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Mindconnection eNL, 2005-11-20

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

Overcome Compulsive Eating

The caloric binging and gorging during the holidays is a health hazard you don't need. Americans who gain fat during this period nearly always keep it. So, if you gain five pounds this holiday season, that's five pounds of fat you'll carry into the next holiday season. In ten years, you're fifty pounds overweight.

Thus, it's appropriate to offer this course at this time. There are reasons why some folks "break" during the holidays and overeat.

This course methodically walks you through how to identify and solve what's driving you to overeat. Even if you don't overeat during the rest of the year, the underlying problems emerge during the holidays. Deal with those problems, and you can happily sail through the holidays without the damage of added fat. No more pigging out and then feeling bad about it later or feeling bad because of its effects later.

If you are fighting the "battle of the bulge," this course is one of the best investments you'll ever make. You can avoid spending thousands of dollars on medication and surgery, plus feel better and live more fully.

To begin reigning in your waistline, click on the photo above. Or use this link:

2. Brainpower tip

How we deal with the information we do have is often more important to proper decision-making than whether we have all of the pertinent information. In fact, you are unlikely to have all the facts to support any decision. Most of the time, you just have to go with what you've got. This doesn't mean put your finger to the wind and hope for the best.

You can:

  • Interpolate. Fill in missing information--facts between the facts. For example, plot a trend on a graph. The endpoints are known, but the middle is not. Looking at the graph, you can interpolate the information regarding the middle. Note that this can be very misleading, if the surrounding facts don't support the interpolation.
  • Extrapolate. Extend missing information--facts that are natural extensions of the facts. For example, plot a trend on a graph. The endpoints are known, but a new endpoint farther along the trajectory of the trend line is not. Looking at the graph, you can extrapolate the information regarding the new endpoint--where it will be. Note that this can be very misleading, if the surrounding facts don't support the extrapolation.
  • Extend. Follow the logic to its natural conclusion. For example, ask, "If everyone did this then what would happen?"
  • Speculate. Apply the absurdity of the circumstances to an even more absurd set of circumstances, to illustrate absurdity. For example, "So, what are they going to search next at the airport? Rectal cavities?"

There are other techniques you can use to "fill in the blanks." The problem with any of these techniques is they all require judgment. If you are merely looking for "facts" to support a foregone conclusion, then you can fabricate the "facts" to be whatever you want. For you to arrive at a sound conclusion, however, you must approach the thesis with an open mind. One method of doing this is to use the same methods to both attack and support that thesis.

For example:

  • To support the thesis that airports should cut back on searches: "So, what are they going to search next at the airport? Rectal cavities?"
  • To attack the thesis that airports should cut back on searches: "So, how are they going to smuggle in weapons and bombs next? In rectal cavities?"

Keep in mind that the proverbial knife cuts both ways. Using ridicule to prove a point opens the door to use ridicule to disprove it. To avoid that, use reasonable metaphors.

For example:

  • To support the thesis that airports should cut back on searches: "So how many bombers or hijackers have they caught thus far this way?"
  • To attack the thesis that airports should cut back on searches: "Do you want to be on the one plane where a bomber or hijacker got past security?"

There's a whacky thesis that I like to apply another method to. This method is called "Comparison to known outcomes."

The thesis is that if you disarm potential crime victims then you--by some magic--lower the rate of crime. I've never understood the "logic" behind this thesis, so I can't argue on its "prove" side. There's no "there" there. It's sort of like asking someone to argue that the earth is flat or gravity doesn't exist.

Anyone who's ever watched an episode of "Wild Kingdom" knows that the tiger always kills the antelope--not the other way around. Why is this? It's called the balance of power. Tigers have all the power. The outcome is known.

Now, let's apply this to another predator. Let's say it's a 230lb serial murderer, about to confront and assault a 110lb woman. Is the outcome known? That depends on whether the government has put in place "gun laws" that deny her the basic human right of self defense and whether she is cow-towed enough to follow them.

If she lives in Florida, for example, and takes advantage of her right to carry, the predator does not have all the power. If she lives in New York, Chicago, Australia, or other places where the right to survive a criminal attack is banned by the government, then she's either a defense weapon toting criminal or she's going to be dead.

The specious "argument" that somehow the predator will also be neutralized by these laws is simply absurd. By definition, a criminal is someone who breaks the law. A "gun law" is not going to make a criminal say, "Gosh, it's getting tough to murder someone these days, because I would have to obtain a gun illegally to do that so I guess I won't get a gun. In fact, I'll stop killing." Yeah, that's going to happen.

