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A perfect Italian Sub

posted by Udut, Kenneth on June 5 2010, Updated on June 5 2010

2 parts Capacola

2 parts Salami

1 part proscuitto

2 parts Provolone Cheese

Get the sharpest provolone you can.

Get the hottest capacola "hot ham" that you can.

Get the good salami...

don't forget oregeno, onions, tomatos, or you can skip them even and achieve the same effect.

There's nothing complex about it - just get the ratios right and you're good to go.

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Aspergers: Friendship skllls

posted by Udut, Kenneth on May 12 2010, Updated on May 12 2010

The Profile of Friendship Skills in Asperger’s Syndrome

This article was published in the Jenison Autism Journal, 2002 Volume 14 Number 3. The Jenison Autism Journal is available in the USA from 616 457-8955.

When we observe and examine the social play and friendship skills of children with Asperger’s Syndrome, we first asses whether there is a delay in the conceptual stage of friendship. The child may have an overall intellectual ability within the normal range, but their conception of friendship resembles a much younger child. Indeed the natural choice of companion or friend may be someone from within their level of friendship maturity and be considerably younger than their chronological age. However, it is not simply a matter of developmental delay. While the diagnostic criteria in DSM IV, the primary diagnostic text, includes the criterion failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to development level it includes reference to a qualitative impairment in social interaction. Thus, there are aspects that are conspicuously unusual for any of the stages. The diagnostic criteria refer to qualitative impairments in behaviour to regulate the interaction and a lack of social or emotional reciprocity. What are qualitative differences at each stage from the perspective of the child with Asperger’s Syndrome and their peers?

Stage 1 The child with Asperger’s Syndrome can be genuinely pleased to be left alone enjoying solitude; or their preference can be to interact with adults. The author’s sister-in-law has Asperger’s Syndrome and she recalls that, “ ... as a child, a teenager, and a young adult, I seldom got along well with my peers, preferring the company of older adults. Probably because they are likely to be more mellow in temperament and of course quieter.” The child’s motivation may not be to engage in social play, but to learn. Adults (and books) provide information about the world. Their peers may have little knowledge on the topic that they find interesting.

There can be a difference in perception and priorities. The child with Asperger’s Syndrome can walk into a room and focus on the toys to play with rather than potential friends. Observation indicates that the child’s play is constructive, but not interactive. The child’s “friend” are objects. My sister-in-law recalls, “ ... it’s easy to bestow love onto objects rather than people because although they can’t love back they can’t rebuke either. It is very safe from idolisation where no-one can get hurt.”.

To the child with Asperger’s Syndrome social play, at this stage, can be quite unpleasant. They have difficulty coping with the noise, interruptions, new ideas of their peers and apparent chaos. They may be more tolerant and interactive in a room with just one playmate.

Children with Asperger’s Syndrome have a clear end product in mind when playing with toys, but may fail to effectively communicate this to the other child, or tolerate or incorporate their suggestions, which would produce an unanticipated outcome. The child with Asperger’s Syndrome wants predictability while their peers want spontaneity and variety. A description is perhaps the “Frank Sinatra approach“- My Way. The child becomes very agitated and possibly aggressive when thwarted by having to change their ideas or play to accommodate the intentions or preferences of the other child. Liane Holliday-Wiley explains in her autobiography, Pretending to be Normal (1999), “ ... the fun came from setting up and arranging things. Maybe this desire to organise things rather than play with things, is the reason I never had a great interest in my peers. They always wanted to use the things I had so carefully arranged. They would want to rearrange and redo. They did not let me control thee environment“(p. 19).

The child has a clear determination to control the activity. The concepts of sharing, waiting and turn taking are not apparent in their play with peers at this stage, but it may be apparent in their interactions with adults. Their play can be considered as self-centred rather than selfish, with social play avoided to maintain control. As one young lady said, “My friends don’t let me do what I want to do.” They tend not to see themselves as part of a group but as an individual who prefers to relate to adults. Other children are considered as bewildering, ignorant or a nuisance. The bewilderment is due to difficulties reading the social cues of their peers. They may not read the social expressions and body language to indicate feelings that would be intuitively recognised by much younger typical children. Other children instantly recognise overt and subtle signs of anger, fear, delight and disgust, yet these signals may not be perceived or considered as factors to modify the interaction by the child with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Children with Asperger’s Syndrome clearly have difficulty knowing how to socialise with their peers. Their frustration can lead to aggression but it can also lead to anxiety. This can be so severe that the child develops elective mutism at school or school refusal. Programs to encourage friendship skills should be part of treatment programs for anger and anxiety management.

One of the characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome is to have a literal interpretation of the comment or request of other children. A girl with Asperger’s Syndrome came home from school extremely agitated and told her mother they must pack all their belongings and move house immediately. When her mother asked why, she said that at school, a boy said, “I’m going to marry you”.

When other children approach the child with Asperger’s Syndrome, they see a child who does not look any different in terms of size and facial characteristics. They may be engaged in complex constructive play but when approached they may not offer the expected welcome or inclusion in the activity. The child with Asperger’s Syndrome is perceived as bossy, sounding and behaving more like a teacher than a friend. Other children’s attempts to become a friend “fall on deaf ears” and they may be inclined to move on and play with someone more responsive and less insular or dictatorial. The child with Asperger’s Syndrome therefore misses an opportunity to use and develop the maturity of their friendship skills.

Stage 2 In stage 1 the child with Asperger’s Syndrome may have limited motivation to play with other children and develop friendships. In stage 2 they can actively want to join in but lack specific abilities. They want to interact harmoniously but are not sure what to do. Sometimes they become acutely aware of a lack of friendship and become quite distresses if their naïve attempts at social interaction are unsuccessful. They can develop compensatory mechanisms that range from denial and arrogance to low self-esteem and withdrawal.

Their initial myopic optimism for friendship can also turn to paranoia, especially if they fail to make the distinction between accidental and intentional acts. The research on Asperger’s Syndrome has established a difficulty with Theory of Mind tasks; that is conceptualising the thoughts, feelings, knowledge and beliefs of others. Other children may recognise from the context and often knowledge of the character of the other person whether the comment or action had benevolent or malicious intention. For example other children know when someone is teasing with friendly or unfriendly intentions. This knowledge may not be available to the child with Asperger’s Syndrome.

The author has noted that such children can have limited ability for character judgements. Other children will know which children are not good role models and should be avoided. The child with Asperger’s Syndrome can be somewhat naïve in character judgements and prone to be attracted to and imitate children who may not demonstrate good friendship skills.

Another aspect of this stage is a tendency to be possessive in friendships with an intensity that can eventually be intolerable to their chosen friend. They may not understand that the friend is a free agent who sometimes wants to play with other children and may refuse an invitation to play. When these situations occur the child with Asperger’s Syndrome may refuse any further contact with the person whom they perceive as having broken the rigid social rule that a friend will always play with you. A child with Asperger’s Syndrome said, “He can’t play with me one day and then other friends another day – that wouldn’t be a true friend”.

They may also be intolerant of their friend’s errors and quick to criticise but conversely, hate being criticised themselves. Other children are starting to learn to “think it not say it” so as not to hurt their friends feelings. At this stage, the concept of a “white lie” is a feature of friendship, but children with Asperger’s Syndrome seek honesty and truth as more important than someone’s feelings. They can be unaware of why their honest comment made their friend upset.

Children at this stage are playing more complex interactive games and children with Asperger’s Syndrome can become exceptionally emotional if they lose. Their concept of being fair is somewhat egocentric. They may always want to win or be first, not necessarily for dominance but to know the outcome. The person hates surprises or the unknown. In competitive games, of unknown outcome, the child wants certainty.

When one considers the friendship profile of the child with Asperger’s Syndrome at this stage, they are unusual in comparison to their peers in having fewer friends and often not seeking contact with friends out of school hours. Contact may be organised by parents rather than arranged spontaneously by the child.

In their attempts to make friends, the child’s intentions can be misinterpreted. The author’s sister-in-law explains that as a child she was “longing to make friends, when someone complimented a drawing I had done, I started giving people drawings until someone accused me of bragging – a rebuke I never forgot. I was only trying to win friendship”. They are so vulnerable to exploitation, prepared to comply with requests that other children would recognise as inappropriate. They may tolerate being tormented just to have company. Sometimes they may fail to recognise that the other children are not displaying signs of friendship and are quite resistant to the suggestion that their “associates” are not genuine friends in their attitude and actions.

