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AHS13 Kicks Off in Atlanta; Break a Leg, Maggots!

And guess what? It's certain to be imperfect. Oh noes! Damn you!

Just in case you thought that pinning my scathing and righteous rebuke of a dumbass AHS12 volunteer to the top of the blog yesterday was in any measure sour grapes—because I'm neither presenting (didn't apply) or attending this year—nothing could be further from the truth. The sour grapes will, however, be well accounted for by all the pips, squeaks and clowns who'll be posting, tweeting and Facebooking up a storm as to how AHS13 is imperfect: just like AHS11 and AHS12 were imperfect.

You see, it's simple. It's way, way easier for pips, squeaks and clowns to take pot shots and poke holes in that which is imperfect, than to get off their lazy asses and take a risk creating an alternative more to their liking. ...But I suspect that at root, it's not the laziness at issue, but the deep seated knowledge that they would flop at any such endeavor, exposing the fact that so very few care about their righteouznezez.

So anywhos, you can check it all out live, by just checking into the #AHS13 Hashtag on Twitter where tons of people are basically live blogging the event for your vicarious pleasure. I probably wasted a skosh too much time yesterday taking it in myself. In years past, I was there, so I never checked the Twitfeed much. Interesting to have that perspective now, especially combined with having been there. It's almost real to me. I can virtually taste it.

...Except, the food. These were my favs from last night's dinings in Atlanta.

Emily Deans at Empire State South:

Emily
"Pork belly, roasted beets, sea beans, fennel, rice grits."

Dallas & Melissa Hartwig at King + Duke:

Melissa
"Ah-mazing steak tartare"

Stuff like this was bound to happen, you know. 'White people of some affluence'—the attractive women of childbearing age—lean & fit—probably with a number of libertarianish leaning political ideas...

To hell in a handbasket, I tell ya.

Footnote: I'll be heading off this afternoon, back up to Hat Creek Rim to spend a couple of days flying hang gliders, dry-camping-roughing-it in the LZ, and sharing remembrances of my longtime friend Page Perrin with a couple hundred others of his friends.

Decision AHS13 Atlanta: Not Submitting a Presentation

I greatly enjoyed being one of the first to know about and promote the Ancestral Health Symposium, long before the beginning of it. Brent Pottenger and Aaron Blaisdell have never been anything but cordial and friendly with me, and it was a tremendous pleasure to be involved with both previous events as a layman / blogger presenter.

When the video of my AHS12 presentation got released, I wrote this in my post announcing it:

AHS has just put out the call for presentation submissions for AHS13 in Atlanta next August. Deadline is January 15th, and while I have mostly leaned toward not doing it again, I'm leaving it open for consideration. I'll chew on what value I might be able to bring and then decide definitively.

Time's up.

I had recently been considering submitting a proposal for a wholly different sort of presentation from what I've done in the last two: a sciency one with references & shit. Resistant Starch, given my penchant for starchy Real Foods, potatoes and The Potato Diet, recently. I thought it might be a nice adjunct to the Jaminet-esque Safe Starch debate of AHS12.

But I skate on thin ice, given the hoopla surrounding the combination in which I make my fingers hit keys on the board...often in good ways, often in bad ways, but always whatever rolls at the moment.

That being the given—and my resolution to recapture my principal original focus of being a real help to real people out there, moving forward—I've decided to pass. Whether I submit and get turned down, or submit and get accepted, there will be needless drama. I care not a wit about my own lot in that regard, but I do have a sense that the spectacle detracts from what AHS is trying to accomplish, which I support.

They have a right to not be associated with me. Even submitting a proposal at this point entails some compelled association on my part.

Finally, I think I'm better off for it. So is everyone else. I don't like being told what to do by anyone and will always affirmatively make a point of that. AHS has never told me what to do, of course, but there is an undercurrent of expectation that ultimately translates to upholding standards of decorum AHS would prefer. And this probably tends to fuck me up, arguably makes me more outlandish than I might otherwise be.

I'm simply not cut out for upholding anyone's standards but my own. Accordingly, it's best for me to only do speaking engagements where I've been explicitly invited by those who know all about what I'm all about.

...And so henceforth, nobody has any arguments about how the way I make my fingers move on the keyboard reflects in any way on the Ancestral Health Society.

