Activism Recap

 Posted by on 28 February 2010 at 10:00 pm  Activism Recap
Feb 282010

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:

Open Thread #142

 Posted by on 28 February 2010 at 12:00 am  Open Thread
Feb 282010

Here’s yet another Open Thread for your thoughts:

For anyone in the fiery grip of a random question, comment, joke, or link they’d like to share with NoodleFood readers, I hereby open up the comments on this post to any respectable topic. (Please refrain from posting personal attacks, pornographic material, and commercial solicitations.)


 Posted by on 27 February 2010 at 2:00 pm  Health, Link-O-Rama
Feb 272010
  • Dr. Davis, the Heart Scan Doc, is offering 30 minute, one-on-one video consultations. As I said on OEvolve: “I can’t imagine that most people on this list would need that, as we’re a pretty well-read, well-informed bunch. However, I can see that someone’s less-informed mother, father, friend, or whatnot might benefit from it.”
  • Does consumption of saturated fat reduce insulin sensitivity and thereby put us on the path to diabetes? The conventional wisdom is “Yes,” but Stephan Guyenet looks at the relevant studies and finds that the answer is “No.” So what does reduce insulin sensitivity? Sugar (particularly fructose) and magnesium deficiency seem to be two major culprits.
  • The fascists in Washington are seeking greater control over supplements and raw milk cheese. These *@% aren’t content with forcing us to be poor and stupid: they want us to be sick and miserable too!
  • Dr. Davis on the irrelevance of glycemic index.


 Posted by on 27 February 2010 at 8:00 am  Food, Link-O-Rama
Feb 272010
  • One of these days, I’m going to have to try making pemmican. I love the idea of using it for backpacking.
  • I can’t help but laugh in wide-eyed amazement as this overweight dietitian pushes low-fat, high-carb snacks. How many pounds does she need to lose? I’d bet 75, at least. (Via MDA.)
  • All about cooking in cast iron, including cool pictures of tests of heating patterns in pans.
  • This post on homemade marshmallows — healthy because they’re made with maple syrup rather than refined sugar! — typifies my frustration with most of the WAPF bloggers. They want to enjoy typical American junk food, just in seemingly healthier forms. I hereby proclaim… Stop trying to improve sugar and grains! Eat some lamb chops drenched in butter instead!


 Posted by on 26 February 2010 at 2:00 pm  Link-O-Rama
Feb 262010
  • If you’re interested in more details on the school spying case that I blogged about last week, go read this blog post. The comments from the students are pretty amazing, as they indicate that the webcams have been used for spying on students pretty routinely.
  • Limp wrists and tight fists: What your handshake says about you. I tend to dislike shaking hands with women, as they’re rarely firm. But a limp-wristed man is the worst.
  • Here’s some mind-blowing prosecutorial inanity not just by some random government official somewhere, but by Carol Chambers, the District Attorney in Douglas County, Colorado — where we live. Any ideas about who I can write about this matter?

Podcast #30: Explore Atlas Shrugged, Session 13

 Posted by on 26 February 2010 at 10:00 am  Podcasts
Feb 262010

For Friday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I posted a preview of my podcast and study questions for “Explore Atlas Shrugged, Session 13.”

The online version of Explore Atlas Shrugged – meaning, all 20 sessions of podcasts and study questions, plus other resources – can be purchased for just $20. The written materials are also available from Amazon in paperback and kindle formats, and purchasers of those editions pay just $10 for access to the podcasts. For more information, including previews of other sessions, visit Explore Atlas Shrugged.

Session 13 of Explore Atlas Shrugged covers:

  • Part 3: Chapter 2: The Utopia of Greed

Preview the Podcast

Listen or Download:

Preview the Study Questions

Note: The pagination of the hardcover, softcover, and kindle editions differs from that of the small mass market paperback. The study questions cite only the pagination from the larger editions. I don’t recommend using the mass market paperback.

