Stress Control

Getting criticized by your supervisor; finding out that someone you love has lied to you; receiving some bad news — these things cause stress. And stress has negative consequences, as you well know. But these are only stressful events. The source of stress that wreaks the greatest havoc on your health and sanity is ongoing stressful circumstances.

Like what? Like when a stepchild moves in with you, permanently disrupting the privacy you had with your spouse; or when your younger brother marries someone who verbally abuses your favorite niece. These are the kinds of stresses you have to live with. They don’t just come up and rock your world for a little while and then go away. They stay. And, like living in a house with a fire alarm going all day long, it starts to wear you down.

But there is something you can do about it. When you have an ongoing stressful circumstance in your life, you can modify your level of responsibility. Either take more responsibility or less. Start by asking yourself, “Am I trying to control something I can’t or shouldn’t control?” or “Is there something I should take responsibility for that I have been leaving out of my control?”

It might help to write it out. Write the questions and then jot down some ideas — where are you taking too much or too little control of some aspect of your life?

Be specific. You are responsible for your child in general, for example, but specifically, do you control what he wears or what he eats or when he goes to bed? You must decide. What exactly do you control and what is either out of your control or none of your business? You must decide.

If something is out of your control (or is none of your business and you’ve been trying to make it your business), you will relieve yourself of a lot of stress by letting go of it. Drop that one. Recognize it’s out of your control and busy yourself with things that are in your control. You may be in the habit of trying to control that thing, so you’ll have to remind yourself again and again for a couple weeks: “Oh yeah, I’m not trying to control that anymore.” Write it on a card and carry it with you. Post notes to yourself on your bathroom mirror. Do whatever you have to do to remember you no longer have to waste your energy trying to control that thing.

Now, if you find something you should and can control and haven’t been, roll up your sleeves and get to work on solving the problem. Use the problem-solving method from page 266. Deliberately take steps to repair the troubling circumstances. That’ll relieve your stress better than anything else. It may be difficult at first; it may actually cause you extra stress to face the situation and try to deal with it, but in the long term, your stress level will go down.

Take responsibility for what you are responsible for, and stop taking responsibility for what is not your responsibility. It’s that simple. Control what you can control, and let the rest go. It will relieve a great deal of your stress. Control stress by stressing control.

This article was excerpted from the book, Principles For Personal Growth by Adam Khan. Buy it now here.

What the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791 Has to Teach Us About the Food Versus Fuel Issue

The famous Whiskey Rebellion occurred in 1791. Farmers were rebelling against a tax on their whiskey making — a tax they perceived as unfair and that harmed their businesses.

Back then, farmers "out West" (western Pennsylvania) had solved a problem in an ingenious way, and they didn't want it taken away from them. The problem they had was surplus corn. What can a farmer do with surplus corn? They could try to ship it back east to sell it, but it's bulky and expensive to ship. And it can rot, it gets eaten by bugs and mice, etc. Their solution was to turn it into whiskey (ethanol). So most farmers had a still. They transformed their excess corn into whiskey, which was valuable and condensed (easy to ship). It didn't go bad. Mice couldn't destroy it.

They turned their surplus corn into something wanted and valuable.

Flash forward to the 20th century. American farmers were continually suffering from massive surpluses which flooded the world market with cheap grain. There was so much surplus, grain prices around the world dropped out the bottom. Many farmers went bankrupt. They were so successful at increasing their crop yields that they were putting themselves out of business!

So what did they do? They tried to find other markets for their excess grain. One of the things they came up with was high-fructose corn syrup.

And another market they found was fuel. They began doing what their predecessors were doing back in the Whiskey Rebellion days — they turned their excess grain into ethanol.

But (music changes to a sinister tone) their success began to eat into the gasoline market. Because ethanol burns cleaner and has a higher octane rating, many states mandated its use as a small percentage of all gasoline sold. And as ethanol became better known, people wanted to use it more and more. So the oil industry went on a propaganda rampage against ethanol. And when food prices rose sharply in 2008, they exploited that fact by implicating the ethanol industry in raising food prices.

In fact, ethanol had almost no influence on the steep rise of food prices. In an ironic twist, the biggest culprit was oil prices! Turns out, the price of a barrel of oil has a large influence on the price of food because fertilizers and pesticides are petroleum products, farm equipment runs on petroleum, packaging often relies on petroleum (plastic is made from petroleum), and shipping the food relies on petroleum.

But the oil industry has been on a campaign to convince people ethanol production raises food prices. Another irony is that the ethanol industry was created because food prices were too low!

Pundits were crying out a warning that because of ethanol, food would get too expensive. People in poor countries would starve because of our greedy need for fuel, etc. But this is so far from the mark, it would be laughable if so many people hadn't fallen for it.

For someone who doesn't know anything about how it all works, it makes sense that higher food prices would lead to hunger. But in fact, in many ways, just the opposite is true. Most of the criticism about food-versus-fuel is centered on corn, so let's look at that.

Most of the corn America exports isn't purchased by poor countries. They don't have the money to buy it, no matter how cheap it is. Japan often purchases more U.S. corn than any other country. And when U.S. grain is cheap enough that poorer countries can buy it, the grain is so cheap, it puts local farmers from the poorer country out of business. This isn't good for local economies and can worsen their poverty.

This is a bigger deal than we might think. The vast majority of people in developing nations don't live in cities. They live in the countryside, and most of them are small farmers. Agricultural products are a large part of their country's economy. So when grain prices drop too low, rather than helping poor people, it can and does make them even poorer. Alexandra Spieldoch of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy said, "Research shows that domestic food productivity is more effective in stabilizing developing-country food security than the reliance on inexpensive food imports. A fair price for the farmer's production will also help stabilize demand for wage labor in the local economy."

Jeffrey and Adrian Goettemoeller, experts in environmental remediation and sustainable agriculture, said, "Keeping grain prices quite low might seem like a good way to fight poverty, but the opposite result can come about when economies based largely on agriculture are damaged. Ironically, then, a reduction in U.S. exports resulting from increased corn ethanol production might help alleviate poverty-driven hunger in some places when coupled with efforts to enhance food production within developing countries."

Many people fear that fuel competition will cause food shortage or raise food prices. This fear was deliberately cultivated by the oil industry because it rightly sees ethanol as a competitor. But not only is ethanol from corn unlikely to raise food prices, but even if it does, it may very well be good news for developing countries.

Beyond that, fuel competition is not ethanol-specific. Cars could be capable of burning methanol too, and methanol can be made from renewable resources like forest thinnings and agricultural waste as well as natural gas and coal. It can even be made directly from CO2 captured from power plant and factory emissions.

And fuel competition is not limited to even these. Anything goes except cars that can burn nothing but gasoline. It will give us a wide choice of alternatives, which can then compete with each other for our transportation dollars, lowering the price for consumers and boosting the American economy.

Let's make it happen. The best place to start is an open fuel standard.

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 BombYou can email him here.

Super Grass

A new hybrid grass has been recently developed that is not an invasive species, is not genetically modified, can be grown on marginal lands (land not suitable for regular agriculture) and yields more biomass per acre than any crop ever cultivated. It is called Giant King Grass and it grows 15-18 feet tall.