From the perspective of their peers, the child with Asperger’s Syndrome can be unusual in other ways. In stage 2, children are starting to talk more to each other while they are playing. The choice of conversational topic can be quite unusual for the child with Asperger’s Syndrome who may want to play or talk almost exclusively on some aspect of their special interest. There is a lack of reciprocity in the choice of activity or topic of conversation. They can also appear to be ill mannered or ungracious and somewhat autocratic. It is at this stage that empathy becomes recognised as an aspect of friendship and the typical child can expect words or gestures of compassion, compliments and offers of help. Observation of children with Asperger’s Syndrome suggests that they may not recognise the cues or know how to respond. Their friend may perceive them as uncaring.

Stage 3 The child’s problems in peer relationships can be re-enacted at home, taking on the role of antagonist with younger siblings. They may appear to be a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde in behaving calmly and sociably with their peers at school but extremely autocratic and intolerant when interacting with their family. There can also be a vehement denial that they have any difficulties. When the subject of friendship is bought up at home or school the child is adamant that they have similar friendships to their peers. We do not know if this is a reflection of their lack of an accurate perception of the nature of their peers friendships or an attempt to convince themselves, more than others that they are successful. This denial or arrogance can be impenetrable.

Another reaction was explained by the author’s sister-in-law, “The fact is, no one likes others to know their weakness, but with an affliction like mine, it’s impossible to always avoid making a fool of yourself or looking indignant/undignified. Because I never know when the next “fall” is going to occur, I avoid climbing up onto a “confidence horse” so to speak”. At this stage the child with Asperger’s Syndrome may be socially withdrawn and clinically depressed as a reaction to their insight into their difficulties with friendship. Socialising with their peers can also be exhausting. Stephen comments, “It takes all my brain power to be a friend”.

During stage 3, friends are learning to constructively manage conflict, but experience has shown that children with Asperger’s Syndrome have considerably difficulty with the subtle arts of persuasion, negotiation, knowing when to back down, trying another way, admitting making a mistake and making personal sacrifices for the sake of friendship. These interpersonal management skills require a comprehensive understanding of another person’s thoughts and feelings. This aspect of stage 3 can be quite elusive for the person with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Peers expect an allegiance to the group. For the child with Asperger’s Syndrome, their allegiance is to the rules. They can be perceived as the class policeman, not a popular role with peers. As regards to the choice of a friend, there is an expectation among their peers of choosing someone of the same sex, age, and values; social conventions not readily recognised by the child with Asperger’s Syndrome. He may have several friends, including girls who are kind and sociable. The friend may be considerably younger or older, or from a different cultural background. Their choice of friend may cause them to be ridiculed, as their peer group may not value their chosen friend.

From the perspective of their peers, the child with Asperger’s Syndrome is “poor” in terms of the currency of friendship. S/he may not wear fashionable clothes or be interested in the popular television programs or merchandise. In return, the child with Asperger’s Syndrome perceives peers as having limited currency for his or her culture, namely knowledge. Peta, a girl who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the weather finds other girls her age boring, as they only want to talk about magazines and make up. She wants to talk about meteorology, which is perceived as equally boring by her peers.

Stage 4 For typical teenagers this stage begins in high school and continues throughout adult years. The difficulties encountered by someone with Asperger’s Syndrome include the practical issues of finding someone with the same interests, experiences and thought processes. They can express strong feelings of loneliness and yearning to have a genuine friend. One adult said, “It’s not that I’m antisocial, It’s that I don’t meet many people that I like”. Another characteristic can be a lack of personal hygiene and an eccentric personal appearance, which obviously has an effect on other people’s perception of them. During this stage there should be an ability and fluency with self disclosure and the concept of self. As Geoff describes, “When there is a social conversation it’s like a different language.” There can be real difficulty in knowing what to say and the translation and communication of the social language.

The author’s experience of psychotherapy with young adults with Asperger’s Syndrome indicates considerable difficulty with the concept of self and introspection. A difficulty conceptualising the thoughts and feelings of others (Theory of Mind skills) can include a difficulty verbalising their own thoughts and feelings. The different way of thinking can include an advanced method of visualisation that means in educational terms, a picture is worth a thousand words. However, as Daniel described, in his mind he has a picture but not the thousand words. The person with Asperger’s Syndrome does experience emotions that would be relevant to include a conversation, but not the vocabulary or eloquence to convey those feelings using speech.

At this stage the person with Asperger’s Syndrome can become acutely aware of their problems and errors in social interaction. This can lead to anxiety and a genuine social phobia. They may seek excessive reassurance that their intention was understood and dwell on potential social errors. One young lady commented, “The worst thing about disappointing yourself is that you never forgive yourself fully”.

The person can be gullible and vulnerable with regard to the misinterpretation of signals and intentions. A friendly remark or gesture may be perceived as meaning more than was intended. A friendly smile or touch during conversation could be conceived as indicating the person would like to progress to a more intimate relationship. Others would know that such actions or gestures were simply signs of an effusive personality. The person with Asperger’s Syndrome can misinterpret the actions and develop an emotional attachment that progresses to a special interest in that person which may be mis-perceived by the others as an infatuation. There can also be desperation to be included in a group, but this can be a group whose values and lifestyle can lead the person to be in conflict with the law. They can act the part, and wear the costume of a marginalised group. Members of that group realise that they are not the genuine article and encourage them to break their strict adherence to their moral and legal code, knowing they are not “street wise” and more likely to be caught by the authorities.

When a friendship becomes a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship there can be misinterpretation of the other person’s feelings and body language. A young man with Asperger’s Syndrome, Corey, had a girlfriend; but the relationship with the girl had ended. His mother was concerned that Corey was not reading the signals and compounding the situation by buying her expensive presents. When I explored Corey’s perception of his girlfriend’s body language, he described someone who expressed the subtle signs of embarrassment. When I asked him how he though she was feeling, he said “ ... sad ... that’s why I buy her presents, to cheer her up”.

If people with Asperger’s Syndrome are unsuccessful in finding a friend, they may develop a friendship with animals that accept them for who they are, whose feelings are more easily understood and unlikely to take offence. Their substitute friends and “family” can be a menagerie of animals. At some point they meet someone who shares some of the characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome. At last they have a friend from their own culture who understands! They are a member of their natural peer group and friendships with other individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome can be remarkably successful and durable.

To the typical young adult, the person with Asperger’s Syndrome can appear to be quite eccentric, requiring considerable patience and understanding. However, in return this person can be a valued friend, renowned for their knowledge, integrity and loyalty. My sister-in-law explains, "Because of the way I talk and my dislike of things that are loud, people don’t always accept me or often judge me before even knowing me. If people with Asperger’s find it hard to integrate into society and socialise, it could have a lot to do with discrimination on the part of others." With mutual understanding there can be genuine, reciprocal friendships, free of ignorance and discrimination.

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Business Booming for Psychics.

posted by Udut, Kenneth on Dec. 28 2008, Updated on Dec. 28 2008

444 People want to know what's happening in the economy, and they turn to one possible source for answers.
The slumping economy has cost many people their jobs. But there appears to be at least one profession that's actually cashing in on the nation's economic woes.

Skepticism often plagues the business of fortune telling, but in these tough economic times, many are putting apprehension aside in the hopes of seeing what's in the cards for their economic futures.

Astrologer Randy Goldberg says he's gone from seeing two to three clients a day to as many as nine.

Love is no longer top query. "They're curious about what's going to happen to the market, what the economic future of the U.S. is looking like in the next couple of years, they want to know about the job market," said Goldberg.

Donna Marie Artuso is one of Goldberg's clients. She says she's well aware of how psychics are perceived. But after being laid off recently, she says she's found comfort in Goldberg's latest prediction.

"Randy thinks I'm going to re-invent myself and have a new career," said Artuso.

The American Association of Psychics agrees the slumping economy has sparked a noticeable increase in business.

Psychology professor Dr. Stanley Krippner says he's not surprised by the psychic business boom.

"There's psychological and anthropological literature on this topic showing that people do go to psychics more and more frequently during times of economic distress or national emergency," said Dr. Krippner

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cold reading

posted by Simplify3 on Aug. 27 2007, Updated on Oct. 8 2009

444 Psychics, Mediums, Mentalists, Palm Readers, tarot-cards, astrology all use this technique. Some believe it themselves, some know what they're doing.

cold reading

"In the course of a successful reading, the psychic may provide most of the words, but it is the client that provides most of the meaning and all of the significance." --Ian Rowland (2000: 60)

Note: to understand cold reading you must also understand subjective validation. I recommend you read the subjective validation entry before continuing.