Part 3: Chapter 2: The Utopia of Greed

Section 1 (752-761)

As Dagny Taggart begins her second day in the valley, John Galt departs from his home on business, and Ragnar Danneskjöld stops by. After John returns, Dagny breakfasts with them, substituting for the absent Francisco d’Anconia. John hires Dagny as his maid and cook.

Core Questions

  • Why does John not want to hear what Ragnar has to say about Hank Rearden now? (756-7)
  • What lesson does Ragnar seek to teach the world by his piracy? Given the risks, is he sacrificing himself for the cause? Why do the other strikers disapprove? Who is right? (757-8)
  • Why does Dagny want to earn her keep as John’s cook and maid? What does the work – and the wages in gold – mean to her? (760-1)

Extra Questions

  • How does Dagny feel upon waking and then cooking breakfast? How is that a change for her? (752-3)
  • What does Ragnar mean when he says that Dagny is the only woman with “the courage and the prodigality to remain a scab” in the valley? Is he right? (754)
  • Why is the outside world – not the valley – a “prehistorical mirage”? (754)
  • What does Dagny notice about the greeting between John and Ragnar? (754)
  • How does Dagny react upon learning that the visitor is Ragnar Danneskjöld? Why? Why does her attitude endanger her status as a scab? (755)
  • Why does Dagny refuse John’s help in the kitchen? Is it really true that the valley is “the place where one does not ask for help”? (755)
  • What is Ragnar’s attitude toward the physical risks involved in his piracy? Is that unusual? What are the attitudes of John, Dagny, Kay Ludlow, and the others toward those risks? (755, 759)
  • Why will Ragnar only compensate Dagny for her income taxes, but not for profits earned from Taggart Transcontinental stock? (758)
  • Why is Dagny surprised to learn of Ragnar’s marriage? What does that marriage reveal about the strikers? (758-9)
  • Why is Dagny appalled at the thought of accepting the money that Ragnar has collected by his piracy? Should she accept it? (759)
  • Does John have the right to require Dagny to stay in the valley for a month? Why does he want her to do so? (759-60)

About Explore Atlas Shrugged

Explore Atlas Shrugged is a series of 20 sessions of podcasts and study questions by me, philosopher Dr. Diana Hsieh. Each session covers about 65 pages of the novel, organized chapter-by-chapter and section-by-section. The podcasts are an in-depth look at the events, characters, and ideas from that portion of the novel. The whole series contains over 22 hours of lively and engaging discussion in podcast form. The study questions will help you better understand the novel on your own – or help you lead an engaging reading group. The series includes over 1400 questions, organized into “core” and “extra” categories.

You can preview the full series of podcasts and questions, as well as purchase access for just $20, here: Explore Atlas Shrugged. You can also purchase the series below.

Also, the written materials are available from Amazon in paperback and kindle formats, and purchasers of those editions pay just $10 for access to the podcasts.

Purchase Explore Atlas Shrugged

Access to the online version of Explore Atlas Shrugged costs just $20. It’s half off – just $10 – for purchasers of the paperback and kindle editions of the book version. Also, if you contribute to Philosophy in Action’s Tip Jar via recurring weekly or monthly contributions (or the equivalent), please email me for free access.

Terms of Sale: (1) You may share the podcasts with members of your household, but not beyond that. (2) You may share the study questions with members of your household, as well as with participants in your online or in-person Atlas Shrugged Reading Group. (3) Do not ever post the podcasts or study questions in any public forum.

Items: Course: Explore Atlas Shrugged ($20)
Course: Explore Atlas Shrugged (Half Price Discount) ($10)
Note: This half-price discount is only available to purchasers of a paperback or kindle edition of Explore Atlas Shrugged. Please email me a screenshot or picture as proof.

Praise for Explore Atlas Shrugged

The response to Explore Atlas Shrugged has been overwhelmingly positive, including the following remarks:

I require students to read Atlas Shrugged in my introductory economics class. Dr. Hsieh’s Explore Atlas Shrugged podcasts were an essential tool to help communicate the novel’s lesson and hold effective class discussion. Do not attempt to teach the book without consulting the podcasts first!

