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Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

All Humans Have A Blind Spot!

HUMANS ARE BLIND

The human eye sends signals to the brain that allow us to navigate our environment. For the most part, we see things as they are. However the human eye has a blind spot — located at the area of the retina where the optic nerve leads to the back of the brain.

 

These spots in each eye are symmetrically aligned; at each given moment one eye is compensating for the blind spot, or loss of vision, in the other. We take information from what surrounds that blind spot and fill in the blank.

 

Unless you’re Superman, you can only see what scientists call “visible light.” Some animals are able to see infrared and ultraviolet, but we cannot. Also humans are unable to distinguish the difference between polarized and non-polarized light, but many birds can.

 

Light passes through the pupil directly to the retina, where the light is “digested” by proteins. The information the retina receives from the amount of light given is sent through the optic nerve to the brain. This tells us what we are seeing — or what we think we see.

 

This can tested by covering one eye and focusing on one singular detail. A corner of your line of vision falls away and the details are blurred.

 

Cameras are instruments that capture exactly what the eye sees… more or less.

 

A Selected History of the Camera

400 B.C. Chinese philosopher Mo-Ti first discovers a version of the pinhole camera. He refers to his invention as the “locked treasure room,” essentially a darkened room with only  a pinhole in the window shade, through which light can project images on the opposite wall.

 

350 B.C. Aristotle appropriates Mo Ti’s technology to safely observe solar eclipses.

 

1021 Abu Ali Al-Hasan Ibn al-Haitham, an Egyptian man, is the first to document the technology of pinhole cameras in a book called Book of Optics. Not until the 19th Century will the “camera obscura” be combined with photosensitive paper to record images.

 

1839 Louis Jacques Daguerre presents his Daguerreotype process to the French Academy of Sciences, and the Daguerreotype camera is born. Early Daguerreotype cameras require exposure times as long as 30 minutes and are incredibly cumbersome. The earliest of these devices are today some of the most expensive cameras available.

 

1883 After toiling with wet-plate technology for years, George Eastman announces the invention of the first dry photographic film.

 

1888 Eastman begins selling the Kodak camera, which is designed to utilize the new Kodak film in rolls. These revolutionary inexpensive and portable devices come loaded with 100 exposures. Once all exposures are used, the whole camera is sent back to Kodak headquarters in Rochester, N.Y., for reloading.

 

Little more than a hundred years later, the now indespensible smart phones do all kinds of amazing things including taking pictures that are easily and instantly shared with friends thousands of miles away.

 

Much of this posting is courtesy of Timeline Theatre Company’s current production, Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West in its midwest premiere. The playwright is Naomi IIzuka.

 

Talking about things you can see and not see…. would you like to see how easy it is to find out if going in to your own business is right for you. Do you need to find some way to make more money? If your answer to that question was YES, read on.

 

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE, is a complete guide to starting your own home based business. Fred Broitman is a well known mail order authority and principal at SUNMAN DIRECT, Chicago’s largest independently owned mail order advertising agency has completely revised and up-dated his  book. This comprehensive manual to help you start, run and manage your own mail order business includes an all new section on how  to use the power of the Internet so that you can sell anywhere in the world right from your home.

 

Chapters include:

HOW TO GET STARTED

HOW TO FIND GREAT PRODUCTS

HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE RIGHT FROM THE START

HOW TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT FOR BIGGEST PROFITS

SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS

and an entire chapter of 14 SURE FIRE CHECK OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE HUGE PROFITS.

 

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or you can order direct from the publisher and save 25% Send your name and address along with check or money order for just $29.95 to SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago IL 60601. Postage is FREE and it’s sold on a 100% Money Back Guarantee of Satisfaction.

George Lauer — The Man Who Changed The Way Everyone Shops!

The Biggest Surprise is That Neither He or His Company Patented It

 

On a Sunday afternoon in 1971, an I.B.M. engineer stepped out of his house in Raleigh, N.C., to consult his boss, who lived across the street. “I didn’t do what you asked,” George Lauer confessed.

 

Lauer had been instructed to design a code that could be printed on food labels and that would be compatible with the scanners then in development for supermarket checkout counters. He was told to model it on the bull’s-eye-shaped optical scanning code designed in the 1940’s by N. Joseph Woodland, who died in December. But Laurer saw a problem with the shape: “When you run a circle  through a high-speed press, there are parts that are going to get smeared,” he says “so I came up with my own code.” His system, a pattern of stripes, would be readable even it was poorly printed.

 

That pattern became the basis for the U.P.C., the Universal Product Code, which was adopted by a consortium of grocery companies in 1973, when cashiers were still punching in all prices by hand. Within a decade, the U.P.C. — and optical scanners — brought supermarkets into the digital age. Now an employee could ring up a cereal box with a flick of the wrist. “When people find out  that I invented the U.P.C., they think I’m rich,” Laurer says. But he received no royalities for this invention, and I.B.M did not patent it.

 

As the U.P.C. symbol proliferated, so, too, did paranoia  about it. For decades, Laurer has been hounded by people convinced that he has hidden the number 666 inside the lines of his code. “I didn’t get the meat,” Laurer said ruefully, “but I did get the nuts.”.

 

This article first appeared in the New York Times Magazine January 6, 2013 under the byline of Pagan Kennedy.

 

Did you know there’s a Museum dedicated  to the bar code? The ID History Museum is run by Bill Selmeier who was interviewed for this story:

You worked at I.B.M. in the 1970’s and then helped promote the U.P.C? Yes, I started the seminars where we invited people from the grocery and labeling industry into I.B.M. We were there to reduce their fear.

 

What were they afraid of? They were afraid that anything that didn’t work right would reflect badly on them — particularly if it was only their own package that wouldn’t scan. The guy from Birds Eye said “My stuff always has ice on it when it goes through the checkout.” So we put his package in the freezer and took it out and showed him how it scanned perfectly.

