Saturday, September 29, 2007

Diesel Vrs Hybrid Vrs Petrol Cars - The great deception

I love to hear people talking about hybrids and buying them at many thousands of extra dollars! But do these people really understand what they are doing.

a) MPG from EPA. To calculate the fuel economy of a vehicle in the US to the best of my knowledge the EPA uses a rolling road and essentially eradicated the factors of wind resistance/ aerodynamics,
vehicle weight, tire width etc. This give highly inaccurate figures. This system is reputedly being changed during 2008 to give fuel economy figures that come in line with European and Japanese testing methods. I am certain that you will see a dramatic fall in the quoted average fuel economy of all cars, but hybrid in particular! The battery weighs a lot!!!!

b) Cost of ownership. Do you know what it costs to replace the battery on a hybrid car (if you keep you car 7-8 years then lease it don’t buy it) if you are buying a used car then it is a ticking time bomb as you could end up paying as much or more than the value of the car to replace the battery.

c) Disposing of the battery. Batteries are a combination of acids, lead and other toxic material, review a short article on what it takes to dispose of batteries and how dangerous they are and you will get the idea here.

d) Diesel. Diesel engines are not what they used to be, blutech and other technologies produce engines that have significantly lower emissions than older petrol cars and also get far better fuel economy. With fewer moving parts they are a lot cheaper to maintain and have longer service intervals (this is one of the biggest revenue centers for car manufacturers so they don’t want this)

e) California. California is seem as the progressive state, yet in this arena it is archaic, by pushing hybrids harder and harder (with access to hov (high occupancy vehicle) lane and free parking downtown they have created a boon for Toyota in particular with its prius and other hybrid manufacturers.)

f) Celebrity endorsement. Celebrities have been seen turning up to all kind of event in Prius' to show their concern for the environment! However check the license plate and you will invariably see a LCS tag which means they hired it and don’t own it!!!!

g) Alternative. Greenland has gone hydrogen, Brazil is using biodiesel. UK uses gas. Whilst these are the technology of the future American car manufacturer and oil companies have a strangle hold on the economy and political decision makers. Don't expect to see these technologies until oil starts to dry up, (they love gouging you at the pump.) or significant pressure is applied. Gas stations would have to carry these alternate fuels and have supply system and infrastructure in place which will involve considerable expense and therefore loss of profit to all important shareholders!

h) Electric cars. Have you seen how an electric power station generates power (baring solar etc) they spew coal or nuclear waste out to generate the electricity, I rather use the diesel thanks!!!!

So what am I saying with all this, don’t buy a Hybrid, the Europeans have it right, get yourself a state of the art diesel for the next car and save the environment and you pocket with significantly reduced expense!

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Everybody wants to be an instant millionaire these days! Here's a fairly easy way to achieve it in far less time than you would imagine!

Everybody wants to be an instant millionaire these days! Here's a fairly easy way to achieve it in far less time than you would imagine!

Guess what, you don’t have to be a football player, a "pop idol" or win the lottery to become a millionaire, you can just do it the old fashion way (saving).

The answer to this myth of how to get rich quick is that you can't, everything in life requires hard work, dedication and nothing comes easily. I am fortunate enough to know many millionaires and several billionaires and every one of their overnight successes was preceded by at least 5 years of hard work and graft (and in many cases 10-20)! However you can increase your net worth and therefore directly affect your ability to create greater returns form existing investments as well as to accrue wealth faster.

How do you do this, it is very simple, if you want to become a millionaire, write a $1 million whole life insurance policy. This will require some effort on your part, nothing in life worth having is easy. If you get a borrowing/ cash value rider then you can borrow, often upto 90% of the policy cash value. The principal appreciates tax free. Once you have used up your tax free allowance into IRA and pension funds this is the next place you should look to put some money so it can at least grow tax free.

What doors will such a policy open for you and why will it increase the probability of you becoming rich!

If you go to any major banking/ investment institution they will have a varied range of financial products. Many of these offerings though are limited to high net worth individuals and accredited investors. Derivatives, Notes, Structured Products, Hedge Funds and other vehicles for generating double digit annual returns (sometimes with capital protection) are considered speculative or are only available to experienced investors with "suitable experience" to make such investment. A $1,000,000 whole life policy will provide you with access to many of these deals.

Why is the gulf between rich and poor widening?

