The Problems of Superheros

 Posted by on 31 July 2012 at 2:00 pm  Funny
Jul 312012

I hate it when this happens:

But this is even worse:

Man Interviews Himself of 20 Years Ago

 Posted by on 31 July 2012 at 11:00 am  Cool, Technology
Jul 312012

Man Interviews His 12-Year-Old Self:

What would it be like if you could go back in time and talk to a younger version of yourself? Filmmaker and actor Jeremiah McDonald got to experience that process — in a way — thanks to a video tape he made for his future self back in 1992.

Twenty years later, McDonald cut together an interview combining footage of himself in 1992 (at age 12) and in 2012 (age 32).

The result is funny, poignant and ingenious in its presentation — which cuts present-day McDonald against his improvised 12-year old self two decades ago. As precocious as the younger version is, he also has one or two things to teach the older McDonald.

And now, the ever-so-awesome video:

The Internet Is Down: Time to Panic!

 Posted by on 30 July 2012 at 2:00 pm  Funny, Technology
Jul 302012

Last week, our DSL went down for a few hours. Oh, the horror! Paul was at work, but very concerned for my well-being. Somehow, I muddled through.

Ayn Rand on Johnny Carson

 Posted by on 30 July 2012 at 11:00 am  Ayn Rand, Objectivism
Jul 302012

For many years, I’d heard that the video of Johnny Carson’s interview of Ayn Rand was utterly lost. Yet… here it is! It’s a great interview.

Part One:

Part Two:

Jul 302012

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on the morality of cloning, hypocritical allies, standards of beauty, capitalism versus altruism, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

You can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:

Whole Podcast: 29 July 2012

Listen or Download:

Remember the Tip Jar!

The mission of Philosophy in Action is to spread rational principles for real life… far and wide. That’s why the vast majority of my work is available to anyone, free of charge. I love doing the radio show, but each episode requires an investment of time, effort, and money to produce. So if you enjoy and value that work of mine, please contribute to the tip jar. I suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. In return, contributors can request that I answer questions from the queue pronto, and regular contributors enjoy free access to premium content and other goodies.

Podcast Segments: 29 July 2012

You can download or listen to my answers to individual questions from this episode below.


My News of the Week: I’ve been programming, training my horses, and enjoying life!

Question 1: The Morality of Cloning

Question: If cloning humans were possible, would it be wrong? Most people think that cloning humans, if possible, would be terribly immoral and creepy. What are their arguments? Are those arguments right or wrong? Also, would cloning a person without his or her consent be some kind of rights violation?

My Answer, In Brief: Although many people respond to the thought of cloning humans with repugnance, the major arguments against cloning are not persuasive. A cloned child is just a child with an older identical twin, and its parents would have all the usual challenges of good parenting.

Listen or Download:


To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 2: Hypocritical Allies

Question: What should you do when your allies are exposed as hypocrites? Just because a person advocates good ideas doesn’t mean that he practices them. For example, a defender of free markets might use zoning laws to prevent the construction of a new building on land adjacent to his home to preserve his view. Or an advocate of justice and independence as virtues might condemn and ostracize people who disagree with him on trivial matters. Or an advocate of productive work might sponge off friends and relatives. When you discover such behavior in your allies, what should you do? Should you attempt to defend them? Should you try to keep the hypocrisy quiet? Should you condemn them? Should you say that “nobody’s perfect”? What’s fair – and what’s best for your cause?

My Answer, In Brief: When an ally is revealed as a hypocrite, you need to distance yourself from the person – but how far and how publicly depends on the particulars of the case.

Listen or Download:


To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 3: Standards of Beauty

Question: Isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder? In your November 13th, 2011 webcast discussion of aesthetic body modification, you rejected the idea that beauty is just a matter of personal taste or cultural norms. What’s your view – and why?

My Answer, In Brief: Standards of beauty for people and other creatures are properly based on the fundamental normative standard: the life of the organism, including its health. Nonetheless, within that range, people can have different personal preferences.

Listen or Download:


To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 4: Capitalism Versus Altruism

Question: Is capitalism altruistic? Some people attempt to defend capitalism and free markets on altruistic grounds. Under capitalism, they say, a successful businesses must serve the needs of its customers. Hence, capitalism promotes altruism. Is that true? Is it an effective way to defend capitalism?

My Answer, In Brief: Capitalism is not altruistic. Altruism is when a person seeks a net loss, whereas egoism is when a person seeks a net profit. Capitalism enables trade to mutual benefit, meaning net profits for everyone.

Listen or Download:


To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Rapid Fire Questions


  • Is rooting your country in the Olympics collectivistic or nationalistic?
  • Do you consider yourself a Objectivist philosopher or a philosopher who is an Objectivist?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 1:02:50
  • Duration: 6:08
  • Download: MP3 Segment

To comment on these questions or my answers, visit its comment thread.


