Archive for April, 2011

Businesses do not pay taxes, people do

Friday, April 15th, 2011

To those that cry to increase taxes on businesses:

A business is an idea, not a thing. Nobody has ever seen a business. You cannot touch a business or talk to one. Businesses do not make money, nor do they spend money, because ideas have no physical representation in the world other than brainwave patterns. Brainwave patterns cannot themselves do things. While one or a group of people can rent an office, put a sign on the front of the office, and call it a business, physically it’s still an office with a sign on the front.

Language directs thought, so it’s important to point this out because it’s so common today to talk about businesses as if they physically exist, while they do not.

The US Supreme Court recently established that Corporations are people which is nonsensical. Corporations are an idea held by a group of people. For example, I can get together 5 people, come up with a name for our group, call it a corporation, give the people that run the government money so they accept that, and now instead of 5 votes from 5 people I have 10 votes from the same 5 people. And those 5 people can now bribe politicians with an unlimited amount of money as long as that money is paid in the name of the idea.

Having pointed that out, when the common man advocates increases taxes on business while not taxing themselves, they are being unwittingly hypocritical and self-defeating. As I just pointed out, businesses do not exist, they are just an idea held by a common group of people. When one says “Increase taxes on businesses” they are saying “Increase taxes on this group of people that produce the goods that I ultimately buy.” But when you do that, where does that money come from? It comes from yourself! The money has to come from somewhere. Either the people that produce the goods can pay themselves less, or they can raise the price that they charge you. Since taxes are applied evenly, it’s a level playing field for the producers, so the latter is the most straightforward approach to get that extra money.

Barefoot running

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

I’ve read about the benefits of barefoot running for a while now. Among other things, it is better for your knees and the arch of your foot.

I didn’t want to literally run barefoot due to concerns about stepping on rocks, glass, etc. So a year ago I bought Nike Free shoes, which were among the first to target that market. After a few running sessions I had extreme pain in my knees. I read that barefoot runners run differently than normal runners, but the Nike Free shoes did not change how I ran or even feel much different than normal shoes. They had especially thick and solid soles, and a traditional shape. After literally barefoot running around the house, I found that proper barefoot running changes how you run so that you land on the balls of your feet. You cannot heel-strike, it is too painful. I concluded that my Nike Free shoes did not encourage or support barefoot form due to their design.

Yesterday, I bought Vibram Five Fingers shoes. The salesman at the store told me they are currently the most popular running shoes, and you should not use them to run on pavement, only on tracks and trails. What led me to pay $90 for them was that the soles are very thin and the heel is no thicker than the rest of the shoe, which addressed my prior complaint. This was immediately apparent at the track. I could feel the texture of the asphalt under my feet when I got out of the car; similar to actually being barefoot. Running, I did find that my posture and gait matched that of running barefoot – as with my prior experiment, I could not and did not land on my heels.

As an aside, I want to explain the difference in posture, since nobody explained this to me before and I couldn’t find any clear explanations online.

With typical running shoes, you land on your heels. The impact is absorbed partly by the shoes, partly by your knees, which you can see on this impact graph. That is why the Nike Free shoes are so bad – the sole is thick and solid, but it still has the design of typical running shoes, so you get the worst of both worlds. In order to land on your heels your center of gravity is more towards the back, with an upright posture, and you pull yourself forward with your feet.

With barefoot running, you (have to) land on your forefoot. Your center of gravity is past your toes such that you are actually falling forward. The way the salesman explained this to me was to keep your back and neck straight and aligned. Lean forward until you start to fall, without bending your upper body or neck. Just before you fall, you push off with your foot. The whole run therefore is a controlled fall forward.

I ran about 2 1/2 miles yesterday with the Vibrams. My calves absorbed the impact that previously went to my knees. The run felt easier although that could be because I have been working on my cardio anyway. However, a rock gave me a very painful lesson on just how thin the soles are, especially under the instep. Pebbles, gravel, rough asphalt are all OK. More than that and you’ll be limping.

In conlusion, I would mix it up depending on where you plan to run. It’s better to run on trails in general because it’s better for your knees. But the Vibrams are too thin for rough trails. For the treadmill, asphault, or well-maintained trails I plan to use the Vibrams. Regular running shoes for everything else.