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Mindconnection eNL, 2004-10-04

Past issues

Please forward this eNL to a friend!  Free bonus:$125 shopping spree. (Some folks might really like it).In this issue:

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


Today's date, when rendered in the mm-dd format, reminds me of the CB radio era of a quarter century ago. While 10-4 officially means "yes," it can mean much more. With the right inflection, "10-4 good buddy" was a message of reassurance--what the speaker meant and what the other person heard was, "I'm backing you up and we're gonna make it."

With that in mind, I just want to say "10-4" to all my good buddies on this subscription list. We live in stressful and confusing times. But I'm backing you up, and we're gonna make it.


1. Product Highlights

Translator Update
We're back with translators, again. I hadn't planned on featuring these so soon, but Ann at Ectaco just told me that SpeechGuard is finally available.

Ectaco makes some products that, by government mandate, are not available to the public. Devices using SpeechGuard's technology are such products. Until last week, you had to be the US Army to buy one of these.

That should tell you something about how powerful these things are. If you live in a NATO country, we'd be happy to sell you one. We can't also equip you with body armor or the latest military weapons. But if you use this translator to avoid misunderstandings, you shouldn't need those things!

No longer available.

But we do have Russian translators here:


Some info:

Languages to/ from English (with voice!)

  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Russian
  • Spanish 

Linguistic Resources

  • Voice output in German, Chinese, French, Japanese, Russian, Spanish and Italian
  • Search for single words or whole phrases
  • Voice prompted navigation
  • Offered topics include: Everyday Conversation, Traveling, Transport, Hotel, Restaurant, Shopping, Bank and Telephone, Sightseeing and My SpeechGuard
  • User-defined topics and phrases can be added in My SpeechGuard

Additional Features

  • MultiMedia Card slot (Card included) for simplified content replacement and updates.
  • Volume Control.
  • Touch screen (320x240 pixels).
  • Screen backlight.
  • Built-in microphone and 2W high quality speaker.
  • Password security.
  • Auto Off function will shut off translator when it’s idle.


2. Brainpower tip

It helps to understand how your brain is rewiring itself. With this knowledge, you can control that wiring to increase performance--and avoid a meltdown. 

Last year, I reviewed a superb book called "The New Brain." Read that review here:

Click the image for pricing and availability.

the new brain
Below is an official publicity release, which should give you additional insight.

The New Brain is the story of technology and biology converging to influence the evolution of the human brain. Once considered a mysterious, hidden organ locked within our skulls, modern brain science now provides us with insights about the brain that only a few decades ago would have been considered the stuff of science fiction. We can now study the brain and how it functions as we take a test, practice a craft, experience an emotion, make a decision, or even tell a lie.

In The New Brain, Dr. Richard Restak guides us through the frontiers of modern brain science and offers cautionary but also optimistic thoughts on the direction of his work. He says that in the era of the New Brain, it will be necessary to tread carefully, lest we imprison ourselves in concepts that diminish, rather than enhance, our freedom.

Dr. Richard Restak, a neurologist and neurophyschiatrist, is clinical professor of neurology at George Washington Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He has written the companion books to several PBS specials on brain function, including The Secret Life of the Brain. His last book, Mozart's Brain and the Fighter Pilot: Unleashing Your Brain's Potential was a bestseller. An engaging science commentator, Restak has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, the Today Show, Good Morning America, and the Discovery Channel. He lives and practices in Washington, D.C.

The following is an excerpt from the book The New Brain: How the Modern Age is Rewiring Your Mind
by Richard Restak, M.D.
Published by Rodale Books; October 2004; $14.95US/$21.95CAN; 1-59486-054-8
Copyright 2004 Richard Restak, M.D.

No Time to Listen

As the result of our "make it quick" culture, attention deficit is becoming the paradigmatic disorder of our times. Indeed, ADD/ADHD isn't so much a disorder as it is a cognitive style. In order to be successful in today's workplace you have to incorporate some elements of ADD/ADHD.

You must learn to rapidly process information, function amidst surroundings your parents would have described as "chaotic," always remain prepared to rapidly shift from one activity to another, and redirect your attention among competing tasks without becoming bogged down or losing time. Such facility in rapid information processing requires profound alterations in our brain. And such alterations come at a cost -- a devaluation of the depth and quality of our relationships.

For example, a patient of mine who works as a subway driver was once unfortunate enough to witness a man commit suicide by throwing himself in front of her train. Her ensuing anguish and distress convinced her employers that she needed help, and they sent her to me. The hardest part of her ordeal, as she expressed it, was that no one would give her more than a few minutes to tell her story. They either interrupted her or, in her words, "gradually zoned out."

