Monday, March 26, 2018

Five Reasons Not to Blame Yourself for Weight

Diabetes Self-Management Magazine Nov & Dec 2017

Diabetes Self-Management Magazine Nov & Dec 2017

You have probably heard that weight is a matter of “calories in versus calories out” (CICO). If you eat more calories than you burn through exercise, you gain weight, right?

Wrong. Weight is not just about calories in versus calories out, and blaming yourself for failing to lose weight is neither helpful nor based on facts. Research has revealed at least five little-known factors that may play a part in controlling your weight.

As you may have experienced, people with diabetes are usually told to lose weight. This advice can be frustrating and counterproductive. Yes, exercise and good eating will help your health and glucose control, but weight may keep bouncing back.

We need to know this because studies clearly show that for people with diabetes, self-blame leads to higher glucose levels and poorer self-management. Self-compassion, on the other hand, facilitates healing.

What are some of these factors influencing weight, and what, if anything, can we do about them?

1. Intestinal bacteria

The germs in our guts influence how our bodies process food. Scientific American reports that “Gut bacteria alter the way we store fat, how we balance levels of glucose in the blood, and how we respond to hormones that make us feel hungry or full. The wrong mix of microbes, it seems, can help set the stage for obesity and diabetes from the moment of birth.”

Thin people tend to have a greater variety of bacteria in their guts than overweight people do. Especially important seem to be Bacteroidetes, a phylum of bacteria that break down plant starches and fibers. If you have a large variety of Bacteroidetes, you can eat more fiber and break it down for energy and other functions.

Without these good bacteria, your body won’t like fiber and will crave refined carbs like sugar. Studies show that mice raised in a sterile environment with no bacteria preferred more sweets than normal mice. People who crave chocolate have different gut bacteria than people who can leave chocolate alone.

Along with appetite, bacteria regulate how much of the calories we eat are actually absorbed. (What does that do to the “calories in” part of the calories in versus calories out equation?) Bacteria also control our fat storage.

In one study, mice were raised in a sterile environment and then fed bacteria. The donors were four sets of twin human sisters, one thin and one overweight in each pair. “The mice ate the same diet in equal amounts,” Scientific American reported, “yet the animals that received bacteria from an obese twin grew heavier and had more body fat than mice with microbes from a thin twin.”

Changing our intestinal bacteria

We inherit our original gut bacteria from our mothers and caregivers. According to a study by the University of Missouri, people who grow up in the same household tend to have similar gut bacteria long after they move away from one another.

However, there are ways to change our germs. What you eat influences which bacteria will grow in your gut. According to science journalist Knvul Sheikh writing in Scientific American, “Choosing between a BLT sandwich or a yogurt parfait for lunch can increase the populations of some types of bacteria and diminish others.”

Eating more fiber often attracts a better mix of gut bacteria. Fiber foods are often called “prebiotics” and include vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, garlic, onion, and fibrous fruits such as berries. You can also take fiber supplements. Remember to drink a lot of water to keep the fiber soft.

We can consume healthy bacteria directly with “probiotic” foods. These include yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi, pickles, dark chocolate, tempeh, miso, natto, and sourdough bread, among others. You can take probiotic supplements as well.2. Metabolic rate

We usually think of “calories out” in terms of exercise. In reality, moving around accounts for only about one-third of our energy use. Between 60 and 75 percent of our energy output is called “basal metabolism.” It’s the energy we need, even at rest, to keep warm, pump blood, breathe, fight infections, grow new cells, think, and carry out a thousand other inner functions we never think about.

The basal metabolic rate, or BMR, varies widely between people. Several factors influencing BMR include height, weight, and muscle mass, which increase BMR, and aging and muscle thinning, which reduce it.

Hormones such as thyroid and growth hormone and catecholamines such as adrenalin raise BMR. The stress hormones cortisol and the metabolic hormone insulin lower BMR. Metabolic rate is largely controlled by our genes.

The slower your BMR, the less food you need to keep you going. This is why people with low thyroid levels gain weight so easily. How can you adjust your BMR?

Changing metabolic rate

It’s hard to raise metabolic rate, but you can easily lower it by cutting the calories you take in. The National Institute on Aging has found in several studies that restricting calories slows your BMR.

Reducing calories in automatically reduces calories out. Our bodies do this to survive in times when there is no food, a major reason why dieting usually fails to provide lasting weight loss.

Raising BMR takes more effort. Exercise helps. The fitness website Shaping Concepts says that hard, short strength training or vigorous cardio workouts increase levels of growth hormone and adrenaline, raising BMR.

Diet makes a difference. We can reduce insulin levels, causing increased BMR, by eating fewer carbohydrates, especially sugars and starches. Increasing protein intake helps develop muscles and prevent muscle loss, leading to higher BMR.

Get plenty of sleep to raise levels of growth hormone and reduce levels of cortisol.

Various substances raise metabolic rate. Studies show caffeine found in coffee or tea raises BMR for three hours after ingestion. Caffeine also stimulates fat cells to break down.

Nicotine, found in cigarettes, raises metabolic rate while decreasing appetite and interfering with food absorption. So, nicotine is a great weight-loss drug, if you ignore the side effects such as cancer, heart disease and death.

