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Mindconnection eNL, 2004-04-29

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In this issue:

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

Free bonus:$125 shopping spree. (Some folks might really like it).

1. Product Highlights

Electrical Harmonics
Most of our readers won't care about this topic, but anyone who works with power quality issues loves this stuff. And we have some readers in that group. Our newly revamped course is exactly what those readers need. Click on the image.

For our other readers, here's a quick tutorial.

Electrical Harmonics Causes and Cures
In electrical systems, harmonics are multiples of the fundamental frequency, which is 60 hertz (Hz). So, the third harmonic (one of the "problem harmonics") is 180 Hz. The problem with these harmonics, basically, is they make equipment run hotter and work harder. When you have excess harmonics, you end up with higher energy costs and you also have excess heating of conductors and other electrical items. So, electrical types generally consider harmonics a problem.

Where do these nasty gremlins come from? The primary sources are switching power supplies (like the one running your computer), electronic ballasts (like the ones powering your fluorescent lamps), and motors.

Most electrical people are fascinated with this subject, and have been for many years. When I was an editor for the award-winning EC&M Magazine, our readers kept clamoring for articles on harmonics. Now, you can take an entire course. Isn't that great?

Here's the URL:

With the huge influx of Spanish-speaking people into American workforces, any manager in the USA will be smart to own a Spanish translation device. Pictured at right are the top of the line ES-X5 and the more entry-level ES-400T below it.

Click on the picture of each model, and compare these. If your budget allows, go for the X5. You can't get a better unit than this. If you are on a very tight budget, the 400T will prove very helpful.

Don't forget, these are Schedule C expenses--in 2004, Congress is allowing you to expense most such items rather than depreciate them. The limits vary. Check to find out what the limits are for your situation.




2. Brainpower tip

You may have read about massively parallel computing systems. These are enormously powerful, because they put a lot of computing power to work all at the same time. The SETI project ( ) is an example of such a system.

For those of you who don't know, researchers gave up looking for signs of intelligent life in Washington, DC, and are now looking into the vast reaches of outer space where the odds are better. SETI is a massively parallel system that allows anyone with a computer to provide processing power to the effort. Tying millions of home PCs together this way has provided SETI with more computing power than nearly any mainframe can provide. Neat, huh?

These computers could not work together, though, unless they can communicate. For people, the same thing holds true. People must communicate to multiply their brain power.

We often think we are communicating well because we are using the right jargon, have covered all the important issues, or like the sound of what we just said. Sometimes we think we are communicating well because we are parroting someone who made a good impression on us. Yet, these very behaviors often thwart communication.

While there is no "right way" to communicate, following some general principles will help you communicate effectively. Many of us use good communication practices, yet still encounter seemingly inexplicable communication problems. Consider these examples:

Example one:

Bill: "I don’t know why they didn’t understand. I organized my thoughts beforehand."

Mary: "Yes, but all that talk about new paradigms—you may as well have been reading off a cereal box. Did any of that mean anything?"

Example two:

John: "I have been trying very hard to motivate the people in my department, but they just don’t understand my goals. I stated those very clearly."

Omar: "Did you understand their goals?"

Example three:

Thelma: "I know it was a lot to cover, but it was important. I made sure not to leave out critical information."

Alan: "I’m not sure what you covered. My mind drifted off at slide number 85."

While reading these examples, you may have had an "Ah ha!" moment. You may have recognized some people you know. Did you recognize yourself?

We have a Communications course developed for project managers, but it can help anyone communicate better. Just click on the image to the right, and get more information.

Here's the URL:

The better you communicate, the more powerfully you can parallel process. And that is a sure way to boost brainpower.  

PM300: Handling information and communication

3. Time tip

Today, I had to do some work offsite, and this ran into mealtime. But, I also needed to get back to the office and didn't want the hassle of dealing with a restaurant. What would you do in such a situation? Would you go hungry? Grab a candy bar?

Well, my solution is one I have used for many years. When I travel, I pack my own food. One of the items I travel is also an item I keep in my center console of my car, as well as in my climbing bag (I love climbing, but have to drive a ways to do it).

Now, you have to understand I'm in my mid-40s and have this desire to always keep my body in GQ cover or better condition. So, I don't eat junk food. No pizza, no doughnuts, no birthday cake. Not ever. What does someone like me grab?

I've been using a variety of food bars, over the years. Bars aren't the best meal substitute, but they get pretty darn close--if you get the right ones. If you pick 10 different "nutrition bars" or "energy bars" at random, it's likely all 10 of them will be unfit for human consumption. But if you are careful, you will find quality bars. Read the labels. Or, shop at: and get bars that I have tested and selected.


4. Finance tip

How can you save money on major repairs? Think of some major bills you might encounter:
  • Periodontal work.
  • Engine rebuilding.
  • Termite remediation.
  • Back surgery.
  • Cancer treatments.
  • Job search.
  • New tires.
  • Divorce.

You can reduce the likelihood of these bills by practicing maintenance. Let's look at this list again, recognizing that it could be far longer.

