Tips Links and Tidbits Newsletter

Tuesday 28th November 2006


Basic Computer User

Browser flaw leaves passwords vulnerable
Firefox and Internet Explorer affected. More

Novell fumes at Ballmer’s balls
Novell chief executive Ron Hovsepian has fired off a furious open letter in an effort to limit the damage caused by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s comments last week to the effect that all Linux users owe Microsoft money. More

How would you like your computer to run 18 billion, billion times faster? More

US$100 third-world laptop ready to roll
The first 1,000 laptops developed by the One Laptop Per Child organization have rolled off an assembly line in China. More

The Difference Engine
The Difference Engine was originally designed around 1830 by Charles Babbage to automatically compute mathematical tables. By 1840, after spending some 17,000 English pounds without too much reward, the British government withdraw the funding for this project. According to Babbage’s design, the Difference Engine was to be steam-powered and as large as a locomotive. The Difference Engine was eventually built in 1991 using the technology of the era as proof that Babbage’s designs were valid. This working model now resides in the Science Museum in London.

Microsoft to face challenge over Linux licences
Supporters of Linux are preparing to counter the recent Microsoft-Novell pact, which established for the first time the principle of paying the software giant to use Linux. More

Microsoft Unfazed by Google Office Threat
Microsoft’s Office team downplayed the threat from Google’s Web-based word processing and spreadsheet applications, saying they are unlikely to appeal to corporate customers. More

Google: ’iPod will hold all the world’s TV in 12 years’
Google exec is predicting the iPod will lead a further media transformation of similar magnitude in the coming decade. More

Chip can stop PC viruses, but cost a hurdle
Researchers in Japan have developed a microchip that blocks computer viruses before they enter PCs, an advance that could change how security software is used. More

Zune branded ’a complete, humiliating failure’
Damning review predicts ’just plain dreadful’ player will be dead in six months. More

Mapuche Indians declare war on Microsoft
World’s first proprietary language discovered. More

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Advanced Computer User

Researchers build nano-knife to cut cells
Cheesewire-style blade is the world’s thinnest ever. More

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Coroner Attributes California DJ Death to Antidepressant Use
As controvery over antidepressant safety grows, FDA will hold public hearing in December.

While vested interests of the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industries attempt to downplay the increasing drug regulatory agency warnings on psychiatric drugs, the death toll continues to rise. For the last two months, media has continued to cover the controversial death of Anna Nicole Smith’s 20-year-old son, Daniel, who died from a combination of antidepressants and Methadone. Another tragic example of the dangers of psychiatric drugs is the death of Bakersfield disc jockey Karen Garcia. Garcia’s prescription antidepressant Bupropion (sold under the brand name Wellbutrin) caused a siezure, which made her fall and lose consciousness. After falling, her airway was blocked, and the coroner has now officially attributed her death to accidental positional asphyxia [suffocation]. Pathologist Dr. Steven Karch said, ’’The amount [of antidepressant] present was not consistent with an intentional overdose, but use of Bupropion, even at modest levels, is associated with the unpredictable occurrence of grand mal seizures [severe convulsions with loss of consciousness], and these may be fatal."

Psychiatric drugs have been coming under increasing scrutiny from international drug regulators, with over 22 international warnings issued in the last two years alone. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has acknowledged that widely prescribed psychiatric drugs can cause suicide, homicidal ideation, mania, psychosis, heart attack, stroke and sudden death. The FDA will be finally be holding a public hearing on the correlation between adult suicides and antidepressant use on December 13th, nearly 15 years after the FDA first heard testimony from countless families and medical practioners in 1991 -- and failed to warn the public of the risks. The FDA did issue black box warnings regarding suicides correlated to antidepressant use in children and teens, but has failed to address the risks to the adult population until now. To learn more about the dangers of psychiatric drugs and the history of the black box suicidality warning on antidepressants, read this report by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International.