Ah, but we can argue on the "prove" side on this point. And we can do that by extending the gun ban effect. By extension, we can say that if we do enough gun banning, then even criminals won't have guns. So, what is the outcome of such an effect? The predator simply selects a different weapon. In fact, that is exactly what is going on in gun-banning Japan, which is why garroting and knifing are at incredibly high levels. The advantages of using a garrote are now so apparent to Japanese killers that it's unlikely they would choose a firearm if the government gave them one. Nice going, folks.

Fact: Most murders in the US are committed with weapons other than firearms (source: FBI). As with Japan, "banning" such weapons merely deprives the innocent victims of any real hope of a balance of power. They become the antelope, rather than an equally powerful tiger.

I like to use the gun ban "arguments" as examples, because they defy conclusions based on simple observation of the world around us. But of course, there are many other false theses circulating around. Most of them have some merit on some point or another. Unfortunately, the proponents of this or that false thesis refuse to analyze the thesis either in its entirety or outside a vacuum. Don't fall into that trap!

3. Time Tip

This is another installment in our series about saving time with e-mail. In this issue, we'll briefly discuss the bcc: field.

bcc: over-use. Some people bcc: "everyone" on an e-mail. The thinking is they don't want to leave out someone who might possibly want to be included in the distribution if the stars align just right or Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes declares them a winner.

The results of such an approach include:

  • A whole bunch of folks get an e-mail that doesn't apply to them.
  • You make yourself "fair game" to being copied on e-mails you have little or no interest in.
  • You expand the number of people who will reply to you with questions or comments.
  • Your e-mail address gains that much more exposure to being hijacked.
  • You may annoy people to the point that they just delete or block all of your e-mails.
  • You look unprofessional and undiscerning.

So, don't over-use the bcc: field. Copy only to people to whom that e-mail really applies.

Failing to use bcc: On the flipside of over-use, you have under-use. Failing to copy a person whose input is critical is a huge mistake. But why not just cc: all of the people who should get that e-mail? Well, that's OK if they have all given you permission to share their e-mail addresses with everyone else on the list (or you want everyone to have the ability to reply to everyone else on the list, thereby generating a blizzard of e-mails). But until you have such permission, use the bcc: field to protect people's privacy. You save time by not needing to reply to angry e-mails from the offended parties.

When to use bcc:

  • The message applies to everyone on the list ("the list" being the address of the recipients in the bcc: field).
  • Not everyone on the list has given permission for everyone else on the list to have their e-mail address.
  • You don't want any person on the list to respond to the entire list.

Sending e-mail properly--whether Reply All, cc:, or bcc:--simply requires a little planning and consideration. By reducing confusion and heading off potentially huge problems, it can save you--and everyone else--quite a bit of time.


4. Finance tip

I just got my f---ing property tax bill. Yeow! The pain gets more intense each year, even though local politicians brag about their not having given us a rate increase.

So, what gives here? City, state, and county governments know how to manipulate improvements and other things that jack up home values and thus raise the rates without a politically unpopular rate increase. In some cases, these improvements are worthwhile. In others, they are strategically placed to raise the "value" of a particular neighborhood so that tax revenue increases.

Some basic facts:

  1. No American owns a home. Why: We rent our homes from the government, and the rent is in the form of property taxes. Refuse to pay this rent, and see how long you get to live in "your" home.
  2. Many retired people now pay more in property taxes than they paid in mortgage payments when they bought their home.
  3. For most of us, property taxes go in one direction. Hint: It's not down.

Right now, we have a "bubble" in the home market. It's been letting out some air in some places. But you can expect property taxes to continue to rise over the long term. Both home "owners" and renters pay property taxes--the latter bunch through higher rent.

So, what can you do about this? Many financial experts advise fighting the valuation. Some people are successful with this, and some end up getting an even higher valuation for their trouble. I suppose if shutting the barn after the horse gets out makes sense to you, then you should do this.

A more effective approach is to take a seat on your city planning commission. Work hard to limit the improvements done near your home to just what's absolutely necessary. Your road's a little rutted? Well, if your residential speed limit is 25 MPH, then my question is, "So what?" A few bumps and ruts won't hurt your car, but they will slow down speeders and the rough road is one more item against increased valuation. Your city wants to put "improvements" in a nearby park? Tell them no.

Cities talk about "investment" when they talk about the various projects they want to inflict on the residents. And they are correct to talk about these things as investments. The residents "may" get some added value. But the real return on the investment is for the city. They spend $X to inflict an improvement upon the residents, then they reappraise property values to raise taxes so they get back $X times ten and then some.