For exactly the reasons mentioned above, the wealthier you are, not only do you have greater investable assets but you have access to better asset classes. Banks such as Merrill Lynch, UBS, Deutsche Bank regular issue complex derivative products that have double digit returns with capital protection through the utilization of options, hedging etc. A money market CD offer 5% per annum whilst a "sophisticated investor will have access to a principal protect barrier note with 210-230% the upside and 100% principal protection based upon the Deutsche Bank Currency Returns Index (Bloomberg Ticker: DBCRUSI Index). Sound complex, well it is, the brightest minds in the world are constantly trying to figure out new ways to make rich people richer and with a million dollar net worth you will have access to such products. As a result a $10,000 account can earn as much as a $43,000 Cd over a 5 years. Now do the maths and use the whole $43,000 and you will see what i am getting at! (its over 100k) The other huge factor this accumulation of wealth is compounding, were interest in accreted!

Why are the baby boomers so wealth and why will the next generation be poorer?
What happened to home equity and property value as Americas saving method for retirement?

This is a fascinating question and the answers are inextricably linked. During the 50-70's people were encouraged to adopt the American dream and buy their own home. At the time people were paying capital and interest so with every payment they reduced the principal owed on the house and built their equity value. The property appreciated as it almost does over any 25 year period and the home owner was left with what had essentially been a tax deductible savings account containing a considerable and valuable asset.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

50 Basis Points

With the fed cutting 50 basis points today we have to wonder what the long term effects will be.

  1. The dollar has taken a quick response and devalued further.
  2. Gold is rising in value letting everyone know that the dollar is getting worth less daily. It seems only yesterday that gold sat at $350 instead of the mid to high 700's.
  3. Countrywide may survive too by slight of hand and balance sheet

Does this mean the real estate problems are resolved? Not at all, now they will get dragged out for longer with no true bottom of the market in sight, everyone will still be shy of CMO's, ABS's etc so lending will be lax, but interest rates will be lower for those that can refinance. All the subprime borrowers will still not be able to obtain their refinance. Therefore we should still enter a recession, just a few months later!

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Dog Park, A Microcosm of Humanity.

We have two Samoyeds, Lovely fuzzy fluffy, warm caring and cuddle creatures and as part of our daily routine both we regularly attend those unique hangouts called dog parks. For those of you who don’t have dogs, these are sometime small, sometimes vast fenced areas where dogs are allowed to run free “off leash” playing, sniffing other dogs butts, fighting and generally being dogs. Why would I write about this and why would anyone care, well I will try to make it more poignant!

A dog park can be seen as so representative of human life and society. In those brief minutes you will see all the actions of our daily life condensed and simplified as to what they really are. You have the bravado, braggadocio male with a Pitt Bull (normally without a collar), the timid and fearful woman with the Chihuahua with diamond encrusted collar, the old couple with their faithful, tired, overweight old Labrador and many other characters which I will introduce over the course of this rambling!!!

The Pitt Bull/ Staffordshire Bull Terrier/ Pie Eyed Bull Terrier

The Samoyed

The Siberian Husky

The Rottweiler

The Labrador

The Shih Tzu

The Chihuahua

The American Bulldog

The Afghan Hound

The British Bulldog

The Yorkshire Terrier

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Happiness - Materialism Vs. Spirituality

Happiness - Materialism Vs. Spirituality

There is no question that I am very materialistic, I am the first person to admit that I love nice things and spend fortunes purchasing them, be it a Brioni suits, Rolex Watches, Jewelry, Fast Cars, Nice Houses, Big Screen TV’s with separate speakers and amplifiers etc etc (By the way, a Level 3 Monster Power Cleaner is the best TV investment you will ever make, you cant believe the difference it will make to the picture quality) I am the first person in line to spend the money and boy did that paragraph just sound like it, don't let that put you off though.

The conflict that has always raged in me between the lavish and the utilitarian in me has entered a new phase. Living in the center of the materialistic and “Look at me and what I have and please be jealous and suck up too me” universe, (Did I mention the Beckhams just moved to town) the nirvana of “selfishness,” “Beverly Hills” has been an eye opening experience. Whilst, as I previously mentioned, I “like” my material possessions as much as, if not more than anyone else (especially since loosing so much “paper wealth” in 2000-2001 (Tech stock crash) I became orientated towards bricks and mortar, tangible, physical assets one can see and hold and touch!!! Something to show for all the work) The denizens of Beverly Hills seem to “need” material possessions, buying them seems to give them a sense of self and worth, justifying and validating their existence. There is an entitlement which is quite unique, haughtiness to the women who have never personally achieved anything of any significance or benefit to the world other than marrying someone rich and spending their money! You have to love the nouveaux riche.

