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Making Your Body Language Work For You
There’s a tendency to think of body language as an aspect of communication that gives us away – reveals our true meaning. We consider words more manageable, more under the control of cognition, whereas body language escapes or leaks. Often body language does function this way. Yet, it can also be used much more consciously and strategically.
One of the best examples I have of how strategic nonverbal expression works came from interviewing an international business attorney about his negotiation strategies. When other people might rant and rave, he told me, he’s more likely to quietly look at whoever has offended him or proposed too low an offer, not in their eyes, but somewhere that makes them change their tune – at the bridge of their nose.
“If you’re ever eyeballing someone down, never look into his eyes,” he told me. “Look at the top of the nose. Don’t wince. They get the impression that you’re staring at them and they turn their eyes down more quickly. You have to practice it.” He added, “It’s funny that if someone is more vociferous or forceful, they think they’re making progress, but I make more progress staring at their nose. It weakens these people. They won’t raise their eyes. It’s a way of downing a guy without shouting at him.”
Part of the power of this technique is that it is deniable. In fact, that is why nonverbal strategies are often so effective. If someone responds with, “What was that look about?” denial is possible in the form of “Oh, I was confused for a moment,” “I was thinking about what you just said,” or “I do that sometimes when confused.”
This attorney usually is buying time with the nose-stare technique, and may be confused or thinking hard when applying it. The most honest reply would be, “I’m staring at your nose to unsettle you,” but as with much of our daily communication other plausible explanations are more socially acceptable and thus more often applied.
Not all of us are inclined to strategize in this way. It may simply seem too manipulative. The story makes the point, however, that nonverbal behaviors can be used to manage interactions that aren’t proceeding as desired. Crossing your arms on a desk and learning forward somewhat when someone has said something a tad offensive or insulting can signal that they might want to revisit and rephrase what was just said. A direct look in the absence of words can halt or change conversational tone or direction. Tapping with one finger or using four repeatedly (pinky first, then the next three fingers) to signal aggravation often works for people with authority or the upper hand in a relationship.
What does this mean in terms of using nonverbal behaviors strategically? First, it means that unless you’re thinking in those terms such behaviors can more readily be used to manage you. But equally important is the loss inherent in limiting communication management to mostly verbal expression and letting the chips fall where they may with regard to nonverbal expression. It’s much like trying walk without the full use of both legs -- doable, but hardly optimal.
The first step is raising awareness to your inadvertent and intentional nonverbal expressions, fleeting (micro-expressions) and ones of longer duration or emphasis. Women, for example, have a tendency to smile more often than men. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this. But, when trying to make an important point to be taken seriously by others, smiling instead of corroborating verbal concern with a consistent nonverbal expression undermines the desired outcome. Women taking on leadership often train themselves to lower the tone of their voices and/or raise the volume.
Silence can be used strategically, accompanied by expression or body stance, to indicate such states of mind as patience, puzzlement, discontent, consideration of a reply, surprise, or stifling anger. Silence can be unsettling and therefore useful when others are expecting a different reaction. It has the added advantage of buying time. So much of what occurs in communication is reactive to what came before. Silence interrupts that.
Especially useful is learning how the way you communicate undermines the content. Contrary to the problems of those who constantly smile are those of overbearing people seemingly confident about whatever they say. Their demeanor suggests superiority and generates resistance. They’re often oblivious to gestures and tone so undermine what they wish to achieve.
I once worked with a senior executive whose employees thought he was “slick.” It wasn’t until we videotaped him and he saw how his smiles were poorly timed and often looked like smirks that he realized why this interpretation kept occurring.
While easier said than done, removing much nonverbal behavior from automatic to manageable range can go a long way toward improving communication. None of us controls all of our communication behavior, but leaving too much to chance or bad habit is a sure way to be consistently misunderstood.
Kathleen also blogs on communication here.
Inventions with revolutionary potential made by a mysterious aerospace engineer for the U.S. Navy come to light.
- U.S. Navy holds patents for enigmatic inventions by aerospace engineer Dr. Salvatore Pais.
- Pais came up with technology that can "engineer" reality, devising an ultrafast craft, a fusion reactor, and more.
- While mostly theoretical at this point, the inventions could transform energy, space, and military sectors.
The U.S. Navy controls patents for some futuristic and outlandish technologies, some of which, dubbed "the UFO patents," came to light recently. Of particular note are inventions by the somewhat mysterious Dr. Salvatore Cezar Pais, whose tech claims to be able to "engineer reality." His slate of highly-ambitious, borderline sci-fi designs meant for use by the U.S. government range from gravitational wave generators and compact fusion reactors to next-gen hybrid aerospace-underwater crafts with revolutionary propulsion systems, and beyond.
Of course, the existence of patents does not mean these technologies have actually been created, but there is evidence that some demonstrations of operability have been successfully carried out. As investigated and reported by The War Zone, a possible reason why some of the patents may have been taken on by the Navy is that the Chinese military may also be developing similar advanced gadgets.
Among Dr. Pais's patents are designs, approved in 2018, for an aerospace-underwater craft of incredible speed and maneuverability. This cone-shaped vehicle can potentially fly just as well anywhere it may be, whether air, water or space, without leaving any heat signatures. It can achieve this by creating a quantum vacuum around itself with a very dense polarized energy field. This vacuum would allow it to repel any molecule the craft comes in contact with, no matter the medium. Manipulating "quantum field fluctuations in the local vacuum energy state," would help reduce the craft's inertia. The polarized vacuum would dramatically decrease any elemental resistance and lead to "extreme speeds," claims the paper.