"I can't seem to talk fast enough about what happened to me," she told me. "Nobody has time to listen anymore."

The absence of the "time to listen" isn't simply the result of increased workloads (although this certainly plays a role) but from a reorganization of our brains. Sensory overload is the psychological term for the process, but you don't have to be a psychologist to understand it. Our brain is being forced to manage increasing amounts of information within shorter and shorter time intervals. Since not everyone is capable of making that transition, experiences like my patient's are becoming increasingly common.

"Don't tell me anything that is going to take more than 30 seconds for you to get out," as one of my adult friends with ADD/ADHD told his wife in response to what he considered her rambling. In fact, she was only taking the time required to explain a complicated matter in appropriate detail.

"The blistering pace of life today, driven by technology and the business imperative to improve efficiency, is something to behold," writes David Shenk in his influential book Data Smog. "We often feel life going by much, much faster than we wish, as we are carried forward from meeting to meeting, call to call, errand to errand. We have less time to ourselves, and we are expected to improve our performance and output year after year."

Regarding technology's influence on us, Jacques Barzun, in his best-seller, From Dawn to Decadence, comments, "The machine makes us its captive servants -- by its rhythm, by its convenience, by the cost of stopping it or the drawbacks of not using it. As captives we come to resemble it in its pace, rigidity, and uniform expectations" [emphasis added].

Whether you agree that we're beginning to resemble machines, I'm certain you can readily bring to mind examples of the effect of communication technology on identity and behavior. For instance, cinematography provides us with many of our reference points and a vocabulary for describing and even experiencing our personal reality.

While driving to work in the morning we "fast-forward" a half-hour in our mind to the upcoming office meeting. We reenact in our imagination a series of "scenarios" that could potentially take place. A few minutes later, while entering the garage, we experience a "flashback" of the awkward "scene" that took place during last week's meeting and "dub in" a more pleasing "take."

Of course using the vocabulary of the latest technology in conversation isn't new. Soon after their introduction, railways, telegraphs, and telephone switchboards provided useful metaphors for describing everyday experiences: People spoke of someone "telegraphing" their intentions, or of a person being "plugged in" to the latest fashions.

Modern Nerves

In 1891 the Viennese critic Hermann Bahr predicted the arrival of what he called "new human beings," marked by an increased nervous energy. A person with "modern nerves" was "quick-witted, briskly efficient, rigorously scheduled, doing everything on the double," writes social critic Peter Conrad in Modern Times, Modern Places.

In the 1920s, indications of modem nerves were illustrated by both the silent films of the age, with their accelerated movement, and the change in drug use at the time, from sedating agents like opium to the newly synthesized cocaine -- a shift that replaced languid immobility with frenetic hyperactivity and "mobility mania."

Josef Breuer, who coauthored Studies on Hysteria with Sigmund Freud, compared the modern nervous system to a telephone line made up of nerves in "tonic excitation." If the nerves were overburdened with too much "current," he claimed, the result would be sparks, frazzled insulation, scorched filaments, short circuits -- in essence, a model for hysteria. The mind was thus a machine and could best be understood through the employment of machine metaphors. Athletes picked up on this theme and aimed at transforming their bodies into fine-tuned organisms capable, like machines, of instant responsiveness. "The neural pathways by which will is translated into physical movement are trained until they react to the slightest impulse," wrote a commentator in the 1920s on the "cult" of sports.

The Changing Rhythm of Life

In 1931 the historian James Truslow Adams commented, "As the number of sensations increase, the time which we have for reacting to and digesting them becomes less . . . the rhythm of our life becomes quicker, the wave lengths . . . of our mental life grow shorter. Such a life tends to become a mere search for more and more exciting sensations, undermining yet more our power of concentration in thought. Relief from fatigue and ennui is sought in mere excitation of our nerves, as in speeding cars or emotional movies."

In the 60 years since Adams's observation, speed has become an integral component of our lives. According to media critic Todd Gitlin, writing in Media Unlimited, "Speed is not incidental to the modern world-speed of production, speed of innovation, speed of investment, speed in the pace of life and the movement of images -- but its essence . . . Is speed a means or an end? If a means, it is so pervasive as to become an end."

In our contemporary society speed is the standard applied to almost everything that we do. Media, especially television, is the most striking example of this acceleration. "It is the limitless media torrent that sharpens the sense that all of life is jetting forward -- or through -- some ultimate speed barrier," according to Gitlin. "The most widespread, most consequential speed-up of our time is the onrush in images -- the speed at which they zip through the world, the speed at which they give way to more of the same, the tempo at which they move."