Cold reading refers to a set of techniques used by professional manipulators to get a subject to behave in a certain way or to think that the cold reader has some sort of special ability that allows him to "mysteriously" know things about the subject. Cold reading goes beyond the usual tools of manipulation: suggestion and flattery. In cold reading, salespersons, hypnotists, advertising pros, faith healers, con men, and some therapists bank on their subject's inclination to find more meaning in a situation than there actually is. The desire to make sense out of experience can lead us to many wonderful discoveries, but it can also lead us to many follies. The manipulator knows that his mark will be inclined to try to make sense out of whatever he is told, no matter how farfetched or improbable. He knows, too, that people are generally self-centered, that we tend to have unrealistic views of ourselves, and that we will generally accept claims about ourselves that reflect not how we are or even how we really think we are but how we wish we were or think we should be. He also knows that for every several claims he makes about you that you reject as being inaccurate, he will make one that meets with your approval; and he knows that you are likely to remember the hits he makes and forget the misses.

Thus, a good manipulator can provide a reading of a total stranger, which will make the stranger feel that the manipulator possesses some special power. For example, Bertram Forer has never met you, yet he offers the following cold reading of you:

Some of your aspirations tend to be pretty unrealistic. At times you are extroverted, affable, sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary and reserved. You have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. You pride yourself on being an independent thinker and do not accept others' opinions without satisfactory proof. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety, and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. Disciplined and controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside.

Your sexual adjustment has presented some problems for you. While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them. You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not turned to your advantage. You have a tendency to be critical of yourself. You have a strong need for other people to like you and for them to admire you.

Here's another reading that you might find fairly accurate about you:

People close to you have been taking advantage of you. Your basic honesty has been getting in your way. Many opportunities that you have had offered to you in the past have had to be surrendered because you refuse to take advantage of others. You like to read books and articles to improve your mind. In fact, if you're not already in some sort of personal service business, you should be. You have an infinite capacity for understanding people's problems and you can sympathize with them. But you are firm when confronted with obstinacy or outright stupidity. Law enforcement would be another field you understand. Your sense of justice is quite strong.

The last one was from astrologer Sidney Omarr. He's never even met you and yet he knows so much about you (Flim-Flam!, 61). The first one was taken by Forer from a newsstand astrology book.

The selectivity of the human mind is always at work. We pick and choose what data we will remember and what we will give significance to. In part, we do so because of what we already believe or want to believe. In part, we do so in order to make sense out of what we are experiencing. We are not manipulated simply because we are gullible or suggestible, or just because the signs and symbols of the manipulator are vague or ambiguous. Even when the signs are clear and we are skeptical, we can still be manipulated. In fact, it may even be the case that particularly bright persons are more likely to be manipulated when the language is clear and they are thinking logically. To make the connections that the manipulator wants you to make, you must be thinking logically.

Not all cold readings are done by malicious manipulators. Some readings are done by astrologers, graphologists, tarot readers, and psychics who genuinely believe they have paranormal powers. They are as impressed by their correct predictions or "insights" as are their clients. We should remember, however, that just as scientists can be wrong in their predictions, so pseudoscientists and quacks can sometimes be right in theirs.

There seem to be three common factors in these kinds of readings. One factor involves fishing for details. The psychic says something at once vague and suggestive, e.g., "I'm getting a strong feeling about January here." If the subject responds, positively or negatively, the psychic's next move is to play off the response. E.g., if the subject says, "I was born in January" or my mother died in January" then the psychic says something like "Yes, I can see that," anything to reinforce the idea that the psychic was more precise that he or she really was. If the subject responds negatively, e.g., "I can't think of anything particularly special about January," the psychic might reply, "Yes, I see that you've suppressed a memory about it. You don't want to be reminded of it. Something painful in January. Yes, I feel it. It's in the lower back [fishing]...oh, now it's in the heart [fishing]...umm, there seems to be a sharp pain in the head [fishing]...or the neck [fishing]." If the subject gives no response, the psychic can leave the area, having firmly implanted in everybody's mind that the psychic really did 'see' something but the subject's suppression of the event hinders both the psychic and the subject from realizing the specifics of it. If the subject gives a positive response to any of the fishing expeditions, the psychic follows up with more of "I see that very clearly, now. Yes, the feeling in the heart is getting stronger."

Fishing is a real art and a good mentalist carries a variety of bait in his memory. For example, professional mentalist and author of one of the best books on cold reading, Ian Rowland (2002), says that he has committed to memory such things as the most common male and female names and a list of items likely to be lying about the house such as an old calendar, a photo album, newspaper clippings, and so on. Rowland also works on certain themes that are likely to resonate with most people who consult psychics: love, money, career, health, and travel. Since cold reading can occur in many contexts, there are several tactics Rowland covers. But whether one is working with astrology, graphology, palmistry, psychometry, rumpology, or Tarot cards, or whether one is channeling messages from the dead as many mediums claim to be doing, there are specific techniques one can use to impress clients with ones ability to know things that seem to require paranormal powers.

Another characteristic of these readings is that many claims are put in vague statement form ("I'm getting a warm feeling in the crotch area") or in the form of a question ("I sense that you have strong feelings about someone in this room. Am I right?") Most, but not all, of the specific claims are provided by the subject himself.

Some experts on cold reading emphasize paying attention to body language and such things as the dress of the client.

The reader begins with generalities which are applicable to large segments of the population. He or she pays careful attention to reactions: words, body language, skin color, breathing patterns, dilation or contraction of the pupils of the eye, and more. The subject of the reading will usually convey important information to the reader: sometimes in words, and sometimes in bodily reactions to the reading.

From observation, the reader will feed back to the subject what the latter wants to hear. That is the overwhelming guiding principle of the mystics: Tell 'em what they want to hear. That will keep them coming back for more (Steiner 1989: 21).

Also, those occasions where the psychic has guessed wrongly about the subject are likely to be forgotten by the subject and the audience. What will be remembered are the seeming hits, giving the overall impression of "wow, how else could she have known all this stuff unless she is psychic." This same phenomenon of suppression of contrary evidence and selective thinking is so predominant in every form of psychic demonstration that it seems to be related to the old psychological principle: a man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.

cold reading and contacting the dead

Many cold readings do not involve fishing, vagueness, or wild guessing. The key to a successful cold reading is the willingness, ability, and effort of the client to find meaning and significance in the words of the psychic, astrologer, palm reader, medium, or the like. A medium claiming to get messages from the dead might throw out a string of ambiguous images to the client. Father figure, the month of May, the Big-H, and H with an N sound, Henna, Henry, M, maybe Michael, teaching, books, maybe something published. This list could mean different things to different people. To some people it probably has no meaning. The client will either connect these dots or she won't. Clients of mediums who claim to get messages from the dead are very highly motivated clients. Not only do they have an implicit desire for immortality, they have an explicit desire to contact a dear loved one who has died. The odds are in favor of the medium that the client will find meaning in many different sets of ambiguous words and phrases. If she connects just a couple of them, she may be satisfied that the medium has made a connection to a dead relative. If she doesn't find any meaning or significance in the string, the medium still wins. He can try another string. He can insist that there's meaning here but the client just isn't trying hard enough to figure it out. He can suggest that some uninvited spirit guests are confusing the issue. It's a win-win situation for the medium because the burden is not on him but on the client to find the meaning and significance of the words.

Successful cold readings are sometimes a testament to the skills of the reader, but they are always a testament to the ability of human beings to make sense out of the most disparate of data. The skill of cold reading can be honed and turned into an art, as it is by professionals who work as mediums, palm readers, astrologers, and the like. Many of these professionals may not even realize what they are doing and attribute their high rate of client satisfaction to the truth of astrology or palmistry or to their own psychic powers. They may come to believe in the reality of the spirit world by becoming convinced that meaningful signals from beyond sometimes rise above the noise of daily life and are detected by skilled mediums. Some of these professionals know what they are doing and they deceive the public, if not themselves. Other professionals (mentalists) know what they are doing but they tell their clients or audiences after their performances that they need no paranormal or supernatural powers to accomplish their feats.

