April 4, 2013

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation, commonly associated with Zen Buddhism, has become popular in the past few years as a technique for dealing with depression, and managing stress and chronic pain. Evidence shows that mindfulness meditation can help reduce the chance of problems such as depression returning, and adds another weapon into your armory against emotional problems.

Being present in the moment

Mindfulness is the art of being present in the moment, without passing judgement about your experience. The mindfulness process is so simple – and yet so challenging. Keep your attention focused on the moment that you’re experiencing right now. Suspend your judgement about what you’re feeling, thinking, and absorbing through your senses. Simply observe what’s going on around you, in your mind, and in your body without doing anything. Just allow yourself to be aware of what’s happening.

Mindfulness literature talks about the way your mind almost mechanically forms judgments about each of your experiences, labeling them as good, bad, or neutral depending on how you value them. Things that generate good and bad feelings within you get most of your attention, but you may ignore neutral things or deem them to be boring. Mindfulness meditation encourages awareness of the present moment with an uncultured mind, observing even the seemingly mundane without judgement. The whole experience is a bit like looking at the world for the first time. When you meet someone you know, try to see her through fresh eyes.

Suspend your prior knowledge, thoughts, experiences, and opinions about a specific person. You can try this with acquaintances or people you know very well, such as family members and close friends. Try mindfulness exercises when you’re in the countryside or walking down the street. Whether the surroundings are familiar to you or not, try to see the details of the world around you through fresh eyes.

Task Concentration

Training in Task Concentration

Becoming adept at redirecting your attention away from yourself (this includes your bodily sensations, thoughts, and mental images), in certain situations, is the essence of task concentration. Rather than thinking about yourself, you focus your attention towards your external environment and what you’re doing.

Task concentration involves paying less attention to what’s going on inside of you and more attention to what’s happening outside of you. Task concentration can be particularly useful in situations that trigger anxiety. Task concentration can help you to counterbalance your tendency to focus on threats and on yourself when you feel anxious.

As you begin to practice task concentration, break down the process into two rehearsal arenas – just as when learning to drive you begin on quiet roads and eventually advance on to busier roads. The two rehearsal arenas are as follows:

Non-threatening situations: Here, you typically experience little or no anxiety. For example, if you have social phobia, you may feel little anxiety walking through a park, travelling on a very quiet train, or socializing with family members and close friends.

More challenging situations: Here, you tend to experience moderate to severe anxiety. More challenging situations may include shopping in a busy grocery store, travelling on a train during rush hour, or attending a party with many guests whom you do not know.

Typically, you gradually progress from moderately threatening situations to more challenging situations as you practise and develop greater skill. First, practice redirecting your attention in situations you regard as relatively non-threatening, then you can move on to using the techniques in increasingly challenging situations.

Behavioral Experiments

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The same can be said of your assumptions, behaviors  beliefs, and predictions about yourself and the world around you. Use experiments to test out the truth about your beliefs and to assess the usefulness of your behaviors.

You can use behavioral experiments in the following ways:

·         To test the validity of a thought or belief that you hold about yourself, other people, or the world.
·         To test the validity of an alternative thought or belief.
·         To discover the effects that mental or behavioural activities have on your difficulties.
·         To gather evidence in order to clarify the nature of your problem.

Living according to a set of beliefs because you think they’re true and helpful is both easy and common. You can also easily stick to familiar ways of behaving because you think that they keep you safe from feared events, or that they help you to achieve certain goals. An example of this may be holding a belief that other people are out to find fault with you – with this thought in mind, you then work hard to hide your mistakes and shortcomings.

The beauty of a behavioral experiment is that you often find that your worst imagined scenarios don’t happen, or that you deal with such situations effectively when, or even if, they do occur.

We may be stating the obvious, but change can be less daunting if you keep in mind that you can always return to your old ways of thinking about things if the new ways don’t seem any better. If your old ways seem to be the best option, nothing’s stopping you from going back to them. The trick is to prepare yourself to try out new strategies and to give them a chance before returning to your former ways. Find out what works best for you and your particular situation.

