Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ariel Lanyi Plays Liszt Beautifully

Almost an hour of lovely piano music by the fabulously talented son of my writer friend, Gabriel Lanyi, now living in Israel.

Piano Recital of Liszt Pieces by Ariel Lanyi

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Review: J.P. Newbery Memoir, BURN ZONES





Burn Zones: Playing Life's Bad Hands by [Newbery, Jorge P.]


Jorge  P. Newbery has many impressive accomplishments, starting early as a seven-year-old newspaper delivery boy, participating successfully in long-distance bike races and in marathons, owning over 100 buildings in Ohio, and moving to his current position as founder and CEO of American Homeowner Preservation "a socially responsible hedge fund which purchases nonperforming mortgages from banks at big discounts, then shares the discounts with families to settle their mortgages at terms many borrowers find 'too good to be true.'" Basically, he now gets his money from helping the downtrodden screw their creditors. 

Newbery's next book is DEBT CLEANSE: HOW TO SETTLE YOUR DEBTS FOR PENNIES ON THE DOLLAR (AND NOT PAY SOME AT ALL). This is 21st-century heroism, not going bankrupt, but finding another way not to pay. 

I admire his persistence and talents and appreciate how well the book is written. It is inspiring in showing how hard work can produce surprising results. It is disappointing in the author's goals, which are largely self-serving, though he seems oblivious to this. He does take responsibility for his failure as well as his successes.

                                                    ***

Mine is a minority opinion of this well-received book at amazon.com. Reviews of BURN ZONES

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Review: BINARY PHYSICS





I struggled through Binary Physics, impressed with the author’s brilliance, dismayed at the disagreements with much of contemporary physics, unsure whether this was a breakthrough or more of a breakdown on Zilberberg’s part. It was often hard reading. At times, it warranted five stars for creativity and merely one for lucidity, though some of the topics are arcane.


Time as the Fourth Dimension, “Depth”

Let’s start with his view of time, as a quantized fourth dimension, “depth,” with individual units that are about ten to the minus 50th power of a second, 1/10**50 s, a decimal with 49 zeros and then a 1. A wave passing through a location would have a series of Existences (1) and Placeholders (0). The highest frequency pure wave would be 01010101… over the units of “depth” (“time” from here on). A wave or half that frequency would be 01001001… These are frequencies in the range of 10**50 (ten to the fiftieth power) Hz (= per second), whereas gamma rays (the highest-frequency waves we know of) are 10**19 Hz, much lower in frequency. As with Fourier analysis, the greater the range of frequencies you can use to compose a particular signal, the more accurately you can replicate it, so having a range up to 10*50 Hz gives lots of leeway, which is needed…because the time series of 0s (Placeholders) and 1s (Existences) is what everything is made of.


Existences, Placeholders, and the Real World

We can compose any electromagnetic signal with our 0s and 1s up to 10**50 Hz. How do we get mass? From obstructions, the bunching up of Existences that cannot move freely. A pure wave, 010101…, in the next “turn” (a unit akin to time), becomes (moving to the right) 001010…, as the Existences occupy the Placeholder positions. However, the pattern 0110110… cannot shift fully freely one turn to the next because an Existence cannot move to where there is already an Existence, so we have 0101101… and the change is experienced as resistance. In Binary Physics, motion is inherently at the speed of light but mass gets in the way, so that work is done not moving mass, but removing obstruction and thus producing apparent acceleration.


Perception is Reality

“Apparent acceleration”? Well, it is not clear to what extent what we perceive is real, according to Binary Physics. What we perceive as motion, BP tells us is extinction in one location and creation in an adjoining location (also quantized, like time), which looks like motion of an entity.


Quantized Location

Yes, location is quantized, also:  the universe is in some sense granular, with Zilberberg estimating the spatial quantum at about 1/10**42 meter. The size of a proton is generally stated to be 1/10**15 meter or 27 orders of magnitude larger. The “cells” of the universe are tiny in comparison with physical objects.
Quantum mechanics has prepared us for quantization of physical properties like energy, and angular momentum, so quantizing time does not come as such a big surprise, especially when it is so fine-grained at 1/10**50 of a second. Similarly, locational cells are extraordinarily small. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle indicates that the product of energy and time uncertainty is greater than Heisenberg’s small constant, also true for the product of momentum uncertainty and positional uncertainty; perhaps the “graininess” of the universe in time and space contributes to the lack of precision in these products.


