Activism Recap

 Posted by on 31 March 2013 at 2:00 pm  Activism Recap
Mar 312013

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 Mother of Exiles:

Follow Mother of Exiles 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.

Open Thread #388

 Posted by on 31 March 2013 at 12:00 pm  Open Thread
Mar 312013

Army Photography Contest - 2007 - FMWRC - Arts and Crafts - A Plumpish Proportion

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!

Functional Fitness? Bah!

 Posted by on 30 March 2013 at 10:00 am  Fitness, SnowCon
Mar 302013

Some evangelists for CrossFit like to talk about the benefits of “functional fitness.” Personally, I see some value in training people how to properly lift heavy weights… but other than that, there’s just strength and skill.

I’ve experienced that first-hand: I did CrossFit for a year, and now I’ve been doing SuperSlow for nearly two years. I’ve seen that I can stack bales of hay, haul 50 pound bags of feed, and ride my very strong half-draft horse just as well doing SuperSlow as I did with CrossFit. Or rather, I can do it better because I’m not nursing a strained rotator cuff or unbearably sore from my workouts.

Recently, I experienced another revealing test of the power of SuperSlow. Until mid-March, I’d not skied or snowboarded all season. At first, the snow was terrible, so I was enjoying riding my horse, rather than hitting the slopes. Later, once the snow came, I was trapped at home with construction workers, supervising a slew of house repairs. I barely managed to escape the house for my weekly SuperSlow appointment; I couldn’t possibly manage to abandon ship for a whole day.

As a result, I skied and snowboarded for the first time in a full year at SnowCon 2013 in mid-March. (Yes, I was rusty!) Then, here’s what I did:

  • Monday: Ski for two hours in powder
  • Tuesday: Snowboard for five hours
  • Wednesday: Snowboard for five hours
  • Thursday: Ski for five hours

I’m a high intermediate/low expert skier, but I’m not experienced in powder. So the two hours on Monday were far more difficult for me than two hours on groomed runs would have been. Also, I’m still a beginner snowboarder, so that requires even more effort from me than skiing.

Guess what? I was mildly sore after Monday, but that gradually disappeared. I was tired after those five hour days, but I was never dangerous: my muscles were responding with full strength to the commands of my brain.

To my mind, that’s genuine functional fitness!

And guess what? Four of the five people in that picture do SuperSlow!

P.S. If you’re a local and you decide to try my SuperSlow gym — now TruFit Health — in south Denver, please tell them that I referred you!


 Posted by on 29 March 2013 at 1:00 pm  Link-O-Rama
Mar 292013

ATLOSCon 2013

 Posted by on 29 March 2013 at 10:00 am  Announcements, AtlosCon
Mar 292013

Paul and I have had a fabulous time at past ATLOSCons, and ATLOSCon 2013 will be even better… because Team Perkins (a.k.a Greg and Tammy) will be joining us! Yipee!

For those not familiar, ATLOSCon is an Objectivist conference held over Memorial Day every year in Atlanta. This year, it’ll be from May 23rd to 27th. You can find the full list of talks here. Registration will be open soon, I imagine.

Team Philosophy in Action will give the following talks:

Diana Hsieh: Moral Amplifiers

Objectivism upholds seven major virtues as indispensable to our lives. Yet what of other qualities of character — such as ambition, courage, spontaneity, liveliness, discretion, patience, empathy, and friendliness? Are these virtues, personality traits, or something else? Diana Hsieh will argue that such qualities are best understood as “moral amplifiers,” because their moral worth wholly depends how they’re used. She will explain why people should cultivate such qualities and why they must be put into practice selectively.

Paul Hsieh: Can’t Stop The Signal: Will Disruptive Technologies Foster Individual Freedom?

New “disruptive” technologies allow people to perform end-runs around traditional middlemen, both government and nongovernment. Bloggers now let us receive news and commentary not available via mainstream media, home-schooling parents can teach their kids free from government constraints, and 3D printing may soon empower individuals to create tools (possibly even guns) in their home workshops. What disruptive technologies could dramatically alter our lives in the next 10-20 years? Should advocates of individual freedom and limited government view these technologies as good, evil, or mixed?

Greg Perkins: The American Trajectory: A Political Roundtable

This session will be a wide ranging discussion of the political events of the year, with a focus on the results of the election and the current state of the economy and culture. We’ll have our own McLaughlin Group! Audience participation is highly encouraged, as this will be a discussion forum for all attendees and not a lecture.

I’ll also be on a panel on “American Colleges from the Inside.”

On Sunday morning, Greg and I will broadcast Philosophy in Action Radio. That will be only the second time that Greg and I have done the broadcast together, in person… and I’m so looking forward to it!

It’s going to be a great time, once again! I hope that you join us!

Hanging Pictures with Cats

 Posted by on 28 March 2013 at 2:00 pm  Animals, Cats, Funny, Personal
Mar 282013

A few weeks ago, when I was frantically re-assembling the house to prepare for SnowCon 2013, I hung up our various works of art. Most were just simple jobs, and Merlin “helped” with those by batting around nails and being his usual naughty self.

