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Mindconnection eNL, 2009-02-08

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In this issue:
Product Highlight | Brainpower | Finances | Security | Health/Fitness | Miscellany | Thought for the Day

 

1. Product Highlight

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2. Brainpower tip

If you read the literature on thought, intelligence, information processing, and the human brain, you find all of these are pointing toward a remarkable development in our society. People are diverging into two very different groups. They are doing this because the human brain is plastic, adapting to its inputs.

The two groups are text-based people and video-based people. They are starkly different in many ways. To me, the most important way is in how they process information. Before I dig into that, I'll tell you an interesting statistic is that less than 15% of Americans are text-based people. That number is shrinking each year.

Text-based people can think and communicate in the abstract. They can handle ideas, develop an argument, and carry on a detailed conversation. These are great abilities, but the downside is text-based people take longer to process information, reach a conclusion, and carry on a conversation. Video people become impatient with text-based people, often urging them to "get to the bottom line."

Video-based people think and communicate in the discrete, rather than the abstract. They accept or reject an idea based on subjective factors rather than objective analysis (which takes too long for them). Their information world consists of the impressions they get from images and sound bites. They can move very quickly through massive amounts of information, because they don't take time to examine the information. One of their great drawbacks is they lack the ability to vet information--if it's there, "it must be true." So, they don't know if they are dealing with reality or not.

Whether you consider one or the other superior depends on your frame of reference. If you value speed over accuracy, video is for you.

Some people like to savor their food, ensuring it's prepared and presented correctly. Others like to wolf it down after loading it up with sugar (and/or its variants, such as ketchup).

My personal opinion is that video-based people give up what makes them distinctly human: the ability to reason (they can think, but not reason).

Reams of research show that the human brain changes its physical structure dramatically to permit the skill of reading to take place. It has a very different structure from one that passively sips at information (as does the video brain). A person aware of the difference can tell which kind of brain a person has in the first minute of a conversation.

My personal opinion is the text-based brain is far better than the video brain and should be cultivated to strengthen its impressive abilities. We can teach a dog to watch television. We cannot teach one to read. In which direction do you want to go?

Researchers aren't yet flatly stating that people who choose to be video-based are taking an evolutionary step backwards. But do we really need them to?

Your brain is your best asset. Take care of it. Read often and read material that is substantive.

3. Finance tip

More economic bad news all the time, but there is some good news. People have been packing away money, and as of 01DEC 2008 Americans had $10 trillion sitting in money market accounts and savings deposits.

People have been spending less and saving more, even with the huge tax burden they bear. This past Christmas, the usual spending wasn't there (partly due to the huge tax burden).

This may save the economy, and here's why: Govt debt has sucked $9 trillion out of the economy and this savings has provided $10 trillion.

Obama has said he plans to burn up another $1 trillion, so that nets out at zero. But if the savings continue the economy could recover despite the best efforts of the govt to wreck it because banks will have capital to lend out. And that means more jobs (assuming CONgress takes a breather from its anti-job regulatory frenzy and the millions of petty bureaucrats in charge of destroying businesses decide to cool their heels a bit).

It's possible that Obama won't be the last US president, after all.

4. Security tip

Beware the "posing as an authority" scheme. This comes in all shades. For example:

Credit card

"This is Sergeant Murphy from the Yourtown Police Department. We have a VISA credit card here with your name on it. Do you have a card with the number 555....?"

"No, I don't."

"Can you read me the last four digits of the card you do have?"

"Sure, Officer. They are 1234."

"Uh, that matches another card I haven't asked you about yet. Can you read the first four digits of that card?"

Eventually, the mysterious Sgt Murphy gets the entire number from you. Or, maybe not--Sgt Murphy just gets a boatload of other information from you and no credit card information. The Yourtown PD doesn't have a Sgt Murphy. This scheme is commonly used to milk information about you.

Body

"This is Doctor Smith from the County Morgue. Am I speaking to Mrs. Jones?"

"Yes."

"We have a body here and need to identify it. A piece of paper was in the pocket with your number on it."

Oh, geez, this must be real. After all, it is the morgue calling. And a dead body! If they know the name of your child or elderly parent, they can really sink the hook. This scheme is commonly used to milk you for information about a third party.