 

Why are you still so interested in the history of the U.P.C. code? Let me put it this way: What bigger impact can you have on the world than to change the way everyone shops?

 

Even my book How To Become A Mail Order Millionaire has its own unique U.P.C. and as a visitor to my blog I want to offer you a special low price to order the book on a no risk trial. Plus an extra bonus. You can save more than 30% off the price and if you’re not completely satisfied, return it for a full refund. Sold everywhere for $39.95 plus s&h, you can order it direct from the publisher for only $29.95 and shipping is FREE.

It has been described by experts in the field as “the definitive guide to success in mail order/direct response

 

How To Become A Mail Order Millionaire is a complete guide to starting your own business, a business you can run from your home with no cost for an outside office or place of business and utilizing the power of the World Wide Websell your product or service all over the world.

 

You’ll learn:

 

How To Get Started
How To Find Great Products
How To Make Your Business Profitable Right From The Start
How To Price Your Product or Service For Biggest Profits
Secrets of Creating Winning Mail Order Ads
14 Seure Fire Check Off Lists That Guarantee Huge Profits
and included in this newly revised edition:
 
Complete Up-To-Date Information on How To Use the Internet To Super-Charge Your Mail Order Business

 

and for all new buyers I’m offering you a huge bonus. Order from this posting and you also receive a full years personal consultation from the author at no cost. Fred Broitman is the founder/CEO of SUNMAN DIRECT Chicago’s largest independently owned direct response advertising agency.  To receive this extra bonus, just send your name and address along with your check or money order for $29.95 to: SUPERIOR PRESS Dept. 8103 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago, IL 60611

A Truly Amazing Inventor You’ve Never Heard Of!

 
This obituary of Mr . Ovshinsky originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune October 24, 2012 reported by Elaine Woo.
 

Self-taught inventor Stanford Ovshinsky was not a household name like Thomas Edison or Albert Einstein, but he was often compared to them, for good reason.

He invented the nickel-metal hybrid battery, which has powered high-tech items such as cellphones, laptop computers and hybrid cars.

He created paper-thin solar panels potent enough to work on a cloudy day and cheap enough to be produced in sheets a mile long.

He founded a whole field of electronics that earned him a mention in dictionaries (see “ovonics”) and led to such marvels of modern life as the flat-screen TV.

Scientist’s work in hybrid cars, flat screen TVs: ‘Only genius I ever met,’ says University of Chicago physicist

Mr Ovshinsky, who never went to college yet transformed the alternative energy,  information and automotive industries with his inventions, died of prostate cancer Oct. 17 at his home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, according to his son Harvey.  He was 89.

The self-taught scientist-inventor pursued audacious ideas throughout his long career,often attracting the scorn of other scientists who said his schemes were foolish, impractical or just plain impossible.

In some respects, they were right. He ran Energy Conversion Devices, a product development company for 40 years, few of which were profitable. Although it drew blue-chip investors such as General Motors, 3M and Intel, it performed so poorly from a business standpoint that Forbes magazine once described it as “a high-tech Roach Motel” where the money goes in but it never comes out.”

But Mr. Ovshinsky’s path-breaking discoveries led his admirers to associate him with other brilliant minds.

“It’s difficult to compare one genius with another genius,” said University of Chicago physicist Helmut Fritzsche, who consulted for Mr. Ovshinsky and later became a vice president of Energy Conversion Devices, “but I’ve known great people, having been at the University of Chicago for over 40 years, and I consider Stan Ovshinsky the only genius I ever met… Everything he touches is new, different, wonderful.”

Mr Ovshinsky made a scientific name for himself in 1968, when he went public with research showing that glass could be engineered to conduct electricity. He predicted that glass semiconductors would one day replace crystalline transistors.

To argue as he did, that cheap noncrystalline materials such as glass could perform as well as more expensive silicon crystals sounded preposterous and derided by readers of Physical Review Letters, the prestigious journal that published Mr. Ovshinsky’s findings.

But his paper eventually became one of the five most cited publications in the journal’s history, and his prediction became prophecy, spawning a new field he called ovonics.

Born in Akron, Ohio, on November 24, 1922, he  was the son of Bertha Munitz and Benjamin Ovshinsky, a Lithuanian immigrant who later entered the scrap business.

Young Stan fell in love with machinery while accompanying his father to foundries and machine shops.

A mediocre student he spent hours in the Akron public library, where his real education took place. “His teachers didn’t understand him, but his librarian did,” his son said. “The librarian let him take out adult books.  ….. He was tireless in his curiosity.”

Mr. Ovshinsky’s formal education ended when he graduated from high school in 1941. Exempted from military service during World War II because of his asthma, he worked as a toolmaker and married Norma Rifkin, a childhhood sweetheart.

That marriage ended in divorce. In 1959 he married Iris Miroy; she died in 2006. He later married Rosa Young, who survives him along with three sons from his first marriage, four stepchildren, a brother and six grandchildren and stepgrandchildren.

In 1960 he and his second wife, Iris, founded what became Energy Conversion Devices with the goal of using science and technology to solve the world’s environmental and social problems. It’s nickel-metal hybrid batery, often called the NiMH, was one of its most successful products, used in electric and hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight.

Mr. Ovshinsky’s commitment to alternative energy sources earned him a spot on Time magazine’s list of “Heroes for the Planet” in 1999.

He retired from Energy Conversion Devices in 2007. The company filed for bankruptcy this year.

But Mr. Ovshinsky, who held more than 300 patents, did not stop inventing. “A real inventor,” he told the Detroit Free Press in 2008, “is not motivated by money. It’s about the idea and the creation.”