Effect Following Cause?

What does come as a surprise is BP’s statement “the future influences the present no less than the past, and the past is constantly changing….” This contradicts basic tents of science. We do not accept that the cause happens after the effect.


Two-Dimensional Analogue: The Game of Life

The two-dimensional analogy made by BP is with The Game of Life, where squares in a grid are given initial values of 0 or 1 (visually white or black) and then are required to change or stay the same during a series of time steps, where their existence (1, black) is determined by a set of rules generally dependent on what their “neighbors” are. On a square grid, each square would have four full-neighbors, one on each side, and another four part-neighbors, one on each corner. Depending on the rules and the starting conditions, rather life-like patterns and behavior can emerge. BP analogizes this to Existences and Placeholders in eight dimensions, a familiar three plus time (depth), plus four more, which extra four I won’t explain and do not find persuasive.


Ten Rules to Supplement the Axioms

Much of the book describes how Existences and Placeholders and cells in space and time can be understood to explain motion and gravity. A weakness here, in my estimation, is the adoption of The Ten Rules of Private Binary Physics. I’d prefer fewer rules. The need for these seems like the addition of the epicycles to the old Ptolemaic view of the solar system to be able to explain eclipses and “retrograde” motion. Occam’s Razor needs to be employed.


Multiverse?

Another disagreement I have is with the idea of a multitude (infinite?)of universes, to explain how this particular one is capable of having human life. Yes, the anthropic principle is persuasive to me: this universe is too well suited to our existence to be just a coincidence. Zilberberg believes in God the Creator, as I do, so there is no need for this multiverse hypothesis. I like that he thinks God would create something that has the virtues that God has, while allowing (somehow!) for us to choose between right and wrong.


Goals, Awareness, Consciousness

Zilberberg discusses in depth the degree to which systems can be goal-seeking and even aware and conscious, and I defer to his greater knowledge and more extensive contemplation of these issues.


Sources and Methods

The author is clearly brilliant and well-informed. His sources and inspirations range from thinkers Dawkins and Hawking and Harari to films The Matrix and Back to the Future. Nevertheless, I concluded that much was mistaken, much was unclear or repetitious. This was hard going. With almost no equations, it is hard to follow some arguments to assure oneself of their validity.


Profound or Profoundly Wrong?

As I read the reviews on Amazon that have preceded mine, I am unsettled by how few of the reviewers have the scientific background to examine Binary Physics in depth. I found BP challenging myself. despite my own education (A.B., physics, Cornell, 1964; M.S., physics, Penn State, 1969; Ph.D., engineering, Harvard, 1974) and three decades of technical employment.
I recall how impressed I was in my youth in the 1960s by the iconoclastic works of the genius Immanuel Velikovski, works such as Worlds in Collision and Earth in Upheaval, both of which were closely argued, well documented…and now considered to be mostly wrong (see The Velikovski Controversy). I fear this may turn out to be the case for much of Binary Physics. What survives such scrutiny may be of real value, however.


AMAZON LINK 


Toe Fungus Among Us








TOASTMASTERS TALK: TOE FUNGUS AMONG US

“Saints preserve us,” said Mrs. Jervis, there’s fungus among us.” Somewhat of an alarmist, Mrs. Jervis also proclaimed, “There’s malaria in the area.” So went an old comedy routine.

Mrs. Jervis may have been wrong about malaria, but likely right about toe fungus. There’s a lot of it.

She didn’t say, no one would say, “TGIF…thank goodness, it’s fungus!”


THE TOE-TAL PROBLEM

Toe fungus is not very funny. It’s ugly and can lead to other infections.

