Live! Death Approaches - Season 3, Episode 15 of the Adam Bomb Podcast


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Adam is the author of the following books: 

How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English): https://amzn.to/3gdiQ33 
Antivirus For Your Mind: https://amzn.to/36nq9ka 
Principles For Personal Growth: https://amzn.to/3bRidbR 
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Direct Your Mind: https://amzn.to/3gePh16 
Self-Help Stuff That Works: https://amzn.to/3bUwMvB 
Slotralogy: https://amzn.to/2zj8DBm 
Fill Your Tank With Freedom: https://amzn.to/2LPtnU7 
Self-Reliance, Translated: https://amzn.to/2TqW25V 
What Difference Does It Make: https://amzn.to/2LPWPt8 

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The Oil Monopoly Causes Mental Illness

I was talking with the director of a large mental health hospital during the financial crisis of 2007-2009. When I talked to him, they had just finished building a new wing of the hospital, and he said they'd been extremely busy since the Great Recession began. He told me something I've never heard before — recessions always initiate a steep rise in mental health problems.

I must have looked surprised. He explained, "Well, people lose their jobs, which causes stress, and sometimes they lose their houses too. Under the strain, couples get divorced. Depression and anxiety increase. Anger and frustration rear their ugly heads. Sometimes people deal with it by drinking too much or taking drugs, and that causes even more problems. Sometimes the stress can trigger the onset of latent problems like psychosis and schizophrenia."

All of this got me to thinking. Since every time oil prices have spiked since WWII, we've had a recession in the United States, and since recessions cause more peoples' lives to fall apart, and since we could prevent rising oil prices from causing recessions if we had sufficient fuel competition, then it is not unreasonable to assert the following:

Oil's monopoly on transportation fuel
causes mental illness.


Or at least the oil monopoly plays a causative role in triggering a greater number of mental health problems than would otherwise have occurred.

So we can chalk this up as yet another good reason to stop the insanity of perpetuating a one-fuel economy. In addition to increasing our national security and boosting our economy, fuel competition can help keep our citizens mentally healthy. In addition to curtailing the money going to prop up dangerous women-oppressing regimes, lowering the amount of lobbying and influence the oil industry enjoys, helping to solve our garbage and landfill problem, helping people in developing nations rise out of poverty, and reducing the amount of pollution and greenhouse gases sent into the atmosphere, into the ocean, and into the ground, fuel competition can also literally make the world a saner place.

Adam Khan is the co-author with Klassy Evans of Fill Your Tank With Freedom and the author of Slotralogy and Self-Reliance, Translated. Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

Rising Oil Prices Cause Recessions — ALL of Them

Perk Earl wrote: "Economist James Hamilton has shown that 10 out of the last 11 US recessions were associated with oil price spikes." Read more about that here.

Higher gas prices are not just irritating. They affect the economy rather broadly, as the following excerpt from the book, Fill Your Tank With Freedom makes clear:

There is an insidious side-effect of rising gasoline prices. As people spend more money on gas, they spend less money on other things, and that causes the loss of jobs. “Since consumer spending is the main driver of the U.S. economy,” says Mark Cooper, Research Director of the Consumer Federation of America, “when speculators, oil companies and OPEC rob consumers of that much spending power, the inevitable result is a dramatic reduction of economic activity and employment.”

In Cooper’s study of the effect of oil prices on jobs, he discovered that every time oil prices have spiked since World War II, we’ve had a recession in America. In his study, he showed that because oil was about $30 a barrel higher than “costs or historic trends justify,” (from the summer of 2010 to the summer of 2011) gas prices rose by a dollar a gallon in one year, which drained about 200 billion dollars from the economy. This is about two percent of consumer spending. That doesn’t seem like much, but two percent less spending (200 billion dollars) created the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Another way to look at it is that because most of our cars are not capable of burning anything but gasoline, we imported about $500 billion dollars per year of oil, sending that money out of the country. That would have paid five million workers $100,000 a year! But the money leaving our country just leaves — doing nothing for us. If the same money was paid to workers here, it would have a huge ripple effect in our economy because that money would then be used to buy other goods and services in America.

Saudi Influence on the U.S. Government

Saudi oil billionaires have hired American law firms and lobbying organizations to promote their agenda within the U.S. political system. They keep these powerful groups on their full-time payroll. The Saudis alone have 100 lobbyists in Washington (the NRA, considered one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington D.C., has 28 lobbyists). According to Open-Secrets.org, the total number of lobbyists reported for the year 2012 who were working for the oil and gas industry is 736! But let’s just focus on the Saudis for now.

They not only have 100 lobbyists who spend their time persuading our politicians to adopt their point of view, but the Saudis influence individual politicians directly through the incentive of money, and it’s all perfectly legal.

In chapter three of Robert Zubrin’s book, Energy Victory, he details the amazing system of Saudi oil-money payoffs to American politicians. I’ll give you a few highlights here.

Many of the ways money directly influences politicians are officially declared as such. But there are “innumerable other influentials who accept well-paid consultancies from the Saudis and who chose not to make the connection public,” wrote Zubrin. “One of these appears to be former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who had to resign from his position as head of the September 11 investigative commission when he was asked to disclose his client list.”

He wasn’t the only one. Senator George Mitchell, former Senate majority leader, had to quit his position as vice chair for the same reason.

Another way Saudis influence American politicians is by spending big money for weapons made by American companies. The Saudis have spent about 100 billion dollars on sophisticated weapons they have not used (because Saudi Arabia is protected by the United States military). Their purchases give them influence — what the defense contractors’ say to politicians can be manipulated by the Saudis.

And since big defense contracts create lots of jobs, the Saudi influence spreads to the politicians in whose districts those jobs will be created.

Another way to legally give money to influential American politicians is through making a politician a board member of a corporation, and generously paying them for their “service.”

Here’s how it works: Saudi funds are used to create a business partnership. An important political figure is then invited to sit on the board. The business then pays the politician a fantastic sum for basically doing nothing. For example, according to the New York Times, former secretary of state James Baker has received 180 million dollars for his board membership in the Carlyle Group, an investment firm funded largely by Saudis.

This is not an isolated case. Far from it. According to former CIA counterterrorism case officer Robert Baer, author of Sleeping With the Devil, “…almost every Washington figure worth mentioning has served on the board of at least one company that did a deal with Saudi Arabia.”

Another legal way money is transferred to politicians is to invite influential people onto the board of a corporation and give them stock options in the company. The politician serves on the board for short time, and then cashes out the stock options, often reaping huge profits.

The above is an excerpt from the book, Fill Your Tank With Freedom.

With Fuel Competition, You Would Save a Lot of Money

How much would the average American family save if the Open Fuel Standard bill passes into law? Kelly Cook, the National Field Director for ACT! for America, has done the following calculations:

The price of gasoline and diesel has dropped 40 to 50 cents since those figures were used from the $4.00 level.

I’ve just used the following math, which is pretty indisputable and it would be instructive to your readers to follow the math...their potential savings.

The auto experts I’ve been seeing all seem to come in around the 12,000 to 15,000 average miles per year per car and/or pickup in the U.S. I’m sure this could be narrowed down with a little research.

Average family owns: 2.28 cars or pickups (source). The ratio nationwide is 55% cars and 45% pickups (source).

Average fuel mileage nationwide for cars is: 24.6 mpg.

Average fuel mileage nationwide for pickups is: 16 mpg.

Weight the number slightly to the favor of the cars since they have 55% of the total and I come up with an average of 22 mpg for cars and pickups.

13,500 miles per year average divided by 22 mpg =  614 gallons per year per vehicle.

Multiply 614 X 2.28 cars per family = Average U.S. family burns 1,400 gallons per year for all the family vehicles.

Current national average of gasoline / diesel (weighted towards gasoline) = $3.60.

Current price of natural gas refined methanol per gallon is $1.30.  (Raw cost = 30 to 40 cents + profit and taxes).

Plus add in the 60% range of methanol to gasoline = $1.83 equivalent range adjusted price to gasoline.

$3.60 minus $1.83 = $1.77 savings per gallon.

$1.77 X 1,400 gallons per year per family = $2,478 annual savings.

If the price were still at $4 for gasoline, the annual saving would be:

$4.00 minus $1.83 = 2.17 per gallon.

$2.17 x 1,400 gallons = $3,038.00 annual savings per year per family.

So we can reasonably say that the average family could save between $2500 and $3000 per year for their average 2.28 vehicles depending on how “generous” OPEC is at any given time.

Although the math is flawless here, it might not work out exactly like this. It might be not quite as good. It might be significantly better. As Mr. Cook says, "At best, this is a moving target because everything about the variables of my calculation are moving targets. Nothing is static – the price of oil, the price of methanol, MPG of cars and trucks, average cars per family — nothing."

But it's a very good rough estimate, and would create more discretionary income for us all, and that's always good for the economy. Two of the things Mr. Cook didn't try to factor in could also be significant: The continually rising cost of oil, and the petroleum costs on just about every other commodity. It is almost certain that oil prices will continue to rise in the foreseeable future. And since almost every product has been shipped, the rising cost of oil raises the price of everything else.

Each of us could have more money in our pockets every year. Let's pass the Open Fuel Standard and make it happen.

What Myth Do You Live By? - Season 3, Episode 14 of the Adam Bomb Podcast


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Adam is the author of the following books: 

How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English): https://amzn.to/3gdiQ33 
Antivirus For Your Mind: https://amzn.to/36nq9ka 
Principles For Personal Growth: https://amzn.to/3bRidbR 
Cultivating Fire: https://amzn.to/2WTiiYs 
Direct Your Mind: https://amzn.to/3gePh16 
Self-Help Stuff That Works: https://amzn.to/3bUwMvB 
Slotralogy: https://amzn.to/2zj8DBm 
Fill Your Tank With Freedom: https://amzn.to/2LPtnU7 
Self-Reliance, Translated: https://amzn.to/2TqW25V 
What Difference Does It Make: https://amzn.to/2LPWPt8 

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Direct Your Mind: What Good Have I Been Ignoring?

You can direct your mind by using a good question. This question is one of my favorites. What good have I been ignoring? The answers go on and on, improving my mood the whole time. I keep thinking of more and more good things I've been ignoring. The question almost demands it.

The emotional fallout from this question is abundant good feelings of happiness, gratitude, and pleasant surprise. When you ask a question like this, you’ll find answers everywhere. The question makes you look. You’ll realize someone has done something nice for you and you hadn’t really noticed. You’ll remember a great time you had a couple weeks ago and realize you hadn’t thought of it since then.

The question sets your mind to be on the lookout for good you’ve overlooked. You’ll notice good news items you might not normally notice, like how this lake got cleaned up or that disease now has a cure. The question helps overcome a natural tendency of the mind to get used to good things and only notice bad things. Read more about the mind's negative bias here.

What has been improving? What’s been getting better?

Ask this question, think of some answers, and ask it again.

This is especially a good question to ask if you’ve had your attention on what has been getting worse, or if you've had a feeling things are going badly, or you’re worried they will go badly.