 

If only Mr . Ovshinsky was aware of the book on how to sell by mail order written by Fred Broitman. He might have been more successful in selling the wonderful products he invented.

 

Have you ever thought you had a great ideas for a product but didn’t know how to go about selling it?

How to Become A Mail Order Millionaire could be the answer you’ve been looking for. Many experts in the field have called it “the definitve guide to starting your own business.”

Long time mail order expert Fred Broitman has written this complete guide to starting your own home based business. If you would like to start a business that you can operate from your home and sell all over all over the world then this is your lucky day.

With the power of the world wide web you can become successful in a business of your own just by following the plan outlined in this newly revised edition. Mr. Broitman guarantees it.

Learn:
HOW TO GET STARTED
HOW  TO FIND GREAT PRODUCTS
HOW  TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE FROM THE START
HOW TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT FOR BIGGEST PROFITS
SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS
14 SURE FIRE CHECK OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE HUGE PROFITS

and included in this new revised edition:

COMPLETE UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ON HOW TO USE THE INTERNET TO SELL ALL OVER THE WORLD.

This book will provide you with an easy to follow “Road Map to Success in a Business of Your Own”

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or you can save $10 and order it direct from the publisher for only $29.95 and shipping is FREE. Just send check or money order along with your name and address to SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago IL 60601

Sold on a 100% Guarantee of Satisfaction or Your Money Back!

 

PROOF OF HEAVEN? ….. You Decide!

 Join Doctor’s Journey to the Afterworld’s Gates!

For years Dr. Eben Alexander III had dismissed near-death revelations of God and heaven as explainable by the hard wiring of the human brain. He was after all a neurosurgeon with sophisticated medical training.

But then in 2008 Dr. Alexander contracted bacterial meningitis. The deadly infection soaked his brain and sent him into a deep coma. During that week as life slipped away, he says, he was living intensely in his mind. He was reborn into a primitive mucky Jell-o-like substance and then guided by “a beautiful girl with high cheekbones and deep blue eyes” on the wings of a butterfly to an “immense void”  that is both “pitch black” and “brimming with light” coming from an “orb” that interprets for an all-loving God.

Dr. Alexander, 58, was so changed by the experience that he felt compelled to write a book, “Proof of Heaven,” that recounts his experience. He knew full well he was gambling his professional reputation by writing it, but his hope is that his expertise will be enough  to persuade skeptics, particularly medical skeptics, as he used to be, to open their minds to an afterworld.

Dr. Alexander acknowledged that tales of near-death experiences that reveal a bright light leading to compassionate world beyond are as old as time and by now seem trite. He is aware that his version of heaven is even more psychedelic than most — the butterflies, he explained, were not  his choice, and anyway that was his “gateway” and not heaven itself.

Still, he said  he has a trump card: Having trained at Duke University and taught and practiced  as a surgeon at Harvard he knows brain science as well as anyone. And science, he said, cannot explain his experience.

“During my coma my brain wasn’t working improperly,” he writes in his book. “It  wasn’t working at all.”

Simon & Schuster, which released the book on Oct. 23, is betting that it can appeal to very different potentially lucrative audiences: those interested in neuroscience and those interested in mystical experiences. “This book covers topics that are of interest to a lot of people: consciousness, near death and heaven” said Priscilla Painton, the executive editor at Simon & Schuster, who acquired the book. After being published simultaneously in hardcover, paperback and e-book format, it rose instantly to No. 1 on the New York Times’s paperback best-seller list and was there again a week later. Ms Painton would not elaborate on what type of audience  the book had attracted so far, but she did say she expected it to continue to be a big seller. The publisher has printed nearly one million copies, combined hardcover and paperback , to be snapped up at  airports and as stocking stuffers at big retailers like Target and Walmart. Another 78,000 digital copies have been sold.

In a recent interview at the Algonquin Hotel lobby in Manhattan, however, Dr. Alexander made it clear that he was less interested in appealing to religious “believers,” even though they had been a hard core audience for similar books.

He rejected the idea that readers of his book would be the same as those who bought “Heaven is for Real a mega best-seller about a preacher’s son who sat on Jesus’ lap during a near-death experience.

“It is totally different,” he insisted. “Those who believed in heaven when they read the book were not happy. They didn’t like the title. They say, “This is not scientific proof.” In fact, he said, “Proof of Heaven” was not his idea for a title. he preferred “An N of One,” a reference to medical trials in which there is only a single patient. Wearing a yellow bow tie, Dr. Alexander talked about his career and his years at Harvard, sounding every bit the part of a doctor one might  trust to drill open skulls and manipulate their contents.

He left Harvard in 2001, he said, because he was tired of “medical politics”. In 2006 he moved to Lynchburg VA., where he did research on less invasive forms of brain surgery through focused X-rays and digital scanners. Then the meningitis felled him.

After recovering, he originally planned to write a scientific paper that would explain his intensely vivid recollection. But after consulting the existing literature and talking extensively  to other colleagues in  the field he decided no scientific explanation existed.

“My entire neocortex — the outer surface of the brain, the part that makes us human — was entirely shut down, inoperative”, he said. He hesitated nevertheless. It took him two years, he said, even use the word God in discussing his experience. But then he felt an obligation to all those dealing with near-death experience, and particularly to his fellow doctors. He felt compelled to let them know.

So far he has spoken at  the Lynchburg hospital, where he was treated, and said he has been invited to address a group of neurosurgeons  at Stanford. But these invitations, he acknowledged, do not mean that his theory is gaining ground among doctors. In private conversations. he said, very few of his colleagues offered counterarguments. Some agreed with his conclusion that science could not explain what he saw, but none of them were willing to be named in his book.

