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tim_ferriss_rss July 30 2014, 20:54

The 30-Day Challenge: No Booze, No Masturbating (NOBNOM)



Both of these things are very distracting. (Photo: Shawn Perez)

Both of these things are very distracting. (Photo: Shawn Perez)

The short version: I’d like to pay you to not drink or jerk off for 30 days. Sign up here and get your monk on.

The longer version is below, which includes juicy details, more options for women, and some farewell-porn suggestions…


You know who you are, you filthy animals.

Secret bookmarks to Pornhub (“Discount airfare” – Ha!), secret folders labeled “Tax Returns” for when wifi fails, bookmarks for animated GIFs in case of slow connections (curtsy to Tumblr), Hotspot Shield for when you’re in countries that ban your cherished images (download it before you fly!)…

Oh, wait. Am I projecting again?

Yes, I’ve admitted it before, and I’ll admit it again: dudes watch porn on the Internet. Shocker, I know. All those guys on the magazine covers? They do it, too.

Less obvious, perhaps, is how dramatically your life can change if you quit porn and its consequences for a short period.

I did this for 30 days recently, and — oddly enough — I found it much easier and more impactful to quit booze for the same 30 days. Just a few of the benefits I experienced included…

  • A dramatic surge in free testosterone and sex drive. Dozens of my seemingly healthy male friends, techies in particular, have approached me over the years about chronically low testosterone. There are many potential causes (including late-night blue light), but removing booze and porn appear to open the flood gates. Should you be dating more? Trying a little harder instead of wanking, watching Battlestar Galactica, and calling it a night? This will help motivate you.
  • Increased ability to focus and cognitive endurance. This goes along with increased “T” mentioned above.
  • Getting roughly 50-100% more done. When you aren’t nursing hangovers, chewing up 3-4 hours per night with friends, destroying your sleep with booze, or procrastinating with porn (you know who you are) — miracle of miracles — you get more done! A LOT more done. In my mind, this alone easily justifies a 30-day booze and porn fast. You’ll clear off that goddamn to-do list faster than Speedy Gonzalez.

Join Me for Another 30 Days

Given how transformative this was for me, I’m inviting you to join me for another 30 days. After that, you can go back to your hedonistic ways. I enjoy porn, but I’ve concluded I can level up by taking breaks.

I’ll refer to our 30-day challenge as NOBNOM (NO Booze, NO Masturbating), as the acronym itself sounds pornographic. We gotta make this sumnabitch memorable.

Next steps are described below.

NOTE: If you don’t masturbate (a lot of women don’t but should), or if you otherwise don’t watch enough porn to care about abstaining, here’s another option:

NOBNOC — No Booze, No Complaining

For this version, please first read “Real Mind Control: The 21-Day No-Complaint Experiment.” Then, join the same NOBNOB challenge page to be part of the community.

Next Steps — Do It Now!

1. STEP 1 - Join the NOBNOM goal page here. This is free, and it will keep you accountable to yourself and others.  This official challenge starts August 1st.  That means you get to go crazy on September 1st.  If you’re reading this another time, you can start whenever.  I’m sure people will still be on the page.

2. STEP 2 - If you’re really serious, up the ante and put some cash on the line. As discussed at length in The 4-Hour Chef, without stakes or consequences, about 70% of you will fail. So… choose not to fail.

Below are two options, and I earn nothing from either. I’d suggest doing both of them, if possible:

  • A. Create a betting pool with a few friends or co-workers. Each person commits $100 or whatever (enough to sting if lost, but not enough to bankrupt you) to the pot, and those who complete the full 30 days split the pot. Using this type of betting pool is partially how Tracy Reifkind lost 100+ pounds, so you can definitely use it on NOBNOM.
  • B. Get an accountability coach by clicking here. They’ll email you daily to keep you on track, and you get the first week free by using coupon “NOBNOM.” It’s otherwise $14.99 per week, so the month costs you $45. There are two coaches, and they have bandwidth for 200 people. The coaches: one is a former senior staffer from OneTaste (remember the 4-Hour Body orgasm chapters?). The other coach successfully stopped masturbating and is trained in accountability coaching.

3. STEP 3 - If you’d like to participate in 1-3 support meetings and private Q&As, sign up for my e-mail list and you’ll get the invites. I’ll probably host live video chats, 60-minutes long, and I’ll dedicate 15-20 minutes to the AA meeting-type stuff.  The NoFap page on reddit might also be helpful for some of y’all.

And that’s it!

How You Get Paid

I’m putting $1,000 of my own cash on the line, and Lift (which I advise) is putting up $500, for a total of $1,500.

Here’s how you get it:

1) You must complete the 30-day challenge (Aug 1-31, 2014) on the NOBNOM goal page I’ve linked to throughout this post. We’ll audit this.
2) You must put some of your cash on the line, using one of the above listed approaches. It shouldn’t be enough to hurt you, but it needs to be enough to motivate you.
3) You must leave helpful feedback, tips, and/or encouragement for others, on both that page and in the comments below.

After the challenge, the Lift team, my jury of magic elves, and I will choose the three (3) most helpful people, and each will get $500 USD. Bam!

