Category Archives: Article

HOW TO SURVIVE

Podcast #423: How to Survive a Grid-Down Disaster

https://art19.com/shows/e5688437-885d-4fe7-964f-d16ba7b541c5/episodes/522e16e5-6f44-47c2-8aaf-43ed1c22e79f/embed

We’ve all probably thought about it. What would we do and how would we fare after a societal collapse? My guest today has spent his career helping individuals get ready for such a situation. His name is James Rawles. He’s the owner of survivalblog.comand the author of several bestselling books on prepping, including How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It.

Today on the show, Jim and I discuss how our dependency on the power grid makes us more vulnerable to disaster than we’d like to think, and all the downstream consequences that would happen if the power grid went down for a significant amount of time, including loss of water, sewage services, and a disruption of supply chains.

We then dig into what you can do to prepare for such a situation, including securing a water supply, storing food, and the skills and mindset you need to weather a crisis. Even if you don’t think you’re interested in prepping, it’s really interesting to think through what you’d need to do to survive an apocalyptic scenario.

Show Highlights

  • The vulnerability of the US power grid, and scenarios that might cause it to go down
  • How water gets from its source to your home
  • The public health/sewage nightmare of a power grid collapse
  • The importance of knowing how to filter and purify water
  • Why grocery stores no longer have extra stocks of food
  • The problem with a hyper-optimized and hyper-efficient society
  • The “YOYO” mindset
  • Getting started if you have no plan for survival preparedness
  • Making physical room for long-term food and water storage, even in a small living space
  • Why you need to practice cooking and eating your survival foods
  • Why you need self-defense/weapons training
  • The two-key force multipliers in modern self-defense
  • Dealing with medical needs in a survival scenario
  • The value and importance of being health and in shape
  • Why you need patience in developing your survival plan

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

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HONOR AND MANHOOD

Brett | July 3, 2018

Last updated: July 8, 2018

Podcast

Podcast #419: American Honor — Creating the Nation’s Ideals During the Revolution

https://art19.com/shows/e5688437-885d-4fe7-964f-d16ba7b541c5/episodes/61a04af9-9a19-4f7a-8c9c-b02cb90a2b2e/embed

What started the American Revolution? 

The typical answers are “taxation without representation” and the economic and political consequences that came with that. 

My guest today argues that while economic and political principles all played roles in the American Revolution, there’s one big thing underlying all the causes of the Revolutionary War that often gets overlooked: honor.

His name is Craig Bruce Smith, he’s a historian and the author of the new book American Honor: The Creation of the Nation’s Ideals During the Revolutionary EraToday on the show we talk about what honor looked like in America during the colonial period, how that concept changed, and how this shift precipitated the War of Independence. We then explore how personal affronts to honor experienced by several of the Founding Fathers at the hands of the British transferred into a feeling of being slighted as a people, galvanizing a collective sense of honor in the colonies and inspiring the fight for independence. We then discuss the role honor played in Benedict Arnold’s treason and how his treachery spurred colonial Americans to go on to win the war. We end our conversation discussing why the sons of the Revolutionary Era returned to a more traditional ethos of honor in the form of dueling.

This show will give you fresh insights on the founding of America.

Show Highlights

  • What was the concept of honor before the Revolutionary Era?
  • What change in that concept did we start seeing before the war?
  • Benjamin Franklin’s idea of ascending honor
  • How Washington’s concept of honor became more democratized over time
  • The relationship between honor and virtue/ethics in this time period
  • How the colonists looked to Ancient Rome as an example
  • Higher education and the founders
  • How did personal slights lead to the Revolution?
  • The birth of a collective, national honor
  • The “buy local” and “made in America” movement of the 1770s
  • Why honor doesn’t depend on victory
  • Benedict Arnold, honor, and his role in early America
  • The history of dueling in early America, and when it came to an end
  • The myths and realities of Andrew Jackson’s dueling resume

SCREW THE DAMNED CELLPHONE AND TO HELL WITH SOCIAL MEDIA

Brett | July 5, 2018

Podcast

Podcast #420: What Makes Your Phone So Addictive & How to Take Back Your Life

https://art19.com/shows/e5688437-885d-4fe7-964f-d16ba7b541c5/episodes/f82d0e7a-5917-4ac0-9fa6-c568bcb20e42/embed

If you’re like most people, you’ve got a powerful computer in your back pocket that allows you to listen to this podcast, check the score of your favorite team, and learn the population of Mickey Mantle’s hometown of Commerce, OK (answer: 2,473). Our smartphones are a blessing, but for many people they can also feel like a curse. You feel compelled to check your device all the time, leaving you feeling disengaged from life. 