Other former colleagues reached for comment were not convinced. Dr. Martin Samuels, chairman of the Neuorolgy department at Brigham and Women’s hospital, a Harvard teaching affiliate, remembered Dr. Alexander as a competent  neurosurgeon. But he said: “There is no way  to know, in fact, that his neocortex was shut down. It sounds scientific, but it is an interpretation made after the fact.”

“My own experience,” Dr. Samuels added, “is that we all live in virtual reality, and  the brain is the final arbiter. The fact that he is a neurosurgeon is no more relevant  than if he was a plumber”.

Dr. Alexander shrugs off such analysis. He still hopes to tour “major medical centers and hospices and nursing homes,” he said  to relate his experience in distinctly medical environments.

His message to those who deal with dying is one of relief. “Our spirit is not dependent on the brain or body” he said, “It is eternal, and no one has seen one sentence worth of hard evidence that it isn’t.”

This article appeared in  the New York Times, The Art Section, November 26, 2012.

While your brain is working overtime to absorb the information contained in Dr. Alexander’s fascinating new book, take a time-out  to consider your future.

Have you ever wanted to own your own business? To become free from the dependency of a job?

Consider owning your own mail order business with little cost to get started. With the help of the Internet you can start and run your own business with low overhead right from your own home.  You can sell a product or service direct to the consumer no matter where they live…. and  it’s easier to get started than ever before.

My book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE was written to help men and women start their own lifetime business and become independent and successful. It has been described by experts in the field as “the definitive guide to starting your own home based business.”

Long time mail order expert Fred Broitman’s newly revised edition will help you to get started in a business of your own.

You’ll learn:

  1. HOW TO GET STARTED
  2. HOW TO FIND GREAT PRODUCTS
  3. HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE
  4. HOW TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCTS FOR BIGGEST PROFITS
  5. SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS
  6. 14 SURE-FIRE CHECK OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE PROFIT
  7. and included in this new edition… COMPLETE UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ON HOW TO USE THE INTERNET TO SELL YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or you can save $10 and order it direct from the publisher for $29.95 and shipping is FREE. Send check or money order along with your name and address to: SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago IL 60601.

The book is sold on a 100% Guarantee of Satisfaction or your money back.

Darwin vs Creationists – All in Favor of Darwin Say Eye. The Eyes Have It!

New research suggests vision arose only once and earlier than expected, before 700 million years ago.

Until recently it was possible, even plausible, to think that the faculty of vision had originated several times during the course of animal evolution. New research suggests not: vision arose only once and earlier than expected, before 700 million years ago.

David Pisani and colleagues from the National University of Ireland have traced the ancestry of the three kinds of “opsin” protein that animals use, in combination with a pigment, to detect light. By comparing the genome sequences of sponges, jellyfish and other animals except sponges, but including a flat, shapeless thing called a placozoan. Some time after 755 million years ago, the common ancestor of ourselves and the placozoa duplicated a gene and changed one of the copies into a recognizable opsin.

Placozoans still have just that one kind of opsin, and it lacks the key amino acid change at position 296 that makes light detection possible, so Dr. Pisani concludes that the last opsin common ancestor, dubbed LOCA, had no vision. But on the other branch, the common ancestor of ourselves, insects and jellyfish made the change to light detection, then experienced two more duplications some time between 711 million and 700 million years ago to give the three kinds of light-sensing opsins we still possess today.

That vision was a single evolutionary innovation is a discovery that would have suprised an earlier generation of evolutionary biologists, who contrasted the compound eye of the insect with the the camera-like eye of human beings and imagined several parallel inventions. But some years ago it emerged that  the very same gene, called Pax6, commands the development of the insect eye and the human eye, hinting at a common origin. Still more surprising, a version of a Pax gene was then found directing the development of simple eyes in jellyfish. So the single origin of vision has become gradually more plausible.

All this would come as a relief to Charles Darwin, who worried about eyes, because their perfect complexity seemed to defy gradual evolutionary assembly: What use is half an eye? In 1860 he wrote to the American botanist Asa Gray: “The eye to this day gives me a cold shudder, but when I think of the fine known gradation my reason tells me I ought to conquer the odd shudder.”

In fact, the anatomy of eyes shows every gradation between simple light-sensitive spots and full cameras. The detailed genetic evidence of descent with modification from a single common ancestor further vindicates Darwin and has largely silenced the Intelligent Design movement’s use of the eye as a favored redoubt.

After the duplications that led to working opsin molecules, there seems to have been a long pause before complex eyes appeared. The first lensed eyes  that fossilized belonged to the trilobites which dominated the Cambrian oceans after 525 million years ago. Andrew Parker of Oxford University argued in a book a few years ago that newly perfected eyes explain the sudden appearance of many kinds of hard-bodied animals, the so-called Cambrian explosion. With predators hunting by sight for the first time, prey needed protection and mobility, so an arms race led to a plethora of new hard-body designs.

Just as eyes suddenly enabled our ancestors to see the world around them, so the capacity to read genomes enables us to see deep into the past. Long before LOCA there lived a creature called LUCA, the last universal common ancestor. It was only about 50 years ago that the unity of life became apparent for the first time. The molecular biologist Frances Crick, surveying the experiments that were deciphering the genetic code in bacteria, animals and yeast cells, and seeing that they were all converging on the same universal cipher, concluded that there is only one kind of life on the planet: that plants, animals and microbes must have once shared a common ancestor.

This wonderful scientific article first appeared in the Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2012 written by Matt Ridley.

If our eyes hadn’t developed over the millions of years to give us the gift of sight not only would I not have been able to write HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE, no one would be able to read it.

Lucky me…Lucky you, especially if you have the need for some part time income or maybe even a new career.

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE has been described by experts in the field as “the definitive guide to success in the mail order/direct response business.”