It doesn’t take much to make feet ugly. Our feet are rarely our most attractive feature. Feet are rarely as attractive as faces. Note that the Internet has FaceBook but no FeetsBook.

We note “the joy of victory and the tragedy of da feet.”

Toes are often unattractive, and fungus can make them ugly.

Toe fungus comes in three stages, ranging from nearly invisible damage in the nail in Stage 1 to truly ugly discoloring, thickening, and warping of the toenail in Stage 3. 

My toe fungal colony has achieved Stage 3. Oh, do I have ugly big toe toenails! Discolored, misshaped, fungus-infected, these babies I do not show in public. Yellow, brittle, deformed nails…argh!

And, I am not alone.

Most adults in our country have similar fungal infections. Once you get infected, you tend to stay infected. The fungus victims accumulate.
The infections are not painful, but they occasionally can lead to infection by other organisms that are more detrimental to health and welfare. The toes are still useful, a comedian would say they are not a toe-tal loss.


TRANSMISSION

How do we get them? From other people, from the water on the floors in shared bathing areas.


PREVENTION

How do you prevent them? Wash and dry your feet often, try to keep them dry. Use flip-flops or shoes in public showers.

Dry your feet and put them in clean, dry footwear.


PERSISTENCE

Why do they persist? They love warm, moist, dark areas…like our toes in our shoes.


TREATMENT

Cures? No good ones.
-        
     Soaking feet for five minutes per day in 50/50 vinegar/water. It kills some, bleaches some. It is boring, but beneficial. What’s not boring, however, is what happens if, as I did, you add bleach to this mixture, releasing chlorine gas that can be deadly. I did this one morning. Fortunately, I noticed a strange feeling right away in my nose and throat and threw that solution out.

-        Toenail polish is a cover-up that does not stop the nail thickening and warping. I am not a toenail polish kind of guy, however.

-        Lotions, creams, ointments are not very effective either [show bottle]. I’ve used religiously three different anti-fungal concoctions over the past decade or so. I’m not certain they helped, though perhaps they get partial credit for keeping elephants out of our home.

-        Pills are claimed to be more effective, but with more serious side effects. Think of those advertised acne cures that clear your skin but might kill you. I’m not interested. Yet.

-        Lasers are being studied, but the jury is out. Lasers are high-tech. Even hot lasers are cool. Their effectiveness in dispute.

-        Podiatrists will do some cutting and some grinding. For me, Medicare foots most of the bill. I wish mine would get a toe truck and make house calls.

Why do I tell you about this? You are likely to become infected. You will want to be alert. You will want to start treatment earlier than I did. You may not want to make the mistake I describe next. Then again, maybe you will.


MISTAKE?

One morning recently, my mind was on other things, and I was treating my toes after a shower and a boring five-minute soak with vinegar and water. Two little bottles with applicators were on my desktop: Terpenicol prescription lotion for my toes and Wite-Out correction fluid for my prose. Without my glasses, I reached for my prescription topical ointment bottle and started to put the white liquid on with the little brush, when I realized that I had mistakenly picked up the bottle of Wite-Out correction fluid on the table and was applying it to my right big toe. It looked surprisingly good. I covered the nail.

It has been a month since this treatment mistake. I have returned to my former routine, using the prescription lotion, not the correction fluid. Eventually, the correction fluid coating wore off, but I think this right big toe treated with correction fluid looks better than the left one, conventionally treated.


PATENT?

Perhaps I’ll apply for a patent.

Furthermore, I decided to tell the story at Toastmasters.

Maybe I’ll even become…a Toes-Master!


TGIF

At least I wasn’t like the guy who was so poor at dressing himself, he had to write “TGIF” on his shoes. His “TGIF” stood for “Toes Go in First.”

Saturday, September 2, 2017

FRUSTRATED WITH LIFE, "Health"




“It took a lot of willpower, but I finally gave up dieting.”


“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”
Buddha


“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
Jim Rohn


HEALTH Statistic

More than half of Americans have chronic health problems according to a 2016 Emory University study.



