Friday, January 23, 2015

"It is dangerous to understand new things too quickly." - Josiah Warren

"Lately it seems as if it's me against the world 
Like it was before my life became a movie..."

After 37 Years in Prison, Innocent North Carolina Man Freed - ABC News: "For the first time in nearly 40 years, Joseph Sledge woke up behind bars with a chance of becoming a free man. The 70-year-old man needed one more win at an innocence hearing. As three judges listened to closing statements Friday about how Sledge was wrongfully convicted in the 1976 stabbing deaths of a mother and her adult daughter, he wrote down a few words on a yellow Post-it note — "closure," ''please" and "exonerated." A few hours later, carrying his belongings in plastic bags, Sledge emerged from a North Carolina jail, saying he was looking forward to what most people consider the most mundane of activities: "Going home. Relaxing. Sleeping in a real bed. Probably get in a pool of water and swim for a little while...

In 2013, the case was referred to the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, the only state-run investigative agency of its kind. So far, Sledge is the eighth person exonerated after an investigation by the commission, which started operating in 2007. It has reviewed about 1,500 cases. Nationwide, The Innocence Project said there have been 325 post-conviction DNA exonerations. The North Carolina commission found there was enough evidence of Sledge's innocence to refer it to a panel of three judges, who were appointed by the state Supreme Court. The judges considered the commission's investigative file, and a DNA expert highlighted lab tests in her testimony Friday. Meghan Clement of Cellmark Forensics said none of the evidence collected from the scene — hair, DNA and fingerprints — belonged to Sledge. The key jailhouse informant, Herman Baker, signed an affidavit in 2013 recanting trial testimony. Baker said he lied at the 1978 trial after being promised leniency in his own drug case and he said he'd been coached by authorities on what to say. Testimony from another jailhouse informant was inconsistent, according to the commission documents. That informant died in 1991...

The only thing that's shown me US politics isn't completely worthless is the insanity of the politics of the last two countries I've lived in.  Politics in Thailand: Groundhog day | The Economist: "SINCE seizing power in a coup last May, Thailand's ruling junta has promised to promote reconciliation over revenge. That went out the window on January 23rd, when members of Thailand's rubber-stamp parliament voted to impeach Yingluck Shinawatra, the former prime minister, for alleged impropriety during her three years in office. The ruling bans Ms Shinawatra, who was Thailand's first female leader, from political office for five years. Government prosecutors are now saying they will pursue criminal charges, which could eventually lead to a jail sentence of up to a decade. It makes a faint hope—that Thailand might swiftly return to democracy—look even more fanciful."

"Everybody abstracts a different reality. When you come through a room, you abstract the reality you're prepared to abstract. You pick up the signals that interest you. Your brain records them and organizes them. We all have our own reality tunnel, and in our reality tunnel we pick out some things and ignore other things. And we got 10 billion cells in our brain receiving hundreds and hundreds of millions of signals all the time. We just pick out the ones that fit into the established grooves in our brain, the reality tunnel that's been laid down by past experience. We all have our own belief system, and the signals that fit our belief system get in. The signals that don't fit our belief system get ignored, or if they keep coming back we go to a psychiatrist to get cured and make them go away." - Maybe Logic: The Lives and Ideas of Robert Anton Wilson 

 5 Reasons the '60s Batman TV Show Is Better Than You Think | "It would've been easy to hire a Batman that was simply content with letting Cesar Romero's Joker laugh in his face while he spoke random generalizations about justice. But those generalizations become effortlessly quotable when spoken by West, with his smugly cool way of letting the mentally unstable know that they'll be spending the night in the Gotham Penitentiary, and with his whiskey-smooth voice. Unless they're pesky Aunt Harriet, the show makes a habit of letting you know that the ladies of Gotham have a Top 2 list for whom they'd like to bang, and it's: 1) Batman, and 2) Bruce Wayne, but if he's not available, then Batman. Adam West's pheromones have not yet been properly researched, but that's because no scientist can be in the same building as him without asking if he's seeing anyone."