Long time mail order expert Fred Broitman will lead you step by step into a business that you can run from your home. No need to spend rent on an office or open a store. With the power of the Internet you can sell your product or service all over the world.

You’ll learn:

HOW  TO GET STARTED

HOW TO FIND GREAT PRODUCTS

HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE RIGHT FROM THE START

HOW TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE FOR BIGGEST PROFITS

SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS

14 SURE-FIRE CHECK OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE HUGE PROFITS

and included in this new edition…COMPLETE UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ON HOW TO USE THE INTERNET TO SUPER CHARGE YOUR MAIL ORDER BUSINESS.

The book is sold on a 100% Guarantee of Satisfacton or Your Money Back!

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or you can order direct from the publisher for only $29.95 and free shipping. Send check or money order along with your name and address to:
SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago IL 60601.

The Reading Device: A Short History — From Scroll To Screen

Centuries before e-books changed the way people read, the codex (bound books as we know it today) replaced the scroll.

This short  history of the reading device first appeared in the September 4, 2011 issue of THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW under Lev Grossman‘s byline.

With the codex book, for the first time, you could jump to any point in a text instantly!

SOMETHING very important and very weird is happening to the book right now: It’s shedding its papery corpus and transmigrating into a bodiless bibliographical equivalent of the rapture. if anything we may be lowballing the weirdness of it all.

The last time a change of this magnitude occurred was circa 1450, when Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type. But if you go back further there’s a more helpful precedent for what’s going on. Starting in the first century A.D., Western readers discarded the scroll in favor of the codex – the bound book.

In the classical world, the scroll was the book format of choice and the state of the art in information technlogy. Essentially it was a long rolled-up piece of paper or parchment. To read a scroll you gradually unrolled it, exposing a bit of the text at a time; when you were done you had to roll it back up the right way, not unlike that other obsolete  medium the VHS  tape. English is still littered with the words left over from the scroll age. The first page of a scroll, which listed information about where it was made, was called the “protocol.”  The reason books are sometimes called volumes is that the root of “volume” is volvere, to roll; to read a scroll, you revolved it.

Scrolls were the prestige format, used for important works only: sacred texts, legal documents, history, literature. To compile a shopping list or do their algebra, citizens of the ancient world wrote on wax-covered wooden tablets using the pointy end of a stick called a stylus. Tablets were for disposable text — the stylus also had a flat end, which you used to squash and scrape the wax flat when you were done. At some point someone had the very clever idea of stringing a few tablets together in a bundle. Eventually the bundled tablets were replaced with leaves of parchment and thus, probably, was born the codex.

But nobody realized what a good idea it was until a very interesting group of people with some very radical ideas adopted it for their own purposes. Nowadays these people are known as Christians, and they used the codex as a way of distributing the Bible.

One reason the early Christians liked the codex was that it helped differentiate them from the Jews, who kept (and still keep) their sacred text in the form of a scroll. But some very alert early Christians must also have recognized that the codex was a powerful form of information technology — compact, highly portable and easily concealable. It was also cheap —- you could write on both sides of the pages which saved paper — and it could hold more words than a scroll. The Bible was a long book.

The codex also came with a fringe benefit: It created a very different reading experience. With a codex, for the first time, you could jump to any point in a text instantly, nonlinearly. You could flip back and forth between two pages and even study them both at once. You could cross check passages and compare them and bookmark them. You could skim if you were bored, and jump back to reread your favorite parts. It was the paper equivalent of random access memory, and it must have been almost supernaturally empowering. With a scroll you only trudge through texts the long way, linearly. (Some ancients found  temporary fixes for this bug — Suetonius apparently suggested Julius Caesar created a proto-notebook by stacking sheets  of papyrus one on top another.)

Over the next few centuries the codex rendered the scroll all but obsolete. In his “Confessions”, which dates from the end of the fourth century, St. Augustine famously hears a voice telling him to “pick up and read.” He interprets it as a command from God to pick up the Bible, open it at random and read the first passage he sees. He does so, the scales fall from his eyes and he becomes a Christian. Then he bookmarks the page. You could never do that with a scroll.

Right now we’re avidly road-testing a new format for the book, just as the early Christians did. Over the first quarter of  this year — e-book sales — were up 160 percent. Print sales — codex sales — were down 9 percent. Those are big numbers. But unlike last time it’s not a clear-cut case of a superior technology displacing an inferior one. It’s more complex than that. It’s more about trade-offs.

On the one hand, the e-book is far more compact and portable than the codex, almost absurdly so. E-books are also searchable, and they’re green, or greenish anyway (if you want to give yourself nightmares, look up the ecological cost of building a single Kindle). On the other hand the codex requires no batteries, and no electronic display has yet matched the elegance of clarity and cool matte comfort of a printed page.

But so far the great e-book debate has barely touched on the most important feature that the codex introduced: the nonlinear reading that so impressed St. Augustine. If the fable of the scroll and codex has a moral, this is it. We usually associate digital technology with nonlinearity, the forking paths that Web surfers beat through the Internet’s underbrush as they click from link to link. But e-books and nonlinearity just don’t turn out to be very compatible. Trying to jump from place to place in a long document like a novel is painfully awkward on an e-reader, like trying to play the piano with numb fingers. You either creep through the book incrementally, page by page, or leap wildly from point to point and search term to search term. It’s no wonder that the rise of e-reading has revived two words for classical-era reading technologies: scroll and tablet. That’s the kind of reading you do in an e-book.

The codex is built for nonlinear reading — not the way a Web surfer does it, aimlessly questing from document to document, but the way a deep reader does it, navigating the network of internal connections that exists within a single rich document like a novel. Indeed the codex, is optimized. The contemporary novel’s dense, layered language took root and grew in the codex, and it demands the kind of navigation that only the codex provides. Imagine trying to negotiate the nested, echoing labyrinth of David Mitchell‘s “Cloud Atlas” if it were transcribed onto a scroll. It couldn’t be done.

