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North Korea, Bad News, & Nutrients

By: Michael Blankenship |

“The purpose of life, as far as I can tell, is to find a mode of being that’s so meaningful that the fact that life is suffering is no longer relevant.”
~ Jordan Peterson

Greetings from LA and Oahu!

This week we discuss the horrors of North Korea, the loss of truth in mainstream news outlets, and added sugar. We also offer some advice for building business partnerships and share some of our favorite clips from this year’s Olympics.

Our challenge is for you to start mastering something.

North Korea

Against all odds, Yeonmi Park stood on the TED stage in 2019 and talked about her childhood in North Korea — what life was like, how she escaped at 13 years old, and why she believes something must be done to stop the horrors of the regime.

Recently, Joe Rogan interviewed Park on episode of #1691 of his podcast — it’s a three-hour conversation that dives into even more detail about what’s going on inside of North Korea; the starvation, the public executions, policies that punish kids for the sins of their parents, and more.

Her story is disturbing. It’s uncomfortable. But we also think it’s really important — at the least, it’s a reminder of how valuable individual freedom is and the danger of giving those freedoms to the government.

Business Partners

Research suggests that up to 70% of business partnerships fail.

The culprits are exactly what you would expect: lack of trust, shaky commitments, poor business growth, differing values, and personality clashes.

Still — it is possible.

Companies like Google, Warner Bros., McDonald’s, Microsoft, Apple, and Twitter are all examples of business partnerships that resulted in massive success.

The only question, then, is how do you make it work?

Here’s some simple but important advice from Score.org, which includes the following tips…

  • Share the same values
  • Choose a partner with complementary skills
  • Have a track record together
  • Clearly define each partner’s role and responsibilities
  • Select the right business structure
  • Put it in writing
  • Be honest with each other

Bad News

The business model that many modern news outlets use is a problematic one.

CNN and FOX, for instance, get paid when people visit their website and click on advertisements (check out their websites — they’re full of ads). This means that the primary goal of these businesses is to get website visits and ad clicks — it’s not to provide accurate information to their readers.

The media is supposed to be the “fourth pillar of democracy” — the freedom-of-speech outlets that muckrake, condemn improper government practices, and provide unbiased information for citizens.

Sadly, most outlets have become sensationalized “info-tainers” that are just trying to bag clicks with catchy and misleading titles.

It’s something to keep in mind next time you’re reading the news — check multiple sources and try not to take things at face value. Here are some of our favorite less-biased (still not perfect) news outlets…


Many processed foods are engineered to get people addicted — added sugar is the most common culprit.

Research has shown that sugar is just as addictive as drugs like cocaine…

“Overall, this research has revealed that sugar and sweet reward can not only substitute to addictive drugs, like cocaine but can even be more rewarding and attractive. At the neurobiological level, the neural substrates of sugar and sweet reward appear to be more robust than those of cocaine (i.e., more resistant to functional failures), possibly reflecting past selective evolutionary pressures for seeking and taking foods high in sugar and calories.”

Unsurprisingly, then, over 60% of pre-packaged food in American grocery stores contain added sugar — even things like fruit, pasta sauce, bread, and salad dressing.


Because it’s addictive — and addiction is good for business.

Dr. Robert Lustig recently published a disturbing article about specifically how these high-sugar, low-nutrient diets are impacting children (conclusion: bad).

Consuming these foods contributes to obesity, high blood pressure, poor heart health, diabetes, mental health, cognition, and just about every other “health” listicle there is.

For you and your family, it’s best to steer clear.

Fed Up is a fascinating documentary that openly discusses the evils of the processed food industry and why, for instance, “congress says pizza is a vegetable.” Check it out if you want to learn more about this.

Olympic Clips

Did you get a chance to watch the Olympics this year?

If you didn’t, then you’re not the only one. The streaming experience was convoluted, to say the least, and thus this year’s Olympics had record-low ratings and viewership.

But since the Olympics ended on August 8th, YouTube now has most of the clips that are worth watching. And we thought we’d share some of our favorite performances here for you to check out…

This Week’s Photo

Mohammed Abed / AFP / Getty

“A Palestinian man rides his camel on the beach in Gaza City on August 1, 2021.” via The Atlantic

Extra Stuff

Here is some additional stuff that caught our attention this week…

This Week’s Riddle

Here is this week’s riddle — answer at the bottom of the email.

Two in a corner, one in a room, zero in a house, but one in a shelter. What is it?

The Weekly Challenge

It feels good to master something — maybe it’s coding software, playing music, writing, reading, cooking, or baking. The “what” doesn’t matter much. It’s the progression that feels good. Working hard, seeing a bit of progress, continuing, mastering, and of course, flaunting… It’s enough to make a person feel like they have a purpose! So this week, we’re challenging you to find something to master (something that sounds fun) and work at it for at least 30 minutes every day. Hit “Reply” and let us know what you’re going to work on!

Until next week,

Mike & Alec

Answer: The letter “r”

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