Monday, August 31, 2009


As I'm about to turn away from this pretty page on my calendar (showing the Fall Creek Falls and the South Fork of the Snake River in Idaho), it is time for me to welcome Martin back and thank him for this guest blogging opportunity.

Martin, I hope you enjoyed your break; I certainly did enjoy contributing to your blog, and I've learned again what I already knew from earlier: that writing a good, well-researched EGO post can be quite a demanding and time-consuming activity! So for now, I am happy to say:

Back to you, Martin!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Since the Speaker of the House accused her grassroots AstroTurf opponents of carrying swastikas to town hall meetings, the Left has been on a desperate search for pictures of protesters to substantiate her charges.

They haven't been very successful so far, but a brave Marine has recently offered them some pointers:

"My name is David, and I'm from Camas, Washington. And first of all, I want to let everybody know, since this is the thing tonight, that I'm a Marine Corp Vet. And, like you, I did swear an oath to defend my Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

"Now, I heard you say tonight about educating our children, indoctrinating our children, whatever you want to call it. [Baird: "I didn't say indoctrinating."] STAY AWAY FROM MY KIDS!

"I also heard you say you're going to let us keep our health insurance. Well, THANK YOU! It's NOT YOUR RIGHT to decide whether or not I keep my current plan. That's MY decision.

"I've heard recently in the media you and some other people on the national political stage call us brown shirts because we oppose ..."

[Baird interrupts:] "No, I did not. No, I did not. What I said was ... I ... and I've apologized for it!"

"OK, well thanks for apologizing, but let me ... (I want to speak to you, then I'll speak to the others) ... but I'll remind you--a little history lesson--the Nazis did not ... the Nazis were the National SOCIALIST Party. They were leftists. They took over the finance. They took over the car industry. They took over healthcare in that country.

"If Nancy Pelosi wants to find a Swastika, maybe the first place she should look is the sleeve on her own arm.

"But what I want to know is, you've done a lot of things that violate your constitutional oath, as you know. What I want to know is, as a Marine, as a disabled Veteran that served this country: I KEPT MY OATH. DO YOU EVER INTEND TO KEEP YOURS?

My salute to you, sir!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Offering Peace of Mind

A company says on its home page:

You've committed your life to Jesus. You know you're saved. But when the Rapture comes what's to become of your loving pets who are left behind? Eternal Earth-Bound Pets takes that burden off your mind.

We are a group of dedicated animal lovers, and atheists. Each
Eternal Earth-Bound Pet representative is a confirmed atheist, and as such will still be here on Earth after you've received your reward. Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus.

We are currently active in 20 states and growing. Our representatives have been screened to ensure that they are atheists, animal lovers, are moral / ethical with no criminal background, have the ability and desire to rescue your pet and the means to retrieve them and ensure their care for your pet's natural life.

We currently cover the following states:
Maine,New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana ... and growing.

Our service is plain and simple; our fee structure is reasonable.
For $110.00 we will guarantee that should the Rapture occur within ten (10) years of receipt of payment, one pet per residence will be saved. Each additional pet at your residence will be saved for an additional $15.00 fee. A small price to pay for your peace of mind and the health and safety of your four legged friends.

Unfortunately at this time we are not equipped to accommodate all species and must limit our services to dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and small caged mammals.

Thank you for your interest in Eternal Earth-Bound Pets. We hope we can help provide you with peace of mind.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I am still working on my draft post on the evolution of my workspace. I will publish it tomorrow, Sunday, August 23. I will then continue my "break" from blogging for another week. I will be back in the beginning of September.

I had to write a post after I received a direct message from Gary Vaynerchuk. I wrote the following tweet on August 21:

Check out @garyvee's new book #crushit at I have added it to my @amazonwishlist. "It's Time to Cash In on My Passion!"

I have a gut feeling that Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion will give me similar fuel for my soul as Career Renegade by Jonathan Fields, The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss and Me 2.0 by Dan Schawbel have done.

