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Mindconnection eNL, 2007-11-25

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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 Highlight

Debt-B-Gone
This course shows you how to reduce, eliminate, negotiate, and mitigate debt.

This course applies to both individuals and businesses, and it contains specific tips and techniques for each. It covers how to work with creditors, how to handle bankruptcy and how to find money where it seems there is none.

Sure, maybe your finances are in order--if so, congratulations. But not everyone you know is in that position. In fact, due to Alan Greenspan's 50% tax (the dollar lost 50% of its value during his reign of incompetence and inflation creation), most Americans are struggling with debt. That doesn't include their share of the $9 trillion federal debt, either. Buy a couple copies of this course and give them as gifts!>
 

Debt Resolution: Best ways to get out of debt

http://www.mindconnection.com/product/CRS-DEBTRED.html
 


2. Brainpower tip

They say you can use statistics to prove anything you wish. If you want to see someone get really upset, say this to a statistician. The problem isn't that statistics are unreliable or bad. The problem is that statistics frequently get misapplied.

When looking at statistics:

  • Don't assume one or two stats provide a definitive picture. Govt political hacks are constantly giving us stats from which they draw conclusions that leave room for complete rebuttal by other stats not yet considered. Such is the case with "SUVs are overheating the earth," as a huge example of statistical abuse.
     
  • Question their source and their accuracy. The criminal assistance crowd has been spewing stats regarding the "massive numbers of children murdered by handguns." Assuming, for the sake of argument, that a handgun can actually get up and attack a child, where are all the bodies? Why are these kids not having funerals, why are they not missing from school, why are the cemeteries not full of them, why are we not seeing massive numbers of parents talking about the loss of their child?

    The reason is the statistics are obviously false. The agenda of this group includes endangering children by disarming their parents, so they create false statistics about an absurd action and rely on "if you can read it, it must be true" to get folks to believe it.

    When we consider the source--the people who believe that criminals should be protected from citizens rather than the other way around--logic dictates we disregard "facts" provided by people who hold such a twisted and bassackwards world view.
     
  • Question the relevance. Govt excuse makers like to claim the economy--which is standing on a $9 trillion federal debt along with some $63 trillion of unfunded obligations right after suffering a 50% vaporization of wealth due to Greenspan's gross mismanagement--is doing great because the Dow 30 Industrial Average is at some number or another. How does the inflated selling price of 30 stocks in one index have any relevance to the health of the economy? There is no connection there.

    Similarly, they like to talk about "employment" but we have no real stats on that. So, they use the "unemployment rate" which is merely the number of new claims for unemployment compensation. That number has just about zero relation to the actual rates of unemployment, underemployment, full-time employment, or part-time employment. It doesn't account for people who are still unemployed months after having filed for unemployment, nor does it account for about 17,345 other relevant factors. It's a useless statistic.
     
  • Consider who is using the statistics and why. This is a bit different from "consider the source." When you hear some political hack spewing numbers, beware. This is not a person trained in the sciences.

    For example, consider two people on a sales call: the sales guy and the design engineer. The sales guy says, "You can expect your revenue to increase by 30% if you buy our widget." When the customer asks the  engineer if that's true, the engineer responds with, "I have no data on which to make that forecast. Even if I did, we'd have to look at the various factors affecting your revenue and if you truly understand what our widget can and cannot do." Which is why sales guys generally don't like taking engineers on sales calls....

    When someone is looking at statistics and applying cause and effect logic to look at possible correlations and outcomes, that person is doing something very different from someone who is throwing statistics around to "prove" an existing opinion. If you can determine which of these two people you are dealing with, you will know which one is simply wasting your time by even mentioning any statistics.

Generally, and exceptions are quite rare, statistics are so misused that they should be disregarded when considering an argument. A statistician applies rigorous methodology and looks for what the body of evidence might be logically pointing to (by "logically," I mean via the application of formal logic). It is often the case that mutually exclusive views are supported by the same statistics. Perhaps they are supported to different degrees. This is why we have scatter charts, Pareto analysis, etc. It is almost never the case that a few statistics conclusively prove anything.

3. Time Tip

Another helpful tip on managing your attention span in this ADD-addled world:

http://www.mindconnection.com/main/timemanager/files/timetips/manageattentionspan_004.htm

4. Finance tip

This Uncle Jay clip helps you understand why you get the return on investment (or lack thereof) on the one thing that costs you more than food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and entertainment combined:

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/26b0d09397

I'm not an expert on governance/government. I went to school for electrical engineering and business administration, so proposing a superior solution isn't my area of expertise. There are plenty of people who have earned advanced degrees in political science, public administration, etc. Those people can come up with solutions that would actually work.