Get excited and get on it.

So, What Are You Waiting For?

If you’ve been feeling less than super-productive, slightly lethargic, or mildly depressed, do this 30-day challenge. If you simply want to level-up your life, do this 30-day challenge.

At the very least, it’ll make you conscious of automatic behaviors.  Things you’ve done for so long that you know nothing else.

If you’re like me, once the fat starts melting off and you’re feeling like a different person, you’ll say to yourself:

“Holy shit, my baseline for the last 10 years [or 5 or 15 or whatever] has been fucked! I totally forgot what it feels like to live clean.”

Perhaps living clean ended for you after high school, or even before, as it did for me. Why not get reacquainted for 30 days?  Chances are that it’s been a while.

Here’s the first step.

A Parting Gift

If you need a last hurrah before 30 days of being a good boy or girl, here are a few options for party time:

  • A bottle of 2011 Ménage à Trois red. It’s delicious.
  • A viewing of “Momoko and Anjelica,” available through Ze Google. It’s also delicious, and DEFINITELY not suitable for work.
  • A chaser of club soda with lots of lime. You might be having lots of these, so get friendly.

Welcome to Thunderdome!  You’ll thank me later.

See you on NOBNOM central.

Pura vida,


roger_ebert July 30 2014, 19:34

Comic-Con 2014: The Saga of "Batkid Begins"



You’ve probably heard about the event when a small wish made by a five-year-old leukemia survivor blossomed into a social media feel-good event of the year. Panels in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con may have been packed with lines that started the day before the panels, but the panel for the crowdsourcing campaign for “Batkid Begins” represented a moment in time when the hearts of 25,000 people in San Francisco and 2 billion people worldwide through social media were captivated by Batkid.

Last year, on November 15, San Francisco was turned into Gotham City for one of the most elaborate Make-A-Wish projects. The San Francisco Chronicle published a “Gotham City Chronicle,” the real police chief recorded special messages to call for Batman (Eric Johnston) with his trusty sidekick Batkid to save the day. Originally, Miles was told he was venturing away from his hometown of Tule Lake, CA to pick up a Batman costume in San Francisco. At the hotel, a local TV news broadcast was interrupted with an emergency call for help from police chief Greg Suhr.

When Patricia Wilson of Make-A-Wish Foundation in San Francisco began planning an event for Miles Scott, they hoped for a crowd of 200. And she told the SDCC crowd, “I don’t care what the police chief says, I only asked for 2 cops.” In the end. Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer ("The Lion King") wrote a personalized Batcall for Batkid, 18 Lamborghinis were offered, Apple and Twitter offered to help with the media and Batkid was congratulated by President Obama on Twitter.

The teaser shown to the SDCC crowd left more than a few audience members sniffling. For the panel, Mashable’s deputy editor Chris Taylor acted as emcee introducing the Emmy Award-winning director Dana Nachman (“Witch Hunt,” “Love Hate Love” and “The Human Experiment”), Make-A-Wish director Wilson, Batkid’s Batman (inventor and software engineer Eric Johnston) and the damsel saved from a Riddler’s fiendish bomb (Sue Graham Johnston, Eric’s wife) and Batkid’s Penguin (Lucasfilm software engineer Mike Jutan).

Jutan described how the Penguin waddle evolved and why the Penguin was chosen over, say the Joker. “Caesar Romero’s Joker was too scary for a five-year-old. The Penguin, he’s a silly, waddley guy.” Then there was getting the mascot of the San Francisco Giants, Lou Seal, to AT&T Park so that Batkid could save Lou Seal from the Penguin.

The day overwhelmed the small cast of volunteers and crashed the Make-A-Wish website.  Sue Graham Johnston had no idea so many people would surround her, pushing microphones into her face as she waited to be rescued by Batkid. That proved more frightening than the neon green bomb.

Batkid Day may be over, but this team hopes to finish this documentary. There’s more than enough photos and video to use, but the “Batkid Begins” Indiegogo campaign is currently at 48 percent ($47,850 out of the goal of $100,000). The campaign started mid-July, runs until August 19. Perks include Batkid T-shirts and baseball hats.

There’s already a 10-minute video “Batkid: The Official Make-A-Wish Story” produced by John Crane Films and directed by John Crane, but “Batkid Begin” would be more detailed look into the events, including background material about Miles’ parents, Nick and Natalie.

Some superheroes need super powers. Some superheroes have no problem getting their movies made about fictional feats of dare-doing. Some superheroes need a large cast and crew and a big budget. Not this one. Batkid brought together one city with a simple and naïve wish.

Holy social media, Batman. Sometimes the Internet and social media can help fight the forces of evil, and bring a city together, united against a common enemy (cancer), if you have just the right kind of super hero. For San Francisco in November 2013, that hero was Batkid.


roger_ebert July 30 2014, 19:04

Video Interview: Chadwick Boseman and Tate Taylor on "Get On Up"



Chadwick Boseman steps into the legendary shoes of the hardest-working man in show business this weekend with the release of Tate Taylor's "Get On Up," the biopic of James Brown. The star of "42" sat down recently with his director to discuss the difficulty of playing one of the most beloved figures in the history of music.

aws_blog July 30 2014, 18:36

Auto Scaling Update - Lifecycle Management, Standby State, and DetachInstances


Auto Scaling is a key AWS service. You can use it to build resilient, highly scalable applications that react to changes in load by launching or terminating Amazon EC2 instances as needed, all driven by system or user-defined metrics collected and tracked by Amazon CloudWatch.