And the scariest part of the whole is place is that very few actually seem to have any “real” money, the house is on a 10 year interest only loan (in essence they rent) the car (for car, read Bentley or Porsche) is leased for $2000 a month or more, the credit cards are always maxed out and they have to keep working as they cant afford to retire!!! Many of the husbands work from 6am till 10pm and often spend Saturday in the office (I think they are hiding from their wives personally) just to pay the bills and try and keep ahead of the tide of debt and expenses of their lavish lifestyles. Not to mention the plastic surgery money to try and look young and be something your not! But no one seems happy, they want talk to another human being in the elevator, they don’t smile, they complain bitterly about anything and everything any time they can get anyone to listen! So many people says “money buys happiness” come and shadow one of these people for a week and see that it doesn’t.

So why is it I ask myself that all my happiest and most fulfilling moments come from those breathtaking moments on top of a mountain with my wife and dogs, walking on a beach with a beautiful sunset. How come these spiritual moments awaken my senses and fulfill me in a fashion that no material possessions can. Meanwhile when I walk on the beach with these same “Beverly Hills Wives” in the same time and circumstance, are they complaining about the sand damaging their Manolo Blahnik and their pedicure getting ruined and wondering if the can catch “something” (read disease) from walking on the beach.

So why do I still live here, I am in the process of leaving and heading back to the east coast where old money, class and sophistication rule the day. I will probably make land fall in Denver on route for some skiing and relaxation enroute and to try and reset my balance and sense of self. Leave my repulsion for materialism at 13,000 feet and then head back to Greenwich, CT, Manhattan, NY or even Boston, Ma.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Feeding the Beast

It doesn’t seem so long ago that the evils of CFC's (Chlorofluorocarbons) were being vilified in the press. Today we have a different type of negative connotation to CFC's (Countrywide Financial Corporation). Blamed for much of financial liquidity crisis and turmoil during August 2007 (they were just being greedily like everyone else, but they got a little too greedy) they are once again hungry and need to feed. Such financial behemoths have incredible burn rates (the basic unavoidable running costs of doing business, before any revenue is generated).

Did I mention the housing recession and that only this week several home builders were offering over $100,000 in incentives to get people to clear out some of their massive and costly inventory and provide them with some cash flow and liquidity. Did I also mention the commercial paper that needs to be rolled and isn't finding a home this week, or the off balance sheet debts that are starting to cry for help and also the vastly reduced number of buyers of CMO's (Collateralized Mortgage Obligations) ABS's (Asset Backed Securities), who don't want to share I the risk of loan pools where FICO scores no longer give any indication of who will or won't default due to relaxed underwriting standards, who Countrywide and other originators and banks need to securitize (pass debt onto to) write loans.

It is only 3-4 weeks since Bank of America became a "national hero" and bought $2Bn (shoring up the market and calming everyone's fears) of preferred stock to try and add to the war chest of the largest mortgage originator in the USA. That was on top of $11.5Bn short term credit lines drawn down upon the week earlier. Now Goldman Sachs is trying to put together another round of funding, possibly including J.P Morgan, Merrill Lynch etc.

Are intelligent people throwing good money after bad, surely not shrewd investment banks, it must mean Countrywide will be fine I hear people say. Maybe it is just my cynicism but I believe that whilst Countrywide may well survive in one guise or another, the vultures are lining up for the pickings, as well as protecting their already large investments. How are they doing this I hear you ask, simple, they are buying convertible preferred stock!

What does that mean in reality; it means that if Countrywide defaults or ceases trading they are the first in line to be paid, subjugating all the common shareholders. With assets being sold at cents on the dollar, their $2Bn may well clean up the majority of the real and semi-liquid assets of Countrywide whilst clearing debt, rental agreements, bad credit etc etc.

Okay I am sure I just heard you gasp!

Gasp you should, Countrywide just about managed to pay its staff and dividends due at the end of this month, but without significant loan generation, they will be light on revenue so how will they pay next month! That is why I say these savvy investment bankers are not throwing good money out of bad, they are protecting what will be theirs at the expense of the everyday common shareholders and a board of a company fighting for its very survival is boarding the life raft to leave the sinking ship. Why do I say this, well to build a business you need to be able to borrow and bankers are usually the people doing the lending. So if you scratch their back, they wouldn’t want to you too waste all your skills and talent and energy, so they will invest in you when you coming looking for funds for you new venture in 4-6 months when the smoke has blown away and the bare and empty carcass of CFC is finally laid before the common stock holders!

Did I mention the savvy bankers hedge, should countrywide prove canny enough to survive by a hairs breadth, they can convert their preferred stock into common stock at $18 something a share and have a nice return on their investment!!!

Dare I utter the whisper of the name of another much vaunted company – ENRON!

P.S The car industry will be the next to suffer as dealers give away cars with huge incentives and ultra low financing (even Honda the most frugal of all companies) to clear inventories ready for 2008 models!!!

P.P.S By the way if you haven't realized all this spells the way for a recession of "Great Depression" portions

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Liquidity Crisis - A Little Reflection Gives Compelling Answers - Impending Stock Market Crash - Real Estate Bubble has Burst

The media shouts of a liquidity crisis and the financial markets are in turmoil, the terrible words recession and depression are being uttered by many and people are drawing upon similarities between 2007 and the former stock market collapses of 1987, 1929 and the recessions of the early 1930's, 1970’s, 1990's, 2000's . The question is how much do you really know and what do you need a know to make a considered opinion and protect yourself?

Historical Crashes & Depression/ Recession

Black Monday, October 19th 1987, came at the end of two record years where leveraged buyouts, mergers and acquisitions financed by junk bonds (In leveraged buyouts, a company would raise massive amounts of capital by selling junk bonds to the public. Junk bonds are simply bonds that have a high risk of loss, so they pay a high interest rate. The money raised by selling junk bonds, would go towards the purchase of the desired company.) drove the market to an artificial and unstable high. The Dow lost 22.6% of its value or $500 billion dollars, equivalent to more than 2000 points today.

The savior was Alan Greenspan who started to slash interest rates, inject money and renew consumer confidence. Thus the market was completely recovered within 12 months and on its way to new highs.

The great depression 1929 - You have to love October, the 29 crash was on the 28th and 29th when the market went from 400 to 145 and some $5bn was lost.

Charting the two great crashes shows an alarmingly similar picture with very similar profiles including the increased artificial liquidity, utilization of Margin in one Futures in the other to provide accentuated leverage and the need to a sharp correction to re correlate the market to true value.

Whatever scale one chooses to use the similarities are hard to deny

A recession occurs when GDP (Gross Domestic Product) falls for 2 or 3 consecutive quarters, illustrating that the economy is not growing as it should. Redundancy and job cuts as well as burgeoning debt are commonly associated with such times. Recessions often follow market corrections.

It is interesting to compare and contrast the recession of the 1930’s with that of the early 2000’s – had we not had the real estate bubble growing out of Fed Easing, who knows what the outcome would have been!

Current Market Value vs Prior times

This is one of the most important factors to understand when looking at current market volatility. Due to the incredible and unprecedented rise in market value (nearly 16000 in its high of 2007) there is an equal and equivalent rise and fall in daily trading range, thus a 200 point rise is equal too a 20 point rise when the market was at 1600. That is what makes the chart below so scary!!!

What’s happening now?

Countrywide Countrywide Financial (CFC) is being blamed by many as some corporate evil at the center of this crisis, but they are merely a scapegoat and one of the larger more visible symbols that people can vilify. Whilst their Chairman would seem to be profiteering and cashing out share options as fast as they can be written (over $100m in the last 12 month) it is not their "fault" that they are laying off thousands of employees to avoid bankruptcy CMO’s, QIV, SIV's, Conduits, Securitization and Private Equity.

The essence of success in business and trading is to buy or make something and sell it for more. To do this successfully initial capital is required. The best source of capital (liquidity) is to borrow someone else’s money and pay them less to borrow it than you can make by using it. Then your internal rate of return, the amount of money you make on the money you invested personally is magnified exponentially. The same is true of Margin within stock investing.

CMO’s (Collateralized Mortgage Obligation) MBS's (Mortgage Backed Security) are the method in which banks lend money to someone to buy a property, then to free up the money they invested so they can invest it again and make more money, they sell it on bundle as a CMO or MBS.

QIV (Qualified Investment Vehicle), SIV's (Structured Investment Vehicles), special purpose entity (SPE) while you may not have heard of these yet, you will be, this is as method for a bank/ company to transfer debt off its balance sheet. When reporting to shareholders, or borrowing money a bank or company wants to have the maximum number of assets and the least amount of liability. By moving liability into these off balance sheet entities their listed/ published balance sheet looks better (This is how 10’s if not 100’s of Billions in debt have been hidden from the public eye)

When defaults start to occur in this arena as they already are, credibility will be reduced and investors will panic and people will sell their investments to avoid loosing them! As in 1929, 1987, 2000 if there are not enough buyers prices will drop to bargain basement levels where astute investors will swoop in and sweep up cheap stocks.

The Federal Reserve

This is one of the most critical influences on the economy right now, which is why everyone watch Ben S. Bernanke comments so closely.

Alan Greenspan believed that consumer and investor confidence were to be boosted or at least supported at all times and many decisions seemed to focus on this. However Greenspan made some drastic mistakes, in 2001 – 2003 he cut interest rates so low that he created the real estate bubble.

What Was The Real Estate Bubble

Savy investors were able to sit back and watch the real estate bubble happen, capitalizing on less experienced individuals who worked out how much they could afford to borrow at “current” interest rates with no eye to the future and what they would do if they were to rise factoring in capital appreciation into their calculations. (the old saying of past performance is no indication of future performance!!!!!!)

Furthermore the teaser rates offered on loans to allow people to buy ever increasingly expensive real estate were inevitably due to reset and brokers were able to glibly assure people that they could just refinance closer to the time and not too worry about it!!!

Well unfortunately teaser rates and sub 5% mortgages are gone for now and people have to pay “very real” interest on their mortgages. The truth is that at some point we have to endure a correction and reach a bottom, to cut rates heavily to save the consumer will merely put off the same event till some time in the future and whilst it is sad to say, that is not truly in anyones best interests!!!

The Government

Whilst this is a somewhat more contentious subject it is not one that can easily be avoided. More money has been printed during the 8 years of George W Bush’s presidency than under all other presidents combined. Trade deficits are at their worst levels ever, the dollar is exceptionally weak and many central banks are moving more assets into Euro’s as a result. This does not bode well for the economy.

Furthermore in times of recession, a war is “sometimes” entered into by the US government driving substantial military spending and diverting attention overseas. This isn’t really an option as the USA is already essentially at war still in Iraq. It is rumored that the war gas been so expensive to date that the military will have to scrap or put on hold the F35-JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) project for lack of budget. That could potentially although not significantly impact America’s global military dominance.

How to Capitalize on this Information????

So September is the only month in the year that statistically shows losses! Meanwhile October is the month of Crashes!!!

Real Estate

1) The real estate bubble is bursting, expect to see significant price decreases and increased foreclosure over the next several years (unlike the stock market an adjustment cannot happen overnight).

+ Prices will decline throughout 2008 and into 2009 leaving great buying opportunities for those with Cash in late 08 early 09. Don’t buy for capital appreciation as it won’t happen till the beginning if not middle of the next decade at the earliest! (2010-2012)

2) Expect to see the commercial market decline 10-15% over then next year to two years as leverage is reduced and people will be unable to finance acquisitions

3) Expect to see more mortgage originators file for bankruptcy (possibly even Countrywide to clear off some debts) The Chairman has sold $10-100’s millions in options over the last 12 months (you would expect him to buy stock with the proceeds due to the bargain basement prices – preferred stock (issued at $25) reach mid $9 range during August

4) Expect to see at least 1 major home builder file for Bankruptcy


1) Don’t be surprised to see a bank failure or something close spark the next stock market crash, QIV may well be the cause of financial illiquidity of a medium sized banking institution

2) Whilst people are stating that Credit Card Companies are being unfairly hit as they do not hold any sub prime mortgage assets, do not be surprised to see credit default rates rising from 3% upto around 6%. When you have lost your home and your credit is not looking good, why not write off those pesky credit cards of $10,20 or even 30k+ at the same time.

3) Writing covered calls and selling puts on any open long positions seems like a great hedging strategy

4) Staples and super solid stocks – as those chosen by the like of Warren Buffet make for great long term holds as do any stocks that take an unfair beating

5) Most of all sit on the sidelines and play out September and October ready to capitalize in December.

"Plan for the Worst Case Scenario and Be Happy when the Best Case Occurs" - Jonathan Rose

You asking what all this means, for a prediction. Whilst one cannot foretell exactly and the markets have been known to do the unexpected, i am predicting a 500+ (probably 1-2,000 point drop) towards the end of October...caused by a liquidity short fall by a major bank, Countrywide becoming insolvent (or admitting it is) a major house builder filing for bankruptcy or someone finding out that the banks are carrying in excess of $250Bn of off balance sheet debt that they need to do something about and can't!!!

Don't say I didn't warn you!!!!

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Housing - How Low Can It Go - The Real Estate Bubble is Bursting

It is interesting to look at how people have been valuing property over the past 5-7 years, logic has seemingly left the building and until it is fully restored, the bottom will not be in sight.

