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Mindconnection eNL, 2005-10-09

Past issues

In this issue:

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

1. Product Highlights

Perfect Gift for Students

The Infoscan text scanner allows you to scan, store, and transfer text anytime, anywhere. Store up to 500 pages of scanned data and transfer collected information to PC or laptop. Beam to PDA or scan directly into any Windows based application.

Don't wait until the holidays. Order this now. Click on the photo, or use this link:



This is actually an ideal tool for anyone who wants an efficient way to take notes from library texts and other materials. With this, you don't have to lug a laptop with you, take notes on paper, make photocopies, or do any of those other outdated things that simply waste time.
But wait--it gets better. Place your order no later than 20OCT2005, and you get $5 off. Just forward any of your confirmation e-mail receipts and write at the top that you want $5 off. Simple! But wait--it gets better. Buy two of these, and get $15 off.

2. Brainpower tip

I'm a big fan of science, research, technology, and all that kind of stuff. One of my heroes is James Watson. This is the Nobel Prize winning geneticist guy who unlocked the secret to the structure of DNA, back in the 1950s. He wrote a book, Double Helix, that sheds light on how a real scientist sees things.

Here's a quote from that book: "A good number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also stupid." Remember, this is a quote from one of history's greatest scientists. I think another way of saying this is, "To become a scientist, you need merely slog your way through a school that is cognizant of the money you are spending to do so, until you finally graduate."

One point I think Watson was making (this is my opinion--yours may differ) was a person's field  field or academic credentials--no matter how lofty--do not necessarily reflect that person's mental sharpness.

If an "expert" states a point you don't understand or agree with, what should you do? Well, assuming you have a learner's attitude and want to know the truth, you ask that person to explain. If the reply is disdainful or consists of a personal attack, you have a clear sign that person doesn't know what s/he is talking about and is just being defensive. But a knowledgeable person will be able to reply with some facts and rational arguments.

Sometimes that knowledge is incorrect, though. For example, doctors constantly admonish people not to eat eggs. Their "rationale" for this is that eggs raise your cholesterol. In fact, eggs do the opposite (assuming you are eating eggs laid by healthy chickens and not the cheap eggs laid by chickens confined in 2x2 cages stacked 14 high in a dark and drafty henhouse).

The "knowledge" these doctors depend on is hearsay. Someone at some convention made the assumption that eating a cholesterol-containing food raises serum cholesterol, and threw that unproven assumption onto a PowerPoint slide. Like a cancer, this falsehood spread. And it became widely accepted as fact. But no study has ever shown this falsehood to be true. In fact, cholesterol cannot survive passage through the stomach.

A key piece of information is also missing, in this assumption. Eggs (non-factory ones) are very high in omega 3 fatty acids. The same doctor who tells you to buy expensive fish oil or flaxseed oil--also tells you not to buy relatively inexpensive free-range eggs. But the eggs are even better sources of omega 3 than the fish or flax!

So, what's going on here? Simply, too many people are too lazy to challenge an assertion that their group (whatever their group may be) accepts. Watson observed that many of his peers were one-trick dogs simply following rote and hardly moving their cerebral cortexes from "idle."

If trained scientists are often dull and stupid, what does that say about people who don't even have that training? Only that stupidity is no respecter of training or position. But then, neither is smartness. It's really a choice--the default, however, is dullness and stupidity. You have to consciously choose to be smart.

To make the "smart" choice, you've got to decide to be discerning as to what you will accept as fact. Here are some pointers to get you started:

  • Compare "new" facts to known facts.
  • Ask probing questions.
  • Look for generalities--these seldom hold up.
  • Think of exceptions--these disprove blanket statements)
  • Develop parallels. That is, look for similar situations--just don't carry analogies and metaphors too far.
  • Look for extremes. Take the logic to its furthest conclusion.
  • Ask, "What if we all did that?"

3. Time Tip

In manufacturing, distributors of electrical supplies have a process they call "kitting." What they do is they put related items together into a kit, which then has its own part number. This saves time and money, because people don't keep ordering the same individual components. It's similar to "assembling"--a process in which components are put together as a larger assembly and sold that way. Think of "handcleaner and rags" vs. "chair and cushion."