  • Peridontal work. Practice proper dental hygiene, get regular checkups, eat no sugar, maintain good general health.
  • Engine rebuilding. Change your oil and filter. It's that simple.
  • Termite remediation. Maintain your landscaping to shed water away from your house, remove puddles, use termite stakes.
  • Back surgery. Sit properly, and exercise your back religiously.
  • Cancer treatments. Stay away from cigarette smoke, filter your water, eat a diet high in antioxidants.
  • Job search. Treat your boss like a customer.
  • New tires. Rotate your tires and keep them inflated properly.
  • Divorce. Treat your spouse with respect, manage the marriage.

These are all fairly simple, low-cost things to do. Yet, not doing them can result in major expenses and significant pain and inconvenience. To save money, take care of what you have. It's a fundamental principle many of use overlook. When life seems to hand us a huge whopper of a problem, our first reaction is to blame something other than our own chain of neglect that got us there. Yes, some things happen no matter how diligent we are. But taking care of what you have is a common sense way to prevent the preventable.

5. Security tip

Many people think leaving their lights on when they are away is a good security measure. Let's play that out.

Burglar #1: "Hey, check out that house. The lights are on."

Burglar #2: "Yeah. They never leave their lights on. They must be out of town."

When you change your patterns, you send a message. So, what's the solution? Leave your lights off? No, the solution is to not establish a pattern. For example:

  • Don't take the same route to work every day.
  • Don't leave for work at the same time every day.
  • Change your lighting patterns when you are home.
  • Use a lighting timer to turn lights on and off when you are gone, but change the actual times a bit each day.
  • If you close your blinds for a trip, but have them open when you are not traveling, try leaving them closed occasionally when you are home.
  • Don't always answer your phone when you are home. In addition to being a slavish practice, this also allows burglars to know whether you are home or not.
  • Use call forwarding--at least on occasion--just so callers believe someone is at home answering the phone. Burglars will sometimes call a given home at the same time every day to see if anyone is there.

If you vary your routine, you make it hard to case your home. And remember, the police are not your private security force. The odds that they can arrive in time to stop a crime are about zilch--it just doesn't happen.


6. Health tip/Fitness tips

The Cinnamon Myth

A nurse practitioner reported to me a fad that is catching on in Florida. She's seeing more and more patients who are carrying around an extra 100 lbs (or more) of body fat and then telling her all about how much "cinnamon I am taking." As if it matters.
The issue here is not the efficacy of cinnamon. The issue here is that many people will take comfort in some measure that has a very small benefit, while completely ignoring a larger problem.

I was going to blast the stupidity of the low carb diets in this issue (if you're on one, get off of it--please), but this cinnamon silliness got coverage instead. It strikes at the core of a huge problem.

There is no drug, herb, supplement, mineral, beverage, diet, or whatever that can make up for unsound health practices. If you are too fat , your first concern should be eating smaller portions at each meal and cutting out the junk. This does not mean cutting out carbs--fruits, vegetables, and other key carbs are part of a healthy diet. In fact, you need carbs to burn fat. The Atkins insanity pumps rancid fat into your bloodstream. Do you really want rotting fat to cross the brain blood barrier? OK, I couldn't help but blast it. But, blast it (hah!), this low-carb fad is hurting a lot of people.

Anyhow, don't rely on gimmicks or fads when your basic problem is basic health practices. I don't care if you eat a pound of cinnamon each day and bathe in the stuff. You aren't going to ever be any healthier than someone who doesn't touch cinnamon but does engage in proper portion control.

Remember, too, that our healthcare system--even with all of its marvelous medicines and awesome advances--treats disease after the fact. So, it's really not providing health care--it's providing disease remediation.

Here's something to consider. In recent years, there's been a huge hooplah about cholesterol levels (with no way of really knowing what they should be). And doctors have been putting people on all kinds of medications to lower their cholesterol. I have been against this from the start, because it does not make one bit of sense. Yes, lowering cholesterol to resolve an acute condition is good. So is holding your breath if you are under water. But, neither practice is sustainable over the long term.

So, what has happened with this misapplication of these cholesterol medicines? Brain damage (memory loss, disorientation, dementia), liver damage, and other problems are so disproportionately high among users of these drugs that some powerful folks in the healthcare industry demanded an investigation. And guess what? Those problems are definitely coming from overuse of those medications. They haven't said anything about regular use, but I would suspect that's not all roses either.

Rather than fix the underlying problems that cause the high cholesterol (which, by the way, is "high" only by a definition that may or may not apply to any given patient and thus may be way off base), people chose a magic pill. And it's killing them to do this.

If a man goes to the doctor with high cholesterol and a big belly, what's the correct solution? It's not taking medicine, and it's not eating cinnamon! It's eating less at each meal, plus getting more exercise.

So, that's my health tip for this newsletter. Pay attention to the fundamentals, and stay away from things that you don't need if you follow the fundamentals. That is how you will have your basic health. If you want to be an elite athlete, then we move on to a different level of discussion. But, that discussion won't include cinnamon or cholesterol medicine.

7. Thought for the Day

How often do you really have a conversation with someone? Not a collective monologue (each takes turns talking, but neither really listens), not a trading of war stories, not an exchange of boilerplate.

A real conversation might be more rare than you think. What elements might go into having a real person-to-person, meaningful conversation? Just thinking about this is a good first step toward better communication, and that means relationships.


Wishing you the best,

Mark Lamendola


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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