Author Archives: Brad Warbiany

Epic Takedown Of “You Didn’t Build That”

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Over at Cafe Hayek is a must read takedown of the entire “YOU DIDN’T BUILD THAT!” charge.

Don Boudreaux lays out a cohesive, detailed, and very compelling case against the entire mentality behind “you didn’t build that.” In one sense, the charge is true. Whether public or private, the infrastructure and the products of an entire worldwide market in goods and services is a key enabler to allow entrepreneurs to be successful. This includes things like government roads, education systems, etc. This is true, and not really a point of argument.

But the “you didn’t build that” charge takes it one step further and places the credit for successful entrepreneurship at the feet of all that infrastructure. If this were the case, entrepreneurship would be easy. But it’s not. It’s what entrepreneurs do to create value above and beyond all that infrastructure that makes them successful. And that’s a story that isn’t well-written anywhere–until now.

I try to set a high bar for linking off-site, since I so rarely post. I do it when I see something that really deserves a read, and this post cleared that bar easily.

The Moon Is A Harsh Movie

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So I heard that they’re going to make a movie out of The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

I was, of course, immediately thrown into unabashed excitement. But then I thought about it. And my excitement became thoroughly bashed.

I’d like to think Hollywood can make a good movie out of this. I mean, I don’t expect any Professor Bernardo de la Paz soliloquies about rational anarchy. Just like you can’t make a good movie with a 40-page John Galt speech*, some of what de la Paz goes into will be way over the heads of the typical audience member. It’s not that I want a Heinlein fanboy or hardcore libertarian directing this movie, because that’s one way that you can turn an awesome book into a preachy, boring position piece.

Still, there are some pretty interesting things in the book. It’s the book that actually gives a realistic account of what anarchy might actually look like. A scene where some young hooligans who were slighted by a tourist pick a random guy out of a diner to adjudicate their “case” against him? I could see that actually playing well on screen, and introducing people to the idea of polycentric law at the same time.

And TANSTAAFL? I’ve hoped for years that this concept would catch on.

But then, I remember what happened to Starship Troopers.

And I get very scared. This book is about themes that *should* resonate with everyone. Freedom. Self-determination. A “powerless” colony being plundered for their wealth trying to fight back. And I know they’re going to F it up.

Maybe I’ll be proven wrong. Maybe they’ll get it right. And maybe cats will start walking through walls.
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Brad’s Beer Review: Falling Rock Tap House, Denver CO

So, my job took me to Denver early this week. When I go to Denver, I usually try to manage two things:

  1. Visit my co-contributor here at The Liberty Papers, Stephen Littau.
  2. Visit my favorite beer bar, the Falling Rock Tap House.

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As it stands, I often get to do both at once, as I did this time. Of course, Stephen and I were so lost in conversation that I didn’t even think to have the waitress snap a shot of us enjoying our time there, so all I can offer is their sign outside.

The Falling Rock Tap House has a motto: No Crap On Tap. And boy, do they ever live up to that motto. They have ~70 taps, and about ~70 bottled beers, and you won’t find Bud, Miller, or Coors on draft*.

That said, extensive draft lists aren’t uncommon these days. What’s particularly impressive about the Falling Rock is that they really go to lengths to have a very well-curated, interesting beer list. About half of their offerings are local CO beers, with the rest being the best-of-the-best of what they can get their hands on nationwide. Yes, you will frequently find Russian River, Dogfish Head, Jolly Pumpkin, The Bruery, Lost Abbey, etc. And it doesn’t stop at the US border, with some good Belgian offerings.

In addition, while (like any bar) they have a great collection of IPAs, they are not by any stretch of the imagination limited to IPA. They carry great examples of a wide range of beer styles. They have some amazing offerings during the Great American Beer Festival (and usually have a “Beer MC” to announce what’s being tapped because they move through beer so quickly during GABF). They have a number of yearly events, with their “Dain Bramage” strong ale & barleywine festival occurring during the cold** Denver winter.

Finally, as it pertains to beer, they have one thing that many decent beer bars don’t have–servers who REALLY know beer. These aren’t waiters and waitresses that only know whether beer is dark or light. They can give well-informed descriptions and comparisons of beer. So if you’re new in town trying to figure out what obscure local Colorado beer to order, you’re in luck.

In short, these guys know their beer.

Outside of beer, they of course also offer food. I’ll be up front. The food is greasy bar food. That said, the food is extremely well-executed greasy bar food. I really like their deep-fried mushroom appetizer. It’s large button mushrooms, breaded in a mildly-spicy mix, deep-fried and served with dipping sauce. Simple? Yes. Tasty as hell? Absolutely. They make good burgers, sandwiches, wings, fries, etc.

I generally consider myself to be a “foodie”. However, that doesn’t mean food has to be fancy. It just has to be good. And Falling Rock food is good.

Last, but not least, is that Falling Rock is an excellent value. All the food is reasonably-priced, and beers are well-priced for the quality and rarity of the individual brews. Stephen and I had 5 pints between us, the fried mushroom appetizer, and each had a sandwich (a burger for him, pastrami sandwich for me). The total bill came out to ~$58. That’s very reasonable.

If you’re ever out in Denver, I highly recommend visiting the Falling Rock. And having someone like Stephen to share your meal with is even better.

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Rand Paul Sees Anti-Vax Fire, Adds Gasoline

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Does Doctor Rand Paul believe vaccines cause autism? Well, let’s see exactly what he said on the topic (video after the fold):

I’ve heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.

Really, Rand? You’ve heard of cases. Seems like you and my wife have something in common. As I like to say, I believe in evidence-based medicine, while she believes in anecdote-based medicine.

