Getting to the Point | The Exkalibur Newsletter | May 19, 2017

This week we’re Getting to the Point with a lot of exciting news on the scientific front.

In our From the Apple Tree segment, you’ll learn how the Apple Watch is being used to detect heart abnormalities … not to mention solving that nagging problem with backspacing on the iPhone calculator. In the Around the Web segment, you’ll learn how electricity can stop people from bleeding to death and how a 3-D printer might be used to print ovaries that actually make babies. What?

The workplace is the center of gravity in our professional lives, so making sure you’re getting the feedback necessary to make you stronger is critical to your growth. In our Business Brief segment, you’ll also learn why being an introvert or an extrovert may also be at the heart of your success as a leader … see learn how Amazon grew to be worth just short of $500 Billion … and why you need to pay close attention to non-compete clauses. Our Business Brief segment also includes a warning to employers about the sad facts relating to the 12 year high in drug use in the workplace and the many safety issues it poses for employers.

Yes, you’re also going to get another rant from me about the scandal-seeking nature in the current The Political Landscape.

You also find some humor in What’s So Funny?, and a perfect commencement speech in What They Said. You’ll also find a good movie in Movies and for sure, a great mystery novel, the 27th Lucas Davenport story from the pen of John Sandford in our What We’re Reading (Fiction) segment.


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This is an awesome 1 minute video that will make you wonder what is going on the head of those little toddlers we love so much? Hang in there for the first 30 seconds to watch Maddie waiting for the beat to drop. You won’t be disappointed.

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Follow These 8 Tips to Get .. And Keep Your Focus

Like everyone else, I’m sure you’re struggling every day to GET focused … and struggling even harder to STAY focused.

And … I suspect you’d blame it on all the distractions that fill your day … from email to social media to the tsunami of information coming at you from every angle.

Link to this page

In 8 Concepts for Leaders to Gain Focus & Get More Done Without Working 8 Days a Week, I’ve outlined 8 concepts to help you get the focus you need to complete what you intend to accomplish each day.

If you incorporate these practical strategies into your workday, you’ll begin to feel the refreshing release of power as you accomplish your goals and Become a More Effective Leader.

Make these a habit and you’ll see your productivity soar to an entirely new level.

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The Apple Watch: Tracking Heart Failure

The Apple Watch could help doctors spot the leading cause of heart failure, describes researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). They teamed up to determine if the Apple Watch can track the most clinically common heart abnormality, atrial fibrillation.

The most promising finding of our study is proof that consumer-grade wearables can be used to detect disease. The future is bright here, and there are a few research directions that are particularly interesting to us.”

You Can Backspace on the iPhone Calculator

I was reminded of this recently when I got frustrated fixing errors in the iPhone calculator app. I forgot how easy it is to fix the errors using the backspace.

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Roll the Tape Back to the Year 1955 and This is What You’ll Hear

  • “The fast food restaurant is convenient for a quick meal, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on.”
  • “I’ll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it’s going to be impossible to buy a week’s groceries for $10.00.”
  • “Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won’t be long before $1,000.00 will only buy a used one.”
  • “If they raise the minimum wage to $1.00, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store.”
  • “I’m afraid to send my kids to the movies any more. Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying DAMN in GONE WITH THE WIND, it seems every new movie has either HELL or DAMN in it.
  • “No one can afford to be sick anymore. At $15.00 a day in the hospital, it’s too rich for my blood.”

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Attention Graduates & Commencement Speakers

I’m still waiting for my chance to give a Commencement Speech, but if I wanted to keep it short, I can’t think of better advice.

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Parents, Should Your Baby Play on an iPad?

In Letting a baby play on an iPad might lead to speech delays, a new study from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario was reported at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting.

The study found that the more time children between the ages of six months and two years spent using handheld screens such as smartphones, tablets and electronic games, the more likely they were to experience speech delays.”

Can electricity stop people from bleeding to death?

Bill Gates wants to use it to put an end to the number one cause of maternal death worldwide: blood loss during childbirth. If it works, it will be the first real innovation in the field since the leather belt.” Read about it here.

You’ll Be Staring at this Headline Wondering if it’s a Misprint

Scientists 3-D Print Mouse Ovaries That Actually Make Babies.

Their English isn’t so good … but they mean using a 3-D printer to create mouse ovaries ….

Good News! You Aren’t That Likely to Die

This chart from the Economist illustrates the odds in America of dying in a given year under selected circumstances, including choking, cycling, being struck by lightning or stung by a bee.

Who Decides Which Food is Natural … and Which Isn’t?

In Americans’ Bizarre Relationship With the Color of Their Food from the Atlantic, you’ll learn how marketers, for 150 years, have been shaping our ideas about food.

