Items of Note

    Items of Note –

  • Join Skyler Collins on the EVC Podcast & Tell Your Story!

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    I’ve come to enjoy recording my podcast regularly again. And I look forward to sitting down with someone every week (at least) to talk about their journey to wherever they are today, be that a voluntaryist or an unschooler.

    I haven’t had nearly enough guests of the latter variety for my liking and hope to change that in the future.

    I’ve also, for the very first time, interviewed a friend who is no longer a political ally. That was something new, and fun.

    I am much more open today with discussing ideas on my podcast with which I disagree. My goal is to allow my guest to undress, as it were, and reveal themselves to the world in all their nakedness, be it beautiful, or disturbingly hideous.

    Whether we agree or not, you want to tell the story of your political or parenting journey, or you just want to discuss a random topic of interest, you are hereby invited to join me on the EVC podcast.

    To do so, click here to schedule a late evening time on Wednesdays.

    If this time doesn’t work and you’d really like to participate, contact me directly to find something agreeable.

    (We’ll use Skype or Messenger, or some other way to connect, even old fashioned telephone!)

    Please don’t be shy! I promise to help you feel comfortable and have a good time. You can listen to example episodes in the “Toward Freedom” or “Conversations” podcast series.

    Let’s do this!

  • UPDATED July 2018: What Can Heleum Do For Your Savings?

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    July 2018 Update: Heleum v2.1 has gone live, and by all accounts this is the best version yet. Read all about it here. For a look at v2.1 simulation results using data from 12/18/17, just before the major crypto crash, until 6/10/18, see this document.

    May 2018 Update: Heleum v2.0 has gone live and contains a number of changes to the algorithm. Read all about it here.

    March 2018 Update: The December 2017 crash in the cryptocurrency markets has really hammered my Heleum account. While we’re waiting for the recovery, the team just completed their simulator in order to test stop loss and dynamic goal strategies for implementation in the next two to three weeks. These will greatly improve Heleum performance during cryptocurrency market crashes, which occur several times a year. As cryptocurrency prices are so low, it may be a very good time to put a little money into Heleum. The future is very exciting!

    Full disclosure: I work for my good friend Pace Ellsworth’s new fintech startup company, Heleum. I’m their Support Manager and Knowledge Base author. If anyone has issues, they come to me. I tackle the issue and get it straightened out.

    A little over a week ago, I interviewed Pace on what Heleum is all about. You can listen to that here.

    Heleum was founded by Pace, his brother Taylor, and another mutual friend, Dan Pratt. All very good guys and ideological compatriots. I’ve known and worked with them for years, and Pace offered me the opportunity to join this amazing fintech startup, I jumped on board immediately.

    I’ve also funded my own Heleum account to the tune of around $1600, so far. Why? Because I believe it’s one of the best and easiest places to store my savings and watch it grow, hands off.

    How does Heleum work? Here’s an informative Knowledge Base article to explain. And a short animated video:

    Heleum exploits cryptocurrency volatility to produce gains through automated currency exchange. Though it’s still a very new technology and a very young company, Heleum has done some amazing things. Their Private Beta lasted 6 months earlier this year and averaged 21% growth. You don’t have to know a thing about cryptocurrency to use Heleum. Sign up here.

    Since my own funds have been moving around in Heleum balloons for over a month, I thought I’d reveal what’s happened. Heleum doesn’t allow balloons to pop (return to base currency) with anything less than 2% in gains. And Heleum only collects its fee from your gains, so it’s completely free to use (read more about how Heleum makes money here).

    My first balloon pop (Balloon 1) occurred early while my total funding amount was still very low:

    As you can see, it launched at $26.66, moved to BTC (bitcoin), and then a day later moved back to USD, causing it to pop at $28.65. Why did pop so quickly? That’s just the circumstances in which the algorithm found itself at that time. In a mere 34 hours it grew 7.5%, calculated after Uphold’s transaction fees were removed. (Uphold is the platform on which Heleum runs. See their press release about Heleum here.)

    My second balloon pop (Balloon 2) occurred early and quickly as well, USD to LTC (litecoin) and back:

    This small balloon lasted only 16 hours, and grew 7.1%. My third balloon pop (Balloon 3), another USD to LTC and back:

    This one lasted a mere 4 hours, but grew 2.5%. My fourth balloon (Balloon 8) pop occurred about a month later, and started with a bigger amount:

    Now we’re really moving all over the place! This balloon hit BTC, LTC, ETH (ether), and NZD (New Zealand) on its trip back to USD. Starting at $83.34 and popping at $95.28 produced 14.3% growth in a much longer 30 days. My fifth balloon pop (Balloon 9) lasted just as long:

    This one went through all the same currencies as the last, plus JPY (Japan). In 29 days it grew from $83.34 to $101.19, or 21%. And my last balloon to pop (so far, Balloon 13):

    This one started at $84.73 and popped at $107.42, earning me $22.69 in gains, or 27% growth!