Welcome to the Brave New World of Mental Health “Screening”

Psycho/Pharma Trolling for Patients at a School Near You

Tens of millions of US federal dollars are being pumped into a mental health screening program for school children called “TeenScreen,” which has concerned and outraged health experts, parents and civic groups. The program uses subjective, invasive questionnaires to funnel children into a mental health system where they are routinely labelled and given psychiatric drugs with side effects such as suicidal behaviour, psychosis, diabetes, aggression, heart attacks and sudden death. A damning report has been published by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights which reveals the failures of TeenScreen and the vested interests behind its promotion. Consider the following:

Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Joseph Glenmullen says that “when one examines the questions asked and the scales used [to diagnose depression], they are utterly subjective measures...” The tests used to label children with “disorders” and prescribe them psychotropic drugs are composed of vague questions such as, “In the last year, has there been a time when you felt you couldn’t do anything well or that you weren’t as good-looking or as smart as other people?”

TeenScreen creator, psychiatrist Dr. David Shaffer, admitted that the test can falsely identify children as suicidal 84% of the time. The creator of the program himself, then, acknowledges an 84% failure rate.

Though the program is nominally supposed to detect and prevent suicide, the United States Preventative Services Task Force, convened to study the effectiveness of programs like TeenScreen, reported in May, 2004 that there is no evidence that screening for suicide risk reduces suicide attempts or mortality.

A 2002 National Institute of Mental Health Suicide Research Consortium paper noted that a danger to the screening is that “a prevention program for high school aged youth found that participants were more likely to consider suicide a solution to a problem after the program than prior to the program.”

When a child is identified by TeenScreen as suicidal, he/she is referred to a “mental health professional,” and no alternative is offered, despite repeated studies showing that the “mental disorders” TeenScreen purports to identify can be caused by a host of other factors: physical illness, poor diet, hormonal changes, study difficulties and other educational problems, allergic reactions and the normal trials and tribulations of being a teenager.

Once referred and diagnosed, a mind-altering drug is almost certain to follow.

A study published in Psychiatric Services found that the prescriptions of psychotropic drugs for adolescents increased, “...with especially rapid acceleration after 1999”—the same year the TeenScreen program was introduced.

Between 2000 and 2003, spending on psychoactive drugs for children exceeded expenditures for any other paediatric medication category, including antibiotics and asthma medicines.

In September, 2004, an FDA Advisory Committee concluded that not only do most antidepressant medications increase suicidal risk in children they also fail to cure depression.

TeenScreen has major financial ties to pharmaceutical companies. TeenScreen creator psychiatrist David Shaffer, TeenScreen Executive Director Laurie Flynn and TeenScreen’s PR firm, Rabin Strategic Partners, are among those in the program with significant ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Read this new report and learn more about the national plan to screen every school child in the U.S. Visit for more information.

Olives: Rediscover This Ancient Health Food

By Al Sears, MD

There’s a large salad bar at the back of my grocery store. Last weekend, I overheard two ladies who were assembling their salads. One said, “Olives. Oh no. My doctor said I can’t touch them. They’re full of fat!”

I wondered how many people out there are still getting this bad advice. In fact, olives may be one of the original “ancient health foods.”

Whole olives have a high proportion of essential amino acids - the building blocks of protein. Olives are high in vitamin E, which occurs as a natural mixture of related oil-soluble forms far superior to single-compound synthetics. The mixture prevents oxidative stress caused by air pollution and other modern environmental toxins.

According to the USDA, green olives are one of the sources of vitamin K, which your body needs for proper bone formation, blood clotting, and cancer prevention. Vitamin K comes from chlorophyll, commonly found in green leafy vegetables.

And, yes, olives are high in fat. But that’s a good thing, because olives are one of the best sources of monounsaturated fats. These good fats are rich in vitamin E and they help to lower triglycerides, reduce LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol levels.

A relish plate with a selection of olives and cut-up veggies is standard fare on many Thanksgiving tables. But don’t limit your consumption of this powerful health food to special occasions. Olive bars have been opening up in food stores across the country. Perhaps by sampling some of the exotic olives that are available you will acquire as much of a taste for them as I have.

[Ed. Note: Dr. Sears, a practicing physician and the author of The Doctor’s Heart Cure and 12 Secrets to Virility, is a leading authority on longevity, physical fitness, and heart health.]

2 Anti-Aging Supplements for Your Brain

By Al Sears, MD

The other day, one of my elderly patients said something curious: “Dr. Sears, my brain must be getting smaller - I just can’t remember things like I used to.” You should have seen the look on her face when I told her that she was right. Your brain actually does shrink as you get older!

The shrinking starts in adulthood and continues at an average rate of two percent per decade. That doesn’t sound like much - but by the time you’re 80, your brain will be 12 percent smaller than it was at 20. As you might imagine, that can cause all sorts of problems, including memory loss. But there are two supplements that can help you maintain your mental edge - even as you get older.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC) is an exceptional brain supplement. ALC provides a range of brain protection, improving mood and memory. It protects the brain from damage due to poor circulation and helps repair injured nerve cells so they can function normally again. ALC also increases the release of the memory neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Researchers have found that ALC protects brain cells from damage even when blood flow is temporarily blocked. And it keeps the cell energy going even when there is little or no blood flow for short amounts of time.

Vitamin B12 is another brain booster that plays a role in creating and maintaining the protective coating (myelin) around neurons. Not only does myelin protect the neurons, it also helps conduct messages to the brain. As vitamin B-12 levels drop, myelin’s effectiveness plummets. B-12 also lowers levels of homocysteine in the body. (Homocysteine is a toxic byproduct that destroys neurons and contributes to mental disorders. It is often seen in people with B-12 deficiencies.)

Both of these supplements are easy to take and available at your local nutrition store or on the Internet. I recommend taking 250 mg of ALC and 500 mcg of vitamin B-12 daily.

[Ed. Note: Dr. Sears, a practicing physician, is a leading authority on longevity, physical fitness, and heart health. Learn more of his anti-aging secrets here.]

Financial ties between FDA, drug companies could get even stronger
with new “pay to play” TV advertisement review service: More

The big news in health today is a significant discovery about the composition of the Human Genome. You’ll see the headlines everywhere, but I believe that all the mainstream media sources are missing the true significance of this discovery.

In today’s feature article, I’ve made a humble attempt to explain why this new breakthrough about DNA is really a clue to what I call the, "Symphony of life," and the holistic nature of the poetic patterns found in living systems of all kinds, including humans.

Beyond the cold science, beyond the compartmentalized Western thinking... you’ve NEVER seen DNA described in the way you’ll read here: More

Hill Sprints: More Than a Good Workout for Your Heart

By Tim Kauppinen

Being obese - or even moderately overweight - has been linked to health risks from heart attack and stroke to arthritis and diabetes. And fat around the middle has been shown to be the worst kind. But a recent announcement from the American Diabetic Association stated that high-intensity exercise, like hill sprinting, is the best way to reduce stubborn belly fat.

Running hill sprints works all of the muscles in your body at once. Plus, “full-body” workouts like this have been shown to increase the amount of muscle tissue that you have. Strong, lean, functional muscle.

You see, muscle tissue is like a calorie-burning furnace. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism and the more calories you will burn - even when you’re sitting in front of your computer or sleeping.

Muscle uses sugar for energy when it contracts. When it uses up that sugar, it needs to absorb more from your blood. Lowering your blood sugar levels can help prevent the onset of diabetes and related health problems.

As you know from reading articles by Dr. Sears about interval exercise, short bursts of high-intensity activity can help prevent heart attacks and heart disease. Hill sprinting is also the kind of high-intensity exercise that prompts your body to naturally release higher levels of human growth hormone (HGH). Low-intensity cardio does not have this same effect.

Human growth hormone in adolescence is essential for proper growth. In adulthood, HGH, which is released from the pituitary gland, is key in kicking up your metabolism and shifting fat-burning into high gear. Adding hill sprints to your workout routine can quickly bring about positive changes in your health. You’ll drop the excess fat in no time, and feel younger and better than you have in years.