Recently a lot of companies have started using natural dyes instead of artificial ones for their products, like M&M’s and Kraft Mac & Cheese, and they’ve done this because there’s a sense that consumers want their food to be made up of things they recognize.”

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“Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions.”

Ken Blanchard, an American author responsible for more than 60 books, famously made this observation, and nothing I’ve found states more emphatically the importance of providing feedback.

In their Avoiding the feedback monsters: Using behavioral insights to develop a strong feedback culture, Deloitte offers a few behavioral tactics to help managers avoid missteps and deliver more effective feedback.

Sadly, Workforce Drug Use is the Highest in 12 Years

A recent study from Quest Diagnostics based on an analysis of more than 10 million workforce drug test results, reports that Increases in Illicit Drugs, Including Cocaine, Drive Workforce Drug Positivity to Highest Rate in 12 Years.

While the national dialogue swirls around marijuana and opiate issues, we find cocaine—a substance with well-established dangers—continuing its troubling upswing not just in the general workforce, but in safety-sensitive jobs with federally-mandated testing.”

2016 is the first year since Colorado and Washington approved recreational use that the rates of year-over-year change were sharply higher than the national average.”

Extrovert? Introvert? It Makes a Big Difference!

All leaders have their own distinctive styles and methods for motivating and empowering teams” … and the personality traits associated with introverts and extroverts are often at the heart of those distinctions.

Read Introverts vs. Extroverts: Leadership Challenges & How to Solve Them to understand the differences AND how this knowledge can help you address common leadership challenges that affect each.

Another Investment You May Have Missed

When Amazon went public on May 15, 1997, it was valued at a modest $438 million. Twenty years later, it’s now worth almost $460 Billion. Yes, Billion.

In Amazon’s epic 20-year run as a public company, explained in five charts, you can catch some of these incredible highlights.

You Need to Pay Attention to Non-Compete Clauses

You might be surprised to learn that “about one in five employees was bound by a noncompete clause in 2014” according to How Noncompete Clauses Keep Workers Locked In.

Alan B. Krueger, a Princeton economics professor who was chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, recently described noncompetes and other restrictive employment contracts — along with outright collusion — as part of a “rigged” labor market in which employers “act to prevent the forces of competition.”

These contracts have long been routine among senior executives. But they are rapidly spreading to employees … who do the kind of blue-collar work that President Trump has promised to create more of.”

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In My Opinion …

The scandal-seeking from opposition leaders and wannabe media stars is lurching out of control as they try to make every issue their Watergate or a chance to be a Woodward or Bernstein who uncovered that scandal.

In a recent NBC newscast, I heard these words within the first few minutes, one more example of the muckraking inspiration that seems to drive the reporting of mainstream media … every single day.

Of course, the jury is out, but I still had to laugh at thesubstance of the allegation that the President asked FBI Director Comey to drop the Mike Flynn investigation.

The basis for this allegation was a memo to his files … meaning to from Comey to himself without any other evidence. Not to mention that the acting FBI Director, in sworn testimony to Congress, reported that the investigation has not been impeded by Comey’s resignation.

Here are some of the words and phrases leading the newscast:  

  • Breaking news
  • Shockwaves
  • Fallout far-reaching
  • Stunning development
  • Bombshell
  • Possible criminal action
  • Gut-check moment
  • Obstruction of justice

The result? People will either continue to abandon mainstream media … or live in total ignorance of the facts behind the headlines.

Finding a balanced, fact-driven story has become almost impossible, and this coming from a media junky who has had his head inside the news for too many decades to recount.

It’s never been worse.

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Allied is a Solid Movie starring Brad Pitt

Allied starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard is worth your time. It’s a bit mysterious, but if you pay attention, it should keep your attention. Not the greatest spy movie by far, but entertaining nonetheless.

In 1942, a Canadian intelligence officer in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war.”

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I just finished another great story from the pen of John Sandford, the pseudonym of John Roswell Camp, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist whose 27th Lucas Davenport novel, Golden Prey, was just released.

Lucas is now a U.S. Marshall for the first time, no longer working for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and has been given a wide berth to pick his own cases.

In Biloxi, Mississippi, a drug-cartel counting house gets robbed, and suitcases full of cash disappear, leaving behind five bodies, including that of a six-year-old girl. Davenport takes the case, which quickly spirals out of control, as cartel assassins, including a torturer known as the “Queen of home-improvement tools” compete with him to find the Dixie Hicks shooters who knocked over the counting house.”

If you want to follow the 25+ year career of Lucas Davenport and discover great mystery series, start with the first “Prey” novel, Rules of Prey.

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