A healthier substance to raise BMR is ginseng. In one Korean study of mice, those who consumed ginseng burned much more fat than those who didn’t.

According to a study in the online journal PLOS One, capsaicin, found in hot peppers, increases metabolism and may prevent the slowdown that comes with diets. You can buy supplements if the peppers are too hot for you.

3. Insulin function

Insulin resistance makes it highly probable that you’ll store more fat than you need. Insulin resistance and high insulin levels are major causes of Type 2 diabetes as well as weight gain.

High levels of insulin, commonly seen with insulin resistance, increase the storage of fat. Insulin prevents fat cells from releasing fat for energy.

Several factors can cause insulin resistance. Most of them are genetic, but there are other causes. Inflammation anywhere in the body can lead to insulin resistance. Physical inactivity makes it harder for insulin to work. Stress releases hormones such as cortisol that raise insulin resistance.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), abdominal fat may cause insulin resistance, even though it’s also a symptom of it. Fat cells may release inflammatory chemicals that raise insulin resistance. Fat in the liver may directly interfere with insulin function there.

Other causes cited by the NIDDK include certain medications, older age, sleep problems, especially sleep apnea, and cigarette smoking. Mark Marino, MD, wrote in Diabetes Self-Management that medications including steroids, two classes of blood pressure drugs, antipsychotic medications, and the B vitamin niacin can worsen insulin resistance.

Highly processed foods such as white bread, pasta, white rice, and soda digest very quickly and spike blood sugar levels. These spikes cause high insulin levels, leading to insulin resistance.

Reducing insulin resistance

Exercise reduces insulin resistance. A more active lifestyle — for example, walking more, driving less, not sitting in one place too long — improves insulin function.

Poor sleep, even for just one night, has been shown in some studies to cause insulin resistance. Make getting more sleep a priority, and get checked for sleep apnea if you think that might be a problem for you.

The diabetes medications thiazolidinediones (TZDs, which include Actos and Avandia) are called insulin sensitizers, meaning they reduce insulin resistance. Metformin combats insulin resistance in the liver.

Foods that may reduce insulin resistance include avocados, nuts, lemon, garlic, many vegetables, whole grains, cocoa, and green tea.

Supplements include turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, berberine, chromium, vitamin D, lipoic acid, and resveratrol (found in red wine and grapes).

4. Environmental chemicals

These have a huge influence on weight because they can stimulate fat cell growth, change digestion, create insulin resistance, and increase appetite. These chemicals include persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which are found in agricultural chemicals, air pollution, and plastics (phthalates).

A 2006 study in Diabetes Care found that obesity did not increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes in obese people with very low levels of POPs in their bodies. An editorial comment on this study in The Lancet stated, “This finding would imply that virtually all the risk of diabetes conferred by obesity is attributable to persistent organic pollutants, and that obesity is only a vehicle for such chemicals.”

One point indicating that pollution causes weight gain is that animals — whether on farms, in zoos, pets, in laboratories, or in the wild — have been getting fatter over the past 30 years or so. Their exercise and eating patterns have presumably not changed, so chemicals may well be the cause.

The research group Diabetes and the Environment has created pages on all these chemicals and more, including estrogen-like compounds, antibiotics and fungicides. It’s quite eye-opening and frightening. You can see it at

Dealing with toxic pollution

How can you protect yourself from chemical pollution? We were exposed to these chemicals even before we were born, and we are exposed anew each day. It makes sense to eat organic food whenever you can afford it. Another way is to limit your exposure to plastics, for example, by avoiding drinks in plastic bottles.

5. Stress

Physical and emotional stress cause insulin resistance, stimulate fat growth, raise blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and interfere with sleep. Stress evolved as our bodies’ “fight or flight” response to a threat. Now we have stress responses to financial worries, family conflicts, job problems, and concerns about our safety, popularity, and many other things. Our bodies aren’t used to such constant stress.

Stress is a response to threats beyond your power to control, so the less power you have, the more stress you will have. Poorer Americans tend to be heavier, largely because of relative poverty, which brings more stress, less sleep, and less availability of healthy food. Stress stimulates people to eat comfort foods — sugary, salty or fatty things that make us feel better for a few minutes and leave us worse off and heavier than we were before.

Dealing with stress

We can cope with stress through breathing practices, meditation, hugs, prayer, spending time in nature, relaxation tapes, gentle exercise, having a pet or a beloved hobby, or giving service to others. Trauma specialist Maggie Phillips, PhD, has found that vigorous exercise after a stressful event keeps stress from building up in the body.

Reducing stress is also possible. Getting help with problems and changing stressful situations are good starts.

Setting more realistic expectations is another skill, which brings us back to self-compassion. Be merciful to yourself, and be realistic about weight. Much of it is out of your control, and it’s quite possible to be healthy at a weight your doctor might consider too heavy.

None of this means you shouldn’t exercise more or try to eat better. Those things will help you enjoy life and feel better. It just means the effects of these behaviors on your weight are uncertain. Don’t let people shame you with calories in versus calories out. Show them this article.

Want to learn more about weight management? Read “Tried and True Weight-Loss Techniques” and “Strategies for Weight Management.”