In response to this media torrent, the brain has had to make fundamental adjustments. The demarcation between here and elsewhere has become blurred. Thanks to technology, each of us exists simultaneously in not just one here but in several. While talking with a friend over coffee we're scanning e-mail on our Palm Pilot. At such times where are we really? In such instances no less is involved than a fundamental change in our concept of time and place.

3. Time Tip

Don't lose sight of your real purpose. If you are the most efficient person in the world and yet the sum of your efforts defeats your larger purpose, your time is simply wasted. Think about this experiment, and apply the lessons to your own life.

A group (let's call them ACME) did a study at a seminary. This involved seminary students (seminarians), each approached separately. The seminarians were to give sermons on the Good Samaritan.

Not all of our readers are from Western culture, so here's a summary of that story (which is from the New Testament). In the time of Christ, people who lived in Samaria were deemed low-lifes by the mainstream folks. If you've read redneck jokes, you get a feel for how Samarians were thought of in those days. An injured man lay by the side of the road, and all of the "good" people walked past him and left him there. But, a Samaritan stopped and gave the man extensive assistance.

At the seminary, ACME called each of the seminarians one at a time. "Sorry, there's been a scheduling error. We need you to give your sermon ten minutes from now. You'll have to hurry to make it here in time."

Without exception, each of the seminarians walked around, or stepped over, an actor hired by ACME to play an injured man in need of assistance.

This was an object lesson. The seminarians were so caught up in meeting an obligation to talk about helping a stranger that they neglected to live the very words they were supposed to speak.

How well do you manage your time?

  • As a parent, do you yell at your kids to get them to soccer practice on time?
  • As a husband, do you snarl at your wife for making you late to the play you are taking her as a treat?
  • As a wife, "correct" your husband when he (unlike most men, unfortunately) "helps out" with domestic chores such as cooking, cleaning, vacuuming, and so on?
  • As a spouse, do you let yourself get out of shape so you are less attractive to your mate?
  • As an employee, do you undermine your relationship with your boss in any of the hundreds of ways people find to do this?
  • As a boss, do you undermine morale by forgetting they are people who need your leadership, example, and support?
  • As a neighbor, do you get into petty disputes with your neighbors--thereby devaluing an important aspect of your home?

You can come up with many other examples and situations. Remember that when you sacrifice the larger goal to meet immediate needs, you are usually shooting yourself in your proverbial foot. Take better aim.


4. Finance tip

It's easy to get caught in the trap of saving money at any cost. Here are some examples from real life. Think of the lessons here, and see what you can apply to your own thinking.
  • Bob thought it cost too much to hire a termite control firm. So, he told his neighbors they were foolish. But when Bob started seeing holes in his drywall, his wife put her foot down and made him call in a pest control service. Instead of a $900 prevention bill, Bob was faced with a tab that ran close to $17,000.
  • A manufacturing plant was part of a corporation driven by quarterly earnings. One month, they decided not to buy $140 worth of water treatment chemicals. Within days, equipment started shutting down. Repairs cost about $15,000. Lost sales neared half a million dollars.
  • Calvin's PSA (prostate specific antigen) level rose sharply, a few months after surgery for prostate cancer. His doctor recommended an aggressive drug to wipe out the cancer. A second doctor concurred. But, Calvin's tab was going to be $200 a month for 10 months of treatment. Calvin is a veteran. So, Calvin looked into having the Veteran's Administration (VA) take over his care. It took five weeks for him to get a VA examination and the resultant prescription. Calvin bragged about how much money he saved. But in five weeks, the cancer had aggressively spread throughout his body. Calvin "saved" $400 by not getting the medication until he was on the VA medication plan. But he lost something far more valuable.
  • George had come up through life the hard way, and had paid for his own education at a community college--resulting in a 2-year degree. When his two children each reached college age (four years apart), George told them they'd be better people if they paid their own way through college. But even with their scholarships, they needed some financial support for room and board. George would not provide this. So, the kids had to go to community college, and then later go to night school to finish their Bachelors degrees. This had a profound effect on their earnings. Years later when George was faced with financial hardship, he turned to his children for help. They each explained their own financial condition, and the older child reminded George that their earning power was less than half of what it would have been if George had made a different decision years ago.
  • Gina needed to replace the tires on her car. She had looked at high-performance radials, and was considering buying those. But, her boyfriend talked her out of it. In fact, he talked her into buying some "bargain" tires at a discount outlet. They went out to eat to celebrate the cost-savings. Three months later, Gina's cheap tires failed to grip on a curve and then failed to stop her as she hit a cement embankment.
  • Maria had severe allergies. She read about 3M's Filtrete Air filters, and asked her husband Bob to buy that style. In fact, she insisted on it. Bob agreed to do this, but then balked at the price. He could get fiberglass filters for 97 cents each, but these other ones were $14. When Maria would ask about the filters, Bob would always say he'd taken care of it. She trusted Bob and didn't check. Until a friend came over and they discussed filters.

