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posted by Justin - 2013-03-04 09:26:03

Old and New

So I started Informed Instigation with a lot of dreams back in the summer of 2009.

I was sitting in a hotel alone in a beach town of Vietnam and it was pouring. I had felt entirely stifled by the environment in Daegu, namely that everyone just sort of wanted to get drunk. I enjoyed that, but wanted more. I wanted my people whom I didn't have to drag or bribe to come play trivia. I wanted people who weren't always scheming on how to fuck each other. Etc. The same things everyone who's lived there knows. It's fun but if you're single and don't have a circle of close friends it's isolating. [READ MORE]
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posted by Justin - 2013-02-25 09:53:11

Get Fit Quick!

This essay is probably the opposite of what you might have assumed from the title, as I'm writing to decry all the pills, procedures and potions people seem to think will turn them from flabby to fit overnight (and you can be thin and flabby, by the way; this is not about size). [READ MORE]
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posted by Justin - 2013-02-18 08:48:31

On Staying Home

So, I'm a bit sniffly today. It's Sunday as I write this, so it's not like I have to go to work today. If I had to, I absolutely could. I ran 8 miles yesterday, and it wasn't a problem.

But I don't get deathly sick very often, and considering I now have a bunch of sick days at my new job, I might as well make use of them. They don't roll over, so if I'm actually sick, I really should call in. [READ MORE]
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posted by Justin - 2013-02-11 08:27:15

Making Lives Easier

So here's a question: does how you live your life, on balance, make other peoples' lives easier or harder? Most jobs (or things people do) are designed to help someone in some way, or else no one would buy anything.

But I want you to think about, and share, all the ways that you regularly make other peoples' lives easier. Beyond just "I am funny and people laugh," I mean a real ease. [READ MORE]
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posted by Justin - 2013-02-04 09:10:40

Bad Praise

I don't think it's necessarily bad when someone says, as people have to me, "You know, I really value the X culture, because they have such a strong work ethic." It's certainly not necessarily malicious and can be meant as genuine praise.

But it's just like any sort of stereotype: there's always a negative undercurrent even if you are saying something positive. [READ MORE]
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posted by Justin - 2013-01-28 07:14:13

2013 Capabilities

I'm a few weeks late on the resolution train, but that's fine, because many of the people who make ridiculous resolutions have already given up. You're not going to lose 90 pounds, crazy.

Anyway, as I've said before and will say again, capability is far and away the best way we ought to measure goals and achievement. Obviously, with something like learning a language, just saying "I can speak X language well" is pretty meaningless without some sort of assessment, but that assessment might well be carrying a conversation with someone who is speaking normally in said language without slowing down to help you. Or it could be a test. (A lot of tests are crappy but that doesn't mean the mere idea of one is a failure.) [READ MORE]
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posted by Justin - 2013-01-21 10:08:46

Small Moments

I'm back. I got the job, as you know. Can't and won't mention on here where I work, but, for the first time since, well, ever, this is a place where, if I do well, I should be able to grow, learn, improve and stretch my legs.

It's not a ton of money for now, but it can and should grow every so often. [READ MORE]
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posted by Justin - 2012-12-24 11:40:26

What Have You Learned About Your

This website has become much more about personal improvement and self-assessment, because that's more of my focus these days than news or politics are. Those things matter, and you all know I pay attention, but my personal journey is less directly connected to breaking news. I also care more about hoping you all sit and consider things more than the "instigating" I originally intended to do. [READ MORE]
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posted by Justin - 2012-12-17 09:21:16


(This will be repeated later, but if you're ill, disabled, elderly, obviously this doesn't apply. I'm only talking to lazier-than-necessary people.)

I brought this up in a status last week, but I wanted to explore it at greater length today. [READ MORE]
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posted by Justin - 2012-12-10 07:17:00

Fuck 'Em

I once heard a conservative response to the question, "Well, if you want to get rid of welfare altogether, what would you replace it with?" This person said she believed that NGOs would be more effective than government checks and assistance. There was only negative data to back this up (ie the gov't is of course inefficient) but I think this could work if and only if it was a gradual transition. Which is to say, NGOs would have to be created before state assistance was phased out. But where would these NGOs suddenly come from, I wonder? And how on earth could we ensure we weren't just damning millions of people to death just to save money? [READ MORE]
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