In evaluating cold reading, it is a common mistake to focus mainly on the reader rather than the sitter (the one for whom the reading is done). Gary Schwartz seems to have done this in his work that led up to the book The Afterlife Experiments: Breakthrough Scientific Evidence of Life After Death. He seems to think that if he can eliminate trickery, deceit, and fraud on the part of the mediums in his experiments, then he has eliminated cold or hot reading as a viable explanation for the validation by sitters of their readings. He makes this point throughout his book and emphasizes it in a paper he and others published in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research:

Because the sitter-silent condition provides no verbal/semantic feedback to the mediums as well as minimal non-verbal feedback (save for possible sighs or breathing information from the sitters), the sitter-silent condition eliminates the plausibility of 'cold reading' as a probable explanation for the findings. For this reason, the paper reports the data from the sitter-silent condition. These form the most compelling evidence for anomalous information retrieval.*

The sitter-silent condition (a.k.a. the Russek Protocol) lets the medium do a reading within hearing distance of the sitter but does not permit the medium to ask any questions or the sitter to make any responses during the reading.

It is evident from Forer's work and from tests done on college students who are given personality or astrological readings that it is not necessary to interrogate the client to get him or her to find meaning and significance in complete sentences that were not generated on the basis of any personal knowledge. It also seems evident that many people should be able to find meaning and significance in various strings of initials, names, descriptions of places, and so on. And, while it is true that some mediums use trickery, such as having accomplices in the audience or having detective work done on the sitter, it is not necessary. What many saw Rosemary Althea do at a "psychic reading" in a Penn & Teller Bullshit! episode, for example, is not required for a successful reading. Her agent brought two couples to the reading, both of whom had lost a child to suicide (guess what came through in their readings) and she chatted up a young man before the reading began who told her that he wanted to connect with his mother (guess who she connected to during the reading). (Watch it here on YouTube.) In the same Bullshit! episode, Mark Edward (no relation to John Edward) did a successful reading for a woman without using any hot reading tricks. But even his method of fishing around for something the sitter can connect to isn't necessary for a successful reading. The sitter is the key to the success of a reading by a medium and different mediums use different methods.

Successful readings that involve contact with dead loved ones are a testament to the wonderful capacity of our species to find meaning in just about any image, word, phrase, or string of such items. We can find Jesus in a burnt tortilla, Mother Teresa in a cinnamon bun, the Virgin Mary in a water stain or in the discoloration on the bark of a tree, or Vladimir Lenin in the soap scum on a shower curtain (pareidolia). We can see the devil in a puddle of water and hear him tempting us (apophenia). It is the same complex human brain that makes it possible for us to find these illusory meanings that allows us to write and appreciate multifaceted poetry and to discover real patterns in nature. This wonderful brain of ours, the product of tens of thousands of years of evolution, also makes it possible for us to deceive ourselves and others. Even more wonderful is the fact that this brain of ours can be used to try to understand the many ways we go right and wrong in our attempts to make sense out of life and death.

[Note: Some people use the expression warm reading to refer to using Barnum statements or the like, e.g., Peter Huston. Ian Rowland, Bob Steiner, and Ray Hyman consider such statements as part of a cold reading. Others use warm reading to refer to "utilizing known principles of psychology that apply to nearly everyone," e.g., Michael Shermer. What Shermer gives as an example of warm reading, Ray Hyman and Ian Rowland would give as an example of cold reading. Many grieving people will wear a piece of jewelry that has a connection to their loved one. To claim to get some sort of message about a piece of jewelry belonging to the deceased while doing a reading will often shock a client, who will make the connection and take your message as a sign you have made contact with the other side.]

See also apophenia, communal reinforcement, confirmation bias, hot reading, medium, pareidolia, psychic, selective thinking, self-deception, subjective validation, warm reading, and wishful thinking.

further reading

Dickson, D.H., & Kelly, I.W. "The 'Barnum effect' in personality assessment: A review of the literature," Psychological Reports, 57, 367-382, (1985).

Hyman, Ray. "'Cold Reading': How to Convince Strangers That You Know All About Them," The Skeptical Inquirer Spring/Summer 1977.

Hyman, Ray. The Elusive Quarry : A Scientific Appraisal of Psychical Research (Prometheus Books, 1989).

Marks, David and Richard Kammann, The Psychology of the Psychic. 2nd ed. (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2000).

Randi, James. Flim-Flam! (Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books,1982).

Randi, James. Video. "Secrets of the Psychics." James Randi reveals the secrets of the psychics and self-deceptive workings of the human mind.

Rowland, Ian. The Full Facts Book of Cold Reading, 3rd. ed (2000).

Steiner, Robert A. Don't Get Taken! - Bunco and Bunkum Exposed - How to Protect Yourself (Wide-Awake Books 1989).

Note: If you really want to learn about cold reading do not buy Basil Hoffman's Cold Reading and How to Be Good at It. As one disappointed buyer at notes: "this book is an instructional for actors who are going to auditions." Read Hyman, Rowland, or Steiner.

©copyright 2005
Robert Todd Carroll

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Cooperation beats out to competitiveness

posted by Simplify3 on Apr. 25 2008, Updated on Apr. 25 2008

444 Interesting viewpoint on the nature of cooperation, usually associated with nerds, geeks and the like.


1999 William J. Beaty


Here's an interesting viewpoint I've encountered:

"Humans are just evolved animals. The only way to succeed is Darwin's way; to compete with the other animals for scarce resources; to strive for personal strength and a selfish viewpoint. The more ruthless and predatory you behave towards others, the better you are at the game of life, where only the strong survive. Whether competing for the best food, jobs, mates, or environmental niches, anything goes, and the alternative is failure and death. Altruism is stupid, and "Nice" is a sign of weakness. If you aren't a WINNER, why, you must be a LOSER, and the human race is better off without you. It's not a question of good versus evil, because the main rule is "survival of the strong", and the unfit people deserve to die, that's how the human race gets stronger. Never coddle the weaklings, or you will turn humankind itself into a population of LOSERS."

While the above might be a severe distortion of the Neodarwinian viewpoint, I find that many science-oriented people seem to believe it. Evolutionary theory prior to 1970 seems to say that "evil" is the best policy, where "evil" means self-centered behavior, lying, treachery, stealing of scarce resources from others, eliminating your competitors in any way possible, etc.

Guess what? Contemporary science is in the process of learning that this philosophy is a load of garbage. Nature doesn't work that way, and animals don't act like that. We are discovering that cooperation is one of the most powerful evolutionary forces around. We are finding that creativity wins over strength. In the battle to survive, creatures who collaborate with each other can burst ahead of the selfish and brutal "WINNERS." Altruists who team up and work to create the best food, mates, or environmental niches, are the ones who succeed.

( So the Neodarwinists... are wrong? Heresy! )

The discovery of creatures who create their own resources and who cooperate with each other was earlier voiced by Dr. Lynn Margulis, who saw that living cells are actually small bacterial societies, like miniature cities. In these "societies", brutal competition is excluded. The creatures create their own environment, and teamwork is the norm. Once this sort of cooperation was seen in one instance in Nature, it suddenly started popping up all over the place. Or maybe it was always there, but our belief in the need for brutal Darwinian "competition" made us blind to it.

Evolution in Virtual Worlds

In the last two decades we have finally gained the ability to speed up evolution and watch it happen before our eyes. In the new field of Artificial Life, or "A-life," researchers create little computer-generated worlds, fill them with a variety of simplified and dynamically-mutating creatures, and set them loose to see what occurs. What typically occurs is competition. ...then parasitism ...then symbiosis. Artifical lifeforms discover teamwork all by themselves! Competitive creatures die off, are replaced with "cooperators," and altruism rears its ugly head. The main rule of life is NOT the survival of the strong at the expense of the weak. Instead the rule often seems to be "survival of the reciprocal altruists." Creatures who collaborate in order to reach mutual goals are the ones who thrive. Creatures who band together to form powerful meta-creatures are the ones who conquer the world. It might be stretching things a bit, but where Evolution is concerned, it's not too wrong to say that selflessness wins over selfishness... that Good conquers Evil.

The Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma

The mathematical field of GAME THEORY supplies a simple model of life called "The Prisoner's Dilemma." The simplified version: when you are in a fix, is it best to betray your friends in order to save your own ass? A competitive/predatory mindset says yes. But what happens if you betray your friends not just once, but over and over? Everyone turns their back on you! This is the lesson of the "Iterated Prisoners' Dilemma." As a mathematical problem, the Prisoners' Dilemma has been around nearly forever, but only recently did anyone start thinking about what would happen if the process occurs more than once, so that your fellow creatures can find out about your hidden strategy. If you put yourself first above others, and if you never cooperate with others to reach mutual goals, then this is valuable "survival information" which can be used by your fellow creatures. The evil ones among a group are noticed. Evolution contains morality! "Good" computer-creatures will discover and turn away from their treacherous and self-protective fellows, and the "evil" ones become less numerous, maybe even dying off. Whenever the other creatures can see your behavior and remember it, then a life of pure selfishness does not pay.

The whole thing is very clear in hindsight. But if we were to believe that all resources are inherently scarce, and that Darwinian Competition is the only way to play the game, then we might never notice such an obvious pattern. And if our own lives have been "nasty, brutish, and short", then perhaps we'll be moved to intentionally close our eyes to any evidence that suggests life need not be that way.

Tit for Tat

Some hobbyists and researchers pit their artificial computer creatures against each other. They participate in war-games. What kind of creature wins these games? Do the strong survive? No, unless you count "moral strength" as being important. A very successful creature is a simple one known as Tit-for-Tat. When dealing with other creatures, Tit-for-tat is trusting. It first assumes that the other creature is unselfish and "good," and so it attempts to cooperate. Then, after the first interaction, Tit-for-tat remembers the behavior of its opponent, and will turn their behavior back against them. If you screw with a Tit-for-tat creature, then Tit-for tat will screw you right back the next time you meet it. But if you treat Tit-for-tat nice, then Tit-for-tat will remember this when next you meet. However, there is an additional and interesting effect. Because Tit-for-tat always gives other creatures the benefit of the doubt on the first meeting, teams made of Tit-for-tat creatures don't try to hurt each other. In the artificial battlefield, Tit-for-tat societies can often grow large and wipe out their bad-ass "Meanie" opponents.

Do you think that life is like a war, where you must screw others or they will screw you first, and where the biggest, baddest assholes are the winners? This is the philosophy of the Zero-Sum Game. In a Zero-Sum Game there is only one prize. In a Zero-Sum game you're either a winner or a loser, and the opponents never cooperate with each other and share the mutual winnings. In other words, the only way to win is to steal success from others. That's the competitive mindset reduced to its purest form.

Looks like this viewpoint is wrong. Real life is not a Zero-Sum Game where the strong Winners must conquer the weaker Losers. Instead, life is fotne more like a mountaineering expedition: everyone is on the same team, everyone cooperates in reaching a mutual goal, and competitive behavior between the team members is both stupid and dangerous.

Once "cooperation" becomes part of the mechanisms behind evolution, honor and personal integrity become like physical forces which bend the life-paths of trillions of creatures upwards into mutual success. Treachery, jealousy, and self-protection become like anti-life which, while they may temporarily aid a single creature, they drive all of life-kind downwards away from global success. The central rule is not "the strong survive", instead the central rule is to promote the spread of life in general, and also to recognize and ostracise any treacherous teammates who promote themselves while hurting everyone else.

Well, it certainly did take modern science almost a century to discover what most people knew all along!



  • The Blind Watchmaker, R. Dawkins, we're all just byproducts of
    competition between selfish genes. (see other Dawkins books too!)

Desire for approval and recognition is a healthy motive, but the desire to be acknowledged as better, stronger, or more intelligent than a fellow being or fellow scholar easily leads to an excessively egoistic psychological adjustment, which may become injurious for the individual and for the community.
- Albert Einstein


ZOOLAND Artificial Life Resource
The famous/infamous (delete one) Santa Fe Institute brings us this brainmeltingly extensive collection of links to sites involving Artificial Life: "a-life." Zerosum breakage and titfortat dealings. Simulations/animations and applet-based growings. Fractals and fishtanks & emergent-boid wings. These are a few of my favorite things! :)
The Altruist Survivor
What's wrong with Evolution?
Chaos, cheating and cooperation: potential solutions to the Prisoner's Dilemma
FAQ: self-organizing systems

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Facebook | Help Super Ryan meet Ellen

posted by Udut, Kenneth on May 26 2010, Updated on May 26 2010

555 Check out Super-Ryan - kid who wants to meet Ellen Degeneris -
Super RyanSuper Ryan Help Super Ryan get on the Ellen Show - if they get enough "Like" the ppl at the Ellen show might take notice and make him a guest. His shinanigans made me laugh and should help raise awareness of Aspergers, Autism and Hyperlexia. -Ken, webmaster of naplesplus

Here's a quote from the Facebook page:

" My 7 year old son has Asperger Syndrome, AD/HD and Hyperlexia. He is a truly amazing kid with a near photographic memory and a walking encyclopedia of knowledge. Ellen Degeneres is always looking to meet smart, funny and talented kids. I really think she is going to love him. Please become a fan of the page and tell all of your friends.

-- Facebook | Help Super Ryan meet Ellen

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How To Do Better In Loud, Crazy Group Conversations

posted by Simplify3 on Oct. 14 2009, Updated on Oct. 14 2009

How To Do Better In Loud, Crazy Group Conversations

Ah, the bane of my reserved existence for so many years: the loud, chaotic group conversation. I think most people can do fine in a more orderly group discussion, one where people stick to a topic, let each other finish their points, listen respectfully, and add their own input to further enlighten everyone else. But put a less social person in a more crazy conversation and they're likely to shut down. That's what I did. Everyone else would be talking over each other and I'd just sit there and stew.

Loud, crazy group conversations usually have these characteristics:

  • There's a hectic, impatient, excitable vibe in the air as everyone wants to get their two cents in
  • Several people are often talking at once
  • Interruptions are common
  • Everyone is talking loudly, and the volume gradually increases as people try to talk over each other to get their point across
  • The conversation doesn't stay on one topic for all that long
  • Conversational threads can easily be get derailed
  • Immaturity, stupid jokes, and showing off are fairly common

Of course, there's also a middle ground between a totally loud, insane, free-for-all, and a completely calm, orderly discussion. Some of what I talk about in this article could apply to this area as well. Here's my advice on how to get more out of these situations:

Accept these types of conversations for what they are and what they aren't

Reflecting on all the times I've been irritated by these chaotic, boisterous conversations, I think what bothered me most is that they could have been something else, but they weren't. They could have been more polite and organized, but they weren't. They could have been more intellectual and stimulating, but they weren't. They could have been quiet and easy to follow, but they weren't. The other people could have let me get a word in edgewise, but they didn't.

But that's not what these conversations are like. They're technically on the same continuum as more restrained, sophisticated conversation, but they're their own animal. By nature they're loud, scattered, inconsiderate, and 'dog eat dog'. I realized there was no point in getting pouty over them because they weren't what I wanted them to be.

Conversations like this are more for fun, cheap laughs, light entertainment, socializing for its own sake, and enjoying the company and 'essence' of all your friends at once. There's also aspects of them that can be an acquired taste. Being in the middle of the vortex of noise and chaos can be energizing and stimulating, and it can be something of a cheap thrill to try to hold your own in it.

Accept you're not going to have an in-depth, logical discussion

Just to emphasize the point above. Don't go into these types of conversations expecting them to be a certain way and you won't be disappointed. Sometimes the conversation will be a discussion of a certain issue, but because everyone is chomping at the bit to talk, they're only going to be so orderly. People will raise their voices. People will talk over each other. People will cut you off to make a counterpoint, etc. At other times these conversations are going to be more random jokes and stories than anything. The more people in the mix, the more scattered they're going to be.

Try your best to tolerate the inherent annoyances of the situation

These conversations are usually loud. They can create a maddening din as everyone talks at once. It can be confusing and frustrating to try and follow every sub-discussion at once. One or more people may be derailing every tangent with retarded jokes. Faced with these things in the past, I became annoyed and exasperated. I often just gave up and shut down. "God these people are irritating..." That was easier than, say, trying to make out what two people were saying as five other people were squawking at the same time. I still kind of wince in pain when faced with the sound of a table of people all talking together.

This isn't some scientific statement, but I'd guess some less naturally social people are more sensitive to the discomfort and irritations of this situation. Still, the first step to doing better in these conversations is to suck it up and try to tolerate all the noise and stimulation so you can make something out of it. No matter how frustrating and hard it seems to keep focused, try your best to pay attention and follow the madness. Going back to the first and second points, don't feel resentful because everyone isn't being more keyed-down. That's just the way these things are.

