The American Resurgence Has Moved

February 17, 2010 at 9:15 PM (Uncategorized)

The American Resurgence Blog has moved to a new location.  It can now be found at  Al new content will be published at this location.  Thank you for your support.  God bless.

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Good Test Taking Strategy (Not Just for Exams)

February 17, 2010 at 9:00 AM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Total Reading Time: 1 min 30 seconds

Had a test today and stumbled onto a good test taking strategy.  No, this doesn’t just come from a one time occurrence, but from a realization of things I’d learned a couple years ago. This will work best with short answer questions, where the answer isn’t right in front of you, but you have to search your mind for it.

Obviously, you want to have studied well, but specifically you need to read through all the notes you have as thoroughly, but quickly as possible.  This is step one.  Just take as much time as you have, an hour or two tops, and get through the notes at least once, maybe twice.  This does not replace your general studying, but is for review, to keep the material is fresh.

Then, when you sit down to the test or get to the short answer portion go through it relatively quickly.  The first time through spend no more than 20-30 seconds thinking about the answer or trying to remember.  If you remember it, good, then write it down.  But if you are having difficulty, then after about 20-30 seconds skip it, and move on.  Go through the entire short answer portion or exam like this.  Once you have come to the end, go back to the beginning and go through it again.  What you will find is that for many of the questions you couldn’t remember before, you will more easily remember what the answer is, and quicker.

What happens is that while you are continuing with your test, your mind is still trying to find what you were looking for.  And by going through the exam, other questions may remind you of the answer.  So when you get back to the question, your mind has done the searching while you were working.

This applies to life in general as well.  If you are trying to remember something, go back to whatever you have from that situation, anything that was present, especially something significant to the situation.  Often when people forget what they were going to say, I start telling them what we were just talking about in the minutes leading up to it, and they remember.  If nothing seems to trigger the memory, then move on, and come back to it later.  Your mind will continue to search for what you were trying to remember.  For more on how your memory works and how to make it work better read Mega Memory by Kevin Trudeau.  Hope this helps people.  God Bless.

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Productivity Tool of the Week: The World’s Greatest Note-Taking Tool

February 15, 2010 at 6:00 AM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Total Read Time: About 1 Minute

I’m still a little on my productivity kick from going through the 4-Hour Workweek, so here’s my productivity tool of the week (don’t know how long this will last).

Evernote is a great tool that can help compile your thoughts and ideas in a safe and secure place.  Everyone should know that when you get an idea that you want to remember then you should write it down immediately.  But not everyone has a pen and paper available all the time.  Evernote is simple, and can be accessed from any computer with internet access, or almost any smartphone.  Simply log onto your account, open whatever notebook you want to add your note to, and write it out.

The benefits of using Evernote include being able to organize your notes into categories (called notebooks).  For example I have a notebook called American Resurgence Blogs where I write down anything I want to remember about blog posts and ideas.

You can also store images on Evernote, like things you see that you want to buy.  Simply take a picture on your smartphone, and send it to Evernote.

Evernote is also searchable.  After you’ve been using it for a while you will probably have quite a collection of notes.  It might end up being more difficult to find what you’re looking for.  In the top-right part of the screen you can enter into the search bar what you are looking for and it will search through your notes and bring any of them that contain what you’re looking for to the front of your screen.

This is just a sample of the benefits of using a program like Evernote.  It can be very organized, and can be accessed from any computer in the world with internet access.  It is a very useful tool for remembering idea that comes your way. 

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33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity

February 11, 2010 at 6:00 AM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , , )

Was doing some reading today and came across this post on a fellow blogger’s site.  It actually has three volumes to this post (for a total of 99 rules), many are very helpful, some are not practical but funny.  Worth the 5 minutes to look them over though.  Enjoy my friends. God Bless

33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity Volume 1

33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity Volume 2

33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity Volume 3

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“Nudity is ok, But Don’t Tell Me About the Value of a Life”

February 8, 2010 at 2:23 PM (Values and Priorities) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This is in response to peoples’ response to the Superbowl ads yesterday.  There’s been a lot of buzz about the pro-life ad featuring Tim Tebow and his mother for weeks.  The question is, why?  The ad was so light that anyone who was offended is obviously extremely convicted, otherwise they wouldn’t be on the defensive.  Other commercials were so much more offensive, like the fact that the most scantily clad people were men running around in their underwear, the Go Daddy Girls had more clothes on this year.  Come on people.  Which one is really more detrimental to our society, people talking about the value of life, or people running around in their underwear? We need to reestablish our values as a country.  Aristotle said “tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society.”  That is our problem, we are so tolerant about what is blatantly wrong, and completely apathetic when people attack what is right.  We’re already losing our country, and this is where it starts, in the little things.

