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Mindconnection eNL, 2004-05-20

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

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

1. Product Highlights

Assessing Nuclear Power Plants and Terrorist Attacks--a course
Yes, nuclear power plants undergo tax audits and employees of those plants are victims of illegal scams run by *** employees in a way that would make any Mafioso blush in shame. This is the same organization that triggered 12 televised hearings on violations of civil rights.

But, this course addresses a different form of terrorism--not the *** variety. Strange as it may seem, other terrorist groups are now posing an even more frightening threat in our minds than is the *** (Congress has recently authorized and funded the hiring of more *** employees, so the *** can return to f***t place).

Assessing nuclear power plants and terrorist attacks

Click the photo for course information.

This other kind of terrorism takes the form of an individual attack that hurts massive numbers of people at once (vs. the *** strategy of massive numbers of attacks on individuals). Most of this kind of terrorism is conducted by renegade whacko religious groups (vs. renegade whacko government employees).

One of the key targets being discussed is the nuclear power plant. Many people are concerned about the danger of terrorist attacks on nuclear power plants. We’ve heard everything from "no problem!" to "Chernobyl will happen here." If you live near (within 200 miles of) such a plant, should you consider relocating? Should you petition the government to shut it down? Should you petition the authorities to take specific actions that can provide you with a reasonable level of safety? Do you know what those actions are? Don't you wish you had access to information that allowed you to make the right decision?

What if someone who has worked at many of these plants, helped build them, helped maintain them, and intimately knows their strengths and weaknesses  advised you? Suppose that person was even an engineer on reactor protection systems? Wouldn’t you find that a breakthrough moment, where you aren’t captive to misinformation and thus know the truth?

That moment has arrived.

No more guesswork, no more misinformation, no more worry. You can know the truth, and the truth will set you free. You'll be able to accurately assess your risks, without the being hindered by the false assertions that characterize both sides of the "debate." 

 Approximate study time: 2 hours


2. Brainpower tip

We waste a great deal of brainpower in collective monologues.

People actually debate on whether we should have laws prohibiting parents from protecting their children from violent assault. On the one side, you have mentally sound people following their genetic programming, natural instincts, and common sense. On the other hand, you have people who are simply incapable of reasoning.

For a normal person to enter the debate is a waste of mental resources. Anyone who is so defective in genetic programming, natural instincts, and common sense as to promote laws that ban parents from protecting their children from violent assault is also impossible to reason with. So, don't waste your mental energy. Just recognize that you aren't going to follow any such stupid law anyhow and don't worry about it.

Sometimes, the choice is not as obvious as the one just discussed. Sometimes, two reasonable people are talking. But, each has an agenda, point of reference, or set of needs that differs. One person is making a point and the other person is making a different point. There is really no conflict in their views, but they soon get into an argument. This is an argument that would not have occurred, if just one of the two people had recognized, "Hey, I'm not being heard. This other person wants validation, not my explanation." When you sense this kind of thing going on, don't persist in trying to make yourself understood. Just validate the other person's view and move on.

Here's another thing that occurs. A person generalizes a specific rule and then holds it forth as a universal truth. But, what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another. We see this in the business world with the misapplication of "best practices." Someone does X (for example, converts to an open office plan) at a company, and things work out great. Now, this person is an evangelist for X. But, X would be exactly wrong at another company. And it works in reverse. Someone tries X, and it fails for them--but it might work very well under other conditions. The key to best practices is to understand the concept--not the specific actions.

So, the next time you feel yourself being drawn into a downward spiraling debate, having a pointless argument, or feeling like you're not being listened to, stop. Look for a quick way out, and get out. Then, apply your freed-up brainpower to an activity that is truly useful.

3. Time tip

This past week, I gave an interview to PC World (there are quite a few interviews with me piling up--just Google search and you'll find a fairly long list) on my usual topic--time management.

The issue the writer was exploring was that people appear to be living with unrealistic deadlines. They sell concert tickets on e-Bay with only two days left until the event. Or, they try to sell a bunch of furniture only a few days before they are moving.

And, this kind of 11th hour modality is becoming more the rule than the exception. The reasons for this are complex and many. But, one reason is the brain rewiring brought on by our sound-bite, television, video-driven culture. People simply have very short attention spans compared to even 20 years ago.

One of the best things you can do is use time as your ally. In a recent column in Fast Company, Seth Godin suggested leaving early to be somewhere by a certain time. Pack ahead of time, don't putter around before you start on your way. Ever notice how many people are driving like maniacs or running to get into the airport? You can bet they weren't moving very fast or thinking very far ahead to prepare to leave for the airport.

I juggle several dozen projects at any one time. Some of these are not due for completion until way, way out there--and so I have plenty of time to do them.

Nonetheless, I get an early start. This way, I can match my peak output to the work. I'm not always at my peak. Some days, I'm tired. Other days, I'm harried by a constantly ringing phone.

You see, I realize there will be interruptions, downtime, and distractions. So, I allow for those. The way to do this is to break work down into small chunks, and then schedule the chunks so you make progress over time. Start as early as possible, and you will finish without rushing at the end.

The quality of your work will reflect this, but so will your mental and physical health..


4. Finance tip

We're all aware of the high price of fuel, these days. I'm going to tell you some ways to lessen the pain to your wallet. F***t, though, I want to expose a "mass stupidity" e-mail that's going around.

Some fool started an e-mail (which seems to pop up every summer) calling for a one-day boycott of gasoline. Allegedly, this will "bring the oil companies to their knees by overloading their distribution chain."

Well, hello-o-o-o-o! Anything that creates an inefficiency in the distribution chain will only raise prices.

