Posted by on 29 November 2013 at 1:00 pm  Link-O-Rama
Nov 292013

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Posted by on 28 November 2013 at 9:00 am  Funny
Nov 282013

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I have much to be grateful for, but since I’m feeling a bit too high in spirits for such a serious post, I’ll leave you with this gem…

The Evil of Snow-Covered Patio Pictures

 Posted by on 27 November 2013 at 2:00 pm  Funny, Photography
Nov 272013

This video commentary epic rant by Kyle Clark of our local 9NEWS station on the evil of pictures of snow-covered patio furniture is beyond awesome. Really, watch the video!

I love that so many people were irate about it!


Although I grew up on the east coast, I was unaware of this cultural and political divide: “On the east coast, they have slaves, and they believe in slavery and made in china. but on the west coast and the new west coast, we don’t believe in that. We believe in the union, and that’s what we are.” Also, I’d like to know more about these “vegetable trees.” No, really!

Really though, I’d like to know what the heck she smoked before this meeting… so that I can avoid that substance like the plague.

Three Harangues

 Posted by on 26 November 2013 at 10:00 am  Marriage, Personal, Religion, Sports
Nov 262013

Last night, I harangued Paul Hsieh about the following topics:

(1) The wrong of his checking “chicken thighs” off our joint online Costco grocery list, when we need them every trip and I nearly forgot to buy them today due to his checking them off last time. *

(2) The moral wrong of making nasty comments about pro athletes — as opposed to mere observations or criticisms. You can be a sports fan without being a jerk! Alas, I was informed that such a crusade is probably pretty hopeless.

(3) The utter moral insanity of the whole religious mindset in which God creates the universe and mankind, demands that people obey and worship him without anything remotely resembling decent evidence for even his existence, and then condemns people to eternal torment if they fail to do so.

Yup, just another evening Chez Hsieh.

* I decided to harangue Paul about the chicken thighs because I’ve discovered that he has just two modes: (1) ignoring my request, to the point of not remembering that I ever said any such thing to him or (2) remembering and heeding the request, but poking fun at me for making such a big deal of it. I prefer the latter, so I gave him a long and loud hand-wavey diatribe about chicken thighs, which he proceeded to pretend to ignore. However, I know that he’ll remember it… and remind me of said diatribe every time he goes to Costco for at least a few years.

Amanda Palmer on The Art of Asking

 Posted by on 25 November 2013 at 11:00 am  Economics, Tip Jar
Nov 252013

I don’t know anything about Amanda Palmer or her music, but I really enjoyed her TED talk on funding her music through crowdsourcing. “Asking makes you vulnerable.” Indeed.

So much of this resonates so much for me personally — most obviously given that Philosophy in Action Radio is available for free, but supported by contributions from fans. That does give me a great sense of trust and vulnerability… and immense gratitude too.

Nov 252013

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on positive change in Islam, self-esteem and appearance, 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: 24 November 2013

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: 24 November 2013

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


My News of the Week: I’ve been working on various programming projects – including getting all my old podcasts posted. That’s taking more work than I expected.

Question 1: Positive Change in Islam

Question: Can Islam change for the better? Many critics of Islam claim that the religion is inherently totalitarian, violent, and repressive – and hence, that change for the better is utterly impossible. An Islamic reformation or enlightenment will never happen, they say. Is that true? More generally, what are the limits of a religion’s ties to its own scriptures?

My Answer, In Brief: As in every other religion, Muslims are not bound to the barbaric elements of Islamic texts. Islam can change – and hopefully will, for the better.

Listen or Download:


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

Question 2: Self-Esteem and Appearance

Question: How is a person’s appearance related to self-esteem? Should a rational person care much about his body – including height, weight, musculature, beauty, and so on? Is that second-handed somehow? How much effort should a person exert to make himself look the way he wants to look? Should a person’s looks affect his self-esteem?

My Answer, In Brief: A person should care about his body, but he ought to focus more on being healthy, capable, happy, and confident than on satisfying any cultural ideal of beauty.

Listen or Download:


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

Rapid Fire Questions


  • Given that it’s inapt to say taxation is slavery, would it still be a mistake to say that compulsory taxation is ‘partial enslavement’ or ‘a less severe form of slavery’?
  • Is there any validity to the primary/secondary quality distinction?
  • Should a person use the term “black” or “African-American”?
  • Why do socialists want equality of outcome?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 56:46
  • Duration: 12:24
  • 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: 1:09:11

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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Activism Recap

 Posted by on 24 November 2013 at 1:00 pm  Activism Recap
Nov 242013

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 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.

Dixie Over Fences

 Posted by on 23 November 2013 at 12:00 pm  Horses, Personal, Sports
Nov 232013

I took Dixie over to Martha’s today for a lesson, particularly to start her over fences. (Lila is on light work while we fix a problem with chronic pain.) Dixie is my friend Cyndi Meredith’s horse, and I’ve had her Chez Hsieh to foxhunt her. (That’s a whole other blog post… but she’s been amazingly quiet in the excitement of the hunt field, particularly for a four-year-old.)

Here are four very short videos of Dixie going through two fences with guide poles to help her figure out the striding. Dixie was really quite good and willing for being so young and green. I was so glad to have Martha’s guidance too, since I’ve never actually taught a horse to jump.

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

Video 4


 Posted by on 22 November 2013 at 1:00 pm  Link-O-Rama
Nov 222013

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha