- Health Myths
- Exercise and Fitness
- Harmful Effects of Sugar
- Pain - Dont Ignore
- Brain Rules
- Avoid Heartburn
Monday, April 14, 2025
Saturday, January 5, 2013
I don't make New Year's resolutions. I do have a list of goals, both personal and professional, that I regularly update throughout the year. At New Years, I instead focus on what I call my New Year's "Will Not Do" resolutions. This is not a reverse To Do List ("I will not eat unhealthy" versus "I will eat healthy"). It is a list of challenges and behaviors that are distracting me from achieving my goals.
Like the first step in any twelve-step treatment, you first have to admit you have challenges before you can overcome them. Below is my list for 2013. Hopefully you can relate and derive a little usefulness from it.
1. I Will Not Make Any More Excuses
Guilty. It's easy to make a list of things to accomplish. It's infinitely easier to find excuses to not do them. While it may seem you don't have enough time, money, or energy to do something, remember that nobody does. And yet the most successful people in the world seem to find the necessary resources to accomplish their goals.
2. I Will Not Cheat
Guilty. Shortcuts can be good, but one often leads to another and eventually leads you down a path to the dark side (I've been watching Star Wars recently). Taking shortcuts professionally leads to poor and embarrassing performance at work. Taking shortcuts personally can lead to poor relationships and poor health. Apply yourself, do your best as often as you are humanly able, and take shortcuts only when you have exhausted all other alternatives.
3. I Will Not Use (Waste) My Time On Useless Activities
Guilty! Since the introduction of the smart phone and the proliferation of data networks, I have developed a mild case of A.A.D.D. (Adult Attention Deficiency Disorder). Too many news feeds, podcasts, blogs, social media networks, documentary movies, college football games and apps (Scramble with Friends anyone?) consume the little precious time I have that could be dedicated to achieving my other goals. Indeed, I have often been astonished at the productivity achievable with the rediscovered time and focus I have after turning everything off.
4. I Will Not Get Frustrated
Guilty. It is incredibly easy these days to get stressed. Things are going poorly at work. The world is flush with war. Georgetown basketball is falling in the rankings. Regardless of the impetus, getting stressed and frustrated puts a significant strain on your work, your personal relationships, and your health. More important, it leaves you with less energy to focus on your goals. Learn to deal with stress, refocus your energy, and move on.
5. I Will Not Cast Blame
Okay, I'm not so guilty. As the co-founder and CEO of Wild Creations, there is nobody I can blame for bad business decisions or poor performance, unless I write a complaint letter to myself. I often meet and see, however, people who constantly blame others for failures. These are the "Can't People" ("I can't do this because..." or "It can't be done because ..."). Remember, you are the one and only person who controls your destiny. Once this becomes clear, you can look past failures, stop feeling helpless, and focus on goals and the future.
Like me, you are probably guilty of one or more of the issues on this list. Nobody's perfect, but when you limit the distractions in your life, you'll be better prepared to follow through with your New Year's resolutions. At the very least, maybe you'll make it to the gym a little more often.
What are some of your resolutions for 2013?
Monday, August 20, 2012
"na hi RASAdrite kaschidarthah pravartate"
Bharata Muni very emphatically states in the Rasadhyaya of Natyashastra that
"no meaningful idea is conveyed if the "Rasa" is not evoked."
There were eight Rasa's at that time.
Sringaram- Love, Attractiveness. Presiding deity: Vishnu. Colour: light green.
Hasyam- Laughter, Mirth, Comedy. Presiding deity: Pramata. Colour: white.
Rudram- Fury. Presiding deity: Rudra. Colour: red.
Karunayam- Compassion, Tragedy. Presiding deity: Yama. Colour: grey.
Bibhatsam - Disgust, Aversion. Presiding deity: Shiva. Colour: blue
Bhayanakam- Horror, Terror. Presiding deity: Kala. Colour: black
Viram- Heroic mood. Presiding deity: Indra. Colour: yellowish
Adbhutam- Wonder, Amazement. Presiding deity: Brahma. Colour: yellow
Abhinavagupta suggested a ninth rasa when only eight were accepted and it had to undergo a good deal of struggle, before it could be accepted by the majority of the Alankarikas, and the expression Navarasa (the nine rasas), could come into vogue.
Shantam- Peace or tranquility. deity: Vishnu. Colour: blue
In addition to the nine Rasas, two more appeared later (esp. in literature):
Vatsalya- Parental Love
Bhakti- Spiritual Devotion
However, the presiding deities, the colours and the relationship between these additional rasas have not been specified.
On seeing these Rasa's one can experience a few and not some of them. But to be a proper individual , you have to experience, feel and be able to display all the Rasa's(Emotions). Otherwise you are a deficient individual. Any behaviour or Emotional state towards or aginst a rasa or some of the rasa creates a imbalance. When we are born, we are not biased towards or against any Rasa's. But our external condition and internal responses creates these imbalances. To remove imbalances, we should become aware of all the rasa in us(All Rasa's exist in everyone of us). In our lives, all these Rasa's will arise. The Intelligence is not blocking or avoiding or overplaying any rasa but handling them in a wise manner. Your response is the key.
Positive and Negative Rasas
There are positive and negative rasas according to us. One which bring happiness is Positive and one which bring sorrow is negative. But actual truth is there is no positive or negative rasa. Some positive rasa(according to you) can become negative rasa. At first glance shringara rasa can be really positive one. But if one overindulges in that, it becomes negative rasa as it ruins life. So we have to treat each rasa without bias that is without fear or favour. So attachment to any Rasa or opposite is not healthy. The Intelligence is to concentrate on Karma (Action) not on the Rasa(Emotion), eventhough being aware of Rasa.
Awareness of Rasa
Being aware of the Rasa's is key to success. When we are aware of the Rasa, we know what we are feeling. So we don't have to take automatic programmed route that Rasa directs. We are programmed to respond to a rasa in a particular way through our evolution from childhood. When we are aware of the Rasa, then we can respond in correct way, then respond in a programmed way.
Ride the Rasa
Think rasa as wave that comes. You can use the rasa to ride to someplace or get toppled by it. This of course requires lot of intelligence , skill and tact. But practice makes perfect. Using Rasa's to your advantage is the best way to build your life. Because Rasa are like life or life's energy. See and interpret how to deal with rasa's.
All the Rasa make our head pain. So instead withdraw from all the emotions and observe. Become a audience to your Rasa's. So you can see how they play out. You can see how the rasa comes and how you respond. So next time you know what to do and when to do.
Think like a Dancer
As a dancer you should be able to display all your Rasa(Dificient in one rasa makes you imperfect). Displaying the Rasa is not the key, conveying a particular thought process is the key. Story the dancer conveys is the key. For conveying the story the dancer uses Rasa. Similarly in life you should use rasa to meet a particular end, not get used by the rasa. Good luck
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
That is Life you live or the Journey is your goal. There is nothing beyond it. No Heaven, No Hell. The Hell and Heaven are right here. So Concentrate on what you do. How you live. On being inspired by this motto. I am writing this article on Achieving things in life.
a)Your response to life
There are two types of Approach
The former involves moving towards a desired place, so positive.
The latter involves desperate attempts to distance oneself from or get away from. So negative
The towards approach lasts longer and is empowering since you are concentrating on what you want, not what you don't want. This step is fundamental to what kind of life you lead. If you have towards approach then you are a Active person. Setting goals and achieving them. If you are Away from person, you are reactive and reacts to the situation you are in. You are always running away from the situation that you are in. Well nobody can be purely Towards or Purely Away from persons. But if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
b)Aware of your Wants
You should know what you want. Then it becomes easier to work towards it. This Want is exact opposite of what you don't want. Be positive and declare what you want, rather than what you don't want. So once you know what you want. The job is half done. You also in this way tap into your unique person. Something others are not aware of , so most advice given by them will not work.
You should have series of Sub goals.Which is necessary for you to keep track of progress towards goal. Whatever task is given divide into a series of sub goals. And see to it that the sub-goals help in progressing towards the goal. It is like the old story of breaking the Bundle of Logs. If you take them one by you can easily break the whole bundle in no time.
d)Focus on progress
Always fight towards progress. Don't get disheartened , Don't get Disturbed. Like Shark going towards the prey cling to it. Don't leave until you get prey. Like the Shark attacking the distance between the prey and itself and gradually reducing the distance. You should focus on moving towards to the goal, however insignificant the progress is. Sometimes you may feel, you are galloping towards the goal, sometimes you may feel you are not moving at all. The trick is taking those tiny improvements towards the goal. Avoid actions which do not help in progress.
You can think all you want about achieving goals, you can plan sub goals. But nothing happens until you start. You can monitor your progress only if you start. So Start running.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Nobody can remember everything,so don't beat yourself
Nobody can remember everything, so relax if you don't remember something. Don't blame yourself and put down yourself. You have to use variety of things to remember everything. They include simple note taking to recording the conversation. Daily make a list of things to be done and keep ticking them as you do them. You will also feel something accomplished at each tick and once you finished the whole page, you can treat yourself.
Ordinary is just plain boring. You can start to do things in a better way be it your job or talking to your kid. Try set some impossible goals. Try to do things deliberately in a different way. It sharpens you mind. Solve problems on Logic, Problem solving, Mental orientations and corrective thought process.
Healthy Body = Healthy Mind
Take care of your Health, Healthy eating, Exercise , Sufficient Sleep help to keep one sharp. If you fall ill your sharpness and productivity decreases sharply. Drink plenty of water.
Be Forthcoming with your thoughts, Emotions and actions. This makes your mind the effort and thus make you sharp and active.
Never old to learn
Whatever be the age you can learn, Lenin learnt Bycycling in old Age. Many of the Businessman learnt their techniques of business very late and became successful. So it is never late to try and learn new things. Learn some skills and Management to do things well.
Treat yourself as you treat others. Some of us can set very high standards and become biggest critic of our actions and results. Always compliment yourself regardless what others say about your successful actions. You can divide large projects into small projects and complement yourself of achieving every mini goal you have set to achieving the larger goal.
Clarify your thoughts and set your goals., Know what you want to become in life. Especially clarity on the purpose of each action you undertake, thatway you bring clarity to your thoughts, feelings and actions.
Always look for positives, just not the negatives. That is count your blessings or keep a bragging journal, that way your can improve your self esteem. Self esteem is essential for analyzing the situation dispassionately and thus making you sharp.
Slave to Technology
Cut the tech, use your mind more. That should be more. Man is very smart in making tools that substitute the work he does that is why we are the most intelligent compared to other animals. But the flip side is decrease in sharpness. Cut the technology and use yourself more. Make calculations by hand, Call on people than leaving a message etc.
Your own Master
Make your decisions, Keep your own agenda , not set by others. Some can be doing the agenda set by others, which leads to disinterest in what we are doing and why we are doing. So decide for yourself what you are going to do and do it at your own time, not set by others.
Take a Break, Relax to your hobby. Dont always pushing for things. Take hobby not related to your profession and enjoy.
Work = Life
Make your every action a journey, not a task. Like it is said in Bhagavat Gita :Path is life. The Path you undertake is life. That Journey is your life. Dont focus too much on the result. Enjoy the process.
Sleep enough and well. Sleep recharges your body and refreshes your brain. Brain organises the days information in the night. So sleep is as essential as the work you do.
Ayurveda Says you are what you eat. So eat what is good for you and your body. Eat in proper quantities and proper proportions in healthy nutrients. Eat to your work need.
Cut Bad Habits and Cultivated Goods habits. Habits is what gives us consistency and ultimately defines Us. A Man is what is habits are. So Develop healthy successful habits.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Steps to combat Heart Burn
1. Eat Early
Eat Early , and give sufficient time before you go to bed. Heartburn is easier to manage when you are awake and sitting then when you are half asleep. This technique also saves next day from ruin as you sleep well and you sleep well to wake up fresh.
2, Avoid Milk before Bed
Milk is not ideal before going to bed. Many health mandarins will say a warm glass of milk enhances your night sleep. My experiences will Heartburn is milk is composed of lot of fat and many substances which takes a long time to digest. So your digestive system does is very active. So avoid milk or any fatty intake before bed.
3. Avoid Oily Foods
Avoid oily substance like poison especially in the evening times. The oily food is digested over a period of long time, which means your heartburn can hit you any time with oily food. Oily substances are not water solvable, so the body secretes a substance to bind and is absorbed directly to blood stream , a complex process so easily can cause problems.
4. No Fruits before Bed
Why avoid fruits, they are supposed to be help in digestion. Yes the fruits helps in digestion, but they also produce lot of gases which create their own problems. Especially the acidic ones like lemon , orange, tomato etc.
5. Exercise , Go for a walk
Going to a walk or exercise helps in better digestion, but this should be done before you eat. The evening walk definitely helps.
6. Avoid water
Avoid water particularly more than a glass just before or after dinner. Your Stomach miscalculates the amount of gastric juice needed to digest and misfires. The result is heartburn. Leave at least two to three hours to elapse before drinking large quantity of water.
7. Avoid Caffeine
Avoid coffee , Tea , Cola in the evening times. Coffee and tea makes you thirsty and also sometimes upsets stomach. So avoid after four of clock in the evening , better restrict your intake to two cups a day.
8. Large meal
Avoid large meal at night , it makes the stomach to work hard and long. Have the Full meal in the morning or evening when you need the most. Follow the popular adage, Eat like a king in the morning, Pauper in the afternoon and like a beggar in the evening.
9.Count your bites
Most of the heartburn is caused by eating fast or not eating properly. You have to chew the meal slowly , so that the stomach has the work easy. Swallowing large pieces of food makes the stomach miscalculate the amount of gastric juices to be secreted and hence heartburn
Keep the body weight to optimum
Avoid all types of sugar items like candy, chewing gums to sweets , chocolates,desserts.
12. Consult a doctor
you may have GERD, You can treat GERD if found early.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
- Avast Avast Free Antivirus is a full-featured product, with the same antivirus and anti-spyware scanning engine used in our premium products. Leaner and meaner version 6.0 provides even faster protection than its predecessor and offers a web-reputation browser extension as well as virtualization technology. Accurate threat updates via avast! CommunityIQ technology ensure worry-free downloading, surfing, social networking, and gaming--for over 140 million registered users (and over 120 million active user
- 7 Zip ( Zips and Unzips almost anything.)
- 7-Zip is a file archiver with a high compression ratio.
- 7-Zip is open source software. It is Free.
- High compression ratio in new 7z format with LZMA compression
- Supported formats:
- Packing / unpacking: 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR
- Unpacking only: ARJ, CAB, CHM, CPIO, DEB, DMG, HFS, ISO, LZH, LZMA, MSI, NSIS, RAR, RPM, UDF, WIM, XAR and Z.
- For ZIP and GZIP formats, 7-Zip provides a compression ratio that is 2-10 % better than the ratio provided by PKZip and WinZip
- Strong AES-256 encryption in 7z and ZIP formats
- Self-extracting capability for 7z format
- Integration with Windows Shell
- Powerful File Manager
- Powerful command line version
- Plugin for FAR Manager
- Localizations for 74 languages
- 7-Zip is a file archiver with a high compression ratio.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
Adobe Reader software is the global standard for electronic document sharing. It is the only PDF file viewer that can open and interact with all PDF documents. Use Adobe Reader to view, search, digitally sign, verify, print, and collaborate on Adobe PDF files. It is Free.
- Cowan Media Centre - Jet Audio After the Songbird became a big nuisance switched to Cowan Media Centre and Jet Audio. It is Free and Its Features are Supports All Major File Formats
Audio CD burning
Multi-channel sound ouput
Internet CD Database
Convenient album management & Playlist
Media Center Window
Audio CD Ripping
Various sound effects
Synchronized Lyric (Karaoke)
Alarm & Timer
Superb Crystal-Clear Sound
Use Evernote to save your ideas, things you see, and things you like. Then find them all on any computer or device you use. For free.
- Capture Everything - Chances are, if you can see it or think of it, Evernote can help you remember it. Type a text note. Clip a web page. Snap a photo. Grab a screenshot. Evernote will keep it all safe.
- Organize - Everything you capture is automatically processed, indexed, and made searchable. If you like, you can add tags or organize notes into different notebooks.
- Find Anything Fast - Search for notes by keywords, titles, and tags. Evernote magically makes printed and handwritten text inside your images searchable, too.
- Capture Everything - Chances are, if you can see it or think of it, Evernote can help you remember it. Type a text note. Clip a web page. Snap a photo. Grab a screenshot. Evernote will keep it all safe.
I like firefox from the start and it has remained so that is the secret of the success. There is a better one in Chrome ,but I need all the privacy I can get. Checkout the Addons I use. It is Free
- Free Download Manager
What is Free Download Manager? It is a powerful, easy-to-use and absolutely free download accelerator and manager. Moreover, FDM is 100% safe, open-source software distributed under GPL license. No spurious pumping of data. It is Free
- Increase your download speed and resume broken downloads
- HTTP/FTP/BitTorrent support
- Flash video download
- Enjoy easy file sharing
- Enjoy safer and more rewarding downloading
- Increase your download speed and resume broken downloads
- Google Desktop
There are lot of things Google Desktop can do, but the main use is to find info wherever the data is hidden on your desktop. It is Free
- Search your computer as easily as you search the web with Google
- Find and launch applications and files with just a few keystrokes
- Search your computer as easily as you search the web with Google
- Google Earth
Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places, and share with others. The Main use is to find routes and addresses. It is Free
- Money Manager Ex
Money Manager Ex is the Baby Bear of financial managers--not too big, not too small; not too hard, not too easy. It is just right. For anyone whose finances are big enough to need frequent attention but not so large as to need a constant accountant, Money Manager Ex tracks money as it comes in and goes out. It'll let you know how much your investments have earned, when the bills are coming due, and if your cash flow is flowing down the toilet.
While the program can import Excel spreadsheets and produce reports that let you examine your finances from a choice of viewpoints, you cannot pay bills, or make bank deposits or withdrawals, or calculate your taxes. But then, if it could do all that, it would start looking like Papa Bear and you'd wind up hiding from all the work it would try to get you to do. Money Manager Ex is free
The easy and complete solution for creating, burning, back up, and more! It comes with your DVD drive.
OpenOffice.org is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose. Forget MS office.
It includes a calendar navigation, customizable templates, export functionality and word clouds. You can also format, tag and search your entries. RedNotebook is Free Software under the GPL. It is the best Dairy Application
Format your text bold, italic or underlined
Insert Images, files and links to websites
Links and mail addresses are recognized automatically
Backup to zip archive
Word Clouds with most often used words and tags
Export the journal to PDF, HTML, Latex or plain text
The data is stored in plain text files, no database is needed
Translated into more than 20 languages
- Rescue Time
- Automagical time tracking. RescueTime measures which application, site, or (optionally) document name is being used and automatically ignores idle time.
- An easy and powerful reporting tool allowing you to identify problem spots and trends.
- The ability to pause tracking for some privacy, or even delete bits of your own time (but they can't add productive time that didn't happen!)
- Access to your data via API: have an intranet, or business intelligence platform? Reuse your RescueTime data as you please!
It is Free for Individual use.
it gives the time lost in meaningless pursuits. If you starts using the time tracking application, you will be shocked to see how much time is wasted.
- Automagical time tracking. RescueTime measures which application, site, or (optionally) document name is being used and automatically ignores idle time.
Spybot - Search & Destroy is an anti-malware application designed for on-access and on-demand scanning and removal of various kinds of malware, including spyware, adware, hijackers and trojan horses.
- VLC Media Player
VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player and multimedia framework capable of reading most audio and video formats (MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, DivX, MPEG-1, mp3, ogg, aac ...) as well as DVDs, Audio CDs VCDs, and various streaming protocols. Media Player is used for all the Videos. It is Free.
- Yahoo Messenger
Yahoo Messenger is the only messenger I use and it has simple and good at what I need it for communication. Chat, Talk and now Video calling. It is free.
- Zimbra Desktop
After the Thunderbird start crashing too often. I have to switch to Zimbra and it takes forever to start and once it starts then there is nothing to beat Zimbra. It is email client , Calender application,Collaboration suit.
- Email, contacts, calendar, and documents all in one application
- Syncs Zimbra, Yahoo! Mail , Hotmail, and Gmail email, contacts and calendars
- Read email from any POP or IMAP email account including AOL, Hotmail or business email
- Works on Windows, Apple, or Linux desktop computers
- No limit to the size of your email storage
- It works online and offline
- Available in 20 languages
- Now Twitter, Facebook and Dig on the client.