"No matter what proof you show them, and I mean documented proof, hard-nosed proof, there are always going to be skeptics who are going to call this a fraud, a hoax, a gigantic put-on. The world is full of people with a kind of deep-seated masochistic pessimism. They have an unconscious hatred and fear of life and a deep wish for its permanent cessation." -Max Ehrlich


American student arrested for Arabic flash cards in airport after TSA freaked out settles lawsuit - Boing Boing: "“Five years ago, the Philadelphia police thought that carrying Arabic-language flashcards was enough to warrant the arrest of an innocent traveler,” writes that traveler, Nick George. With help from the American Civil Liberties Union, he reached a settlement today in a lawsuit brought against the Philadelphia police department. America is safe once again for people who like to study foreign languages and read books on foreign policy in airports. Here's the text of the settlement [PDF] which awards him $25,000 and ends the long-running legal battle. Nick was heading off to start his senior year at Pomona College in California, back in August 2009, when cops detained, aggressively interrogated, handcuffed, and locked him in a jail cell for nearly five hours at the Philadelphia International Airport. Why was he targeted? Because Nick, a dual major in physics and Middle Eastern studies, was carrying a set of English-Arabic flashcards in for his language class--and Rogue Nation, a book critical of U.S. foreign policy that was written by a former Reagan administration official. “It should go without saying that this is perfectly innocuous, First Amendment-protected activity,” says Nick. “Turns out, it doesn't.”"

King Abdullah's Moderate Beheadings - Hit & Run : "From The New York Times' obit for King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who just died at age 90: Still, Abdullah became, in some ways, a force of moderation. He contested Al Qaeda's militant interpretations of the faith as justifying, even compelling, terrorist acts. He ordered that textbooks be purged of their most extreme language and sent 900 imams to re-education sessions. He had hundreds of militants arrested and some beheaded. It's supposed to be "moderate" because he was doing it to "militants," I guess."

Lying and/or willful ignorance and/or utter lack of self-awareness & understanding.  Or, to sum up, politics.  GOP senator who boasted about her family's self-reliance received $460K in federal subsidies - Boing Boing: "Iowa Republican senator Joni Ernst gave her party's official response to the State of the Union address by boasting self-righteously about her humble origins and how her self-reliant, heartland-state family pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps, but conveniently failed to mention that her family's farm was the beneficiary of nearly half a million dollars in federal subsidies.  Senator Ernst's speech stressed how her family had "lived within its means" and she campaigned on a promise to "cut the pork" out of government.

The truth about her family’s farm roots and living within one’s means, however, is more complex. Relatives of Ernst (née: Culver), based in Red Oak, Iowa (population: 5,568) have received over $460,000 in farm subsidies between 1995 and 2009. Ernst’s father, Richard Culver, was given $14,705 in conservation payments and $23,690 in commodity subsidies by the federal government–with all but twelve dollars allocated for corn support. Richard’s brother, Dallas Culver, benefited from $367,141 in federal agricultural aid, with over $250,000 geared toward corn subsidies. And the brothers’ late grandfather Harold Culver received $57,479 from Washington—again, mostly corn subsidies—between 1995 and 2001. He passed away in January 2003. The Sentinel cross-referenced the Environmental Working Group farm subsidy database with open source information to verify the Culvers’ interest in the Department of Agriculture’s crop support program. Sen. Ernst’s family’s financial interest notably came up once during her campaign. In October, Salon reported that Richard’s construction company was awarded $215,665 in contracts from the Montgomery County government in 2009 and 2010, while Ernst was the body’s auditor. The bids won by Culver included Federal Emergency Management Agency projects worth $204,794."


The Zeppo.

Bill Maher is right about religion: The Orwellian ridiculousness of Jesus, and the truth about moral progress - "Most people believe that moral progress has primarily been due to the guiding light of religious teachings, the activities of spiritual leaders, and the power of faith-based initiatives. In “The Moral Arc” I argue that this is not the case, and that most moral progress is the result of science, reason, and secular values developed during the Enlightenment. Once moral progress in a particular area is underway, most religions eventually get on board—as in the abolition of slavery in the 19th century, women’s rights in the 20th century, and gay rights in the 21st century—but this often happens after a shamefully protracted lag time. Why? The rules that were dreamt up and enshrined by the various religions over the millennia did not have as their goal the expansion of the moral sphere to include other sentient beings. Moses did not come down from the mountain with a detailed list of the ways in which the Israelites could make life better for the Moabites, the Edomites, the Midianites, or for any other tribe of people that happened not to be them. One justification for this constricted sphere can be found in the Old Testament injunction to “Love thy neighbor,” who at that time was one’s immediate kin and kind, which was admittedly an evolutionary stratagem appropriate for the time. It would be suicidal to love thy neighbor as thyself when thy neighbor would like nothing better than to exterminate you, which was often the case for the Bronze Age peoples of the Old Testament. What good would have come of the Israelites loving, for example, the Midianites as themselves? The results would have been catastrophic given that the Midianites were allied with the Moabites in their desire to see the Israelites wiped off the face of the earth.

