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Mindconnection eNL, 2006-04-23

Past issues

In this issue:

  1. Product highlight
  2. Brainpower tip
  3. Time tip
  4. Finance tip
  1. Security tip
  2. Health tip/Fitness tip
  3. Miscellany
  4. Thought for the day

1. Product Highlights

Calcium: Ensure you have its benefits
Your body can absorb very little calcium from bone meal, oyster shell, or elemental calcium supplements. But, our calcium supplement provides the right combination of ingredients so your body can maximize calcium absorption. You need calcium for strong bones and teeth, proper brain functioning, and fat loss.

Also, ask any cancer specialist about calcium and cancer: this is a must-have!

Click the photo.


2. Brainpower tip

Make a point of properly vetting information sources. In this mini-article, I can't sufficiently address this topic. But it's an extremely important one. Most of us form opinions based on bad information from sources that are, at best, dubious. This leads to erroneous conclusions, and subsequently to bad choices with negative implications. Sometimes, very expensive negative implications.

Below are questions to ask when vetting your sources (you will find that the major search engines look for many of these same things when establishing authoritativeness). Please note that you must put the answer to each question into the composite profile you develop for that source:

  • Is there an agenda? For example, if the tobacco industry releases a report showing "fact" X, you should suspect their motivation has less to do with fact than with furthering their own agenda.
     
  • What is the motivation for the source that is providing this information? For example, someone selling X has a vested interest in slanting the information about X into a positive light. So, why is this source providing information on X?
     
  • What are the credentials of this source? Jim Bob Basement Blogger may write a piece that seems to justify your suspicions on subject X. So, you automatically want to believe JB. But what makes JB an authority on the subject? Do a little digging, and you find JB doesn't know Jack Sh-- about the subject--he has no record of formal study, hasn't published any peer-reviewed papers on it, and has no recognition as an authority. He's just another blowhard wanting to be seen as an expert.
     
  • What are the credentials of this source (part 2)? Dr. Evan Moore did his PhD thesis on the subject, is an acknowledged researcher on the subject, works in the field pertinent to that subject, has 20 years of experience, cites other authorities, has been an expert witness on the subject, and so on.
     
  • What are the credentials of this source (part 3)? The health and fitness area is full of frauds. One of my techniques is to look at who is living proof of knowing what they're talking about and who is just a BS artist. This is why my photo is posted.
     
  • What are the credentials of this source (part 4)? Does this person have endorsements from other experts? This is a huge selling point for Google. In my own case, my www.supplecity.com site has articles from recognized authorities and those articles combine with my own to form a cohesive, coherent whole.
     
  • Are you allowing your own bias to lend authority to the source? People have a strong habit of using only information sources that support their own views. The choir wants to be preached to. For example, liberals read newspapers while conservatives tune them out. Newspapers are extremely left-wing. The bias is self-reinforcing.
     
  • Does the source claim to have "secret" information? You'll find this in many conspiracy theories. A big red flag, here. If the information is "secret," it's probably false.
     
  • A clarifying comment on conspiracy theories: Quite often, this label is used to discredit a valid viewpoint that just runs counter to what a government or other power player wants you to think. Many so-called theories are not theory at all. But don't assume the label conversely lends any authority to the claims being made. Evaluate the claims on their own merits.
     
  • s there a Chicken Little message, here? A note of underlying danger and alarmism? This is a red flag, and it's telling you to look more closely at confirming evidence from other sources. Nearly all of the wrong information you will find is hinting at some great evil being perpetrated by secret, but very powerful people. That's your first tip that the information is probably false.
     
  • How does the information compare to what you already know? For example, we can look at the Periodic Table of Elements and see where fluorine is. Flourine is highly toxic and highly reactive. Yet, it's added to our drinking water. This "what we already know" lends credibility to the "conspiracy theory" that fluoride in our water is not a smart idea. What other information can you find on this topic?
     