Source: Diabetes Self-Management Magazine Nov & Dec 2017
Source: Diabetes Self-Management Magazine Nov & Dec 2017

Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food

Mindful Eating

Mindful Eating

Nowhere are the elements of the human condition we call unawareness, addiction, and delusion more poignantly and tragically manifested nowadays than in widespread disregulations and disorders in our relationships to food and to eating. These pathologies of  imbalance  are  driven  by  many  complex  factors  in  society  itself.  Sadly,  they  have resulted in  cultural norms  that support particular brands of  delusion, obsession, and endless preoccupation with how much the body weighs. It manifests as a gnawing and pervasive, if  sometimes submerged and disguised or overcompensated-for, discomfort and dissatisfaction with how one’s body looks and how it feels inwardly. This pervasive dissatisfaction nests itself within ordinary concerns about one’s appearance, but is compounded by desires to fit into an idealized model of how one should look and the impression  one’s   appearance  should  make   on   others  that  shape  and  trump  the authenticity of one’s own interior experience. This dissatisfaction in the mind lends itself to  pathologies  associated with  body  image,  distortions  in  how  one  perceives  oneself inwardly and outwardly, and with deep issues of self-worth. Catalyzed in large measure by ubiquitous  media  exposure,  it  is  prevalent  even  in  children  and  adolescents, and  is pervasive across the life span and right into old age. The sadness of it all is immense and needs to be met with boundless compassion and self-compassion, as well as effective strategies for restoring balance and sanity in our world and in our individual lives.

It is well known now that these pathologies of imbalance are manifesting as never before in a number of epidemics in both children and adults, in both males and females. One  might  say  that  the  entire  society  suffers  from  disordered eating  in  one  way  or another, just  as, from  the  perspective of  the  meditative  traditions, we  suffer from  a pervasive attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. As is made clear in this book, the one is intimately related to the other.

One  manifestation of  our disordered relationship to food and eating is  the obesity epidemic of the past twenty-plus years in the United States. This phenomenon is driven by a host of  complex factors and compounded by increasingly sedentary lifestyles in adults and children, coupled with a ubiquitous availability of processed foods and by a farming and food industry that is the admiration of the world in some ways, and which runs amok in others.2 The extent of the epidemic in obesity can be gauged from graphic displays of  the rates  per state in  the United States, starting around 1986.3  It  is  now spreading to other countries, particularly in Europe. This epidemic has been driven in part by the phenomenon of supersizing, as so graphically illustrated in the movie Supersize Me, in the ever-expanding notion of a reasonable portion size (and even plate size) for one person, by increasing inactivity, and by the endless availability of high-calorie, low- nutrient foods. Many medical schools are developing research and clinical programs to better understand and deal with this growing phenomenon in both adults and children, and some are even reaching out in imaginative collaborations with forward-looking elements of the food and restaurant industries.4 Clinical programs for children abound.5

Read more > Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food

The Mind Under Siege

Beat Information Overload
Beat Information Overload
In today's digital society, our minds are under siege. We feel this from the moment we open our eyes and pick up our smartphones until the moment we fall asleep at night. Our minds are filled with tasks to complete, dates to remember, and expectations we need to fulfill. We can’t seem to keep it all in front of us. We are constantly deluged with information that grows by the minute. The exponential growth of information we are required to absorb daily is impacting the way we work, live, and play. The rate at which our world is changing is fast and accelerating at breakneck speed, yet our minds are the same as they were thousands of years ago. Author and filmmaker, Rick Smolan states that a person in the 15th century would need their entire life to be exposed to the amount of information that the average person today experiences every day. The effects of this information overload are affecting us in ways that impact every aspect of our lives. We are experiencing more stress than ever before and a general sense of being overwhelmed.

Understanding the Enemy

Information overload is the enemy that is silently creeping up on us daily. It is changing our lives in a subtle yet dramatic way. We’ve gradually moved from a quiet simplistic world to one that is dominated by information. However, we've barely acknowledged this change. By examining our environment and understanding the limitations on our internal memory, we can begin to form a foundation of understanding and overcome information overload.

You have to come to understand the limitations of your capabilities and establish the correct fundamental skills and techniques to overcome these limitations successfully. This will help you to reach new levels of productivity in your life. There are those among us that have quietly designed their lives based on their wishes. This creates a sense of control and calmness in today's chaotic world. Before you can reach this sense of power and calm you have to carefully examine yourself and your limitations.

Social Media’s Role in Information Overload

Social media changed how the world communicates and shares information. Technological breakthroughs have drastically changed the way we obtain our news and information. In fact, 61 percent of people today get most of their news online.

Before the Internet made it possible for anyone to publish information, we relied on professional journalists to research stories and deliver to us what they discovered. Governments and corporations controlled this information, and there was often a delay in sharing information. People huddled around their televisions to be informed of world events. If companies wanted to share news or information about their business, they would have to write a press release and have it distributed to traditional media channels. The media channels would then decide what information they would share with their viewers. Companies who wanted to market to their consumers through traditional media would have to pay for advertising slots and commercial slots,
which could cost them millions.