God knows, there was great literature before there was the codex, and should it pass away, there will be great literature after it. But if we stop reading on paper, we should keep in mind what we’re sacrificing: that nonlinear experience, which is unique to the codex. You don’t get it from any other medium — not movies, or TV, or music or video games. The codex won out over the scroll because it did what good technologies are supposed to do: it gave readers a power they never had before, power over the flow of their own reading expeience. And until I hear God personally say to me, “Boot up and read,” I won’t be giving it up.

My personal thanx to Lev Grossman for this wonderful essay printed in the New York Times Book Review.

Speaking about books: If you have always thought about how great it would be to run your own business, you need to get: HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE. As a reader of my blog postings you can save $10 from the cover price sold everywhere for $39.95.

My book is sold on a 100% Guarantee of Satisfaction or your Money Back.

Save $10 by ordering it direct from the publisher for $29.95, no charge for shipping and handling! Send check or money order for $29.95 U.S. along with your name and address to SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N.MICHIGAN AVENUE, SUITE 1032, CHICAGO, IL 60601. Orders outside the U.S. must add $3.95 for shipping.

How To Start Your Own Blog – It’s Easier Than You Think

GETTING STARTED!

The  first rule of blogging: THERE ARE NO RULES FOR BLOGGING!

Blogging is no different than any other kind of writing even the fact that at some point you may hope to monetize your work … and to do that you need to attract people to your site. Lots of people. The more followers of your blog postings, the more reason advertisers will want to appear there  to sell their goods and services so let’s get started.

The information that follows comes from my good friend Denny Hatch who is one of the true gurus in the business of writing. He pens a monthly column in TARGET MARKETING MAGAZINE. More about Denny later.

If you are sitting and looking at a blank computer screen (or a blank piece of paper), you’ll never get started. I am reminded of the great wit, writer and actor of the 1930’s and 40’s. Robert Benchley (1889-1945), grandfather of Peter (“Jaws”) Benchley. One day under deadline and suffering from a severe hangover, Benchley was sitting in his room at the Algonquin Hotel in New York staring at a blank piece of paper in his typewriter. To get started he typed the word “The”.

Benchley rose from his chair, walked to the window and, glancing at his watch, realized the gang of regulars was assembling for a splendid lunch of booze and bon mots at the legendary Round Table downstairs — Dorothy Parker, Groucho Marx, George S. Kaufman, Alexander Woollcott, New Yorker editor Harold Ross and others.

Benchley returned to the typewriter and stared at the “The” for a long time. In a burst of inspiration, he completed the sentence. It read, “The hell with it.” Whereupon he took the elevator down to join the party.

Ted Nicholas on Getting Started

Ted Nicholas is a legendary direct marketer, entrepreneur, publisher, copy writer and teacher. In his classic book, “The Golden Mailbox,” he wrote:

  1. Clear your mind. For some persons, this might mean lying down for a few minutes before going to work. For others, it could mean jumping in the pool or jogging around a track. Frolic, spend time with someone you love or go dancing. Do whatever comes naturally to you in order to have a clear mind for creative purposes.
  2. Never write when you’re tired. You’re not going to try to drive or operate machinery when you’re tired. Don’t try to write when you’re fatigued.
  3. Never write when you’re busy. If there are other demands pressing on you, tend to them first. I don’t think anyone can write well when watching the clock. Don’t try to write if you have appointments later in the day or errands to run.
  4. Don’t write in bits and pieces. Once you’ve turned on your creative energy, you need to keep it flowing. I don’t stop until I complete a draft. I try not to stop even for meals.

A Kitchen Timer

The late Gene Schwartz, who wrote powerful mail order/direct mail copy that sold millions of dollars worth of books (many published by himself), once told me to get a kitchen timer and set it on the desk next to me. He said:

Punch in 4-4-4-4. That’s 44 minutes and 44 seconds during which you’re working. Period. All you do is work, write, do research, deal with correspondence, design, whatever. When the timer goes off, get up and shut the alarm sound off. Take a break. Walk around, stretch, get a cup of coffee, clear your head. When you’re ready to go back to work, hit the 4-4-4-4 button again and dive in.

I follow Gene’s advice. It keeps me sane and refreshed.

Hemingway on Writing

When Ernest Hemingway finished a book, he would stick the manuscript in a drawer and come back to it a few weeks later. Most of us under deadline do not have this kind of time. however not looking at a piece of paper or a computer screen for 12 or 24 hours or longer and then going back to it for edits and rewrites can be beneficial. In “A Moveable Feast“,  Hemingway wrote:

I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped  when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day…I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything, I hoped; learning, I hoped; and I would read so that I would not think about my work and make myself impotent to do it.

Denny Hatch is a freelance direct marketing consultant and copywriter, and author of Denny Hatch’s Business Common Sense e-newsletter at www.businesscommonsense.com.

If you’d like a FREE copy of Denny Hatch’s 22 Rules for Internet Success, it’s yours for the asking; just send an email to: Send me a FREE copy of Denny Hatch’s 22 Rules for Internet Success

Using Platitudes In Your Marketing Messages Can Kill You!

Well, not literally “you” but if you are in business for yourself or into blogging for fun or have to write sales letters for someone else’s business, using platitudes can kill your marketing.

Saying you’re different and then acting the same, smelling the same, tasting the same, looking the same and offering virtually the same product  and service, makes you a LIAR!

These words of wisdom come from Rich Harshaw and his very useful on line site Monopolize Your Marketplace.

When you use platitudes in your marketing, your prospects have no way to tell if you are any better or any worse than anyone else.

