Monday, March 27, 2017

Miko Peled on Writing The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine

Miko Peled talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about his book, The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.

“Never give up the fight for justice. Never accept oppression. Never accept violence as a solution to problems. Always seek justice and not be afraid to speak up, speak through to power.” ~Miko Peled 

A young Miko Peled with his father, Matti.
Miko was born and raised in Jerusalem, the son of an Israeli army general, and thus had a very patriotic Israeli upbringing. One of the pivotal moments in his life was when his niece was killed, and while Miko points out that the murderer killed himself, he does believe that it is the Israeli government which is ultimately responsible for her death, given the way it treats the Palestinians.

Miko points out that Israel and Palestine are the same place, and the journey he mentioned in the book’s subtitle is that of one from the sphere he was raised in and that of the Palestinians, since Israelis and Palestinians live in segregated areas and are subject to different laws. Miko remarked that the Israelis live privileged lives while the Palestinians live under subjugation and cruelty, which breeds resistance and violence and revolt. Miko feels that the Israelis are responsible for the stark reality on the ground but choose not to address it.

Miko wrote the book because his friends encouraged him to, at a time when he was already speaking out publicly on the issue of Israel and Palestine. He found the writing process to be very interesting, as a lot of things came up, such as forgotten memories, as well as doing the research in the Israeli Army archives to learn more about things in his father’s career that he wasn’t previously aware of.

The general at work.
According to Miko, the reality is that Western colonialism has consistently encouraged a European-centric attitude which carries on today, and points out that the United States, over the next ten years, will provide 38 billion dollars in aid, despite the fact that Israel has a fully-developed economy and really doesn’t need that aid or the weapons they claim to need, as the Palestinians have no tanks or the like.

Miko points out that there are around 6.1 million Palestinians and 5.9 million Jews in Israel, and while Jews are subject to the same laws throughout the land, the Palestinians, who live in military-controlled areas are subject to military law and those who live in another part are specifically subject to 95 specific laws. He gave the example of water allocation, as Israel has control of the water supply and gives only 3% of the water to the Palestinians.

Miko’s vision for peaceful coexistence is a model similar to that of South Africa, and believes that democracy and equal rights should take root, after which the past injustices can be addressed, Palestinian refugees can return to their homes, equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis are upheld, and the military regime can end.

Miko would like to let people know that the call for equality in Palestine is the “call of the day,” and that people should get informed and support the cause for justice and equality. He believes that peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians is possible, and he summed up the universal quest for justice as follows: “Never give up the fight for justice. Never accept oppression. Never accept violence as a solution to problems. Always seek justice and not be afraid to speak up, speak through to power.”

Those who would like to get more details about Miko can go to

Purchase from Amazon: The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine by Miko Peled

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Carolyn Wilman on Getting Better Winning in Sweepstakes and More

Carolyn Wilman talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about her book, How to Win Cash, Cars, Trips & More!.

“The friends are better than the prizes.” ~Carolyn Wilman 

Carolyn started her hobby of entering sweepstakes as a teenager, and as an adult she pursued a career in marketing, which she still does up to this day. She only started seriously entering sweepstakes as a hobby in 2001, after reading an article about some people who did just that, and as she was unemployed at that time, due to the dot-com bubble bursting then, she decided to try it out. While she admits that attempting to live off sweepstakes earnings doesn’t work, doing so has enabled her to do things  that she wouldn’t have gone on and meet people she wouldn’t otherwise normally meet, such as the singer Sting. Carolyn also noted that she also liked meeting people in sweepstakes conventions, which are gatherings of people who like to enter sweepstakes and which, like any convention, have speakers who speak on different topics, and Carolyn remarks that she always learns something new at these conventions.

How to Win Cash, Cars, Trips & More! is actually the second edition of her original books on entering sweepstakes as a hobby, which she approached from a marketing methodology and perspective. She decided to write first editions (there were North American and Canadian versions of that book) after spotting a message on a church that inspired her to do so, and the books came out in 2004. Since then, sweepstakes methodologies had changed, with one of these being mail-in volume being greatly reduced while social media volume has increased greatly. Carolyn points out that her book is the only comprehensive “how to” book which details, step by step, how to enter sweepstakes in the market, as well as points out the things to avoid so one’s time doesn’t get wasted.