Traditional media, in essence, is very structured and predictable. There are certain rules and guidelines that have to be followed. Despite the idea of "freedom of speech" those working in traditional media are limited in what they can say and do. The information that you get from traditional media is often hierarchical, biased, and non-interactive. If you want to share your opinion about a news item, you have to mail a letter to the editor or producer of the show. Compared to today’s media, the exchange of information and ideas is relatively slow in traditional media.

Enter Social Media

In 2002, two full years before Facebook launched, Jonathan Abram created the online social network site, Friendster, starting the idea of social networking sites and social media. The new social networking sites began a trend of online communication versus face-to-face communication. They allowed you to quickly find out what was going on with family and friends by just logging onto the site. If you have an Internet connection, you have the ability to communicate with anyone in the world quickly and inexpensively. This new ability to exchange information was quick and free-flowing.

After MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and a variety of other social networking sites were introduced, a whole new world was opened for people around the globe. Add to this the ability to blog and keep online journals; people can more easily share their opinions and ideas freely with people around the world. Since 2002, the Internet has exploded with an abundance of information.

As we began spending more and more time on the Internet interacting with others, governments and corporations started to take notice. Soon, businesses began to realize that for them to keep up with this new era of information and attract new customers, they were going to have to start participating in social media as well. This caused the exchange of information to become even more rampant. Now, instead of being exposed to just news and information, we have corporate communication, promotions, and ads, thrown into the mix.

This has brought about a new way for businesses to market and advertise to consumers. Companies have started to create social media strategies and campaigns to interact with consumers. Social sites like Twitter are no longer a place for people to share what they were doing that day. With the rise in popularity of social media sites, the idea of quantity over quality has become more prevalent.

To gain more friends on Facebook or get more followers on Twitter, people will say anything and everything, so they can be seen on internet search engines. This has resulted in the quantity of information exchanged becoming more important than the quality of information available. Now, people have to wade through the muddy waters of the Internet to find information that matters the most.

A Flood of Information

Not that long ago, we would sit down to breakfast and read the morning news or watch on the TV to find out what was happening in the world. Then we would have gone about our day. With social media, we can receive our information in real time. Anything that is happening in the world is broadcasted instantly on social media. We've entered a time where anyone can share news and information in a split second.

Information and news have become like a river, constantly flowing into our lives. The flow of communication is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The information we receive has reached
exponential proportions. Managing and processing this continuous flood of information has become an enormous challenge for most people.

There is an upper limit to how much information your mind can process at once. When you multitask, your brain isn't able to handle things efficiently. By nature, we're curious creatures, and we like to be knowledgeable and seek out information. So, when there is a continuous flood of information, it can be difficult for us to turn it off. We feel the need to know more. However, all the information coming into our brains at once can be detrimental to our health.

Source: Beat Information Overload by Aurelius Tjin

The Power Of Goal Setting

Goal Crusher
Goal Crusher

“The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting and achieving goals.” ~ Og Mandino

Goal setting, as we have heard many times, is the very first step in our efforts to achieve our dreams. Our dreams can never turn into reality if we just dream about  it without  any goals in mind. We can try to  imagine ourselves being in the same position in our lives after wasting 30 years, using various ways to achieve our dreams, just to realise that we never really reached any goals to bring us closer to our dreams. It would have been a desperate failure from the start.

To understand where our next few steps or goals towards reaching success, we should recognise these 6 essential reasons for us to set our goals in the right way.

1. Goals as the Force of Motivation

Goals drive us towards our achievements as it acts as the force of our motivation. To connect to our inner force or desire, goal setting is the first step we take towards our achievements. In both short term and long term, it gives us a target to aim at, a destination we wish to travel to or even a particular number we try to arrive at.

This is the point which gets us excited and passionate as we work very diligently towards our goals. While it is common that our efforts to achieve these  goals  are full  of  enthusiasm  and  energy in  the  beginning,  it  is important  for  us  to  know  how  much  these  goals  personally mean to ourselves. In such way, setting goals which we know we would truly be passionate about in the long term will help us accomplish our missions in a more sustainable manner.

After all, if we are not consistently motivated, we would suffer from the burn outs of trying to achieve meaningless goals.

2. Goals as Visual Representations of Our Dreams

Imaginations, visualisations, fantasies or even dreams are not just unrealistic concepts based on our utilisable knowledge if we have set our goals towards  them. Because of this, goal setting  plays a vital role in ensuring our belief in our methods, our analysis of our results and our efforts in chasing after every resource needed.

Instead of setting one goal as the only way to reach our dreams, we can conceptualise our dreams as a set of puzzles and the goals we set are pieces of puzzles we need to design, fix or even match to complete this set of puzzle. We can also regard each goal as a stepping stone towards our desired destination.

As a result of achieving each goal, like finding each puzzle, we are closer to assembling the whole picture of our dreams (the complete set of puzzle).

So yes, don’t be afraid to dream!

3. Goals to Track Progress

Since some goals are the foundations for us to build on to reach another goal, arranging them to be accomplished first will be vital for us to track the progress of our work.
As mentioned above that goals are like stepping stones to our main goal, goals also serve to help us track our progress in our work. This can be interpreted as accomplishing each goal will bring us closer to achieving our targets.