    I still have 13 balloon that have been inflated for over a month from different launch amounts, my highest showing a current gain of $42.83 from a $201 launch amount, or 21% growth. Some of them currently show a loss. Here’s the full picture of my balloon activity to date:

    Remember, balloons won’t pop by themselves for less than a 2% gain. Those balloons currently showing a loss will stay inflated, making moves, to achieve their goals before coming back to USD (unless a withdrawal is requested). All the while, other balloons are being inflated and popping, producing gains at varying levels, and reinflating into new balloons. Each new balloon launch waits at least 48 hours from the last in order to diversify among time and exchange rates. Amazing!

    It’s not perfect, however. The team is constantly working on updates to the app and the algorithm in order to make it both safer and better at growing your savings. It’s absolutely stunning what this small team has been able to accomplish in such a short period of time. If you’d like to give it a try, sign up here.

  • UPDATED March 2018: The Homeschooling and Liberty Podcast

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Update 3/27/18: The entire summit is being released in podcast format. Subscribe with any podcast app by searching for “homeschooling and liberty”. New content will be created in the future, as well. Enjoy!

    Update 3/6/18: This has concluded, but everything will be made available on a continual basis, plus more. Check out my own contribution here.

    I am very pleased to announce The Homeschooling and Liberty Summit, which begins February 1st, and continues through the end of the month.

    It is an absolute honor to be involved in something of this magnitude, along with so many giants in the liberty and unschooling world. Ron Paul, Peter Gray, Pat Farenga, Pam Laricchia, Tom Woods, Thaddeus Russell, Scott Noelle, Skyler Collins, and the list goes on!

    Please sign up via email through to receive the summit as it proceeds.


    Your Family’s Adventure Into Homeschooling and Liberty Begins February 1st!

    Are you ready to imagine a new life for your family?


    Get ready to witness your kids blossom, as they free themselves from constraints of modern day public schooling, free from constant testing, free from peer pressure and safe in a loving learning environment, to follow their interests, study at their own pace and truly understand the world around them.

    Well look no further! There are less than a few days to go to the launch of The Homeschooling and Liberty Summit, where 28 leading lights in the world of Homeschooling, Self-Directed Education and Entrepreneurship will guide you through the highs and hurdles of taking your kid out of traditional government schooling, to live a life of creativity and joy. Our first talk, with the one and only Dr. Ron Paul, will be sent to your inbox on February 1st with one talk released daily throughout February.

    The free on-line summit includes:

    • Reflections on how our guests look back on their time in school and what could have been done better.
    • How the government model of schooling is not designed to raise creative, self reliant and inspired children.
    • Reassurance that if you are at all unhappy with your child’s learning environment, you ARE ready to start this journey. It doesn’t need to be overwhelming or undertaken alone, with a plethora of online resources and like minded families just a click away.
    • The endless possibilities available to let kids create their own path through manifesting their innate curiosity and intrinsic motivation.
    • Ideas about the future of education. How self-directed education is proving again and again that learning can never truly happen from any external motivation.
    • Practical steps when approaching the idea of taking your children out of compulsory schooling, to live a life of creativity and joy.

    These talks are about 20 minutes each to inspire you to look at not what IS but what COULD BE​,​ for YOU and YOUR FAMILY.

    Join us ​as we explore what it means to be free. Sign up completely free today at​

    (You will firstly receive an email that requires you to confirm your subscription, so keep an eye out for this and make sure it has not gone into your spam folder!)

    Warmest wishes, from all the amazing guest speakers who are about to inspire! We will see you at the summit!

  • Why Flexible Disaster Pricing is Necessary

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Take a look at this picture and tell me what you see:

    My understanding is that this is from a Walmart in Florida, where Hurricane Irma is expected to hit. Let’s assume that’s true for the sake of argument.

    Is this person being responsible?

    For starters, why is she still in Florida? It seems to me like the most responsible thing you can do is leave. And there’s plenty of water elsewhere.

    But more, how is it she’s able to purchase so much water? Because the government has made it illegal to price emergency goods according to supply and demand.

    When sellers of these much-needed goods do raise their prices, they’re attacked as “price gougers” and, it is claimed, they are doing it for the windfall, to profit off of the plight of others.