Things are starting to work out in the right direction and I am adding pieces to the social media puzzle. It is time to make sweet stuff out of the sour grapes. Be prepared to read more about the following good things in life in the future:

Spotted at Berkeley Bowl: I didn't know that y...Image by Raymond Yee via Flickr

Business wise, I will start to write about "superfood" like aronia and seabuckthorn (havtorn in Swedish) and fine bottled water.

On a related note, please read guest blogger Roland Horvath's post, A SLOGAN TO LIVE BY. Cheers!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Modern Education: A Trojan Horse

In America, we’ve accepted a Trojan Horse into our midst: mainstream modern education. It has a nice appearance, but within carries an element of destruction.

We want to believe that it produces students who, upon graduating from high school, are competent (or better) at reading, writing, math, history and science.

We believe high school graduates should possess the math skills they need to make change, balance a checkbook, finance a car, invest in savings instruments, and understand science. They should possess the political and historical background knowledge they need to make intelligent, considered decisions when voting. They should understand science so they can contend with issues of “global warming,” technology, health, and medicine. They should be able to write logical, developed prose for everything from work, to letters to friends and family, to testimony in courts of law.

It is clear that, regardless of whatever else it may accomplish, the primary role of education should be the systematic, conceptual training of the young by teaching them the general knowledge and thinking skills needed for adult life.

But we are seeing few students graduating with such training today. Education, like a Trojan Horse, might look good on the outside, but inside it is dumbed down, it is about non-conceptual “social activities.” This is necessitated by the major theoretical underpinnings of mainstream modern education: the philosophy of John Dewey.

John Dewey said, in “My Pedagogic Creed,” that:

“the true center of correlation on the school subjects is not science, nor literature, nor history, nor geography, but the child’s own social activities;”

“ fundamentally and primarily a social instrument. ... When treated simply as a way of getting individual loses its social motive and end;”

“there is, therefore, no succession of studies in the ideal school curriculum;”

“education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform.”

This is a clear call -- one that has been put into practice -- to de-emphasize and neglect the conceptual training, the general knowledge, and the thinking skills students need.

Group work, activity/experiential learning, class discussion, and social promotion might appear innocuous on the outside -- in a proper school the first few could be beneficial -- but their inner purpose is to de-emphasize the grasp of particular facts, to inculcate “group think,” and to stifle individual, objective thought. Most students graduate knowing nothing in particular, and not knowing how or why anything is true.

John Dewey’s ideas are found, implicit and explicit, in teachers’ magazines, educators’ required reading lists, professors’ research and writings, curricula of Colleges of Education, and most local schools, both public and private.

The Columbia Encyclopedia says “The principles and practices of progressive education gained wide acceptance in American school systems during the first half of the 20th cent. .... [M]any hold that by the late 1950s the movement had collapsed. By that time, however, the progressive movement had effected a permanent transformation in the character of the American school....”

Dr. A. G. Rud, Professor in Purdue University’s College of Education, said “The American philosopher and educator John Dewey (1859-1952) is central to current philosophy of education and the development of progressive educational theory and practice. ...[H]is thought is enjoying a resurgence of interest today among philosophers and educators.”

And the results are clear. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, one-fourth of high school graduates are functioning at a “below basic” level in most subjects; about one-third are functioning at a “below basic” level in science and about one-third at “basic;” and over one-half are “below basic” in history and about one-third at “basic.” “Below basic” means unable to understand even short, simple texts and documents, and unable to do any math beyond some simple addition. “Basic” is not much better; the student can understand only simple readings, and can perform only one-step arithmetic -- when the operation is specified or obvious.

High school graduates’ poor education is also evidenced by post-college tests. In “Is College Worth It?,” Walter Williams, Professor of Economics and nationally syndicated columnist, writes: “According to a 2006 Pew Charitable Trusts study, 50 percent of college seniors failed a test that required them to interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, and compare credit card offers. About 20 percent of college seniors did not have the quantitative skills to estimate if their car had enough gas to get to the gas station. According a recent National Assessment of Adult Literacy, the percentage of college graduates proficient in prose literacy has declined from 40 percent to 31 percent within the past decade. Employers report that many college graduates lack the basic skills of critical thinking, writing and problem-solving.”