    Her friend said there was something wrong, because she could see dust on the furniture and dust in the sunbeams. "I have those filters at my house, and I don't see that dust." They looked at the furnace filter, and found it was the cheap fiberglass kind. The ductwork on the "clean" side was full of dust.

    Money Bob saved by violating his wife's trust: $13.

    Cost to repair: 6 months of unneeded medication, $250; Professional duct cleaning, $450; Maria's needless suffering, no price.

    Largest single cost: The divorce.

5. Security tip

When we think of "security," we normally think in terms of protecting physical assets from theft or harm. But, there's another aspect to security that is perhaps more important.

After the recent exposure of Dan Rather to be the disinformation-spreading, biased fraud that most of us know he always has been, I think it's pretty clear we need to guard against thieves of the mind.

As a first line of defense, you need to limit your exposure. In combat, you limit your exposure to enemy fire. In the battle for minds, you need to do the same thing.

To protect your mind, take a close look at your sources of "information." If their agenda seems to be proselytizing rather than informing, you have identified a mind-thief. Employ the proper security measures to limit your exposure. This means shutting off the television (which is called the boob tube for a reason), unsubscribing from propagandist "newspapers" such as the New York Times, and disengaging from conversations with people who want to tell you what's wrong with the world and how they would fix it if only someone would recognize their genius and put them in charge.

Does this sound radical? Are you thinking, "But if I don't watch television and don't read the newspapers, how will I get information? How will I stay in tune with current events?"

Here's your answer. Suppose you want to find out how to get to a particular place--perhaps a store, a home, or a museum. You know your buddy Bill can't give decent directions to save his life, and nearly every time you've used his directions you have been off course for hours or gotten lost in the bad part of town. Now, are you better off asking Bill for directions or not? The answer is obvious. Since Bill gives you wrong information you should not pay attention to his information at all. Get it from another source.

Sometimes, there is no accurate source of information. So what? Does this mean you should get whatever source is available so you have a wrong opinion or even a stupid one? There's no law saying you need an opinion on anything. So, rather than be misinformed, manipulated, brainwashed, and so on--simply don't go there.

You do not do yourself a service by using newspapers or television as sources of information. Newspapers are good for advertisements, comics, and crossword puzzles. But, you should not expose your mind to misinformation by reading the "news articles" (take the same approach folks take to those magazines that get opened at the center and turned 90 degrees--don't read the articles!).

Television "news" is even worse than newspaper "news," because it uses more sensory paths to get misinformation into your brain. You don't need this. Don't put up with it.

Your brain is the only one you have. Don't expose it to thieves who will be only too happy to steal your ability to have an accurate view of what's going on in the world.


6. Health tip/Fitness tips

We are rapidly approaching the mainstream holiday season. Now, I don't mean any disrespect to the Jewish and others among us, as you have already engaged in some holidays. It's just that Halloween, Thanksgiving (USA), and Christmas are the big three at this time of year in the USA.

And, what happens during these times? People celebrate by overeating. The average American gains 10 pounds of fat each decade, and nearly every ounce of that is during the holidays!

Behavior: Overcoming Compulsive Eating
What's a body to do? See the little piggy image up to your right? Or the link just above? This is a behavior modification course developed by a licensed psychologist. It gets at the root of overeating.

Is overeating a bad thing? Well, yeah. For an average man, every 10 pounds of body fat is an order of magnitude risk factor for prostate cancer. Women have similar concerns for other diseases.

It takes 3500 calories to make a pound of body fat, and you can easily get that in a single holiday meal. But, you'd have to run on a treadmill in the time you'd normally take working at your job the entire next week to burn that pound back off. So, what will it be? Five minutes of discipline or 40 hours of mindless exercise? This should be an easy decision, but there are reasons why most people find it impossible to make the logical choice. This course will help you do that.

The key is to stop the calories on the intake side. If you are carrying extra fat, you've already proven you need help doing this. And this course is your magic bullet to shoot that particular turkey (no pun intended).

Get this course now, so you are prepared when temptation strikes.

7. Thought for the Day

Some people "roll with the flow" and others take charge to make things happen. Are you letting events dictate your actions, or are you going through life with purpose, determination, and a sense of empowerment?


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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