Carolyn points out that there are three different legal definitions to prizewinning competitions:

  1. In lotteries, an entry fee needs to be paid, money is given as a prize, and the winner is determined by chance.
  2. Sweepstakes give prizes that aren’t necessarily money and are free to enter, and the winner is, likewise, determined by chance.
  3. Contests require an entry fee to be paid, and the winners are due to judging, rather than by chance.

For Carolyn, organizing is key, so that one can enter the most number of sweepstakes in the shortest amount of time, and she herself spends only one or two hours a day entering and checking on sweepstakes. Carolyn, however, points out that it is a numbers game, and that one will enter far more often than one will win. Carolyn presently works as a sweepstakes marketer and thus has a unique perspective on both sides of the sweepstakes coin, and she noted that, at present, around four billion US dollars are spent on sweepstakes in the United States alone. The prizes range from $25 gift cards to large ones worth $50,000, and Carolyn remarks that, for her, the experiences that come with the prizes are the true prizes. That said, she doesn’t mind winning smaller amounts, as these help her out financially.

Carolyn notes that people need to think they’re lucky to succeed. She also noted that a scientific study had been done on luck by a Dr. Richard Wiseman, which was printed out in a book, and that the study proved that people who had positive outlooks and believed in opportunity had brains that were wired to see more opportunity.

Carolyn remarked on the legal aspects of sweepstakes, pointing out that there are lawyers that specialize in sweepstakes laws and that the rules are legal and binding contracts that can stand up in courts. Carolyn thus advises people to read the rules and notes that sweepstakes are not on-the-fly. She also revealed that, as a marketer, she reads through the entries to see if these conform with the rules.

Carolyn noted that her wins come in waves, with long periods of time when she doesn’t win something, followed by times when she wins a lot of prizes within a short period of time. She also noted how “sweepers,” those who enter sweepstakes as a hobby, enter sweepstakes continuously and consistently for at least three months, daily, before they can see results. Based on statistical research, one can win at least 30% of the time, but that does not guarantee a big win. Then again, you’ll never know what you can win if you don’t enter.

Purchase from Amazon: How to Win Cash, Cars, Trips & More! by Carolyn Wilman

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Mark Antonacci on Testing the Shroud of Turin Again

Mark Antonacci talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about his book, Test the Shroud.

“This evidence is relevant to everyone.” ~Mark Antonacci on proving the Shroud of Turin is the real deal.

Mark got interested in the Shroud of Turin some 35 years ago when, while still an agnostic, he read the summary of scientific articles written by scientists who had studied the shroud in 1978, and he had been interested in the topic since then. Test the Shroud covers the various pieces of relevant evidence regarding the Shroud, as well as the questions related to the relic.

Shrouds have been used as linen burial garments in the Middle East for centuries, and unlike other such shrouds there are two images and some 130 blood marks noticeable in these. The wounds are consistent with the descriptions of the injuries Jesus suffered during his crucifixion, and Mark noted that, while the Shroud has had a history in Europe since the 1300s, but a cloth reportedly with the same images on it have been mentioned up to the first century ACE. He also noted that the use of modern technology has enabled more evidence to be gathered, particularly where resolution of images are concerned. Mark also noted that there have been no other shrouds which have exhibited this kind of imagery. 

With regard to the scientific controversy about the cloth, Mark noted that, of the 26 areas in which the tests were comprehensively done, all were consistent except for the carbon-14 dating area, and it was this result that the media and public opinion jumped on. Mark explained how the dates from the carbon-14 dating, at one of the facilities which did the carbon-dating, covered a very wide spread of ages, and that what the facility did, rather than just release the data, was to average the ages, which Mark noted wasn’t a valid procedure. Mark then gave some technical details on how carbon-14 could have been impregnated into the cloth by particle radiation from the environment and from the body that the cloth was wrapped in.

The tests Mark proposes would enable confirmation of the increase of carbon-14 the closer one gets to the image of the body and that this would add greater weight to the supposition that the body wrapped in the shroud was that of Jesus Christ. The molecular tests would be nondestructive, and the atomic testing, while destructive, would require only an extremely small part of the Shroud; and Mark doesn’t propose that atomic testing be done until molecular tests have been done repetitively to ensure consistency.

Mark advises for people to inquire into the central tenet of their faith and see what scientific evidence for these premises, noting that humanity has not had any extensive scientific evidence for these, particularly when it comes to the matter of life after death.

Purchase from Amazon: Test the Shroud by Mark Antonacci