August 27, 2004

Insider Trade Secrets

Matthew Baldwin has ferreted out some of the secrets of many trade that only insiders know. If you check out his piece in in The Morning News, you'll be sure to know more than you do right now.

Here are just a few of the secrets Matthew's uncovered:

Do whatever it takes to fit your contracts onto a single page: Format with single-spacing, use a 10- or 9-point font, and reduce the margins to less than an inch. Most people assume any contract that fits on one page will be simple and straightforward, and even sophisticated negotiators can be charmed by the lack of a staple.

If you have to change a light bulb where the glass is broken, you can press a potato into the metal base to unscrew the remains of the bulb from the fixture.

Patients will occasionally pretend to be unconscious. A surefire way to find them out is to pick up their hand, hold it above their face, and let go. If they smack themselves, they’re most likely unconscious; if not, they’re faking.

When taking family portraits that include a dog, don’t use the dog’s name or say “doggie, doggie” to get its attention, because it might trot over to you. Instead, call out “kitty, kitty, kitty.” The dog will perk up and look around for a cat, and you can get a great shot if you time it right.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:12 PM | Permalink

Why Men are Happier People

This from the Internet and anonymous but too good not to share

    Your last name stays put. The garage is all yours. Wedding plans take care of themselves. You can be president. You can never be pregnant. You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park. Car mechanics tell you the truth. The world is your urinal. You never have to drive to another petrol station restroom because this one is just too icky. You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt. Wrinkles add character. The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected. New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet. One mood -- all the time. A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase. You can open all your own jars. You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness. Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough. You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes. The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades. You only have to shave your face and neck. You can play with toys all your life. Your belly usually hides your big hips. One wallet and one pair of shoes one colour for all seasons. You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look. You can "do" your nails with a pocket-knife. You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:59 AM | Permalink

Save those Fat Cells

A flamboyant Texas plastic surgeon now encourages every patient to store liposuctioned fact so that adult stem cells can be retrieved for potential medical use. Dr. Robert Ersek also believes that to educate you first have to entertain, will do a quick liposuction on himself to make his point.

    Stem cells derived from fatty tissue have shown potential to repair damaged bone and cartilage, said Dr. Gordon Keller, a professor of gene and cell medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. They also are showing promise in research trials as a therapy for damaged nerves and muscles, including the heart

This is the ultimate recycling says Elizabeth Scarbrough, vice president of marketing and development at MacroPore Biosurgery Inc., of San Diego, the company that will store Ersek's stem cells and those of any patients who choose to do so. MacroPore charges $600 to $1,675, depending on how long the cells are to be stored, Scarbrough said. Those spending the least get processing only and would pay another $175 a year to store their stem cells in a liquid nitrogen freezer. The high-end buyers get 10 years of storage and pay $100 a year thereafter, she said. If the cells are never used, patients can donate them for research.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:25 AM | Permalink

August 19, 2004

Integral Medicine - the view from 50,000 feet

"Integral medicine promotes an approach using the best in modern healthcare, while equally recognizing the emotional, spiritual & relational dimensions essential in the cultivation of wellness."
 — Marilyn Schlitz

Noetic Sciences are explorations into the nature and potentials of consciousness using multiple ways of knowing—including intuition, feeling, reason, and the senses. Noetic sciences explore the "inner cosmos" of the mind (consciousness, soul, spirit) and how it relates to the "outer cosmos" of the physical world. The current issue of its publication Shift: at the Frontiers of Consciousness from the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) features Integral Health and Healing.

In the fall, IONS will be publishing "Consciousness and Healing" with contributions from Contributions by: Larry Dossey, Roger Walsh, Michael Murphy, Ivan Illich, Eugene Taylor, Lawrence LeShan, Caroline Myss, Rachel Naomi Remen, Arthur Deikman, Deepak Chopra, Stanley Krippner, Kenneth Pelletier, Bernie Siegel, Candace Pert, Joan Borysenko, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jack Kornfield, Dean Ornish, Fred Luskin, George Leonard, Richard Tarnas, William Braud, Rupert Sheldrake, Elisabeth Targ, Dean Radin, Stanislav Grof, Kenneth Ring, Willis Harman, Charles Tart, Elizabeth Sahtouris, Thomas Berry, Christian de Quincey, David Ray Griffin, Theodore Roszak, Brian Swimme, Ralph Metzner, Duane Elgin, Erwin Laszlo, and others.

From the introduction by Ken Wilber
Wilber, one of my favorite thinkers, also has a summary of his integral all quadrants theory at the end.

    The integral medicine that is rapidly developing today has moved significantly beyond early attempts in this area, variously known as "holistic," "allopathic," "alternative," and "complementary." Although some of the components of those pioneering efforts are retained, integral medicine is being launched from a platform much wider in its reach, more grounded in empirical research, and more effectively related to comprehensive models of human psychology and consciousness. But it is helpful to remember that an integral medicine differs in significant ways from both conventional and complementary medicine, while attempting to include the enduring and effective elements of each.