Tyranny of Choice

Tyranny of Choice

Pick a card, any card
You'll say. I love this trick -
The tease and tyranny of choice -
The dove's tail tender
On your fine and hidden fingers,
And the thumb I'm under.

You know my Queen of Hearts
By the dog-ear on her top-left
Bottom-right corner;
By the voluptuous sad mouth
Which will not smile,
Whichever way you turn her.



Long the material for jokes, snoring is generally accepted as common and annoying in adults but as nothing to worry about. However, snoring is no laughing matter. Frequent, loud snoring is often a sign of sleep apnea and may increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as lead to daytime sleepiness and impaired performance.

Snoring is caused by a narrowing or partial blockage of your airways at the back of the mouth and upper throat. This obstruction results in increased air turbulence when breathing in, causing the soft tissues in your throat to vibrate. The end result is a noisy snore that can disrupt the sleep of your bed partner. This narrowing of the airways is typically caused by the soft palate, tongue, and throat relaxing while you sleep, but allergies or sinus problems can also contribute to a narrowing of the airways, as can being overweight and having extra soft tissue around your upper airways.

The larger the tissues in your soft palate, the more likely you are to snore while sleeping. Alcohol or sedatives taken shortly before sleep also promote snoring. These drugs cause greater relaxation of the tissues in your throat and mouth. Surveys reveal that about one-half of all adults snore, and 50 percent of these adults do so loudly and frequently. African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics are more likely to snore loudly and frequently compared to Caucasians, and snoring
problems increase with age.

Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, but people who have sleep apnea typically do snore loudly and frequently. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder, and its hallmark is loud, frequent snoring linked to intermittent brief pauses in breathing while sleeping. Even if you don’t experience these breathing pauses, snoring can still be a problem for you as well as for your bed partner. The increased breathing effort associated with snoring can impair your sleep quality and lead to many of the same health consequences as sleep apnea.

One study found that older adults who did not have sleep apnea, but who snored 6–7 nights a week, were more than twice as likely to report being excessively sleepy during the day than those who never snored. The more people snored, the more daytime fatigue they reported. That sleepiness may help explain why snorers are more likely to be in car crashes than people who do not snore. Loud snoring can also disrupt the sleep of bed partners and strain marital relations, especially if snoring causes the spouses to sleep in separate bedrooms.

Snoring also increases the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. One study found that women who snored regularly were twice as likely as those who did not snore to develop diabetes, even if they were not overweight—another risk factor for diabetes. Other studies suggest persistent snoring may raise the lifetime risk of developing high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke.

About one-third of all pregnant women begin snoring for the first time during their second trimester. If you are snoring while pregnant, let your doctor know. Snoring in pregnancy can be associated with high blood pressure and can have a negative effect on your baby’s growth and development. Your doctor will routinely keep a close eye on your blood pressure throughout your pregnancy and can let you know if any additional evaluations for the snoring might be useful. In most cases, the snoring and any related high blood pressure will subside shortly after delivery.

Snoring can also be a problem in children. As many as 10–15 percent of young children, who typically have enlarged adenoids and tonsils, snore on a regular basis. Several studies show that children who snore (with or without sleep apnea) are more likely than those who do not snore to score lower on tests that measure intelligence, memory, and ability to maintain attention. These children also have more problematic behavior, including hyperactivity. The end result is that children who snore do not perform in school as well as those who do not snore. Strikingly, snoring was linked to a greater drop in IQ than that seen in children who had elevated levels of lead in their blood. Although the behavior of children improves after they stop snoring, studies suggest they may continue to get poorer grades in school, perhaps because of lasting effects on the brain linked to the snoring. You should have your child evaluated by your doctor if the child snores loudly and frequently—three to four times a week— especially if brief pauses in breathing while asleep are noted and if there are signs of hyperactivity or daytime sleepiness, inadequate school achievement, or slower than expected development.

Surgery to remove the adenoids and tonsils of children often can cure their snoring and any associated sleep apnea. Such surgery has been linked to a reduction in hyperactivity and improved ability to pay attention, even in children who showed no signs of sleep apnea before surgery.