- RSS reader and Much more
- Plugins Firefox
- ReadIt Later
- Evernote Clipper
- Free Download Manager Plugin
- Minimize to Tray Plus
- Search Preview
- TabMix Plus
Sunday, December 13, 2009
#1: Exercise boosts brain power.
The human brain evolved under conditions of almost constant motion. From this, one might predict that the optimal environment for processing information would include motion.
Exercise improves cognition for two reasons:
Exercise increases oxygen flow into the brain, which reduces brain-bound free radicals. One of the most interesting findings of the past few decades is that an increase in oxygen is always accompanied by an uptick in mental sharpness.
#2: The human brain evolved, too.
The brain is a survival organ. It is designed to solve problems related to surviving in an unstable outdoor environment and to do so in nearly constant motion (to keep you alive long enough to pass your genes on). We were not the strongest on the planet but we developed the strongest brains, the key to our survival.
The strongest brains survive, not the strongest bodies. Our ability to solve problems, learn from mistakes, and create alliances with other people helps us survive. We took over the world by learning to cooperate and forming teams with our neighbors.
Our ability to understand each other is our chief survival tool. Relationships helped us survive in the jungle and are critical to surviving at work and school today.
If someone does not feel safe with a teacher or boss, he or she may not perform as well. If a student feels misunderstood because the teacher cannot connect with the way the student learns, the student may become isolated.
There is no greater anti-brain environment than the classroom and cubicle.
#3: Every brain is wired differently.
What YOU do and learn in life physically changes what your brain looks like – it literally rewires it. We used to think there were just 7 categories of intelligence. But categories of intelligence may number more than 7 billion—roughly the population of the world.
No two people have the same brain, not even twins. Every student’s brain, every employee’s brain, every customer’s brain is wired differently.
You can either accede to it or ignore it. The current system of education ignores it by having grade structures based on age. Businesses such as Amazon are catching on to mass customization (the Amazon homepage and the products you see are tailored to your recent purchases).
Regions of the brain develop at different rates in different people. The brains of school children are just as unevenly developed as their bodies. Our school system ignores the fact that every brain is wired differently. We wrongly assume every brain is the same.
Most of us have a “Jennifer Aniston” neuron (a neuron lurking in your head that is stimulated only when Jennifer Aniston is in the room).
#4: We don't pay attention to boring things.
What we pay attention to is profoundly influenced by memory. Our previous experience predicts where we should pay attention. Culture matters too. Whether in school or in business, these differences can greatly effect how an audience perceives a given presentation.
We pay attention to things like emotions, threats and sex. Regardless of who you are, the brain pays a great deal of attention to these questions: Can I eat it? Will it eat me? Can I mate with it? Will it mate with me? Have I seen it before?
The brain is not capable of multi-tasking. We can talk and breathe, but when it comes to higher level tasks, we just can’t do it.
Driving while talking on a cell phone is like driving drunk. The brain is a sequential processor and large fractions of a second are consumed every time the brain switches tasks. This is why cell-phone talkers are a half-second slower to hit the brakes and get in more wrecks.
Workplaces and schools actually encourage this type of multi-tasking. Walk into any office and you’ll see people sending e-mail, answering their phones, Instant Messaging, and on MySpace—all at the same time. Research shows your error rate goes up 50% and it takes you twice as long to do things.
When you’re always online you’re always distracted. So the always online organization is the always unproductive organization.
#5: Repeat to remember.
The human brain can only hold about seven pieces of information for less than 30 seconds! Which means, your brain can only handle a 7-digit phone number. If you want to extend the 30 seconds to a few minutes or even an hour or two, you will need to consistently re-expose yourself to the information. Memories are so volatile that you have to repeat to remember.
Improve your memory by elaborately encoding it during its initial moments. Many of us have trouble remembering names. If at a party you need help remembering Mary, it helps to repeat internally more information about her. “Mary is wearing a blue dress and my favorite color is blue.” It may seem counterintuitive at first but study after study shows it improves your memory.
Brain Rules in the classroom. In partnership with the University of Washington and Seattle Pacific University, Medina tested this Brain Rule in real classrooms of 3rd graders. They were asked to repeat their multiplication tables in the afternoons. The classrooms in the study did significantly better than the classrooms that did not have the repetition. If brain scientists get together with teachers and do research, we may be able to eliminate need for homework since learning would take place at school, instead of the home.
#6: Remember to repeat.
It takes years to consolidate a memory. Not minutes, hours, or days but years. What you learn in first grade is not completely formed until your sophomore year in high school.
Medina’s dream school is one that repeats what was learned, not at home, but during the school day, 90-120 minutes after the initial learning occurred. Our schools are currently designed so that most real learning has to occur at home.
How do you remember better? Repeated exposure to information / in specifically timed intervals / provides the most powerful way to fix memory into the brain.
Forgetting allows us to prioritize events. But if you want to remember, remember to repeat.
#7: Sleep well, think well.
When we’re asleep, the brain is not resting at all. It is almost unbelievably active! It’s possible that the reason we need to sleep is so that we can learn.
Sleep must be important because we spend 1/3 of our lives doing it! Loss of sleep hurts attention, executive function, working memory, mood, quantitative skills, logical reasoning, and even motor dexterity.
We still don’t know how much we need! It changes with age, gender, pregnancy, puberty, and so much more.
Napping is normal. Ever feel tired in the afternoon? That’s because your brain really wants to take a nap. There's a battle raging in your head between two armies. Each army is made of legions of brain cells and biochemicals –- one desperately trying to keep you awake, the other desperately trying to force you to sleep. Around 3 p.m., 12 hours after the midpoint of your sleep, all your brain wants to do is nap.
Taking a nap might make you more productive. In one study, a 26-minute nap improved NASA pilots’ performance by 34 percent.
Don’t schedule important meetings at 3 p.m. It just doesn’t make sense.
#8: Stressed brains don't learn the same way.
Your brain is built to deal with stress that lasts about 30 seconds. The brain is not designed for long term stress when you feel like you have no control. The saber-toothed tiger ate you or you ran away but it was all over in less than a minute. If you have a bad boss, the saber-toothed tiger can be at your door for years, and you begin to deregulate. If you are in a bad marriage, the saber-toothed tiger can be in your bed for years, and the same thing occurs. You can actually watch the brain shrink.
Stress damages virtually every kind of cognition that exists. It damages memory and executive function. It can hurt your motor skills. When you are stressed out over a long period of time it disrupts your immune response. You get sicker more often. It disrupts your ability to sleep. You get depressed.
The emotional stability of the home is the single greatest predictor of academic success. If you want your kid to get into Harvard, go home and love your spouse.
You have one brain. The same brain you have at home is the same brain you have at work or school. The stress you are experiencing at home will affect your performance at work, and vice versa.
#9: Stimulate more of the senses.
Our senses work together so it is important to stimulate them! Your head crackles with the perceptions of the whole world, sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, energetic as a frat party.
Smell is unusually effective at evoking memory. If you're tested on the details of a movie while the smell of popcorn is wafted into the air, you'll remember 10-50% more.
Smell is really important to business. When you walk into Starbucks, the first thing you smell is coffee. They have done a number of things over the years to make sure that’s the case.
The learning link. Those in multisensory environments always do better than those in unisensory environments. They have more recall with better resolution that lasts longer, evident even 20 years later.
#10: Vision trumps all other senses.
We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you'll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you'll remember 65%.
Pictures beat text as well, in part because reading is so inefficient for us. Our brain sees words as lots of tiny pictures, and we have to identify certain features in the letters to be able to read them. That takes time.
Why is vision such a big deal to us? Perhaps because it's how we've always apprehended major threats, food supplies and reproductive opportunity.
Toss your PowerPoint presentations. It’s text-based (nearly 40 words per slide), with six hierarchical levels of chapters and subheads—all words. Professionals everywhere need to know about the incredible inefficiency of text-based information and the incredible effects of images. Burn your current PowerPoint presentations and make new ones.
#11: Male and female brains are different.
What’s different? Mental health professionals have known for years about sex-based differences in the type and severity of psychiatric disorders. Males are more severely afflicted by schizophrenia than females. By more than 2 to 1, women are more likely to get depressed than men, a figure that shows up just after puberty and remains stable for the next 50 years. Males exhibit more antisocial behavior. Females have more anxiety. Most alcoholics and drug addicts are male. Most anorexics are female.
Men and women handle acute stress differently. When researcher Larry Cahill showed them slasher films, men fired up the amygdale in their brain’s right hemisphere, which is responsible for the gist of an event. Their left was comparatively silent. Women lit up their left amygdale, the one responsible for details. Having a team that simultaneously understood the gist and details of a given stressful situation helped us conquer the world.
Men and women process certain emotions differently. Emotions are useful. They make the brain pay attention. These differences are a product of complex interactions between nature and nurture.
#12: We are powerful and natural explorers.
The desire to explore never leaves us despite the classrooms and cubicles we are stuffed into. Babies are the model of how we learn—not by passive reaction to the environment but by active testing through observation, hypothesis, experiment, and conclusion. Babies methodically do experiments on objects, for example, to see what they will do.
Google takes to heart the power of exploration. For 20 percent of their time, employees may go where their mind asks them to go. The proof is in the bottom line: fully 50 percent of new products, including Gmail and Google News, came from “20 percent time.”
Sunday, December 6, 2009
If the investment is on the house that we live in ourselves, there is no current income. This is one of the main negatives about the house that we live in. In a financial cash flow perspective given by Robert Kiyosaki, it is not an asset. Because the house is cash flow negative owing to the maintenance activities and tax that we have to pay for it.
Rent from a house or commercial property is a good source of current income. Although at current bank rates the rent from a house is generally only about ½ of the loan EMI, the catching up happens only after the loan is closed. A 1000 square feet house will cost conservatively about Rs 2500/- per square feet (in B class cities like Coimbatore, Kolhapur, Guntur, etc) leading to the house value of Rs 25 lakhs. A loan for 80 per cent of the value (Rs 20lakhs) at current interest rates (9 per cent) and 15 years term will require an EMI of about Rs 20,300. The rent for the same house in the mentioned cities may not top even Rs 10,000.
If we had 5 per cent yearly increment on the rent as part of the agreement with the tenant, the rent will be equal to the EMI in the 14th year.
Another aspect of the real estate property which requires attention is that the cost of maintenance also keeps growing. For example, Akash had to spend Rs 35,000 for a sump rework in a house build by his grandfather. The original cost for the construction of the house itself was only Rs 30,000 including the compound wall, and a fountain in 1967.
So a fully paid up rental property is an asset with good current income otherwise financially it is a liability.
Real estate appreciates in capital - particularly the land. The building generally depreciates. Recently the National Housing Bank launched the Residex, an index which will track the capital appreciation of real estate house properties. The data is updated for 3 years now. Over a period of time, the index can be used as a good measure for the capital appreciation of housing properties.
A key aspect of the capital appreciation is that, it can be realised only when it is sold. And generally the house that we live in is the last of the assets that we sell. This has to be factored in before we make the house the largest investment in our lives.
The capital appreciation of the house can favorably be used in the form of a mortgage loan for business purpose or in the form of a reverse mortgage post retirement. The land that cost Akash's grandpa Rs 100/- per cent, is today worth Rs 600,000/- per cent. This is at a compounded annual growth rate of 23 per cent. Other property locations (grandsons) may or may not be so fortunate.
The risk with real estate is that it can go down sharply. The current worldwide economic turmoil is because of real estate prices dropping more than the expectation. The other risk is related to its liquidity itself.
Real estate prices in India do not have a formal/scientific basis for quoting. Brokers are the key pins holding the structure together. The same property may be quoted at different prices by the same broker for selling and for buying. The difference in amount goes to the broker this, apart from their consulting fees. The pity is that often the difference is more than the profit for the owner of the property itself.
The other risk is that only a portion of the sale price may be registered, the rest is paid as 'grey or black money'. Accepting such deals are counter-productive when we go for the selling as we have to bear the brunt of extraordinary capital gains.
The situation is changing but very slowly for comfort.
Real estate is probably the most illiquid of all common investment avenues. If there is an urgency to sell a property the value could drop drastically. Selling at 'market price' is counted in number of months not days.
Real estate attracts capital gains tax. The advantage is that we can use indexation benefits to our advantage. The indexation index is announced every year by the Income tax department. This is a number which links the inflation to property values. By using indexation, we can estimate the true appreciation of the real estate after adjusting for inflation.
The tax on the sale of the only house or agricultural property can be brought down to zero by reinvesting the sale proceeds in a new house or agricultural property. The capital gains can also be invested in low interest yielding capital gains bonds.
Real estate has a low level of convenience. It requires a large corpus for investment leading most of us to take up loans. Here are a few smart marketing companies that sell land in installments. However the overall cost for such deals is very high compared to one time payments.
The decision after buying a property cannot be reversed quickly or economically. The cost for registration, brokerage charges and taxes prevent us from getting rid of a wrong purchase quickly.
Traditionally, real estate has been the major investment avenue across the world. The trend is not due for a change as the capital appreciation is good. However the points to be thought about are that:
Capital appreciation can be enjoyed only when the property is sold or when the value is unlocked through a mortgage loan or reverse mortgage.
The house that we live in is not a financial asset as it has negative cash flow.
Rent proves to be a stable and reliable source of income especially in Bangalore. This however is only applicable to properties that are free from loans.
Overall convenience is low for real estate
Friday, November 20, 2009
Perceptions become unconscious responses to events. They run our lives, sabotaging relationships, businesses, health and success.
The Yoga Sutra acknowledges that all we see, hear and think in our mind is real—there is no difference between reality and imagination: all combines to make up our perception of life. These perceptions of life, whether experienced in reality or in our imagination, are not differentiated. We are therefore run by perception.