— Bailey Norwood, Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University


Thank you, thank you, thank you, Diana – our GLO Atlas Reading Group is going so very well. We have about 12-13 people attending, and it is truly the most fun we’ve had in a long time. So much rewarding fun comes out of your ideas and organization. Can’t thank you enough for your efforts!!!


I just wanted to send you a quick note and thank you for your efforts on Explore Atlas Shrugged. As part of the Charm City Objectivists Society we used your questions and podcast to help kick off our reading group yesterday for session one. We had epiphanies all around the table from someone who is a firm student of Objectivism to a person who had read Atlas Shrugged but is new to Objectivism. I know that neither Ray (our moderator) or myself could have undertaken this kind of thing without the wonderful resource you have created. You have helped me make a difference in my community and I thank you for it.


The other day, I began listening to your Explore Atlas Shrugged podcasts. I have read and listened to the book several times, but it has been admittedly too long since the last time. Although I can not adequately express how much experiencing your podcasts has meant to me and the extent to which they have reinvigorated me, I did want to thank you…Thank you.

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.

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedsPhilosophy in Action's Calendar

Spring Undercurrent

 Posted by on 25 February 2010 at 2:00 pm  Activism, The Undercurrent
Feb 252010

A note from The Undercurrent:

I have some exciting news for you — the next edition of The Undercurrent will be in color, and will be twelve pages instead of our usual eight! This will make for a more eye-catching and content rich newspaper. I encourage you to preview all the articles, as they were just published on our updated website here. The PDF version of the newspaper will also be available on our website soon. I’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready.

Don’t forget — the deadline to order the Spring 2010 issue of The Undercurrent is Thursday, March 4th! That’s right, you only have eight days left to put in your order. To order, visit the order page, or e-mail your name, address, and the number of copies you wish to purchase to [email protected].

If you can’t afford to distribute, let us know. In all likelihood, we will be able to match you with a donor who would be pleased to sponsor your distribution efforts. Please do not hesitate to contact us about this opportunity at [email protected].

Or, if you are of means but not of time, please consider making a donation to The Undercurrent, so that we can continue providing papers to students free of charge. For more information about donating, visit the donation page or email us at [email protected].

Objectivist Roundup

 Posted by on 25 February 2010 at 1:00 pm  Objectivist Roundup
Feb 252010

The Secular Foxhole has the latest Objectivist Roundup. Go check it out!


PajamasMedia has just published my latest health care OpEd, “Republicans: Beware the Trap of ‘Limited’ Reforms“.

My theme is the seemingly innocuous compromise “reform” of requiring insurers to cover all pre-existing conditions would gradually lead to a full government takeover of health care.

I was very glad to be able to cite John Lewis’ excellent TOS article observing that the Democrats’ last secret weapon against the American people was the Republicans’ willingness to compromise (in the final paragraph).

Here is the opening:

President Obama attempted to revive his faltering health care initiative by releasing a revised version of his plan on Monday. But as Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute noted, the president’s basic approach remains to “Tax, Spend, Regulate, Mandate” — i.e., to impose massive new government controls over health care that Americans have already rejected in tea party protests across the country and in the polling booths of Massachusetts.

GOP leaders have been appropriately skeptical of the president’s demand that his plan be the basis for their “summit” negotiations, calling it a “nonstarter.” But while they’ve avoided that obvious trap, the Republicans are still in danger of falling for the subtler trap of agreeing to seemingly benign limited compromise “reforms” that would merely result in a slower government takeover of American health care.

One of the Democrats’ favorite limited proposals has been to require insurance companies to accept all customers regardless of pre-existing medical conditions — an idea supported by many Republicans

(Read the full text of “Republicans: Beware the Trap of ‘Limited’ Reforms“.)

Open Thread #141

 Posted by on 24 February 2010 at 12:00 pm  Open Thread
Feb 242010

Here’s yet another Open Thread for your thoughts:

For anyone in the fiery grip of a random question, comment, joke, or link they’d like to share with NoodleFood readers, I hereby open up the comments on this post to any respectable topic. (Please refrain from posting personal attacks, pornographic material, and commercial solicitations.)

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha