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Mindconnection eNL, 2007-04-22


In this issue:

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

1. Product Highlight

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2. Brainpower tip

How you evaluate information will greatly affect the decisions you make. The number of books on this subject is staggering, and here I am with a short article on the topic. So, I'm going to address a single aspect rather than pretend to give you the definitive guide.

The aspect I'm addressing is information filtering. The adage "garbage in, garbage out" applies here, and it explains a great deal about what people believe.

Here are some common information misfiltering methods. Try to eliminate them:

  1. Buttressing existing beliefs. The most common way to misfilter information is to do so based on what you already believe. For example, if I believe that criminals should be protected from their victims rather than the other way around, then I will view every pro "gun control" bit of information as accurate and anything contrary to it as false.

    This way of looking at information is how people reinforce the opinions that allow them to belong to a group (my religion is the right one) or to validate their own sense of self-worth (I must be OK because I am right). But it's a delusional way to go through life and it essentially bypasses the brain.
  2. Ignoring the author's ignorance. If you look at "conspiracy theory" Websites, you'll find the author shows ignorance in the areas of punctuation, grammar, composition, sentence construction, and so forth. In other words, this is not a person who has much skill when it comes to understanding details. If this person can't understand the details of applying English, logic tells us this person is also incapable of understanding the details of some complex event. The ability to correctly see details is independent of the subject. You either can, or you can't.
  3. Being drawn in. One trick of the propagandist is to begin with facts you can agree to, and then spring the lies on you once you are nodding yes. This is exactly how "confidence scams" are run. We get the phrase "con man" from this--it is short for "confidence man." Once this person gains your confidence, then you are prey to the lies that follow.

    In a sequence of unconnected statements, however, it does not follow that X is true simply because A - W are true. Each statement must stand on its own merits. However, it is human nature to evaluate the messenger rather than the message. Once the messenger has our confidence, we tend to assign truth to untrue statements.
  4. Single sourcing. It amazes me how many people form an opinion based on the first set of "facts" they read and then won't consider anything contradictory after that. Some people believe they have "done research" if they read multiple poor sources that have the same ultimate source.

    This is exactly how false rumors get spread. Just because you hear the same false account from six gullible people doesn't mean it's true. If you were to trace the varied accounts back, you'd find they come from the same person.
  5. Ignoring history. We see this repeated with each federal "election" here in the USA. Two windbags run "against" each other (each belonging to the Demopublican Party), and each makes the same failed promises his or her predecessors lied about in the previous nine "elections." But suddenly in this "election" it becomes "crucial" to "vote" for this or that "candidate" or the world will end. The truth is that neither "candidate" has any intention of doing anything that matters.
  6. Extending credibility where there is none. People actually believe what's printed in the New York Times and National Enquirer, and actually watch television "news." This amazes me.

3. Time Tip

4. Finance tip

It would be almost inexplicable for someone in today's world to think that energy costs aren't headed higher. Many "experts" advocate all kinds of "cures" for this, most of which involve some kind of government intervention. Because government tends to take the path of least competence, those "solutions" are more likely to exacerbate energy problems rather than solve them.

I'm going to suggest a radical idea. It's called "personal responsibility." This means that if a problem affects you, then do something about it.

Another radical idea is "the law of supply and demand." This means that if the price is too high, that's because demand is too high.

These both lead to a third radical idea. If something is expensive, use less of it. Wow. What a concept.

Here are some tips for reducing how much money you fork out to the electric utilities.


