Monday, August 28, 2006

Natural Conditioning is Powerful Stuff

As I posted earlier, Steve Pavlina posted a great technique for making a habit out of getting out of bed when the alarm goes off. It really does work.

It works because of natural conditioning. Recreating a situation and practicing a behavior in that situation makes it likelier that you'll do that behavior when the situation arises.

If you practice getting out of bed immediately when your alarm goes off when you are fully awake, you are likelier to do leap out of bed the following morning. It's that simple.

If you want to do work when you turn on the computer instead of reading blogs all day, practice logging on, switching to a document you are working on, actually do one or two little things that need doing and log off. Walk away, wait a minute, then walk back and repeat. Keep doing that until you are sick of it :-)

If your place is a mess because you don't clean your messes as you go, practice walking into a room and finding something that needs cleaning or organizing, then walk into another room and repeat. Do that in every room in your house until you get bored with it. Then you should have the beginnings of a very useful habit and a much cleaner home.

I'm trying these last two ideas myself and they seem to work, at least for today. I'm pretty sure you can devise similar strategies to put in place the behaviors that you want.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Phones for the Elderly

Another idea I wouldn't mind working on is a special phone service for the elderly. It would screen their calls to keep out scammers or anyone they didn't want to hear from (except for those who have power of attorney!).

I hate it when I hear about old folks getting pressured into giving money to jerks who don't want to do something useful. I almost think that it would be a good thing if the government required everybody dealing with the elderly to be licensed.

If once you get to a certain age, you can't write checks to people who are not licensed or not relatives, that would cut out a lot of this fraud. For those who don't like that, a simple process to go outside of the licensed wold be available. It would be a burden, but on the more capable, not the least capable, who now get fleeced all too often.

It could work as simply as sending you a post card on your 65th, 70th and 75th birthdays. Do nothing to get protected or check the box to go unprotected. Banks would simply check their list of family and the licensed before cashing checks.

What's Next?

Well, as those of you who know me are probably aware, I've been working on this book about robots since last December. Its about the future of robotic transportation.

Lately, though, I've had a number of other ideas for projects that I might like to work on. I'd thought I'd post them here and see what people think about them.

Two of the ideas are non-profit. The first would provide massage services to war veterans to help them recover from their experiences. It would rely upon contributions and perhaps a nominal fee on a sliding scale for the vets. Other populations that could be helped include former and current foster children, welfare recipients, the elderly and the moderately mentally ill, all of which are groups I have personal reasons for caring about.

I'd also like to launch a charitable contribution service to help pay for this work. This service would help people contribute to other worthy causes without having to share their private information. I know a lot of people would like to avoid all the junk mail, real and virtual, that accompany many such organizations. Whatever is left over from transaction fees would go to fund the massage project.

I'd also working on an idea for a community web site, but details on that are under wraps.

Let me know what you think.

Natural Viagra

Again I am pushing trigger point massage therapy. It's great for releasing stress that gets stored in the body.

Muscles that are constantly tense cause cortisol to be produced in the body. This has many ill effects, but one thing it does is interfere with the synthesis of nitric oxide in the body.

Nitric oxide is important for athletic and sexual performance. If nitric oxide production is down for any reason, aerobic activity will be harder and other things may be less hard :-).

So, if you've got a lot of muscle tightness, you might not do as well in bed as you could. And you may get winded more easily in general.

So you'll want to get those tight muscles, all of them, worked on. That may be expensive, but its worth it. If you can't afford or find a professional, you might want to consider reading up about the subject yourself.

This topic came up for me recently because a massage therapist helped me realize I had some unaddressed trigger points in the back. A lot of them. I've worked on them a lot at home this week and noticed that my breathing was a lot less labored while cycling. And that was just one performance improvement :-) My range of motion also improved quite a bit; I'm amazed how loose my shoulders and lats are now.

You need to worry about this sort of thing more if you've ever been through prolonged stress. As for me, I worked at this small startup company for 7 years and I think it got to me after a while. Also, I grew up with someone that was bipolar and that was really stressful. Apparently, recovery was not instantaneous.

Its amazing how long we can carry stress around with us. Its nature's way of helping us survive a bad environment, but once the environment improves, we need to let it go.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Drat! Foiled Again!

Interesting blog entry from New Scientist on how you can foil attempts by search engines to track your online activity.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Why Jobs are Bad

Steve Palina shares a lot of good reasons to avoid having a job. He has some excellent ideas. A few spacey ones too, but who doesn't?

I'm trying out his idea for getting out of bed more quickly in the morning and so far it seems to be working.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Curry is Good for the Brain

New Scientist has an article about how curry helps prevent Alzheimer's.

I keep some around so I can add it to takeout or sandwiches. Try get some at least every other day.