Snoring in older children and adults may be relieved by less invasive measures, however. These measures include losing weight, refraining from tobacco, sleeping on the side rather than on the back, or elevating the head while sleeping. Treating chronic congestion and refraining from alcohol or sedatives before sleeping can also stop snoring. In some adults, snoring can be relieved by dental appliances that re-position the soft tissues in the mouth. Although numerous over-the-counter nasal strips and sprays claim to relieve snoring, no scientific evidence supports those claims.

Heath related questions...

Would it be possible to live healthily on only a few types of food? 

Yes, but it gets harder the fewer foods you allow. To stay healthy you need carbohydrates, fats and proteins -and not just any proteins, but a mix containing all 22 amino acids from which your own proteins are built. You need trace elements, vitamins and minerals as well. Avocados reputedly include all these, but not in the right proportions, so you'd need to choose additional foods carefully.


What's the evidence linking sugar to cancer risk?

There's long been anecdotal evidence linking higher sugar consumption with an increased risk of cancer. Doctors working in Africa during the 20th century noted how increasing consumption of refined carbohydrates and sugar by the indigenous populations led to increased risk of what they termed the 'diseases of civilisation', such as diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer. More scientific evidence has emerged from studies involving comparisons of the blood glucose levels of huge numbers of people and their cancer risk.
In 2005, a study of 1.3 million Korean people pointed to a link between sugar consumption and cancer risk, as did a European study published in 2010. However, the evidence is still far from compelling, as the increased risk figures are small and possibly attributable to other lifestyle factors.

Why does your tummy rumble when you're hungry?

The technical term is 'borborygmus' and it's the sound of your stomach and   intestines contracting. This occurs continuously, as part of the normal digestive process: your stomach squeezes to mix your food with the gastric juices; your intestines contract to move food along on its journey. When your stomach is empty, the borborygmus is louder because you're squeezing air back and forth and the empty space resonates. B But there's also a wave of contractions called the 'migrating myoelectric complex', which runs from the stomach to the small intestine, between an hour and 90 minutes after eating. This is designed to help sweep out any leftover indigestible bones, seeds and toenails, and also to keep the intestinal bacteria down in the lower intestine, where they belong.

April 2, 2013



I might not be worthy for the condition that I’m in
My faculties are haphazardly playing the way supposing
Amidst these surprises I won’t keep that much
Because if I did, it will chain me much

It sounds stupid and mediocre in its finest
Notwithstanding the ridicule it brings
Nevertheless I struggle to keep the best
At least leaves my mind a ring

Arrives an idea immensely preposterous indeed
Not for the sanely I admiringly succumb
That how I wish it was all very placid
Serene, peaceful and quite almost numb

My strong sentiment towards a considered heavenly being
Even how impossible circumstances, it would be best
Just to rekindle a minute of thought of seeing
That this love is, for me, a deal suppressed   


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I I
took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


April 1, 2013

Money Market

The money market is a market in which the cash requirements of market participants who are long cash are met along with the requirements of those that are short cash. This is identical to any financial market; the distinguishing factor of the money market is that it provides for only short-term cash requirements. The market will always, without fail, be required because the needs of long cash and short cash market participants are never completely synchronized. The participants in the market are many and varied, and large numbers of them are both borrowers and lenders at the same time. They include:

the sovereign authority, including the central government (“Treasury”), as well as government agencies and the central bank or reserve bank;

financial institutions such as the large integrated investment banks, commercial banks, mortgage institutions, insurance companies, and finance companies;

corporations of all types;

individual private investors, such as high net-worth individuals and small savers;

intermediaries such as money brokers, banking institutions, etc.;

infrastructure of the marketplace, such as derivatives exchanges.

A money market exists in virtually every country in the world, and all such markets exhibit the characteristics we describe in this book to some extent. For instance, they provide a means by which the conflicting needs of borrowers and lenders can achieve equilibrium, they act as a conduit for financing of all maturities between one day and one year, and they can be accessed by individuals, corporations, and governments alike.

