In this issue:
Brainpower | Finances | Security | Health/Fitness | Factoid | Product Highlight | Thought for the Day
1. Brainpower tip
Recognize that you don't always see what is. We all like to believe we
hold views that are sensible and rational. Someone who disagrees is probably
But is that person really wrong, or just operating from different
information? The brain tries to make sense of the world before passing
information to the cerebral cortex (the part of the brain that members of
CONgress don't have--it's where thinking and judgment take place).
Have you ever looked for something and not found it until much later,
only to realize you must have looked right at it three times? For example,
you were looking for a particular product at the store and it has always
come in a white container before but not it's in a blue container so your
eyes go right past it.
The brain is set up to process enormous amounts of data very quickly. The
upside of this is humans (and other animals) can do things very quickly,
such as get out of the way of danger. The downside is the view we get of the
world isn't complete. We see only what's important, only what we expect to
see, or only what stands out from the expected picture.
I reviewed a book on this topic:
If you assume your perceptions are 100% accurate, you will inevitably
err. Probably, you will err spectacularly. So, don't make that assumption.
If you are solving a problem:
- Look for information you don't already have on hand.
- Look for information that conflicts with information you already
have on hand.
- Ask reverse questions. For example, "I assume A is true, but what if
A is false?"
If you are debating an opinion:
- Account for your own built-in biases and misperceptions.
- Look for additional information that is contrary to your position.
- When encountering conflicting information, avoid finding ways to
"make it wrong." Instead, try to determine what is valid and not valid
about both sets of information.
- Restate the other person's underlying assumptions. "So, if I
understand you, A is true because B is true?"
- Ask the other person to challenge your underlying assumptions. If
those are weak, admit it.
- Ask the other person to challenge your underlying data. Don't build
arguments on false "facts."
Why ask the other person to challenge your assumptions and facts? That's
proper debating. Debate on the merits of the arguments. This not only allows
you to maintain mutual respect, it helps you build your brainpower while
getting past your built-in biases.
2. Finance tip
Here are two quotes from Winston Churchill:|
- "For a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man
standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle"
- "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the
blessings, while the inherent blessing of socialism is the equal
sharing of misery."
My city, like many others, recently had an election. It tossed out
the mayor and council members, based on one issue: A big tax hike.
Citizens can assert some control over their single largest expense. But
the only way to do that is to look past the rhetoric and look at the
actual voting records.
Those who vote to part you from your money are not your friends, any
more than the mugger who attempts to rob you at gunpoint is. In either
case, the money thus extracted typically goes for personal enrichment
and not the public good.
Some things you can do:
- Contact your representatives (and/or misrepresentatives) once
each quarter and say you have a zero tolerance policy toward
additional spending, for any reason whatsoever. Mark this on your
calendar and do it. Ask your neighbors to do this. Organize a small
group to do this.
- If you have not done so already, join the National Taxpayers
- Understand that nearly all Demopublicans have a consistent
record of assuming you are merely a farm animal to be milked. Factor
this in when deciding who gets your vote.
- If you like to blog, consider doing a blog that exposes which (mis)representatives
are robbing you and your fellow citizens.
3. Security tip
The administration of computer passwords normally leads to gaping holes
in security, because people hate to use passwords. But that needn't be
In the old days, we used simple passwords that even someone
as dim as a member of CONgress could guess. Well, OK, maybe not someone
that dim. But a trained monkey could guess it.
IT people started telling us, "Don't use the name of your spouse or
child." So we switched to other names that were just as easy to guess.
This whole dance changed, and we began adding a number here or there.
Then after a few problems and scares arose, we went to the other
extreme. We created passwords so long, complex, and unmemorable that we
began to write them down and/or store them in text files. This defeated
the purpose of having passwords, in many cases.
A better solution than creating a password that you have to store in
a readily accessible place is to create one using techniques borrowed
Memory Course. Here's one such strategy.
- Pick a name you are familiar with. This could be the name of
your neighbor's dog, your grandfather's first name, or your spouse's
middle name. Don't use something like the name of your favorite
band, as that might be easily guessed. If your spouse's middle name
is Ann, then use something a bit more challenging.
- Switch a couple of letters around and move the capitalization.
So, Edward becomes dewaRd and you capitalized the R because he's a
Republican (if Democrat, you can cap both Ds--sweet). Use any kind
of assocation that fits.
- Now, pick a number such as the year you went to your first live
concert. Don't use a birthday or other date that is found in about
79,000 databases along with your name. Use something you can
remember but isn't likely to be looked up. Reverse the number and
- Now dewaRd becomes d0w8a9R1d.
If you forget your password, you can reconstruct it. Since you have
to type it in anyhow, don't worry about keystroke loggers. You can use
notepad or a similar app to jog your memory. If yo use paper, you are
going to leave your password in the trash unless you burn the paper and
then soak the ashes in water. Probably not a good career move if you
work in a corporate office.
4. Health tip/Fitness tips
rapidly approaching, people who
over-ate during the holiday season
are starting to get desperate. We
are now into the traditional panic
diet phase of the year. Going on a
spring diet is a self-defeating and
Even worse are
the gimmicks, such as using
laxatives to lose weight. It isn't
weight per se you want to lose. It's
body fat. Laxatives won't help you
get there, and the "I know what I'm
doing" approach with them can cause
serious problems. Here's an article:
should you do if you are too fat?
Here's some unusual advice: stay
fat. That's right, don't diet down.
When you diet down, the effect is
temporary and you go back to your
same old bad habits later. Most
people who diet down don't quite get
rid of the fat they've piled on
since the previous effort, so each
summer they set the bar a little
lower (or wider, as the case may
As regular readers know, I'm 48
years old in the picture (above,
right), taken in December. I don't
diet down for summer. I don't have
good genes for maintaining a lean
body, I really have to be
conscientious and disciplined about
it. That doesn't mean I suffer, eat
bland foods, or starve myself.|
www.supplecity.com, you'll find plenty of informative, authoritative articles on maintaining a lean, strong physique. It has nothing to do with long workouts or impossible to maintain diets. In fact:
- The best workouts are short
- A good diet contains far more flavors and satisfaction than the typical American diet.
Nor does it mean being hungry all
the time (you are less hungry on six
small meals a day than three large
ones), being weak from hunger (on a
proper dietary regimen, you will
have much more energy than
otherwise), or "giving up pleasures"
(I have no idea where this concept
comes from, unless a person
considers being sick a "pleasure.").
Gon Yang-ling of Harbin, China, has memorized more than 15,000 telephone
numbers. While this skill isn't particularly useful to anyone who has a
modern, number-storing phone, it's still impressive. You, too, can have
an impressive memory (but put it to good use), if you purchase our
Memory Maximization Course.|
6. Product Highlight
Scan text and hear it read. Hear the
The ReadingPen comes in two versions:
Basic, for grades 5 -12.
Advanced, for grade 9
with any printed text, and is on
sale now for a limited time. Get the
savings while they last.
How does it read
back to you?
recognizes one word at a time,
does the OCR on it, does the
speech processing on it, then
speaks the word.
When it does
this after scanning a string of
words, the playback will be
staccato rather than smoothly
This works great
for selected words and passages,
and helps people get past
"bumps" in the "reading road."
What it doesn't do is pave an
We don't run ads in our newsletter,
inquiries from advertisers all the time. This eNL is supported by sales from
Please shop there, as appropriate.
7. Thought for the Day
If you've made the statement, "That guy really made me angry," have you
followed it with, "Why did I let him do that?" Who is really in control?|
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