[Ed. Note: Tim Kauppinen has spent almost 24 years working in speed training, strength, and conditioning. The same training techniques that Tim has used to help world-class athletes is now helping ordinary people lose weight and gain strength. If you’d like to triple your cardiovascular endurance, obliterate excess fat from your body, and kickstart your metabolism with as little as six minutes of exercise per week, check out Tim’s Uphill Fitness Training Program.]

How to enjoy the health benefits of raw foods using simple, practical and delicious recipes now revealed in the new book, “The Raw Gourmet” by Nomi Shannon More

Is Chocolate Your Guilty Pleasure?

By Al Sears, MD

I don’t lift weights much, but I do walk to the gym across from my office to meet with the trainers. On the back wall, their head shots are posted, along with some personal information about each of them that was gathered with a questionnaire. One of the questions was “What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?” And many of them - including nearly all the female trainers - answered “Chocolate.”

This is the time of year when it’s hard not to indulge in our guilty food pleasures - but it’s a mistake to consider chocolate to be one of them. Eating chocolate - in moderation - should not involve any guilt.

Harvard researchers found that a few pieces of chocolate every month might actually make your life both sweeter and longer. The researchers studied the chocolate-consuming habits of more than 7,800 people. Those who ate chocolate one to three times a month lived longest. Those who indulged three or more times a week died earlier. But those who ate no chocolate at all died the earliest ... by up to a year.

Studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and Nature found that the polyphenols in dark chocolate help reduce blood pressure. They also protect your body against oxidative stress. (Fruits, vegetables, tea, red wine, and cocoa beans also contain these healthful compounds.)

Doctors in Finland found a link between chocolate and cholesterol. Those who ate regular chocolate saw their HDL (good cholesterol) levels increase by 11.4 percent. Dark chocolate was even better, producing a rise of 13.7 percent.

Just remember that processing strips away many of the healthy compounds in most chocolate candy. And the candy is almost always loaded with sugar and chemicals. You can find unadulterated chocolate at your local nutrition store. Look for 70 percent pure cocoa. It’s a little bitter, but the chocolate flavor is strong and satisfying.

[Ed. Note: Dr. Sears, a practicing physician and the author of The Doctor’s Heart Cure and 12 Secrets to Virility, is a leading authority on longevity, physical fitness, and heart health.]

Fighting Crime With Fish Oil

By Jon Herring

Numerous studies have shown that a lack of omega-3s impairs cognitive function, fuels depression, and can even trigger aggression. That’s the reason doctors at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Washington, D.C. are currently studying the effects of fish oil on convicts and violent offenders. And their preliminary results show a remarkable drop in violence when the prisoners are given a daily fish oil supplement.

This comes on the heels of a similar UK study, published in 2002. When young male prisoners who had been convicted of serious crimes were given fish oil supplements, they committed 37 percent fewer violent offenses and 26 percent fewer offenses overall while incarcerated. Those given placebos showed no change in their behavior. Even more telling is what happened after the study concluded. When the prisoners stopped taking their fish oil, their level of violence increased by the same amount as it had dropped.

I’m not saying you’re going to turn into a vicious criminal if your diet is deficient in omega-3s - but you could be putting both your physical and mental health at risk. I frequently recommend taking fish oil for its tremendous cardiovascular benefits, and this affordable supplement also helps nourish and protect the brain. The brand I recommend is Carlson’s. You can find it online or at just about any health food store.

(Reference: The Guardian)

Beat Osteoporosis Without Drugs or Calcium

By Al Sears, MD

One of my toughest jobs as a doctor is dispelling myths about medicine. Case in point: A 55-year-old woman comes to my clinic. Her previous doctor diagnosed her with osteoporosis and gave her drugs to prevent bone loss. His parting words, “Osteoporosis is a natural part of aging. Here’s a prescription ...”

Here are the facts: Aging does not make osteoporosis inevitable. A lack of exercise does. It causes muscles to become smaller and weaker. This loss of muscle mass combined with the hormonal changes of aging leads to a loss of bone mass. Just as muscles atrophy without challenge, if muscle force does not challenge your bones, they become thin, light, and fragile. This is the beginning of osteoporosis.