Of course, it’s not all that dangerous that my wife has this blind spot. She’s neither a doctor NOR a US Senator. You, however, should think before you open that hole on the front of your face and let words fall out. The world holds you to higher standard.

90% of your interview was extolling the virtues of vaccines. You make a great point about freedom. Vaccines ARE voluntary, which seemed to be a surprise to the anchor. We as parents must carefully weigh evidence and do what we believe is right for our children. I’ve argued as such here on this blog.

But this one sentence is going to be used as evidence that vaccines cause autism. Your position as a Senator and as a doctor are going to be used to give this idea credibility. Oh, and if you now come out and publicly try to distance yourself from this, the conspiracy-minded anti-vaxxers out there will view that as only damning you further.

And you base this on what? Anecdotes? Anecdotes from parents who are reeling from the emotional sting of realizing their perfect little child is facing a neurological disorder and the terror of what that will mean? Parents who wonder “why” life is unfair–and who is to blame? These parents are vulnerable, and some of the subcultures in the autism community will have them quickly believing that vaccines, antibiotics, and frankly anything sold by a pharmaceutical company is evil, and delivering them into the hands of pseudoscience hucksters selling hyperbaric oxygen treatments, chelation, and homeopathy as the solution. As the father of a child with autism, I’ve watched it happen. I don’t tend towards hyperbole in this area, but the behavior of many of these groups is remarkably cultlike.

I’m not sure what Sen. Paul truly believes as it relates to vaccines and autism. But he’s now entered the debate, and on the wrong side. He did so without evidence; merely anecdote.

I lost some respect for Rand Paul today.
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Brad’s Beer Review: Stone Delicious IPA

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A Stone IPA? Brad’s going to follow up brewpubs in Shanghai, coffee milk stout, Gose, and beer from the oldest brewery in the world with an IPA from Stone? Hardly seems special, you wonder…

No, I wouldn’t review just any San Diego IPA. There is something special about this IPA from Stone. What makes it special? What it lacks.

Stone Delicious IPA is a gluten-reduced beer. In recent years, brewers have learned that a specific clarifying agent happens to break down gluten, to the point where any typical gluten test will show a negative result. This allows them to brew a beer using gluten-containing grains and most gluten-sensitive people can drink it with no ill effects. The way the additive works coupled with the natural lawyer-aversion of most American companies means that they won’t market this beer as “gluten-free”, but it’s about as close as you’ll get. How close? Well, they lab-test every single batch and you can check the lab results here.

In the old days (i.e. more than ~3 years ago), gluten-free beers were terrible. They brewed them with alternate grains like sorghum or rice syrup, they didn’t really taste like beer, and generally they failed in the market. Brewers today, such as Widmer’s Omission brand, are hoping to change that.
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So why do I care? A few reasons.

First, I’m somewhat sensitive to the needs of the gluten-sensitive. My son is on a gluten-free diet, and while I’m not exactly going to be giving a 5-year-old any Delicious IPA, it does make me curious. In addition, I have a coworker who several years ago started getting pretty heavily into beer and homebrewing. At roughly the same time, he started having some significant health problems, and discovered that he was gluten-intolerant. He put the brewing equipment in storage, and stopped drinking beer. I haz a sad.

Second, I’m frankly curious myself. I hadn’t tried the Omission beers, but when I heard that Stone was doing a gluten-reduced IPA, I figured I should try it and review it. I drink a lot of Stone beer. I drink a lot of IPA. I know what Stone-produced IPA typically tastes like. I figured that if anyone was going to be able to determine if the gluten-reduction process made a meaningful difference to the taste or character of the beer, I could do so.

So here we go. What’s the verdict?

  • Stats: 7.7% ABV, 80 IBU. Color not listed.
  • Aroma: A lot of citrus hops. Not so much orange as maybe grapefruit. You know, that sort of subtler smell that gives rise to the idea that the fruit you’re about to eat is REALLY bitter? Yeah, that’s what I’m getting here.
  • Appearance: Pale, slightly hazy. Generally not uncommon for very hoppy ales. Nice white head, dissipates fairly quickly. Even with the nucleation sites etched into the bottom of the Sierra Nevada glass here, the head doesn’t self-sustain as much as I’d expect. Perhaps this is due to the broken-down gluten?
  • Flavor: Nice solid hop flavor, and this is definitely fitting the mold of a very crisp, dry West Coast IPA. Bitterness takes a place right on the front of the stage, with malt waiting in the wings. If I had to critique this beer, I’d say that it should have a little bit more malt and body to be able to stand up to the bitterness level they’re going for here. It just seems to be missing something in the malt character. Reminder — I love massively bitter, hoppy IPAs. But there has to be enough malt to form a backbone in these beers, and this one is missing it.
  • Mouthfeel: Light body, and while I am criticizing the malt, I wouldn’t call this thin or watery. It’s not like the many session IPAs that are lacking in that department. I’d like a little more body, but if they’d added malt flavor and kept the body where it is, I wouldn’t have a problem. That said, there are no flaws either, such as astringency.
  • Overall Impression: The beer is well-brewed. I expect nothing less from Stone. There are no detectable flaws. But I don’t love it. There are better IPAs out there, including Stone’s normal IPA.

I say there are better IPAs out there. But are there better gluten-reduced IPAs? If I had a gluten intolerance that kept me from drinking the others, I would be VERY happy with this beer.

More importantly, I can say that this beer, for my stylistic critiques, tastes like Stone beer. If you gave this to me and didn’t tell me it was gluten-reduced, I wouldn’t be able to tell. This isn’t some sorghum-based monstrosity. This isn’t some “almost-beer”. This is beer. For people who can’t consume with gluten, to drink a beer like this isn’t missing out on a thing.

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