That said, it IS in my area of expertise to crank numbers. These are pretty easy to crank.

The fact that members of CONgress aren't required to show up for "work" at all and their actual "work" schedule is only a few weeks per year anyhow while they get paid a salary that is 5x that of the median wage is galling.

The average American works 52 weeks per year, with nary a day off. White collar workers slave away 60 to 80 hours per week to pay for the spending and excess regulations imposed upon us by CONgress, while CONgress "works" a mere 7 (I think that's the number) weeks per year and those weeks are only 4 days long. Plus much of their time duing those weeks is spent schmoozing at the Press Club and other places. Some of them rarely deign to show up--John Kerry, for example (senate side), was AWOL 80% of the time. I forget the exact figures, but let's assume the typical misrepresentative puts in a 5 hour day on average in each 4-day "work" week.

So, do the math:

American grunt serf: 60 hours x 52 weeks = 3,120 hrs / yr

Assume this is a white collar worker making 25% over the median wage, so $40k / 3,120 = $12.80 /hr

Royal member of CONgress: 20 hours x 7 weeks = 140 hrs /yr

$180k / 140 = $1286 /hr.

Do you see something wrong here? Why does a member of CONgress make 100x as much per hour as a college graduate working full-time? Factor in the many perks and freebies bestowed on these CONgress folks, and that ratio jumps even higher. Factor in the wealth-making opportunities, such as being able to appropriate highway funds to a parcel of land you bought, and it skyrockets.

We do not need a perfect solution to change this brazenly criminal behavior. What we need is for people to stop the stupidity of OKing this criminality at the polls by voting Demopublican.

It might also help to have a Constitutional government, but because there is zero representation of the American people in CONgress and the members of CONgress are being paid a fortune to do nothing of any value whatsoever, there is no hope of that.

5. Security tip

Many charities are trying to raise money at this time of year. That's why you get flooded with snail mail and phone calls during the last quarter of each year.

Scammers now call and give you the same charity pitch they heard on the phone from a real charity. Then, they ask you for a donation. And your credit card information.

Rather than give this information out over the phone, go to that charity's Website. If they accept credit cards and have a secure browser area for that (the URL will start with https: once you're in the shopping cart system and you will see a lock symbol in one corner of your browser), you're fine. Buying online is the safest possible way to use a credit card.

Common concerns

People are sometimes concerned about doing transactions online:

  • When I enter my information on your forms, is that information safe?
  • I worry about sending information over the Internet.
  • I feel safer giving information over the phone.

Here are answers to those concerns:

When I enter my information on your forms, is that information safe? Yes. Any browser that changes from an http to an https is encrypting your data. That means your credit card number changes from a usable number to sheer garbage nobody can read without an encryption key.

I worry about sending information over the Internet.If you use a credit card at all, your information goes over the Internet with every transaction. That's because the method of getting credit card data from the terminal (at a restaurant, grocery store, hardware store--it doesn't matter) to the data center where the data are processed is to send those data over the Internet. This has been true for a very, very long time.

I feel safer giving information over the phone. If you give your information over the phone, you are adding an unsecured communication layer on top of a secure one. Your browser is secure. Your phone is not.

6. Health tip/Fitness tips

Here's a great article on exercise:

http://www.supplecity.com/articles/exercise.htm

7. Miscellany

  1. Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes do. So, watch your ass!
     
  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.

8. Thought for the Day

A problem doesn't go away just because you blame someone else for it. In fact, doing so is the surest way to prevent that problem from being solved.

 

Wishing you the best,

Mark Lamendola
Mindconnection

Authorship

The views expressed in this e-newsletter are generally not shared by criminals, zombies, or brainwashed individuals.

Except where noted, this e-newsletter is entirely the work of Mark Lamendola. Anything presented as fact can be independently verified. Often, sources are given; but where not given, they are readily available to anyone who makes the effort.

Mark provides information from either research or his own areas of established expertise. Sometimes, what appears to be a personal opinion is the only possibility when applying sound logic--reason it out before judging! (That said, some personal opinions do appear on occasion).

The purpose of this publication is to inform and empower its readers (and save you money!).

Personal note from Mark: I value each and every one of you, and I hope that shows in the diligent effort I put into writing this e-newsletter. Thank you for being a faithful reader.

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