This is a fast-growing, low-cost feedstock that can be used to create ethanol and butanol, as well as what are known as “bioplastics” — a renewable replacement for petroleum-based plastics.

Read more: 

New Butanol Production

Several big companies, including Gevo and Butamax, have found a way to convert ethanol production facilities into butanol plants. Butanol is an alcohol with an energy density (that is, BTUs per gallon) closer to gasoline, and it’s made in a similar way, using fermentation, and it can be made from the same feedstocks, including corn and switchgrass.

The technology is already developed and there is a ready market — oil companies are willing to blend it with gasoline in higher percentages than ethanol, it doesn’t evaporate as easily, so it can be more easily transported via pipelines, and it doesn’t have a tendency to take up water, as ethanol does. It is a promising renewable fuel.

Read more about it: Corn Ethanol Makers Weigh Switch to Butanol.

We Don't Have a Free Market in Transportation Fuel

Petroleum does not exist in a free market. Some oil production operations produce oil for much cheaper than others, so they could sell theirs on the market at a price lower than anyone else, and thus gain a larger market share.

But they don't. They all sell barrels of oil for the same exorbitant price. Why?

Because they can sell everything they have at top dollar.

Why? Because OPEC keeps oil artificially scarce. They keep it scarce enough that all the oil that becomes available on the world market is snatched up. There is no competition. It's an unprecedented seller's market.

OPEC's price-fixing, economy-devastating scheme (and its destructive effects) can be bypassed with the simple introduction of fuel competition. Cars would become a platform upon which different fuels would compete against petroleum in a free market.

And then what would happen? Prices for fuel would drop, and the economy — no longer dragged down by crushing, encumbering, onerous fuel prices — would boom. Let's make it happen now. First step: Add a conversion kit to your car.

The International Battle For Cattle

In the minds of many, cattle are a problem. They generate methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. People are chopping down Amazon rainforest to make pasture for cattle. Feedlots are cruel, polluting, ugly and stinky. Vast areas have turned to desert because of overgrazing by cattle. As the human population grows, and as people around the world rise out of poverty in ever greater numbers, the demand for meat has increased dramatically, making the problem even worse.

If this is all you knew about cattle, it would be enough to want to end the practice of raising cattle for meat. But, as is often the case, there's another side to this story. 

Have you heard Allan Savory's TED talk entitled, How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change? It gives you an entirely different way to think about cattle. The main idea is that you can raise cattle on a piece of land in such a way that the ecosystem is restored, there is more food for wildlife, the aquifers get filled with water, running water on the land comes back, and carbon is removed from the atmosphere and sequestered underground. The desert becomes a lush grassland, full of life. And, oh yeah, whoever does this makes money, so it doesn't need any government spending.

And Savory is not talking theory here. He has trained people to do this and they have gone out and done it to their land (on 40 million acres so far), and it works. In his TED talk, he shows some before and after pictures — what the land looked like before they started using Savory's method, and what it looks like now — and it's really amazing. You can see more before and after pictures here and here.

I've written a full explanation of how it works here, but I can give you the basic idea in a paragraph. There are some places where there isn't enough rainfall for forests to grow, but there's enough for grasses. These places exist all over the world, and they are huge areas. Most of them have been turning to desert, largely because of the absence of grazing animals. What do you always have on a thriving grassland? Large herds of grazing animals. Take them away, and the grassland turns to desert. Graze them the wrong way, and the grassland turns to desert. Graze them the right way, however, and that desert can turn back into a rich grassland.

So instead of growing corn and soy to feed to cattle in feedlots, instead of burning down Amazon rainforest to create pasture, we can utilize the millions of acres turning to desert that are, right now, in desperate need of grazing animals. Rather than being a problem, cows could be an ally in saving the planet.

Adam Khan is the author of Self-Reliance, Translatedand co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam BombYou can email him here.

Cure for Normal

Therapists who try to help depressed people have a problem. Depression is characterized by a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. In other words, a depressive doesn't think his actions will make any difference. He's quite sure of it. He feels his situation is hopeless. He believes he can't do anything about his situation or his depression. He feels helpless about it.

The therapist knows better. If the depressive would change the way he thinks, he could reduce or even eliminate his depression. But here's the catch: Changing the way he thinks would take effort. And effort requires motivation. And motivation requires the assumption that his actions can have an effect.

In other words, before the depressive can get over his feelings of helplessness, he must first get over his feelings of helplessness.

Cognitive-behavioral therapists have actually found a way to do this. They give the depressive an antidepressant drug and then while he's feeling more hopeful and less helpless, they help him change the way he thinks.

Then they take away the drug and he doesn't (usually) lapse back into depression because he no longer thinks depressingly about his circumstances. Research has shown that the combination of antidepressants and cognitive therapy works better than either alone.

Now here's my point: Meditation does the same thing for the "normal" mental illness we all have.

Abraham Maslow wrote that in his studies of psychology, he came to the conclusion that many of the most cherished "laws of psychology" often turned out to be "no laws at all but only rules for living in a state of mild and chronic psychopathology and fearfulness, of stunting and crippling and immaturity which we don't notice because most others have this same disease that we have." 

Maslow also wrote, "What we call 'normal' in psychology is really a psychopathology of the average, so undramatic and so widely spread that we don't even notice it."

He wasn't the first to have noticed this. Freud wrote of the "universal neurosis in man." Buddha said that "all worldlings are deranged."

There is a kind of craziness we all share and it's hard to get out of it. The craziness is a self-perpetuating trap similar to the depressive's dilemma.

Most of us wish we could be more peaceful, feel more contentment, be better listeners, feel more forgiving and patient, and so on, but our own physiology defeats us. It's frustrating because we know we could be that way, but somehow, no matter how great our insights are on a relaxing vacation, when we get back into our daily lives, we are unable to be the people we want to be.

You know what I'm talking about, don't you? The problem is, you constantly release stress hormones into your body in response to the crazy world (and your ingrained mental responses to that crazy world). It is almost impossible to ingrain any new mental patterns because the anxious, agitated, frustrated, discontented state of your bodymind will continually thwart you. You're saturated with stress hormones and it causes the "psychopathology of the average" you can't seem to escape.

However, there is a way out. Meditation lowers stress hormones. Specifically, it reduces cortisol and lactate drastically. Read more about that here. So when you meditate a couple of times a day, twenty minutes a pop — enough to keep your stress hormone level low — you become calm. And in your new, calmer frame of mind and body, new habits of mind can form.

In this calmer state, you naturally and inevitably develop more serene, loving, and peaceful points of view and habits of action. These new ways of thinking and looking at the world and behavior can become natural and ingrained when you keep up your meditation practice, so even if you were to skip a day of meditation, your new habits would sustain your serenity and sanity.

It is worth taking the time to filter out your cortisol by meditating. It is the fastest, most efficient way to reduce your stress hormones.

If you did nothing, the cortisol in your bloodstream would eventually get used up or filtered out. The problem with just waiting is that while they are in your system, the stress hormones have an influence on your behavior. And the stress hormones influence your ways of thinking. They influence how you interpret the events of your life. And those actions and thoughts can make your body produce more cortisol.