    But what’s happening here if not a person receiving a windfall, profiting off of the plight of others?

    She’s able and willing to purchase so much water because the price is being held down by government. What happens when the next person arrives, in arguably more desperate need than her for water, and its all gone?

    If the price were set by a computer to prevent a shortage, everyone who needed water would find it available. Nobody, without having to spend an arm and a leg, would be able to buy so much for themselves. They’d be forced, par circumstance, to economize, and everyone who needed water would get it, either with the current supply or with the forthcoming supply by further away enterprising individuals.

    This person probably feels giddy over the windfall she is receiving; how fortunate she is that so much is currently available to her. Shouldn’t that be viewed as just as “greedy” is the price gougers? Maybe I can think of a name for this behavior…

    I got it: plight gougers.

  • “You Shouldn’t Ever Need Proof to Believe a Rape Victim”

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    I agree with the title of this post, written by “Nicole” on Facebook. I don’t know Nicole, but she’s a font of wisdom. I’m thinking we should go further.

    You shouldn’t ever need proof to believe a tattle victim.

    You shouldn’t ever need proof to believe a robbery victim.

    You shouldn’t ever need proof to believe an assault victim.

    You shouldn’t ever need proof to believe a murder victim.

    … *sigh* I can’t keep this up. what a stupid person Nicole must be. I hope you see it, too.

    And she clearly thinks alleged rapists, usually men, are guilty by virtue of their accuser, usually women. All hail the infallibility of women! They would never make a false accusation. They could never make a false accusation. Women can do no wrong. All wrongdoing is done by men, clearly.

    Curious, what would Nicole do if I accused her of rape?

  • Did Free Markets Create Government?

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    At first thought this claim might seem true:

    Governments were created by the free market.

    I mean, if governments exist, and they didn’t before, then the free market must have created them, right?

    Well, no. First of all, such a claim, without supporting evidence showing causality, suffers from the post hoc ergo propter hoc logic fallacy. Just because governments came after, that does not, by itself, mean that whatever came before created them.

    It would be more accurate to say that governments were created by members of society.

    As Rothbard wrote,

    The free market is a summary term for an array of exchanges that take place in society. Each exchange is undertaken as a voluntary agreement between two people or between groups of people represented by agents.

    In other words, “the free market” is not a thing that creates anything. It’s the result of members of a society exchanging with each other freely. When the exchange is not made freely but forced, that is not part of the “array of [voluntary] exchanges” that make up the free market.

    We call such “exchanges” crimes.

    Governments are merely groups of people in society, people that force other people to pay them. This means that governments are just a form of organized crime.

    So no, it is not true that governments were created by the free market. Rather, it’s true that governments were created by people in society, people who have otherwise participated in the free market but have now turned to a life of crime.

  • Chafing Against the Law

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    I abandoned participation in the political process years ago. It’s an utter and complete waste of time. However, one area I’ve seen a slight improvement in is through the work of the Libertas Institute of Utah, where I live. Libertas was founded in 2011 by a friend, Connor Boyack. The institute’s sole purpose is in increasing the freedoms enjoyed by Utahns. This is accomplished by the Institute’s lobbying efforts at Capitol Hill and direct influence on legislation. This takes up the bulk of their efforts. Other efforts include reporting on legislation, maintaining a legislator freedom indexgrading cities on how liberty friendly they are, and produce excellent children’s books that teach libertarian and economic principles.

    This singular pursuit has been my solitary area of participation in the political process. I’ve given Libertas my hard earned money in the past because of the success I have seen from their efforts. Unfortunately, the parasites and predators that are government actors have continued to push back against these successes, unsurprisingly. Here’s a recent lament by Connor:

    Once upon a time, I was frustrated with people who didn’t vote, didn’t follow the news, and didn’t have an opinion about the latest policy controversy.

    And while my life’s work is to make those people care about—and shirk off—the chains with which we’re bound, I no longer am frustrated with them.

    Truth be told, I’m often envious of them.

    Take it a from a guy in the trenches: for every success we boast, there are far more defeats… and even our successes are often undermined, thwarted, circumvented, etc.

    Care for an example? Here are two…

    The bill we got passed—after four years of opposition from city governments—to prohibit them from requiring fees of home-based businesses? Many of these cities are imposing all sorts of restrictions the law doesn’t allow, in order to keep collecting the money.

    And the food truck freedom bill? Several cities are flouting it by passing additional restrictions that limit food truck operations in their city in order to maintain control.