In addition to national domestic markets, there is the international cross-border market illustrated by the trade in Eurocurrencies. Of course, there are distinctions between individual country markets, and financial market culture will differ. For instance, the prevailing financial culture in the United States and United Kingdom is based on a secondary market in tradable financial assets, so we have a developed and liquid bond and equity market in these economies. While such an arrangement also exists in virtually all other countries, the culture in certain economies such as Japan and (to a lesser extent) Germany is based more on banking relationships, with banks providing a large proportion of corporate finance. The differences across countries are not touched; rather, it is the similarities in the type of instruments used that is highlighted.


Determining the kind of business you want to have

After you decide you’re going to start your own home-based business, you have to answer two questions: Exactly what kind of home-based business do you want to start, and what’s the best way to market your products or services? You basically have two types of home-based businesses to choose from: businesses you start from scratch and businesses you buy. The latter category is further split into three types: franchises, direct-selling opportunities, and business opportunities. Whether you prefer to march to your own drummer and start your business from the ground up or get a business-in-a-box depends on your personal preferences.

The advantage of a business you start from scratch is that you can mold it to fit your preferences and the existing and emerging markets, which provides you with a boundless variety of possibilities. Businesses started from scratch account for the majority of viable, full-time businesses — in other words, they tend to be more successful over the long run than businesses you can buy. In their book Finding Your Perfect Work (Tarcher), Paul and Sarah provide characteristics of more than 1,500 self-employment careers, along with hundreds of examples of unique businesses that people have carved out for themselves.

If you have a business idea that doesn’t fit an existing category, you can get feedback on your business concept at www.conceptfeedback.com. Each type of home business that you can buy, on the other hand, has its own spin. The following illustrates how the three types are different from one another.


A franchise is an agreement in which one business grants another business the right to distribute its products or services. Some common home-based franchises include the following:

·         Aussie Pet Mobile (mobile pet grooming)
·         Jani-King (commercial cleaning service)
·         Jazzercise (dance/exercise classes)
·         ServiceMaster Clean (cleaning service)
·         Snap-On Tools (professional tools and equipment)

Direct selling

Direct selling involves selling consumer products or services in a person-to-person manner, away from a fixed retail location. The two main types of direct-selling opportunities are:

1.   Single-level marketing: Making money by buying products from a parent company and then selling those products directly to customers

2.   Multi-level marketing: Making money through single-level marketing and by sponsoring new direct sellers

Some common home-based direct-selling opportunities include the following:

·         Shaklee (household cleaning products)
·         The Pampered Chef (kitchen tools)
·         Green Irene (green products and consulting)
·         Longaberger Company (baskets)
·         Mary Kay, Inc. (cosmetics)
·         Fuller Brush Company (household and personal-care products)

Business opportunity

A business opportunity is an idea, product, system, or service that someone develops and offers to sell to others to help them start their own, similar businesses. With a business opportunity, your customers and clients pay you directly when you deliver a product or service to them. (Another way to think of a business opportunity is that it’s any business concept you can buy from someone else that isn’t direct selling or franchising.) Here are several examples of business opportunities that you can easily run out of your home:

·         Astro Events of America (inflatable party rentals)
·         Debt Zero LLC (debt settlement)
·         ClosetMaid (storage and organizational products)
·         Vendstar (bulk-candy vending machines)

Interested in how to find more companies and how to get in touch with them? Entrepreneur Media - www.entrepreneur.com and www.gosmallbiz.com have extensive information on business opportunities you can buy. You can also do a search on Google, using the keywords business opportunity.

After you decide on a business, you have to find the money to get it started. Then you have to market your products or services and persuade people to buy them. You can choose conventional methods of promotion, such as advertising and public relations, or you can leverage new selling opportunities, such as the Internet, to your advantage. Or you can (and probably should) do both.

It’s your choice — you’re the boss!

Trading - Data

A determination of what works, and what does not, cannot be made in the realm of commodities trading without quality data for use in tests and simulations. Several types of data may be needed by the trader interested in developing a profitable commodities trading system. At the very least, the trader will require historical pricing data for the commodities of interest.