Because your stress hormones have not yet been filtered out, you might snap at your spouse, for example, and that makes you a little more upset, especially when your spouse snaps back. It puts more cortisol in your system. It makes your life a little more upsetting, a little crazier. In this way, the craziness tends to perpetuate the craziness.

That new jolt of cortisol also stimulates more anxious thoughts or frustrating reactions, which come right around and boost your cortisol level some more. It is a cycle of insanity that is hard to get out of.

But meditation is a reliable way out of the madness. Read the literature to convince yourself. Or simply try it.

A tremendous amount of research has been done on the physical effects of meditation. This is not guesswork or based on mere anecdotal evidence. The research is solid and there is a lot of it. And the results all point in the same direction.

Meditation can make you an oasis of sanity in a crazy world. Learn how to meditate here.

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.

More Water in the Aquifers (Without More Rain)

What happens to the water when it rains? If the land doesn't have a lot of plants growing on it, the water either runs off or evaporates. Not much soaks in, so not much makes it to the underground aquifers.

But if there is rich vegetation, that rain will soak in. The life in the soil will hold a lot of the water near the surface where the plant life can utilize it. And a lot of it will soak down and refill the aquifers.

Allan Savory has developed a way for vast stretches of land to be converted from barren desert to lush grasslands, creating an enormous increase in water going into aquifers, and it doesn't require government spending. In fact, the ranchers who do it will profit. And it will produce food.

It's called Holistic Planned Grazing. Here's how it works: Holistic Planned Grazing Has a Huge Impact on Water.

Oil's Strategic Status

In their book, Turning Oil Into Salt, Anne Korin and Gal Luft define the problem of the world's dependence on oil in a way that opens the possibility of a solution. People have identified the problem in different ways, and the way a problem is defined influences how you solve it. Defining a problem incorrectly can produce pointless or even counterproductive "solutions."

For example, do we use too much oil? Is that the problem? Is that what leaves us economically vulnerable to OPEC? Or do we import too much oil? Is that the problem?

Our attempts to solve those problems have led nowhere because the problem we need to solve is oil's strategic status. What does that mean? In the introduction to their book, Luft and Korin write:

Oil's strategic status stems from its virtual monopoly over fuel for transportation, which underlies the global economy and our entire way of life. Without oil, food cannot travel from farm to plate, mail cannot reach its destination, raw materials cannot reach their factories and children cannot attend their schools.

They use salt as an analogy. Salt was once a strategic commodity because it was the primary way to preserve food. It was very important to every country to have enough salt. Without a steady and secure supply of salt, food could not be preserved and widespread starvation became a real possibility. So wars were fought over the possession of salt sources, wars were lost because of a lack of salt, and colonies were established because of salt. Salt was a strategic commodity.

In 1800, Napoleon Bonaparte offered a large reward to anyone who could find another way of preserving food for armies on the march. He defined the problem correctly. He didn't call for a different form of salt or ask how we could do it with less salt or how to make our own salt from something we possess in abundance. He asked for an alternative way of preserving food. The way he defined the problem changed the world.

Within a very short time Nicholas Appert came up a solution — he invented the first canning process, originally using a glass container. Eventually there were many innovations in food preservation including tin cans, refrigeration, freeze-drying, and so on. There are so many different ways to preserve food now that nobody even thinks about it. Nobody worries about salt. Nobody cares where it comes from or whether they'll have enough of it.

Salt lost its strategic status. No wars will be fought over salt any more. No economies will crash because of it.

The problem we now need to solve is oil's strategic status. Right now, 97 percent of our transportation vehicles run on nothing but oil. And since transportation is the foundation of the world's economy, oil has an extremely high strategic status. It is the most important commodity in the world.

But if there were many viable and available fuels our vehicles could use, nobody would even think about oil or would care where it comes from or whether there will be enough. Nobody would worry about it because we would have an abundance of other forms of fuel, and an abundance of other forms of transportation that might not even require fuel.

The quickest way to reach this state is to use technologies already available to us — to use vehicles and facilities we already have, to use car manufacturing techniques we already use, to use liquid fuel delivery systems we already have (but to increase the number of different fuels) — and to have fuels that come from different sources. That's what fuel competition will achieve.

We can make this happen. We don't need every person in the country to convert their cars to flex-fuel vehicles. We don't even need a majority. We just need to convert our own cars, and then encourage our friends to do the same. There are a growing number of people burning ethanol in their cars. Let's keep up the momentum and get it done. The fastest and easiest way to make it happen is an open fuel standard.

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 BombYou can email him here.

What Fuel Competition Has to do With Economic and National Security

OPEC is a powerful cartel. The member nations gather together and essentially decide among themselves what the global price of oil will be. They can do this because they control the production levels of by far the largest block of oil producers in the world.

So they decide how much they will produce, and how much they produce determines the worldwide price of oil. What they're doing is against international law, but nobody can do anything about it because a retaliation by OPEC could literally crash the world's economy. They've got us all over a barrel.

The country with the most influence within OPEC is Saudi Arabia because their oil is the cheapest of any of them. Saudi Arabia can produce a barrel of oil for $1.50. That is not a typo. Not only is their oil the cheapest to produce, but they have the largest known reserves.

So if the cartel decides on a particular production quota for the member nations of OPEC, and one of the members decides to get greedy and exceeds their quota to take advantage of high oil prices, Saudi Arabia can raise their own oil production so dramatically that they crash world oil prices by glutting the market with excess oil. This doesn't hurt Saudi Arabia very much — they still make money because their oil is so cheap to produce. But it hurts all the rest of the member nations of OPEC.

So Saudi Arabia controls what OPEC does. And OPEC controls the global price of oil. And the price of oil controls the world's economy because 95% of all transportation in the world — planes, trains, ships, trucks, and cars — can run on nothing but oil. And transportation underlies the world's economy. If goods can't move around, the economy comes to a halt.

That means Saudi Arabia controls the world's economy. And they manipulate oil prices in a way that gives them the maximum amount of income, like a parasite that drains as much blood from its victim as it can, short of killing the host. Saudi Arabia has been reaping one bonanza after another for a long time. They are overflowing with money.

In Fiscal Year 2008, "Americans paid $900 billion for their oil supply," writes Robert Zubrin, "and the world as a whole paid $3.6 trillion. These petroleum costs were up by a factor of ten from what they were in FY 1999, and they represent a huge, highly regressive tax on the world economy."

And it continues to increase. Americans paid $80 billion for oil in 1999 and they paid $900 billion ten years later. This is equivalent to a "33 percent increase in income taxes across the board." And 60 percent of that money was handed over to foreign governments. The reason for this increase is OPEC's deliberate hiking of world oil prices.

"The resulting transfer of wealth," writes Gal Luft, "is already creating a structural shift in the global economy, causing oil importers economic dislocations such as swollen trade deficits, loss of jobs, sluggish economic growth, inflation and, if prices continue to soar, inevitable recessions. The impact on developing countries, many of which still carry debts from the previous oil shocks of the 1970's, is much more severe."