Be sure to check out the topics scheduled for upcoming episodes! Don’t forget to submit and vote on questions for future episodes too!

  • Start Time: 1:08:58

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.

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Open Thread #353

 Posted by on 29 July 2012 at 12:00 pm  Open Thread
Jul 292012

Collier House (demolished) from HABS

For anyone wishing to ask a question, make a observation, or share a link with other 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.

NoodleFood’s Open Threads feature creative commons photographs from Flickr that I find interesting. I hope that you enjoy them!

Activism Recap

 Posted by on 29 July 2012 at 10:50 am  Activism Recap
Jul 292012

This week on We Stand FIRM, the blog of FIRM (Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine):

Follow FIRM on Facebook and Twitter.

This week on Politics without God, the blog of the Coalition for Secular Government:

Follow the Coalition for Secular Government on Facebook and Twitter.

This week on The Blog of The Objective Standard:

Follow The Objective Standard on Facebook and Twitter.

This week on The Blog of Modern Paleo:

Follow Modern Paleo on Facebook and Twitter.

Beware “Gluten Free” Labels

 Posted by on 28 July 2012 at 10:00 am  Food, Health
Jul 282012

Recently, I ran across this article from Experience Life: Be Cautious of Gluten-Free Labels:

Think you can have your gluten-free cake and eat it, too? Not so fast. Despite the hundreds of products that sport gluten-free labels, the FDA has no official standards to regulate the claim. For those striving to limit their gluten intake, that lack of regulation can be frustrating. But for those with celiac disease, hypersensitivities to cereal grains, or certain autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (in which the body mistakenly attacks the thyroid), a “gluten-free” food with traces of gluten can pose a serious health threat. Fortunately, new rules likely to be unveiled later this year should clear up the confusion.

As it stands now, the FDA only requires companies to state whether common allergens, such as wheat or nuts, are ingredients in a product. Labeling regulations are lax for products potentially cross-contaminated with allergens during the manufacturing process — something that happens frequently in facilities that process a wide variety of foods. That means small quantities of gluten can easily sneak into products labeled “gluten-free.”

The article holds out the hope in the form of FDA regulations, but I don’t think that’s the answer for people with Celiac or severe intolerances. Labels may not be accurate, often due to cross-contamination. A 2010 study found that many “inherently non-gluten grains” contained significant amounts of gluten:

Twenty-two inherently gluten-free grains, seeds, and flours not labeled gluten-free were purchased in June 2009 and sent unopened to a company who specializes in gluten analysis. All samples were homogenized and tested in duplicate using the Ridascreen Gliadin sandwich R5 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with cocktail extraction. Thirteen of 22 (59%) samples contained less than the limit of quantification of 5 parts per million (ppm) for gluten. Nine of 22 (41%) samples contained more than the limit of quantification, with mean gluten levels ranging from 8.5 to 2,925.0 ppm. Seven of 22 samples (32%) contained mean gluten levels >/=20 ppm and would not be considered gluten-free under the proposed FDA rule for gluten-free labeling. Gluten contamination of inherently gluten-free grains, seeds, and flours not labeled gluten-free is a legitimate concern.

For people with severe reactions to gluten, the solution should include avoiding all grains, I think. As the Experience Life article says at the end:

In the meantime, you can eliminate the guesswork by avoiding processed foods whenever possible. “The best way to avoid gluten is to eat products that aren’t manufactured,” says Korn. “Most natural, non-grain whole foods, such as vegetables, fruits, meats, legumes and fish, are inherently gluten-free.”

Gluten is everywhere, particularly when eating out… and those “gluten-free” cookies and cupcakes are just increasing the risk of accidental exposure.


 Posted by on 27 July 2012 at 1:00 pm  Link-O-Rama
Jul 272012

Civilian Responses to Active Attackers

 Posted by on 26 July 2012 at 2:00 pm  Firearms
Jul 262012

If you ever find yourself in a mass-shooting incident, how can you safely respond?

Our friend Ari Armstrong discusses this with his father Linn Armstrong (a certified firearms instructor here in Colorado) on what unarmed — and armed — civilians can do. For instance, unarmed civilians could throw their movie theater drinks and any available objects en masse at a shooter, thus disorienting him.

Here’s the full blog post by Ari and the related video, “Civilian Responses to Active Attackers“:

FWIW, my group practices at two of the big trauma hospitals in Denver that received casualties from the Colorado shooting, The Medical Center of Aurora (TMCA) and Swedish Medical Center.

I was off-duty that night, but when I came in early that morning I talked to one of the ER doctors at TMCA who helped treated these patients.  He and his colleagues were worn out after a long and busy night, but they did a terrific job under enormous pressure.

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