Today, of course, most Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe that moral principles are universal and apply to everyone, but this is because they have inculcated into their moral thinking the modern Enlightenment goal of broadening and redefining the parameters of moral consideration. But by their nature the world’s religions are tribal and xenophobic, serving to regulate moral rules within the community but not seeking to embrace humanity outside their circle. Religion, by definition, forms an identity of those like us, in sharp distinction from those not us, those heathens, those unbelievers. Most religions were pulled into the modern Enlightenment with their fingernails dug into the past. Change in religious beliefs and practices, when it happens at all, is slow and cumbersome, and it is almost always in response to the church or its leaders facing outside political or cultural forces...

There are three reasons for the sclerotic nature of religion: (1) The foundation of the belief in an absolute morality is the belief in an absolute religion grounded in the One True God. This inexorably leads to the conclusion that anyone who believes differently has departed from this truth and thus is unprotected by our moral obligations. (2) Unlike science, religion has no systematic process and no empirical method to employ to determine the verisimilitude of its claims and beliefs, much less right and wrong. (3) The morality of holy books—most notably the Bible—is not the morality any of us would wish to live by, and thus it is not possible for the religious doctrines derived from holy books to be the catalyst for moral evolvement...

Many Jews and Christians say that they get their morality from the Bible, but this cannot be true because as holy books go the Bible is possibly the most unhelpful guide ever written for determining right from wrong. It’s chockfull of bizarre stories about dysfunctional families, advice about how to beat your slaves, how to kill your headstrong kids, how to sell your virgin daughters, and other clearly outdated practices that most cultures gave up centuries ago."

This is pretty awesome.


Hyphenated Americans Don't Undermine America - "The assimilability of immigrants has been a perennial concern in this land of immigrants. Ben Franklin famously worried that admitting too many "Palatine boors"—his fond term for Germans—would mean that they'd Germanize "us" rather than "us Anglifying them," because Germans were incapable of "adopting our language and customs." Thomas Jefferson likewise worried whether Europeans from monarchies would ever acquire the habits of republican self-governance. And then there was the hysteria about the "divided loyalties" of Catholics who regarded the Vatican as a higher authority than Uncle Sam...

Today, a new twist on this old worry has emerged. It concerns so-called transnational immigrants like me who like to maintain what Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, whose parents are Indian émigrés, last week derisively called "hyphenated identities." If you want to be Indian, stay in India, advised Jindal, who himself gave up Hinduism, the religion of his birth, and embraced Christianity. The rap against us is that in this age of instant communication, we maintain ties with our motherland that prevent us from fully "emotionally assimilating." The fact that we can fly back home in a jiffy when our aunt dies or niece gets married (as I just did last month) means that our assimilation is superficial. Therefore, allowing more of us in, especially when the American educational system's commitment to (forced) integration has been replaced by forced multiculturalism, would undercut the shared civic beliefs that hold America together.

...restrictionists consider Latinos the most resistant to assimilation because of their tenacious fondness for Spanish and their relative proximity to their homeland. Still, 91 percent of the children and 97 percent of the grandchildren of Mexican immigrants to America speak English as their dominant language. And when it comes to patriotic assimilation, qualified Latinos—meaning those who are legal and have a high-school degree—are represented in the military just as much as they are in the civilian workforce. By contrast, whites and Asians are underrepresented and blacks over-represented. Most interestingly, however, according to a 2012 Pew survey, Latinos and Asians have a far higher rate of intermarriage compared to blacks and whites, a crucial metric of cultural assimilation."