  1. Stop using Christmas lights. I realize that, to some people, this is heresy. But you have to remember that this particular form of waste is a recent tradition. If you are worried about "the Christmas spirit," then take the $75 you would have spent on Christmas lights and feed a hungry person for a month. I also think those outdoor "security" lights are another useless expenditure of energy. Night-time is supposed to be dark. If security is your concern, put those lights on motion sensors and make sure your shotgun is loaded and ready when you go to bed. Providing light for a burglar isn't going to make you more secure.
  2. Set the AC to 80 DegrF. It amazes me how many people set their thermostats to 80 in the winter and then to 68 in the summer. It's healthier and cheaper to do this the other way around.
  3. Line dry your clothes. Use the clothes dryer only when it's been raining for days on end. Or, compromise. Have an indoor rack. Dry your clothes partially, so that they remain soft. While they are damp, hang them up to dry. You can use an over the door hanger (with felt on the back, so you don't scratch the door). In addition to conserving energy, this greatly reduces the standard heat damage done to clothing and that will extend the life of your clothes. BTW, if you are drying your bedding perfectly dry, you are throwing money away. Contact any mfr of sheets, and they'll tell you that.
  4. Do not watch television. In addition to wasting electricity, this wastes time and diminishes intelligence. If you like to be misinformed, you will miss television. Otherwise, you are giving up nothing.
  5. Ensure your refrigerator is an energy-efficient model and small. In Europe, everyone has mini-fridges. In the USA, we consider 24 cubic feet tiny. In Europe, they consider 10 cubic feet wasteful. Most Americans have four times the refrigerator they need. Add an ice-maker, and you have even more waste.
  6. Use dimmers on room lights, use low-wattage bulbs in closets and other places wherever practical. Contrary to "expert" advice, fluorescents don't always save energy. They have an extra initial draw, and they need to be on for a bit before they actually start saving energy vs. an incandescent. So fluorescents in closets and pantries generally waste energy rather than save it.
  7. Operate your garage door manually or keep the car outside, using the electric opener very sparingly. This will also cause you to use "muscles," which are those things that allow you to get up from the sofa.
  8. Insulate the bejesus out of your home. Quality windows installed by a quality contractor can work wonders. You can insulate hot water pipes, electrical boxes, and other energy loss points also. V-strip on your door(s) is a must.
  9.  Use manual hedge shears, instead of electric (incl rechargeable battery) ones. Why do people think they need so many electric tools? Why blow leaves, when you can get the wonderful exercise of raking them? This actually saves you time, because you are doing two things at once.
  10. Any time you use more than 20KWH per day, look for what you did wrong. Review your electric bill and keep working on ways to use less. Ask your utility to help you with this. Many utilities offer free energy waste surveys.
  11. Ask the utility to install a peak usage switch on your home, and set it at 20KWH. When your daily usage reaches that point, off goes the power. This way, you don't have to worry about conservation steps--it's automated. Personally, I won't go this far. But someday, we may all have to do this simply because so many people waste so flagrantly.
  12. Ask the utility to install a peak rate switch on your home. This will shut off the electricity during the peak hours (10AM to 6 PM), so that the utility can more easily meet demand and thus not need more plants. This can qualify you for a lower rate.

5. Security tip

Many people think that having an alarm system makes their home secure. That is not true. Some of the reasons why include:
  • Alarm systems are very common, now. Break-in artists have learned how to deal with them.
  • An alarm system doesn't stop an intruder. That's what a firearm does.
  • An alarm system merely notifies the alarm company that an alarm has been triggered. There's a sequence of events before police will respond.
  • The courts have upheld the concept that police are not required to prevent crime.
  • There's a reason people hire security guards. The police are not your personal security team. Simple math shows why this is so.

An alarm makes a good component of your personal security plan. But it does not make you secure. To make your home secure, you need many other things. These include quality deadbolt locks, strong exterior doors, proper locks on windows, and a proper firearm plan.

It also helps to have a good neighborhood. This is really key. Work with your local police on a crime prevention program. While the police can't be responsible for your personal protection, they make wonderful coaches. They'll point out areas that need correction.

Also, do your personal part. If a neighbor forgets to cancel a newspaper subscription before taking a trip (I don't know why people would subscribe, but many do), get out there and pick up those papers. Mow the neighbor's lawn, if that keeps the place from looking unoccupied. Pick up trash along the street--this level of care lets thieves know this neighborhood is probably not a great choice.

Regardless of how busy our lives are, we improve our home security by simply visiting with our neighbors. Make a point of visiting your neighbors. It's one of the best time investments you can make. In addition to the security advantages, you just might make some very good friends.

To make your home secure, use technology but don't rely on it. Your personal security requires your personal involvement.

6. Health tip/Fitness tips

A lot of stupid articles are circulating about arthritis, these days, and most of those are targeted to selling some useless concoction or other.

To get the real scoop, read this article:

7. Miscellany

  1. The first Harley Davidson motorcycle built in 1903 used a tomato can for a carburetor.
  2. We don't run ads in our newsletter. We do get inquiries from advertisers, all the time. To keep this eNL coming, go to and do your shopping from there (as appropriate).

  3. Please forward this eNL to others.

8. Thought for the Day

We should start fining people who commit acts of gross stupidity. That would pay off the $9 trillion national debt in about a week. Maybe sooner.


Wishing you the best,

Mark Lamendola


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