One of the primary factors that is missing from the market has been to establish the rental income that the property can produce. With this figure in mind plus all costs, can the property cashflow and service a capital and interest debt as well as taxes, insurance and expenses!!!!

This is the real and true value of the property, what it is worth. If you find property that meets these criteria then it is worth buying as it will cashflow if not from day one, then very soon thereafter.

The other factor which is critical to successful investing, is the lack of emotion. A pure and empirically derived decision is essential to success in real estate as with any other investment. One of the major factors that plays into the volatility is peoples knee jerk reactions to the media which is trying to sell advertising (lets be honest) and needs as many "hooked readers as possible!

Don't buy a house because you love it, or it feels right, buy it because it is a good investment. Location, Location, Location is critical to this. Are there good or great public schools in the area, is it near good shops, are there areas that will decline and become less desirable situated nearby, does it have a good water supply (this will become an increasing issue over time)

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Between Birth and Age Five

Between birth and age five, your child has up to thirty IQ points at stake.

Scientists now know that the human brain is undergoing a constant and dramatic transformation in the first years of life. During this peak time of development, every activity and experience leaves an indelible mark on your baby’s brain, for better or worse.

The right kind of stimulation and nutrition will create connections in the brain that promote intelligence and raise IQ.

The wrong kinds of activities and foods can stifle intellectual development, destroy brain cells, and leave your child more vulnerable to learning or behavior problems down the road.

So, what can you do during the first five years to ensure that your child is primed to excel?The good news is that raising a smarter child is easier than you think. It doesn’t require making an investment in expensive equipment or high priced tutors. It’s as simple as playing the right games, serving the right foods, and maintaining a brain-enhancing environment in your home by eliminating common household toxins. learn easy and highly effective strategies that can vastly improve your child’s brain power and reduce his or her chances of developing ADD and ADHD. For example, you can:

  • Stimulate Memory: Changing a component on the over-the-crib mobile every week makes the baby compare what was there before to what’s there now, reinforcing memory pathways in the brain that are critical for learning.

  • Spread out those shots: Schedule more frequent trips to the pediatrician for vaccinations, so that fewer shots are administered at once. Flooding the immune system with a cocktail of different vaccines can damage the nervous system.

  • Get rid of toxins: Protecting a child from neurotoxins found in foods, toys and even baby bottles can help preserve precious IQ points.

In addition, he reveals the numerous toys and household products that contain harmful, brain-damaging toxins and shows how to identify and combat common childhood problems like ADD and food allergies that may affect your child’s development.Your job over the first five years is to help your child build the best brain possible., you can mine the countless opportunities you have each day to make your child smarter, happier and better prepared to excel.

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Learned Mastery vrs Learned Helplessness

One of the most important concepts of Brain Development, Education and Success is that successes lead to more successes. As any great athlete will tell you, success is 90% mental and 10% physical. The major boundaries that are created for us are of our own making, because we tell ourselves we cannot do something or aren’t capable. This develops an attitude of learned helplessness where we are bound by confines imposed on us by our minds.

The same is true for the feeling of helplessness, which leads to a greater feeling of helplessness. The key to success is to achieve a greater understanding of the causes of your past successes and learn how to replicate them. Your mind changes constantly. It is highly adaptive. Simple changes in the way that you think can make the difference between fulfillment and misery. We’ve all seen people who have everything we think is necessary for success and yet seemed to be depressed. Then we’ve seen others who, we would think, have every reason to be unhappy and yet seem to be joyous and full of life. What is the difference between those who can never find reasons for happiness and those who almost never see a reason for sadness? The difference is in how and what they think. The Russian author Anton Chekov wrote, "Man is what he believes." If you can learn the principles and strategies of successful men and women, you can use their methods to achieve whatever you desire.

Learned Mastery vs Learned Helplessness

A primary hope and desire is for every child is that they become a responsible, contributing member of society.

It is up to the parent/s to teach their child how to become self-reliant and independent. At the same time the child needs to know how to honor boundaries, know their limits, and have an overall respect for life.

With this core base most children will develop the self confidence they need to tackle any endeavor of their choosing.....knowing they can be successful. This is called Learned Mastery.

In a concept called "Learned Helplessness", coined by Dr. Seligman, is the belief that one has no control over their situations. Operating under this belief leads to an "I can't do" attitude. Unfortunately, for children they learn this behavior from their peers, authority figures or even their parents.

