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Mindconnection eNL, 2017-04-02


In this issue:
Good News | Product Highlight | Brainpower | Finances | Security | Health/Fitness | Factoid | Thought 4 the Day

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1. Good News

Item 1. Less mercury in the ocean, going forward. Yay! From MIT Technology Review: "A new analysis suggests that the number of new coal power plants being built around the world fell by 62 percent last year. That effect appears to be driven by countries like China and India, which have built plants at a ferocious rate in the past but are now putting the brakes on new projects. That said, 570 new plants are still planned to go into construction around the world, so the industry’s far from dead."

Item 2. Kudos to Vermont State Senator Mary Ann Carlson, who recently set a new world record for stupidity. No word yet if she is getting a trophy for her achievement.

So how did she win? She is pushing for mandatory gun registration, something stupid almost beyond belief. But since other morons have already done that, she did a stupidity triple play to come up with her winning entry in the stupidity contest. She went on to spew that people with guns need to be arrested before we can commit crimes and that we are more likely to commit them. Send her a card of congratulations. And let us hope this record stands for a very long time to come.


2. Product Highlight

Exam Pen

Students taking exams can hear text read to them, simply by scanning a word or line of text.

The Exam Pen has no dictionary onboard; it is a reading pen only. This mobile pen scanner requires no computer.

The ExamPen has been approved by The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) for use in exams. This means students who have reading difficulties such as dyslexia can independently take exams knowing that they can read and understand the questions comfortably.

Comes with earbuds for private listening.

  • Students with reading difficulties (for example, dyslexia) can take a written test.
  • Written tests now test the student's mastery of the material rather than ability to compensate for a reading difficulty.
  • Eliminates the need to police students who are using any other type of reading assistive device.
  • Teachers no longer must walk a fine line between helping the student understand the test and giving the student an unfair advantage during the test.
  • Students gain more independence and thus more self-esteem.

Exam Pen

Buy from us and save!

The Exam Pen:
  • Works with any printed text.
  • Scans and pronounces words from any printed material.
  • Scans single words or full lines of text.
  • Has an intuitive, friendly interface.
  • Allows you to adjust the reading speed.
  • Is easy to handle.
  • Fits in a pocket.
  • Has a battery status indicator, so you can recharge or replace batteries when convenient for you.
  • Includes built-in speaker and headphones.
  • Recognizes over 450,000 words.

You can buy from us with confidence. We've been making online customers happy since 1997.

3. Brainpower tip

I came across a book that provides wonderful insight into rational thinking. Its title is "The Success Equation". You may gain a big brainpower boost if you can apply what you learn from it.

4. Finance tip

When is the last time you were apprised of how much money your local city council is simply wasting through frivolous expenditures? Many people trust an "elected" council to steward their hard-earned tax dollars, making morally correct and financially responsible decisions.

But are these people actually elected? What do you really know about them at voting time? For most "voters" the answer is, "Well, I recall the name." Maybe you saw a flyer with irrelevant qualifications or vague promises. Maybe the person you "voted" for came to your door. What do you know about their record a year after they were "elected?"

Most people are totally unaware of how their "representative" actually (if at all) represents them. This is about like writing a blank check. The result is you get a tax hike. And you don't know why. Maybe after thinking about this, you will do something about that.

Yes, I covered this topic in the Security tip of the previous issue. In this issue, I wanted to tackle it from a different perspective and also underscore the financial damage that follows from not holding your local government accountable. The idea that the citizens will vote the bums out is delusional, as such an outcome almost never happens. The threat of that has zero effect.

To stop the fleecing, you must first get a handle on the numbers and then tie those to your city sales tax, property tax, etc.. Your next step is to spread the word and get your fellow victims to put pressure on the city council. Doing so face t face is usually the most effective way.

5. Security tip

Maybe you've heard of ransomware. This is a racketeering business. Racketeering is a service offered for a problem that the racketeer created (see Congress, United States, for a few thousand examples).