And calcium supplements won’t help. Hormones control the amount of calcium that sticks to your bones. If estrogen levels fall, calcium will fall away from the bone. Taking calcium supplements will give you a short-term boost in bone density, but that’s it. Over time, your hormones will work against the extra calcium and leave your bones brittle.

Challenging your muscles and bones is the only way to prevent osteoporosis. The ideal exercise routine will challenge your large muscle groups enough to put stress on the bones. Try bicycling, running in sprints, and calisthenics for your legs and back.

[Ed. Note: Dr. Sears’ PACE program is a great way to reverse disease and prevent muscle and bone loss. Hear him describe exactly how the program works in his new audio program Supra-Aerobics.]

Why You Are Genetically Programmed for Exercise

By Al Sears, MD

Our lifestyle may have little in common with that of our caveman ancestors, but our genetic coding is still the same. If you think about this fact, it leads to a simple conclusion: Since evolution designed us for a physically challenging world, the “expectation” of physical activity is encoded in our genes.

In ancient times, if you were slow or out of shape, the consequences were swift and severe. In many cases, you ended up as another creature’s dinner. Today, the penalties are similar, but take longer to play out. In our world, a lack of exercise brings diseases that often take years instead of seconds - but they end your life just the same.

Yet our modern habit of inactivity continues to rise. A recent study from the University of South Carolina found that more than 30 percent of kids between the ages of 12 and 19 failed tests that measured their heart and lung health. Ten thousand years ago, these children would have had little chance of surviving to adulthood. Now we can protect them from the horror of predation. But what other miseries await them?

If you don’t push your heart and lungs toward their limits, you lose your reserve capacity. And loss of reserve capacity means a much greater risk of heart attack, stroke, infection, and disease. Just because we have the technology to avoid the rigors of hunting, the threat of predators, and most physical labor, doesn’t mean our bodies don’t still need to be challenged.

You can restore these challenges without turning back progress. I design my conditioning programs with this goal. You can choose any exercise that is tough enough on your lungs to make you have to stop and pant for breath. One exercise I like is jumping rope for a very intense short burst - as fast as you can for just one minute. Then take a couple of minutes to focus on your recovery, and do it again.

[Ed Note: In his new audio program Supra-Aerobics, Dr. Sears tells you, step by step, how to pump up the reserve capacity of your lungs in just 12 minutes a day.]

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Teen builds nuclear fusion reactor in basement
Parents not concerned at antics of junior boffin. More

Universal hits MySpace with copyright claim
Record label demands $150,000 per infringement. More

Scientists fire up 800-tonne mega-magnet
World’s largest superconducting magnet ready to tackle the big questions of the universe. More

Next May/June will see Australia host the largest military exercises we’ve ever had in peacetime. Talisman Sabre 07.

Twelve thousand Australian soldiers and nearly l4,000 US troops and sailors will take place in bombarding our shores and fragile landscape, storming our beaches, gunning down ’terrorists’ in the newly built urban guerilla warfare training centre, testing their latest laser guided missiles and ’smart’ bombs in some of the most pristine wilderness I’ve ever seen on this planet - and in 30years of making films, I’ve seen a lot of this planet.

Idyllic Shoalwater Bay near Rockhampton will cop it all - live aerial bombing, ship to shore naval firings, underwater depth charges exploded in areas where turtles and dugong breed, nuclear subs using high level sonar frequency which zaps the hearing of sea life and mammals, nuclear aircraft carriers inside the so-called Great Barrier Reef marine national park (!), land based artillery firings blasting the hell out of areas where the most amazing biodiversity in Australia is to be found. (Shoalwater Bay covers 740,000 hectacres and is almost unique in our climatic landscape because it is a cross over point for tropical, sub tropical and temperate zones giving rise to an amazing variety of many species of flora and wildlife, birds,sea creatures etc).