What’s a platitude? A platitude is “any words or phrases that are drearily commonplace and predictable and that lack power to evoke interest through overuse or repetition that are nevertheless stated as though they are original or significant.”

Words like–

  • High Quality
  • Great Service
  • Amazing Products
  • Been in Service for Over 20 YEARS

Words and phrases that fall smack dab into the platitude bucket do absolutely nothing to help you explain your value to the prospect, and worse, they actually hurt your credability with the prospect.

Why? Simple.

Regardless of how cool your product actually is or how revolutionary your service has become, when you advertise it using platitudes you sound like every other average product or service offering out there. You literally become a  duck in a sea of ducks in the pond quacking at the same  time and are indistinguishable to your prospect.

When building your marketing, you need to prepare your case as thoroughly as an attorney would prepare a case for court.

In court, the attorney’s case can mean the difference between freedom or incarceration. Between life and death. In your business, your case for your product or service means the difference between success and failure. Think about your marketing and advertising strategy this way: Your product or service is on trial. The consumer is the jury. You are the attorney…and you must educate the jury on all the relevant issues and prove to them that you offer the best value available…and it’s a life-or-death sentence. Your job is to define the relevant issues, come up with all the proof, all the arguments, all the evidence and present it in a way that the jury believes you. Remember, your prospects are the jury!

PLATITUDES WON’T CUT IT!

Ultimately, if you present your case for your product or service in a compelling and convincing way, you’ll build confidence with your prospects and bridge the confidence gap. They’ll feel like they’re in control of the decision. You’ll have business coming to you because you will have effectively separated yourself from your competition. Just like the jury draws the conclusion of guilt or innocence, so will your prospects. They’ll feel like they’d have to be a fool to do business with anyone else but you, regardless of price.

If the idea of starting your own business  that you can operate from home from anywhere in the world then give some thought to MAIL ORDER. With the power of Internet to sell your product or service on line, it doesn’t matter if you live in Wyoming or Pennsylvania, in Canada or Italy or if you prefer to run your business from the Bahamas, then mail order is for you.

Take advantage of my special offer to readers of my blog to order my book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE today. It’s sold on a money back guaaantte of satisfaction, available from Amazon at the published price of $39.95 plus s&h or direct from the publisher for only $29.95 plus $3.50 s&h (Total $33.45) Send a check or money order for $29.95 plus $3.50 (Total $33.45) to: SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032, Chicago, IL 60601

17 Year Old Starts Own Business – It’s Not Rocket Science Or Brain Surgery

Over the years I’ve spoken at many trade shows and conventions about starting your own mail order business and many of the attendees ask me how hard is it to start your own business, especially in this difficult economy and I usually wind up telling them “well, it’s not rocket science or brain surgery”. The easiest and best way to begin is to rely on advice from people already in the business who have been successful. Going this route will save you many dollars and keep you from making the dreaded B-B’s…beginners blunders. See how easy it is to begin by first reading the following article which appeared in the November 27th issue of the New York Times written by Nicole Laporte.

DON’T KNOW HOW? WELL, FIND SOMEONE WHO DOES!

Is advanced technical knowledge necessary to become an inventor? Look at the story of Katherine Bomkamp, and you will see it isn’t. Ms. Bomkamp, 20, came up with the idea behind the Pain Free Socket, a prosthetic device that is intended to ease phantom limb pain in amputees. The device, now awaiting a patent, works by applying heat to the amputee’s joint socket through thermal bio-feedback. The theory is that as the nerve endings are warmed, the brain is forced to focus on the heat rather than send signals to the absent limb.

Now a sophomore at West Virginia University, Ms Bomkamp was in high school when she began working on her invention. At the time, she had zero background in chemical or electrical engineering, which were essential to the creation of the device.

“It was all completely foreign to me. I had no interest in engineering before this,” said Ms Bomkamp, who was a criminal-justice major at the magnet high school in Maryland. In college she’s studying political science, with plans to attend law school.

Her experience shows how ambition, persistence and an ample supply of curiosity can lay the groundwork for achieving breakthroughs, even technological ones. (A bit of youthful pluck helps, too.) It also shows that drawing on other people’s experience and resources is often as good as, if not better than, doing everything yourself.

Politicians know this. Business leaders like Steve Jobs knew this. And yet when we think of a solitary soul hunkered down in a basement lab for weeks or months before emerging to claim an unshared victory. To this, Ms Bomkamp would say: think again.

The seeds for the Pain Free Socket were sown when Ms. Bomkamp, whose father is a disabled Air Force veteran, found herself in waiting rooms at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center—the hospital in Virginia that has since closed—seated among wounded soldiers just back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of them were amputees.

“They would tell me their stories, and phantom pain kept coming up,” she said. She started researching the condition and learned that “most amputees are prescribed antipsychotics and barbiturates which are expensive and have high addiction rates.”

“So I wanted to see if I could eliminate the need for those holistically,” she said.

An opportunity to pursue her idea came when a teacher announced a school science fair. Wanting to “do something meaningful that impacted the community,” she said, she decided to work on a device to treat phantom pain.

“My thought process was: when I pull a muscle, I apply heat to it. If I applied the same concept to treating phantom pain, I thought that could work.” The only problem was execution. Ms Bomkamp was the furthest thing to from a math or science geek; there was no way she could do this alone. So she began e-mailing engineering professors at universities in the area and asking them for assistance. “They were all very receptive,” she said. “they all invited me to come work in their labs. I chose the University of Maryland because it was closest to my house”.

And every Friday, she would take the day off school—with permission—and her mother would drive her to College Park. There, she worked with Professor Gilmer L. Blankenship in the department of electrical and computer engineering, and his lab manager, Jay Renner. “They taught me electrical engineering from the bottom up—electrical programming, heat-wiring,” she said. “Basically, everything, they had to teach me”.

They helped her build a prosthetic socket as the first prototype; heated socks used by hunters served as the gadgets heat source. But engineering was only half the battle. Ms Bomkamp wanted to expand her invention and build a prosthetic limb. Who would build it – and not charge her $15,000, the typical cost of an artificial leg?

Again she resorted to grass roots outreach, printing the names of prosthetic companies she found on the Web site of the Amputee Coalition of America, and making calls. “A lot of people hung up on me, saying, “This won’t work, you’re just a kid, don’t waste my time” Ms Bomkamp said. Finally she reached Jake Godak, who at the time was working at Cascade, an orthotic and prosthetic supply company in Chico, California, and remains a consultant in prosthetics. “He said this could really work, and so he built sockets and a leg for me,” she said. “I still work with him”.

In the second generation prototype, the heated socks were replaced by ribbing cable, and the electronics were such that the amputee could control the temperature of the socket.

The device “appears to be a very promising prototype for one of the possible ways for amputees to deal with phantom pain”, she said. Joe McTernan, a director of coding and programming at the American Orthotic Association. “This certainly is interesting and intriguing research,” he said, adding; “but it is, as far as I can see, currently very much a prototype”.

At West Virginia University, Ms Bomkanp has acquired a new set of mentors in the school’s entrepreneurship program. She has set up her own company and is working on third, and fourth generation prototypes. These will have smaller, more compact electronic boards and will be able to be operated by a mobile phone.

In the meantime, she has applied for a patent, and the device will be tested. She also is in talks with a domestic prosthetic company about licensing the rights to sell the device, which is subject to the approval of the Food and Drug Administration. She hopes to receive a small percentage in royalties from future sales.

Otherwise, she’s just an ordinary college kid—sort of. “I definitely don’t have the typical college student life”, she says, “But at the same time, I do. I still worry about tests and getting scholarship money. But yet I’m a C.E.O., and I’ve got this project and I go on business trips. I walk the line between the two. And yes, she won the high school science fair.

So what has this wonderful story got to do with starting your own business? Hopefully it will inspire you to take a chance on something new, something you know nothing about. My book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is like having a mentor right next to you answering every question you will ever have on becoming successful in mail order… and even if you don’t become one of the mail order millionaires like some of my clients have, you’ll have the opportunity to make an excellent income in a business of your own.

The book is sold on a money back guarantee of satisfaction, so you have nothing to lose.

Shocking Mating (s-e-x) Secrets Reveal Survival of the Fittest

Terry Tom Brown, a science student at Columbia University has written a delightful essay in the October 16, 2011 issue of the New York Times. Some excerpts follow.

“Throughout the school year I am employed at a popular nature museum where I care for animals, primarily insects. To me it’s the best job ever. For a science student, it’s much better than folding clothes at a department store. I have also learned a lot, odd facts I tend to spout out during dinner conversations, like: ‘Butterflies can see with their genitals. They have photoreceptive cells on their sex organs’.

“I actually have said those words on dates. That’s how a nerd copes with first-date anxiety.

“I also collect information on animal courtship and my knowledge is extensive enough to make David Attenborough blush.”

“Did you know that a female hump-back whale lifts her genitals above the water while males fight for her affections? Male fruit flies give females a gently pat on the behind to let them know they are interested (not much different from some guys I know). Panamanian golden tree frogs wave their tiny hands to communicate their desires. And albatrosses, which stay together their entire lives, keep it interesting by entertaining each other with goofy ritual dancing”.

“I think life would be good as a monogamous albatross, partly because I find human courtship senseless. In almost all species of animals I have studied, a remarkable gesture of interest is what wins a mate. In humans, it’s the opposite”.

“Constructing a brightly colored nest works wonders for the bower-bird. Clownfish will actually change their sex in the right setting. Bonobo chimpanzees display their physical interest in one another directly and ceaselessly, performing sex acts as greetings”.

“Perhaps humans have simply entered a new stage of evolution in which we have abandoned chocolates, door holding, flowers or any overt gesture of interest for a new and unnatural order of things”.

“Dating sites are like virtual zoos, but for humans. You can learn about the various creatures by reading their panels and observe them without any real danger, but you should think carefully before squeezing through the bars to meet what is lurking on the other side”.

“Working at the museum greenhouse recently, I saw a pair of bird wing butterflies engaged in a courtship dance. The male, with his shimmering green wings, flies up and under the female repeatedly until she submits. This male looked exhausted; he had spent so much time seeking here attention that his wings had become tattered and faded”.

“That evening a large group of children were in the museum for a special event. A few were excited seeing a large butterfly carrying a smaller one in flight. At first I thought it was the same mating behavior of the previous pair but then I realized it was something tragically different”.

“The female was spiraling in the air with the corpse of the male butterfly attached. He had died during intercourse. He must have been so exhausted from impressing her that when she finally gave in, he gave out. Spending most of the day resisting him, the female did not have the strength to remove him, so she died also.”

Insects and other animals survive in many cases because they put out more effort than their competitors. This is true of most self-made millionaires. If you truly want to become a mail order millionaire why not start with a FREE TRIAL of my book. This small effort on your part could not only make you a survivor but quite possibly the next mail order millionaire. Here’s my special offer for you.

Order Now and Save $10
Only available to readers of this blog. You can buy direct and save with the special price of $29.95 plus $3.50 for first class postage and handling. Send a check or money order in the amount of $33.45 payable to SUPERIOR PRESS along with your name and address to: Superior Press 333 N. Michigan Ave STE 1032 Chicago IL 60601 and I will promptly ship the book. Or you can purchase the book at the regular retail price from Amazon.

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