However, a few hangings required the laser sight level. Silly me, I’ve never played with the laser with Merlin. It was a bit too much fun… as you can see from this fully accurate pie chart that I made:

Now I just need to find our laser pointer…

Instructions for Announcements

 Posted by on 28 March 2013 at 11:00 am  Announcements
Mar 282013

As a general matter, I’m happy to post announcements of events of interest to NoodleFood readers — particularly lectures by good speakers, calls for activism, and so on. So if you’d like me to post an announcement, please do the following:

  1. Construct a clear, simple, and brief text announcement that I can easily quote in a blog post. Include all the essential information. Links and italics should be HTML-ified, like this: text in italics and link text. Please don’t use any other HTML. Check your spelling and grammar.
  2. Email me that announcement at least 24 hours before the event or deadline. I prefer a few days of lead time, however. If time is too short, you can post your announcement in the latest open thread instead.

Yes, that’s a bit fussy of me, but hey, it’s your announcement. So please make it easy for me to help you promote your event.

Mar 282013

On Wednesday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I interviewed Professor Robert Garmong about “Should We Fear or Embrace China?.” The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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

Podcast: 27 March 2013

Is China the next capitalist paradise? Or is it a dangerous military threat? Perhaps it’s neither. Robert Garmong explained the current state of Chinese politics, its military, and its economy in this fascinating interview.

Dr. Robert Garmong studied economics and political science at the University of Chicago, and has a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas (Austin). He currently teaches English language and Western culture at Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, in Dalian, China. His blog is “Professor in Dalian.”

Listen or Download:


  • The current state of Chinese politics, particularly the change of leadership
  • The anti-corruption campaign and lowering interest rates
  • The problem of corruption in China: the floating pigs scandal
  • Central control and its effects
  • The state of the economy in China
  • The shaky housing market
  • The flight of the wealthy
  • The government’s move away from capitalism
  • New regulations on foreign teachers
  • China as a military threat
  • Anti-Japanese sentiment in China
  • China’s military competence
  • Military spending
  • Corruption and training in the military
  • Soft power
  • Assessment of China, overall


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.

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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Yet Another Crazy Email

 Posted by on 27 March 2013 at 2:00 pm  Funny, WTF
Mar 272013

I was quite floored by this email that I received on Sunday:

A friend summarized it thusly:”First, I will insult you, then I will compliment you (I think??), then for my final trick, I will ask you for advice! =/ ” Yup, that’s about it.

I tell ya, I get the best crazy emails! No, I don’t invite further crazy by replying.

In a similar vein, here’s a question recently submitted to Philosophy in Action’s Queue:

Whew! As if that’s not bad enough, it was submitted three times… and I deleted all three.

Finally, one more bit of WTFery posted to Philosophy in Action’s Facebook Page:


Digital Manners

 Posted by on 27 March 2013 at 10:00 am  Communication, Etiquette, Technology
Mar 272013

This article — Disruptions: Digital Era Redefining Etiquette — raises some fascinating questions about the evolution of manners with the rise of the internet, social media, and other new technology. It begins:

Some people are so rude. Really, who sends an e-mail or text message that just says “Thank you”? Who leaves a voice mail message when you don’t answer, rather than texting you? Who asks for a fact easily found on Google?

Don’t these people realize that they’re wasting your time?

Of course, some people might think me the rude one for not appreciating life’s little courtesies. But many social norms just don’t make sense to people drowning in digital communication.

For me, the burden of online communications doesn’t come from the mere inflow per se: I’m good at reviewing, then deleting or archiving my incoming mail. (Hence, I do send those little thank-yous, as I like to acknowledge receipt and express appreciation.)

The major burden lies in what I need to do in response to some email — not just replying (which often requires a bit of research), but also making decisions, updating projects, and the like. The problem is compounded when I receive the information by some means other than email — such as a Facebook message, tweet, or text message. Those venues are perfect for quick replies, and I prefer them to email for that. But I never use them as storage, as I do my email inbox. So if I can’t reply right away, then they’ll just be forgotten. (That’s not always a bad thing!)

I expect that managing my online communications will always be something of a struggle. Yet over the last few years, I’ve done better in two ways.

  • I improved my implementation of Getting Things Done, thanks to some tips that Andrew Miner offered in this interview. I don’t have projects masquerading as tasks any longer. I don’t use artificial deadlines. Instead, I’ve gotten in the habit of making progress on critical areas of focus by just reviewing my projects and tasks, then buckling down to get some stuff done. (Amazingly, that works!)
  • I’ve developed the habit of writing very short emails. I almost never discuss anything other than logistics via email: if I want to have a serious conversation, that must be done in person or via the phone. Or, if a person has a philosophic question, that should be submitted to the queue. I engage in substantive discussion in Facebook comments pretty regularly though. That’s because others chime in with interesting remarks, the medium encourages short comments and dialogue, and I can simply drop out when I get busy.

At this point, I wonder what I can and should do to function better. So… what have you done over the past few years that has helped you better manage your digital communications?

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