What is it about modern technology that makes it feel so addictive? My guest todayexplores that topic in his book, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. His name is Adam Alter and today on the show, we discuss what makes today‘s technology more compelling than the televisions and super Nintendos of old, whether our itch to check our phones can really be classified as an addiction, what soldiers’ use of heroin during the Vietnam War can tell us about why our attachment to our phones is hard to shake, and how the reward we’re looking for on social media isn’t actually the “likes” themselves. Adam then shares what he thinks is the most effective tactic for taking back control of our tech, and how consumers may be able to influence the direction of its future. 

Show Highlights

  • Why do tech companies design their devices/apps to be addictive?
  • Why Steve Jobs never let his own kids use an iPad
  • Is it possible to truly be addicted to our tech?
  • How much time are most people really spending on their phones? (It’s an astounding number.)
  • The deleterious effects of technology on social skills
  • What makes today’s tech so different from the tech of a couple decades ago?
  • What heroine use in the Vietnam War can tell us about the effects of our environment/context on our behaviors
  • Tactics that companies use to get our attention, including hijacking our goals
  • How casinos have influenced the way tech companies design their products
  • How video game companies “on-ramp” players to get them hooked, and how other tech companies have used that template
  • The ways social media amplifies these addictive components
  • How do you get a hold of a behavior you can’t seem to shake?
  • Will recent bad press actually force companies like Facebook to make any changes?

THE ARTICLES

The Most Interesting Science News Articles of the Week

Each week we uncover the most interesting and informative articles from around the world, here are 10 of the coolest stories in science this week.

Thai divers carry supplies as rescue operations continue for 12 boys and their coach trapped at Tham Luang cave on July 5, 2018.

Thai divers carry supplies as rescue operations continue for 12 boys and their coach trapped at Tham Luang cave on July 5, 2018.

Credit: YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images

A massive operation is underway to rescue 12 boys and their 25-year-old soccer coach who have been trapped for nearly two weeks in the Tham Luang cave system, with rain expected Sunday (July 8).

Whether the team could wait out the monsoon season, remaining holed up in the cave for months, is not clear. [Read more about the risks.]

A male and female lion stand over a lion cub in Eastern Cape, South Africa. This is where a pride of lions slaughtered at least three poachers who entered the Sibuya Game Reserve to hunt rhino horns.
A male and female lion stand over a lion cub in Eastern Cape, South Africa. This is where a pride of lions slaughtered at least three poachers who entered the Sibuya Game Reserve to hunt rhino horns.

Credit: iStock/Getty Images Plus

A pride of hungry lions in a South African reserve just saved the day, at least for a herd of rhinos. The poachers, who had illegally entered that reserve with a gun and axe to kill those rhinos, were not so lucky. [Read more about the event.]

Purple or blue? A new optical illusion study finds that your answer will change based on your expectations.
Purple or blue? A new optical illusion study finds that your answer will change based on your expectations.

Credit: Morjachka/iStock/Getty

A new optical-illusion study in the journal Science asks whether a series colorful dots is purple, blue or proof that humans are doomed to a lifetime of sadness and poor decisions. [Read more about the illusion.]

The meteorite fragments were found off the coast of Washington state.
The meteorite fragments were found off the coast of Washington state.

Credit: Mark Fries/NASA

The first mission designed to hunt a meteorite that crashed into the ocean has now discovered what may be tiny fragments of the meteorite’s crust, researchers say.

The details the scientists had regarding the fall suggested the meteorite was unusually strong, Fries said. This knowledge, in combination with the fact the meteorite landed on a soft seafloor as opposed to dry land, suggested this ocean fall might yield large, relatively intact meteorites for scientists to study. [Read more about the meteorite.]