  • How does the information compare to common sense? For example, we have all heard countless anecdotes (an anecdote is, by definition, a personal account of an event) about space aliens. Have you noticed that these invariably involve kidnapping and anal probing? Now, let's apply common sense here--from the aliens' point of view. You're going to go through the huge expense and effort of traveling to another planet. Once there, you keep yourself hidden from anyone who could provide a meaningful cultural exchange. Instead, you go sneaking around sticking things up people's butts. Unless your entire planet is occupied by IRS workers, this simply makes no sense.

These questions address just a few of the techniques for vetting information sources. There are several thick books on the subject. If you have a degree in philosophy or history, you have read several of them. Many of these are timeless classics.

Here are a few more contemporary tomes:



3. Time Tip

Most of us budget our money, but not our time. But simply budgeting your time is not enough. After all, the U.S. CONgress has a budget--and look at how they've managed to spend the USA into a $9 trillion hole.

This shows how incompetent they are, despite "earning" 5 times as much as their average constituent. It also shows that CONgress does not represent the people who allegedly put them in office at voting time (if you vote for an incumbent, you are probably making a huge mistake).

Those of us living in the USA are paying an enormous tuition for lessons in stupidity. Let's not throw that away.

We can apply a few lessons here to time management. If we take some pages from CONgress' own playbook, invert the entries from "what not to do," and modify them for time management, we get some very good advice:

  • Figure out what it is you really want to do. You can't do everything or please everyone. So, identify what is your purpose in being. Make everything else support that.
     
  • Determine your resources. Each day has 24 hours (my apologies to astronomers for the lack of precision, there). The typical person needs about a third of them for sleeping (some people need a little less, some a little more--and most of us don't get nearly enough). You cannot get water from a dry well. Once you use up your time, it's gone.
     
  • Ignore the shrill voices. There is no law requiring you to answer the phone just because it rings. There is no law requiring you to stop what you're doing just because someone or something distracts you. You do not have to please those who insist on monopolizing or wasting your time.
     
  • Stick to your principles. Stay true to who you are and the principles you hold. This doesn't mean you can't change your views, opinions, tastes, habits, and so on. But it does mean you should not attempt to change the stripes of the tiger. Surely, you've come to realize your momma didn't raise no fool. You know right from wrong. Let this guide you.
     
  • Don't spend what you don't have. This is a key to time management. Many times, people will spend sleep time, putting them into a counter-productive sleep debt situation. And this debt can actually have a foreclosure--we know this from reams of evidence. For example, there's a spike of traffic deaths and industrial accidents for three weeks following the clock change imposed on us by Daylight Wasting Time. That same foreclosure can happen at any point in the year.
     
  • Don't spend what you don't have (part 2). It's easy to over-commit. The standard response to this is to still try to do everything--and, consequently, do many things poorly. It is far more ethical and productive to back out of a commitment. Simply come clean and say, "I need to resign from this committee. I want to do that, rather than hold the office and do a lousy job. I'm just over-extended."
     
  • Don't spend what you don't have (part 3). When our schedules are too full, it's tempting to shove our responsibilities off on other people. In marriages, this is the norm. Note to men: Wake up! Your wife is not your default task absorber. She has a life, too--respect that. Don't delude yourself into thinking that barely pitching in around the house means you are "sharing" the load.

    Advice for married couples: Make a list of all tasks needed to maintain the home, rear the kids*, and so on. Note the hours required to perform each task. Then, hire an accountant to review the list and provide feedback on who is doing their fair share. Why an accountant? Very simple: This is a matter of resource allocation. And that subject is right up an accountant's alley. If you perform an objective, measured analysis of who is doing what, you will find some eye-popping revelations. It's a bad idea to do this just once--that leads to entrenched expectations and lack of cooperation. Instead, do it twice a year with the goal of seeing if you personally are doing your fair share rather than seeing if your partner needs to do more. You may think this exercise is too cold-hearted, but I don't think it's exactly loving to behave in a way that is unfair to the other person. Get the facts out on the table!

* We rear children, we raise animals--so many people are correct when saying they "raise" their kids. But I will assume our readers actually rear their children to be civilized, responsible adults.