Regarding science, the physicist and educator David Harriman, in “High Schools Flunk Science,” says “the vast majority of high school graduates never take a course in physics and know almost nothing about the role of the scientific revolution in creating the modern world. While this alone constitutes criminal negligence by educators, there is an even worse crime of which they are guilty: the students who do take physics are indoctrinated with a fundamentally false view of science.”

High school graduates are ignorant of induction -- ask children you know, even adults, what induction is; ask if they can give you three examples from the history of physics. High school grads do not know how to engage in induction, the soul of scientific reasoning, and therefore have not been equipped to make sense of or properly evaluate claims about “global warming,” health, diet, and medicine.

Mainstream educators might claim they are teaching math, reading, science -- but the anti-thought and anti-conceptual nature of John Dewey’s influence is demonstrable and measurable. There is a disconnect between educators’ words and students’ reality.

Mainstream modern education is a Trojan Horse that has unleashed attacks upon the minds and thoughts of students, our children. It needs to be driven from our midst and replaced with a more fitting Greek image: that of the Greek goddess of wisdom. We need in education the image of Athena -- and the intellect of Aristotle.

Michael Gold, B.S. Mathematics and B.A. Philosophy, is owner of, a math tutoring service. He has been involved in education for over fifteen years, earning his Teacher’s Credentials and teaching in public and charter schools before starting his own private tutoring service.

(c) 2009 Michael Gold

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Words of wisdom are sometimes still offered in our culture--although not in universities or similar "non-commercial" venues, but by the institutions where furthering man's life is still the goal.

I am not much of a beer drinker at all, so perhaps it is not a surprise that I hadn't been aware of Dreher's slogan until today, but when I saw it, I knew I had to take a picture of it. [Editor's note: Updated with a better picture]

"The world is as much as you pour into it."

That pretty much makes the idea about "seeing" your glass as "half full" moot, doesn't it?


Monday, August 17, 2009

On Good Governance

In "That government is best which protects individual rights" (Grand Junction Free Press, Monday, August 17, 2009), Linn and Ari Armstrong say:
You just don't like government. That's what a friend told your elder author Linn following a local political event, during an informal discussion about which candidates are running and who is supporting them.

It's an odd sort of charge, given that Linn once ran for elected office himself and has participated in numerous campaigns and political functions.

The fact is we love government, if it's the right sort of government. But not all governments are created equal. Who loves the oppressive governments of North Korea or Iran? What about the fallen government of the Soviet Union? There is no greater evil on the face of the earth than a government gone wrong.

The question, then, is what constitutes good government. That depends primarily on what is the proper purpose of government.

We disagree with Henry David Thoreau when he writes, “That government is best which governs not at all.” We answer that government is best which protects individual rights.

Fortunately for us, our forefathers created a republican form of government with strictly delimited powers and an explicit recognition of individual rights. The obvious exception, slavery, took another century to expunge, and racist laws took longer to root out, but finally in this respect America lived up to her founding principles.

Milton Friedman explained, “Adam Smith's key insight was that both parties to an exchange can benefit and that, so long as cooperation is strictly voluntary, no exchange will take place unless both parties do benefit. No external force, no coercion, no violation of freedom is necessary to produce cooperation among individuals all of whom can benefit.”
Good article; recommended reading.


On the weekend, I was in Austria, where I took part in a via ferrata tour of the Pfaffenstein summit, near the iron-mining town of Eisenerz. Below are some examples of the scenery I saw, including the spectacular view of the mine from the summit:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Computer "Models" Don't Necessarily Work??

In "Tropical Storm Spotted on Saturn's Moon Titan" (, 12 August 2009 01:04 pm ET), Clara Moskowitz writes:
(Aug. 15) - A tropical storm was not what astronomers expected to see when they pointed their telescopes toward the equator of Saturn's moon Titan last summer.

But that's exactly what they found on this beguiling moon, home to a weather system both eerily familiar and perplexingly strange. The discovery was announced Wednesday.