The Dikika foot is one part of a partial skeleton of a 3.32 million-year-old skeleton of an <i>Australopithecus afarensis</i> child.

The Dikika foot is one part of a partial skeleton of a 3.32 million-year-old skeleton of an Australopithecus afarensis child.

Credit: Zeresenay Alemseged

More than 3 million years ago, our adult human ancestors were walking on two feet and didn’t have the option of a fashionable baby sling to carry their kids around in. Instead, Australopithecus afarensis toddlers had a special grasping toe that helped them hold on to their mothers and escape into the trees, reports a study published today (July 4) in Science Advances. [Read more about the digit.]

A small galaxy called NGC1052-DF2 was previously thought to lack dark matter. A new paper suggests it might have dark matter after all.

A small galaxy called NGC1052-DF2 was previously thought to lack dark matter. A new paper suggests it might have dark matter after all.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and P. van Dokkum (Yale University)

A galaxy that is supposedly devoid of all dark matter might actually be full of it.

Scientists have suggested the existence of this bizarre matter to explain a just-as-bizarre phenomenon: Based on the light astronomers can see with their telescopes, the universe acts like there is much more mass, and therefore much more gravitational force, than Albert Einstein’s theories predict based on what we can see. [Read more about the galaxy.]

Because apparently, it needs to be said: Don't put your fingers anywhere near a nurse shark's teeth.
Because apparently, it needs to be said: Don’t put your fingers anywhere near a nurse shark’s teeth.

Credit: Luca Oddone/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

A woman who tried to hand-feed a shark is lucky she still has a hand. Yes, it bit her. IT’S A SHARK. [Read more about the dangers.]

Members of the People's Liberation Army perform drills during a demonstration on June 30, 2018, in Hong Kong. China's military may soon have laser guns in its arsenal.
Members of the People’s Liberation Army perform drills during a demonstration on June 30, 2018, in Hong Kong. China’s military may soon have laser guns in its arsenal.

Credit: Anthony Kwan/Getty, file

The laser blasters in “Star Wars” are no longer a thing of science fiction. Chinese researchers have developed an actual laser gun that can ignite a target on fire from a half mile (800 meters) away, the South China Morning Post reported.

Although the gun is classified as a nonlethal weapon, its laser shots can cause “‘instant carbonization’ of human skin and tissues,” according to the South China Morning Post, which means skin would burn and be reduced to carbon like the outside of a charred marshmallow. It can also fire through windows, burn through gas tanks and ignite anything that’s flammable. [Read more about the gun.]

Coffee lovers may not have to feel that familiar pang of guilt when pouring themselves yet another cup of joe for the day.

In the study, published July 2 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, Loftfield and her team at the NCI analyzed data from nearly 500,000 people who took part in the U.K. Biobank study. That project gathered health information from more than 9 million people. [Read more about the possibilities.]

An artist's depiction of Cassini flying over Enceladus and collecting samples of the enormous plumes erupting from the surface.
An artist’s depiction of Cassini flying over Enceladus and collecting samples of the enormous plumes erupting from the surface.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Large, carbon-rich organic molecules seem to be spewing from cracks on the surface of Saturn’s icy moon, Enceladus, according to a new study of data collected by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The discovery means that Enceladus is the only place besides Earth known to satisfy all the requirements for life as we know it, space scientist and study co-author Christopher Glein said in a statement from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio. [Read more about life in space.]

Follow Live Science @livescienceFacebook & Google+.

Author Bio


Live Science Staff

Live Science Staff,
For the science geek in everyone, Live Science offers a fascinating window into the natural and technological world, delivering comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything from dinosaur discoveries, archaeological finds and amazing animals to health, innovation and wearable technology. We aim to empower and inspire our readers with the tools needed to understand the world and appreciate its everyday awe.

STOLEN?

“Stolen,” eh?

Secret Service hunts for stolen laptop with Trump Tower floor plans

A Secret Service laptop containing sensitive information about Trump Tower, details about the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe and other national security secrets was swiped from an agent’s motorcycle in Brooklyn, police sources said Friday.

The computer was taken Thursday morning from the driveway of agent Marie Argentieri’s Bath Beach home, the sources said.