Memo to Carb-Insane-Asylum: Here’s My AHS Presentation in Video (Choke on it)

In August of 2011, the inaugural Symposium of the Ancestral Health Society kicked off on the beautiful campus of UCLA. Offhand, there were about 40 presenters from across the globe, many sporting decades of achievement in fields surrounding health and well-being—all from a human evolutionary standpoint. And then there was me.

Why was I presenting amongst this Who's Who? Uh, probably because I put forth a lot of effort on this blog to promote it from day one, and had done a lot to promote Paleo/Ancestral in general. Big surprise, eh? Go figure. I continued to promote the Society and Symposium, as well as the underlying mindset and lifestyle in general, and by great fortune, was welcomed back to present a 2nd time. AHS12 took place on the prestigious campus at Cambridge: Harvard University, School of Law.

None of this would have happened had I, instead, sought to tear down anything and everything virtually everyone else but me was doing...attempting to elevate myself...not through the promotion of valiant efforts by others—errors here & there & all—but by seeking an easy, lazy route to self-importance by tearing down those values created by others.

One person’s effort to get Nikoley out of AHS

From: Evelyn aka CarbSane
Date: Thu, May 24, 2012 at 2:56 PM
Subject: Richard Nikoley and AHS12
To: Aaron Blaisdell , Brent Pottenger

Hello Sirs!

I’m not sure whether Brent is familiar with me, but I do believe Aaron and I have had (cordial to my recollection) exchanges on the PaleoHacks website.  My name is Evelyn  Kocur and I blog at My Carb Sane-Asylum.

While the majority of the content on my blog is analysis of peer review nutrition literature, I’m probably most notorious for my outspoken criticisms of various low carb advocates, especially Gary Taubes.  I think if either of you take an unbiased look at my blogging (rather than relying on characterizations of it), it should become clear that my criticisms are backed by the science as we know it and not personal character assassinations.  Still, I cannot hold my tongue that I think it is an abomination that Jimmy Moore is going to be moderating the Safe Starch debate or that Jack Kruse is (I can only hope was?!) to be on that panel.  If the purpose is a serious consideration of the benefits/drawbacks of starch content of the diet, it would behoove the Foundation to cast panels with some expertise in the matter.  Is there a biochemist in the bunch?  Any scientist with training in the field?  It’s not like they don’t exist in the community (Wolf, Lalonde, me!). [emphasis added to exclamation]

Which brings me to the subject at hand. I have a ticket to AHS12 and thanks to generous donations by my readers, I’m able to attend.  My total cost to attend will be around $1000, and this would be far more if I weren’t road-trip “local” and had to fly. I’ve made this commitment to attend your conference and many of my readers have donated to this specific cause. [...]

As if Kruse’s actions were not bad enough, they were certainly compounded by one Richard Nikoley. [...]

I suppose there’s some logic by which a Loren Cordain type (note, not Loren, but someone of his stature in the community) might be afforded some leeway in their personal behavior were they to be this sort of certifiable misogynistic jerk. But what does Richard Nikoley bring to the table? He IS a blogger. Therefore this sort of behavior on his blog goes directly to whatever “value” there is to having him speak at AHS12.

As a paying attendee and the target of his vile actions, I request you disinvite this man from speaking.  I’ve said on my blog, and feel very strongly, AHS12 and the community as a whole would be better served watching 20 minutes of webcam footage from the Bronx Zoo.

I decided not to bother to submit my own proposed talk for AHS12 on early reports that many “in” folks were turned away. [...]

...But if you value the integrity of your organization, please consider weeding out the Richard Nikoley’s in your midst.  He has no business presenting at such a conference.

Word I got is that she got no response from AHS organizers to this. What is known is that I attended, delivered my presentation for the 2nd consecutive year to a good audience (even though in the other speaking venue, I was up against the multiple sclerosis self-"cured" physician and TED Talk extraordinaire, Terry Wahls), and that even after all that, CarbInsaneAsylum did not attend, citing "scheduling conflicts."

I win.

I won't bore you with the number of her posts in the aftermath that wined on and on about it all, a clear record in pure volume for anyone who's never actually attended an event.

30960400
 

Alright...</gloating>.