Adding to this transfer of wealth from the rest of the world to OPEC nations is terrorism. Al Qaeda has explicitly made attacking oil supplies their goal, calling oil "the provision line and the feeding to the artery of the life of the crusader's nation." From 2004 to 2008, attacks on oil fields in Iraq alone prevented one to two million barrels of oil from entering the world market, which kept the oil market $20-25 per barrel higher than it would have been otherwise.

This extra "tax" on the economies of Europe and the United States from terrorist attacks on oil facilities added up to an additional $65 to $85 billion dollars a year leaving Western economies. Terrorists have attempted to disable Abqaiq (in Saudi Arabia), the largest oil processing facility in the world. Several attempts to drive explosive-filled trucks and planes into Abqaiq were luckily thwarted. Had they been successful, they could have easily "sent oil to above $200 a barrel for an extended period of time," wrote Luft, "causing incalculable economic losses and a far greater transfer of wealth to Middle Eastern governments."

So OPEC's price-fixing manipulations and terrorists' attacks have given Saudi Arabia a rapidly increasing windfall. How has it used the money? And why should we care?

Saudi Arabia is home to Wahhabism, a strict, fundamentalist version of Islam that is hateful toward non-Muslims and seeks to dominate the West. Saudi Arabia spends its wealth on promoting Wahhabism around the world.

"Until the Saudis started racking up billions in inflated oil revenues in the 1970s," wrote Robert Zubrin, "the Wahhabi movement was regarded by Muslims the world over as little more than primitive insanity. Without rivers of treasure to feed its roots, this horrific movement could neither grow nor thrive." He writes,

It is the Saudis’ unlimited funds...that have allowed them to buy up the faculties of the Islamic world’s leading intellectual centers; to build or take over thousands of mosques; to establish thousands of radical madrassas, pay their instructors, and provide the free daily meals necessary to entice legions of poor village boys to attend. Those boys are indoctrinated with the idea that the way to get into paradise is to murder Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Taoists, and Hindus (not to mention moderate Muslims). Graduates of these academies are today killing American soldiers in Iraq. Meanwhile, Arab oil revenues have underwritten news outlets that propagandize hatefully against the United States and the West, supported training centers for terrorists, paid bounties to the families of suicide bombers, and funded the purchase of weapons and explosives. We have been subsidizing a war against ourselves.

Saudi Arabia comprises only one percent of the Muslim world, and yet they are financially responsible for an unbelievable 90 percent of all Islamic organizations in the world! Stuart Levey, the U.S. Undersecretary of the Treasury, in charge of combating terrorist financing, said, "If I could snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Saudi Arabia."

And there's more. "Iran is now using its petroleum lucre to fund its nuclear program and to insulate itself from economic sanctions imposed on it," wrote Zubrin. "Once produced, Iranian nuclear weapons could be used by the Iranian regime itself or be made available to terrorists to attack U.S., European, Russian, or Israeli targets. This is one of the gravest threats to international peace and stability — and, again, we are paying for it ourselves with oil revenue.

"Our responses to these provocations have been muted and hapless because any forceful action on our part against nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran could result in the disruption of oil supplies that the world economy is utterly dependent upon. We cannot stand up to our enemies because we rely upon them for the fuel that is our economic lifeblood. We pay them for their oil and they make war on us."

Former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice said, "We do have to do something about the energy problem. I can tell you that nothing has really taken me aback more, as Secretary of State, than the way that the politics of energy is...warping diplomacy around the world. It has given extraordinary power to some states that are using that power in not very good ways for the international system — states that would otherwise have very little power."

The United States relies on oil for transportation. A whopping 97 percent of our transportation vehicles can run on nothing but oil. Therefore our entire economic health is inextricably tied to the world price of a barrel of oil. So OPEC has de facto control over the American economy. This is a perfect formula for national insecurity.

But we can free our economy from OPEC's control with fuel competition. The almost total reliance of our transportation vehicles on oil alone will begin to diminish, and as it does, our economy's vulnerability to OPEC's price manipulations will diminish right along with it. Alcohol fuels will begin competing with gasoline, and the production of these fuels will be within our own control, not subject to OPEC's price manipulations.

It would actually be quick and easy with an open fuel standard. Find out here what true robust fuel competition could accomplish.

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 BombYou can email him here.

How Does OPEC Control the Price of Oil?

 In the article, Achieving Energy Victory, Robert Zubrin writes:

To understand how we can break away from oil, we must first understand the workings of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the cartel arrangement that has fabulously multiplied the Saudis’ petroleum revenue stream and the power that goes along with it. 
Founded in 1960, OPEC is an open conspiracy in which representatives of the rulers of a dozen kleptocracies (Algeria, Angola, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela) get together at periodic meetings and decide what the world price for oil should be, and then assign production quotas to each so as to force the price to that level. This is very different from the way business is conducted in a free market, and it produces very different results.
Read more:

Which Countries are Members of the OPEC Cartel?

OPEC stands for "Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries." It was founded in 1960. OPEC members collectively hold 79% of world crude oil reserves and 44% of the world’s crude oil production, giving them considerable control over the global market. The next largest group of producers (members of the OECD and the Post-Soviet states) produced only 23.8% and 14.8%, respectively, of the world's total oil production.

Here are the member countries of OPEC as of June, 2011:

1. Iran
2. Iraq
3. Kuwait
4. Saudi Arabia
5. Venezuela
6. Qatar
7. Indonesia (currently suspended)
8. Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
9. United Arab Emirates
10. Algeria
11. Nigeria
12. Ecuador

Saudi Arabia has traditionally had the most influence on the cartel because it has the largest export capacity and the cheapest oil. It only costs $1.50 to produce a barrel of oil in Saudi Arabia. So when another member country doesn't keep to the quotas everyone has agreed to (as sometimes happens when one of the countries gets greedy) Saudi Arabia will punish them by overproducing oil and thus crashing the world price of oil. Saudi Arabia will still make money because its oil is so cheap to produce, and it has plenty of reserves, but for all other oil producing nations, the low price of oil costs them dearly.

What OPEC does to control the world price of oil is illegal. They all agree to raise or lower their oil production for the purpose of keeping the price of oil high. As Robert Zubrin notes in Energy Victory, "Collusion by suppliers to fix prices is not only a crime under US law, it is banned by international law as well. The rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) contain antitrust provisions that prohibit member nations from setting quota restrictions on import and exports."

Anne Korin Answers Questions at ACE Conference

This video is thirteen minutes and forty-five seconds long. But Anne Korin answers a lot of good questions. about fuel competition and an open fuel standard.

Check it out on YouTube here.

Are All Cars Secretly Flex Fuel Cars?

When Robert Zubrin did his methanol experiment, he said he discovered that his non-flex-fuel car was already capable of burning methanol except for one part that cost him 41 cents. Other than having their onboard computers' flex-fuel program disabled, Zubrin claims that most or all cars coming off the assembly lines have flex-fuel compatible parts. He had to replace the 41-cent part because methanol is slightly more corrosive than ethanol.

When I first read about his claim, I thought it was outrageous. But we have since tried it ourselves. You can read about it here.

On Jonny Energy's site, they made a similar claim (that car manufacturers use the same parts whether they're flex fuel cars or gas-only) and they base their claim on an investigation by Ohio Biosystems. It makes sense. Why would a car maker use a different part for flex-fuel cars than gasoline-only cars if the difference is less than 41 cents?

