Peace Out

All the topics that I listed in Breaking CriticalMAS – A Return to Blogging? are now finished. In that post, I said:

I’d like to wrap up some of the topics I left open. At that point I may or may not continue blogging.

What I discovered since November is that I don’t enjoy blogging anymore. I’m more interested in other projects that don’t fit well under the CriticalMAS domain. Before I needed a break and a long hiatus. Now it is time to end this blog.

Unlike my mentors that let their domains become digital graveyards, I am committed to keeping this site alive and accessible.

Thank you all for reading and commenting. I will be keeping comments open till Friday. I still have a newsletter in case there is a future announcement related to topics covered on this blog.

My portal page will always have a list of my other web projects.

Peace out!

Stepping Aside From Nutritional Blogging

The deeper I get into nutrition, the more I realize I have no business blogging about it.

There are nutritional researchers and bloggers online that are far more knowledgeable than me. There are also some charlatans that appear to be experts. I no longer want people to trust that this blog can tell the difference between the two groups. I’ve been fooled a few times and although I’d like to think I’m smarter now and won’t be fooled by others, I can’t promise that.

Something CarbSane said on a podcast really struck me. She said that health bloggers have a tendency to over report their successes and under report their failures. As much as I wish that weren’t true with me, it has been.

The times things were going their best were the times I posted the most. I had things figured out. When things didn’t go as well, I spent more time looking for answers and less time posting. But the reader doesn’t see both sides and this could be problematic if they were inspired to take the same path as me based off my writing. I don’t want that to happen.

My journey went from finding the optimal diet to constructing a diet that was likely not “too wrong”. The funny thing is when I go through 15 years of data, I see that I was always weight stable within 10% and usually 5% despite following wildly different diets. So I’m thinking my energy would be better spent focusing on something else.

Best of luck meeting your nutritional goals and not getting fooled by the charlatans.

Photo by Alan Levine

 

The Digital Graveyard of My Health and Fitness Mentors

One of the projects I’ve been doing recently is going back into the archives and finding posts that have inaccurate information and making 2017 updates where appropriate. I also run a broken link checker, which alerts me when anything I’ve linked to is no longer available. This allows me to either link to an archived version of the article on The Wayback Machine or find an alternate source.

Anyway, I found this entire exercise to be interesting. A lot of the sites that I received value from have disappeared or have revamped their websites in ways to make my old links broken. In this post, I am going to walk you through the digital graveyard of some of these mentors and at the same time I’m going to share some webmaster wisdom on what they did wrong.

Art De Vany

My revamped health journey all began with De Vany. I went from a pesco-vegetarian to a Paleo/WAPF diet very shortly after reading his work in late 2007. Fasting and cold exposure were both ideas I received from his website.

His original site was at arthurdevany.com then later he moved to artdevanyonline.com. Both sites are now dead. Then he moved to Facebook. Then he changed pages on Facebook. If you want an example on how to annoy your fans, here you go. Just keep moving around without leaving a forwarding address. The super popular T-Nation still links to his original site from a 2005 article.

2006 screenshot

The Ray Peat Bloggers

I guess I was fortune to stumble onto the Ray Peat nutritional argument when I did, because most of the resources I used to further my knowledge are gone.

Danny Roddy had a blog with several excellent articles. It was taken down. It came back online later with new articles, but the old ones are gone. I’m not to judge if that was the right or wrong decision, but I will say that if you remove a link, the correct HTTP code to return is 404. Redirecting users to the homepage is not correct. It makes the person who linked to your article look like an idiot, because the page doesn’t match the link.

On my coffee site INeedCoffee I had to remove some articles years ago. I setup a custom 404 page telling them that the article they expected to find no longer exists on the site followed by a invitation to view other site content.

ArkOfWellness was another site that had well written articles on Ray Peat topics. Gone. Domain appears to be hijacked now.

Andrew Kim had some great articles. Gone. Domain appears to be hijacked now.

Although not a Ray Peat blogger, Matt Stone of 180DegreeHealth was my introduction to Ray Peat. A few years ago, he shutdown the blog, only to bring it back several months (or was it longer?) later. Only when he returned he changed all the article URLs. The site went from dated URLs to dateless URLs, which I think is a bad thing to do with health blogs. But because a redirection plugin was never setup, all legacy inbound links to the site are broken. I updated all my inbound links to 180D. Most bloggers won’t.

BodyByScience.net

I knew it was just a matter of time before this site would be hacked. You NEVER publicly display the version of WordPress your site is using, because if a security flaw is discovered later and you don’t update, you are telling bad people “come hack me”. The BBS site displayed their outdated insecure version of WordPress in their footer.

I would have brought it to their attention, but the 2 times I tried to comment on the site, my comments were blocked without reason.

Well last year they got hacked. The site is still down. Through back channels I learned the site wasn’t backed up. I tried to pass a message via mutual friends that archive.org had copies of all the content, but as expected I never heard anything back.