Some Tips and Pointers

o Creating goals that are attainable in order to ensure that the child is aware of the progress they are making.

o Offering positive feedback and affirmation for changes and progress made.

o Including the child in the program by making sure they know they reach their goals and they do the program.

o Offering proper support so the child learns to be motivated about their program and has the desire to be a part of the change.

o Establishing strategies to support the parents with the use of parent-child behavioral management skills specific to the child's needs.

o Teaching them how to stretch the challenge in order to "go for more".

o Re-assessing your child's progress and their overall improvement.

Based upon the results of re-assessment the program can be modified and new goals set.

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The Human Brain - The Most Complex Computer in the Universe

The most complex computer in the entire Universe is the Human Brain.

“We are our brains, our brains are us they define who we are, who we will be and who we can be as well as ultimately who we become – nothing defines us as singularly and entirely as our brains and the connections it makes!” Jonathan Rose (founder Brain Make Over)

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Brain Make Over’s Epistemology (e·pis·te·mol·o·gy (ĭ-pĭs'tə-mŏl'ə-jē)

The branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge, its presuppositions and foundations, and its extent and validity.

Neuro-Plasticity Principle

The Brain is malleable or plastic and can be molded, adapted, advanced, trained and developed for increased performance and the reduction of limiting factors.


The Brain has redundant neural and synaptic pathways that can be trained to circumvent and therefore effectively eliminate limiting factors


Brain Make Over has adopted the approach that any product it develops should work to some degree for everyone - breadth of scope and application results in a economical solution

Holistic Approach

We believe in the power of assimilation/ integrate treatment styles and processes harmoniously for the common goal of improvement.

Awareness of Collective Conscious

People are increasingly aware of global consciousness and their own role within this. By working to enhance ourselves and our children we positively contribute to the future. “The Secret”, “Anthony Robbins”, “Environmentalism”, “Conservation”, “Celebrities giving back” are increasing manifestations of this.

Alternative Treatment

Utilization of non invasive, non pharmaceutical brain training and development to improve performance without impacting the epigenome and future generations. Societal recognition of its dependence upon pharmaceutical medications of which all side effects may not be known or fully understood.

Interrelation of Science, Technology and Social/ Human evolution

Brain Make Over is attempting to assist with the evolution of the human species in a small fashion my merging the benefits of technology with the human and social element.

No Child Left Behind

Government is recognizing the importance of future generations and the education that they receive and how this can and will impact our species in both the short and long term. With an affordable improvement Brain Make Over bridges the gulf in education qualities by providing enhancement to the fundamental building blocks of learning.

Human Capital

Brain Make Over recognizes the importance of human capital within the workforce and its implications for the future. Through better assessment and selection and enhanced learning and speed of processing companies can increase productivity and corporate wellness.

Empirical data collection

The only true data is that which can be empirically collected which negates outside influencing factors, such as behavior, emotion etc. Only through accurate and objective testing can one know the actual “real” result, no matter what non empirical results my imply

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The Power of Terror - There may be more around than you notice

On this day, 6 years ago the world was rocked by a tradgedy of epic proportions. Striking at the heart of Capitalism, Fundamentalists/ Extremists flew planes into civilian and government targets with the sole intention of causing as much death and distruption as possible.

The plane...hit at the 93rd floor....Cantor Fitzgerald operated out of the 101st through 105th floors. Of the firm's 1,000 New York employees, 658 were lost.......In the coming days the number of dead and missing will be staggering. Of the wives, thirty-eight were pregnant, fourteen of them for the first time. Forty-six of the lost were engaged to be married; there were at least two weddings planned for the following weekend. Worst of all, these were young people with young families, some with three and four children. Nine hundred and fifty-five sons and daughters lost a father or a mother'.
(Excerpts from 'On Top Of The World - The Remarkable Story of Howard Lutnick, Cantor Fitzgerald and The Twin Towers Attack' by Tom Barbash. )

Many see this as a sad reflection on humanity and the levels to which some have sunk, however in reality such attrocities are commonplace throughout the world, we are just not made aware of them by the media, are desensitized due to excessive exposure or the laws of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) apply and because they are distant, they do not seem as real.

What is truly a sad reflection on humanity is those that try to deny such events (including the Holocaust)

Many other event of similar or greater magnitude have occurred but they see, to have less prominence in the media.

To name a few

"Lost Boys of Sudan." Named after Peter Pan's cadre of orphans, some 26,000 Sudanese boys were forced by violence from their southern Sudan villages in the late 1980s. After walking hundreds of miles and sometimes thousands of miles in search of peace.Emaciated, dehydrated and parentless, only half of the original boys — some 10,000 who survived the journey — arrived at Kakuma Refugee Camp in 1992. The majority of them were between the ages of 8 and 18 (Most of the boys don't know for sure how old they are; aid workers assigned them approximate ages after they arrived in Kenya). Many have spent more than a decade in this and other Kenyan refugee camp, thousands still there to this day. Most left as smal children and dont know whether their Parents, Brothers or Sisters survived. Source -

During the conflict roughly a million ethnic Albanians fled from Yugoslav forces or were forcefully driven by Yugoslav forces from Kosovo, several thousand were killed (the numbers and the ethnic distribution of the casualties are uncertain and highly disputed). An estimated 10,000 ethnic Albanians and 3,000 Serbs are believed to have been killed during the conflict. Some 3,000 people are still missing, of which 2,500 are Albanian, 400 Serbs and 100 Roma. Source -

"To date more than 400,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced. Countless more have been raped, maimed, and tortured; Men, women, and children created in God's image, innocents all. Ending the atrocities will require your personal leadership in supporting the deployment of a strong U.N. peacekeeping force and multilateral economic sanctions. While we often disagree on matters of politics, we are united in the belief that your intervention can make the critical difference in Darfur. Source -

Timeline of events on September 11, 2001

8.45am - (all times are EDT) A hijacked passenger jet, American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston, Massachusetts, crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, tearing a gaping hole in the building and setting it afire.

9.03am - A second hijacked airliner, United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston, crashes into the South Tower of the World Trade Center and explodes. Both buildings are burning.

9.17am - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shuts down all New York City area airports.

9.21am - The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey orders all bridges and tunnels in the New York area closed.

9.30am - President Bush, speaking in Sarasota, Florida, says the country has suffered an 'apparent terrorist attack'.

9.40am - The FAA halts all flight operations at US airports, the first time in US history that air traffic nationwide has been halted.

9.43am - American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon, sending up a huge plume of smoke. Evacuation begins immediately.

9.45am - The White House evacuates.

9.57am - Bush departs from Florida.

10.05am - The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses, plummeting into the streets below. A massive cloud of dust and debris forms, and slowly drifts away from the building.

10.10am - A portion of the Pentagon collapses.

10.10am - United Airlines Flight 93, also hijacked, crashes in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, southeast of Pittsburgh.

10.13am - The United Nations building evacuates.

10.22am - In Washington, the State and Justice departments are evacuated, along with the World Bank.

10.24am - The FAA reports that all inbound transatlantic aircraft flying into the United States are being diverted to Canada.

10.28am - The World Trade Center's North Tower collapses from the top down as if it was being peeled apart, releasing a tremendous cloud of debris and smoke.

10.45am - All federal office buildings in Washington are evacuated.

10.57am - New York Governor George Pataki says all state government offices are closed.

11.02am - New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani urges New Yorkers to stay at home and
orders an evacuation of the area south of Canal Street.

11.18am - American Airlines reports it has lost two aircraft. American Flight, a Boeing 767 flying to Boston from Los Angeles, had 81 passengers and 11 crew aboard. Flight 77, a Boeing 757 en route from Washington's Dulles International Airport to Los Angeles, had 58 passengers and six crew members aboard. Flight 11 slammed into the North Tower. Flight 77 hit the Pentagon.

11.26am - United Airlines reports that United Flight 93, en route from Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco, California, has crashed in Pennsylvania. The airline also says that it is 'deeply concerned' about United Flight 175.

11.59am - United Airlines confirms that Flight 175, from Boston to Los Angeles, has crashed with 56 passengers and nine crew members aboard. It hit the World Trade Center's South Tower.

12.04pm - Los Angeles International Airport, the destination of three of the crashed airplanes, is evacuated.

1.27pm - A state of emergency is declared by the city of Washington.

2pm - Senior FBI sources tell CNN they are working on the assumption that the four airplanes that crashed were hijacked as part of a terrorist attack.

4.10pm - Building 7 of the World Trade Center complex is reported on fire.

5.20pm - The 47-storey Building 7 of the World Trade Center complex collapses. The evacuated building is damaged when the Twin Towers across the street collapses earlier in the day. Other nearby buildings in the area remain ablaze.

6.10pm - Giuliani urges New Yorkers to stay home Wednesday if they can.

8.30pm - President Bush addresses the nation, saying 'thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil', and asks for prayers for the families and friends of the victims. 'These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve', he says. The president says the US government will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed the acts and those who harbor them.

Source -

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