It's a great scam if you can run it, and city governments can.

I'm not on my city planning commission, though I have been asked to serve. I am on several other boards right now, and just don't have the time. But it's on my radar. At this time, all the "improvements" in my area have already been inflicted on us. In a couple of years, that may change as new ideas for making our homes unaffordable arise. In the meantime, we just had a sales tax increase and we have these growing property taxes to help pay for the unnecessary.

If you are at a different point on the cycle of this spend and tax scam, get on your planning commission and oppose as much "investment" as you can.

5. Security tip

How do you know if a terrorist has boarded your train or bus? Well, you can ask each person you see, "Excuse me, but do you work for the IRS?"

That's one way.

But there are other terrorist organizations out there, so you have to be a bit more encompassing. The key here is to be aware.

Most of us are not aware of what's going on around us. We're busy yakking on our cell phones, fuming over the boss' latest insulting assignment, wondering who farted, etc.

Look around at your fellow passengers, without staring or glaring. Someone who is "wrong" will, most of the time, "pop out." This person may not be a terrorist, but may have some other issues. Still, be aware of that person without making that person aware of you.

If this person seems to be "adjusting" something under his/her bulky outer garment, that's not a good sign. Still might not mean anything, but it's not a good sign. If the person is perspiring or looks unduly agitated, that's also not a good sign. If both signs are present, and the person appears to "fit the profile," you need to exit at the next stop--even if this means a delay for you.

But most importantly, if you are calm and in a state of awareness, that person's "bad energy" will reach be almost palpable to you. If you're immersed in today's loud video culture, you may need to take meditation classes or yoga so that you can develop this awareness.

If you're on a plane and a fellow passenger sets off your "red light," what should you do? Well, you obviously don't want to make this person aware of you. My advice would be to note the person's seat number and then walk to the back of the plane--without making this person aware of you.

When you get to the back, quietly and calmly tell the flight attendant that the person in seat 13B (or whatever the seat number is) is making you really nervous and you feel this person needs watching. Explain what you saw. Acknowledge that it may be nothing and you don't know this person. But you have a bad feeling and it may be there for a reason. Tell the flight attendant you don't need any feedback, and your only goal is to alert the crew to a possible danger so they can do whatever it is they are trained to do. Then, use the bathroom to effect discretion.

Today's crews are trained in what to do, if they get the heebie-jeebies about a passenger. Your pointing out that you get the heebie-jeebies about someone is really no reflection on that other person--the two of you have not interacted, and you are not accusing anyone of anything. You are just suspicious. I'm not an expert on what to do on a plane in such an event, but those are my thoughts. You might want to mull this over, so you are prepared in such an event. The key to all of this is making yourself aware. That's a principle that goes back several thousand years in the classic martial arts.

Of course, this detection method is not definitive and being aware doesn't mean you'll catch everything. But hunches are quite often correct. There's an evolutionary reason why we have "gut instincts," and those of us who ignore such instincts do so at our own peril. And maybe that of other people.

6. Health tip/Fitness tips

Following the demise of the Atkins Diet--which never made any sense--what macro nutrient will be demonized next? Well, before the demonization of carbohydrates, it was fat. So my guess is we're going to hear about the dangers of protein next. As if.

Researchers at the Summa Health System (a health plan and network of health-care facilities, and research centers in Ohio) recently conducted a study that confirmed plain old common sense. In a nutshell: Eat more, weigh more. Duh.

That's a bit of an oversimplification. Yes, what you eat does matter. For example, eating highly processed grains is not a good idea--doing so ratchets up your appetite. Eating nutrient dense foods that aren't calorie-dense is the correct approach.

But the biggest factor in maintaining a lean body composition is to control your portion size. Rather than take huge portions and eat until you are full, take small portions and stop eating when they are gone.

In this two-year study, nearly half of the folks trying to lose excess body fat were successful when they practiced portion control. Those who failed to practice portion control got fatter.

If you struggle with portion control--especially over the holidays--see our Product Highlights in this issue.

7. Miscellany

  1. Please forward this eNL to others.

  2. This issue's factoid: 40,000 Americans are injured by toilets each
    year. What's the toll from firearms--something like 4,800 Americans? Chuck Schumer wants to ban firearms--I can hardly wait until he starts banning toilets!

  3. See: Special Offers (expired link now removed).

8. Thought for the Day

Given the health ramifications, losing excess body fat should not be a weighty decision.


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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