Chapter 9:
Health


A comedian claimed he saw a tombstone inscribed, “I told you I was sick!” Sadly, several of the bloggers below tell of mystery illnesses for which they are getting little help. #309 has been sick for 5 years, and he is going bald, and his girlfriend left him, and the company he worked for has closed down. #446 fears the cause of her terrible headaches is an incurable neurological disease, and yet she cannot get any sympathy…she ends up crying in the shower.

A quarter of us will die of cancer, and #75 was just so diagnosed. The father of #337 is dying of cancer, too, and the insurance company will not pay for a treatment that might be beneficial: “I hope everything burns one day,” writes his son.

#121 is too depressed for a mere 750 characters to explain it, and #34 is simply sick and tired of being sick and tired.

We are all under a death sentence. With exercise and diet and prudent risk-avoidance, we can delay that date…if we don’t get hit by a car, like my sister’s oncologist and like my mother’s ophthalmologist. Even doctors die.

Our choices in life are often constrained by age, gender, race, talent, location, era, finances, time, and especially health. If you are healthy, enjoy yourself while you can! If you are sick, you deserve our compassion and our understanding of your frustration.

At least we have modern medicine and modern conveniences to make our lives longer and more pleasant. Centuries ago, Hobbes wrote about human life in the wild, without civilization, as being “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Short seems to have been the good part.

Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph. D.


#6
Im allergic to dust :-(

#7
So I go in to the dentist for a really bad tooth ache, and they tell me that I need $4,000 worth of work...and the insurance company only covers $175. WTF???

#22
fat people shouldn't be allowed to give diet advice just sayin

#34
i am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired all of the time

#75
found out today that I have cancer

#121
Im struggling to free myself from depression, but every time I feel like Ive reached that silver lining, the ground under me crumbles and Im back in the hole I fell in before. I just want out. I want stability, health, balance. Thats all. Im trying hard to regain my health, to refocus on my studies, to be diligent in my job, but I hate the fact that 1 event trips me up so easily. I want to change the way I think. I want to be stronger. I need to leave the environment Im in. However, I cant escape. I just dont want to go back to that time where I was so far gone. I dont want to go back to the hospital, feeling that hopelessness, the shame, the guilt, the emptiness. I thought I could vent here, but 750 characters just isnt enough...

#309
I am losing my patience now.i am suffering from which disease even i dont know. Since 5 years i am consulting doctor and 1 tine operated also but still the same nothing good. I am feed up with this stomach problem. Sometime it feels that i should end my life. That not all along with this problem i started losing my hair from all over the body at an early age. My gf dumped me. My office shut down leaving me unemployed. My life is simply become hell there is no way of hope i see. What should i do? I dont know. I am just suffing all of this day to day....

#337
My father is dying from cancer and he only has 2 months to live. This isn't what's frustrating me, and I use the work frustrated very lightly because there is nothing in the world to describe what I feel right now. He has two months to live because the insurance company wouldn't pay for it and we didn't have the money to pay for it. How in the fuck does a piece of paper dictate life and death for a human being. Where have we gone so wrong that currency has fucking superceded a life. My dad is going to be dead in December because a company decided his life wasn't worth paying for. My dad worked hard, he never messed around, and he always did what he could to be there for us. There is no goddamn justice in this world and there never has been, and if there was a god, it either died a long time ago or its the most sadistic being to ever come into existence. Maybe thats the most frustrating notion of all, that despite what religion and the media want you to believe, there is no fairness or karmic justice done. He's going to die, and the CEO of the company is still going to be a rich motherfucker at the end of the day. I hope everything burns one day.

#408
I m 26 yr old mother of 2 yr baby girl. After my delievery their was not even a single day when i felt that today i m felling fine. Since last two years. I am getting low day by day. I went in depression i am having chest pain i have regular headache problem. i m scared of all these my situation thats why i m not able to sleep properly . Now days because of underweight problem i am feeling so weak. I m not able to live my life normally. I m just frstrated from my life. I dont know why i am living???