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The iPad, Stop Whining People

February 5, 2010 at 4:00 AM (Gadgets) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Many people know about Apple’s new product: the iPad.  There’s been a lot of buzz around this new product, including a lot of negative press about it.  Well, here’s my two cents about the problems people keep citing with the iPad.

1. Multitasking.  A lot of people are complaining that you can’t multitask with the iPad.  Here’s the problem: you’re not supposed too.  How many of us still don’t have enough RAM on our computer because we’re running 5 different programs and have 37 different websites open at one time?  The idea of limiting the multitasking capability is, in my humble opinion, a good thing: you will be better able to focus on what you’re doing, and won’t sacrifice the speed of the device.  “But I can’t listen to Pandora and write my essay at the same time,” some people whine.  Then use the iPod feature and load some music, not that hard, and that is what it’s designed for. For me, simplicity is a plus.

2. No Flash.  This is a good point.  This has been one of the biggest annoyances with my iPhone.  At least half my writing is done through websites that use Flash which means I can’t use my phone to write if I need to.  And there aren’t usually app’s for me to use instead.

3. Not light?  It only weigh’s about a pound and a half, and it’s far lighter than any other computer. How weak are you?  Go do some curls with your Barbi and Ken weights.

4. Not easy on the eyes.  This is also a valid point.  The screen is not meant to be looked at for too long, as your eyes may quickly fatigue.  Here’s the quick fix, don’t stare at it for too long.  Look away every couple of minutes at something farther away.

5. The keyboard gives no visual cue (I kid you not).  I actually read this one.  Someone was stating that they missed the visual cue that the iPhone/iTouch gives when you type a letter (it gets bigger above where you touch when you hit a letter).  Unlike a keyboard where you can feel the keys move, or the iPhone, the iPad doesn’t give you any cue that you typed a letter.  Here’s my quick fix, look at the space where you are typing, not at your fingers.  That is what you’re supposed to do anyways.  You don’t look at your fingers when you type on your computer do you?  I hope you’ve broken yourself of that habit.

6. No camera.  Seriously, do you really want a 10 inch camera?

7. No USB, or DVD drive.  This is something that Apple should have handled immediately.  I anticipate there will be external versions, but it should have been handled properly to begin with.

and last, but not least:

8. The name, another valid point.  It is obvious the kind of comedy that is going to come out of this name, Apple could have done better, but odds are we’d have made fun of whatever name they chose, that’s just how we are.

Overall I think it’s going to be a great product (I’m saving for mine right now).  The question you have to ask is: what do you want it to do?  If you want something to run your 25 different applications simultaneously, sorry.  But if you’re wanting something for internet, writing, a portable computer for taking to classes, etc. I think it’ll work for most people.  And here’s something to consider: if the people want it, then Apple will deliver.  When the people screamed for cut and paste on their iPhone, Apple delivered.  Apple has given us portable video on our iPods, the best phone on the market, great computers, and if there’s something that the people want, Apple will make it happen.

Is the iPad the perfect product?  No, course none of the Apple products are.  Will it be an effective new tool for our world?  In my opinion, yes.  God bless.

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What are you really afraid of?

February 2, 2010 at 6:05 PM (Lessons From History, Productivity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The above is a short lecture from Tim Ferriss called Practical Pessimism.  It gives you a couple practical tools to help you face your fears, and most often you realize that you’ve been making a mountain out of a mole-hill.  I would recommend that you watch the video, and attempt the tools that it puts forth.  The quality of your life can depend on it. 5 minutes of your time, what’s the worst that could happen?

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I have a question for readers:

February 1, 2010 at 10:33 AM (Uncategorized)

I’ve taken this blog in a couple different directions.  It has essentially become a place for me to rant about things that frustrate me in the world. 

However I do want to serve the people who are interested in reading.  So I have a simple request: please make a comment below, and tell me the top 1-3 things you like about the blog, and the top 1-3 changes you think I should make.  I would greatly appreciate you helping me learn how I can serve you better. 

Please be specific, don’t use generalized phrases like ‘better content’, but rather things like ‘more content about nutrition’ or ‘more resources’ or ‘less about this’, etc.  Thank you very much.

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Speedreading for More Time and Knowledge

January 26, 2010 at 6:41 PM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Speedreading is a skill than many seek, but few acquire.  The ability to consume large amounts of information very quickly is something I’ve striven for for years.  I have made some good progress too.  When I was about 14 I started researching speedreading and found my current speed was about 120 words per minute (wpm).  After now 8 years and a number of different programs and books I have made some good progress.  I’m no where near the 1000+wpm that many programs claim, but I have gone from 120 wpm, to about 300 wpm.  Now it takes me about 20-25 minutes to read 20 pages of a book, instead of an hour+.  I call that a win.

I recently downloaded another program for my iPhone that I believe is the most effective method I’ve tried to date.  It’s called Quickreader.  In the last week I’ve gone from about 300 wpm to 380 wpm.  For one week that’s pretty good.  It only cost me $4.99 and came with 28 complete books.  This is how I have made it most effective for me.

Compiling some of what I’ve read in other books on speed reading, I came up with a drills that takes ten minutes per day and is extremely effective.  After you’ve established your starting speed, subtract about 20-30 and that is the starting speed of your training.  So if you tested yourself and were clocked at 250 wpm, then you will start your training at about 220 wpm.  Use some sort of timer, and use the guided reading for one minute.  Once your minute is up, take one minute to rest your eyes, and increase your speed by 10% of your clocked speed, rounded down to the nearest 5, in this case 25 wpm.  So your second round speed will be 245 wpm.  Go through another reading session of one minute, starting at the same starting point as round one.  Starting at the same point and reading the same text over and over helps your body build confidence in reading faster.  You will repeat for a total of five, one minute sessions.  So if you start with 220 wpm, you will finish with 320 wpm.

What also makes this particular resource even better is the tracer that it uses to train your eyes.  It offers a variety of different options (see right), but the best option, in my humble opinion, is the short overline.  My reasoning is that it keeps your focus on the space above the text, which allows you to use your peripheral vision better, and ultimately absorb more text at one time.  The second reason is that when using three stops per line or less, it forces you to start reading a line two to three words in and finish two to three words before the end.  This helps minimize eye fixations, and maximize your words per minute.

By setting my QuickReader up this way, and using it for ten minutes per day I’ve added 80 wpm in less than a week.  I hope it helps you as it has helped me.  God Bless.

Additional Resources for Speedreading:

Quickreader Website

Teach Yourself Speedreading by Tina Konstant

Triple Your Reading Speed by Wade Cutler

Remember Everything You Read: The Evelyn Wood 7-Day Speed Reading & Learning Program

Scientific Speed Reading from the 4-Hour Workweek Blog

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Is Organic Really Better?

January 23, 2010 at 3:19 PM (Environment, Food Supply, Health and Fitness) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

There are many people on both sides of the debate about whether ‘organic’ really makes a difference when buying groceries.  Some say that there aren’t enough chemicals in the food to make a difference, some say that it makes a big difference.  The question is: what does the science show? Below are the facts as shown by their corresponding study.

1. Organic Diets have been shown to increase the health of rats.  Source

2. “Animal studies showed better growth and reproduction in animals fed organically grown feed compared with those fed conventionally grown feed” Source

3. Organically grown produce has better nutrition Source

4. In organically grown produce “the risk of diseases caused by contaminated food is significantly reduced” and “it can be concluded that organically produced plant derived food products have a higher nutritional value” Source

5. Organic Grass-Fed beef has higher levels of CLA (a beneficial fat) Source

6. Grass-Fed beef has lower risk of E. Coli Source

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to studies about organic produce, organic meats and dairy.  The fact is: God is smarter than us.  God didn’t make the food wrong, therefore we shouldn’t tamper with it.  When possible, eat organic.  My general rule for food is: given a choice, I pick the food that is more like how God made it, and less like what man has perverted it into.

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