In many ways Titan's climate resembles that of Earth, but instead of a water cycle, Titan has a methane cycle. Clouds, rain and lakes all exist on Titan, but they are all made of methane. In the moon's frigid climate, any water is frozen into rock-hard ice.

"The models predicted that the equatorial region should be very dry and should not support cloud formation," said astronomer Henry Roe of Lowell Observatory in Arizona. "But this episode created clouds over both the equator and the south pole. We don't know what set off that sequence, but something gave a pretty good kick to the atmosphere."
Reality does not slavishly obey the computer "models"?? Who'd a thunk?

Here's some words of wisdom more scientists need to grasp:
"We really need to keep observing Titan in detail for many more years in order to get a true understanding of how its seasons change," Roe said.
On earth as it is in heaven, forever and ever, amen.

Recommending a High-Carb Diet is Evil

Carbs Are Destructive Of Our Bodies And Our Health.

In "More Bologna About Carbs" (a post on the Blog for the documentary "Fat Head"),Tom Naughton says (he puts in italics the claims he quoted from the article he references):

A couple of readers sent me links to this article, titled “Why You Should Get Over Your Fear of Carbs.” Naturally, it’s all about the wonders of carbohydrates — you know, the only macronutrient we eat more of now than we did 30 years ago. Boy, we sure got slim and healthy in the meantime, didn’t we?


Eat carbs more often! While the conventional approach to dieting teaches you how to omit meals, the smarter approach is to make sure you do not miss meals. And it gets better. Eating a carb-protein meal 4 times per day rather than 3 helps keep blood sugar levels stabilized.

Well, yeah, after the carbs you had at your last meal spike your insulin and lead to a drop in blood sugar, eating again will in fact raise your blood sugar. That’s why people who eat sugar and starch end up craving between-meal snacks. Eating those snacks is treating the symptom, not the cause … kind of like the drunks who keep drinking to avoid a hangover.

Research has demonstrated that regulating blood sugar levels regulates hormonal secretions which results in optimal fat burning.

Which is exactly why you shouldn’t be eating carbs and sending your blood sugar on a roller-coaster ride, you (expletive deleted … another expletive deleted … wow, that one surprised even us censors)! If you skip the carbs, your body will make blood sugar from protein on an as-needed basis, which keeps it naturally regulated.


Eat carbs late at night. Yes this is just as important as the rest of your meals. And go ahead and eat dinner even if it is late. Starving yourself or skipping meals slows the metabolism and let’s face it — it isn’t fun to starve!

Everybody sing along: sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening, sugar at supper time. Eating carbs all day long — including late at night — is how we became a nation of type II diabetics. And restricting carbs is the most effective way to treat type II diabetics. Many can even live without insulin injections if they give up the carbs.

Read the rest!

I had read the article “Why You Should Get Over Your Fear of Carbs," too. And was equally disgusted with it.

Update (10:22 AM Houston Time): I should say: Not necessarily evil -- maybe extremely, ignorantly ill-informed.

Update (8-25-09 10:40 AM Houston Time): It would be irrational not to recognize differences in cognitive and moral status in regard to recommending carbs such as flour and sugar. But that would not make a catchy title. And, in any case, such a diet is unhealthy and wrong for man.

Friday, August 7, 2009


This post could fit pretty well as a transition to my upcoming post on my workspace. It ("Evolution of EGO Workspace") will show up a bit further down on the page due the fact that I started to write on the post some time ago and saved it as a draft post on August 2.

Have a drink, relax and enjoy the video clip called Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun by Michael Bungay Stanier of Box of Crayons. [Via Cindy King.]

My favorite principle is #2 - "2. Start being intensely selfish." I wondered about #5 at first, but my guess is that he is thinking according to the lines described in his post, Manifesto of Insignificance:

In fact two thinkers that I’ve spoken to recently – David Allen and Michael Neill have both mentioned that part of their success has come from the lightness of their plans, a willingness not to take it too seriously AND to strive for Great Work. (March 31, 200,

On a related note, please read the post, Happiness and Success Are Natural at Exalted Moments.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


[Editor's note to Stephen Smith: I am still working on the draft of my "Evolution of EGO workspace" post.]