Today we are enhancing Auto Scaling with the addition of three features that give you additional control over the EC2 instances managed by each of your Auto Scaling Groups. You can now exercise additional control of the instance launch and termination process using Lifecycle Hooks. You can remove instances from an Auto Scaling Group and you can now put instances into the new Standby state for troubleshooting or maintenance.

Lifecycle Actions & Hooks
Each EC2 instance in an Auto Scaling Group goes through a defined set of states and state transitions during its lifetime. In response to a Scale Out Event, instances are launched, attached to the group, and become operational. Later, in response to a Scale In Event, instances are removed from the group and then terminated. With today's launch we are giving you additional control of the instance lifecycle at the following times:

  • After it has been launched but before it is attached to the group (Auto Scaling calls this state Pending). This is your opportunity to perform any initialization operations that are needed to fully prepare the instance. You can install and configure software, create, format, and attach EBS volumes, connect the instance to message queues, and so forth.
  • After it has been detached from the group but before it has been terminated (Auto Scaling calls this state Terminating). You can do any additional work that is needed to fully decommission the instance. You can capture a final snapshot of any work in progress, move log files to long-term storage, or hold malfunctioning instances off to the side for debugging.

You can configure a set of Lifecycle actions for each of your Auto Scaling Groups. Messages will be sent to a notification target for the group (an SQS queue or an SNS topic) each time an instance enters the Pending or Terminating state. Your application is responsible for handling the messages and implementing the appropriate initialization or decommissioning operations.

After the message is sent, the instance will be in the Pending:Wait or Terminating:Wait state, as appropriate. Once the instance enters this state, your application is given 60 minutes to do the work. If the work is going to take more than 60 minutes, your application can extend the time by issuing a "heartbeat" to Auto Scaling. If the time (original or extended) expires, the instance will come out of the wait state.

After the instance has been prepared or decommissioned, your application must tell Auto Scaling that the lifecycle action is complete, and that it can move forward. This will set the state of the instance to Pending:Proceed or Terminating:Proceed.

You can create and manage your lifecycle hooks from the AWS Command Line Interface or from the Auto Scaling API. Here are the most important functions:

  1. PutLifecycleHook - Create or update a lifecycle hook for an Auto Scaling Group. Call this function to create a hook that acts when instances launch or terminate.
  2. CompleteLifecycleAction - Signify completion of a lifecycle action for a lifecycle hook. Call this function when your hook has successfully set or up decommissioned an instance.
  3. RecordLifecycleActionHeartbeat - Record a heartbeat for a lifecycle action. Call this function to extend the timeout for a lifecycle action.

Standby State
You can now move an instance from the InService state to the Standby state, and back again. When an instance is standing by, it is still managed by the Auto Scaling Group but it is removed from service until you set it back to the InService state. You can use this state to update, modify, or troubleshoot instances. You can check on the state of the instance after specific events, and you can set it aside in order to retrieve important logs or other data.

If there is an Elastic Load Balancer associated with the Auto Scaling Group, the transition to the standby state will deregister the instance from the Load Balancer. The transition will not take effect until traffic ceases; this may take some time if you enabled connection draining for the Load Balancer.

You can now remove an instance from an Auto Scaling Group and manage it independently. The instance can remain unattached, or you can attach it to another Auto Scaling Group if you'd like. When you call the DetachInstances function, you can also request a change in the desired capacity for the group.

You can use this new functionality in a couple of different ways. You can move instances from one Auto Scaling Group to another to effect an architectural change or update. You can experiment with a mix of different EC2 instance types, adding and removing instances in order to find the best fit for your application.

If you are new to the entire Auto Scaling concept, you can use this function to do some experimentation and to gain some operational experience in short order. Create a new Launch Configuration using the CreateLaunchConfiguration and a new Auto Scaling Group using CreateAutoScalingGroup, supplying the Instance Id of an existing EC2 instance in both cases. Do your testing and then call DetachInstances to take the instance out of the Auto Scaling Group.

You can also use the new detach functionality to create an "instance factory" of sorts. Suppose your application assigns a fresh, fully-initialized EC2 instance to each user when they log in. Perhaps the application takes some time to initialize, but you don't want your users to wait for this work to complete. You could create an Auto Scaling Group and set it up so that it always maintains several instances in reserve, based on the expected login rate. When a user logs in, you can allocate an instance, detach it from the Auto Scaling Group, and dedicate it to the user in short order. Auto Scaling will add fresh instances to the group in order to maintain the desired amount of reserve capacity.

Available Now
All three of these new features are available now and you can start using them today. They are accessible from the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) and the Auto Scaling API.

-- Jeff;

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