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About ex_banana-eater

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  1. Peak Oil / Oil Reserves

  2. Objective Bodybuilding

    Most people who do HIT tend to think of the world as "HIT'ers vs high volume trainers," whereas people who read the scientific literature tend to think in terms of "what is supported by the scientific literature vs everything else." My guess is that you probably did some pretty retarded training and did not see results, which you call "high volume training," and then lump every type of training that has a similar amount of volume in as "ineffective for you" when those types of training may be significantly different in other factors that are unrelated to volume. Say for example, X causes muscle gain. You do a retarded type of training that is high volume and only 0.1X, then you do HIT which is 0.3X. You get better gains from HIT. You blame the *volume* of your retarded training on not giving you enough gains, when in reality the problem was that your original retarded training did not have enough X. Since HIT has less volume, you assume that less volume from HIT gave you more muscle gains, when in reality it was the increased X in HIT which gave you more muscle gains.
  3. If you could provide scientific evidence that quercetin causes any improvements in memory or cognition in healthy human volunteers, I would love to see it That would mean a double blind, placebo controlled trial in healthy young human volunteers, not rats, nor seniors with cognitive deficits. Unfortunately, if you were recommended quercetin from a supplement provider then they are likely trying to sell you something on the "hope" that a study in rats or people with cognitive deficits can then be extended to healthy humans. I've looked into a lot of nootropics and have generally been dismayed by their promises after seeing the scientific literature. As you mentioned in a post above, I did like dextroamphetamine which is likely what Rand used as well, for getting myself into a sustained mood to be productive. I don't think it enhanced any actual thinking abilities, but simply increased my ability to focus without distraction. Since focus without distraction is probably the bottleneck in most people's ability to get productive work done, you might consider it a useful tool. Others have found that the anti-narcoleptic modafinil / provigil to be useful without as much of a jittery feeling. I'm currently in a country where stimulants of all types are highly illegal, including ones that are prescribed to millions of American children, so I do not use any right now. You should first think about what your goals are and where your bottlenecks are. Everyone has the capability of being rational, so processing speed (IQ) doesn't seem to matter that much in terms of productivity. What matters is mainly volitional, which is your ability to focus and concentrate (for the difference between the two, see Harry Binswanger's "Volition as Cognitive Self-Regulation" pamphlet). Most tasks do not really max out your "intelligence" but instead require sustained attention, integration, and time. Instead of leaving you without anything to look into, I'll refer you to both Dual-N-back training and spaced repetition software such as Anki or Supermemo. Also look up the book "The Power of Full Engagement" by Tony Schwartz. They are not pills but I think they might provide the real world results that you are looking for. You did not state your reasons for wanting to "accelerate concept formation," but if I assume you just want to get stuff done in the real world, those will help. Be sure to look up the Jaeggi et al study on dual-n-backing and single-n-back (more recent). There's a lot you can train yourself to do in terms of memory and computation, so look up stuff on mnemonics and mental math as well.
  4. No minimum wage: helpful or harmful

    I would say the minimum wage is harmful to all the people forced to be unemployed who have a productivity rate below the minimum wage. Also, because of the now reduced production in society as the government has forced a large number of people on the margin to be unemployed, I would say the minimum wage is harmful to the entire society in that it reduces production--ie the amount of wealth/goods within the whole society--by mandating that people do not produce.
  5. It is now illegal to give things away for free in France

    Wow, they're late to the scene. The US made giving away free web browsers illegal a long time ago when they prosecuted Microsoft.
  6. A world where no stock funds existed

    Uninformed investors would still have the opportunity to invest in index funds which outperform managed funds, and require no managers (I believe they do some type of computational rebalancing every so often). But ideally uninformed investors would just be able to stay out of the stock market and keep their money in cash, which would be backed by gold, and increase in purchasing power every year. They're unfortunately forced into a stock market they don't understand by inflationary monetary policy, which provides a larger market for fund managers.
  7. Loop-hole to build a tax-free community in contemporary country

    The way to pay the least amount of taxes is to be nearly self-sufficient and not engage in much trade with others. I recommend the book and website "Early Retirement Extreme" by Jacob Lund Fisker as an example on how to do this. The solution consists in becoming a "renaissance man" who solves most of his own problems instead of outsourcing them. For example, instead of hiring a plumber on call to unplug your toilet for $120, invest a minimal amount of time to understand the most recurring pipe problems and fix them yourself. Thus you can fix them faster because you don't pay the transactional cost of waiting for the outsourced help to arrive, and cheaper, because you will not pay high fees which exist mainly due professional licensing laws. Gardening, like mentioned above, is also an answer. But garden the things that have the greatest effort to reward ratio for you (this is not just on prices). For example, unless you really love the taste of a fresh sweet potato dug from your garden, modern mechanized farming will produce them comparatively efficiently for you. But herbs on the other hand taste much better when fresh, are somewhat expensive at the store, and do not go bad when you just pluck them and throw them into your soup rather than sitting at the bottom of your vegetable crisper. Also keep in mind the transactional costs: time spent going to the store shopping, money spent on transportation there, etc. Most people see the time invested in gardening but not the time and money invested in shopping and transporting oneself. If I need herbs, it is much more convenient for me to pluck them off my window sill than get dressed and go to the store to buy them. Also, as much as you can, avoid the items that are taxed at absurd rates: typically alcohol, tobacco, and gasoline in most industrialized countries. If you want to have these, you can make them yourself very cheaply, except for the latter. For gasoline, think of creative solutions to reduce your gasoline use, such as living biking distance from where you work and buy groceries. If you have systematically organized your life in such a way, you will find that you can live a middle class lifestyle on only a few thousand dollars per year. In many industrialized nations, you will fall under the minimum income tax rate, or on the lowest income tax bracket. In many cases you will be able to provide for yourself solely through dividend income (which is often penalized less than employee income). Then you might want to devote all of your free time that you don't have to spend working on non-renumerated activities that reward you spiritually or physically but not in monetary form. Examples are exercise, intellectual activism, human relationships, et cetera, that cannot be penalized by the government. For example, when I exercise and eat well, 100% of the health and well-being gains are mine, because the government does not attempt to force me to redistribute them somehow. If I devote much of my time to enjoying relationships with my family and friends, 100% of the pleasure is mine and is currently not taxed. Maybe in the future, the government might find that you are healthier than other people and force you to provide exercise classes to fat smokers, but not yet.
  8. Empirical Approach To Economics

    I posted another thread on this in epistemology but I may as well repeat it here. Can one not validly make the *induction* that capitalist economies produce more material prosperity than statist economies, by looking at the wealth levels of free and unfree countries? Why or why not would that induction be unreliable? Is it senseless for me to cite data like the Freedom Of The World report? (Apart from simple validation). Isn't this the same type of induction we make when studying history?
  9. Empirical Approach To Economics

    Here is a praxeologist critiquing positive economics methodology: http://www.mises.ca/posts/articles/the-pitfalls-of-friedmans-positive-economics/
  10. Empirical Approach To Economics

    I'm not sure I understand what you mean here. Anyway, if praxeology allows data gathering to arrive at fundamental economics truths, then why do philosophically sound Austrian economists like George Reisman arrive at economic principles through deductive logic instead of intense data gathering? Take for example this article: http://mises.org/daily/2361 The response by a neoclassical or an academic Friedmanite would be, "WHERES YOUR HISTORICAL DATA???" They think Reisman would have to plot and compile data on every single good and whether their price decreased or whether wealth increased from year to year in order to prove his point. They think this is a "scientific" approach to economics. And note that I'm talking about a lot of economists who are almost always libertarian or close to it.
  11. Empirical Approach To Economics

    Gathering empirical data is not a synonym for observation of reality. Isn't it pretty clear what I mean here? There is one approach to economics that primarily uses deduction from axioms (which are derived from empirical observation of one's own choices) and there is another approach to economics, common among economists today, which consists of piling up huge amounts of statistics to try and prove whether free trade works from the 1947-1953 period in apples and chalk but not automobiles.
  12. If I look at the economic Freedom of the World report, for example. Or if I know about several free countries (like Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand) including experience with their laws and levels of prosperity, and I see (through experience traveling there) several poor countries that have restrictive governments, is that enough information for me to induce the productive superiority of capitalism? Or can I only properly be certain of it by using chains of logic, as suggested by Mises.
  13. Empirical Approach To Economics

    I've heard Objectivsts reject "praxeology," but praxeology itself includes a lot of things, not just the value-free aspects. What I wonder is whether the empirical approach to economics (the data gathering you see today, often this is called "positive economics") is rejected on epistemological grounds similar to that of Mises, or whether Objectivist economists believe we should perform economics or obtain economic principles from gathered empirical data?
  14. Egypt and the Middle East

    Inflation is definitely a big deal. China is experiencing a lot of inflation. However, notice that their protests are rather small and are not about toppling the government since their standard of living is rising dramatically every year. In the case of Egypt, the average man spent 50% of his income on food. Egypt is a major wheat importer and when commodity prices went up that meant either being hungry for a meal a day or being late with your rent. When people get hungry or lose their money they start to get angry more easily. When the times are good they are more likely to put up with their dictatorships. Inflation has radicalized populations in the past. Look at Germany for example. They inflated their currency and made everyone absolutely destitute, then those people blamed their poverty on Jewish financiers and bankers and slaughtered them all. The cause of the inflation is Bernanke dramatically increasing the money supply, and other central banks attempting to run a peg with the US dollar. They could fix all of their problems by not printing and letting their currency rise against the dollar.
  15. Integrating Volition

    There are certainly existents that operate according to non-mechanistic causation. The one existent I can think of that qualifies is the faculty of free will. Whether it is also physical or not is up for science to discover in the future. In that case we would have to properly define what we mean by physical, because if it were physical it would be an entity behaving in a causal manner different from mechanistic causation.