J.D. Moyer

sci-fi writer, beat maker, self-experimenter

Month: June 2012

Music for Space Migration

My newest release is fan music, loosely inspired by Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” series. The Reavers, especially in Serenity (the Firefly movie), were Class-A villains. I think they deserve their own theme song. Thus, I present to you the “Reaver EP” — out today on Conquer (Royal Sapien’s label).

Buy it Beatport
Buy it on iTunes

Reaver EP, out today on Beatport, general release in a few weeks (I think).

If you’re not familiar with the Reavers, or just want to revel in their horribleness, here’s a clip for you.

Pinker on Group Selection

Steven Pinker, another smart Canadian.

There’s a great essay from Steven Pinker in the new Edge. He thinks carefully (which he’s so good at) about the main arguments made for group selection, and finds them lacking.

I think it’s a valid thought experiment, and potentially useful, to apply the principles of biological evolution (mutation, fitness, selection) to other levels, like molecular evolution (“lower” level, or less dependent on other structures and systems) and cultural evolution (“higher” level, or more dependent on other structures and systems).

I’ve tried to do so myself here. The problem is that it’s so easy to go wrong, and think imprecisely about the model. What, exactly, is the unit of replication and selection? What, exactly, does fitness mean in the context of your model?

One of Pinker’s major points in the essay linked above is that genes are the only unit that has a reliable, high fidelity replication method. And genes are the only biological unit for which is makes sense to talk about mutations.

Groups are not really replicable. Neither are individuals. Selection and mutation occurs at a genetic level, because that’s what actually gets copied (and that’s where replication errors can occur).

A Low-Willpower Approach To Fat Loss (5 Physiological Triggers)

Not everyone is trying to get lean, but there are health risks associated with obesity.

Fat loss is an emotional issue, complicated by body image issues, conflicting advice re: what works and what is healthful, and unrealistic media images of digitally altered bodies. Too often, the focus is on the end (losing fat), and not the means (changing habits). This doesn’t work because there is no end to weight issues until you’re dead. Unless a fat loss plan is the result of permanent behavioral change, the fat will come right back.

I’ve written about my own personal changes in body composition and metabolism here. During the years I was suffering from asthma symptoms, I read constantly and obsessively about human physiology in an all-out effort to find a way to cure myself and breathe normally again. I eventually succeeded, and on the way learned a thing or two about inflammation, metabolism, digestion, immunity, gut flora, mitochondria, and other factors that can influence body composition. Since so many people are interested in getting a bit leaner, I’ve attempted to synthesize what I’ve learned in this area in an easily digestible format, in this post.

The problem with most fat loss plans is that they require too much willpower to sustain on a long-term basis. Approaches that are harder to make work include:

  • calorie counting with calorie restriction to the point of near-constant hunger
  • extreme exercise regimens that stretch the body’s ability to naturally and easily recover
  • “bizarro” or fad-diets with many difficult-to-remember rules that must be strictly followed (and often make socializing difficult or awkward)

Long-term fat loss can only be achieved with long-term behavioral change. Behavioral change that requires a large expenditure of willpower is difficult to maintain.

An easier, more effective approach is to shift habits in a direction that encourages consistent fat loss (or maintains a favorable body fat percentage).

But how do we know which habits to change?

Read More

Debut Momu Album for Free Download

Mark Musselman and I released our debut album in 2006, helping to define the progressive breaks genre. If you’d like to get on the Momu mailing list to hear about forthcoming singles and our new album “Rising” out later this year, you can download our debut self-titled album right here (high quality mp3 version) at no charge.


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