There are two levels of perception, the external and the internal. One from the mind or subconscious and the other from a deeper place. The goal of Yoga is to clear aside the surface perceptions of the subconscious mind long enough for the inner perception to become clear. This inner perception is referred to as truth, inner knowing or higher self. It creates certainty, knowing and fulfilment in our lives.
Four main elements create our outer perceptions.
- The ego, or comparative perception, which always wants to be better than another.
- The demanding perception which seeks pleasure, wanting to re-create good feelings and pleasurable situations
- The avoiding perception which tries to keep away from pain. Stems from a belief that something bad has happened and tries to avoid it ever happening again. This causes us to reject things we know little about.
- The fear perception which is afraid that we will be judged, may be wrong, will grow old, or may miss something. This all culminates in a feeling of uncertainty and doubt.
the moment where we are fully present. In this state, neither fear nor guilt exist.
When we act on the basis of these outer perceptions we will make moves that do not come from our heart. It is called unconsciousness, or being in the head or out of the moment, i e not present. Such action creates chains of events which eventually bring us to question the basis on which we are making decisions and living our lives, and this leads us eventually back to our heart.
When we see and feel from within we experience no tension and no agitation. We feel calm and unmoved; our heart can stay open and we are therefore free to be fully present. We are, in that time, our true self.
Try Yoga it helps.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Talking is such a natural act we tend to take it for granted. But when you think about it, this life skill is crucial to the development and maintenance of strong and healthy relationships. Our talking habits can also be very revealing of our personality. Some people talk too much - they are the kind of people you try to avoid at a party. Others avoid talking when actually it would help quite a lot.The following are a few suggestions for getting the right balance between being a talkative bore and a shy recluse.
When We Talk Too Much
Nervousness / Insecurity
Sometimes we talk out of insecurity and nervousness. We feel it is our obligation to fill any silence with conversation - even if it is mostly meaningless and conversation just for the sake of it. Often, if we lack a sense of inner poise, we cover up by nervously chattering. But if we have nothing interesting, worthwhile or important to say, we should not worry about keeping quiet. Don’t feel obliged to force conversation; be at peace with yourself and allow conversation to be natural.
Talking About Yourself
Talking about yourself is the biggest mistake people tend to make. There is someone at work who is terrible at talking about himself and his activities. If you go to ask for a paper clip, you will have to endure several minutes of hearing about his recent camping holiday. Do matter how much you fidget and signal that you are completely bored - he won’t stop his monologue. All you want is a paper clip, but you have to endure the tedious exploits of an Englishman camping in Provence.
The general rule for talking is that we talk to serve others not ourselves. When talking we should be offering something to the other person such as humor, information, consolation, entertainment… basically anything so long as it is worthwhile for the other person. But, if we talk only about ourselves and feed our ego, we might as well just be talking to ourselves.
Hint, look at people’s body language. If they are trying to make an exit, if they have their head in their hands, if they are staring off into the distance, or if they keep trying to butt in, it means they are bored with your monologue on your recent camping holiday. You can rest your vocal chords.
Talking about people’s bad qualities, perhaps even exaggerating their mistakes and foibles, is a bad habit. It is unfortunate that social and work situations often lead to people gossiping about others. However, just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean we have to join in. The problem is that we often get sucked in to criticizing others when inwardly we would rather not join in. This is a situation where there is no harm in keeping silent. People will respect someone who can remain aloof from gossipy situations. If you criticize others at the earliest opportunity you will not be trusted, but gain a reputation as an unreliable friend. It is in situations like this where there is a great dignity in maintaining silence.
Running Commentary Watching TV / Video
Sometimes a good film can be spoiled by a ‘know it all’ who feels obliged to offer a running commentary. One of my favorite films - Lord of the Rings part II was ruined because two friends had a running argument about whether it was true to the book. “But, Gandalf’s horse wasn’t white in the book….” “Yes, but, I’m sure the Elf’s ears weren’t as pointy as that.” Does it really matter? Do everyone a favor and let us enjoy the film. One other example: the last football world cup was painful enough with England playing badly; but, it was made infinitely worse because my good friends persistent and repetitive criticism of the 4-5-1 formation. When things go badly, it is not necessary to repeatedly point them out, it only makes our suffering worse.
When You Have Nothing Good To Say
My Mother used to say. “If you can’t think of anything good to say about someone, then say nothing.” Useful advice, but, how many people put it into practice?
When We Talk Too Little
Ignoring Newcomers Because it is Too Much Effort
It is easy to become insular, we want to only talk to people whom we know. We tend to ignore newcomers because it requires extra effort and it requires us to step out of our comfort zone. However, this is a case where it is good to make an effort. Newcomers will appreciate our effort to extend a hand of friendship. By not talking to new people we become more self absorbed in a small circle of people. We should be willing to talk to new people and make them feel welcome.
In How to Resolve Conflicts in Your Relationships, one suggestion I made was that it is a big mistake to bottle up resentment about other people. If we have grievances about someone else it is often helpful to talk, even if it is not about the problem directly. Talking often helps to clear the air and realize that small misunderstandings are just that - misunderstandings and not a reason to develop a dislike of the person. As long as we talk with a good attitude, without anger and resentment then talking will help to alleviate many situations.
Sometimes we feel almost too proud to talk to some people. We have a subtle feeling of superiority that prevents us talking to people ‘lower’ than us. For example, would you talk to the company cleaner, and get to know them by name? It is a mistake to be aloof because of different social position.
Some people think that shyness has a certain cuteness. However, shyness often prevents us from expressing our real personality and from talking people we would like to. Shyness springs from insecurity and fear about saying the wrong thing. But, this is the wrong approach; as long as we are true to our selves we should not worry about saying the wrong thing. We shouldn’t feel obliged to try and impress others. Don’t let shyness be a barrier to talking to people.
Tell Me about Yourself
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
No one wants it, yet it's the body's way of getting your attention when something is wrong. There is pain that is tolerable and that you can work through, perhaps the result of moving furniture a day or two before, and then there is body pain that you need to sit up and listen to. A person should know that minor pains that are constant could be a sign of something serious. Millions of people out there don't always stop to listen to what their body is saying and end up suffering adverse consequences later.
Learning the difference, and especially knowing which more common pains you need to be on guard for, will ensure that you will not regret having missed the signs when you develop a more complicated condition later on.
Here are the pains you mustn't ignore:
1. Worst and occasional headache
It may be a sign of brain tumour or brain haemorrhage which require an immediate medical attention. If the headache is accompanied by a cold, it might be a sign for a sinus headache. In either case, it's always better to get it checked out. You're also advised to check your thyroid.
Perhaps most people get headaches at some point in their lives, so this is not a definite sign of brain tumours. You should mention it to your doctors if the headaches are: different from those you ever had before, are accompanied by nausea/vomiting, are made worse by bending over or straining when going to the bathroom.