#446
I have horrible headaches that make me fall over bc they hurt so much, horrible stomach issues with like cramps and diarrhea and I went to physical therapy and they told me I’m weak and all this and stuff and said I might have this disease called ehlers-danlos syndrome because he said a lot of me is hyper mobile so now I match almost all the symptoms and I don’t have my next neurology appointment until December and I also have anxiety so I’m stressing about it because all my life I’ve always told my parents there is something wrong with me and they never believed me and now every night for the past week and probably the weeks to come I’ve been sobbing in the shower so nobody will hear me!! I cry so hard that nothing comes out but huffs and I have to do PT stretches and strengthening exercises that make me cry because I’m so weak. I don’t know how many more days I can stand to be waiting anxiously until I find out I have an incurable disease that could put me in a wheelchair.. Thanks a lot world another great strike for me NOT IM SO ANGRY AND SAD AND GRRRR IM JUST SO DONE RN


***

Excerpted from Guzman and Cooper (2017), FRUSTRATED WITH LIFE? YOU ARE NOT ALONE! based on years of blog entries at http://FrustratedWithLife.com. The book is available in paperback at amazon.com.


Would-be authors are invited to see my site WriteYourBookWithMe.com.



Saturday, August 26, 2017

ART OF WAR: for Women in Business




“Business is war.” So says Kevin O’Leary, billionaire businessman and regular participant in the wildly successful U.S. TV program, Shark Tank.

Twenty-five hundred years ago, the Chinese sage Sun Tzu (pronounced “SUN Zuh”) wrote a classic military text, The Art of War, and recently various authors have praised it as being quite applicable to business. One such author is a marketing multi-millionaire, Dan Lok, who subtitled his adaptation, Strategies for Winning in Business Today.

Sixty and Me readers seem unlikely to be quite so fierce in commerce as a Kevin O’Leary or a Sun Tzu, but there are some lessons in The Art of War that you could translate into business success.

Know Your Enemy and the Battleground

Information is key in business and war. Some facts you obtain through observation and open sources. Some you buy. Some you get from spies.

Well informed, you then need to choose battlegrounds favorable to your capabilities and compete with weaker competitors. Timing may become critical, too, as these factors will change.

You want to match your strengths against your competitors’ weaknesses, and avoid competing against well-established products or services. Information helps you make these selections in your planning.

Dan Lok writes, “No one plans to fail, they just fail to plan.”

Use Deception

Just as information is of value, so can be disinformation. You will want to shield your plans from the prying eyes of your competitors. You may want them to believe what isn’t true. As Shakespeare’s Lady MacBeth advised, “Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent beneath it.”

Looking good helps, also. Appearances count. Cosmetics can convince.  “Optics” has become a buzz-word.

Use Honesty

While using deception in shielding your plans from competitors, you want to maintain a reputation for honesty and trustworthiness, especially with respect to allies, employees, customers, and civil authorities. A successful leader needs to be respected and trusted.

Be Unpredictable

Your friends and followers will appreciate your constancy and predictability, but your competitors will take advantage of knowing your plans, so use your creativity to make rapid, clever alterations from time to time.

Avoid Head-to-Head Conflict

Find your competition’s weaknesses and focus your efforts there. Better yet, find unoccupied, open opportunities, niches, to move into. Once you make a move, do it decisively. Half-measures often fail.  Crush the competition, if present, and then hold the market tenaciously, giving your customers excellent value for their money.

Follow up your victory. Don’t become complacent. Don’t let the competition recover.

Rewards and Punishments

In business and in war, to keep morale strong, your allies and associates need to benefit from your victories. Michael LeBoeuf called this The Greatest Management Principle. It boils down to rewarding good behavior and punishing poor.

Treating your troops fairly, generously, will make them likely to behave loyally. Similarly, reward your allies.

Punishments may be needed. Do so reluctantly, however, as those punished will resent it, even as observers will learn from it. Anything can be over-done, however, and as effective as Sun’s beheadings were for shaping up the Concubine Army, we cannot recommend them.

Do not do your “enemy” a small harm. This breeds resentment. When you strike, strike decisively. Try to make them incapable of retaliating.