Anyone who has seen Al Gore’s film has to ask why are we allowing such madness to take place and wanton misuse of resources to further add to the huge level of CO2 put up into the atmosphere in exercises such as these at a time when we all should be combining forces in the War for Our Survival.

These live munitions actions at Shoalwater Bay will run simultaneously with US bombing runs by Stealth, B1 and B52 bombers (just one B52 bomber carries 30 tonnes of bombs -needs three semi trailers to load it up with its bombload...) from Guam to drop their live payload from 5 kilometres high on Delamare bombing range near Katherine NT and live fire exercises involving many Abrams tanks rumbling across the landscape at Bradshaw tank range (surrounded by Bradshaw national park south of Darwin, target practising on country against the wishes of the senior Aboriginal elders, custodians of that country...).

These military exercises and their coordination in both states will be beamed live via satellite from tiny cameras on the tanks, bombers, landing craft, army commanders’s lapels etc to the coordinating War Room at Newcastle where the US and Australian generals will call the shots of what is fired next. Son of Star Wars has arrived in Australia!

I don’t know how you feel about that, but I am still disgusted that Australia supports the US so sycophantically in this bullshit War on Terror. Our unholy crusade at the latest count had 653,000 innocent people in Iraq killed - even if its half this number comprehensively and methodically counted number, its still a national and immoral disgrace that we have lent our name and support to such a huge number of innocent people murdered in our nation’s name.

Next year’s Talisman Sabre exercises are a con for blatant continuing militarism of a similar vein post Afghanistan and Iraq. We are now about to pollute our own most pristine areas, far away from the centres of population by letting the US military test their latest weapons here. There are big plans by British Aerospace and the other arms manufacturers to quietly turn the depressed Rockhampton area into a big arms manufacturing industrial estate. So not only will we export our soldiers who are the best there is to adventurist wars overseas, we are about to see an explosion in Australia manufacturing and exporting weapons of war.

Not particularly drawn to military phrases, we have to ’draw a line in the sand’ and say when ’enough is enough’. Its time my friends, to stop this madness and our complicity in it.

With a view to oppose these exercises, a group of people from around Australia with peace activist credentials had a phone link up yesterday and spoke for an hour about our willingness to combine forces and oppose these exercises. We will link with activist residents of Shoalwater Bay (Yeppoon and Byfield) that we made contact with last year during Talisman Sabre 2005.

We plan to put on a big concert at Yeppoon and have people come from all over Australia to take part in that concert and choose, if they wish, to be part of non violent actions to oppose the war and Australia’s involvement in such wars.

Through my contact with musicians like Paul Kelly, Midnight Oil (friends from University days), John Butler, Deborah Conway, Robyn Archer, Kev Carmody and actors Judy Davis, Geoffrey Rush, Sam Neill, Bryan Brown, we intend to put on a big concert which will spill into the evening with relevant films and speakers to raise awareness of just what Australia has signed up for with this new secret treaty then Defence Minister Robert Hill and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer signed with Rumsfeld and Powell back in July 2004. It is that secret treaty which is allowing the Americans to come here and do what they want - without so much as an environmental impact study being done before or after the exercises.

We need people in communities right along the eastern seaboard to be actively involved in this campaign to build awareness amongst your local communities and to take on the role of being local coordinators as the campaign builds over the next six months, to help with the logistics of organising people to come by bus, peace train, cars, planes to be there in June for that concert and weekend leading into week of actions. Some people with work or other commitments will only be able to come for a few days, perhaps the weekend. No matter. We have to send a BIG message to the rest of our apathetic and many indifferent Australians and the government that this is not on any more.

Please look at this website and subscribe to it to keep generally informed of what is happening, how to link up people in your local community if you want to help make this peace convergence a BIG event.

If you would like to be part of the actual organising (that’s why I’m emailing you now in the hope thereof...) please email Dimity Hawkins from MAPW (Medical Association for the Prevention of War) and ask her to put you on the list for organising. That way you will be told when the next national phone link up is happening and other important info to let folks in your respective communities know over the coming months as we seek to build awareness and a ’buzz’ about being at the Talisman Sabre peace concert etc. But we want people who will DO, not just talk about it.