The thief drove up to Argentieri’s home around 8:40 a.m., walked right up to her Bajaj motorcycle and took the items. He was then caught on video fleeing the scene on foot, sources said.

Argentieri told investigators that the laptop held sensitive information about national security, the floor plans for Trump Tower, evacuation protocols and details about the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server.

While none of the info pertains to White House officials or foreign leaders, she said it could ultimately compromise national security. Sources told The Post that the laptop cannot be remotely erased or traced.

A black bag with the Secret Service insignia on it was also taken — along with an access keycard, several lapel pins that Secret Service agents are required to wear when protecting the president and other sensitive documents, sources said.

An agency-issued radio, used for closed-circuit communications between agents, was also among the stolen items, according to Politico.

“The U.S. Secret Service can confirm that an employee was the victim of a criminal act in which our Agency issued laptop computer was stolen,” the agency said in a statement Friday.

“Secret Service issued laptops contain multiple layers of security including full disk encryption and are not permitted to contain classified information. An investigation is ongoing and the Secret Service is withholding additional comment until the facts are gathered.”

The NYPD is assisting the agency in their investigation. It is unclear if the theft was targeted or simply a random act.

The black bag and some other items were later discovered at nearby Poly Prep HS by the head of security, Carol Bongnan, and returned to Argentieri.

But the laptop and lapel pins were still missing as of 2:30 p.m. Friday, sources said.
Sources said somebody had brought left it at the school.

Thursday’s heist is just the latest in a long line of public embarrassments for the Secret Service in recent years.

A Congressional investigation in 2015 found that it had transformed into an “agency in crisis” — entrenched in low morale, heavy boozing and dimwitted security decisions.

In Sept. 2014, President Barack Obama’s Secret Service detail allowed a security guard with a gun and three prior convictions for assault and battery into an elevator with him for a photo.

Two years after that, a pair of agents allegedly got drunk and interfered in a bomb investigation outside the building.

In 2014, a man was able to bypass Obama’s security detail and speak to him by pretending to be a congressman.

Most recently, two agents came under investigation after snapping selfies with President Trump’s 8-year-old grandson, Donald III, last weekend.

WHO’D A THUNK?

Well, I’ll be darned. Who’d a thunk it, huh?

Dungeons and Dragons, Pokémon card games and role-playing games are more than entertainment — they’re inspiration for the CIA.

David Clopper, senior collection analyst with 16 years’ experience at the CIA, also serves as a game maker for the agency. From card games to board games, Clopper creates games to train CIA staffers including intelligence agents and political analysts for real-world situations.

“Gaming is part of the human condition. Why not take advantage of that and incorporate into the way we learn?” Clopper said Sunday at a games-themed panel discussion at the South by Southwest Interactive technology festival. Clopper and other CIA officers discussed how the agency uses games to teach strategy, intelligence gathering and collaboration.

Related: SXSW coverage: Why Facebook tracks internet outages around the world

Clopper, who began making training programs based on popular tabletop games in 2008, described some of his creations for the CIA.

In “Collection,” Clopper’s first CIA game, teams of analysts work together to solve international crises against a ticking clock. His second title, “Collection Deck,” is a Pokémon-like card game in which where each card represents either an intelligence collection strategy or a hurdle like red tape or bureaucracy.

cia collection game

For instance, a player could lay out a card to collect intelligence via satellite photos, but an opponent could block them by playing a “ground station failure” card. It’s meant to mimic situations analysts might run into in their actual work.

Related: Congressman: We need a National Guard for cybersecurity

Also speaking on the panel was Volko Ruhnke, who is an intelligence educator at the CIA and a freelance game designer. Ruhnke said he is particularly interested in one type of game: a simulation tabletop game to train analysts and help with analytic tasks. It could help forecast complex situations by forcing players to handle multiple scenarios simultaneously.

Ruhnke himself created a commercial board game to simulate the Afghanistan conflict and walk players through military, political, and economic issues in the region. It gives players “a much more dynamic understanding of the issues of modern Afghanistan,” Ruhnke said, adding that a similar game could be of use internally at the CIA as well.

Old school games are the main inspiration for popular training programs — for now. But analysts expect to be using virtual reality gaming in training programs soon. Multiple branches of the military have used VR training for years, immersing service members in real life experiences through visual and audio simulations.

