognize property rights, and enforce already-existing laws against fraud and theft. Doing so will help our economy speedily recover and make future crises smaller and rarer.

In fact, the premise itself is misleading. “Regulatory oversight” implies that regulation is some form of law enforcement mechanism that protects the rights to life and property, akin to laws against robbery, murder, and fraud. But that is not the case. Such laws already exist on the books and should be enforced when mortgage lenders, for example, commit fraud. No new regulation is necessary to protect rights.

Instead of protecting rights, regulations violate them. A regulation is an action by a government body that intervenes in voluntary agreements between individuals. It prohibits — before the fact — entire classes of behavior, criminalizing that behavior even if it is voluntary and involves no compulsion or fraud. For example, a law such as the Community Reinvestment Act that forces lenders to give mortgage loans to borrowers that do not meet their credit standards violates the right of the lender to decide whether and to whom to lend its money.

To get the full version of the article, you can contact Ray directly at: “rayniles (at) rcniles (dot) com”.

This would be a great article to distribute to friends, coworkers, your investment advisor, or anyone who lost money in the markets in the last 6 months (which is pretty much everyone in the Western World!)

Plus Ray’s example highlights two important points:

1) Americans are interested in hearing our message. Many people know that there is something deeply wrong with the status quo, and at some level they recognize that Obama-style socialism is not the answer. But they don’t know what the positive alternative is. We can offer them that. Americans are becoming increasingly receptive to our ideas. Hence, there is no better time to speak out.

2) Individuals can make a difference. I’ll let Ray speak for himself if he wishes, but until relatively recently he did not engage in any kind of formal activism. But he has found subjects that were of great interest to him and chosen to write on those subjects to appropriate audiences.

The result has been two articles in The Objective Standard (one on energy policy now available for free and his more recent article on “net neutrality”) as well as his article for CFA Magazine. This latter piece could reach many influential minds in the financial industry and give them the moral defense of the free market that they so badly need.

Ray Niles has clearly upped his game. And I thank him for it!


 Posted by on 29 January 2009 at 3:07 pm  Link-O-Rama
Jan 292009
  • Jason Sheehan, the food critic of the Westword, Denver’s alternative weekly newspaper, savages PETA’s call to rename fish to prevent people from eating them. The title says it all: PETA in the news again: “Sea Kittens” campaign making me hungry. (Via Ari Armstrong.)
  • President Bush’s Cheese Wars: In retaliation for the EU banning the US’s hormone-treated beef, President Bush slapped a 100 percent tariff on a variety of EU goods — and a 300 percent tariff on roquefort cheese. What ever happened to global free trade? Yes, I know, it’s hiding in the basement with other supposedly outmoded concepts like “limited government” and “fiscal responsibility.” Thanks, George.

    For the record, although I prefer not to consume it, people should be able to buy and sell beef from cows treated with hormones freely. The law should only ban fraud, such as the labeling of hormone-treated beef as hormone-free. Unfortunately, that can be a genuine problem.

  • Your doctor’s fine-looking white coat and your nurse’s scrubs may be a serious health menace.
  • Too strange: Knitters Become Graffiti Artists. (Via Rory Hodgson.)

Objectivist Roundup

 Posted by on 29 January 2009 at 11:58 am  Objectivist Roundup
Jan 292009

Burgess Laughlin has the latest Objectivist Roundup. Go check it out!

Where’s the Airsickness Bag?

 Posted by on 29 January 2009 at 12:01 am  Culture, Religion, WTF
Jan 292009

Really, I was ready to let it go and move on. But then this floated by in one of those endlessly-forwarded emails that friends and family pass around. What’s so revolting is the utter inversion of justice it represents in the mainstream treatment of the accident.

God is routinely given credit and thanked for saving those people; but notice that He’s not similarly given “credit” for needlessly killing those geese, destroying that plane, endangering and distressing the people involved, and soaking up lots of resources to deal with it all. Nor is He reflexively given such “credit” for all the deaths that aren’t averted in other plane mishaps.

Such psychoses aside, the real problem I have with this is that it dilutes and distracts from the recognition genuinely earned by the heroes involved!

  • The pilot trained long and hard to be able to fly planes of various kinds, and to identify and execute just such a lifesaving maneuver. Then, in the moment it was needed and under tremendous stresses, he kept his head and did an absolutely brilliant job.

  • The crew trained as well in managing such a process — and when their moment came they likewise kept their heads and executed brilliantly.
  • Engineers labored long and hard to design a plane that didn’t just fly, but which would have ever better chances in all sorts of rare and strange circumstances, working to reduce the odds and impact of the unexpected. The result is a craft that could withstand this sort of water landing and float long enough to get those people out.
  • People on the ground sprang into action to scoop up the passengers and contain the danger.
  • And on and on. How about the experts who will analyze what happened and use it to make people a little safer in the future?

These folks deserve all of the credit and admiration and thanks, and it’s an absolute injustice that the mainstream reaction would take even the tiniest sliver of their due and pretend it was earned by someone or something else.

MRI Case Answer

 Posted by on 28 January 2009 at 1:48 pm  Fun, Health Care
Jan 282009

Once again, here is the original image:

Here is a magnified view of the abnormality, at the front of the knee just below the patella (kneecap):

The patellar tendon is torn. It should be a smooth black stripe, as in the normal image:

The patellar tendon is normally very strong. In fact, you can feel how stout your own patellar tendon is by placing your finger just below your kneecap while your knee is extended, then gently bending your knee back and forth a few degrees (i.e., 2-3 inches).

Hence, patellar tendon ruptures are fairly rare sports injuries. Here’s more information.

Some of the other guesses were reasonable. However, I only gave one image (out of over 100), so many of the other structures of the knee were not included. For instance, the cruciate ligaments were not fully included on this one image and they happenened to be intact. But one would have required seeing the full data set to know one way or another. There probably was also some hemorrhage in the skin and fat just anterior to (in front of) the patellar tendon tear.

If you enjoy these semi-regular radiology case presentations, please let me know. My practice is very busy, so it’s easy for me to find and post interesting case examples to NoodleFood.

British Gun Owners Finally Waking Up

 Posted by on 28 January 2009 at 12:01 am  Firearms, Politics
Jan 282009

British gun owners are finally starting to stand up for their rights, opposing the many years of failed government gun controls:

Will these protestors make a difference? Or is it “too little, too late”?

And will American gun owners learn the right lessons? Or will they become too complacent in the wake of the Heller Supreme Court decision?

(Via Howard Roerig.)

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