Whereas achieving our goals means increasing our chances of succeeding, we also have to track our work in progress by assessing how a work can be done and the amount of time needed. These goals can also be inter- related to one another as we cannot progress with specific work if one objective or goal is not reached.

One  particular  situation  to  exemplify  such  concept   is  the  work  of organising a birthday party for our family. The first step is always to send out the invitations and then confirming the number of guests attending. Without these first two steps, it would be challenging to arrange for the venue, the amount of food and drinks, the decoration and other aspects which will complete the party. The invitations and the number of guests attending are the two vital factors to the success of the party.

In  conclusion,  some  work  cannot  simply  progress  without  completing certain goals first.

4. Goals as Promises to the Self

The goals we have set to achieve are also promises we made to ourselves. In recording our goal setting process, it is also important that we ensure these concrete goals and give ourselves a particular timeline to achieve each goal.

Other than that, these ‘promises’ also keep us responsible for every of our actions which lead us to the failure or success of our plans. With this sense of responsibility instilled in ourselves, this allows us to re-evaluate our actions and scrutinise the consequences whether in a short period or in the long term.

One can definitely take pride in his/her success when recalling of the decisions s/he took 2 years or even 20 years ago. On the other hand, if one fails or accomplishes less than the set goal, then it is a definite sign to change ways to improve and achieve whatever the set goal is.

5. Goals as the Direction of our Focus

Setting goals also means setting our mind, our heart and our soul to the target. In another metaphorical sense, we simply cannot shoot an arrow without a target. Upon setting our goals, we will know how, where and when to use our talent and abilities.

Like a magnifying glass concentrates the sunlight towards the leaf, the leaf is then burnt. The sunlight is our abilities whereas the magnifying glass is likened to our focus on the target and the leaf, obviously, is the target. Without  the  magnifying  glass  (our  focus),  the  target  would  never  be reached despite the amount of heat the sunlight supplies (our potentials).

We can only obtain this sense of direction in our journey to our dreams when we specify the goals right at the beginning. Sometimes we cannot avoid the fact that our focus might change and we have to maintain or to a desperate extent, defend our focus to achieve our goals.

One of the many ways of maintaining focus is changing our lifestyles to reduce distractions such as declining invitations to meaningless parties or occasionally saying no to outing with friends. This reduces the resources spent on distractions and in turn, increases productivity for us to work on our objectives.

One half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it. -Sidney Howard

6. Goals to Develop Our Potentials

Our potential is nurtured through our progress in achieving the goals we set from  the beginning. This means setting  the goals which  are direct opportunities  for  us to  expand  our  knowledge,  sharpen our skills and enrich our experience will benefit us in the future.

Without such goals, we might not be able to develop ourselves out of our comfort zone as we are subjected to the comfortable and safe routines of our daily lives. Because of not setting goals or not having the suitable goals,  some  of  our  potentials  never  grow  or  are  just  locked  within ourselves.

On the contrary, the goals which we have set will enable us to challenge ourselves to  adapt  to  new environments and new situations.  Besides, setting certain expectations on ourselves would only convince us to do our best and expand our limits. Weight loss or gain targets, running time limit, business profits or even following a planned diet are all personal goals for us  to  challenge  ourselves.  Obviously,  we  reap  what  we  sow  and sometimes what we sow might be more than just the reward itself.

Once we can appreciate the improvements we gained through accomplishments, we will also achieve the sense of self-fulfilment. With this feeling of satisfying ourselves, we can work on other goals with better motivation and energy. We might not even feel that the obstacles in the later stages are as challenging as before too.

Source: Goal Crusher by Yu Shaun & Cally Lee

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Network Security through Data Analysis by Michael Collins

Network Security through Data Analysis

Network Security through Data Analysis

Traditional intrusion detection and logfile analysis are no longer enough to protect today’s complex networks. In the updated second edition of this practical guide, security researcher Michael Collins shows InfoSec personnel the latest techniques and tools for collecting and analyzing network traffic datasets. You’ll understand how your network is used, and what actions are necessary to harden and defend the systems within it.
In three sections, this book examines the process of collecting and organizing data, various tools for analysis, and several different analytic scenarios and techniques. New chapters focus on active monitoring and traffic manipulation, insider threat detection, data mining, regression and machine learning, and other topics.
You’ll learn how to:
  • Use sensors to collect network, service, host, and active domain data
  • Work with the SiLK toolset, Python, and other tools and techniques for manipulating data you collect
  • Detect unusual phenomena through exploratory data analysis (EDA), using visualization and mathematical techniques
  • Analyze text data, traffic behavior, and communications mistakes
  • Identify significant structures in your network with graph analysis
  • Examine insider threat data and acquire threat intelligence
  • Map your network and identify significant hosts within it
  • Work with operations to develop defenses and analysis techniques


This book is divided into three sections: Data, Tools, and Analytics. The Data section discusses the process of collecting and organizing data. The Tools section discusses a number of different tools to support analytical processes. The Analytics section discusses different analytic scenarios and techniques. Here’s a bit more detail on what you’ll find in each.