So here's the presentation. Runs about 17 minutes. Yea, I've been doing the Anarchy Begins at Home series, up to Part 7 just yesterday; but here's a completely encapsulated version. Check it out. I usually hate the videos of my presentations, but I'm satisfied here—perhaps 20 minutes is perfect for me. I always begin my preparation the early morning of actually giving it, do a dry run immediately prior, then give it. I want it honest, fresh, genuine...not too contrived or too clever.

Richard Nikoley—Paleo Epistemology and Sociology from Ancestral Health Society on Vimeo.

AHS has just put out the call for presentation submissions for AHS13 in Atlanta next August. Deadline is January 15th, and while I have mostly leaned toward not doing it again, I'm leaving it open for consideration. I'll chew on what value I might be able to bring and then decide definitively.

I wholeheartedly support the endeavor regardless. I support the investment every single presenter ever made to be there—in spite of nit-picks or serious disagreements I might have. I trust your brains to sort it out. I am not your authority. I'm your biggest cheerleader—and I always, always understand and know my place.

Be sure to browse the other presentations already up, of both 2011 and 2012, more coming every few days. Don't take me, yourself, or anyone else too seriously. Take seriously the people who put this together. So, my thanks for Brent Pottenger and Aaron Blaisdell for the vision and execution. Thanks also to Calos Toro—who seems to be the on-ground executive BMOC, so far as I can tell; and his team. Thanks also to the Harvard video team who labored to record all of this, edit it and publish it. They have integrated the PP slides perfectly with the video of the presentation. Job well done.

...Now, see how easy that was, Insane? You ought to try it sometime and see if things roll your way more often.

AHS12 Whining and Gnashing of Teeth

Update 8/14/2013: Well, one day short of a year since I originally published this. And wowzers did I catch a lot of heat for it. Someone even started a blog specifically to trash me about my "misogyny," laf. Man, those were the days. I just read through it again for the first time since the couple of times right after publishing it and do you know what?