 

4. Finance tip

The tax code does provide some ways to get tax-free income, without the risk of tax shelters or the complexity of "creative" investments. If you live in a country that is so barbaric it has an income tax (e.g., the USA), these tips apply to you. Based on the current insanity that is our federal income tax code....

You do not need a tax shelter to reduce your taxes, Part Five.

  • The AT* does allow interest-free loans. These can provide the borrower with cash at no tax cost to the borrower or the lender. But, there are limits. Generally, a loan may be interest-free and tax-free if it's for an amount of less than $10,000.
     
  • If the loan is for more than $10,000, the AT will determine the interest that "should be" on the loan if said interest is too low or isn't there. The lender must then pay on the taxable income represented by the AT's "imputed" interest (to the extend that the borrower has investment income.
     
  • Generally, interest-free loans are also tax-free if they are under $10,000 or the borrower has no investment income.
     
  • Do not attempt to game the system by breaking a larger loan into smaller loans that are individually below the $10k limit. The AT will count all the loans as one. Also, don't try to "wash" the loans. Such washes are very easy to track backwards--once you're caught, you could be looking at prison time.

As with all financial transactions, don't do things for the tax motivation. Do them for the business motivation, and then avail yourself of the tax breaks. That is your first line of defense in staying out of tax trouble.

Remember, the AT can void the statute of limitations on the flimsiest of grounds, and assess you whatever interest and penalties they feel will most painfully destroy you. Following statute or Congressional intent is not in their game plan. In their sick, twisted minds, they get a thrill out of inflicting massive damage on other people. Don't give them an excuse to do it to you. Once the "Borg" locks onto you, getting rid of them is almost impossible.

In our next issue, we'll present more ways you can reduce your taxes without shelters or other dubious means.

* American Taliban.



5. Security tip

Summer (here in the northern hemisphere) is traditionally a time of travel. That's because kids are released from their mandatory babysitting, brainwashing, anti-learning, disease-spreading centers and put back in the custody of their parents. And now with our "no child gets ahead" policy that further ties the hands of teachers, things are more fun than ever.

Thus, everyone needs a vacation. Some people, addicted to stress, choose to fly to their vacation destination. Of course, this generally makes more sense than driving if your destination is Hawaii. Nonetheless, many people choose the torturous discomfort of air travel over other methods.

That's not a problem, from a security standpoint--other than the fact you're disarmed before getting in a metal tube full of 300 strangers. Note: Your laptop is a potent weapon. Buy a scrap of wood that size or get a martial arts plastic breakaway board and practice with chairs set up in your living room.

The security issue in we're going to look at is those luggage tags. Here's the drill:

  1. You dutifully fill out each blank, including your name, address and phone number.
  2. Another person, using a cellphone camera, photographs your tag while noting that with the kids and all that luggage, you will be gone for a while.
  3. You come home, after a week of fighting with your spouse and kids, only to find your house has been cleaned out. Everything you owned is gone.

To avoid this kind of massive theft, don't fill out those tags in a way that advertises where you live. Here are some tips:

  1. Use the address of a friend who does not live near your house (a thief could drive by your neighbor's address and then notice your house looks like someone's gone).
  2. Use the address of your employer.
  3. Use your employer's phone number.
  4. Use your cellphone number, not the number that's in the phone book.

And, of course, don't leave a voice mail at home or the office announcing you will be out until such and such a date.

 

6. Health tip/Fitness tips

With spring arriving here in the northern hemisphere, I've been bombarded for help with "losing weight." People have all kinds of screwy ideas about this. Here are some comments that answer many of these screwy ideas:
  1. Don't try to "lose weight." This is a false metric. What you want to lose is fat. This isn't mere semantics. Until you understand this, you will have completely the wrong mindset and your efforts will result only in frustration.
     
  2. Fats don't make you fat. In fact, you need fat to burn fat. You need the fats you find in eggs, nuts, and cooking oils. Eat free-range eggs (very high in Omega 3 fats, which are quite good for you), fresh nuts (as opposed to the stale or processed ones in the typical supermarket), and quality oils (as opposed to the cheap hot-processed or improperly packaged or stored ones in the typical grocery store).
     