Download Magazines

Download Magazines

Part I discusses the collection, storage, and organization of data. Data storage and logistics are critical problems in security analysis; it’s easy to collect data, but hard to search through it and find actual phenomena. Data has a footprint, and it’s possible to collect so much data that you can never meaningfully search through it. This section is divided into the following chapters:

Chapter 1
This chapter discusses the general process of collecting data. It provides a framework for exploring how different sensors collect and report information and how they interact with each other, and how the process of data collection affects the data collected and the inferences made.

Chapter 2
This chapter expands on the discussion in the previous chapter by focusing on sensor placement in networks. This includes points about how packets are transferred around a network and the impact on collecting these packets, and how various types of common network hardware affect data collection.

Read more > Network Security through Data Analysis by Michael Collins

Sunday, March 18, 2018

What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming?

The Real Mind Control
The Real Mind Control

You don't have to understand  technicalities  to grasp that the three words put together have some kind of meaning. Neuro means that which is of the brain, linguistic  means emanating  from language.  Programming  simply means being able to control the level of communication within set parameters that make your life easier.

Simply stated, the word Neuro comes from the word “Neurology” and points to the  reality  that  all  our  actions  start  from  our  perception  of  our  senses  as processed by the brain. People are able to use their senses. The senses respond to a stimuli and when it does, what you see is a reaction that can be pleasurable or dis-pleasurable, depending upon the negativity or positivism of the event.

You need to remember that the things that you say are not merely in oral form. Your body, for example, can say a lot just by using body language and gesticulating. If you point a fist at someone, then they would get the impression you are being aggressive, just as if you embrace someone, you are being affectionate.

Where  it gets a little  tricky  is when  you introduce  the word “programming” because people automatically  think that you mean instilling some kind of auto response and that's a little farfetched.

The programming comes from beliefs and truths. For example, people are programmed to shake hands. It's an accepted form of greeting in society. They are programmed not to spit in public as it is not considered polite. However, if you widen  the scope  of that belief  system,  you are able to encompass  other programmed events which will help enhance your approach to life and what you can achieve within it. As people grow or change their lives, they also change the programmed patterns of their lives. This involves embracing new things. That is why people say that those who are widely traveled  are more conversant  with neuro linguistic programming techniques because they are indeed incorporated every  time  an  environment   is  changed  and  travelers  change  environment frequently.

Therefore, everyone is capable of acquiring a new expertise and that includes learning the benefits of Neuro-linguistic programming.  If you want more proof, consider answering the following questions:

There are various questions which could be posed which would give a clue as to how open minded a person is. For example:

How many different varieties of weeds are there? How many ways can you barbecue chicken?
Are you able to count the number of stars on any one given night?

All of these questions have variable answers. Thus, problems may be presented in the same manner but with neuro-linguistic programming knowledge, you are able to see more ways to answer them, rather than limiting your answers to that which you perceive to be the only possible answer from your perspective.

When you put two people together  in a room and ask them what they recall about that room once they have been removed, each will see different things. This is because  each perspective  is different.  In the same way, the questions asked above would be answered from a very narrow perspective  of what you have seen or know, rather than giving a universal answer which is definitive. By giving that limited answer, you hold yourself back from seeing the wider picture which is available for everyone but that many miss.

Neuro Linguistic Programming finds its roots in the 1970s. John Grindler who was a linguistics expert, got together with Richard Bandler and the combination of expertise allowed them to look into behavioral patterns based on Gestalt theory. In fact, their adventure into this unknown was to give scope for many professions  to key into the idea that success levels can be determined  by the approach and the wideness of the approach helps to build the appropriate level of success.

Richard  Bandler  had an active  interest  in psychotherapy  and worked hand in hand with two successful psychotherapists of that time, Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir  who  seemed  to  be  using  the  same  kind  of  open  approach  as  Richard Bandler and John Grinder were seeing as advantageous.

Thus Neuro-Linguistic  Programming  was the next step and following  studies using hypnotherapy,  these pioneers found that useful therapeutic patterns were being formed which could be used to help people develop their lives, both in the area of self-help  and for teaching,  coaching,  business  application  and mental help.

The systems which are used are taught by people who have qualified in teaching the methods and have experience in putting the methods into useful application within the world. Colleges  exist all over the world and the learning  which is done in these institutions has been proven as useful in many areas of business and personal life.

Thus, it has been established that Neuro-Linguistic approach works very well and that those who learn it are able to see things from other viewpoints and thus are able to make decisions with wider implications and more efficient results.

Psychotherapists who have used this system find that their patient doctor rapport is opened up and that patients are more likely to respond well, by being taught to see the bigger picture.

Those in business can set goals higher simply because Neuro Linguistic Programming approach is able to expand the view of the worker so that the goals aimed at become very easy to expand upon.  Sports people who are coached in Neuro Linguistic Programming techniques are able to push their bodies further and thus gain more expertise in their performance.   So powerful is this system that it is all encompassing and of use to everyone who learns it.


Neuro-linguistic   programming   was  founded  by  Richard  Bandler  and  John Grinder  during  the  1970s.  Bandler  holds  a  BA  degree  in  philosophy  and psychology from the University of California and an MA degree in psychology from the Lone  Mountain  College.  Grinder  holds  a BA degree  in psychology from  the  University  of  San  Francisco  and  a  PhD  in  linguistics  from  the University of California.

The early beginnings of NLP were based on their partnership at the University of California. Bandler, then a student at the University, approached Grinder to discuss topics about modeling Gestalt therapy. The discussion became intense sessions with their peers. Soon, they were able to create an eclectic combination of the works of Fritz Perls on Gestalt therapy, Virginia Satir on hypnosis and Milton Erickson on psychiatry.

Both founders discovered that the combination of the work of Perls, Satir and Erickson created a powerful structure that has the potential to make leaps and bounds in the field of communication, development and therapy. It also has the capacity to affect a wide range of aspects in a person’s personal, psychological, professional and social life.  This combination was documented and codified into the NLP core principles of today.

The impetus for the founders in developing NLP was their observation of people and  their  performance.   They  found  out  that  people,   who  shared  similar backgrounds in education, training and experience, were performing in a wide range  of  levels.   Some  were  effective   and  succeeding,   while  some  were ineffective and failing. The wide discrepancy must be caused by something that traditional studies on the successful person’s background may have overlooked. They theorized that those people who are effective must have a secret or a source for their success that cannot be found in their education or experience.

The founders compiled the individual strategies and techniques employed by successful people. From this compilation, they aimed to achieve three things: discover the common threads aside from their education and experiences; condense the patterns and check for validity and finally and most importantly, share the patterns so as others can simulate them to create the same success.

The result of the compilation presented them with the one noticeable factor that differentiated those who were successful from those who were not: the quality of their communication. They discovered that successful people communicated in a different way, such as the way they talk, the words they use and even the non- verbal communication they utilized.    When they simulated the communication techniques,   they  were  able  to  create   models   that  will  later  become   the foundations of NLP.

NLP occupies  a special  niche in the therapeutic  industry.  Most therapies  and interventions   are   focused   on  the   problem   a  person   had   or  is  currently encountering. Traditional methods dissect, analyze and focus on the problem. In fact, the bulk of counseling sessions is devoted to understanding  the problem. NLP  is  unique  in  the  sense  that  it  is  more  solution-focused  than  problem- focused. Instead of a lengthy discussion of how the problem came about, NLP offers immediate, customized and sustainable solutions for those who practice it. This is also one of the reasons why NLP is gaining worldwide acceptance, most people do not have the luxury of time to understand a problem. They would rather devote what free time they have towards the building of a solution.

NLP is also unique because it is not a theory in the full sense of the word. Instead, it is a collection of tools that are used by those who were already successful in their fields. Instead of offering abstract ideas that may never be translated into actual practice, NLP gives you the actual tools ready for you to use.  It  also  has  the  potential  to  link  both  your  conscious  and  unconscious thoughts  and  resources,  allowing  you  to  make  a  better  assessment  of  your potential.


Success is one of the most immediate rewards of NLP. There is virtually no limit to  the  reach  of  NLP  in  your  life;  it  can  be  personal,  professional,  social, financial, spiritual, health and general well-being. Through NLP you can achieve personal   success   in   the   form   of   confidence   and   unlearning   bad   habits. Professional  success can also be gained through job promotions  and effective selling. Social success, such as with relationships  and sensitivity, is also made possible.  Financial  success can be achieved  when you are more in control of your decisions on earning, spending and saving. You can have a better or a more positive  outlook  in  life  enriching  your  spirituality.  Health  choices  become improved and sustained.

Another set of rewards to those who practice NLP are those found in the path towards success. You develop better management skills, feel more motivated and enthusiastic and you can make sound and well-thought of decisions. You can identify, address, accept or surpass your limitation. You can make yourself more receptive by opening your minds towards new learning and beliefs. You develop coping skills to everyday stresses in life.

Perhaps, the most important reward of NLP is that you are able to change from within. Sometimes, people overestimate the effect of the outside world to them. They think that they are forever bound by the will of those around them. In fact, instead of the world affecting you, the truth is that you affect the world. The promotion   you  may  have  missed  is  not  because  of  the  decision  of  top management  but  because  you  projected  a  lack  of  confidence  or  failed  in asserting yourself among your colleagues. This passivity is what caused the top management to choose another person over you.

When you retake control of yourself and change yourself from within, you can exude the change in your immediate  environment.  From there, the world will change in your favor. Of course, changing yourself from within is easier said than done. The changes cannot be done overnight and it must not be done haphazardly. Unguided, the change you make may prove disadvantageous to you down the road. NLP provides the map through which you can change yourself towards your true development and improvement.

Source:The Real Mind Control by Rafael Gurkovsky

Sunday, March 11, 2018

About the Thyroid and Thyroid Disease

Thyroid Disease
Thyroid Disease

The normal thyroid is a small gland weighing about an ounce that sits behind the Adam’s apple in the lower part of the neck, in front of the windpipe.

It derives its name from the Greek word thyreoeides, meaning “shield-shaped.” In fact, it looks like a bowtie or butterfly, with the two “wings,” or lobes, of the gland connected in the middle by the isthmus.