I. Stand. By. Every. Fucking. Word. Maggots. Now go fuck off for a second time.

~~~

When I wrote my wrap up the other day I hadn't seen any other takes on the festivities by anyone who'd actually attended it. I assumed I was going to see pretty much the same enthusiasm I felt, expressed in different ways here and there. AHS11 received such a uniformly positive response and I didn't see why this time would be any different.

Ah, but grasshopper, you were so dumb. AHS11 was a one-off affair conjured up by Aaron Blaisdell and Brent Pottenger (two white men, incidentally; and as such, how dare them) that against all odds was a smashing success not only in terms of the length, breadth and quality of the presenters, but in terms of attendance and plain solid work in pulling it all off competently. In my presentation there, I opened by mentioning how when they first contacted me about the idea, I basically humored them in support—not really believing it would come to pass.

But you see, now that it's a bona fide success, it's just a great target for attack and criticism—by people who did fuck all to make anything like that happen. Yea, there was a volunteer (who helped to make things happen) at this last one who wrote a scathing piece on the whole affair (see update at the bottom), and then there are posts elsewhere—and the commenters who love to pile on for the party.

I served as a last minute volunteer, and although I attended several of the presentations, of which one was the Moore panel, I mostly served as a gopher and registration assistant.  To that end, I took the opportunity to observe the behavior of attendees, the conference leaders and the vendors, and it was enlightening. I was already disturbed about the logo that AHS uses – it’s obvious that the two body outlines are of white northern Europeans – the male holding a spear, and the woman, a basket. The demographic at this event was almost all white, child bearing age, healthy, wealthy, highly educated, libertarian, racist, sexist and bigoted.  People were largely and obviously judged on their external appearances. Those who weren’t of the demographic were left alone – they were shunned.

Shame on Brent and Aaron for not bussing in uneducated, unhealthy, post-menopausal, fat people who could not pay...and who were also black, hispanic, asian, but comprised mostly of lots and lots of sexually undesirable women—all screened to make sure they they're lefty democrats: racist while protesting to be not, sexist while protesting to be not, and bigoted—but the life of the party sort of bigot.

Was AHS12 by invitation only? Did one have to fill out a demographic questionnaire prior to purchasing a ticket?

I appreciate the volunteer service of that person and I hope her name was included in my wrap up because I endeavored to get the names of everyone who made it all look easy.

You see, I really don't much like those who remind you always of how hard it is to do what they do. The ones I like are the ones who do the hard stuff and make it look easy. This is the true proof of their competence. That's how I felt about the volunteer organizers and movers of both AHS11 and AHS12. For all her criticism of all the behind the scene conflagration and confusion, I didn't notice a whiff of it ever. And it's beyond me why someone as part of an organization that pulled off a success finds so much need in airing all the behind-scene dirty laundry publicly, when I believe the vast majority of paying customers were happy. Does every single thing that can be said, need to be said?

Oh, yea, I forgot: "The demographic at this event was almost all white, child bearing age, healthy, wealthy, highly educated, libertarian, racist, sexist and bigoted."

Perhaps, at base, she wanted it to go off badly for all those awful folk.

As you've probably guessed by now, I could go on and on with that whole deal, but let me cut it off here with just one more "quibble."

The male conference directors and chairs often made unilateral decisions with no leadership or management. I’ll call it intentional incompetence.

I'm not really sure whether she means that all that'd be fine if females did it, or that what needed to happen in every critical moment was to pull all volunteers off station, for a committee—ensuring to include equal representation amongst poor, unhealthy, fat, black, hispanic, asian, women, lesbian and a transvestite—to vote on it.

Yea, it's laughable and that's why I'm amplifying it to hyperbolic proportions.

I think at base, there's a couple of types of folks in the world. For the most part, those attending the AHS events know that they'll see 50% of the presentations at most, but that means they can pick and choose and what that means is: was there enough value for me, there? Yes? I'll be back. No? Maybe not. Simple. That's dealing with things as they really are, not as some ridiculous ideal fantasy. Then there's the other sorts who look at it and conclude this isn't how they would do it, and so they set about to attack and criticize those who do things that they have neither the ability or wherewithal to do themselves. And they've most likely never accomplished a notable thing in their lives...and so there's an element of self loathing.

...The patriarchal criticism annoys me the most. Two guys created this. To my knowledge, they have never, ever excluded a single woman because she's a woman. What they did was take all comers willing to help them make this real. That most of them were men is a criticism of women, and deserved praise of men. Did you hear me, laddies? Get off your asses and take what you think you can handle, or shut the fuck up and stop your whining.

It's there for the taking. For you. I'll be there to applaud every single success (of individuals, regardless of superficial skin color or genital arrangement).

But that's not what some of you want, is it? Now that the really hard work is done, beginning almost 4 years ago, created by two white, privileged men, and it's a success, some of you want it all just handed to you on the proverbial silver platter. Aren't I right?

Last I noticed, the WAPF is pretty much dominated by women. You've got Sally Fallon who I believe heads the thing, and a couple of its chief cheerleaders and promoters are Ann Marie Michaels of CheeseSlave and Kelly the Kitchen Kop, both with hugely popular WAPF blogs. I'm gonna stick my neck out and guess that never in the history of the universe has a single white male ever protested the matriarchal bent to WAPF. Prove me wrong, or shut the fuck up.

...I don't give a fuck about skin color or genital arrangements when it comes to merit or prestige. Sally Ride was the first time in my life that I really took cognizance of the harm the women's "feminist" movement does to women. She was, to me, an astronaut, not "the first female astronaut." It sorrows me to think she had to endure the notion that she got that gig because of how here genitals were arranged, and not because she was damn good at what she did being a physicist, and better than enough others at the time to get what she wanted.

Similarly, for Barak Obama. It's sad for him that he's going to go down in history as "the first black president," and not the gig the white guys get: a skilled politician, more cunning in lying, deception, obfuscation, popularity, dynamism, money raising than everyone else at the time.

~~~

Full disclosure of conflicts of interest: I'm a white guy, northern European descent. I attended private school through HS. It was mostly white people like me. There were plenty of females, though none fat. They all believed in fairy tales, though. Lived in a co-ed dorm in college and boy did I love love love that! In the first true home I could call my own, I split rent with a black guy, Annapolis grad and football player. My wife is Hispanic, and when I met her, she made way more money than me. The company I eventually created employed 3/4 females to males and 3 of the 4 top management positions below me were manned by non-men. I have a lot of gay and lesbian friends. I remain chauvinistic, bigoted and racist...so they tell me.

Update: Well, Miss "All-Inclusive" decided to make her blog by invitation only. Here's the cache of the original entry, for as long as it lasts.

Livebloging #AHS12 When I Feel Like it

It's 1:30 am.