2. Pain or discomfort in the chest
Pain or discomfort in the chest may be a sign of a heart attack or pneumonia. Many people with chest pain fear a heart attack. However, there are many possible causes of chest pain. Some causes are mildly inconvenient (such as heartburn, reflux, GERD etc), while other causes are serious, even life-threatening. Take note that heart conditions are typically linked to discomfort in the chest, but not pain. The discomfort associated with heart disease could also be in the upper chest, throat, jaw, left shoulder or arm, or abdomen and might be accompanied by nausea.
Too often people delay because they misinterpret it as heartburn or GI distress. Because of the risk of a heart attack, seek emergency professional medical attention immediately for any type of chest pain or chest tightness.
Although pain between the shoulder blades may signal that there is something wrong with the tissues, joints, ligaments or muscles around and within the shoulder region, it is not however always the case. Pain between shoulder blades or in lower back may indicate severe medical problems or conditions in the other organs of the body. It may be a sign of arthritis, heart attack or abdominal problems. Gallbladder disease may also manifest in the form of pain between shoulder blades or under the right shoulder blade. This may oftentimes be accompanied by vomiting. It may also be caused by liver cancer and oesophageal cancer (cancer in the oesophagus) due to an abnormal growth of cells.
4. Severe abdominal pain
Abdominal pain is pain that you feel anywhere between your chest and groin. Abdominal pain causes can range from extremely severe life-threatening conditions (such as acute appendicitis, abdominal aneurysm), to various less serious conditions (such as heartburn, reflux, gastroenteritis etc). Any symptom of abdominal pain needs prompt professional medical advice.
Severe abdominal pain may be a sign of intestinal blockages, stomach ulcers or pancreas and gallbladder problems. Intense attacks in your abdominal part, turning your face very pale, accompanied by vomiting, sweating and nausea could be due to stones in the gallbladder.
5. Repeated back pain
Repeated back pain may be a sign of a spine problem, internal organ problems, or a preliminary sign of slip disc.
6. Calf pain
Calf muscles are located at the back of lower leg. Calf pain is generally self-induced and is caused due to too much of exercise or lack of following proper methodology in exercise, especially related to stretching. However, sudden calf pain can be a sign of arterial insufficiency. This means that the arteries can't supply the calf with enough blood. Sometimes, this means you may have atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which needs close monitoring and sometimes medication.
One of the lesser known dangers is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot that can occur in the leg's deep veins. It can be very serious if the clot breaks away from the calf and travels elsewhere causing pulmonary embolism (a clot in the lungs), which could be fatal. Sometimes there's just swelling without pain. If you have swelling and pain in your calf muscles, see a doctor immediately.
7. Burning sensation in feet/legs
A burning foot may be mild and local and easily treatable or it may indicate a more serious general medical problem that needs further investigation. In some cases, the problem may be so painful that it interferes with a person's sleep.
Burning feet can occur simply because of mechanical overload at the end of a long day, especially in those who are on their feet all day or are overweight. Infections, such as athlete's foot or fungal infection, also can cause burning feet. These problems can be easily remedied. But burning feet can also be a preliminary sign of peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage), perhaps due to diabetes or exposure to toxins. In these cases, burning feet require prompt medical attention.
8. Painful urination
Painful urination (dysuria) describes any pain, discomfort, or burning sensation during urination, usually felt in the urethra (the urinary outlet of bladder) or perineum (the area surrounding genitals). It is most often caused by an infection somewhere in the urinary tract, especially in women. In men, urethritis and prostate conditions are more frequent causes of painful urination. The location of pain or burning during urination is important to distinguish urethral pain from bladder pain or kidney pain.
The pain and the blood in your urine are also symptoms of bladder cancer, the fourth most common cancer in men. There's a 90 percent chance of fixing it if this disease is caught early.
The aches and pains are not the only problems that a person should notice. Experts also advise to never ignore petty things like fatigue or shortness of breath. Every time you encounter an abnormality in your health, talk to your doctor immediately.
- Teach your mind not to wander. This is the easiest and most effective thing. When you lose concentration, remind yourself: "BE HERE NOW." Focus back on your task. You'll probably have to do this over and over in the beginning…that's OK. Just "BE HERE NOW." Practice ignoring. Don't look for who just dropped lots of books, or at the wiggling person next to you. Make a Mind Tunnel between you and the task or the person you are supposed to be listening to. Paying attention is a decision!
- Plan your worry time. Sounds odd but works great! Schedule time during each day when you can think, worry, makes lists, and focus on thoughts and concerns. If you slip into worrying or planning when you are supposed to be concentrating, put it on your Worry List; then keep that appointment with yourself. Return to your task and "BE HERE NOW."
- Get some air. Breath deeply from your abdomen, get up and move around, change your position intermittently. Keep your brain and body oxygenated!
- Change the topic. Switch tasks every hour or so to keep your alertness fresh.
- Keep your mind active. Actually consider what you are reading, ask yourself questions about it, anticipate what your teacher will think is important about the information. Take notes.
- Unfreeze your body. Sit in an upright but relaxed position. Check your muscles and body parts-including fingers and toes-and make sure they're not clenched.
- Reward yourself. Finished studying a chapter? Call a friend. Finished a written
assignment? Read a chapter in a novel. Finished a term paper? Go out to dinner. You choose what works for you.
AND SOME MORE
| || |
Woodford, Kansas State University
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
We do not have to consume white, refined sugar to be consuming sugar. Sugar includes glucose, fructose (as in fruit sugar), lactose (as in milk), sucrose (as in table sugar), maltose or malts (as in rice malt and honey), jam (contains concentrated juice, which is high in fruit sugar), maple syrup, corn syrup, palm sugar (traditionally used in macrobiotic cooking), and the very deceiving organic brown sugar, which is not all that different from white sugar. Even alcohol is a sugar. All of these sugars are problematic in many different ways.
The sugar industry is not in decline and obesity is on the increase. Sugar is a major culprit in the case against obesity. For obese individuals, consuming even a teaspoon of sugar a day would cause metabolic imbalances that contribute to obesity. Sugar is to be avoided, not only by the obese but by healthy individuals.
Is there rationale behind the statement, 'Sugar is to be avoided'? Definitely!
Nancy Appleton, PhD, clinical nutritionist, has compiled a list of 146 reasons on 'how sugar is ruining your health' in her book Lick the Sugar Habit. Here are some of them:
* Sugar can decrease growth hormone (the key to staying youthful and lean)
* Sugar feeds cancer
* Sugar increases cholesterol
* Sugar can weaken eyesight
* Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children
* Sugar can interfere with the absorption of protein
* Sugar causes food allergies
* Sugar contributes to diabetes
* Sugar can contribute to eczema in children
* Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease
* Sugar can impair the structure of DNA
* Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children
* Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection (infectious diseases)
* Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections)
* Sugar contributes to osteoporosis
The body changes sugar into 2 to 5 times more fat in the bloodstream than it does starch. With 146 proven reasons why sugar is bad for us, is there perhaps one single reason as to why we might need it? The only interesting thing about sugar is that it tastes good and makes us temporarily feel good. This is an area worth exploring.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a 5000 year-old wisdom of self-contained knowledge of healing, we all need sweetness in our life. We need six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, astringent, bitter and pungent to stimulate the taste buds on our tongue at main meals, in order to experience satiety.