The Supreme Court’s massive blind spot - The Washington Post: "...the argument here isn’t that we need a court full of defense attorneys. It’s that we’re asking the court to decide some of the most profound and important issues we face as a free society, but we’re then filling it with people who have no experience with, no appreciation for, and no concept of how those issues play out in the real world. They’re making landmark pronouncements on rights and powers with no understanding of how incentives operate in the criminal justice system, often based on false narratives about police and prosecutors. Worse yet, given the direction the nominating process has been headed in recent years, it seems unlikely that any of that is going to change any time soon."

 Jim Rockford Warned Us About Google And Facebook Back In 1978: "Why didn't we listen? The fourth season of The Rockford Files, arguably the greatest television show of all time, features a "futuristic" storyline about a terrible threat. What if a private corporation used computers to gather personal information on hundreds of millions of Americans? Could we trust them with that data? I know, it's hard to imagine such a thing ever happening — a private company, collecting private and personal data on ordinary Americans and other people around the world. It sounds far-fetched, right? But Jim Rockford, the toughest and most incorruptible P.I. ever to live in a trailer with his dad, teams up with a younger detective to investigate the suspicious death of an old friend, a private detective named Tooley, in the episode "The House on Willis Avenue." (This episode is written by the show's co-creator, Stephen J. Cannell, who also gave us The Greatest American Hero.)"

The Zeppo.  Classic.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"...and what do you think, Despair?"

Anti-Fragile Book: Why We Should Eat Like Cavemen, Embrace Religion, and Hate Bankers - Mic: "The concept of anti-fragility urges readers to think counter-intuitively in order to realistically understand our world. Taleb believes it is human nature to assume there is order where there is chaos, and insist on creating narratives out of obvious randomness. This idea that we can smooth everything out, and eliminate risk, or what Taleb refers to as “the soccer mom problem” and “touristification” is not only hubris, it’s stupidity. The book is an evisceration of our own self-deceptions using statistical interpretations, mathematics, historical, and even biological examples. In his worldview, great success is only achieved by heuristic trial-and-error, not stability. At the Brooklyn launch of his book on Wednesday, Taleb declared that, “The only anti-fragile systems now are Silicon Valley and the New York restaurant industry.” Both entities are extremely innovative, and prone to high levels of failure and reward. The ability for individual disasters to benefit the overall quality of the collective qualifies them as anti-fragile...

His perfect workout is, “Go to the gym and get into a fight on the way. Win. Go into the basement and lift something very heavy.” Randomness and convexity teach the body to be strong and adaptable. Taleb scorns the idea of running on a treadmill. “If a Martian saw people on treadmill machines, they would think they were in a Russian labor camp.”

...The author is quite skeptical of education as a cure-all for economic development and career building. He points to the idea that rich countries have high levels of education and literacy. Therefore, there’s the belief that education leads to wealth, when actually the opposite occurs—countries get rich, and then they get educated. Since studies show that education does not equal GDP, to be anti-fragile, first have skills, and then obtain formal education. An example given is, “The merchant profession has lots of variance. A dentist has very little.” Although parents want a life of stability for their children, Taleb’s theory would put the odds of success on the merchant in an unpredictable world. “College insulates students from downsides,” he says, “but also prevents brilliance.”"

Nassim Taleb: my rules for life | Books | The Guardian: "His justification for all this is that "experience is devoid of the cherry-picking that we find in studies". More than anything else, he believes in having "skin in the game". When, for example, he warned about the fragility of the banking system in The Black Swan, "I was betting on its collapse". His point is that he's always put his money where his mouth is, and it's this principle – and the lack of it – that is still, he believes, the fundamental problem with the entire banking system. In the book he calls this "Hammurabi's Code", a 3,800-year-old Babylonian law that stipulated that if a building collapses and kills someone, the builder should be put to death. Whereas, for bankers, "there is no downside". The bonus system means that "they're paid billions in compensation". And if their bets lose, it's the taxpayers who pay. He cites, not unadmiringly, the tradition in Catalonia where they would "behead bankers in front of their banks". So, what's changed, I asked, since he wrote the book, and the system collapsed? "Nothing. Nothing has changed. Zero. Now I switch to writing technical papers. There is some hope, the Bank of England wants to implement antifragility. Mervyn King [the governor of the Bank of England] spoke about it at the LSE. And I've done work for the IMF…  And he especially despises journalists who made the case for war on Iraq, like the New York Times's Thomas Friedman, "a serial criminal" who he says makes him feel physically sick. It's back to his "skin in the game" beliefs. If you're going to make the case for war, you need to have at least one direct descendant who stands to lose his life from the decision. And while some may wonder why they need a lecture on ethics from an ex-city trader, it's hard to argue with. Though it's easy enough to argue about more or less anything else."