This question won’t solve all your problems, of course, but it can reduce the amount of distress you’re feeling by widening the tunnel vision stress causes. You’re not trying to fool yourself or pretend everything is rosy. You’re looking to acknowledge the reality of what has been getting better.

When those are acknowledged, you are less distressed and more able to make things even better. And it is good for your mood. A good mood is healthy and productive. What good have you been ignoring?

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

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Why Support an Open Fuel Standard?

1. Saves money. An open fuel standard would bring down gas prices at the pump. The main reason gas is so expensive is that OPEC has no competition, so it can (and does) deliberately lower its production to raise the price of oil, and we have no choice but to pay it. OPEC knows this, and takes advantage of its leverage. Fuel choice at the pump will be the end of this long-running and destructive monopoly.

2. Healthier. The fumes from burning alcohol are less toxic than the fumes from burning gasoline — considerably less toxic to humans and other living things.

3. Better economy. Better economy. An open fuel standard will generate jobs in the United States. Americans will build fuel-processing plants, new fuel stations, we’ll grow the raw materials to make methanol from biomass, grow crops to make ethanol, discover new sources, invent new alternative fuels, and come up with new ways to make fuel from waste products. American ingenuity will have a field day. A lot of money goes to fuel for transportation. With an open fuel standard, much more of this money will circulate in the American economy rather than being sent overseas. In addition, becoming less dependent on oil will prevent recessions.

4. Safer. Alcohol is less flammable than gasoline, and therefore less dangerous and less likely to explode. One of the things that makes gasoline dangerous is that its vapors sink to the ground where they can ignite. Alcohol vapors evaporate and dissipate. Alcohol burns cooler than gasoline, too, which also makes it less dangerous. That's why the United States Auto Club banned gasoline from their races.

5. Less carbon impact. Alcohol fuels put less carbon into the air. To drill for oil, you're taking carbon out from underneath the surface of the earth and burning it, adding carbon to the air that wasn't already there. But ethanol and methanol can be made from plant material. So the plant pulls carbon out of the air, and when it is burned as fuel, it returns the same carbon back into the air.

6. Inexpensive. Manufacturing a car with flex-fuel capability adds very little to the price of a car. It is a relatively small tweak, usually adding around one hundred dollars to the production cost of a new car. In Brazil, this cost is absorbed by the car companies and doesn’t raise the price of the car. That will probably be the case in the U.S. too.

7. Budget friendly. It doesn't cost the federal government any money. It doesn't involve any subsidies.

8. Environmentally friendly. An "alcohol spill" would not be a disaster like an oil spill. Alcohol dissolves in water and is readily consumed by bacteria. Within a few days of an Exxon-sized ethanol or methanol spill, the ocean would be back to normal.

9. National security. Fuel competition at the pump will reduce the amount of money going to regimes hostile to America (and hostile to their own populations). These regimes are dangerous. The world would be better off if those governments didn't have so much wealth to use to harm or repress others.

10. Freedom. With an open fuel standard, every alternative fuel could compete against gasoline, thereby allowing consumer choice. Cars could be flex fuel, electric, hydrogen, natural gas, biodiesel, or anything except monopoly-perpetuating gasoline-only cars.

An open fuel standard would bring an end to oil’s long-running harmful monopoly of transportation fuel, and would usher in a new era of economic vitality and energy independence in America.

11. Good for everyone. It will have a positive global impact, for two reasons: First, because the U.S. buys so many cars, when foreign car makers switch to making flex fuel cars, those same cars will be sold in other parts of the world, spreading fuel choice everywhere (and reducing pollution, reducing environmental damage from oil spills, and reducing carbon in the air everywhere, too).

And second, methanol from biomass will probably become the preferred fuel (it's very cheap, high octane, and can be made from almost anything, including municipal waste). And developing countries — especially those in tropical regions, where plants grow abundantly — will have money-making opportunities to cultivate plants to use for biomass, creating a market for their products, which will raise their income.

For all these reasons, an open fuel standard is worthy of our support.

Adam Khan is the co-author with Klassy Evans of Fill Your Tank With Freedom and the author of Slotralogy and Self-Reliance, Translated. Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

Fuel Competition Within a Car is Far Better Than Competition Between Cars

As soon as possible, we need to break oil’s monopoly on transportation. The fastest, least expensive, most immediately effective way to strip petroleum of its strategic status is with flex fuel cars — by making the cars themselves a platform upon which fuels can compete.

Even though we have CNG cars (compressed natural gas) and electric cars and others, that is not good enough — fuels are still not really competing. Not many of us can afford to have four or five cars (each powered a different way) so we could choose on any given day how we will power our day’s commute. When people have few choices at the pump, the logical course of action is to buy a car that runs on the most available fuel, which is why most people are still buying petroleum-only cars.

When you arrive at the pump to fill your tank on any given day, if your car is capable of burning multiple fuels, those fuels are in immediate competition for your dollar. That kind of competition will drive fuel prices down. If your vehicle can only be powered by one fuel, those multiple fuels are not really competing with each other for your business. The car manufacturers are competing, but not the fuel.

In other words, the competition needs to happen within each vehicle (not between vehicles) or it’s not true fuel competition.

To bring about fuel competition as quickly as possible, we should all stop burning petroleum fuels and spend as much of our transportation money as we can on anything but oil. Right now, ethanol is the most available alternative, so we can start there. It might be easier than you think. Ethanol can be the thin edge of a big wedge with which we can open the fuel market. 

And we should pass the Open Fuel Standard to speed up the process of making this a flex fuel nation. It will change the world.