Problems Are Opportunities

The same factors that hamper you may impede your competition or create need in potential customers. Overcoming “barriers to entry” puts you in position to succeed, strengthening you. “Every knock is a boost,” someone other than Confucius or Sun Tzu has noted.

Be Adaptable

As conditions change, your tactics must also. Major changes may require changing even your strategies. Presumably, your goals will remain constant.

Others have said it, if Sun Tzu did not, “The best plans last only until the battle begins.” Be prepared to change.

In Conclusion

Business competition is not war, but close to it. We can profit by taking seriously the advice written two millennia ago by a Chinese sage: choose our battles, advance with speed and deception and determination, reward and punish frequently and appropriately.


Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a former Harvard science professor. He still publishes, and he helps others write and publish their books via his business website, http://WriteYourBookWithMe.com. His life's central theme has been his half-century romance with his wife, Tina Su Cooper, now quadriplegic for thirteen years due to multiple sclerosis, receiving 24/7 nursing care at home, as discussed in his latest book.


***

Published mid-August in slightly different form at 
http://sixtyandme.com/the-art-of-war-advice-for-older-women-in-business/

Sunday, August 20, 2017

RETIREMENT? NO, REFIREMENT! "Stay Engaged"


 

Ritual is an often neglected part of modern life, and without the strict (sometimes too the minute) structure of work, we might find that our productivity goes out the window, and it isn’t obvious why. We might blame ourselves: Why am I being so lazy today? Why can’t I focus? Why does this feel like an uphill battle this time?

Ask an insomniac what people don’t realise of his experience; it isn’t just the toll that sleeplessness has on the mind and body, but also the strange, head-spinning sensation that the day doesn’t end; day blurs into night.

As a retiree you cannot allow activity and non-activity to bleed into each other; they have to be as distinct as night and day.

Cultivate distinction in times and places
So let’s put that into other words; It’s getting easier and easier to work anywhere, and this has meant that we could write that oh-so-important article in bed, in your pyjamas. And sometimes that pays off; but our question is - Is that a good way to get fired up?
A common piece of advice for insomniacs is to only use your bed for sleeping, and if you can’t sleep, get out of the bed. Why? Because you want to build up a trained association between a specific time and place, with a specific state, or performance. In working from home, or for yourself, we can often get into a state in which we are not really working, nor are we are really relaxing. Beds are for sleeping. Offices are for working! Respect their sanctity!
Live by the clock
What you need is a starting pistol; some trigger that flicks your switch from relaxed to working. This line has to be crystal clear and the reaction simple - the alarm has chimed, therefore I have begun.
Know what it means to dis-engage
Sometimes we work in contrasts; opposites help define each other, and recharge our abilities.
Those that work hard are more able to relax, and vice versa.
Those that sleep well are able to feel more fully awake, and vice versa. Empty your cup so it may be filled, as they say in Buddhism.
Be aware of Your state and know your triggers
Imagine a surgeon that religiously insists on spending five minutes playing the same twenty-year- old video game before going into theatre. A rock star, hearing the chants of ten thousand fans stares at himself in the mirror repeating a compliment one character gave another in his favourite movie.
What do these examples have in common?
They are all examples of performers that have found a way of controlling their state; no matter how silly and irrelevant to the task at hand it may seem to the outside world.
Managing our own state and influencing the states of others is one of the most important skills in life. The majority of business people will make decisions logically, but it’s their state and the strength of their state that will that will get them to take action and persist with an action through challenging times.
It is a major part of our emotional intelligence.
I found a useful way of developing state skills is to start to notice how various states impact us and others.

A simple learning experience for myself is when I play Lumosity, a brain-training game. Occasionally I get annoyed with myself for getting an answer wrong. The immediate impact of this is that I don’t pay attention for the next few minutes, and invariably get the next few answers wrong. In this context it’s more effective for me to accept a wrong answer as useful information, and a trigger to focus better for the next exercise. This significantly improves my performance





This is the continuation of a weekly serialization of this new ebook on active retirement, by Wamala and Cooper, which book is available through amazon.com for $0.99: