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.
  • Food-O-Rama

     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!
  • Link-O-Rama

     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?

    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 whole of Explore Atlas Shrugged – meaning, all 20 sessions of podcasts and study questions – can be purchased for just $20. 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:

    • Duration: 19:00 (Preview) / 1:16:38 (Full Podcast)
    • Download Preview: Standard MP3 File (6.5 MB)

    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)

    Summary: 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 her 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 and how is the outside world – not the valley – a “prehistorical mirage”? (754)
    • Why does Dagny take such pleasure when she serves John Galt breakfast and keeps his house? (755, 753)
    • What is Ragnar’s attitude toward the physical risks involved in his piracy? Is that unusual? What is the attitude of John, Dagny, Kay Ludlow, and the others toward those risks? (755-9, 754)
    • Why is Dagny so surprised to learn of Ragnar’s marriage? What does that marriage reveal about the strikers? (758-9)
    • Why is Dagny so appalled at the thought of accepting the money that Ragnar has collected by his piracy? Should she accept it? (759)
    • Does Galt have the right to require Dagny to stay in the valley? Why does he want her to do so? (759-60)

    About Explore Atlas Shrugged

    Do you want to better understand and appreciate Ayn Rand’s epic novel Atlas Shrugged?

    Explore Atlas Shrugged is an in-depth course consisting of a podcast series, study questions, and other resources by philosopher Dr. Diana Hsieh. The course breaks Atlas Shrugged into 20 manageable sessions, each covering about 65 pages of the novel.

    Explore Atlas Shrugged will inspire fresh insights into the complex events, characters, and ideas of Ayn Rand’s epic novel, whether you’ve read it just once or a dozen times before. Check out the previews, then purchase access to the whole of Explore Atlas Shrugged for just $20.

    Purchase Explore Atlas Shrugged

    Access to the whole of Explore Atlas Shrugged costs just $20. You can pay online via Dwolla or PayPal. Or you can send a check or money order via the US Mail, including with your bank’s bill pay service. If you want to pay by some other method, choose “Other” below and explain in the comments. I recommend using Dwolla: it’s a payment system with lower fees, stronger security, and better interface design than PayPal. A Dwolla account is free and easy to create.

    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 any participants in your online or in-person Atlas Shrugged reading group. Notably, (3) do not ever post the podcasts or study questions in any public forum.

    Item:Podcasts and More: Explore Atlas Shrugged ($20)
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    To order multiple items from Philosophy in Action, use this form. To create a recurring tip, use this form.

    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

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    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

    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

    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

    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.)

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