From what I gather they believe that “Chinese hackers” now have their domain so Dr. McGuff has started a new website. But a quick check on WHOIS shows his co-author John Little is still the registrar. They are walking away from almost a decade a content and countless inbound links to their domain. Tragic.

2011 Screenshot of BBS website. This screenshot was taken today. The content is not lost. 

Anthony Colpo

Anthony’s site is still online, but all the content I linked to as supporting references to my blog posts are now behind a pay wall – so I had to remove those links. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get paid. I hope it works well for him, as he is a great researcher. However, when I go to the membership page I don’t see a signup form or pricing info. Website also lacks HTTPS certificate, which is bad practice for membership sites.

Enough For Now and Lessons

I just realized I’m already at 900 words and I can still think of more mentors that are now in the digital graveyard. Let me summarize the lessons we can learn.

  1. When registering your domain, always register multiple years. For my main sites I try and keep my registration out 7-10 years. I review my registrations annually. Nobody is going to catch me napping and take one of my domains away.
  2. If you decide to shutdown a website, leave up a page telling your readers why and any forwarding information they need.
  3. If you change domains, make sure the links from the old domain are forwarded to the new one.
  4. When you remove content, the server should return a 404 Page Not Found. Create a Custom 404 Page to guide readers back to the home page or recommended reading. Don’t use 301 Redirects to send broken links to the home page.
  5. If you change the location of your articles, use a redirection plugin so all legacy inbound links still resolve.
  6. Follow the latest security standards for whatever blogging tool you use and keep your version, plugins and themes up to date.

With the exception of De Vany’s 1st domain, ArkofWellness and Andrew Kim, I think every issue I brought up can still be resolved. Restoring BBS would be a fair amount of work, but doable. I received a lot of valuable information from these mentors, so if they read this site, this is me sharing my expertise with you. And if not, these tips are valuable for the next generation of bloggers.

How I Approach Fitness

From time to time I will get emails asking me about my current thoughts related to fitness. Nothing has really changed, but I have developed a framework for how I think about fitness. To me there are 3 blocks:

  1. Safety
  2. Effectiveness
  3. Novelty

Notice how I ordered them. This is not how most people approach fitness. Most will start with novelty. What looks cool or seems inspiring to them. Then they will figure out how to make those exercises effective. And then they will do their best to make that exercise plan safe.

This to me is the big flaw with fitness. I start with safe movements. Then I figure out to make them effective. Finally when I do seek novelty, I do it without making the exercise less safe or less effective.

I don’t know if this approach would have been inspiring to me when I was younger. Like most young men, I was inspired by outliers. I wanted to know how Evander Holyfield exercised, not how to minimize my risk of injury.

Evander Holyfield

I’m forever grateful that I had a few injuries under my belt before I became aware of CrossFit. I went with Body by Science and have been forever grateful. Not as glamorous and less novel, but it works for me.

I’ve said it before, but it is worth repeating: You will make the most gains in your exercise program by vastly reducing or eliminating injury risk. Maybe not in the first few years, but in the long run. So instead of trying to figure out how to knock out 20 perfect kipping pull-ups, I’ll be the guy doing controlled slow pulldowns.

Why Didn’t I Blog More About Economics?

Over the years as my interests have changed so have the topics on my blog. From hiking to financial to fitness to nutrition to cooking to whatever sparked my curiosity. But there is one huge exception and that is economics.

For the past 5 or 6 years I have spent a considerable amount of time learning more about economics. Podcasts, articles and books. I didn’t have a goal in mind. It was just something I gravitated to as my interest in finance was fading. Yet I almost never post about economics unless it relates to a topic that is connected to me personally.

The EconTalk podcast continues to be my favorite source of economic knowledge. Often times I would end up reading the books by the guests to further my understanding of the topic. (NPR’s Planet Money is pretty good too. Never cared for Freakonomics.)

Photo by Paul Downey

A while back someone asked my why I don’t discuss economics on this blog. The reason is that early on I realized that people are biased to their core on their opinions of government and the free market and that will cloud how they will approach any economic topic. It is just like politics. Whatever your belief is you can certainly find data or information to support that belief. And that isn’t just true with average people like us, but some of the top economists of the last 100 years. The Keynes vs Hayek battle is still being debated.

I have my own bias, which I am aware of, and I know that I’m not going to convince anyone of anything. And if I did, so what? As energy draining as all those fitness posts became, I’m certain that tackling topics on economics would be magnitudes worse. Trying to convince a CrossFit enthusiast of SuperSlow HIT – as difficult as that sounds – would be much easier than trying to defend a free market principle to someone that doesn’t trust free markets. So, why bother?

Learning about economics has helped me become a better decision maker. Not just with matters of time and money, but also approaching topics such as nutrition where I believe I have incomplete information. And that is good enough for me.

Opinions are becoming more and more dangerous. Hold the wrong one at the wrong time and you can expose yourself to serious backlash. If there is little to no upside in sharing a controversial viewpoint, but it does carry downside risk, why bother? It makes economic sense to stay silent.