Identify Russian Spies Using Functional MRI (fMRI)

3 Oct

I came across a great prepper blog over at He wrote an interesting post
I wanted to comment on. If you lock your keys in your vehicle, one technique to open the door is to use a rubber or wooden wedge to open the top of the door just enough so that you can use a long rod or metal strip to manipulate the lock mechanism from inside.

This prepper came upon a police officer struggling to help a citizen open her car door. The prepper offered to help. The prepper dug out his tools and quickly opened the car door, using this method.

Instead of a nice “Thanks for your help,” the officer asked to look inside the prepper’s car, because it “Seems you have some interesting equipment inside your car.” This is one of those gulp and sweat moments where you realize you’re being looked at with suspicion even though you’re innocent.

I somewhat disagree with the prepper’s conclusion though. He said, “Never help the police.” That goes too far. When much younger a police officer saved my life, so maybe I’m biased, but I believe we should do what we can to help people and prevent crime. If I could help an officer, I would. It might be unexciting, but the best way most of us can help the police in emergencies is just being respectful and following their instructions. That said, as preppers, we don’t want to show off skills and equipment that most citizens can’t understand our motivation for knowing/having.

Unless you’re a professional locksmith, lock picking and other techniques to open doors is something most people associate with criminal skills. If it’s not known you work in a field where you need to know this stuff, you’ll be looked at suspiciously.

This applies to coworkers, neighbors, and many friends. If you see a neighbor struggling to get back into her house after locking herself out, your first thought might be that you can help. Maybe even that you’d look cool, opening a door in ten seconds. But after the thanks wears off, the person wonders: “Why the hell does he know that?” And, if there’s a burglary in the area and the person is talking with police, they might just mention that their neighbor once opened a door easily with a pick. You’re suspect, by what you know.

How do you explain? Ah, when younger I was big into survival and, ah, I got this catalog from Paladin Press and, ah, they had books on lock picking and, ah, I thought it would be cool to learn, and, ah,…ah…and that’s how I know.

The biggest thing is not to want to be a show off or to help others without thinking about the future consequences. People jump to conclusions. People jump to wrong conclusions.

Today’s scientific breakthroughs are amazing. In the future, an officer might be able to say: “Sir, we have probable cause. We’re going to scan your brain. Just watch this screen.” Even if you keep your mouth shut, your brain can give away your knowledge. We are quickly approaching the last frontier of privacy, the ability of the government to extract what you know/think directly from your brain.

I thought of this reading an article about using functional MRI (fMRI) to look at the brains of dancers as they watched other performers. The brains of experts differs from the brains of non-experts. Experts see things differently, and it shows in their brains.

In the study, ballet dancers and dancers in Brazilian Capoeira watched other dancers. When ballet dancers watched other ballet dancers perform, the mirror neurons of their brain fired. This was observable using fMRI. Mirror neurons didn’t fire when they watched dancers in other styles. The mirror neurons of Capoeira dancers only fired when they watched other Capoeira dancers.

An expert in a style of dance or a martial art watching a performance sees it fundamentally differently from someone who hasn’t physically participated in the style. This has implications for understanding the power of visualization in athletic performance. Watching a skill or visualizing it activates the same areas of the brain that actually perform the skill.

I read somewhere that KGB agents all learn what we know in America as a Cossack dance. I don’t know if this is true or not, but if it is, observing the brain of a KGB agent watching a Cossack dance might give us a clue as to his identity! There would be false positives, obviously.

A conspiracy buff could imagine a future where we’re scanned for “forbidden” knowledge.

As preppers, we know we should test our preps. Many of us have copies of important records. But how well do our copies really work?

We’ll file this one under “Firefighers are awesome too

America’s Aging infrastructure. As we get older our pipes leak.

101 Basic Homesteading Skills

NSA wants to know who you know. I wrote about why.

For those who like brain training, this site
( ) has a boring game called N-back. Apparently, some studies have found N-back training, which is like mental juggling, you have to remember multiple things at once, helps boost short-term memory and fluid intelligence. I tried it and it just really stressed me out.

There were a couple of great posts over at

The sad lesson here is: Don’t be poor, unemployed, or down on your luck or you’ll be *#(@@3!!:(. Credit card debt is a killer, but too many Americans aren’t wasting their money: they’re buying food and medicine on their charge cards. Then they pay high interest rates. Unless good paying jobs come back, this is the unfortunate future for many Americans. Boosting income is the only solution.

The newest viral Youtube video shows a family being harassed by a group of bikers. They’re chased on the freeway.

The driver clearly felt fear for his life and he sped away, running down one of the bikers. He was pulled from his car and assaulted when he turned off the freeway and was hemmed in by traffic. Are there any lessons from this? What’s your thoughts on it?

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