“The sooner we can get involved in using VR in games, the better,” Rachel Grunspan, Chief Strategy Officer at a digital innovation organization inside the CIA, said during the panel discussion.. “You want to get their heads inside the intelligence question you’re trying to answer, and VR does an amazing job doing that.”

MENTENIS

“My father’s is taller still, and has a golden button on top!”
 
Always go for the golden button on top. That’s where all the good stuff is.
 
And on a more serious note, it is a real shame that modern man has lost so much of his rural festival and celebration backgrounds, those from both pagan and Christian times.
 
Those things used to hold us to the ground, made us realize things about time, made us grateful for things working. Losing those things weakens us, make us think that only technology and science is important. (And I do happen to like and to think most science and technology is important just not all-important.) Makes us think we are the inevitable and undisputed masters of our own fate (and nowadays we control much of our own fate, but much still is beyond our control and we should be reminded of that, and appreciative of that).
 
Most of all though we’ve lost our ties to our neighbors, to the seasons, to the Earth, and to our own blood. And I don’t mean this modern Nazi-era shit of resurgent, hyperzealous, omni-political tribe, race, clan, class, etc. but of our own blood, and bodies, and muscles, and of where we came from. As individuals.
 
We’re far too urbanized now. Too much like insects in nests and colonies. Too constricted and herded, and herdish. Too puny by ourselves and in nature. Which is where we truly thrive. Despite, or because of it’s hardships and dangers. You can’t become tough or strong in a sheltered, sterile world. Much less stay tough and strong in such a world.
 
Too weak to wander.
 
Two other things. Living so far from nature masks of animals might seem creepy I guess. To many moderns. They don’t to me though. They are not scary at all to me.
 
And yeah, I like the idea of throwing kids over fences. When I was a kid I got tossed over fences on numerous occasions. I thought it was grand.
 
I hated fences.

It’s February 23, Metenis Day. An ancient festival looks like the lovechild of Christmas and Halloween

Love Christmas and Halloween?  The ancient Latvian Spring waiting holiday of Meteņis or Meteni combines eerie and cheery.

Also called Lastavāgs, Aizgavēnis, Miesmetis, Buduļi Eve, and Pie Day, Metenis includes a masked parade, singing, dancing, feasting and drinking.

A Latvian spirit in charge of growing flax, Metenis was believed to arrive on a sleigh.

Now Latvians, Estonians and Lithuanians celebrate by sledding, which they believe will make the flax grow longer.

The faster and longer the sled glides, the faster and higher the flax will grow.  Though a ride on a sled, a horse-drawn carriage, or even skating on a pond will do.

You might hear traditional sledding cries:

“My father has tall flax!”
“My father’s is taller!”
“My father’s is taller still, and has a golden button on top!”

Any journey is significant.  People used to walk from farm to farm to encourage the flax and (for some reason) throw children over the fence.

Some popular Meteņi traditions are: wearing masks, chasing away Metenis, searching for the button of happiness, driving away moles from gardens and cooking delicious Meteņi porridge.

To drive away Winter,  a symbolic dragon, straw dolls and logs are burned.  The ashes are spread across the land for a fruitful New Year.

Traditional Masks of Metenis

The most well-known masks are a crane, a bear, hay vāls, butthead, Wolf, Gypsy, the living dead and death.

  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day

Meteņi is about people eating and drinking as much as they want. During this time pigs were slaughtered, so the traditional holiday dishes are pig’s head and fritters. Parents throw gifts to their children from a height as if the goddess Laima is raining gifts from the heavens.

The Metenis table is loaded with treats – pea balls, beans, barley porridge, pancakes, smoked pork boiled into a porridge of barley and potatoes, pork head, pork ears and tail and bacon buns.

Round shaped scones symbolise the upcoming spring.  Beer used to be specially brewed for the celebrations.  Now you can probably enjoy some very nice craft beers.

If you want to celebrate Metenis Day today, be sure to eat pig, wear a mask and go on a journey.

Just remember – the longer Meteņis is celebrated, the better the harvest is expected following summer.

 

There is but one way to advise – by example.

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