Make Your Own Fuel

You can make your own ethanol at home, and it's legal. You simply need to get a "small fuel producer" permit from the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. 

Permits are free, and entitle you to make up to 10,000 gallons of ethanol fuel at home for personal use per year. For more information, check out Journey to Forever.

You can make your own still or buy one. Here are a few places online that sell already-made stills:

RainierDistillers.com
CopperMoonshineStills.com
MileHiDistilling.com
FerroMit.com
Amphora-Society.com

Pessimism Is Bad For Your Immune System

The human immune system is incredibly complex. As living organisms, we are constantly bombarded by invading viruses, fungus, and bacteria and it is a constant battle with first, second and third lines of defense against invaders. 

We have immunoglobulin A, for example, in our saliva, to help kill invaders as they enter our mouths. We have many different immunoglobulins in our lungs, our intestines, our tears, etc. — in our points of vulnerability — the places where an invader can invade. At those points, we have immune defenses, guard posts, forts, standing guards. 

Our lives are at stake and the immune system that has evolved is amazing. The benefit of an advance in immune system technology all along our billions of years of evolution were enormous: The ultimate benefit — life or death.

We have T-cells that circulate in the blood and when they recognize an invader they have fought before, the measles or a flu virus for example, they reproduce the antibody for that invader and overwhelm it to kill it off.

When a virus invades your body, it's always a race between your T-cells and the invader. Whichever one can multiply fastest wins. You are invaded fairly often, but if your T-cells reproduce faster than the invader, you never even know the war went on. You won. You didn't get sick. But if your T-cells are sluggish, if they don't reproduce fast enough, the invaders multiply too quickly and overwhelm your defenses, and then backup defenses take over: Fever, excess mucous, whatever tools your immune system can muster to destroy the invader and prevent your own death.

Another battalion in your immune system is natural killer cells (NK cells). They cruise through your blood looking for anything foreign, like cancer cells, and kill it off. Your NK cells are more effective under certain conditions than others.

In one study, the researchers measured the level of pessimism, cynicism and defeatism (the deadly triad) in a group of elderly people and also once a year took blood samples to check the activity level of their immune system. The immune system was less vigorous and less effective in those with the highest measure of the deadly triad. Pessimism is bad for your immune system. Pessimism weakens your defenses against disease.

In another study, researchers looked at what might happen if people learned to think less pessimistically. They divided cancer patients into two groups. Both groups received standard medical care, and one group also received training in thinking less pessimistically once a week for twelve weeks, and also learned some relaxation techniques.

Taking blood samples, the researchers measured the NK cell activity. It was dramatically higher in the people trained to think differently.

In a study I mentioned in my book, Self-Help Stuff That Works, people were tested for their level of pessimism, cynicism, and defeatism. Then they were given some health-related information to study on health topics (like cancer, for example). Here's an interesting finding that really ought to be obvious: The most pessimistic spent less time studying the information and remembered less of it. It ought to be obvious but it was surprising to me when I first read about it, and it's surprising to a lot of people (especially pessimists).

But if you think about it, the outcome of the study makes perfect sense. Pessimism of course makes you less inclined to believe you can do anything to successfully change the course of events. And if you assume you can't do anything about preventing cancer, for example, you're not going to be very motivated to learn anything about it, are you? By assuming you're helpless, you become more of a victim.

What I like about this study is it counters what seems to be a common belief negative people have about optimists. They believe it is a form of sticking your head in the sand and ignoring reality. How else, the pessimists ask, could you avoid being pessimistic, cynical and defeatist? But this study shows that it is actually the people infected with the lamprey of the mind who are avoiding reality. People who haven't had their strength drained by the lamprey know that their own actions have an impact on the world. They know they aren't helpless. They know they have an influence on the outcome of events, so they are more open to information that can help them influence those events.

Because they get more information and they don't make themselves feel defeated, optimistic people are more likely to take action like eating better, exercising, getting checkups at the doctor. A pessimist is less inclined to take those kinds of actions because they feel it won't make much difference. And their lack of positive action makes them statistically more likely to die prematurely.

An optimist (and here I'm using the word in the scientific sense, which really has nothing to do with looking on the bright side or saying nice things to yourself; read more about scientific optimism) might say, "I can quit smoking." And if they try once and fail, they wouldn't give up. They aren't defeated so easily. They'll try again.

A pessimist would be less likely to try in the first place because they explain events in more defeatist ways. "I can't help it. Nicotine has me completely addicted." But if they try anyway but fail, their explanation will not motivate them to try again: "I guess I just can't do it." They are more likely to accept their fate and die prematurely.

In a study of cancer patients, those who thought most pessimistically had the highest death rates, even though they weren't any more diseased when the study began.

Here's another interesting study. Researchers from California and Finland teamed up to ask 2400 men how much they agreed with these two statements:

1. The future seems to me to be hopeless, and I can't believe that things are changing for the better.

2. I feel that it is impossible to reach the goals I would like to strive for.

Clearly this simple questionnaire measures how thoroughly the lamprey has done its work.

Six years later, the ones who answered with pessimism, cynicism and defeatism were two to three times more likely to have heart attacks, develop cancer, or die of any cause.

Researchers are amazingly creative. Some people collect stamps. I collect studies. I love the way researchers go about discovering how things work. Here's another good one. Researchers in Texas tested 2300 people over the age of 65 for the following:

        1. Hopefulness about the future.
        2. How much they enjoyed life.
        3. Self-worth.
        4. Their average walking speed.
        5. Their happiness level at the time.

Two years later, the researchers followed up on these people. Using these measurements of emotional health, they found that the least pessimistic participants were:

    1. Half as likely to have trouble with their daily activities.
    2. Were twice as likely to be alive.
    3. Had faster average walking speeds.

