Sunni's Salon logo
Sunni's Salon Webby Wanderings Graphic

January 2007

Beyond Ballots or Bullets: Creating a Free America

This project, spearheaded by Kevin Van Horn, might be the best hope for genuine pro-freedom progress in the USSA in years. As its name implies, the focus isn’t on electoral activism, nor shooting the bastards, but finding peaceful means of minimizing the state’s coercive influence in our lives. The primary focus at the moment is on a March workshop in Provo, Utah, offering high-quality presentations and discussion among participants. I’ll admit I am not particularly hopeful about the short-term prospects in this country, but I believe that Van Horn’s approach could well prove me wrong—and I would be delighted to be wrong. For more information, see also his columns at Strike the Root.

-:- -:- -:-

Authentic Happiness:

A fellow psychologist directed me to this site, which is the home of Martin Seligman’s Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. It conducts various research as well as offers loads of information and ideas on how to achieve and maintain authentic happiness. Numerous questionnaires are available only to registered users, but the registration process is painless and free; it also offers a benefit to the users themselves, as one can store results of each questionnaire and track changes over time. One may focus on self-directed improvement, or helping others attain greater self-awareness and satisfaction. Newsletters are available free to all visitors, as is a list of related resources. A wealth of valuable information awaits your discovery.

-:- -:- -:-

Into the Libertarian Labyrinth:

I probably stumbled into this site, one of several written by Shawn Wilbur, via my interest in learning more about mutualism ... or perhaps it was a search on Voltairine de Cleyre. Personal observations appear to be rare; the fascination for me is in the postings of diverse and often somewhat obscure historical material. It isn’t updated particularly often, but that is not a criticism, as a more leisurely posting structure allows for better digestion of the rich resources. Aside from the material itself, sites like this provide me with hope, for they document that a love of liberty was rooted deeper into our culture than today’s educrats dare to admit, even if only to themselves.

Site overview: With black text on a white background, the site is quite readable; however, it is rather text-dense. An excellent place to find wide-ranging material from and about lesser-known radical and anarchist figures, it also was the place that clued me in to the existence of The Carnival of Anarchy. Commenting is allowed; an Atom feed is available. Also worth perusing is his Intellectual History: The Very Idea! blog. Allow plenty of time for exploration.

-:- -:- -:-

Junk Food Science:

One of the regular bright spots at TechCentral Station was Sandy Szwarc’s essays—but even they weren’t sufficiently compelling to keep me returning after other contributors appeared to veer from a free-market perspective. Junk Food Science is her Blogger site, focusing on the real science of nutrition and health. Particularly valuable is her emphasis on thinking critically about all scientific claims, but especially the mainstream media’s shallow and sensationalistic reporting. Just begun in November of ‘06, it’s still a relatively easy task to catch up—and with articles spanning such subjects as the red meat menace (which is also a valuable primer on evaluating epidemiological studies), risk distortion, today’s salt fad, and the insecurity of electronic medical records, just about anyone’ll probably find several of personal relevance.

Site overview: Basic Blogger site with a decent column width and pleasing highlight colors in a black-on-white design makes for easy reading. The omnipresent “Click here for complete article (and single page version)” link doesn’t aid reading, however—especially when what one is directed to is simply an extended partial version of an essay that’s available off-site ... but that isn’t made clear until one scrolls to the bottom of the second excerpt and finds “To read the rest, click on article link above”. Perhaps this clumsy structure will be improved soon. Regular posting and multiple links per post mean visits will almost certainly be worthwhile; but an RSS feed is available for those who prefer it. Commenting is currently not allowed.

Sunni graphic