The 5 Worst Moments From Last Night’s State of the Union | TIME: "1. “Today, fewer than 15,000 [troops] remain” in Afghanistan and Iraq, said Obama. That’s down from nearly 200,000 just six years ago. Well, what took so long, really? Obama’s administration did everything it could to extend our presence in both countries (even tripling troop strength in Afghanistan for a “surge” that was a resolute failure by all accounts). Now we’re droning the hell out of Yemen, Pakistan, and elsewhere (where innocent targets are hit 28 times for every intended target, according to the British group Reprieve). And we’re back in Iraq, fighting ISIS without a declaration of war or a clear plan. Maybe we’ve “turned the page,” as Obama asserted in the speech’s controlling metaphor, but we’re just in a new chapter in the same tired old playbook when it comes to what Candidate Obama called “dumb wars” and pledged to avoid..."

"God Bless."

'American Sniper' Is Almost Too Dumb to Criticize | Rolling Stone: "The thing is, the mere act of trying to make a typically Hollywoodian one-note fairy tale set in the middle of the insane moral morass that is/was the Iraq occupation is both dumber and more arrogant than anything George Bush or even Dick Cheney ever tried. No one expected 20 minutes of backstory about the failed WMD search, Abu Ghraib, or the myriad other American atrocities and quick-trigger bombings that helped fuel the rise of ISIL and other groups. But to turn the Iraq war into a saccharine, almost PG-rated two-hour cinematic diversion about a killing machine with a heart of gold (is there any film theme more perfectly 2015-America than that?) who slowly, very slowly, starts to feel bad after shooting enough women and children – that was a hard one to see coming...

There's the obligatory somber scene of shirtless buffed-up SEAL Kyle and his heartthrob wife Sienna Miller gasping at the televised horror of the 9/11 attacks. Next thing you know, Kyle is in Iraq actually fighting al-Qaeda – as if there was some logical connection between 9/11 and Iraq. Which of course there had not been, until we invaded and bombed the wrong country and turned its moonscaped cities into a recruitment breeding ground for… you guessed it, al-Qaeda. They skipped that chicken-egg dilemma in the film, though, because it would detract from the "human story."

...The problem of course is that there's no such thing as "winning" the War on Terror militarily. In fact the occupation led to mass destruction, hundreds of thousands of deaths, a choleric lack of real sanitation, epidemic unemployment and political radicalization that continues to this day to spread beyond Iraq's borders. Yet the movie glosses over all of this, and makes us think that killing Mustafa was some kind of decisive accomplishment – the single shot that kept terrorists out of the coffee shops of San Francisco or whatever. It's a scene that ratified every idiot fantasy of every yahoo with a target rifle from Seattle to Savannah...

The really dangerous part of this film is that it turns into a referendum on the character of a single soldier. It's an unwinnable argument in either direction. We end up talking about Chris Kyle and his dilemmas, and not about the Rumsfelds and Cheneys and other officials up the chain who put Kyle and his high-powered rifle on rooftops in Iraq and asked him to shoot women and children. They're the real villains in this movie, but the controversy has mostly been over just how much of a "hero" Chris Kyle really was...

The thing is, it always looks bad when you criticize a soldier for doing what he's told. It's equally dangerous to be seduced by the pathos and drama of the individual solider's experience, because most wars are about something much larger than that, too. They did this after Vietnam, when America spent decades watching movies like Deer Hunter and First Blood and Coming Home about vets struggling to reassimilate after the madness of the jungles. So we came to think of the "tragedy" of Vietnam as something primarily experienced by our guys, and not by the millions of Indochinese we killed. That doesn't mean Vietnam Veterans didn't suffer: they did, often terribly. But making entertainment out of their dilemmas helped Americans turn their eyes from their political choices. The movies used the struggles of soldiers as a kind of human shield protecting us from thinking too much about what we'd done in places like Vietnam and Cambodia and Laos.