Has anyone noticed that the prices have indeed gone up? There is nothing stopping them from doing so. This means that creating greater costs of delivery will not lower fuel costs, but simply raise them--you create the added costs, you pay them. Simple as that.

If you receive a copy of that moronic e-mail (my apologies to any morons who may be reading this), please write back to the fool who sent it and explain the facts.

OK, outside of squelching ill-advised price-hiking activities disguised as consumer action, what else can you do? Here are some tips, and because I have to buy gas only once every 6 to 8 weeks, you can take these to the bank:

  • Own a fuel-efficient car. I'm not saying to scrap your accident-inducing, gas-hogging, "I succumb to manipulative advertising" SUV. Not at all. I am saying that the next time you are in the market for a vehicle, pay attention to fuel economy. My car gets in the high 30s (EPA claims about 37, but I do better than that). And buy a car that doesn't have a high-maintenance, fuel-hogging, high-priced automatic transmission. In Europe, most people (80%) have a manual transmission. There are many, many advantages to this configuration. It's not for everybody--after all, you have that shifter in the floor. But, if you have an automatic transmission shifter on the floor, then do this: Repeatedly bang your head hard on the dash and repeat, "Why did I not get the real thing?"
  • Use synthetic oil. Mobil One or equivalent is the only way to go. Some people balk at paying $4 or $5 for quart of oil, and instead opt to pay whatever it is for a quart of non-synthetic el cheapo stuff. The difference in fuel economy alone makes the synthetic the better bargain. The molecules of synthetic oil are uniform in size and shape, so they flow very, very well. Regular oil contains irregular molecules, which create friction against each other and don't flow well over one another. This is basic physics, but if you don't understand the principle, then buy a bunch of balls of different sizes and experiment with them in a bin or other suitable container. You'll become a convert instantly, unless you are totally daft (in that case, you should become a Congressman). Regular oil also contains paraffin wax, which is hard at room temperature. When you start your engine on a cold fall morning, it runs dry until this paraffin melts and the oil pump can push oil through the engine gallies. With synthetic, you have no paraffin, but you do have instant lubrication--even well below freezing.
  • Plan and combine trips. Make grocery lists, shopping lists, and so on. Learn to do without, between shopping trips. Think of where you need to go in the next week, and see how you can get to all of those places driving the least number of miles reasonable. For example, go to the bank, the library, and the store on the same trip.
  • Car pool. I use a climbing gym that is a 60-mile round trip. I have a neighbor who also climbs there. Guess what we do?
  • Drive sanely. I know, I know. You're an above average driver. Did you know 80% of people polled say the same thing? The fact is, 99.99% of us can always improve our driving. I consider myself in the majority! Look ahead, plan for your stops, and don't pretend your normally aspirated passenger vehicle is some kind of racecar. Set an example for folks like me, OK?
  • Use cruise control. This should be an obvious thing, but most of us fail to use this energy-saver unless we're on a long trip. When I read the studies on this, I thought, "Well, color me stupid--I've lapsed into the same behavior."
  • Wear your seatbelt. This does hold you in place better, and you are less likely to be pumping the gas pedal. But, don't do this for fuel economy. Do it so you aren't one of the many people each year who becomes a vegetable but could easily have avoided not doing so. Human heads and windshields don't mix. You try to fight this one, and you will lose every time. Let's not go there.
  • Kill the tunes. I listen to books on tape in my car. It simply does not make sense to listen to hard-driving, adrenalin-pumping music while trying to control a ton or more of steel and plastic that's hurtling down the road. Face it--a car is a lethal weapon. Endeavor to stay calm while at the controls. Your fuel economy will reflect this decision, as will the general quality of your driving.

5. Security tip

I was at the bank today, where a man was withdrawing $550 in cash. How do I know how much he was taking? The teller counted it out. On the counter. In a clear voice. In plain sight. I, or just about anyone else, could have followed him out to his car, then rammed his head into the glass from behind and taken the money. And that would probably have gone down as an unsolved crime. (I was going to crack a tax audit joke here, but this is a serious matter).

I once had this "teller announcement" happen to me. After she got done counting the money, I slid it back to her and said, "There's no way I can leave here now with this cash. I'll come back some other time for it." I then turned around and said clearly, "I don't have any of that cash on my person." And I walked out. I came back later and closed the account. That was in 1984--gosh, 20 years ago!

Should you need to make a significant cash withdrawal--an amount that might tempt someone other than the *** to rob you--advise the teller ahead of time. "Look, I know you are going to count this money out, and that's fine. But, I need you to do it below the partition and very quietly. I don't want to advertise I have this much cash on me."


6. Health tip/Fitness tips

Powerful arms
Go into most any gym, and you'll see people working with curling bars. They want bigger arms. But, ask them if they are working their backs. Typically, they'll tell you no.

The key to powerful arms is working your back. Your body has to maintain a certain chain of power for your arms to grow. And the main part of that chain is your back. You can work your arms like a pro, and they won't grow unless you work your back. If you work your back and never do a single curl, your arms will grow anyhow!

Your back is what really makes your physique great--whether you are male or female. So, instead of focusing on arm exercises, focus on your back. Doing that will also give you great glutes--something no amount of curling will ever do.

Back exercises include squats (I prefer front squats), deadlifts, bentover rows, pull-ups, and cable rows. The rows and pull-ups also recruit biceps, but you need to work your triceps to get a "full" look to your arms.

Pull-ups: Do these with the palms facing you to build thickness, and with the palms facing away from you to build width. Pull up as high as you can go--I usually bring my pecs completely above the bar.

7. Thought for the Day

What have you said or done today to make another person feel better? Worse? What are you going to do about it, either way?


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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