Okay, thanks for reading this and taking it on board hopefully in a world where we all have incredible demands on our time and stress, yours sincerely,

David Bradbury

David Bradbury is an Australian documentary film maker who created the outstanding doco on Depleted Uranium munitions.

NOTE HERE that henceforth, I will not use the deceptive term "depleted". The uranium waste used for this purpose is NOT depleted. From now on, I am describing this as “nuclear radiation dispersing munitions” - or similar terms.

DIRTY BOMBS would do as well.

His powerful documentary is titled “Blowin’ In The Wind”. I do hope at least some of you have seen it. If not, you can contact David at

Here he alerts us to a forthcoming joint US/Australian military exercise. Vast tonnages of munitions, much of it likely to be made from or cased in Uranium 238. As you should know by now, U238 is not the most radioactive form - but it is still radioactive and prolonged exposure is not good.

However, it what it become after it is deployed that is a very different matter. It burns at a staggering temperature and turns into a very dangerous nano sized particle aerosol that ’blows in the wind. In this form it becomes an extremely toxic heavy metal. Particles can enter cell structures and both radiate and poison from within. The consequences for animal life are catastrophic. InIraq where the most massive quantities have been used, it looks like it will bring about a genetic genocide of the people of that tormented nation.

Now if there was a plan to test a mushroom cloud producing nuke - all hell would break loose in the Australian population. Yet the dangers for the Australian people from the use of U238 munitions in an ’exercise’ would likely way exceed the danger of fallout from a mushroom cloud. The people of Australia should be rising up against this!

Please join us to stop this insanity - violence only begets violence, and this beautiful environment deserves protecting and preserving.

This is about the best précis of the situation as we know it in the US of A.

Are we becoming the next state of the USA?

Cosmonaut hits million-mile tee shot
International Space Station stunt breaks golfing records. More

Some interesting quotes can be found here

Preface from Tom: I consider that the quote on the first line of this article says it all - the brain is the switch-board that reflects what YOU think.

“The brain: an apparatus with which we think we think.”
- Ambrose Bierce

What Your Brainwaves Say About Your Investing Success

By Andrew M. Gordon

You know why economists rarely get it right? Because you and I are constantly letting them down with the decisions we make. Every time we buy something on impulse, we drive them up a tree.

They’re beginning to get it, though.

Economists used to think we act rationally. That every time we save, spend, or invest, we dispassionately size up the pertinent information and circumstances and make a clear-headed decision.

What a hoot. Most of them now acknowledge we’re not as rational as their theories have made us out to be.

Now a new bunch is saying investors are greedy, stupid, fearful, emotional, and short-sighted. Don’t worry. I’m going to tell you what you can do about it. But first, let me tell you who these nervy economists are.

In 1997, a group of neuroscientists and psychologists held a two-day conference in Pittsburgh and gave presentations to about 20 economists. What came of this was a new way to look at economics. They called it “neuroeconomics.”

My daughter is a neurology major at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. She studies how the brain works. Neuroeconomics goes a step further. Using the latest imaging technology, scientists look at the brainwaves we produce when we make economic decisions.

A recent article in The New Yorker examined some of the experiments conducted by these “neuroeconomists.” In one study, a group of respondents were put in MRI machines and given “take-it-or-leave-it” ultimatums - offers to split various amounts of money between them and another party. Even though getting a little of something is better than getting nothing at all, the stingier offers ignited brain activity in the limbic structure (the part of the brain that’s responsible for anger and distress). The more activity in this part of the brain, the more likely it was that the offer would be rejected.

The conclusion? Emotion trumps reason.

Another experiment looked at what happens in our brains when we are faced with the choice between an immediate reward versus a delayed reward. Volunteers were given two choices: an gift card worth $15 for immediate use or a $20 gift card that couldn’t be used for another month. The scans showed brain activity in both the reasoning part of the brain (lateral prefrontal) as well as the part of the brain responsible for anger and distress (limbic). The greater the activity in the limbic areas, the greater the chances that the gift voucher for immediate use would be chosen.