This is going to start happening now with the War-on-Terror movies. As CNN's Griggs writes, "We're finally ready for a movie about the Iraq War." Meaning: we're ready to be entertained by stories about how hard it was for our guys. And it might have been. But that's not the whole story and never will be. We'll make movies about the Chris Kyles of the world and argue about whether they were heroes or not. Some were, some weren't. But in public relations as in war, it'll be the soldiers taking the bullets, not the suits in the Beltway who blithely sent them into lethal missions they were never supposed to understand."

Eddie Huang on Seeing His Memoir Become a Sitcom -- Vulture: "But for all the bullshit I heard at studios about universal stories and the cultural pus it perpetuates, I felt some truth in it for those three minutes. It takes a lot of chutzpah to launch a network comedy with a pilot addressing the word chink, yet it works because it’s the safest bet the studio could have made. The feeling of being different is universal because difference makes us universally human in our individual relationships with society. We’re all fucking weirdos. The social contract is here because we have a collective desire to be individuals and preserve our rights to pursue singular happiness with or without cilantro. But we’ve been fixated way too long on universality and the matrix’s pursuit of monoculture. It’s time to embrace difference and speak about it with singularity, idiosyncracy, and infinite density. No more drone strikes, no more Nielsen boxes, no more "we are the world" … if it’s walkin' dead with a red dot, take the shot. Chinkstronauts, ride out ..."

"Most mammals mark their territories with excretions. Domesticated primates humans mark their territories with ink excretions on paper." - Robert Anton Wilson.

"Every war results from the struggle for markets and spheres of influence, and every war is sold to the public by professional liars and totally sincere religious maniacs, as a Holy Crusade to save God and Goodness from Satan and Evil." - Robert Anton Wilson

Pope Francis Says He Never Meant to Endorse Punishment of Religious Insults - Hit & Run : "In his comments last week, Francis never explicitly said violence was OK, merely that it was to be expected. I accept that he did not mean to defend violence, although I still question both the accuracy and the wisdom of declaring that it's only human to punch someone in the nose when he insults your mother or your religion. Francis even went so far as to say that he himself would respond violently if someone insulted his mother. Expectations matter, and if we expect violence in situations like these, we will get more of it. Even though Francis says a violent response is "unjust," he is offering an appealing excuse for it."


1/21 - chins, bw rows, knee raises, grip/hang/coct, stretch Blog: "Within the last paragraph, I wrote about a friend of mine who at the time was in his late 40s. He is a former fighter who stayed in excellent shape with what many would consider a basic routine. When I was last in contact with him, his routine consisted of a strength workout on day one, hill running and calisthenics on day two, and a boxing workout on day three. He would repeat this three day sequence twice a week. my surprise, I ran into him at a boxing event over the weekend. He’s in his 50s now and is still in great shape. After busting his stones about disappearing from the earth, we grabbed a cup of coffee and chatted for a few minutes before the fights. I asked him how his training was going and he nonchalantly replied, “Same sh*t, different day.” He went on to say that he no longer has access to free weights. Instead, he has been working with a weighted vest. He wears it for exercises such as pull-ups, pushups, dips, squats, and lunges. A strength workout for him consists of a few sets wearing the vest and then a few sets without it. He averages two weighted vest workouts each week in his basement. He has also maintained his running but has shifted towards more trail work. He likes running the trails and will usually do a few sets of calisthenics before or after the run. He also does the same boxing workout once or twice a week which consists of shadow boxing, punching the heavy bag, and skipping rope. 