What are some kits you can make, to save yourself time? I'll give you a list of some of my kits, and you can get ideas from those:

  • Map and magnifier. You can get a slim plastic magnifying sheet for about $1. Keep this with the street map you have in your car. Keep on in your "plane" luggage, also.
  • Pen and paper. Why keep these in different places, when you always use them together?
  • Toiletries kit. How can you possibly forget to pack a toothbrush? Have a complete toiletries kit devoted to travel. You can buy the toiletry bags just about anywhere, but get a good one from a luggage shop.
  • Electronics travel kit #1. I have a plastic bag in which I put a DC/AC converter (to power my laptop in a car), cell phone car charger (bought just for this kit--I leave another one in my car), and single-to-dual convenience receptacle expander. This goes in my regular luggage. When I pick up the rental car, out comes the plastic bag and I have mobile power.
  • Electronics travel kit #2. I carry a briefcase with an AC extension cord, wall charger for cell phone, brick and cords for laptop (bought just for this kit), and cable for using my cell phone as a 115k modem. When I travel, I never have to worry that I might have left a charging device at home--it's always in this kit.
  • Garden kit. Make up a box or tray of the same garden implements you always use. This way, you aren't running back and forth to get a tool you should have had with you. You could still store individual implements in a central tool chest or cabinet, but put make up a kit before tackling the work. Pruning shears, small saw, dandelion digger, spade--whatever.
  • Bathroom cleaning kit. Window cleaner, bowl cleaner, rags, small brushes--whatever you use to clean in your bathroom(s)--get all of this together, so you aren't making trips back and forth to get what you need.
  • Networking kit. If you go to business functions, bring your networking kit. What is this? A small notebook, pen, and business cards.
  • Shooting kit. Keep a bag with canvas safety glasses, ammo, hearing protection, etc., so this is all together. At 2AM when some coked out lunatic is breaking down your door, you don't want to be trying to find this stuff.

    Note: putting all of your firearms in a gun locker every night defeats the purpose of having firearms to begin with. But so does careless storage or use. If you have children, contact the NRA about the Eddie Eagle program--which teaches kids not to touch unattended firearms, but to tell an adult.
  • Climbing kit. This one is just an example--do a similar thing for the sport(s) of your choice. I keep a very nice bag just for climbing. In it, I keep chalk, shoes, harness, bandaids, and padlock. I know to "recharge" the kit before I go--with food bars (this sport burns calories like you wouldn't believe), gym shorts, and a tank top. If it's an outside climb, sunscreen goes in there also.

You can come up with other kits. As the climbing and gardening examples show, it's not necessary to always have every one of these kits made up. Sometimes, a list is just as good. Before you do X, check your list to make sure you have all the stuff you need.


4. Finance tip

Expense reimbursements from an employer are tax free to the employee (except for moving expenses). Negotiate for reimbursement from your employer if you currently incur out-of-pocket business costs for such items as professional dues, meals, or driving. In fact, there's a whole list of such items--these are called reimbursable employee expenses. Visit our favorite terrorist organization on their Website and get the latest list.

Don't let your employer tell you, "Don't worry--you can deduct it!" The fact is, all of these expenses have to total up to 2% of your gross adjusted income, or you can't deduct any of them. Your employer writes these off topline income--paying them in pre-tax dollars. You would have to pay in after-tax dollars.

Your employer doesn't have to pay employment taxes on expense reimbursements, but does need to pay them on salary, wages, and similar compensation. So paying expenses is a win-win. Make sure your employer understands this.

Note: The mileage deduction for 2005 has changed, effective 01OCT. It was 40.5 cents per mile. It's now 48.5 cents per mile. Many employers aren't changing their reimbursment, forcing you to try to deduct the 8.5 cents per mile on your taxes. This is flat out wrong.

If your employer jacks you around on this, there's a reason--expect a layoff or other bad news to hit soon. Get out there and look for a job while you still have one. Two great books:

If you are conducting a job search without either of these books, you are on a fool's errand. BTW, the cost of these is tax-deductible!

5. Security tip

Don't jump at the $99 alarm specials. I did this many years ago, and it's a come-on. The "free" offers are even worse! Forget the special offers. Shop around. Check with your locksmith to get started.

But do remember that an alarm system is just that--an alarm system. It does not protect you, your guests, your possessions, or your home. Nor do the police. That job is up to you. An alarm system is just a good part of an overall strategy.


6. Health tip/Fitness tips

Have a positive attitude. The "Paul" video at the link below shows "positive attitude" taken to an extreme, and it's downright hilarious.


URL removed; no longer valid.

You are better off with a positive attitude than a negative one. Yeah, the world is a crappy place in many ways--but it's also full of beauty. Believe in yourself, look for the good in others, and try to get the best out of any situation--and you'll be better off.

7. Miscellany

  1. Please forward this eNL to others.

  2. This issue's factoid: A galactic year is 250 million Earth-years. This is the time it takes for our solar system to make one revolution around the Milky Way Galaxy. It's also the amount of time it takes Congress to do something useful....  :)

  3. See:

8. Thought for the Day

Do you spend time or invest it?


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!).

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