Why would you want to burn E85? Find out here.

Change How You Think (As Opposed to WHAT You Think)

You can make your life more difficult and unpleasant, OR you can make your life easier and more enjoyable — by not just changing WHAT you're thinking, but by changing HOW you're thinking it.

For example, when you talk to yourself, you can change WHAT you say to yourself. We all know that. And it's helpful. But you can also change HOW you talk to yourself. You can keep your thoughts exactly what they already are, but change the tone of the voice, or the volume. You could try to discover from where the voice is coming, and change that. Some people feel their voice comes from behind their head, or inside their head. You could imagine the voice coming from your thumb, for example, and see if that changes how that affects you.

This is changing HOW you think something. In this case, you're changing it auditorily. You can also change something visually. Often, our thoughts have a visual component.

Let's say you're worried about an upcoming interview. You’re looking for a new job. You imagine yourself blowing the interview, or worry that they’ll say they’re not interested in you. You could try to imagine something different. That’s changing WHAT you’re thinking. And that’s good. That’s a good idea. But what about changing HOW you’re thinking it? For example, if you imagine being in the interview and being nervous, imagine the same scene, but alter it. Add a soundtrack. Make it brighter or dimmer. Imagine the person interviewing you is only one foot tall with a really squeaky voice. Imagine your best friend is sitting next to you at the interview. The possibilities are endless. Some of these won’t make any difference in how you feel, but some will, so you can do more of THAT. And just the fact that you’re no longer a victim to your own thoughts makes a difference, even if the changes themselves didn’t change anything.

When my son was way too young to be watching such things, he was at a friend's house and watched a movie called A Nightmare on Elm Street. Afterward, he had nightmares about Freddy Krueger, a serial killer "who uses a gloved hand with razors to kill his victims in their dreams, causing their deaths in the real world as well," according to Wikipedia. I've never seen the movie, but I've seen pictures of Freddy Krueger, and he's a freaky looking dude. The perfect thing to give a young boy nightmares.

So we talked to him about the guy's freaky face. We said, "Imagine he has big donkey ears. Imagine them putting all the makeup on his face to make him look like that." We had him play with the images in his head. To shrink them down. To make them move away from him, etc. And his nightmares stopped.

I tried this once to see if I could be unbothered by criticism. And it worked. I imagined seeing the criticism from another point of view in the room. As if I was looking down on the scene from a security camera. I imagined being in an impenetrable fort, safe and sound, while watching the security camera. I imagined growing huge ram horns on my head really quickly, as soon as I started hearing a criticism. All of these things helped me feel safe and secure while listening to criticism.

There are so many ways to use this principle. One of the things you can do with visual images is look at the same scene from a different point of view than your own. I don't mean metaphorically, but literally. It's called dissociation. To get the difference, imagine that you are eating an ice cream cone. You're holding it in your hand in front of you. You bring it up to your mouth and lick it.

Now imagine you are standing next to yourself looking at yourself eating an ice cream cone. This is being dissociated. You're not looking out from your own eyes; you're seeing yourself from the outside. This is usually a powerful change in visual imagery. It changes your emotional reaction. While you're seeing out your own eyes, the emotions are stronger. Looking at yourself from the outside makes it all feel more distant, and so the emotions are not as intense. This is one of many things you can change in a visual image.

Click here for a list of things you can try changing in visual imagery. And click here for a list of things to change auditorily (having to do with sound). This idea of changing how you're thinking rather than what you're thinking comes from NLP, which is a kind of system of psychology. A really good book on the subject is, Using Your Brain — For a Change, by Richard Bandler (one of the co-founders of NLP).

The way to play with this is to just try different things and see what makes a difference. Not everything is important. Some changes make a big difference and some don't make much difference at all. For example, location often makes a big difference, both auditorily and visually. For a visual memory, you might try changing the color, the size, the clarity, and maybe none of that makes you feel any different. But changing where the image is in your mind's eye might dramatically change how it feels to you.

There are so many things to try. You think all the time. You have images in your mind, and you say things to yourself and imagine other people saying things to you. And you hear music in your mind, and other sounds too. All of this happens without any effort on your part, and seemingly out of your control. But at any point, you can do whatever you want with these thoughts (except stop thinking them, which you can read more about here).

I was out on a walk once, feeling kind of discouraged about one of my goals, and I thought it was a good time to experiment. I imagined people singing. I imagined the park I was walking through lined with people I know on either side of the walkway, singing to me. It was an inspiring gospel tune, but I changed the words. They were singing, "Don't give up! You can do it, we know you can!" Within five minutes, I was feeling thoroughly inspired!

If this all seems too elaborate, you've got to keep in mind that you are already visualizing things and talking to yourself. But in a sense it's being done to you. All I'm suggesting here is that you do more of it deliberately, and in a way that would help you, rather than just letting it happen the way it happens whether it helps you or not.

Here's another example: I have woken up from a bad dream before, thought about it for a second, and then went back into the dream to finish it the way I would like. So I find a weapon, or I call on friends of mine to help me. It's my mind, and I can do what I want with it. So I go back in and walk away from the dream victorious.

I once helped a friend get over his fear of talking to attractive women. I had him closed eyes and imagine (whenever he sees a woman he's attracted to) hearing her say to him through mental telepathy, "I want to get to know you." I had him imagine this several times with different images of women. And he said it worked. He is now married.

If you're walking into an interview for a new job, imagine your favorite upbeat song is playing loudly, making you pumped up and feeling good.

Bandler says Stephen King gets motivated to write his bestselling novels by imagining a scary voice coming down a tunnel from far behind him and coming right up to the back of his head and yelling loudly, "Get to work!"

Your brain is coded. Everybody organizes their internal experience in a certain way. Nobody taught us to do this, but we naturally do it so that we know what is the past and what is the future, for example. You code your inner experience so you know what's important and what isn't, what has emotional significance and what doesn't.

Everybody has different ways of organizing their internal experience. For example, how do you know an image in your mind is from the past or from the future? There's some way you code it. Nobody teaches you this, you just figure it out over time, or more like it figures itself out. But you can sometimes discover how someone organizes their mind by the way they speak. For example, if someone says, "I put it behind me" or "I left it all behind," the person probably organizes their images front to back. The future is in front of them, their past is behind them.

You can watch the way people gesture when they say, “I used to do that.” If they gesture to the left, they probably organize time side to side and their past is to their left, their future is to their right. This might all sound like something interesting that doesn't make any difference. But careers have been shattered and married people have divorced because of these things.

For example, a couple I know had been separated for several years and during that time the man had sexual relations with several women. When the couple got back together, the woman could not get those images out of her mind. It tortured her. Every time they began to be intimate, she mentally saw those images and it made her upset and angry.

She wasn't doing this on purpose. She didn't want to imagine these images. Her mind did it on its own.

Most people wouldn’t think to play with their mind or experiment with different ways of visualizing something like this. Most people accept the way their mind naturally does it, even when they feel tortured by it. But there are things she could have done with these unwelcome images. You can think of some right now, I'm sure.

She could have imagined the images on a big glass screen, and then taken a sledgehammer and smashed it. And then see a big sweeper push it into a smelter of molten glass.

She could have altered some of the content of the images. She could have added a goofy soundtrack. She could have imagined the image morphed into something she wants. She could have moved it to a different location in her mind’s eye. She could have changed the image so that it was smaller and changed it to a black and white image. Or changed it to a still picture (rather than a movie). Maybe she could put the image in a box and put in on a big shelf of other boxes in her mind's eye. Every time it came up involuntarily in her mind, she could have done something different with it, or if she found something that seemed satisfying, done that same thing with it every time it came up.

Instead, she couldn't take it any more and she left.

This idea can make a huge difference.

When my mom was dying of cancer, she had terrible nightmares. She had been diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer, and she was scared. She asked me to help her, and it means a lot to me that I was actually able to help her.

I told her whenever she found herself in a nightmare, to call out my name and I will be there, and I will bring our whole family. I said, "I will be on one side of you, and my brother will be on the other side of you, and we won’t let anything harm you. Your boyfriend will be there, and he’ll have a weapon (he was a skilled soldier). Our cousin will be there (I was naming these people) and he’ll have a weapon too (he was a Marine). Your nephew will be there, and he IS a weapon (he’s a champion martial artist)." She laughed.

I said, “We will all be there, surrounding you, protecting you. You can say to whatever is threatening you, “if you want to get to me, you have to go through my whole family.” This really amused her. I told her this whole thing on two different occasions about one day apart. And after the second time, her nightmares stopped. I don't think I'd ever been so grateful for a book I'd read.

This idea has many meaningful uses. There is no natural limit to how many ways you can use this to help someone else or to help yourself. As simple and effortless as it is, it can make a really big difference. I urge you to use it, and to try to remember it. I'm going to be doing a podcast about this, so you can listen every now and then as a reminder. Follow my podcast here.

Adam Khan is the author of Antivirus For Your Mind: How to Strengthen Your Persistence and Determination and Feel Good More Often and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English).

We Converted Our Car to a Flex-Fuel Vehicle

We converted our car and it feels great! We broke free. It’s been a long time since I did something that made me so happy. We just filled up our tank with E85. For the first time in my life, I had a choice at the pump and I got to buy American-made alcohol, which means OPEC got next to nothing from me.

We support fuel competition because dependence on foreign oil threatens our national security. Our economy depends on a fuel controlled by men who seek to rule the world. Sounds so dramatic, I know, but it’s still true. The military understands this. Nearly every military facility, at least around here, has an E85 station.

I think one way to help others get the message about fuel competition is by actually changing our own world as a demonstration of what needs to be done; and maybe even more importantly, to show people how good it feels to drive a flex fuel car. And I’m here to tell you, it feels good to have choice.

I know it’s maybe a bit silly to talk about the emotions of all this, but that’s been the biggest shift for me. Now it doesn't bring me down every time I fill the tank. In fact, now, when I fill the tank it makes me happy! In a world where I often feel helpless, having done something that makes me feel in charge gives me a kind of strength, a sense of power. I actually did something real and concrete to stop the flow of money from the free world to OPEC. It gives me a real sense of satisfaction. I stopped a terrible thing from happening in my world. I stopped funding those who hate our freedoms, especially my freedom as a woman.

I asked Adam to let me install the conversion kit. I’d watched some video clips showing how easy it was. One showed two young boys doing it, ages 13 and 9. Another one showed a pretty woman installing it in maybe five minutes. I saw another one of a movie star who did it in seven minutes. "If they can do it," I thought, "I can do it."

When I looked around online for conversion kits I met a great group of guys. I called and talked with Ian Crawford at and others. They not only answered my questions, but offered to let me call them when it was time to install it so they could coach me through it!

I chose to buy ours from the people at because they've been around since the 1970’s and David Blume and Ian Crawford know a lot about cars.

When it came time to install the conversion kit (which I did without any coaching on the phone), nothing seemed to go right. I needed a 10mm socket and I couldn’t find one. So I found a neighbor who works on cars and he lent me one.

I needed the socket because in our car the air filter housing prevents access to the fuel injectors. But it was pretty easy to get the housing off. Then I could see the fuel injectors. But then I dropped a little plastic part down between the radiator and the grill. I couldn't reach it from above. I couldn't reach it from below. Grrrr. It took some time, but I eventually was able to get that part out. Then I was back to the installation.

The conversion kit is a little black box about the size of a long pack of cigarettes. There’s a computer inside. I attached it to a good spot inside the engine compartment with some Velcro strips. There are wires that go from the conversion box to each one of the fuel injectors. The actual installation is pretty straightforward. At the end of each wire there’s a little connector. All you have to do is unplug the wire that goes into the fuel injector and plug it into the converter connector and then plug the converter wire into the fuel injector. We have four cylinders, so I did this four times. Then when the car's computer sends a signal to the fuel injector to inject fuel, the signal goes to the converter box first, which adds the appropriate adjustment so the car can use alcohols as well as gasoline.

That’s it. Oh, then I used some of those little plastic jobbers to bind up the wires all nice and neat and out of the way. Then I put the air filter housing back in place. Three bolts. Done. And even with my lack of tools, and my clumsiness, and having never installed one before, and even though I didn’t do it in seven minutes, the whole thing, start-to-finish was less than a half hour. And I didn’t even hurt my manicure.

The car started right up. No engine light. All the gauges work the same. We drove around. No difference. Slick! I felt more than a bit smug that I could now say I did it myself. Just to complete the process, we bought an emblem online that says "flex fuel" and put it on our car. Big smile.

But the real thrill was at the pump. That was truly one of the happiest moments I’ve had in awhile. I have a sense of ownership of my life I didn’t have before. All the times I’ve bought gas knowing I’m paying Wahhabi fanatics who hate my rights as a woman, all the times I felt like a victim to a horrible situation, all the times I felt defeated and beaten by the system, all that stopped.

I think some day we will pass an Open Fuel Standard into law, making most of the new cars on the road flex fuel vehicles, but that won’t change my car. Whether the OFS bill passes or not, we still need to convert the cars already on the road, which have an average lifespan of sixteen years. There are more than 200 million cars in America already on the roads that can only burn petroleum fuels. Nearly all those could be easily converted in less than a half hour and for less than a hundred dollars a cylinder.

What are you waiting for? All of us can be driving flex fuel cars right now. And the more cars we convert and the faster we do it, the quicker we can feel safe and secure as a nation.

As my dad used to say: Put your money where your mouth is.

At a time when we often feel like there’s nothing we can do, here’s something we can do. Every car that only burns gas is a slave to OPEC. Every car you convert not only buys your freedom of choice at the pump, but all the money that used to flow out of our free world will now stay in our country. With one simple, practical action, I have accomplished a small part of what we're trying to bring about with fuel competition — national security, economic vitality, environmental health, and energy independence. A better world. And that feels good.

E85 Does Not harm Non-Flex-Fuel Engines

This ten-minute video shows you a test done on a non-flex-fuel car that burned mostly E85 for over a hundred thousand miles. Not only did it not harm the car, it actually harmed it much less than burning gasoline would have. Check it out:

Do Flex Fuel Vehicles Cost More Than Gas-Only Cars?

I asked the Director of Program Development of the National FFV Awareness Campaign, Burl Haigwood, this question, and he said no. Gas-only cars and flex fuel vehicles sell for the same price.

And then in a white paper by the EPA, they said the same thing: "FFVs are priced the same as gasoline-only vehicles, offering drivers the opportunity to buy an E85 capable vehicle at no additional cost."

That's one of the reasons some people don't even know they already own a flex fuel vehicle — because there is no price difference. Several places online will help you discover if the car you already own is an FFV. 

Boosting Food and Fuel Simultaneously

Researchers at the University of Minnesota fed algae meal (what's left over after algae is used to make biofuels) to dairy cows and discovered that this by-product of algae biofuel production worked as well or better than the high-protein alfalfa normally fed dairy cattle.

Do you know what this means? We can grow algae for fuel on land unsuitable for crops, feed it CO2 exhaust that would normally be sent into the atmosphere (extra CO2 makes algae grow very fast), and with the leftovers, we can replace some or all of the feed now being grown on croplands (alfalfa) to produce food.

Algae can be made into ethanol, methanol, biodiesel, and green crude.

Innovations like these come across my desk every day. And all this innovation at the moment is occurring in an economic environment without a big market. If you'd like to see an explosion of this kind of innovation, help us pass an open fuel standard. It will provide an enormous economic incentive to find ways to successfully compete with petroleum for the fuel market. Who knows what kind of breakthroughs are possible?

The Purpose of an Open Fuel Standard

An open fuel standard would make a huge difference to everyone. Fuels available right now could be sold for substantially less than the current price of gasoline. These fuels burn cleaner, produce less CO2, and can be made locally. And the cars we are driving right now are perfectly capable of burning these fuels.

But we can't put them in our tanks.

Our cars are not warranted to burn them. Oil has a virtual monopoly over transportation fuel. That gives oil tremendous strategic status in the world, and it has an especially high status in the United States, the top consumer of oil in the world. The main power behind oil's monopoly is OPEC.

OPEC is a cartel that employs illegal price-fixing tactics to restrict supply and keep the price of oil high. This drains America's economy. Legal action could be taken against OPEC, but they would probably retaliate with an oil embargo worse that the one in 1973 that crippled America's economy. Transportation fuel is excessively important to our economic health, but its price has been outside of our control.

So what can we do?

We could make an end-run around oil’s monopoly and its economic threat by making each vehicle capable of burning gasoline AND the other fuels. This is surprisingly easy to do.

The internal combustion engine sitting in your driveway can burn ethanol and methanol very well. With a very small tweak to the fuel system and onboard computer, your car could burn three fuels in any mix or proportion. This is a super-flex-fuel car, and is known as a GEM vehicle (gasoline, ethanol and methanol).

A gasoline-only car maintains oil's monopoly, which leaves our economy a victim of OPEC's whims. A GEM car brings freedom to the fuel market through fuel choice and competition, getting around the monopoly and rendering OPEC incapable of controlling fuel prices any longer (or exerting so much influence on America's economy).

With an inexpensive change amounting to no more than $100 per car, automakers can manufacture GEM cars, and thus introduce fuel competition for the first time in a hundred years.

And it wouldn’t be merely three fuels competing. There are many different feedstocks ethanol can be made from, and the same goes with methanol.

An open fuel standard would do for fuel what the iPhone did for cell phones — it would become a platform for innovation. The iPhone enabled anyone to make apps for the phone, generating a bloom of innovation.

The same could happen with fuel. The market is there. If people had cars that could burn the fuels, innovators and entrepreneurs would be vying to get in on it, constantly coming up with new and better fuels — cleaner, cheaper, more local, whatever people were attracted to and were willing to buy. All of this could come about if car manufacturers could be persuaded to do it.

Automakers are reluctant to make these simple changes for several reasons, but with a small push, they could bring forth a new era. And it would be good for car sales because lower fuel prices almost always increase car sales.

An open fuel standard has been proposed several times in Congress. The law would require that all new internal combustion engine powered vehicles sold in this country must be capable of allowing fuel competition. They would have to be GEM vehicles. And for the first time in our lives, we would enjoy as much choice in our fuels as we enjoy with everything else, from televisions to breakfast cereals. It would be the end of a one-fuel economy.

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 BombYou can email him here.

A Water Revolution in India

Klassy and I watched this nine-minute video:

India's Water Revolution #1: Solving the Crisis in 45 days with the Paani Foundation

And it was so interesting and uplifting, we watched the next one in the series, and then the next one. Here are people doing something simple and practical and low tech that makes a huge difference to everyone in the town. We ended up watching all seven, one after the other. 

You hear so much in the news about water shortages. Lots of bad news about it. But here are people doing something about it, and at least in their local area, solving the problem and having plenty of water even though they are in a drought. 

Here is the rest of the series:

India's Water Revolution #2: The Biggest Permaculture Project on Earth! with the Paani Foundation

India's Water Revolution #3: From Poverty to Permaculture with DRCSC

India's Water Revolution #4: Permaculture for Wastelands at Aranya Farm

A Simple Way to Reduce Stress: Get Less Done in More Time

Adrenaline causes physical changes, some of which are to make you capable of moving quickly and to motivate you to move quickly. Moving fast goes with anxiety. Fast, jerky movements are one of the things adrenaline produces. But here's another feedback loop. You can actually make yourself feel more nervous by moving quickly. You see and feel how you're moving and what the tension in your muscles feels like and it has a psychological effect on you.

So when you feel tense, or when you want to feel more relaxed, try moving deliberately slowly and calmly. It tends to make you feel calmer and more confident, sometimes dramatically so. I have noticed myself many times doing something quickly when I have no reason to be moving that fast. It is merely a habit. I might be taking a walk and suddenly I notice I'm marching along at a furious pace, especially if I'm feeling tense. When I deliberately slow down, it has an immediate and noticeable effect on my state of mind.

I sometimes find myself driving quickly or doing the dishes as quickly and efficiently as I can — even walking down the hall from the living room to the bedroom like the house is on fire. When I notice it and consciously slow down I'm often surprised at how much calmer it makes me feel.

The surprising thing is that sometimes when you move slower, the task gets done almost as quickly. Which means your striving for efficiency isn't doing any good and actually does harm because it creates an unhealthy feeling of pressure.

This is such a simple method. All it requires is for you to notice yourself hurrying and change your speed to something slower, calmer, and more deliberate.

A related principle — kind of an assistant principle — is to give yourself extra time. If it takes twenty minutes to drive to work, give yourself half an hour and take your time. Go to bed a little earlier if you have to, and get up a little earlier. It doesn't take much extra time to give you a feeling of calm control. The night before you may need to watch a little less television, but watching television tends to increase feelings of tension anyway, so that's a good thing.

Do the dishes or yard work while deliberately avoiding efficiency. We forget how efficient we try to be. Go at your own pace and do only one thing (or less) at a time. It is very calming.

This method goes against the grain of modern Western culture. You don't have to make this your lifetime modus operandi, but try it once in awhile on a task. Try this method on a different task until you've tried them all. You'll discover something about how you stress yourself out. You'll find out you normally eat faster than you really want to, you try to do several things at once, you try to be efficient with your time, and you try to cram as much into your day as you can and you wonder why you feel stressed!?

It's not your fault. It's the culture we live in and the times we live in. But that doesn't mean you can't do anything about it. You sure can. Consider this technique as a kind of training. Think of it as a one-day vacation or even a one-hour vacation and deliberately get less done and take your sweet time doing whatever you're doing. It is surprisingly relaxing.

Notice when you are moving quickly and slow your speed. It's a technique you can use just about any time, and it's easy.

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.

Sibling Rivalry — A Revealing Factoid About Oil Versus Alcohol

Alcohol was the original fuel for cars. And the oil companies have been alcohol's biggest competition. Because gasoline has a low octane rating, it was suggested way back in the early 1900s that ethanol (which has a naturally high octane rating) could be added to gasoline to boost the octane.

But the oil industry resisted the idea. Like an irrational sibling rivalry, the oil companies would use anything rather than validate the usefulness of their biggest competitor.

So they added lead to gasoline, and used it for a long time — from 1917 until 1987, when it was finally stopped because, of course, lead is poisonous.

Now ethanol is added to most gasoline routinely, and it not only reduces the toxic output of a car because alcohol itself is less polluting than gasoline, but alcohol also helps the gasoline burn more completely, so it lowers the amount of pollution produced from the burning gasoline too.

The oil industry has done its best to retain a monopoly on the transportation fuel business, but unfortunately for gasoline, alcohol is a superior fuel in many different ways. It's better for national security, it's better for America's economy, it's better for the environment, it's better for the car engine, and it has a higher octane rating.

If we had enough cars on the road capable of allowing fuel competition, alcohol could finally compete as an equal with gasoline at the pump. Gasoline prices would be forced to stay below alcohol prices (even though alcohol prices would probably continue to drop as the industry improves its efficiency) because the only superiority gasoline could maintain would be its cheapness.

Whatever happens between the contestants in this rivalry, if the U.S. had true fuel competition, in the end there would be one sure winner — the American citizen.

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 BombYou can email him here.

Corn Was Only the Beginning: Turning Waste Into Fuel

New technologies are converting municipal waste into ethanol or methanol for fuel. Several companies have made arrangements with local municipal waste-collection services, and full-scale commercial facilities are under construction. The technology has been worked out in pilot projects already. The trash is delivered to the alcohol plant instead of the landfill. The garbage is then converted into alcohol fuel and electricity. The result is far less trash ending up in landfills.

The first large-scale commercial waste-to-ethanol facility that received registration from the EPA to produce cellulosic ethanol from non-food waste materials just opened in Vero Beach, Florida this year. As I’m writing this, the facility is up and running, producing electricity from yard and other vegetative wastes, and agricultural wastes. And by the end of this year or early next year, it will be producing ethanol fuel too. It’s expected to produce six megawatts of power and eight million gallons of ethanol per year — out of garbage that would have been dumped in a landfill.

Scientists presented themselves with this challenge: Find a way to turn a non-food material that is abundantly available into fuel and electricity without polluting the atmosphere. And they’ve done it.

The new facility (called Ineos Bio) uses a process called gasification, which heats up the garbage to 800 degrees Celsius, creating what is called synthesis gas, or “syngas.” The heat breaks material down to core elements — hydrogen, carbon dioxide, etc. — and then Ineos Bio adds a naturally-occurring bacteria that is able to quickly ferment the hot gases into ethanol.

It requires fuel to get the process started, but after that, it is self-sustaining. In other words, the heat causes new garbage to burn, which causes more heat, so they can keep shoveling in garbage, and it keeps burning, keeping the temperature where they need it without having to add any other heat source except the garbage itself.

Excess heat from this process is fed to a steam turbine, which produces electricity, powering the facility, and producing excess, which is put onto the local electricity grid, powering an estimated 1,400 homes.

As Jim Lane, the editor of Biofuels Digest wrote, “It’s taking landfill and turning it from a problem into an economic opportunity, and that’s good for Ineos, but it’s also good for Vero Beach. They’re on the verge of becoming Florida’s largest energy exporter, and that’s a unique position for a small town.”

The construction, engineering, and manufacturing of the Ineos Bio facility created 400 jobs. And it now has 60 full-time employees.

Every city should do this with their trash — make fuel from the local garbage. As the Fuel Freedom Foundation’s co-founder Yossie Hollander quipped, the U.S. is “the Saudi Arabia of garbage.” According to EF123, an energy funding company that specializes in waste-to-energy developments, the average American throws away about five pounds of trash per day!

Another similar facility is under construction in Carson City by Fulcrum Sierra Biofuels. They’ve got a twenty-year contract with Waste Management and Waste Collections Inc. to pick up the garbage and bring it to their facility, which will then be sorted to remove recyclable material like cans, bottles, plastics and paper. It will then annually convert what’s left — 147,000 tons of municipal solid waste — into ten million gallons of ethanol. It is scheduled to be up and running in 2015.

Still another company in Montreal “makes ethanol from old utility poles and household garbage,” says Matthew Wald, a green energy writer for the New York Times. The same company (Enerkem) just received a loan guarantee to build a similar plant in Tupelo, Mississippi which will consume 100,000 tons of garbage per year, transforming it into methanol. The methanol can then be converted to ethanol, or sold directly to American drivers as methanol for their cars if cars were warranted for it (the Methanol Institute is working on that).

Enerkem not only gets the feedstock (garbage) for free, they are actually getting paid to dispose of the garbage, making its feedstock what the company calls “cost-negative.” The feedstock is readily available in abundant, uninterrupted supplies, and the infrastructure already exists to collect and deliver the “feedstock.”

According to chemical engineering researchers at Fayetteville, Arkansas, 70% of municipal solid waste can be used to create fuel. They’re talking about food waste, yard waste, paper, wood, and textiles. What can not be converted to fuel can be converted to electricity.

Converting this material to fuel and power is doubly beneficial, because when garbage is taken to a landfill, it’s broken down by microbes into methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas, which rises to the surface and then into the atmosphere. The syngas production process prevents this from happening. The process is able to use about 90% of the waste stream, and produces minimal emissions.

If you ever hear about a local proposal for such a thing, lend your support. These projects often need support because they are routinely opposed. One recent project proposal in Chicago, for example, faced strong opposition from the county dump (the landfill) because, of course, the dump would lose a lot of business when the new ethanol plant opens (people pay to dump their stuff at landfills).

There was enough public support, however, and the ethanol plant is proceeding. Lend your support to such projects when you can.

This is one of the most important things we can do: Turn solid waste that would have gone into a landfill into fuel. Would you like to see more investments in waste-to-fuel facilities? All that’s missing is a rapidly growing demand for ethanol and investors will line up to put their money down. It is a potentially very profitable enterprise. The facility gets the feedstock for free, or the company could even be paid to take it.

Let’s encourage this kind of investment by creating a strong and growing demand for ethanol fuel. Here's how to convert your car immediately and begin the fuel competition revolution right where you are: Convert your car.

- Excerpted from the book, Fill Your Tank With Freedom.