And these results were independent of their sex, weight, education level, or how much they drank or smoked.

In a Carnegie Mellon University study, researchers gave a cold virus using a nasal spray to 400 volunteers. They found that the most stressed out were twice as likely to catch the cold. Pessimistic, cynical, defeated ways of thinking make mildly stressful situation into more intensely stressful events, and as their actions ensue from their thoughts, they make things get even more stressful (by snapping at people, for example, causing people to snap back). The stress and the cortisol it produces then impairs the immune system.

Another great study was done by the Mayo Clinic. This one followed 800 people for 35 years. Every ten point difference in their level of pessimism increased their chances of dying from any cause 19 percent.

cortisol: the stress hormone

When you undergo stress, your body responds by pumping cortisol into your blood stream. Scientists all over the world have shown how cortisol influences the immune system, sometimes quite directly. For example, college students volunteered to have their mouths injured once during their summer vacation, and once again three days before the first test of a new semester. Cortisol levels are lower during summer vacation and higher right before exams.

The wound given in the mouth was very exact and measured carefully. Then the researchers measured a wound-healing substance in the blood and measured how long it took the wounds to heal. The ability to heal a wound is another of the immune system's line of defense.

During vacation, the wounds healed, on average, in eight days. During the exams, the wounds took eleven days. During the exams, the amount of the wound-healing substance in the blood dropped a whopping 68%.

Psychological stress is one of the side-effects of pessimism. And stress alters the level of certain hormones, like cortisol. These changes in hormones then alter the synthesis of other compounds. For example, cytokines are a compound that help regulate the immune system. When stress levels go up, it changes the level of cytokines.

This kind of roundabout causal chain explains some of the many different influences pessimism, cynicism and defeatism have on the immune system. For example, when people are given a vaccination for Hepatitis B or the flu, their immune system responds. Researchers have found that stress suppresses T-cell activity and measurably lowers antibody levels.

It's a common observation of doctors that people don't recover from surgery as well if they are very anxious and depressed before the surgery, but researchers have only recently begun to find out how this could be possible. Like the study above, another experiment deliberately injured volunteers and then carefully measured the immune response to see if the more stressed volunteers' immune response differed from the less stressed ones. It did.

The researchers created minor blisters on the volunteers' forearms and then removed the top skin layer of the blisters, sterilized it and covered it with plastic. They then tested the fluid in the blisters five hours later and then 24 hours later.

They were looking for two specific cytokines and the number of cells called neutrophils (a key cell your body uses to repair an injury).

The number of neutrophils was no different in stressed and unstressed people. But the number of cytokines was significantly lower in stressed people. They tested the volunteers' stress level by measuring the cortisol in their saliva. There was a strong correlation: The higher the cortisol level, the lower the cytokine level. Stress directly suppressed their immune response.

And thinking pessimistically, cynically, and defeatedly increases your stress level.

Researchers at the University of Texas Cancer Center discovered that stress hormones like norepinephrine (also known as noradrenaline) blocked the ability of macrophages to kill tumor cells. Macrophages are one type of white blood cell that surrounds and destroys invaders.

Here again, we see a chain reaction: An event happens and you interpret it. If the lamprey has a hold of your mind, the event causes stress hormones to be released into your blood stream. The stress hormones then weaken and hobble your immune system, making you more vulnerable to any number of health problems.

Feelings of confidence can influence your immune system. UCLA researchers tested the immune systems of a group of first-year law students at the beginning of a semester. By mid-term, those who thought pessimistically about their chances of succeeding had weaker immune systems by mid-term. Those who weren't under the influence of pessimism still had strong immune systems by mid-term.

If you know anything about evolution, you have probably had the thought, "Wouldn't our immune systems have evolved to kick into high gear during stress rather than slowing down?" But the body is making a trade-off. Stress hormones activate your body to deal with an immediate, physical threat. Stress hormones release blood sugar and rush it to your muscles. They speed up the heart and breathing rate, etc. When a virus enters your system, however, it doesn't upset you. No adrenaline is poured into your blood stream. You don't even know it happened until later. It is an altogether different kind of threat, and we have evolved an altogether different system to deal with it.

A stress response is an evolved response designed to be brief and infrequent. During a stress reaction, your immune system is temporarily hampered, but for a good cause: You moved quickly up a tree and evaded the pride of lions. Given the world we now live in, which is much different than the environment our bodies evolved to handle, pessimism, cynicism, and defeatism can produce more frequent stress reactions that last longer, which puts our immune systems are in danger.

marriage

As if this wasn't enough, it gets worse. Pessimism influences the way you speak, and the way you speak influences the way you argue with your spouse, and the way you argue determines how stressful those arguments will be.

Negative speech patterns obviously express negative thought patterns. And when you argue with your spouse using "negative fighting behaviors" as the researchers call them, it causes extra stress for your spouse. And the stress you cause your spouse impairs your spouse's immune system. But your negative fighting behaviors also impair your own immune responses.

Negative fighting behaviors stem from negative thinking patterns. Pessimism, cynicism, and defeatism are expressed in arguments in the form of name calling (labeling your spouse with a negative label), being sarcastic, finger-pointing, and withdrawing in hopeless exasperation (giving up, feeling helpless and defeated).

These negative fighting behaviors have been studied and they do indeed result in impaired immune functioning. They also increase the chance that the marriage will end in divorce, and divorce itself usually has an enormously negative impact on the immune system.

The average married couple has a serious argument about once a month, with small quarrels in between. Studies show if a couple never disagrees, if they avoid conflict, they will have less intimacy and problems are more likely to go unsolved. That's pretty obvious.

But if they disagree badly — if they think pessimistically, if they are cynical, if they get defeated easily by setbacks — they are more likely to divorce, and, more to the point for this section, it will be bad for their immune systems.

Howard Markman of the University of Denver, an expert on marital discord, has tried to figure out what the financial costs of marital fighting is. He estimates that Americans lose almost three billion dollars a year in diminished productivity. That's not even counting the damage to doors and frying pans.

Conflicts between husbands and wives lead to more illnesses and sick days. And even when they go to work, an argument with a spouse is likely to impair their performance at least a little.

Ohio State University researchers coaxed married couples to spend a half hour arguing about whatever topic got them the most angry at each other. The researchers looked at their fighting behaviors and measured their immune systems.

The researchers labeled behaviors like accepting responsibility, finding points of agreement, and suggesting compromises as "positive fighting behaviors." They labeled behaviors like criticism, blaming, sarcasm, disapproval, dismissal, and withdrawal as "negative fighting behaviors."

The couples' immune functions were tested before and after the half-hour argument. Everyone's immune function was weakened at least slightly from the argument. But the immune function was significantly weaker in those who used the most negative fighting behaviors.

So this is another angle on the same point: Pessimism is bad for your immune system. The researchers also found that the negative fighters had more antibodies for the Epstein-Barr virus, a virus that most of us keep in check fairly easily. The presence of more antibodies means that their immune systems were not just impaired from the immediate stress, but that their immune systems were not as effective in general. The way they fight is only an easily-seen display of the way they think, and the way they think is constantly disabling their immune system.

This information only scratches the surface. The studies go on and on. New ones are continually coming out. You can use this summary, however, to give you ammunition when you influence your loved ones to destroy the lampreys in their own minds. This information gives us a strong motivation to do something about it. It is not merely "nice" to feel more positive — it is imperative if we want to live a healthy life.

And hopefully it motivates you to root out and destroy the last remnants of pessimistic thinking lurking in your own mind. And to protect yourself from further infection from the pessimism that is constantly trying to worm its way into your mind. Here is where to start: Undemoralize Yourself.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

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Reframe by Visualizing Goals - Season 3, Episode 13


Click on a link below to listen on your favorite podcast platform:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/7MZumBdru2gbm2HiGRgtHe
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxSH7k2tyfK7wSmkg91pE2PZ7iLwl2wV9
Apple Podcasts: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/apple-podcasts/id525463029
Google Podcasts: https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy9lNWVhZTMwL3BvZGNhc3QvcnNz
Radio Public: https://radiopublic.com/the-adam-bomb-WdAE05
Pocket Casts: https://pca.st/r6cddvxh
Breaker: https://www.breaker.audio/the-adam-bomb
Anchor: https://anchor.fm/the-adam-bomb
Overcast: https://overcast.fm/itunes1481990586/the-adam-bomb

Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/the-adam-bomb/support

Adam is the author of the following books: 

How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English): https://amzn.to/3gdiQ33 
Antivirus For Your Mind: https://amzn.to/36nq9ka 
Principles For Personal Growth: https://amzn.to/3bRidbR 
Cultivating Fire: https://amzn.to/2WTiiYs 
Direct Your Mind: https://amzn.to/3gePh16 
Self-Help Stuff That Works: https://amzn.to/3bUwMvB 
Slotralogy: https://amzn.to/2zj8DBm 
Fill Your Tank With Freedom: https://amzn.to/2LPtnU7 
Self-Reliance, Translated: https://amzn.to/2TqW25V 
What Difference Does It Make: https://amzn.to/2LPWPt8 

Follow Adam Li Khan here: https://www.adamlikhan.com/

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Episode 30, How Long Can Someone Fast Before They Die?

This is a short excerpt of a much longer podcast (called What's So Great About Fasting?). This excerpt looks at some of the recorded extremes of fasting duration.

Click on the link below to listen on your favorite podcast platform:

Periods of Hunger Stimulate Your Brain to Create New Brain Cells

Read more about this startling finding: 

http://drmirkin.com/public/ezine022612.html

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/natural_healing/brain-power.html

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/fasting-brain-function/#axzz3Nw6rxk2M

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/feb/18/fasting-protect-brain-diseases-scientists

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2107299/Can-fasting-days-week-stop-dementia-It-sounds-far-fetched-scientists-think-slashing-calories-combat-host-illnesses.html

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/improve-brain-function-and-productivity-with-fasti.html

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-04-24/news/ct-x-0424-trice-column-20130424_1_brain-cells-michelle-harvie-alternate-day-fasting

Four Powerful Industries That Will Make Less Money When Fasting Becomes Popular

The medical industry.
The pharmaceutical industry.
The health insurance industry.
Food companies.

And if you live longer, which is a real possibility if you fast regularly, the government (and therefore the taxpayers) will have to spend more money for Social Security and Medicare.

To Stop Road Rage We Need a New Gesture

Most face-to-face encounters we have with strangers are very polite. But when two people encounter each other in their cars, you get road rage. Why is this? A few months ago, I was watching the excellent program called The Human Face and the host, John Cleese, suggested it was because in cars we can't see each others' facial expressions. If we saw each others' faces, would it stop road rage? 

Since we can't see our faces, the solution to road rage seems obvious: Someone needs to invent a new gesture. It would be so useful, its meaning would quickly spread and it would very quickly be universally known and used, stopping a great deal of road rage in the world. Specifically, we need a hand gesture that means, "Oops! I'm sorry." 