What happens is the ransomware company encrypts your data files and then offers a decryption key for some amount of payment. They have excellent customer service; they will walk you through every step needed.

Unlike the IRS, they aren't interested in doing any permanent damage. Like the IRS, they want your money. Unlike the IRS, it's not a staggering, unpayable amount. It's usually around $800. And unlike with the IRS, you can negotiate it down if you can give them reasons such as you're on a fixed income.

When people pay these pirates, they support this illicit business. But unlike the IRS, they can't come after you with guns and subpeonas. You can choose not to pay them.

Here are some ways to prepare for, and blunt, a ransomware attack so that if it happens you can tell them to f--- off.

  • Never store your data on C:/ drive. Why this stupid practice persists, I have no idea. It has been a given among the even moderately computer literate for the past 20+ years that your data go on separate drive(s) or (as is often the case with laptops) a separate partition. While this won't prevent a ransomware attack, it will make such an attack a lot harder to pull off. And when (not if) Windows must be reinstalled, you won't lose any data.
  • Make local backups onto external drives that you turn off between backups. If they are off, the ransomware can't access them.
  • Have a remote backup. Sign up for a remote backup service that allows you to have multiple versions; this way, you aren't overwriting your backups with bad files and thus losing your backup. Remember, these are remote backups not remote storage (big difference). Three major services offer unlimited backup for $5/month or $50yr so very inexpensive. Use this to complement, not replace, local backup.
  • Never click on a link inside an e-mail from an unrecognized source.
  • Never click on a link inside an e-mail allegedly from a financial institution; they don't send you links via e-mail. These institutions include banks, Paypal, credit card companies, etc. Also, your utility company, phone carrier, and even the IRS will never send you such e-mails.
  • Avoid spammy sites. And don't sign up for contests, surveys, etc.; those are often used just to get information that can be used against you (similar to how IRS works).
  • If you surf p*rn sites, make sure you create a special profile for doing so. And if you really must have all those images or whatever you're getting, then sign up for a pay site. That payment will cost you much less than a single ransomware incident. If you are going to download this stuff, buy a separate hard drive for the purpose or use a dedicated computer for this purpose.

And, very important, run Malwarebytes. Do NOT do a search on Google to find it; Google has by far the worst search engine in existence and false results are normal there. Just go directly to If you got conned into running Norton or other "antivirus" spamware, uninstall it; it just slows your computer and does not protect it from anything.

If you do get hit by ransomware, you may be able to:

  • Lose a little data, but simply restore from your latest backup.
  • Obtain a free key from any of the many ransomware fighters out there.

Just noting that another big advantage of remote backup is if IRS raids your place (something they are known to do to people with no justification whatsoever) and seizes your computer(s), you can still get your data even if they wipe your drives clean. Just be sure that you refuse to tell them about the remote backup even if they ask (it's none of their business).

6. Health tip/Fitness tips

Many alleged experts are now running their own online fitness sites. Some of these folks know what they are talking about, but most are just pretenders.

I've come across some pretty inane articles. Many fitness article authors show a profound ignorance of basic physiology. But don't throw the baby out with the bath water; some of the online fitness experts have keen insight and show a deep understanding of physiology.

To sort the wheat from the chaff, you need to go back to basic principles. This is especially important when considering someone's advice on training or diet. Also, be on the alert when the "expert" uses some celebrity as an example of how you "should" train.

Consider what one "expert" wrote about the "ideal" way to train. He noted that Arnold sometimes would work his way down the dumbbell rack, doing max reps with a given weight, resting only seconds, then going to the next one lower. When he got to the end, he worked his way back up.

This came out not long after a piece from Critical Bench described this method, but didn't recommend doing it. So I'm guessing the author read that example and did not read what Mike at Critical Bench said about it. Mike in no way suggested that everyone train this way.

