Archive for: January 2013

Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife

heaven-featuredIs there life after death? Regardless of what culture you're from or what religion you follow, there seems to be a current theme that many people believe in an afterlife.  Coming from a home where my brother and I attended Sunday School and church every Sunday, one would think I'd be destined to believe. But it seems I always had more questions than answers. To believe in something without questioning it; doesn't seem to be logical.

When I was a teen I stumbled across a book in our library about Plato, a student of Socrates. It seems that the discussions that took place the day before he was poisoned, proved the soul is immortal. Socrates offers four arguments for the soul's immortality. After reading the arguments, I found the logic impossible to dispute. Nevertheless, I closed the book and decided not to believe that which had been proven otherwise. However, if I could learn more, I would. I had not become an atheist.

As the years slipped by, I found cause to once again revisit my open-minded belief. It was the year after my wife and I had bought a house in Calgary. My daughter was four years old at the time. We had been living in a condo community, where we rented a two-story, three bedroom condo. It really was quite comfortable living there. Each unit had a fenced backyard, where toddlers and pets could play.

Miles to the south of us, in a town called Lethbridge was a very similar condo community. From the pictures I saw of it, you could hardly tell it apart from the one we had been living at. One family living there had a three year old daughter, the same age my daughter was when we were renting our condo. The little girl had blond hair, just like our daughter. And the little girl would often go out the front door to the neighbors place just two doors down, to play with the children who lived there. Funny, the similarities -- our daughter had done the exact same thing many times.

The difference is, this little girl never had a chance to go back home. A friend of the family, who she was used to interacting with, picked her up, drove her 200 miles north of Lethbridge and left her sexually abused and beaten to a pulp. When they found her in the secluded area, she was half naked and underneath a pile of brush. She had been barely alive when he left her. They found her dead, clinging to one of the branches of the brush that had been piled over her to hide her.

Does that sound like there is a fair and just God? Discussions with others always result in vague religious quotations, like, "Everything happens for a reason". Or God needed to bring this little lamb home. I have a hard time buying this. Heck, that could have been my little girl....

One of the things I heard, and probably hate the most is, "She's in a better place now." Who says? Where is the better place? Heaven?

One of the top books on Amazon right now is titled, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife. Written by Dr. Eben Alexander which chronicles his near death experience. Dr. Alexander is an expert on the brain, though he readily admits that no one really understands it all. He is articulated and well educated, but I think his experience with the afterlife is a result of brain damage he suffered from when he almost died. He says, "We are all here to try and get closer to the truth." Watch the video below to see what truth YOU find in his words.

If you watched the video, you will have heard that before he left what he calls the earthy sphere of existence and was delivered into the core, that he "believes a creator was behind the beauty and love he witnessed." Of course, we all have our beliefs; doesn't necessarily make his right.

proof-ebookGo ahead and click here  to read a preview of his book, and what it entails. And then click to read some of the reviews; there are 1,818 customer reviews. You will see one of the review says, " While Dr. Alexander's experiences have startling similarities to other near-death experiences I've read about, what sets his book apart is the fact that Dr. Alexander is a neurosurgeon with great knowledge of what makes up consciousness. The parts of his brain that would create experiences like he underwent (such as in a dream state) were not functional at the time he experienced them. He is also a man of science and a skeptic, who changed his views completely after experiencing this. This transformation is interesting and notable. His descriptions of heaven are vivid, uplifting, and fascinating."

You will hear that in the video above too, that "... The parts of his brain that would create experiences like he underwent (such as in a dream state) were not functional at the time..."

I can't believe that. It must have been functioning at some low level.... if he was able to remember it. But this doesn't prove the little girl who died under a brush pile is in a better place. How can one prove there is an afterlife, much less heaven, if you haven't died? Those who have lost all vital sign and been declared clinically dead for a few minutes, and then come back from their out-of-body experience, simply means that we need to reassess what it is to be clinically dead.

I'm afraid a lot of people use this kind of stuff as a crutch. Just like a drug addict needs his drugs or alcohol to get by on. If you're 50+ and alone; don't waste your time worrying about an afterlife. There isn't any. Go enjoy the next half of your life.

If you don’t want to miss any of these posts: on the right-hand side of the blog is a place where you can enter your email address, and I’ll send you any new posts by email. You’re not going to get spammed — I respect your privacy. All you will get is the new posts only. Note: any posts that contain video or other website technologies won’t be available in the email version of the posts.

You’re also welcome to share your comments, about religion, afterlife, or life in general.


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You’re Never too Old to Laugh

laugh-sign-featuredYou're Never too Old to Laugh is free today (Kindle version) on Amazon. It's written by Ed Fischer whose cartoons have been syndicated in 120 newspapers and winner of 28 awards. he says, "Being "old" isn't what it used to be. Elders today are active, fun, and ready for something new. Stay young at heart with the wit, wisdom, and inspiration you'll find in this book."

The book is 128 pages, but it's a quick read, with some of his featured cartoons on some pages and witty quotes on others. Example: He says he’s 59… and he has very few friends still alive who can contradict him.

I know I've always liked to find the humour in any situation I was in, whether it be work or play. Unfortunately, it may not have always gone over as well as I would have liked, But then, I got a laugh out of it...

Like the time I was in my early twenties and was working with an electrician wiring a new house. Earlier on that morning my pliers had slipped out of my hand and bounced off his head as he worked below me on a ladder. He suggested the next time I drop a tool, I should give him a holler and he would jump out of the way. I said I would.

Then I got to wondering, if he was fast enough so it would make a difference? So later on that day, when I was on the second floor, I leaned out the opening that would become a window and saw him walking below. To test my theory, I hollered, "LOOK OUT!!!"

Of course, I hadn't actually dropped anything. But he jumped out that spot! He must have leapt six feet in the air doing it! Then when he looked up at me with a puzzled look on his face, I grinned and said, "Just testing!"

Okay.... well... one of us thought it was funny....

LaVona Traywick, Ph.D., wrote in a quick paper for the University of Arkansas that, "Most of us don’t take humor seriously enough." You can read the full text of the article by clicking here. The article goes on to say:

Physical Benefits of Laughter

• Improved cardiovascular health

• Improved respiration

• Lowered blood pressure

• Reduced pain

• Enhanced immune system

• Decreased “stress” hormones

• Muscle relaxation

Mental Benefits of Laughter

• Improves brain functions

• Improves disposition

• Releases pent-up feelings of anger and frustration

• Reduces tension

• Lowers anxiety

• Increases energy

• Enhances creativity

old-ebookSo, don't miss your chance to get a copy of Ed Fischer's book You're Never too Old to Laugh. Click here to download it, and add some fun to your day. Like the Readers Digest always says, "Laughter is the best medicine.

If you don’t want to miss any of these posts: on the right-hand side of the blog is a place where you can enter your email address, and I’ll send you any new posts by email. You’re not going to get spammed — I respect your privacy. All you will get is the new posts only. Note: any posts that contain video or other website technologies won’t be available in the email version of the posts.

You’re also welcome to share your comments, jokes, funny stories and anecdotes below in the comment section. Give us your best one!


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How and why to use DOS to transfer files

cDos-featuredIt comes in handy to know how to moves files from someone else's computer to your website (if you have one) so you can download them later when you get home. Over 10 years ago when I worked as an electronic technician, I used to take the weekly time sheet, send it via FTP to my website, then download it at home.

Note: FTP is an acronym which means file transfer protocol, and it's built into every computer.

See, there were only certain computers in the lab that had access to the server that had the time sheets. The one on my desk was one of them. If I happened to be away from my desk at 4:30 Friday afternoon, then I might have to wait while 10 others used my computer to fill out the time sheet in Excel, and then send it to the printer. These were Excel files. I just sent the document to my website, downloaded it, filled it out  at home, uploaded it, and then downloaded the filled out sheet Friday at 4pm before the rush started. My sheet was sent to the printer between 4-4:15pm. Sometimes this save me over and hour of waiting time. Who wants to hang around after work for an hour?

Of course this is only one scenario. There could be any number of reasons why you need move files from someone else's computer, to your server where you can download them later. After-all, some email providers won't let you receive attachments over 5 megabytes, and that isn't a very big file size by today's standards.

Any time you are connecting to a remote computer over the web and it isn’t an Anonymous FTP server you are going to have three pieces of information:

  •  The address of the host
  • Your Username
  • Your Password

How you connect to the host may vary a bit on individual servers, but these three pieces of information will always be required.

Also note that some FTP commands are redundant and there are sometimes two or more commands that do almost the same thing.

This tutorial assumes you are connecting to a server using a PC, but if you have downloaded this and use a MAC you will be happy to know that you can use a MAC for an FTP session. From a MAC terminal window you can run FTP. Terminal is found in the applications folder under Utilities. The terminal is a black window where you can type commands directly into the Mac system. Below is a list of common FTP commands:

Your first Session

 At your RUN prompt type: command. This will open a DOS window if you're using Windows. For this example, I'm using Windows 7.

You always learn better when you can have a “hands on” tutorial. If someone tells you how to do something, if you’re like me – you still don’t know.

Then when you actually do it you learn much quicker and understand better. So what we want to do is walk you through a couple of FTP session so you can get the “hang of it.” If you don’t have time right now, I would suggest you close this tutorial and come back to it when you have time.

ftp-commands

The first thing we need to do is open a DOS window. I will be FTPing into my website – you can follow along with your own. The first thing you are likely to see is C:\Users\Yourname>. If you're using an older operating  system you might see: C:\Windows>

ftp-1

 To make this easier to understand, let's suppose the file that I want to copy is on my "desktop" -- so in the FTP window I need to change the directory to where the file is located. So I type: cd desktop which now looks like this in the FTP client:

So are you all set? Check to make sure you have the file in the directory you have cd'd to. At the Prompt type dir. This will display a list of files and directories in your directory.

It is possible that using this DOS command the files scrolled up past the top of the DOS window and you may not be able to see them all. But you can tell DOS to only display one page of information at a time. To do this you would type: dir/p

This will display one page of information. If you don’t see the file there, just hit Enter to display the next page of information. The /p is known as a switch.

Now that we know the file is where it is supposed to be and that we are in the right directory (where we are supposed to be) we can start our FTP session. By default you will already be in ASCII mode which is the correct mode for transferring html and text files and scripts. So in this example I type into the DOS prompt: ftp homebusiness-websites.com

 Once you do that you will be connected to the server and prompted for your username and password. You type in your username and then the system will ask for your password. Then if successful you will receive this message back: 230 User username logged in. Note on Windows 7: your password will not be displayed as you enter it, and neither will any ‘*’s, so enter it carefully.

ftp-2

Using the example above you can see what commands I typed in and the information sent back to me from the server. The information sent back from the server starts with a server code such as 230, which basically means OK.

Once you have the message the file has been transferred, you can then type : bye -- and then exit. The first command disconnect you from the server, the second, closes the command prompt window.

Once you're home, you can follow the same procedure to retrieve the file, ifyou don't have an FTP client. But instead of typing put and the file name, you would type get and the file name.

This works great for text files and other files that are in the ASCII format. But if you wanted to transfer pdf files or Microsoft Word documents, you have to set the transfer to binary mode. By default, the FTP window is in ASCII mode. Once you login to the server, if you are going to transfer binary files you would enter bin at the command prompt, which tells the server you are transferring binary files. If you were uploading multiple files, you would do this at the command prompt: ftp>mput brian.doc form.mdb sterling.bmp. To retrieve these files at home you would use the command ftp>mget brian.doc form.mdb sterling.bmp.

 For those of you who didn't even realize you could do things like this with your computer, you may be missing out on a lot of things you could be doing. There are a log of books on Amazon that are geared towards people who want to learn more about their computers. They called the series "...for dummies" -- but there isn't anything stupid about these books, and they aren't really for dummies. They are geared with the end user in mind, someone who doesn't have a Bachelor of Computer Science. I've owned a few of these books and found them very helpful. Click here to see the list.

If you don’t want to miss any of these posts: on the right-hand side of the blog is a place where you can enter your email address, and I’ll send you any new posts by email. You’re not going to get spammed — I respect your privacy. All you will get is the new posts only. Note: any posts that contain video or other website technologies won’t be available in the email version of the posts.

You’re also welcome to share your comments below. Share your best computer tips!


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Play some games to help keep your mind sharp

game-on-featuresdI'm sure you have heard the expression "use it or lose it" countless times. It's especially true for our brains for anyone 50+. I can't understand how some people can write an auto biography, when I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday 😉 Anyway... I've been reading about how games can help keep our minds sharp.

In an article on WebMD, titled Games to Keep You Young, Jennifer Soong says:

Playing certain video games can help improve split-second decision making, hand-eye coordination, and, in some cases, auditory perception, says Ezriel Kornel, MD, of Brain and Spine Surgeons of New York in Westchester County. “It’s actually a very complex set of tasks that your brain is going through.”

It’s not enough, though, to just pick up a game and play it for a few minutes, Kornel tells WebMD. You have to actually improve at it -- and to improve you have to be learning.

“Anytime the brain is in learning mode,” Kornel says, “there are new synapses forming between the neurons. So you’re creating thousands of connections that can then be applied to other tasks as well.”

Learning, is the keyword. According to an article on Time, Anita Hamilton writes, "In one study, presented last year at the Cognitive Neuroscientist Society's annual meeting, psychologist and neuroscientist Helena Westerberg of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm compared the cognitive abilities of 45 young adults (average age 25) with those of 55 older adults (average age 65). She found that after five weeks of computerized training on tasks ranging from reproducing a series of light flashes to repeating digits in the opposite order that they were given, the older group was able to reach the same level of working memory, attention and reaction time that the younger group had at the outset."

Anti-aginggames.com offers online games and claim their games can help stave off early memory loss. It doesn't prevent Alzheimer's, dementia, or other cognitive conditions, but may help delay the onset. Have a look at the video below:

Multiple studies have suggested that people who are more mentally active are less likely to develop aging-related cognitive loss or Alzheimer's disease. So, there you have it in a nut shell. They recommend two sessions per week, at 30 minutes per session is all that it takes.

The only downside to this that I can see is they charge $12.99 per month to access the games. It is of course your choice to decide to sign up, but there are lots of other places to get games too. Click here to do a search on Amazon for a number of games and anti aging products.

Bgames has over 4000 free online games, including shooting games, arcade free games, racing car games, dress up games and many more.

Addictinggames.com has tons of free games.

If the idea is that you learn as you play, it probably doesn't matter what games you play. Click here to do a search on Google for numerous other sites offering free games.

If you don’t want to miss any of these posts: on the right-hand side of the blog is a place where you can enter your email address, and I’ll send you any new posts by email. You’re not going to get spammed — I respect your privacy. All you will get is the new posts only. Note: any posts that contain video or other website technologies won’t be available in the email version of the posts.

You’re also welcome to share your comments below. And if you have a favorite free gaming website, let us know.


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How Parents Can Raise Positive, Confident Kids

kids-featuredFree today: Confident Kids: How Parents Can Raise Positive, Confident, Resilient and Focused Kids (The Parenting Trap) The author Karen Campbell says: "Every parent wants the best for their children. We all want them to grow up to be confident and positive adults. Raising a child to be resilient and able to deal with life's ups and downs is also something that most parents strive for. Confident Kids will give you practical strategies for shaping and improving your child's outlook and mindset. Parents have a huge influence over the way their children think and deal with life's situations and events. Happy and successful children usually grow up to be well-adjusted adults who lead fulfilling lives.

Of course most of us who are 50+ now, don't have to worry about raising children ourselves, but we do have our grandchildren to think about. This book seems to offer some likely advice. One of the co-authors, Katrina Kahler, is a World-Class educator who has been nominated for the National Inspirational Teaching Award. She is the co-author of 'The Parenting Trap' series, which include a variety of books that will assist parents in raising happy, confident and successful children. She is a highly experienced school teacher, speaker and parenting adviser and her passion involves helping kids to reach their full potential...academically, socially and personally.

Have a look at the video below to see how raising a child's confidence level can help

Of course there are people who will tell you not to overdo it. Dr. Peggy Drexler, research psychologist and gender scholar, had an article published in the Huffington Post titled, "The Key to Raising Confident Kids? Stop Complimenting Them!" Complimenting them all of the time for their efforts, regardless of how small the effort was, can create more damage than good. She says:

Research with children and families has indeed told us that praise has the opposite intended effect. It does not make children work harder, or do better. In fact, kids who are told they're bright and talented are easily discouraged when something is "too difficult;" those who are not praised in such a manner are more motivated to work harder and take on greater challenges. The unpraised, in turn, show higher levels of confidence, while over praised are more likely to lie to make their performances sound better. Praise becomes like a drug: once they get it, they need it, want it, are unable to function without it.

kids-ebookAnd the author of the book Confident Kids: How Parents Can Raise Positive, Confident, Resilient and Focused Kids (The Parenting Trap) agrees with this assessment. She says in her book, "Yes, it’s important to handle our young child's self-esteem gently, but we must be careful not to overdo it or they may miss out on understanding that they won't always win and also the all-important concept of good sportsmanship and being a good winner and loser."

Sometimes, I think I went a little too far with my 16 year old daughter. She certainly has the confidence, so much so, she doesn't feel like she needs to listen any longer. I can't help but wish, I had bought this book a few years ago. But I've got it in my library now. Maybe it will be some use with the grand children.

Click here to download your copy of this book now

If you don’t want to miss any of these posts: on the right-hand side of the blog is a place where you can enter your email address, and I’ll send you any new posts by email. You’re not going to get spammed — I respect your privacy. All you will get is the new posts only. Note: any posts that contain video or other website technologies won’t be available in the email version of the posts.

You’re also welcome to share your comments below.


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