 The Moral To The Story - Believe it or not, there is a point to this entry... the message that I hope to convey is one that I’ve shared many times before. In short, complex routines are not necessary for general health and strength. My friend is in his 50s and could hang with most healthy adults who are half his age. Ironically, he has maintained his ability with a routine that many fitness professionals would surely critique. My friend doesn’t care about periodization, restoration, variety or any other industry buzzword. In fact, he doesn’t even have a computer. He told me that his hard drive crashed sometime around 2012 and he had no reason to purchase another. Therefore, he’s obviously a guy who doesn’t wait until Monday morning to read the latest breakthroughs in the fitness industry. He doesn’t subscribe to any newsletters and has probably never read a scientific journal in his life. His exercise philosophy is pretty simple. In his words, “Push yourself and try to find something that you enjoy, or at least don’t dread doing. And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And while his routine and philosophy may seem archaic, the results are impossible to deny. This man’s consistency and diligence have proven to be invaluable. He is in tremendous shape in his 50s and doesn’t pay any attention to the modern fitness industry. His comments about the industry were actually quite classic, but are probably something I shouldn’t share here to avoid any lawsuits."


1.     Stop eating fake foods...

2.     Start focusing on the foods that are especially nutritious for you.  I do well with berries, bison, and healthy milk products.  Wild salmon in particular is like a magical healing potion to me.  But I’m a cold-weather person with upper-latitude lactose-tolerant DNA, so my experience is no substitute for your experiments.  Whatever you do, get plenty of healthy animal and/or coconut fat.  If you’re very overweight, eliminate starches and limit fruit while still eating your fill of healthy fat. 

3.     Increase your strength with free weights: barbells or dumbbells.  Squat, deadlift, and some kind of press should account for 80% of your focus..." 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"...break the identification with the voice in your head. It’s not who you are."

From Magic to Science (sort of) | Scott Adams Blog: "When I was young and trying to figure out the world, nearly every piece of popular “advice” people offered was complete bullshit. Let’s look at a few. 

Advice is Useful: I used to think there was such a thing as “advice” that existed as little nuggets of valuable knowledge. If you were lucky enough to have lots of these advice nuggets you could piece them together and create and awesome plan that was likely to pay off. As an adult, I can see that generic advice for specific individuals almost never makes sense. Every situation is unique...

You’re probably thinking that some sorts of advice are universally applicable, such as the idea that hard work produces good results. But if I look around me, two of my richest friends work the fewest hours because they picked careers that allowed that to happen. I know rich people who have broken laws, become drug users, been dishonest, you name it. If you throw darts at a board with good and bad advice ranging from “get good grades in school” to “knock up your high school girlfriend” I can find examples of folks who made every situation work...

What do all successful people have in common? Beats me. I haven’t seen a correlation. I’ve seen lots of business plans in the past year and one of the best was from a guy that had a hard time getting through high school.  The entrepreneurs with advanced degrees are pushing science forward and taking their 10% chance of commercializing products that can change the world. The high school graduate looked at the legal weed business and said, “I can do a lot of things wrong and still make money as a legal grower because the margins are so high.” Which entrepreneur do you bet on? If you think you know the answer, you don’t understand the nature of start-ups. 

Be Yourself: You used to hear the “be yourself” advice a lot. Apparently there is some sort of “real” you buried beneath the layers of social training. And that personality you keep hiding is amazing. The reality of course is that there is no real you anywhere. You are just a coincidental outcome of nature plus environment...

Follow Your Passion: ...Passion is magical thinking. Passion can’t be managed and it can’t be defined. And in my experience, passion is what you get when something works...

Fast Forward to 2015… Today we have replaced a lot of the magical thinking of old with something that looks a lot more like science, at least in terms of testing ideas and seeing how they turn out, and not believing in things that can’t be seen or measured. Now you see more of this sort of talk… 

Systems vs. Goals: Develop a system that improves your value in the world in a general way and make it easier for luck to find you. 
Habit: You can rewire your brain by repetition and reward. So rewire your brain in ways that can improve your odds of success. Manage 
Willpower: Willpower isn’t real in the old-timey sense that we can scrunch our foreheads and generate more of it when needed so long as our parents raised us right. But it does seem true, according to studies, that using your so-called willpower in one situation leaves you less self-restraint for the next, in any given day. So the modern view is that you manage willpower like a limited resource instead of a super power you can summon on command...
A-B testing: You keep trying different things in rapid succession and track how users respond. 

...I’m telling an incomplete story here, but the general idea is that a scientific mindset is slowly replacing the magical thinking about “success” that dominated my generation."