Not only that, if the vacuum-creating technology can be engineered, we'd also be able to "engineer the fabric of our reality at the most fundamental level," states the patent. This would lead to major advancements in aerospace propulsion and generating power. Not to mention other reality-changing outcomes that come to mind.
Among Pais's other patents are inventions that stem from similar thinking, outlining pieces of technology necessary to make his creations come to fruition. His paper presented in 2019, titled "Room Temperature Superconducting System for Use on a Hybrid Aerospace Undersea Craft," proposes a system that can achieve superconductivity at room temperatures. This would become "a highly disruptive technology, capable of a total paradigm change in Science and Technology," conveys Pais.
High frequency gravitational wave generator.
Credit: Dr. Salvatore Pais
Another invention devised by Pais is an electromagnetic field generator that could generate "an impenetrable defensive shield to sea and land as well as space-based military and civilian assets." This shield could protect from threats like anti-ship ballistic missiles, cruise missiles that evade radar, coronal mass ejections, military satellites, and even asteroids.
Dr. Pais's ideas center around the phenomenon he dubbed "The Pais Effect". He referred to it in his writings as the "controlled motion of electrically charged matter (from solid to plasma) via accelerated spin and/or accelerated vibration under rapid (yet smooth) acceleration-deceleration-acceleration transients." In less jargon-heavy terms, Pais claims to have figured out how to spin electromagnetic fields in order to contain a fusion reaction – an accomplishment that would lead to a tremendous change in power consumption and an abundance of energy.
According to his bio in a recently published paper on a new Plasma Compression Fusion Device, which could transform energy production, Dr. Pais is a mechanical and aerospace engineer working at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), which is headquartered in Patuxent River, Maryland. Holding a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, Pais was a NASA Research Fellow and worked with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. His current Department of Defense work involves his "advanced knowledge of theory, analysis, and modern experimental and computational methods in aerodynamics, along with an understanding of air-vehicle and missile design, especially in the domain of hypersonic power plant and vehicle design." He also has expert knowledge of electrooptics, emerging quantum technologies (laser power generation in particular), high-energy electromagnetic field generation, and the "breakthrough field of room temperature superconductivity, as related to advanced field propulsion."
Suffice it to say, with such a list of research credentials that would make Nikola Tesla proud, Dr. Pais seems well-positioned to carry out groundbreaking work.
A craft using an inertial mass reduction device.
Credit: Salvatore Pais
The patents won't necessarily lead to these technologies ever seeing the light of day. The research has its share of detractors and nonbelievers among other scientists, who think the amount of energy required for the fields described by Pais and his ideas on electromagnetic propulsions are well beyond the scope of current tech and are nearly impossible. Yet investigators at The War Zone found comments from Navy officials that indicate the inventions are being looked at seriously enough, and some tests are taking place.
If you'd like to read through Pais's patents yourself, check them out here.
Laser Augmented Turbojet Propulsion System
Credit: Dr. Salvatore Pais
China has reached a new record for nuclear fusion at 120 million degrees Celsius.
This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.
China wants to build a mini-star on Earth and house it in a reactor. Many teams across the globe have this same bold goal --- which would create unlimited clean energy via nuclear fusion.
But according to Chinese state media, New Atlas reports, the team at the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) has set a new world record: temperatures of 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds.
Yeah, that's hot. So what? Nuclear fusion reactions require an insane amount of heat and pressure --- a temperature environment similar to the sun, which is approximately 150 million degrees C.
If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it.
If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it. In nuclear fusion, the extreme heat and pressure create a plasma. Then, within that plasma, two or more hydrogen nuclei crash together, merge into a heavier atom, and release a ton of energy in the process.
Nuclear fusion milestones: The team at EAST built a giant metal torus (similar in shape to a giant donut) with a series of magnetic coils. The coils hold hot plasma where the reactions occur. They've reached many milestones along the way.
According to New Atlas, in 2016, the scientists at EAST could heat hydrogen plasma to roughly 50 million degrees C for 102 seconds. Two years later, they reached 100 million degrees for 10 seconds.
The temperatures are impressive, but the short reaction times, and lack of pressure are another obstacle. Fusion is simple for the sun, because stars are massive and gravity provides even pressure all over the surface. The pressure squeezes hydrogen gas in the sun's core so immensely that several nuclei combine to form one atom, releasing energy.
But on Earth, we have to supply all of the pressure to keep the reaction going, and it has to be perfectly even. It's hard to do this for any length of time, and it uses a ton of energy. So the reactions usually fizzle out in minutes or seconds.
Still, the latest record of 120 million degrees and 101 seconds is one more step toward sustaining longer and hotter reactions.
Why does this matter? No one denies that humankind needs a clean, unlimited source of energy.
We all recognize that oil and gas are limited resources. But even wind and solar power --- renewable energies --- are fundamentally limited. They are dependent upon a breezy day or a cloudless sky, which we can't always count on.
Nuclear fusion is clean, safe, and environmentally sustainable --- its fuel is a nearly limitless resource since it is simply hydrogen (which can be easily made from water).
With each new milestone, we are creeping closer and closer to a breakthrough for unlimited, clean energy.
The symbol for love is the heart, but the brain may be more accurate.
- How love makes us feel can only be defined on an individual basis, but what it does to the body, specifically the brain, is now less abstract thanks to science.
- One of the problems with early-stage attraction, according to anthropologist Helen Fisher, is that it activates parts of the brain that are linked to drive, craving, obsession, and motivation, while other regions that deal with decision-making shut down.
- Dr. Fisher, professor Ted Fischer, and psychiatrist Gail Saltz explain the different types of love, explore the neuroscience of love and attraction, and share tips for sustaining relationships that are healthy and mutually beneficial.