Detective

In this scheme, an accomplice calls later in the day or even stops by your home (or office) in person. This accomplice poses as a detective. Perhaps this pseudo-sleuth claims to be with an insurance company or the Department of Homeland Security. The really creative ones allege to represent the fraud department of a corporation or bank.

They accuse you of being complicit in a fraud, and their evidence is a wire trace that reveals you spoke with so and so for 17 minutes and 31 seconds (the first crook who milked you for information). To clear this up, they just need a photocopy of your driver's license or some other document.

Terrorist

We are all terrified of the IRS. And with good reason, as indicated by mountains of evidence. Even the name of this organization is a potent weapon. Clever criminals who choose not to have a career in the IRS itself now go around posing as IRS agents for a Do It Yourself criminal career. They'll show up at your home or business and run the same scam as the detective folks or as the regular IRS employees do. They rely on the terror that "I'm with the IRS" strikes in the hearts of people and use that to commit a heist.

In all of these scams, the victims feel compelled to spill their guts. That's because the scammers reach into people's emotions. Telling you your child is in the morgue or you are under investigation by the IRS is definitely going to get your pulse racing. When people pull these scams in person and show you official-looking documents, you can easily be hornswoggled.

These people are easy to defeat:

  • If it's a phone call, get their number tell them you'll call them right back. Then, look up the name of the agency and go through the switchboard.
     
  • If it's a visit, do not let them in your home. Tell them you have an urgent call and need to conclude it. Ask them if they can wait just five minutes, and promise you aren't going anywhere. Call the agency they said they are with, and verify that agency sent someone to your home. If it's a federal agency and they can't confirm your visitors ar with that agency, dial 911 and explain that someone is trying to break into your home. While on the phone, exit your home and lock your door behind you. Wait for the squad car to arrive.

As we said in the previous issue, do things on a "need to know" basis. That's a primary principle of security.

Preparation is another key. Do you have a terrorist protection specialist (tax attorney) already on retainer and already set up with your information and Power of Attorney? If not, you are playing a very risky game. Assuming you'll never have terrorist problems because you are innocent isn't smart.

If you're the Secretary of the Treasury or the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, you get a free pass for cheating on your income taxes. But regular citizens can be destroyed regardless of their actual tax situation.

5. Health tip/Fitness tips

Now that we are past the end of year holidays, people are looking at their bulging bellies and wanting to slim down as warmer months approach (apologies to readers in Australia and New Zealand, who have opposite seasons).

Americans gain, on average, 10 pounds of fat during November and December of each year. I find this amazing. My picture at right was taken in early December. I'm 48 and, no, I'm not "naturally lean." In fact, I have a genetic disadvantage in the "battle of the bulge."

Having a lean body is largely a matter of maintaining proper food choices and consistently practicing portion control. There is no magic to this. Only discipline.

But if you did manage to bloat out some fat cells, what should you do? Many people go on crash diets, and that's a huge mistake. One of the popular ones right now is the intermittent fasting diet. Read about it here: http://www.supplecity.com/articles/intermittentfasting.htm.

That diet, like all of the other "miracle diets, doesn't work in the long run. Don't do it.

Fitness supplements for bodybuilders
Rather that go on a special diet, make sustainable changes such as:
  • Reduce portion size. Just a little, and you'll see results. Drop 100 calories from each meal, and that's 600 calories less per day. In six days, you will lose a little over one pound of fat. In two months, you'll have lost the typical holiday bulges if you are facing that particular problem.
     
  • Greens instead of grains. The American diet is way, way too reliant on grain. You probably would be shocked if you started recording all the wheat you eat. To overcome this, make a rule of eating green instead of grain. That includes cereals, breads, and other flour products. Try it for one month, and watch the fat come off. Then, add back in a reasonable amount of grain. Remember, corn is a grain and not a vegetable.
     
  • Eliminate or reduce liquid calories. Fruit juices, sodas, and other calorie-dense beverages make a huge difference in how much fat your body accumulates. Eliminate sodas completely, as they are horrendous on your health.
     
  • Eat on a schedule. This prevents binges and mindless eating. If it's not time to eat, don't eat. No matter how hungry you are.

6. Miscellany

  1. Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks or it will digest itself. CONgress produces lots of mucus every day, and gives you indigestion by consuming your earnings.
     
  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.

7. Thought for the Day

It's not what you say but how you listen that determines how other people feel about you.

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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