Podcast 431 – “That Voice In Your Head”: "“The idea for me is really very simple, break the identification with the voice in your head. It’s not who you are. It’s just your language machine. And you’ll be in a much better position to evaluate your experience and formulate new actions if you language machine isn’t filling your head with a bunch of stupid, really bad ideas.”"

 "Human beings are robots operationally programmed by neurogenetic templates, neural imprints and social conditioning." - The Game of Life by Robert Anton Wilson and Timothy Leary

Pope Francis Goes Full Joe Biden, Pizza Named as Obesity Villain: P.M. Links - Hit & Run : "With off-the-cuff comments calling for speech restrictions, criticizing those who breed "like rabbits," and pondering giving con men "a kick where the sun doesn't shine," Pope Francis is gaining a reputation as the Joe Biden of the Roman Catholic Church."  - The Pope said what?!? More stunners from Francis -

A Brief History Of "Satanic Panic" In The 1980s: "Talk shows, the era's number-one source for dubious investigations of hot-button topics, also helped fan Satanic Panic's flames. (Check out the Oprah clip below; the technical quality isn't good, but the content — in which a calm and clear-eyed representative of an alternative religion calls out an audience member who makes vague claims of having, uh, murdered a guy as part of a Satanic ritual — is very telling.)

A Brief History Of "Satanic Panic" In The 1980s: ""It was something we didn't realize at the time, but now, it looks like a low-scale version of the McCarthy-era paranoia around communism...

In the wake of all this paranoia came a slew of high-profile cases involving day-care workers, which were a perfect storm of paranoia about Satanism, cutting-edge psychotherapy that claimed to recover the children's repressed memories, and a gathering awareness of the problem of child sexual abuse. It's important to remember that the 1980s didn't just see unfounded dread about Satanists. Prior to the late 1970s, law enforcement did very little to prosecute sexual abuse of children. But in the 1980s, the Department of Justice stepped up its fight against child pornography, with measurable success, and laws revolving around the reporting of child abuse were revamped, with an eye toward protecting innocent victims. So these allegations of ritual abuse in day-care centers came from the combination of legitimate awareness of a previously hidden problem, and completely unfounded hysteria...

Looking back, the McMartin case seems like a clear-cut case of mass hysteria. But even after it was closed, fears about Satanic ritual abuse refused to completely die. In 1993, a year before The Law Enforcement Guide to Satanic Cults found its way to VHS, the long saga of the West Memphis Three began, in which a trio of young men were accused of murdering a trio of young boys as part of a cult ritual. "[The police] had this whole thing about how the teenagers were into the occult," author Bebergal remembers. "But in the court documents, they would always make note that they listened to heavy metal. That was a key point. The music that they listened to, it was believed, would make them more susceptible to whatever Satanic conspiracy. It was a way of noting that the kids were troubled.""

Salt Is Not the Killer the Government Says It Is - Hit & Run : "A new study in JAMA Internal Medicine is adding to the evidence the CDC's sodium advice is basically a superstition, that is to say, a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation. In this case, the CDC and lots of physicians are buying into what has turned out to be a false conception of causation. The new study followed 2642 older adults (age range, 71-80 years) participating in a community-based, prospective cohort study for ten years. The researchers analyzed the sodium intake of participants looking at three groups: those who consumed less than 1,500 milligrams per day; other who ate 1,500 milligrams to 2,300 milligrams per day; and those pigged out on more than 2,300 milligrams per day. What did they find?  

In older adults, food frequency questionnaire–assessed sodium intake was not associated with 10-year mortality, incident CVD [cardiovascular disease], or incident HF [heart failure], and consuming greater than 2300 mg/d of sodium was associated with nonsignificantly higher mortality in adjusted models. Cardiology Today noted: At 10 years, mortality rates were lower in those with sodium intake 1,500 mg/day to 2,300 mg/day (30.7%) compared with those with sodium intake less than 1,500 mg/day (33.8%) and those receiving more than 2,300 mg/day of sodium (35.2%), but the difference was not statistically significant, according to the researchers. This new report bolsters the findings in a New England Journal of Medicine study from last August that found that people who consume less 1,500 milligrams of sodium (about 3/4ths of a teaspoon of salt) are more likely to die than people who eat between 3,000 to 6,000 milligrams of sodium per day (1.5 and 3 teaspoons of salt)."