Satiety and cravings are the result of imbalances in brain chemistry and have nothing to do with fullness of the stomach. When foods hit our tongue, our taste buds relay the bio-chemical information to the brain, stimulating various parts of the hypothalamus – the 'satiety centre'. The tongue is also a mini representation of the body, just like in reflexology, and contains points that stimulate all the organs in the body. Avoiding sweetness would be unnatural and unnecessary, as this will inevitably lead to imbalances and sweet cravings. This is why people have such a hard time giving up sugar; it is almost impossible to get children to stay away from it.
Many people really try hard to avoid sugar, and do not sweeten their tea or coffee, yet they crave sugar in some other form, such as chocolates, cakes, ice cream or even fruit - dates and figs. Dates are 99% sugar, in the form of fructose. When a person is in metabolic balance they do not crave sugar. If they do, it is a sign of a metabolic imbalance and it can be corrected without having to consume sugar.
The wonderful thing is that we do not have to give up the sweetness of sugar in order to be healthy; we just need to replace it with better alternatives. While giving up sugar is very difficult, replacing it is now very easy.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
There's a quick answer: It is just plain important to follow the news. We have a responsibility to pay attention to the world we live in, just as we have a responsibility to vote and to contribute to society. It is part of being an adult, and a citizen.
This is not a satisfying answer. Why is it important? What is it that makes a news item important? Its popularity, the fact that everybody else knows about it too? That's shaky ground to build importance on.
Or is it the objective truth and relevance of a news item that makes it important? But most news are inaccurate and irrelevant. Really paying attention to the world we live in is not a normal part of being an adult, but something rare, something most of us do without. How can we say that it is "important" that everybody follows the news, when the world clearly does fine without?*
There's also an honest answer to why we follow the news: We want to be entertained. The news tell us a good story, and we want to know what happens next. The belief that this story is real has the same emotional effect as when we're told that a movie is based on a true story. It gives the story emotional resonance. "Wow, this really happened."
A news story is fairly real, but it is still a story, and it is appreciated as a story. What we want from the news media is good stories based on real life, this is more important than their being perfectly accurate or relevant.
This answer explains why the news take the form that they do. The news we want to hear about are like the stories we enjoy: Fun, titillating, frightening, infuriating. It may seem odd to say that news about war, death and crime is a form of entertainment, but think about it: our favourite stories are also about war, death and crime. Think of the movies you've seen the last year. It seems natural to me that there is a connection here.
Yes, war, death and crime is relevant, but if relevancy is what matters most to us, why do we pay attention only to certain of these events, and not to others? Because they're good, familiar stories. We talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and devour all news about it because it is a good story*, a continuing saga we follow from day to day like a favourite soap. We ignore African wars where the suffering is orders of magnitudes higher because they're bad stories: Confusing and unfamiliar, like a soap from a different culture in a language you can't understand.
But this too is an incomplete answer. Our desire to be entertained explains the choices we make as news consumers, which again explains why the news media behave the way they do: They want to make money, so they obey our attention. But it is not fair to say that what we want to achieve by following the news is to be entertained.
Just as you can want to lose weight and still eat too much, it is possible to want something useful from the news, and still reward the superficial with your attention.
I think most of us do want to learn about the world, learn how things really are. We don't go about reaching this goal very well, but we're curious and we want to know.
Our level of curiosity varies: I want to know everything, it is my Great Plan. Others are less curious, but I believe that most of us want something more than entertainment from the news, something useful and relevant, even when our behavior says otherwise.
And this is where I get to a counterintuitive point: If you're one of these people, if you want to learn about the world, and this is why you follow the news, you're wasting your time. If all you care about is reality-based entertainment, then the news is a good investment of your time. But if you want to learn about the world you live in, following daily news is probably misspent time.
Not because the news media do a bad job. They do, but not all of them. Let's say you read only the best news sources in the world. It is still a waste of your time.
How so? Think of the world as a painting. Every day that painting grows by one millimeter in length. You like this painting and you want to appreciate it, but you go about this in an odd way: Every day you go up to the painting, and for a whole hour you scrutinize only the most recent addition to it. Once in a while you cast a glance at the rest of the painting, but you spend most of your time looking only at that last millimeter.
To learn about the world primarily through the news is like studying a painting one millimeter at a time. To understand an event you need to understand its background and context, and the news give you little of that. News stories are time-biased: Nearly all their attention is given to today and yesterday, some to the last week and month, and anything beyond that gets a paragraph at the end.
You may think you already know the background of the news you read about, that the background is simple and obvious, and not worth your time. But it is the other way around. The background of an event is always complex and full of important details. Knowing a summary is not enough. Compared to their background, today's events are simple and - often - obvious.
The bright side of this is that understanding does not come at a fixed price: There are some real bargains to be had if you look in the right place. Background information is such a bargain, it's like one of those movie classics you can buy at a third the price of last year's crap blockbuster.
Let's say a big event has been unfolding over the last week. You have spent ten minutes every day for six days reading about its latest developments. That's a total of sixty minutes spent understanding an event.
Imagine that we plot the growth of your understanding on a Y axis, and time on an X axis. The first minute you spent reading about this event, you gained a lot of knowledge, and also the second minute, and the third. But as you move up to fourty minutes and fifty and sixty, the graph begins to slope, until your understanding hardly increases at all. Your first five or ten minutes were a good investment of your time, the last five or ten were not.
Imagine instead that you spend ten minutes on the first day reading about this event, and then you spend ten minutes on each following day reading about the background of the event. Who are the people involved? What have they done before? What kind of place did this happen in? Have similar things happened before? What is the background of the background, and the context of the context?
This time, the graph goes straight up. It doesn't slope, in fact the fiftieth minute you spend reading may teach you as much as the first. It doesn't slope, and it doesn't end. There is no upper limit to knowledge, there is no point at which more background knowledge does not give you a better understanding of the subject, does not change your perception of it.
"But history is boring." Then we're back to news as a form of entertainment. I don't judge, I don't say "you should want to learn about the world you live in". I only say that if you do want to learn, following the news is usually a bad investment. Stay up to date, certainly, but spend most of your time learning about the background and context of current events.
You don't need daily snapshots of the world, weekly is just as fine, and makes it easier to filter out the noise. See the news not as your primary source of information, but as suggestions for further reading."Umm, learning isn't that important to me." Fine by me. Like I said, I'm not judging anyone. Think of this as time investment advice. Your goals are your own, but there are bad ways and there are good ways to reach those goals. And if your goals are like mine, those 10, 60 or 120 minutes you spend every day on news are a rotten investment.