Behavioral economists have known for a good 10 years that we act on preferences grounded in something other than reason. Now we know why. Different parts of the brain compete with each other. And when the emotional parts of the brain get stimulated (for whatever reason), our decisions are more likely to be emotional. And this can result in lower benefits or higher risk over the long run.

For example, when people are presented with a 50 percent chance of making $150 or losing $100, most don’t bite. But in an experiment with patients who had lesions on one of the three regions of the brain that are responsible for regulating emotions, these bets were accepted more than 80 percent of the time. Take away the fear of loss, and the brain usually makes the logical choice.

So what can you do to tame the emotional side of your brain?

1. Know thyself.

You don’t have to squeeze into an MRI machine to learn how emotional you are. If you are risk averse ... if you are liable to lose sleep at night at the first sign of price slippage ... don’t invest in volatile vehicles (like commodities, for example).

2. Make it as inconvenient as possible to allow your emotions to dictate your actions.

One way is to strictly follow sell-stop points.

The brain-scanning experiments I told you about indicate that the brain doesn’t like ambiguous situations. And what could be more uncertain than how much an investment will rise or fall? So we become fearful - which leads to selling our positions too early or too late.

That’s why I recommend setting 20 percent trailing sell-stops on your stock investments. This lets you ride your winners as long as reasonably possible, and provides a point at which you will exit, no questions asked.

A good way to do this is with, an easy-to-use online service that will help you track your trailing stops (and a whole lot more).

3. Know thy investment.

Those experiments also show that the more you know about an investment, the less your emotions will drive decisions.

I hate it when investors put their money in something because of what they heard over cocktails. If you research the car you buy, shouldn’t you also do homework on your $200,000 portfolio? It’s your money. You need to know the risks, the upside, the growth drivers of your investment, etc. And if doing this research is yet another way to circumvent your emotional side, so much the better.

Investing isn’t about conquering your emotions. It’s about handling them. If you have a handle on your emotions without using any of the above tools (or other tools of your choosing), you’re the rare investor indeed. As for the rest of us, letting our money management and investment tools guide and control our financial decisions is a necessary step toward successful investing.

[Ed. Note: Andrew Gordon is Editor-in-Chief of ETR’s investing services: Income and The Wealth Advantage He is also a regular contributor to our Investor’s Daily Edge newsletter.]

Your Productivity Checklist

By Rich Schefren

It’s easy to overlook some of the most obvious things that may be interfering with your productivity. To make sure you’re making the most of your time at work, take a quick run through the following checklist:

1. The clutter in your office. If you’re constantly looking for things amid the junk that’s in your way, you’re wasting time. Get rid of it.

2. The efficiency of your workstation set-up. The things you use often should be at your fingertips. For example, your file cabinet should be close to your desk so you don’t have to walk across the room every time you need something from it.

3. The way you organize your e-mail. Delete the messages you don’t need and create folders for those you do need. That way, you won’t have to filter through hundreds of messages to locate the one you’re looking for.

4. The way you organize your papers. Spend 10 minutes at the end of each day filing away the papers you aren’t actively using. If you do need to keep some out, put them in a stand-up file rack that will keep them organized.

5. Your calendar. Either a written or electronic calendar is a must, but you’ll run into problems if you have more than one.

[Ed. Note: Rich Schefren is one of the world’s best small-business strategists, with marketing expertise in a wide array of media, including direct mail, newspapers, radio, magazines, television, and the Internet. Get the benefit of Rich’s business-building advice at

And get much more of Rich’s advice on ETR’s Bootcamp recordings, which will be on sale for a limited time.]

And on the productivity note, at Just For You Software I have been studying the subject and come up with a tool to help prevent things you mean to do from falling through the cracks.

If you would like to be more productive, more organised, more disciplined or more efficient, give me a call and tell me what you find is the major obstacle to doing so.

Tom Grimshaw

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