Ran into to Sisson earlier,  on purpose, as he was checking in about an hour after I did.

Yan, a longtime reader and geek from Denmark (he was at #AHS11), bought me too many drinks and then I bought him dinner. I had about a dozen raw oysters and steak tartare. All raw. Settled well.

Got back to the Charles Hotel just in time to run into Frank Forencich, who is also presenting. We shot the shit for an hour at least.

He and I are the only guys in the paleosphere who will be focussing on the mind.

So stay tuned.

#AHS12 Arriving

I'm on the way. Actually, just about an hour only out of Boston. 39,000 feet, though. Earlier, at 37,000 feet, I met someone who knows my blog. She's 2 rows ahead of me and emailed when she saw me on my computer. Cool.

Virgin America VX350, San Francisco to Boston. First time on Virgin, and I suppose this is only a taste compared to their international flights—where even some of the true cattle car-airlines do a decent job. Well done, Richard Branson. It's nice to feel like a customer again, on a domestic flight.

Not much to say.

Oh, here's a photo for speculation purposes.

IMG 1069
What happened?

Still figuring out how to make a joke about it for my presentation at AHS. Alright. I'll be reporting from the field. Most real time will be my Twitter feed.

Descent has begun (controlled, so far)...

Ancestral Health Symposium Controversies Podcast: From High Heels to Gary vs. Stephan #AHS11

"This is like being IN the Internet" - Stephan Guyenet

Stephan's bit of off-cuff, characteristic insight rippled far beyond the presenter and volunteer party, before the actual event began, and has carried forth since. It may have been the base concept that ultimately described in the fewest number of words what this was really about.

Beyond the few personal acquaintances that exist among us all, this was a coming together of intelligence, insight, humor, enthusiasm, and "personality," from a purely digital form, made flesh & blood. While Stephan's Tron-esque quip may have not been intended to be profound, but merely an enthusiastic outburst, it carried weight.

What it shows is that we're not just dicking around, here. This stuff we put up, in all its facets, really counts for something and that when the bubble is just about to burst, presenters and attendees fly across oceans to come together and make it just all that more real, to lay physical eyeball and hands, one upon another. We're animals, and I hope we never lose sight of the extreme importance of human to human contact.

There's no substitute, as good as Stephan's blog is, or, as we'll get to, as Good as Gary Taubes' books and NYT articles are.

~~~

I previously did a podcast with Angelo Coppola, The Diet of No-Diet, that was not an interview, but a format I adore most. Simply, we pick some things to discuss, and go for it. Make no mistake: Angelo got picked up by the 5by5 Podcast Network that equals his podcasts being downloaded 100,000 times, because of his high production value in his shows. But it's not just the production value in terms of his sound quality, music integration and so on. It is, I would argue, mostly because he is a superstar listener. I listened to my own past appearance and then this one and came away in wonder about how he intuitively guided me along to be the best I think I can be.

Fancy that. I don't really prepare for these, other than to familiarize myself with the subject matter, but he seems to bring out what to my mind, is the best performance possible. He knows what he's doing and you should listen, and if so inclined, support his work.

I should mention that Angelo and I have been talking about something new in terms of "round table discussion," so stay tuned for that.

~~~

I'd characterize this podcast as having a couple of sections. The first is just my raw impression of the whole event -- "gobsmacking" -- to some of the controversies:

  • Women wearing high heals (the most serious controversy)
  • Why so many low carb presenters, like the low-carber Dr. Eades and Fat Head Tom Naughton?
  • What's the real dispute between Drs. Richard Feinman and Robert Lustig?
  • Waht's up with Boyd Eaton and his "Noble Savage" ideas?
  • Science journalist Gary Taubes vs. Dr. Stephan Guyenet, obesity researcher (the most gentle controversy)

We ended up spending a couple of minutes on the most serious controversy, as listed above, and about half of the 90 total minutes on the most gentile of the controversies.

Here's how you get to listen to how it all went down.

Feel free to drop questions, discussion and fuck yooz into comments. I am going to do a science post for a change. Been a while. During my discussion with Angelo about Taubes and Guyenet, I tried to integrate their ideas, inclusive of Lustig and Paul Jaminet. So in a few day's time, I'll have up a post on that, so that piece of the important overall conversation can have a well deserved forum from a holistic, integrative perspective.

Now go listen. And here's the show notes and links.