The thyroid, like other glands, is a discrete soft body made up of a large number of vessels that produce, store, and release - or secrete - some substance. Some glands secrete their products outside the body, some inside. Those that secrete hormones and metabolic substances on the inside of the body are known as endocrine glands. The endocrine glands include the thyroid, the parathyroids, the adrenal gland, the pancreas, the pituitary gland, the pineal gland, the gonads (ovaries and testes), and the thymus.

Doctors who specialize in treating patients with endocrine problems - disorders of the endocrine glands - are called endocrinologists.

Hormones are internal secretions carried in the blood to various organs. The thyroid’s main purpose is to produce, store, and release two key hormones: triiodothyronine, also called T3; and thyroxine, or T4. The numbers 3 and 4 refer to the number of iodine molecules attached to each hormone.

Thyroid cells are the primary cells in the body capable of absorbing iodine, an essential nutrient. The thyroid takes in iodine, obtained through food, iodized salt, or supplements, and combines that iodine with the amino acid tyrosine, converting them to T3 and T4.

A healthy thyroid produces about 20 percent T3 and 80 percent T4. T3 is the biologically active hormone that is used by the cells; it is several times stronger than T4. As needed, the body converts the inactive T4 to active T3 by removing one iodine molecule. This conversion process is called monodeiodination. This conversion can take place in certain organs other than the thyroid, including the hypothalamus, a part of your brain.

T3 and T4 both exist in two forms: unbound and bound. Unbound, or free, T3 or T4 are biologically active; bound T3 and T4 are attached to the thyroid-binding globulin (TBG) protein. When measured in the blood, the free, or unbound, T3 and T4 levels tend to be most representative of the actual hormone available for use by the body.

The role of your thyroid hormones is to control your metabolism - the process by which oxygen and calories are converted to energy for use by your cells and organs. There’s not a single cell in your body that doesn’t depend on thyroid hormone for regulation and for energy in some form. And the thyroid hormones have a number of functions as they travel through the bloodstream.

* They enable cells to convert oxygen and calories into energy

* Help the body process carbohydrates

* Aid in the proper functioning of muscles

* Enable proper sexual development and functioning

* Help the heart pump properly and effectively

* Help the body to breathe normally

* Help the intestinal system digest and eliminate food

* Strengthen hair, nails, and skin Help the brain to function properly Help with normal bone growth

* Now that you have some idea of what the thyroid is and its location and function, let’s go into more detail about how it fits into the overall functioning of the body.

The Thyroid Gland: Setting the Pace

When your thyroid works normally, it produces and secretes the amount of T3 and T4 necessary to keep various body functions moving at their proper pace. However, the thyroid does not do this alone. It works as part of a bigger system, one that includes the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus.

Here’s how the system works. The hypothalamus constantly monitors the pace of many of the body’s functions. It also monitors and reacts to a number of other factors, including environmental factors such as heat, cold, and stress. If the hypothalamus senses that certain adjustments are needed to react to any of these factors, then it produces thyrotropin-releasing hormone, known as TRH.

TRH is sent from the hypothalamus to the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is stimulated to produce a substance called thyrotropin, but better known as thyroid-stimulating hormone, or TSH for short. The pituitary gland also monitors the body and can release TSH based on the thyroid hormone levels circulating in your blood.

TSH is sent to the thyroid gland, where it causes the thyroid to produce, store, and release more T3 and T4 thyroid hormones.

The released thyroid hormones move into the bloodstream, carried by a plasma protein known as thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG).

Now in the bloodstream, the thyroid hormone travels throughout the body, carrying orders to the various organs. Upon arriving at a particular tissue in the body, thyroid hormones interact with receptors located inside the nucleus of the cells. Interaction of the hormone and the receptor will trigger a certain function, giving directions to that tissue regarding the rate at which it should operate.

Read more > About the Thyroid and Thyroid Disease

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Seasonal Allergies Survival Guide

Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal Allergies

If you have allergies, you know how negatively they can impact your quality of life. If you have seasonal allergies, they can make life a misery and slow you down from getting on with your

regular activities, seemingly powerless to combat nature. But what are seasonal allergies? And what can you do to get relief from your symptoms?

The Allergy Solution

What Are Seasonal Allergies?

Seasonal allergies develop when the body’s immune system becomes sensitive to and then overreacts to something in the environment. These triggers will not typically cause any problem in most people, but sets off a violent reaction in a person with the allergy. Around 36 million Americans have seasonal allergies.

Seasonal allergies relate to triggers that appear at various times during the year, such as hay fever in the spring. You can have seasonal allergies all year round, but there are certain times of year when certain triggers arrive.

If you cough and sneeze a lot at certain times of year, and/or your nose and eyes itch and are runny, it may not be a cold or the flu causing your misery, but rather seasonal allergies.

Common Allergy Symptoms to Look Out For

There are a number of allergy symptoms to look out for, not all of them typical:

* Congestion
* Post-nasal drip
* Excess mucus production
* Sneezing
* Runny nose
* Itchy, watery eyes
* Scratchy throat
* Tickle/irritation in the ears
* Decreased concentration and focus
* Decreased decision-making abilities
* Exhaustion and sleep disorders
* Mood swings
* Irritability
* Low blood pressure
* Asthma
* Hives
* Eczema
* Middle ear infections
* Swollen glands in the neck

Read more > Seasonal Allergies

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