Oprichter van poken / Founder of Poken DoYouPokenImage by Erwin Boogert via Flickr

After I watched Robert Scoble's interview with Stéphane Doutriaux, founder & CEO of Poken, I got a strong desire to get this kind of new digital business card that you could use to share your social media online profiles with people you meet.

I want to order a 12 pack of Pokens so I could start sharing them to my friends and business contacts. It would be a perfect give away gadget to members of your social & business networks. I am also interested in joining Poken's "viral distribution network." I want to spread the good word about this new type of business card. I have some ideas on organizations, businesses and individuals that could be interested in this gadget. I think that their vision is described in a nice way (How Does It Work):

We’re not another social network. You’ve already got that.
We've thought bigger to let you instantly bridge the gap between the people you meet in the real world and those you stay connected to online.
So, do you poken ?

Here is another excerpt from the site (FAQ):

Why do I have to carry around an extra gadget? Isn't there some way to do this in my phone?

Sort of but not really. Since the beginning of mobile phones and PDAs there have been myriad proposed solutions to easy sharing of contact information or "replacing the business card." To show our age, several members of Poken's staff fondly remember beaming vCards in infrared between our Palm Pilots back in the day. However, nothing has ever emerged as a standard for a couple of reasons. The first inhibitor has been hardware/OS/application fragmentation--basically different phones often can't talk well with others. Recently there have been more and more hardware/OS/application-independent phone solutions for contact exchange via BlueTooth or visual codes. However, these also have not really caught on. We believe that it is because the user interfaces too unwieldy, requiring the user to type in codes, launch applications, etc.

Our solution is meant to address these issues by providing an extremely simply mechanism for contact exchange: the high-four. It is natural and it mimics the way we interact with other humans every day. The security is built into the hardware so there are no codes to enter and no risk of someone stealing your information. It requires a small, extra hardware device to carry around so we've designed that device to be cool and fun--something we hope you would like to carry around with you anyway. Perhaps we're tilting at windmills by trying to create a social replacement for the business card, but we really think we're on to something!

Attorney business card 1895Image via Wikipedia

I think that this device could the answer to my question on how I should store contact information in the future. I still have to come up with a solution for the regular business card, as I say in my comment on the post, Poken: It’s Silly, And It’s Meant to Replace Your Business Card by Robert Scoble. Are you using CardScan, CloudContacts or Evernote in order to capture data of business cards?

It is interesting to read about their product plans for the future. Here is an excerpt from Josh Bernoff's post, What we can learn from Poken.

The Poken has two parts. One is a plastic shell which you choose to reflect the some side of your identity -- mine is a little tiger. The other is the little hand part, which has a USB connector. You plug the Poken into your computer, it connects to the Poken site, and you enter as many of your social network IDs (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) as you're willing to share. Then you carry it around with you. If you meet somebody else you want to befriend, you "high-four" them, your Pokens exchange ID information when they come in close proximity, and the little light glows to tell you it worked.When you get home you can connect to your computer and see the information from your new friends. It's like exchanging a business card, only quicker and with more info. (Forrester, July 19, 2009.)

Do you want to keep in touch in new cool way? Here is my proposal to my friends, business contacts and supporters. I want to buy a 12-pack of Pokens, but I can't afford to pay all of them by myself at once at the moment. If you want to get one piece of Poken and help me get going with this project, please contact me by email and we could discuss the details. I was thinking of collecting circa $ USD 20 per person / Poken and then order the kit of 12 Pokens when I have got about $ 180 in total. The total price, including the shipping cost, is stated to be $ 201. I will give away one Poken to a special person of the pool of buyers.

Do You PokenImage by YO |X| YNTL via Flickr

[Editor's note: Talking about cute gadgets, my brother showed me a new pet robot by Takara Tomy.]

Monday, August 3, 2009


One of my little projects this year has been to put together a photo album of the best views on Lake Balaton I can find. As a preview for the readers of EGO (and as a further way to encourage Martin to come visit!) here are a couple of the pics I have taken so far: