Fascinating Stuff

How Big of a Wall Could the Pyramids Build?

The pyramids of Egypt contain enough stone and mortar to construct a ten foot high/ five foot wide wall from New York to Los Angeles.

Amazing to think that an ancient culture could have built these monstrosities!

By |September 11th, 2014|Blog, Fascinating Stuff|0 Comments

Just Breathe – Eating, Exercise and Your Functional Brain

Thank you John Medina for making this so clear.

When we eat, food is converted to glucose – the body’s fuel. The conversion process creates waste. This waste includes electrons which, left to their own devices, would collide with other electrons – creating of one of the most toxic agents known to mankind – free radicals.

When we breathe we oxygenate our blood. Oxygen acts as a sponge, soaking up the excess electrons and removing them (through the conversion to carbon dioxide) before they can create cancer-causing free radicals.

The brain, while occupying only 2% of our total body weight, consumes at least 20% of the glucose we produce by eating. This means the brain requires 20% of our oxygen supply in order to “sponge it” clean.

Aerobic exercise increases blood flow and (therefore) oxygenation of the blood. More oxygen, cleansing of electron waste. Better clarity of mind.

This is one of the many ways exercise contributes to better brain function.

For more – read Brain Rules by John Medina. It’s a page turner.

By |September 8th, 2014|Blog, Fascinating Stuff, Mindsets|0 Comments

By Way of the Dodo

(An excerpt from Make Others Greater)
 William H. Russell knew he was on to something. He had the competitive advantage he needed to become the go-to communications solution of the day. He’d built a system that could cut the time it took to deliver mail by as much as 60%.
He quickly needed to staff up his company, so he ran the following ad, “Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over 18. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred. Wages: $25 per week.”

Applicants swarmed the company’s way stations that were placed approximately 15 miles apart and spanning the distance between Missouri and California.

Though it wasn’t cheap, the Pony Express was the expedient answer to getting important mail across country faster.

By stagecoach it took 24 days from door to door, Missouri to Sacramento. In 1860, The Pony Express did it in 7 ½ days.

Russell had cornered the market…but only for just over one year. In 1861 the transcontinental telegraph was completed and on October 26, 1861 the Pony Express closed its doors[i].

The year prior, another budding entrepreneur put his novel idea to the test. John Wise believed that ground travel severely constrained the delivery of mail. He would take to the air instead.

On August 17, 1859, the hot air balloon Jupiter took to the skies. It departed Lafayette, Indiana with 123 letters destined for New York City.

A stiff wind blew it south once it reached the necessary 14,000 feet in elevation. Five hours later, having travelled only 30 miles, it reached Crawfordsville, Indiana. There Mr. Wise gave all 123 letters to the nearest postal agent he could find – who put them on the next train bound for NYC.

Ninety-four years later the last letter was […]

By |April 25th, 2013|Blog, Fascinating Stuff|0 Comments

Microsoft Kinect, Stroke/ Gait Rehabilitation and My Brother Richard

As you probably know, I am an avid gamer. Read my blog about staying relevant in the workplace after 50 – http://secondstarters.com/5-surefire-ways-stay-relevant-work-50 – and you will know that Kinect has ‘changed the game’ in gaming, telecom and broadcasting. Little did I realize it would begin to impact the future of medicine and rehabilitation – and that my brother would be at the core of it!

Richard and his wife Charlene, better known as Dr’s Macko and Hafer-Macko, work together at the VA Center of Excellence for Excercise and Robotics in Maryland, where Richard serves as director. Their work in exercise as an intervention to and treatment for stroke, diabetes and a number of other neurological issues is truly ground-breaking. And life changing. I had the opportunity to spend a day in their facility several months ago, and actually spoke with patients who told me how positively Rich and Charlene’s work had impacted their quality of life.

Never one to rest on his laurels, and always one to be a leading edge thinker, Richard has worked closely with MIT in the advancement of robotics applied to rehabilitation. Apparently Richard is now working with Microsoft to that same end!

Add yet another innovative use to the long list for the Kinect, and hats off to you brother Rich – you beat a gamer at his own game!

For the Microsoft announcement please click on the link below;


By |August 24th, 2012|Blog, Fascinating Stuff|0 Comments

Win a Free Travel Mug by Submitting a Post!

Since I began this site in early April the response has been amazing. We recently celebrated our 20,000th page view, registered 11,561 unique new viewers and have well over 100 direct subscribers!

It is time to turn it up a notch. We want more of YOUR stories, and are willing to bribe you:)

Beginning now thru September 9th, submit a POST and we will send you a Second Starters® travel coffee mug!

To submit a POST, simply choose a topic that is fitting to the categories we feature and send your completed POST to phil@secondstarters.com. I will email you back with any edits and/ or suggestions, or simply post your story under your username in the appropriate category.  Be sure to include your mailing address and the username you would like to be set up under in our system in your email!

Soon after you will receive a branded Second Starters® travel coffee mug in the mail in addition to your unique username/ password for future submissions!

These travel mugs are a $15 value, and are in limited supply – so if you would like one please send your story soon! We will post notification on the site when all the mugs are gone.

Thank you, and I am excited to hear your stories!


<a href=”http://www.hypersmash.com”>Hyper Smash</a>

We CANNOT Multitask, We Simply Switch Tasks Quickly

Modern corporate  America is built on the assumption that the more effectively a person multitasks the more efficient and valuable they are –  and the higher up the food chain they can move. Headcount reduction, based upon this theory of multitasking coupled with advances in technology, has been widespread across American companies. There is only one problem Corporate America – we cannot multitask.

Studies at MIT involving MRI scans conclusively show that the process we commonly consider to be multitasking actually occurs in a sequential, not simultaneous manner. Using an example we often face at work of;  attending a meeting and listening, checking email, then receiving a text (all on our Smartphone or Tablet) – the process expressed in simple terms is this, “Scan, process….switch…scan, process…switch,  scan, process.”

John Medina, in his amazing book Mind Rules actually describes it in this way (using the same multitasking example), “Shift Alert, Rule Activation, Disengagement, Shift Alert, Rule Activation, Disengagement, Shift Alert, Rule Activation, Disengagement.”

As we attempt to be attentive to whomever is currently talking during the meeting we are attending, our brain individually alerts itself to its need to be attentive, programs rules for this attentiveness and then begins to listen. When the email notification on our Smartphone comes, there is an immediate distraction, followed by disengagement (should we quickly glance at the email). A shift alert occurs, new rules are dispatched to the brain to process the email’s content.

Then the text message arrives, a personal not business text. Even a momentary glance and the process is repeated yet again. New disengagement, new shift alert, new set of rules.

Ladies and gentlemen – put down your Smartphones, turn off your email alerts and start focussing on one thing at a time! If you […]

By |July 2nd, 2012|Blog, Fascinating Stuff|0 Comments

The Identity of Jack the Ripper Revealed?

I love true crime. I am an ID (Investigation Discovery) addict. Like many, the greatest cold case in history has held my captive attention for years. This case, of course, is the Jack the Ripper mystery.

Ask Patricia Cornwell, a well known author who wrote Portrait of a Killer – Jack the Ripper Case Closed, and she will make the case that Walter Sickert was the infamous killer. Her argument can be found here – http://www.jack-the-ripper.org/walter-sickert.htm

After watching the movie From Hell, starring Johnny Depp, I became convinced that it was in fact a royal conspiracy. Prince Albert Victor’s dalliances with the women of the night in Whitechapel needed to be covered up. Enter the loyal family surgeon.   http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120681/

This morning, while in full hangover recovery mode I flipped on the TV and did the two things most guys are good at – channel surfing and couch potato’ing. I ran across a show about Jack, and skeptically selected it. I have seen many of these, including the famous profiler John Douglas’ expose (he is author of an amazing book on profiling called Mindhunter). I assumed the show I was about to watch was more of the same. Not.

I won’t retell the story, instead I will point you towards your own research. James Kelly, I think he’s the one. Let me know if you follow the trail and agree.

Oh, and by the way – he visited America too. New York, Georgia and Texas…






By |June 24th, 2012|Blog, Fascinating Stuff|0 Comments