Arnold took steroids and was also genetically gifted with extreme recovery abilities. He was also aiming for hypertrophy, thus all that pumping. Gee, any wonder why Mike didn't say "Imitate Arnold exactly this way"?

What the "expert" missed in Mike's message was Arnold formed a strength base for all that curling by doing heavy compound lifts. It's also worth noting that today at 69 Arnold does not train the way Arnold did at 23.

Let me make some points about training:

  • Decide your training goals before designing your training program.
  • For the typical athlete, the main goal is strength. That means low reps with heavy weight. Seldom (if ever) train to failure.
  • For the "show" bodybuilder, the main goal is size. That means high reps with "light" weight. Usually, train to failure.
  • You can mix strength and hypertrophy training, but you don't just add one on top of the other (that results in overtraining).
  • More isn't better. It's just more. Focus during your workout and get it done, rather than taking all day in hopes of doing something right eventually.
  • Diet is critical. A grain-based diet will stall any real gains you could make in the gym.

Lose weight, be strong, burn fat, gain muscle

Lose weight, be strong, burn fat, gain muscle

Top photo taken 16SEP2016, just days before 56th birthday; bottom photo taken 3 days after 56th birthday

  • Respect your joints. Beating them up just to move weight means you are sacrificing muscle growth to get joint pain. That does not seem like a good deal to me. I have no idea why so many people train as if they believe otherwise. I would think the body's many warnings would prevent that. Listen to your body!
  • Whether Arnold did it or didn't do it is probably irrelevant to whether you should do it or not do it, unless you plan to travel back in time and compete in a 1970s Mr. Olympia and you have freakish genetics and you take steroids.
  • Consistency is critical. Don't skip workouts. OK, I suppose everybody does skip a workout occasionally. I have done this myself, but the last time was in the spring of 1977. Make training a priority, not something you do when you have everything else done.
  • Making training appointments in your calendar every day sure beats making doctor appointments in your calendar as you age.
  • Know your limits. Train in a way that is sustainable, day after day.
  • You can't work your whole body all at once and do a good job.
  • Don't throw the weights.
  • Bad form is shorthand for poor mechanical alignment. It means unnecessary stress on the joints, tendons, and ligaments. It also means you're shortchanging the muscle group you think you're working,  by recruiting other muscle groups to do the work.
  • If you can't do the movement slowly, you're doing it in bad form.
  • If you do the movement quickly, good form is all that stands between you and injury.
  • Watch your angles. It's all about movement relative to the joint, not about moving the weight up and down.
  • If you are training for athletic power, work on your balance too.
  • The caffeine overdose supplements typically hawked as "preworkout" supplements that "increase focus" actually just distort your judgment. You need to concentrate and be in tune with your body, not be jacked up in an effort to overcome sleep deprivation or poor motivation.
  • A little Rock and Roll (or whatever music you like) during a workout can give you that extra push. Just don't get carried away with it and forget to focus on the (correct) movement.
  • If you can carry on a conversation while working your reps, you're not training seriously.
  • Aesthetics are important. You want balance and symmetry. You want your body lines to flow together, rather than look lumpy or blocky. The guy who overdoes the bench press to get big delts out of proportion to his body looks gross, not great. For a great male aesthetic, look at Arnold's Mr. Olympia photos. For a bad aesthetic, look at Ronny Coleman's.
  • Suck in that gut. Consciously do this several times a day.
  • Posture is important. Really important. Take the time to learn how to stand tall, and make a point of doing so. Simply standing with correct posture makes you look much more powerful than you actually are. Own the space you stand in! Sit upright, too.

At, 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 and intense.
  • A good diet contains far more flavors and satisfaction than the typical American diet.

7. Factoid

Your thumb is the same length as your nose.

8. Thought for the Day

The less you think, the harder it becomes to do so. Most people today find it impossible, because they never do it.


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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. Please pass this newsletter along to others.

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