  3. Carbs don't make you fat. In fact, you need carbs to burn carbs. And to burn fat. There are people who live on nothing but chips and soda--very high in carbs. Yet, they are skinny. They aren't healthy or lean--they are just skinny and undermuscled with unhealthy organs. The point here is you can be thin as a rail, even if you eat mostly carbs.
     
  4. Don't waste your time counting calories. Most people never do this right, and the whole process turns into an excuse to overeat. It doesn't work.
     
  5. You got too fat one bite at a time. You lose that fat the same way.
     
  6. You cannot exercise off the results of overeating, despite the hype from gyms that sign people up to exercise incorrectly. What you can do is not overeat in the first place.
     
  7. Right-size your body by right-sizing your meals.
     
  8. Single digit body fat on six meals a day. The key is small meals.
     
  9. You can become obese, even if all you eat is bean sprouts. Quantity matters.
     
  10. What you eat determines how healthy you are. How much you eat determines how fat you are. Of course, if you eat more calorie-dense foods, you get fatter faster.
     
  11. A great body is built in the kitchen, not in the gym. But the process begins at the grocery store.
     
  12. Are you eating at restaurants and trying to lose fat? If so, I wonder if you drive a car with one foot on the gas and one on the brake. Unless you are in the habit of scraping 2/3 of your meal off your plate as soon as your meal arrives, throwing that away, and eating only what is left, you will have to choose between eating out and eating right.
     
  13. There is no obesity virus. This is a lame hypothesis (it's not even to theory status--look up both words in the dictionary) designed to make an excuse for overeating.
     
  14. Yes, there is a fat gene. I have it. I'm not fat. Genetics does not cause obesity. Overeating does.
     
  15. Regimens that involve food combinations, food timing, and other gyrations don't--in themselves--cause you to right-size your body (or if they do, there is nothing credible that proves they do). The fussing over following these regimens makes you more aware of your food, and thus more likely to reduce portion size.

    One such plan, for example, says not to mix beans and rice. But this is actually an ideal combination because it makes a completed protein. Another plan claims your blood type determines the kind of food you should eat--and it has a seemingly great explanation for this. But there's no authoritative proof for this plan anywhere. These kinds of plans work because they make you stop and think about what you're eating--rather than just mindlessly shoveling it down as most people do.
     
  16. A gastric bypass is a dumb idea. You did not get fat because your body has normal plumbing. You got fat because you ate too much. So the fix isn't to mutilate your body. The fix is to eat less.
     
  17. You do not have to starve to eat right. But eating right may mean being a bit hungry at times. Deal with it. You're not going to starve, just because you're hungry. Learn the difference.
     
  18. Do not keep a food diary. This is looking backwards. Instead, write down what you are going to eat. Plan all six of your meals each day. Look at what your plan says, and bring only that to the table. No seconds, no extras. This is a proven method for losing fat. If you want to right-size your body, right-size your meals this way. You automatically exclude hunger from the portion size selection equation this way.
     
  19. Don't listen to people brag about the great results they had with Diet X. People have a way of exaggerating their successes. Diets don't work, and we all know that. Why do so many people persist in this form of self-delusional desperation?
     
  20. Right-sizing your meals will right-size your body and this means you will right-size your healthcare costs. Most of what we call "healthcare" is disease care. True healthcare happens in the kitchen, not in the doctor's office or hospital.


 

7. Miscellany

  1. The average housefly lives for one month. The average temporary tax measure goes on forever.
     
  2. We don't run ads in our newsletter. We do get inquiries from advertisers, all the time. To keep this eNL coming, go to www.mindconnection.com and do your shopping from there (as appropriate).
     

  3. Please forward this eNL to others.
     

  4. See: http://www.mindconnection.com/main/specialoffers.htm. It has some great offers that are worth following up on. I especially like this one: Free special offer for people who are tired of not sleeping. Visit QualityHealth to get your free special offer and get the sleep you need.

 

8. Thought for the Day

It's not what you wish would happen but what does happen that truly matters. Wishing may feel good, but acting is what makes it so.

 

Wishing you the best,

Mark Lamendola
Mindconnection.com

 

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