Miscellaneous (Sort Of) Deep Thoughts: NSA, Bug Out Bags, Pullups, Metal Prices

7 Aug

Our elected officials and head of the NSA told the American people they don’t collect data on American citizens. Enter Edward Snowden. Turns out they do collect data on us. OK. The jig is up.

Update. Our elected officials tell us they’re only collecting Meta-Data, not what’s said in our conversations. Don’t worry, your conversations are still private. Snowden says he could read anybody’s e-mail. Elected officials say that’s a lie.

Snowden releases training materials for the X-KEYSCORE program showing indeed, “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet” is collected. So much data is being collected it’s overwritten every three days. They just don’t have the data storage capacity to keep it. That’s way beyond meta-data.

Your data will only be kept if you searched for “suspicious stuff.” Yes, fellow preppers. That probably includes you. Preppers, by nature, are interested in “suspicious stuff.”

And, no. You can’t protect your privacy with a service like TOR. The NSA has hacked that too.

But, I guess it’s all OK. After all, we’re told we’re in danger of a major terrorist attack or attacks. Be afraid. Be very afraid. The only thing saving us is our outstanding national electronic surveillance program. Thank you, NSA.
Yes. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

This is a good editorial about why the government lying to its citizens is bad.

I see an upside to the NSA program. We can solve the entire national debt problem. Just sell this real-time data about what we’re thinking to marketers. I bet they’d pay for it.

Jerry (on phone): Hi, Bob. Want to shoot some hoops?

Bob: Wish I could. I need to get out and buy some oil and change my car’s oil.

Jerry: Talk to you later. Bye.

Ring. Hello. This is Autozone. We’re just calling to let you know we have a great savings on oil this week….

***
When you assemble a bug out bag, it helps to think in terms of kits. You can have a signaling kit, a fire starting kit, etc.

A typical fire starting kit might include matches, metal match, steel wool, and some tinder. All kept in a ziplock bag. You could add to it as much as you thought necessary: A small magnifying glass to catch the sun’s rays. A lighter or two for convenience. Maybe a small strong string to make a fire bow and drill. By thinking in terms of “kit” you open up your thinking to other useful items. You see other possibilities.

One kit to consider is a hunter-forager kit. It can be really small. A few fishhooks, line, a few sinkers and small bobbers would let you fish. A couple of arrowheads, nocks, a bow string and some fletching and epoxy would give you a head start in building your own bow. A rubber slingshot band would let you make a slingshot. A few feet of snare wire.

***

If you’re getting into shape, a handy thing to have is a pull up bar. There are some good tutorials about ideas to build your own on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gE5r5V-sA24

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX6Hg3AYRBk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8vSMVFVYbM

What’s an impressive number of pullups? It depends on the person. The Marines list 20 as being perfect. The old “bar-barians requirement” is 20—40 parallel bars dips, 20 pull-ups, 50 push-ups and 5 muscle-ups in six minutes. Exceptionally fit guys can achieve 30 or even 40 with perfect form. If you can do 50 in one minute, you’re close to world record level.
Most of us will settle for 10 to 15. 20 to 25 is an impressive feat.

If pullups get too easy (don’t ask me how!), you can add weight. Here’s a guy who got into this and convinced Guinness World Records to add a category for weighted pullups. How cool is that? Not only setting a world record, but creating it. He can do a pull up with added weight about equal to his bodyweight.

What makes this interesting to me is that he started from an impressive, but not super-human, number and just kept improving. That’s a great life lesson: Just keep trying to make small, steady improvements, and you can eventually achieve impressive things. It works in reverse too. Put on a pound or two of body fat a year and in a few years, you’ll be shocked at how far you’ve fallen.

Here’s another heavier Youtube fellow with some exceptionally impressive pullups.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KY0zDr5t-E

***
Here’s an interesting article about how the banks are artificially driving up Aluminum prices. Thanks, banks.

Some Youtube commentary about the 22 LR ammo shortage.

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