Commodities pricing data is available for individual or continuous contracts. Individual contract data consists of quotations for individual commodities contracts. At any given time, there may be several contracts actively trading. Most speculators trade the front-month contracts, those that are most liquid and closest to expiration, but are not yet past first notice date. As each contract nears expiration, or passes first notice date, the trader “rolls over” any open position into the next contract. Working with individual contracts, therefore, can add a great deal of complexity to simulations and tests. Not only must trades directly generated by the trading system be dealt with, but the system developer must also correctly handle rollovers and the selection of appropriate contracts.

To make system testing easier and more practical, the continuous contract was invented. A continuous contract consists of appropriate individual contracts strung together, end to end, to form a single, continuous data series. Some data massaging usually takes place when putting together a continuous contract; the purpose is to close the gaps that occur at rollover, when one contract ends and another begins, Simple back-adjustment appears to be the most reasonable and popular gap-closing method. Back-adjustment involves nothing more than the subtraction of constants, chosen to close the gaps, from all contracts in a series other than the most recent. Since the only operation performed on a contract’s prices is the subtraction of a constant, all linear price relationships (e.g., price changes over time, volatility levels, and ranges) are preserved. Account simulations performed using back-adjusted continuous contracts yield results that need correction only for rollover costs. Once corrected for rollover, simulated trades will produce profits and losses identical to those derived from simulations performed using individual contracts. However, if trading decisions depend upon information involving absolute levels, percentages, or ratios of prices, then additional data series (beyond backadjusted continuous contracts) will be required before tests can be conducted.

End-of-day pricing data, whether in the form of individual or continuous contracts, consists of a series of daily quotations. Each quotation, “bar,” or data point typically contains seven fields of information: date, open, high, low, close, volume, and open interest. Volume and open interest are normally unavailable until after the close of the following day; when testing trading methods, use only past values of these two variables or the outcome may be a fabulous, but essentially untradable, system! The open, high, low, and close (sometimes referred to as the settlement price) are available each day shortly after the market closes.

Intraday pricing data consists either of a series of fixed-interval bars or of individual ticks. The data fields for fixed-interval bars are date, time, open, high, low, close, and tick volume. Tick volume differs from the volume reported for end of-day data series: For intraday data, it is the number of ticks that occur in the period making up the bar, regardless of the number of contracts involved in the transactions reflected in those ticks. Only date, time, and price information are reported for individual ticks: volume is not. Intraday tick data is easily converted into data with fixed-interval bars using readily available software. Conversion software is frequently provided by the data vendor at no extra cost to the consumer.

In addition to commodities pricing data, other kinds of data may be of value. Temperature and rainfall data have a bearing on agricultural markets. Various economic time series that cover every aspect of the economy, from inflation to housing starts, may improve the odds of trading commodities successfully. Do not forget to examine reports and measures that reflect sentiment, such as the Commitment of Traders (COT) releases, bullish and bearish consensus surveys, and put-call ratios. Non-quantitative forms of sentiment data, such as news headlines,may also be acquired and quantified for use in systematic tests. Nothing should be ignored. Mining unusual data often uncovers interesting and profitable discoveries. It is often the case that the more esoteric or arcane the data, and the more difficult it is to obtain, the greater its value!

Managerial Economics

Making the Best Decision

To establish appropriate decision rules, managers must understand the economic environment in which they operate. For example, a grocery retailer may offer consumers a highly price-sensitive product, such as milk, at an extremely low markup over cost—say, 1 percent to 2 percent—while offering less price-sensitive products, such as nonprescription drugs, at markups of as high as 40 percent over cost. Managerial economics describes the logic of this pricing practice with respect to the goal of profit maximization. Similarly, managerial economics reveals that auto import quotas reduce the availability of substitutes for domestically produced cars, raise auto prices, and create the possibility of monopoly profits for domestic manufacturers. It does not explain whether imposing quotas is good public policy; that is a decision involving broader political considerations.

Managerial economics only describes the predictable economic consequences of such actions. Managerial economics offers a comprehensive application of economic theory and methodology to management decision making. It is as relevant to the management of government agencies, cooperatives, schools, hospitals, museums, and similar not-for-profit institutions as it is to the management of profit-oriented businesses.