    Reminds me of another example. A few years ago we worked on legislation requiring school districts to send a notice to parents about their rights regarding their children’s education. Alpine School District, in compliance with the letter of the law, printed the text in size 7 font on the bottom of a paper about something else, lost in a stack of many papers sent to the parent at the beginning of the year. And instead of explaining the issue helpfully, they included references to the bill number that no parent would understand.

    This is the crap we have to put up with, and constantly push back against.

    I have thick enough skin to do it, and am called to the work.

    But if you don’t, and you’re not, then that’s fine. It’s messy business. It’s frequently maddening, especially when you are compelled to finance the operation you’re trying to undermine, and your taxpayer funds are being used to lobby against what you’re hoping to achieve.

    So go about your business — be productive, contribute to society, focus on your family. That’s what really matters, and to the extent the oppressive state allows you to do so unmolested, you should make the most of it.

    Eventually, many folks in this situation will chafe against the law and find themselves becoming actively aware and involved. And we stand ready to help those people succeed.

    There’s strength in numbers. We could use more fighters. But I’m no longer frustrated by those who choose not to fight.

    I wish Connor and the Libertas Institute all the luck in the universe in their fight against tyranny.

  • Life, Eating Animals, and Ethics

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Louis CK is one of my favorite comedians. In his latest Netflix comedy special, he said something to the effect that life is not that important. I think I agree. Hear me out.

    I don’t mean my life. I mean “life” in general. It’s just not that important.

    Of course, there are certain lives that are very important to me. But there are trillions and trillions of other lives that are not important to me. It would seem that on balance life is not that important.

    Why aren’t they important? Because I don’t know those people or those animals or those other life forms. I haven’t bonded with them so that they gain some measure of importance to me.

    I don’t want to hear about people getting murdered. I think, superficially at least, that it’s a moral outrage. Do I shed a tear? No.

    Nor do I shed any tears for the plants, animals, and insect that are routinely slaughtered every second of every day, some of which end up in my stomach. I shed zero tears for them. In fact, I think they’re delicious and nutritious and have chosen that my life is important than theirs. That’s a fact.

    Ethics, the science of morality, is important to me, but not for any religious or cosmic justice reasons, but because I value society with others, and behaving morally ensures that.

    Do I value society with animals? Not really. I don’t even like my dog very much. It’s hard to like something that causes you allergy based discomfort. I probably wouldn’t shed a tear if my dog were killed. My kids certainly would.

    Do I value society with animals that I find delicious? No. Of course not. I value their taste and the nutrition that they provide. That’s it.

    And I obviously don’t value the hordes of insects I slaughter on a daily basis with my car. Who does?

    Why is that alright, but eating animals not alright?

    Life is murder. Every form of life murders other forms of life for survival. And that’s okay.

  • Alternative Markets Saved Me a Boatload

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    I’m sitting here in the Salt Lake City airport about to board a flight to Phoenix to join a startup poised to disrupt the foreign/crypto exchange and savings markets.

    My American flight to Phoenix only cost me $140. And my Delta return flight only $100.

    The 2016 Accord Coupe I’ll be picking up for the week cost $290.

    And my private room with full amenities and a pool cost $170.

    That’s just under $700 for a 6-day, 5-night business trip. Not bad!

    How’d I manage to save so much?

    I used Skiplagged to find my flights, which are in actuality partial flights. I leave the trip after the first arm as the plane goes on to Vegas each way.

    I used Turo to find a sweet ride and paid pennies on the dollar for it.

    And I used Airbnb to find high-rated lodging with friendly and accommodating local hosts.

    Each of these services is in the alternative market and have made major disruptions, saving customers millions.

    I used to travel business a lot, and even a 3-day trip never cost less than $1,800 using traditional airline booking, Avis, and a hotel.

  • Life is Shit and Rainbows

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    I don’t remember where I first saw that picture of a happy pile of shit sliding down a rainbow, but it was around a year ago. It spoke to me, so I made it my cover photo on Facebook. I’ve since added it Twitter and Google+.

    One of my projects this past week was to update my personal website. I moved it to WordPress from Blogger and decided to keep it simple. I’d have only external links to various things that are a part of my life.

    Front and center, however, I decided to use this shit and rainbow picture and make my site tagline, “Life is shit and rainbows.”

    My kids love the picture also, as does my wife, but she was curious what it meant to me.

    I think anyone alive can relate to this picture and my tagline. Life is indeed shit and rainbows. Maybe for some people, it’s mostly shit, and for others, it’s mostly rainbows. But I defy anyone to show me a person whose life did not contain both, however brief it may have been.

    With the right attitude, rainbows are in store for everyone. It may be difficult finding them, but they’re there.

More from “Items of Note”