Realize if you want to get your speech time in, you pretty much have to grab it for yourself

These conversations are more cut throat. Nobody owes you anything in them. Not that they're purposely heartless, it's just that everyone is excited and wants to talk, and they'd rather it be them than you. If you want to say something you've got to fight to get your share of the air space. Waiting patiently for the others to recognize you have something to say may not work. Trying to get your rightful time in the spotlight can be part of the fun though:

  • Interrupting someone or cutting them off
  • Raising your voice to be heard over the din
  • Making it obvious with your body language that you want to talk after the current speaker is finished
  • Talking quickly to get your point out before someone cuts you off
  • Using gestures to indicate to other people that you're not done talking yet and not to cut you off
  • Being the first one out of the gate when one person finishes talking and you and several others want to jump in with their contributions
  • When you and several other people want to start talking at once, raising your voice to overpower them
  • Making a statement such as, "I want to say something after him."
  • Repeating the start of your statement several times until you're given the floor.

All these things are much more acceptable in loud group conversations than others. You can still go overboard with interrupting people or drowning them out, but if you don't do it too obnoxiously it's accepted as part of the package. No one takes it too personally if you do stuff like this in the heat of the moment.

All these things can make these conversations more like a game than other types. You don't just need something you want to talk about, you have to figure out how to get it out there. Often there are some people who are louder and more dominating in the conversation than others. If you want to talk you have to 'beat' them. I'll admit it's a twisted sort of internal logic, but just play along.

Alter your communication to be more effective for these interactions

You can't talk the way you normally would in these conversations. If you do you'll likely get cut off. You've got to make your messages quicker and more to the point. Once you've gotten the spotlight you've only got so much time before someone else will want it, so don't ramble on too much. Figure out what you want to say then get it out succinctly. And say it with enough volume and force that no one will cut you off. It also helps to zest up your statements to make them more entertaining, so people will be likely to want to hear them.

A mistake quieter, or less game, people make is they won't actively try to jump into the conversation, but eventually everyone will see they have something they want to say and give them a chance to contribute. People usually aren't total jackasses in this situation after all. "Ah, I finally have my chance", the quiet person thinks and proceeds to launch into a meandering three minute dissertation. Unless that person is really venerated, someone is going to get antsy and cut them off. Giving the quieter person a break is one thing, but they don't get a free pass to babble on forever. These conversations aren't the place for long bouts of patient, respectful listening.

Don't get too attached to your own agenda and put the good of the conversation as a whole first

Any time lots of people are talking, you have to accept that the conversation may veer away from where you'd like it to go. If you'd like it to be about x, but it's gone off on a tangent about j, then go with it. Don't try to shoehorn it back towards x. If you had something you really wanted to say about x, but the two last people who talked changed the subject, then when it's your turn to speak, abandon your old thread and contribute to the new topic. It's usually not the best idea to try to go all the way back to x just because you want to get your clever point out.

Often, when I'd go into a conversation I'd have an agenda like, "I would like to talk a lot and show people how smart and knowledgeable I am" or "I would like to talk about this particular topic because I just read a book about it and want to discuss it." I still do that, it's only natural really. Still, I think the better play is to go with the flow and do what makes the conversation the best for everyone involved. To get all abstract, the conversation has a life of its own beyond your own wants and needs. Contribute things that make it entertaining and interesting for the others as a whole. Say things that move it into good territory. Not that everyone else will be doing this, but I think it's preferable to trying to make it all about you.

Start a side conversation if you can

Sometimes a group conversation will obviously involve everyone talking together. At other times it's more that many people are gathered in the same area, but it's okay if little side conversations break off. If you're at a table of six people, and four of them are talking about something you're not interested in, you can try starting a new conversation with the one other person. Don't worry about talking as others are speaking, that's fine is it's apparent you're chatting to someone on the side.

The other side: Scoring points by controlling the madness

As you've just read, these conversations can get a bit hairy and out of control at times. To a point you have to go along with their unwritten rules, but you can also demonstrate good social skills by not getting too carried away and helping other people along:

  • Help the quieter or less eager people in the group get a chance to talk by signaling to the others that they something they'd like to say.
  • If you can tell someone really wants to make a point, restrain that sometimes irresistible urge to interrupt.
  • If a less forceful person makes a point and it's falling on deaf ears because other people are distracted, direct the conversation towards them (e.g., "Sorry, what's that Derek? You were talking about...")
  • If you're good at getting your speech time, then don't be selfish and ease off a bit to give other people a chance to talk.

And those are my tips. I have a feeling some of the readers out there are even less keen than before to tackle this kind of discussion. Yeah, it really is an acquired taste. Once you get past the initial, "Holy crap this is annoying" barrier and get a handle on how they work, you can start to enjoy them on their own terms.

Posted via email from simplify3's posterous

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How to learn anything new quickly.

posted by Udut, Kenneth on Feb. 26 2012, Updated on Feb. 26 2012

All the steps to learn anything about anything.
How to learn anything new quickly:

1) Find an expert (Real Life (tm) or Youtube. Suspend your disbelief and trust their word as Gold. 2) Have them show you what they do / what they know / what you want to learn. 3) Whenever the smallest thing confuses you - a word or phrase you don't understand - a part of the process that doesn't make sense: Stop them immediately and ask questions, measure, try it out, look up more information on Wikipedia, find diagrams, other explanations of the same thing worded differently. Do not continue until you have grasped it, whether it takes you a few seconds, a minute, or a day. If it is a point that you need to feel, touch or taste, then set up an experiment, take something apart, try to put something together - really GRASP it completely to your fullest satisfaction. Put it in your own words, find analogies to other things you already know about. If you continue before you are absolutely sure you understand and fully comprehend something, you will find yourself slipping further and further before finally, you give up on the topic saying, "it's too difficult". Don't. See it through and don't let it be boring to you. Find a 'hook" that makes it interesting for you. 4) When you do fully comprehend a point, allow them to continue (or press "play"). 5) Repeat steps 2-4 until you are satisfied about the topic. 6) Teach somebody else what you have learned as soon as you can. This CEMENTS what you have learned in your mind, for you learn more by TEACHING someone else than by learning it all just for yourself. Learning comes from understanding, sharing and feedback. That's a fact.

I applied it to 'Dissecting an Engine" video. Watched a few seconds. Any term I did not know fully or understand, i looked up. When I "got it", i reworded it, found an illustrative picture, and explained it on my status update on Facebook. 'i learn, you learn'. That 1/2 hr video I "digested" in tiny 20-30 second increments on and off throughout the day, while doing my regular things, which made for a comfortable pace of learning new material and didn't interfere with other things.

Example: If you know a cook whose recipe you adore (and they're willing), ask them to show you how to make it. Now, people who cook for a long time don't usually measure everything - they just have a 'feel' for the right amounts.

Let's say it's a baker, and she grabs a handful of flour and is about to toss it into a bowl. Before it goes into the bowl, STOP HER and measure the flour and write it down. let her continue. she pours something else in the palm of her hand. Before she tosses it in, STOP HER, measure it, then let her continue. Keep that going and you'll end up with a recipe - FROM AN EXPERT - that becomes REPEATABLE. HER INTUITION is ENCODED in the amounts she uses for her recipe - and while you may not gain her INTUITION of the proper amounts to you, you WILL be able to make the same recipe.

-Kenneth Udut, naples, florida, feb 26, 2012

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If you fall down, get back up. Depressed? Watch this.

posted by Udut, Kenneth on Feb. 6 2009, Updated on Feb. 6 2009

555 Nick Vujicic faces obstacles every day of his life. It's not how you start, it's how you finish.

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Irrational thoughts by rational people (repost)

posted by Simplify3 on May 2 2008, Updated on May 2 2008

Here are 10 irrational thoughts that rational people often fall victim to at one point or another:

-  Mistakes are never acceptable. If I make one, it means that I am incompetent.

-  When somebody disagrees with me, it is a personal attack against me.

-  To be content in life, I must be liked by all people.

-  My true value as an individual depends on what others people think of me.

-  If I am not involved in an intimate relationship, I am completely alone.

-  There is no grey area. Success is black and failure is white.

-  Nothing ever turns out the way you want it to.

-  If the outcome was not perfect, it was a complete failure.

-  I am in absolute control of my life. If something bad happens, it is my fault.

-  The past always repeats itself. If it was true then, it must be true now.

Your life will be more productive if you learn to avoid this type of negative thinking.

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Jamb result checker - Just Improve Your Understanding Now!

posted by Athmorque Rque on Feb. 15, Updated on Feb. 15

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Lonely, feeling isolated - what to do?

posted by Simplify3 on Sep. 12 2008, Updated on Sep. 11 2009

555 Reasons why you are lonely. What you can do about it.

Feeling isolated

* How might this affect me?
* What causes me to be like this?
* What things in my life contribute to feelings of loneliness?

How might this affect me?

Everyone experiences loneliness from time to time. It comes in many forms. It often arises when you have little contact with people but it can also occur when you feel you have little importance or value in other people's lives. Or when the people you are with see things very differently from you.

If you feel lonely for a long time it can bring with it a deep and long-term feeling of thinking everything is useless and a sensation of separateness or isolation (thinking you are separate or different from everyone else).

Loneliness and depression seem to be very closely linked. Sometimes loneliness can be confused with depression. Depression can also bring about feelings of loneliness. If you feel overwhelmed with loneliness or depression seek help.

Remember you are not alone and that help is available to you.

What causes me to be like this?

There are many different reasons why you might feel isolated or lonely. Here are some examples.

The way things are where you live

* Physical or geographic isolation can separate you from other people
* Discrimination or harassment because of your sexuality, race, gender, religious beliefs, intellectual or physical ability, looks etc. This can make you feel separate from others
* Moving to a new place. This can be especially difficult if people speak a different language, have different customs or cultural expectations to you
* Lack of opportunities to "get involved". Things like high rates of unemployment, lack of money, having children (being a young parent you may also face undue criticism or judgement) or lack of affordable recreation places in a community can mean you spend most of your time at home
* You live with a controlling or abusive parent, adult or partner. They might force you to stay home, tell you who you can and can't be friends with or drive away your friends and family with their abuse
* You have been removed from your parents by the courts, your parents have divorced or you (or a parent) have moved away.

The way you think about yourself and other people

* You feel you have little to share with others – so you don't bother!
* You don't like yourself – it's hard to believe others will like you if you don't!
* You criticise or judge yourself – we can be our own harshest critics!
* You don't trust people – this can be especially difficult if you've had an experience of abuse or violence. We have topics on these for further information
* You are embarrassed or ashamed of yourself – you might feel guilty, dirty, ugly or stupid. These feelings tell you that you are not a worthwhile person and that no-one will want to care for you or be your friend. These feelings too can be the result of an experience of abuse, harassment or forms of violence. We have topics on these for further information
* You feel "different to other people". This comes with living in a world where certain "ways of being" have come to be expected. You might feel isolated if you cannot celebrate or show part of your identity. For example if you are gay, have personal religious or spiritual beliefs or because of your skin colour
* You have a mental health condition that makes it difficult for you to get out or mix with other people.

What things in my life contribute to feelings of loneliness?

Loneliness and health

Loneliness can become a health problem when it is in your life for a long time and joins forces with things like:

* Depression
* Self harming or suicidal thoughts
* Drugs and alcohol
* Anxiety or fear
* Anger
* Violence
* Prostitution
* Criminal Activity
* Mental illness.

These are all things that many of us come into contact with at different times of our life. They become a problem when they become stronger with the help of loneliness.

For example some people smoke or use drugs or alcohol because they feel lonely. Sometimes it can become something they need all the time. Not only can this reduce possibilities of making new friends, it can mean losing the ones they had. A turn off for new friends is the smelly clothes, bad breath and dull looking skin that cigarette smoking can do to you. This can lead to feeling lonelier. The vicious circle takes control and they lose control of your life.

Long term loneliness can become a real health problem for many people.

What help is available to me?
Making links with others

While there are many things that contribute to loneliness the hardest thing to do is identify and face how you contribute to your loneliness. The first thing you might like to ask yourself is:
What do I do to keep loneliness in my life?

For example:

* I stay home by myself all the time. I don't go out anywhere
* I let myself believe I am ugly, stupid, boring and no one will like me
* I tell myself no one understands me. In fact, no one will ever understand me
* I spend all my money on dope/alcohol and then can't afford to do anything else
* I always get scared and don't try any thing new. That includes meeting new people or doing new things
* I let other people boss me around and tell me: who I am, and what I can do
* I tell myself I am a black sheep and I will never fit in
* I think there is something wrong with me.

Once you have looked at what you do to contribute you can look at the things you might like to change.

Some people like to write a list or a plan about what they will do. Set yourself some goals. Think about what you do and don't have control over (e.g. you can't change what other people do, you can change what you do!). Pin it up. Add to it. Take things away (it is always OK to change your mind). Try some new things out. Take a risk.

It can take time and energy to replace "loneliness" with involvement and "isolation" with a sense of community. Loneliness can be a big and overwhelming thing. Big and overwhelming things don't disappear easily. The way they do disappear is if you chip at them bit by bit.

Taking off little bits at a time can slowly help you to feel better.

More guidance

Here are some ideas of what other people have done to change loneliness by involvement and isolation by joining a community.

* Skills like assertiveness, conflict resolution, negotiation and problem solving can challenge the feelings of loneliness if it has crept into your life. (If you join a group to learn about these you will meet people as well.)
* Make a list of what is contributing to your loneliness. How might you change your relationship with these things? How might you build new things into the relationship? Remember you can't change other people. Think about the choices you have control over
* Put your fear aside and take a risk. Phone that person you have been putting off for ages. Invite a new person over for dinner. Go, when you are asked to a party
* If you are experiencing an abusive situation, tell someone you trust
* If you have been violent or abusive towards others think about the behaviours that you might choose that build safe, caring and trusting relationships in your life
* Tell someone you trust how you are feeling. Talk to a trained counsellor (you can do this over the phone without even saying who you are!)
* Find groups of people where you hold a common interest. For example join a sporting club, do a short course, or visit a support group
* Be open to others' opinions and views. Try and see things from another person's point of view. Remember you can learn from every person you meet! Let them know you are interested in them. (But don't try too hard at first. Just be friendly without asking for too much too soon)
* Connect with other people through volunteer work or becoming involved in other community projects. There are lots of people out there who feel just like you!

Think about what is best for you. Take control of what you can. Put energy into the things you can change. Take a risk and move out of your "comfort zone" in order to improve the quality of your life.

You could help yourself by helping others

One way of overcoming loneliness and reducing social isolation is to be more conscious to the needs of other people. Being lonely can cause us to become a bit self-focused and sometimes are unaware that others have needs also. Consider the following:

* Know someone who is lonely? Do you see someone spend lunch alone every day? Think about how that person might feel. We can all help each other feel welcome and included. We are all part of the one community and we can all help each other
* Be open to others' opinions, views and ways of living. Try and see things from other people's point of view
* Allow, accept and celebrate diversity and difference in others
* Remember you can learn from every person you meet! Let them know you are interested in them and their life
* Invite someone new into your life. Invite someone home for coffee or to watch a movie
* Be aware of how loneliness might feel. Tell others about what you think
* Show someone that you care. Visit someone you know is lonely. Take them some flowers. Send someone a card or letter.

Who else can help?

Counsellor – you may benefit from speaking to a trained counsellor particularly if there are specific psychological reasons for your isolation.

Spiritual Advisors – such as a minister, priest, pastor etc can be valuable sources of support and will provide a confidential listening service.

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Naples Taxi inc

posted by Figaro Gaston on Dec. 15 2014, Updated on Dec. 15 2014

Naples Taxi, inc is the Best Taxi Company in Collier County by Naples Award. Contact Naples Taxi to try the Service
Press Release


Naples Taxi, Inc Receives 2014 Best of Naples Award

Naples Award Program Honors the Achievement

NAPLES November 27, 2014 -- Naples Taxi, Inc has been selected for the 2014 Best of Naples Award in the Transportation category by the Naples Award Program.

Each year, the Naples Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Naples area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2014 Naples Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Naples Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Naples Award Program

The Naples Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Naples area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Naples Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Naples Award Program Contact Naples Taxi to try the Service. Phone (239) 400-3333. CONTACT: Naples Award Program Email: URL:

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Naples Taxi inc

posted by Figaro Gaston on Dec. 15 2014, Updated on Dec. 15 2014

Naples Taxi, inc is the Best Taxi Company in Collier County by Naples Award. Contact Naples Taxi to try the Service
Press Release


Naples Taxi, Inc Receives 2014 Best of Naples Award

Naples Award Program Honors the Achievement

NAPLES November 27, 2014 -- Naples Taxi, Inc has been selected for the 2014 Best of Naples Award in the Transportation category by the Naples Award Program.

Each year, the Naples Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Naples area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2014 Naples Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Naples Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Naples Award Program

The Naples Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Naples area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Naples Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Naples Award Program Contact Naples Taxi to try the Service. Phone (239) 400-3333. CONTACT: Naples Award Program Email: URL:

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Never give up something, without asking for something in return.

posted by Udut, Kenneth on Feb. 25 2009, Updated on Feb. 25 2009

444 A powerful negotiating technique, useful in daily life, even with family!
TP: Never give up something, without asking for something in return.

Although it seems deceptively simple, it’s actually quite powerful. Here’s why.

If someone asks you for something and you just give it to them, (even if what they’re asking for is relatively insignificant), you create a couple of problems for yourself.

First, if you immediately agree to an unconditional concession, the other party is almost certain to ask for something else.

Why wouldn’t they? After all, there was no cost to getting the first concession.

Second, and equally problematic, if you agree immediately and unconditionally to a concession, the other party is unlikely to place much value on whatever you just gave them. After all, if it wasn’t a big deal for you, why should it be important to them?

Whenever possible, concessions should be conditional. Meaning, “If I could do that, would you be willing to ... ”

This accomplishes two things: It shows the other party there’s a cost associated with asking for things; it anchors the value of whatever it is they’re asking you for.

JB: So to become a masterful negotiator, one must ...

TP: Constantly refine and hone your techniques. We negotiate every day for our companies, for ourselves, with our families, etc. That means we get lots of opportunities to practice the skill sets we’ve been talking about.

You can practice in business, or even when shopping for a car or furniture. Not only will these skills become second nature, you’ll find yourself getting better deals!

In our culture, we tend to think of a negotiation as confrontational. It’s really more of a game ... with rules, strategies, and escalating levels of competence.

Since we’re playing this game for the rest of our lives, you might as well get really good at it!

To escalate your game, head

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Never think you are better than the people you know. In a different circumstance: grew up

posted by Udut, Kenneth on Apr. 13 2010, Updated on Apr. 13 2010

555 in another place, made a few bad choices early that affected future bad choices, a little less oxygen in the womb (minor brain damage), an addiction you can't shake, these things may have made you a much different person than you are today. Cultivate empathy, and you will be happier and more understanding of your fellow man.
K. Udut

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posted by Simplify3 on June 30 2007, Updated on Oct. 10 2009

444 Quotes: yours or someone else's.
You can't regulate another's opinion - Ken Udut

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Science has recreated the Out of body experience

posted by Simplify3 on Aug. 23 2007, Updated on Aug. 23 2007

555 Experts have found a way to trigger an out of body experience.
Out-of-body experience recreated Near death events have triggered out-of-body experiences

Experts have found a way to trigger an out-of-body experience in volunteers.

The experiments, described in the Science journal, offer a scientific explanation for a phenomenon experienced by one in 10 people.

Two teams used virtual reality goggles to con the brain into thinking the body was located elsewhere.

The visual illusion plus the feel of their real bodies being touched made volunteers sense that they had moved outside of their physical bodies.

The researchers say their findings could have practical applications, such as helping take video games to the next level of virtuality so the players feel as if they are actually inside the game.

Clinically, surgeons might also be able to perform operations on patients thousands of miles away by controlling a robotic virtual self.


For some, out-of-body experiences or OBEs occurs spontaneously, while for others it is linked to dangerous circumstances, a near-death experience, a dream-like state or use of alcohol or drugs.

One theory is that it is down to how people perceive their own body - those unhappy or less in touch with their body are more likely to have an OBE.

But the two teams, from UCL and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, believe there is a neurological explanation.

" We feel that our self is located where the eyes are "

UCL researcher Dr Henrik Ehrsson

Their work suggests a disconnection between the brain circuits that process visual and touch sensory information may thus be responsible for some OBEs.

In the Swiss experiments, the researchers asked volunteers to stand in front of a camera while wearing video-display goggles.

Through these goggles, the volunteer could see a camera view of their own back - a three-dimensional "virtual own body" that appeared to be standing in front of them.

When the researchers stroked the back of the volunteer with a pen, the volunteer could see their virtual back being stroked either simultaneously or with a time lag.

The volunteers reported that the sensation seemed to be caused by the pen on their virtual back, rather than their real back, making them feel as if the virtual body was their own rather than a hologram.


Even when the camera was switched to film the back of a mannequin being stroked rather than their own back, the volunteers still reported feeling as if the virtual mannequin body was their own.

And when the researchers switched off the goggles, guided the volunteers back a few paces, and then asked them to walk back to where they had been standing, the volunteers overshot the target, returning nearer to the position of their "virtual self".

Dr Henrik Ehrsson, who led the UCL research, used a similar set up in his tests and found volunteers had a physiological response - increased skin sweating - when they felt their "virtual self" was being threatened - appearing to be hit with a hammer.

Dr Ehrsson said: "This experiment suggests that the first-person visual perspective is critically important for the in-body experience. In other words, we feel that our self is located where the eyes are."

Dr Susan Blackmore, psychologist and visiting lecturer at the University of the West of England, said: "This has at last brought OBEs into the lab and tested one of the main theories of how they occur.

"Scientists have long suspected that the clue to these extraordinary, and sometimes life-changing, experiences lies in disrupting our normal illusion of being a self behind our eyes, and replacing it with a new viewpoint from above or behind."

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test blog posting

posted by Simplify3 on Oct. 11 2008, Updated on June 19 2009

I'm testing a blog posting to the "Mind" section of

I don't know how it will work, but I will give it a shot.

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Things to think about

posted by Udut, Kenneth on Oct. 27 2010, Updated on Oct. 27 2010

Fastest way to invisibility: Be yourself. People like people who are just like them. They don't LIKE individuality. They like conformity. Predictability. They want to be able to anticipate your next move. It is the unique people who are ostracized from society. Yet, the unique are the only ones who have the opportunity for greatness. But be prepared to go unnoticed, for the unique often never find their peers. -ku oct 26 '10

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Tips for choosing the right quality saddles

posted by Athmorque Rque on Jul. 1 2015, Updated on Jul. 1 2015

Now, horses have already been useful for sale and intended for various other purposes. They are employed by humans in farms and circuses. If you are utilizing your horse to possess amusement rides or various other works, you should buy the very best horse saddler and other riding accessories such as for example boots, hats and jackets. Riders should pick the saddles of best manufacturer. A powerful saddle is needed for a rider to possess safety while riding. This is a thing a rider needs to use. Saddles are available in different styles and they're devoted to comfort and safety of the rider. People can find these riding accessories easily with the help of online stores. Horses play a significant role in the ancient times. People have already been using horses for various purposes such as for example carrying cavalry and goods.

Owing an attractive saddle can provide a ride a sense of pride while riding the horse with those best horse riding accessories. Before buying these accessories learn to gauge the horse for saddle, fly sheet and fly mask. This may let a rider to get appropriate accessories for his horse. Individuals who are riding horses in a rodeo should have a saddle that can offer them safety and durability even withstanding extreme use. No rider will like to use a cheaper saddle that may end up in injuries. Rodeo riders have to choose the best brand leather horse saddles that have good reputation in the market because of its quality and durability. Besides giving durability the saddle should possess the craftsmanship in the designs. A person riding using such saddle can draw the attention of everyone in the crowd. If you should be a beginner, you are able to ask suggestions from expert riders. They will suggest you some best brands offering quality and properly designed saddles and riding accessories for riders.

If you like to understand the very best dressage lessons, you'll need to create researches over the net to find a very good trainer or dressage lessons in your area. You can also ask other riders to obtain suggestions in choosing such professional horse trainer. If you should be taking your horse to a dressage test, you'll need to be sure that your horse is able to learn some lessons. The basis of proper horse riding is dressage. This teaches the rider how to connect to the horse and how to regulate it. This training must be the most exciting and natural thing the rider learns from his horse's back. The instructor should have the ability to explain the things well so that the rider can has the ability to implement the steps for promoting the total amount with the horse. Learning the dressage training will give rider more security and better position in any kind of saddle for the design of riding. Locating a professional trainer might need some time. Once a rider finds someone who can be the very best instructor he or she won't lament the amount of money, energy and time spent in the search of good riding skills.

If the saddle does not fit for the horse then it will hurt the muscles of horse and it is likely to be proving to be wounded one. Then as a rider you can't have pleasure and delight in your ride. for more info click

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