    Beginning in earnest a decade or two ago, there was an explosion of hard empirical research showing that positively enlisting various emotional factors—on the part of the heath-care practitioner as well as the patient—had a profoundly affirmative effect on the treatment, in many cases not only reducing recovery time but medical costs as well. Nor was this a case of "needy" patients doing better if somebody held their hands. Controlled studies consistently showed that, if certain emotional and affective elements are engaged in the healing process, positive effects tend to be seen across all types of patients. Put bluntly, not becoming emotionally involved in some ways could not only increase medical costs but significantly harm the patient. What's a poor doctor to do?

    Medical schools across the country began eyeing this research warily. The whole thing had too much of a "New-Age" ring to it for most conventional medical practitioners. Trying to introduce these "subjective" factors was the opposite of what modern medicine ought to be doing. Nonetheless, virtually all medical schools were forced to confront this issue when research showed that patients were fleeing orthodox medicine and spending some 2 billion dollars annually on types of healthcare that did not ignore these subjective factors. Over two-thirds of medical schools now have courses in complementary medicine, although the relationship between the two approaches remains as uneasy (and even cynical) as it ever was. Part of integral medicine is an attempt to find a framework that can allow both of those approaches—conventional and complementary—to exist in a framework that embarrasses neither.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:19 AM | Permalink

August 17, 2004

Some Financial Planners Evolve Into Niches

Remember when the only choice you had to make when it came to toothpaste was regular or mint? Today, there are well over 200, enough to confound anyone at the drugstore. Colgate alone has 49 varieties and Crest has 21 varieties in twenty four different flavors.

    Toothpaste used to be dull. Now it plays songs, comes in scratch-'n'-sniff boxes, and stores floss in the cap. It's gone beyond tartar control to "dual-action whitening" and "sensitivity protection." One rejuvenating toothpaste, targeting women, is supposed to make users feel younger. There is toothpaste for children. ...Colgate introduced a Looney Tunes tube this year that begins to play "Yankee Doodle" when the lid is opened and keeps at it for 70 seconds to keep the child brushing....Aquafresh has toothpaste with dental floss in the cap to remind brushers to floss.
If you use a biological metaphor to understand the economy, it makes sense. A single species of plant or animal evolves in different ways in different places in the battle for survival in a particular niche. Something similar is happening in the financial planning industry. There are more of them, there are more types of them and many are specializing in certain niches.

This is good news, even a godsend writes Laura Koss-Feder in "Coming to the Rescue" in TIME

    Approximately 25% of the nation's 40,000 bona fide financial advisers are devoting their practices to assisting certain kinds of clients: seniors, individuals going through divorce, small-business owners, those with disabled family members and high-net-worth corporate executives. Some advisers specialize in serving clientele in certain occupations, such as medicine and teaching. Others work with those who have newly acquired wealth, like lottery winners.

    Planners with specific expertise can be a godsend. For example, Dee Reeves, a hair-salon owner whose son Sean, 32, has Down syndrome, found the right professional advice with financial planner Mary Anne Ehlert 11 years ago. Eighty percent of Ehlert's business — which includes the services of staff social workers — is devoted to helping families with disabled children, spouses and parents navigate both their finances and the social-service system. Ehlert is trying to create a special designation for other financial advisers across the country who want to work with similar clients. Ehlert's 16-person firm, based in Vernon Hills, Ill., charges an average fee of $2,500 to $3,000 a year.

    Divorce planning is one of the fastest-growing specialties. The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts in Southfield, Mich., certifies specialists, who have to pass exams on how to handle monetary issues related to divorce, according to its president, Fadi Baradihi. The institute's membership of 1,500 is growing about 20% annually.

If you don't need specialized advice, a regular financial planner is just fine. But if you need specialized advice, by all means, search out specialized planners in your area. "With tax laws and regulations becoming more complex every year, specialists can really help you. They also can serve as an advocate in your corner," says Linda Sherry, a consumer advocate at Consumer Action, a San Francisco — based nonprofit organization.

I've written earlier about the special needs of parents of special needs children. A team approach consisting of a financial planner, an estate planning attorney and a social worker or advocate seems to work the best

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:49 PM | Permalink

August 1, 2004

When a Wall Street Settlement Provides a Competitive Edge

Beginning June 27, 2004, major Wall Street firms must provide clients with stock recommendations by outsiders, that is a second and independent source of research apart from their own analysts. Last year's $1.4 billion settlement with the SEC and state regulators forced this change to resolve charges of conflict of interest by investment banks touting stocks to buy in which they had a financial interest.

Just how this independent research will work out for the average investor remains to be seen. I believe it will a long time before trust can be restored. People burned will turn towards independent financial planners and analysts before they put their trust in the large Wall St firms.

What's interesting is that some firms, like Fidelity, that were not "slapped by regulators seem to view such reports as a competitive threat" according to BusinessWeek. In a short article entitled Fidelity Flaunts Its Bona Fides that's not yet online, reporter Mara Der Havanesian writes that Fidelity will soon add research from seven new independent firms "to get up to par with its admonished rivals."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:27 PM | Permalink