We already have a hand gesture that means, "You did a bad thing and I don't like it!" It is universally known. I thought at first I could just look it up in my Dictionary of Sign Language, but the sign for "I'm sorry" is making a circle over your chest with a fist. That won't work. You can't signal someone in a car behind you using that sign. You can't stick your hand out the window to make the gesture. I thought of using the peace sign (two fingers in the air) but through the back of a car window it might easily be mistaken for giving someone the finger, and that won't help. And even if it is correctly seen, it might easily be misinterpreted to mean, "Calm down," or "You're making a big deal out of nothing," which could actually cause road rage rather than stop it. 

Right now, the best most people can do is to wave at someone, but it is an ambiguous message. It helps in some circumstances and with some people, but it is not clear what you mean when you wave your hand.

I'm calling on all you inventive people, or anyone who knows other forms of sign language. Let's put an end to road rage, or at least greatly reduce it. What we need is a gesture that can be made with one hand stuck out the window, and is easily distinguishable from the birdie, so it cannot possibly be mistaken for it. If you have an idea, or if you come up with one, send us a photo or video of it, and we'll post it here. 

Think about what a difference it would make to you if you saw someone do something that could easily be construed as hostile or incredibly stupid but then they signaled you that they know they just made a mistake and they are sorry about it. Or think about what a relief it would be to have made a mistake yourself while driving, and to be able to communicate to the car behind you that you know you made a mistake and you're sorry about it. 

We really need to gestures. One that means thank you and one that means I'm sorry.

This simple thing could really make a big difference on the road. Think about it and then post your ideas on the comments here. Or just launch the campaign on your own and let me know about it and I'll help you promote it.

A Lesson in Reframing From Groundhog Day - Season 3, Episode 12


Click on a link below to listen on your favorite podcast platform:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/7MZumBdru2gbm2HiGRgtHe
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxSH7k2tyfK7wSmkg91pE2PZ7iLwl2wV9
Apple Podcasts: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/apple-podcasts/id525463029
Google Podcasts: https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy9lNWVhZTMwL3BvZGNhc3QvcnNz
Radio Public: https://radiopublic.com/the-adam-bomb-WdAE05
Pocket Casts: https://pca.st/r6cddvxh
Breaker: https://www.breaker.audio/the-adam-bomb
Anchor: https://anchor.fm/the-adam-bomb
Overcast: https://overcast.fm/itunes1481990586/the-adam-bomb

Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/the-adam-bomb/support

Adam is the author of the following books: 

How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English): https://amzn.to/3gdiQ33 
Antivirus For Your Mind: https://amzn.to/36nq9ka 
Principles For Personal Growth: https://amzn.to/3bRidbR 
Cultivating Fire: https://amzn.to/2WTiiYs 
Direct Your Mind: https://amzn.to/3gePh16 
Self-Help Stuff That Works: https://amzn.to/3bUwMvB 
Slotralogy: https://amzn.to/2zj8DBm 
Fill Your Tank With Freedom: https://amzn.to/2LPtnU7 
Self-Reliance, Translated: https://amzn.to/2TqW25V 
What Difference Does It Make: https://amzn.to/2LPWPt8 

Follow Adam Li Khan here: https://www.adamlikhan.com/

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The Problem Isn't So Much Overeating, But Underfasting

 

Most Americans Are In Favor of Fuel Competition

A thousand adult Americans were asked, "Do you favor or oppose requiring automobile manufacturers to build cars that will run on fuel sources other than oil, such as electricity, natural gas and bio-fuels?" An overwhelming 76 percent of people were in favor of it.

That's what the Open Fuel Standard would do: Require automobiles to make fuel competition possible. But the bill goes one step further. In addition to cars running on fuel sources other than oil, it requires car makers to build cars to run on other fuel sources in addition to gasoline. Luckily, the tweak required to turn a gas-only car into a GEM vehicle (that can burn gasoline, ethanol and methanol in any proportion) is miniscule.

But that one small change ushers in an entirely new economic era for the United States.

Episode 31, Why You're Less Hungry Fasting Than Dieting

This is a short excerpt from a much longer podcast (What's So Great About Fasting?). This one touches on the counterintuitive biological reasons many people find fasting to be significantly easier than dieting.

Click on the link below to listen on your favorite podcast platform:

Pleasures of Fasting

There are a few unpleasant things about fasting. But it is also true some things about it are quite pleasant:

  • A feeling of peace. Your body wants to stop wasting energy, so "nervous energy" stops. When you are at rest, you are very calmly still. Sleep is very peaceful and restful too.
  • You have lots of time. Because you're not interrupting yourself to eat, it feels like you have a few more hours in your day.
  • You don't have to wash dishes. Or cook.
  • You save money because you're not buying food.
  • You look better quickly because you're losing weight.
  • Your mood is more stable. No food coma. 
  • Mentally, you know you're doing something very positive for your body.
  • If you stretch or do yoga, it feels especially good to do when you're fasting.

All these things are a positive pleasure derived from fasting. And let it be noted that when you're eating, it is not all pleasurable. Don't you sometimes feel unpleasantly full? Sometimes for hours? Contrast that with only fleeting, occasional feelings of hunger. As far as uncomfortable minutes spent, fasting feels better than feeling full.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

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The Open Fuel Standard is a Legitimate Exception to the No-Mandates Principle

It is wise to resist mandates as a general rule. As much as possible, we should avoid allowing the government to interfere with private enterprise. And the Open Fuel Standard is a mandate. It requires automakers to manufacture and warrant their vehicles to burn not just gasoline, but methanol and ethanol as well. It might seem reasonable to categorically reject the bill because it's a government mandate.

On the other hand, one of the most legitimate uses of government power is breaking up monopolies. And oil is definitely monopolizing the transportation fuel market. And because it is, our national security and economic viability are suffering. But oil's monopoly can be broken and fuel competition can commence with the passing of the OFS bill — a simple bill only six pages long that costs taxpayers nothing and creates no subsidies, but a bill with enormous repercussions. The purpose of the bill is to break the monopoly.

Monopolies inhibit free markets, and in this case, the monopoly is preventing competition with the most strategically important commodity on earth: Transportation fuel.

So in spite of the fact that the bill is a mandate, it should be done. Constituents (you and me) simply need to make it clear to our Members of Congress that the Open Fuel Standard is a mandate that should be passed. The repugnance many of us feel to mandates in general should not blind us to the need for this exception.

"The intellectual inflexibility displayed in the defense of the sacred principle of no-mandates," write Anne Korin and Gal Luft in their book, Petropoly, "is leading the United States to economic suicide. There is no gentler way of saying it: members of Congress — many of whom voted for mandates from digital television to rear end cameras in cars — who oppose measures that open the fuel market to competition are aiding and abetting OPEC and others who benefit from the single-fuel system. In the end, it is they who stand between the perpetuation of a restrictive, monopolistic and economically ruinous fuel system and a free and competitive fuel market which could provide us true and lasting energy security."

Adam Khan is the co-author with Klassy Evans of Fill Your Tank With Freedom and the author of Slotralogy and Self-Reliance, Translated. Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

End Political Contributions - Episode 35, Season 1

A lot of political problems in the U.S. can be traced to a single source: That politicians are legally allowed to accept money for their campaigns, and then they owe those contributors a favor. But this problem can be solved, and there are already effective organizations working on solving it. This episode explains the ideas behind the movement.

Click on the link below to listen on your favorite podcast platform:

How Much Weight Will You Lose While Fasting?

How many calories do you usually burn in a day? According to CalorieKing, I need about 2400. A pound of butter is 3200 calories. So I should burn about three cubes of butter's worth of calories a day. Not coincidentally, that is about how much weight I lose per day when I'm fasting: roughly 3/4ths of a pound.

Since the caloric content of butter is probably the same as the fat on my body (or close enough), this all makes sense and it's easy to think about.

By the way, it will seem like you're losing more weight than that, at least for the first day or so, because food, and especially carbohydrates, cause your body to retain a certain amount of water. So you may immediately lose two or three pounds. But when you start eating again, that water weight will come back.

How to Gain Perspective - Season 3, Episode 11


Click on a link below to listen on your favorite podcast platform:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/7MZumBdru2gbm2HiGRgtHe
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxSH7k2tyfK7wSmkg91pE2PZ7iLwl2wV9
Apple Podcasts: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/apple-podcasts/id525463029
Google Podcasts: https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy9lNWVhZTMwL3BvZGNhc3QvcnNz
Radio Public: https://radiopublic.com/the-adam-bomb-WdAE05
Pocket Casts: https://pca.st/r6cddvxh
Breaker: https://www.breaker.audio/the-adam-bomb
Anchor: https://anchor.fm/the-adam-bomb
Overcast: https://overcast.fm/itunes1481990586/the-adam-bomb

Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/the-adam-bomb/support

Adam is the author of the following books: 

How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English): https://amzn.to/3gdiQ33 
Antivirus For Your Mind: https://amzn.to/36nq9ka 
Principles For Personal Growth: https://amzn.to/3bRidbR 
Cultivating Fire: https://amzn.to/2WTiiYs 
Direct Your Mind: https://amzn.to/3gePh16 
Self-Help Stuff That Works: https://amzn.to/3bUwMvB 
Slotralogy: https://amzn.to/2zj8DBm 
Fill Your Tank With Freedom: https://amzn.to/2LPtnU7 
Self-Reliance, Translated: https://amzn.to/2TqW25V 
What Difference Does It Make: https://amzn.to/2LPWPt8 

Follow Adam Li Khan here: https://www.adamlikhan.com/

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Articles on Fasting

This one is about the latest research showing that fasting causes your body to recycle damaged white blood cells and generate new, healthy white blood cells: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/10878625/Fasting-for-three-days-can-regenerate-entire-immune-system-study-finds.html

This one shows that even a short fast once a month can reduce the incidence of heart disease by 40%: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-04/imc-sfr033111.php

This one shows that fasting before doing chemotherapy causes the chemo to kill fewer of your healthy cells and more of your cancer cells: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fasting-might-boost-chemo/

BBC Documentary on Fasting

Below are four links to the same BBC documentary. It's about 58 minutes long. The host of the show talked to various experts on fasting and then did each kind of fast himself, testing his bio-markers before and after each regimen to see what effects the fast had on his body.

According to these researchers, fasting improves your reaction time (reversing the normal age-related decline), improves your balance (again, reversing the normal age-related decline), prevents both heart disease and cancer, and stimulates your brain to create new brain cells (which delays or prevents Alzheimer's disease). And this is not optimistic, pie-in-the-sky conjecture. The researchers are drawing these conclusions by looking at real data.

Watch the documentary at one of these sites:

YouTube: https://youtu.be/Ihhj_VSKiTs

http://www.documentarytube.com/videos/eat-fast-and-live-longer-bbc-horizon-2012

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xvdbtt_eat-fast-live-longer-hd_shortfilms

http://www.disclose.tv/action/viewvideo/110651/BBC_Horizon_2012_Eat_Fast_and_Live_Longer/

http://documentaryheaven.com/eat-fast-and-live-longer/