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Editorial: The Ferguson Situation

2 Dec

At my age, I should know not to get upset at stupidity. It’s everywhere. I can’t figure out why so many people take to the streets supporting a criminal who obviously physically attacked a police officer.

I’ve read blogs say the shot guy was “only a kid” and “only a baby.” A baby!? This teenager was bigger than most men. He wasn’t innocent. He robbed a store and threatened violence against the owner. He physically attacked a police officer.

Why didn’t the officer just let him go? This is a question I’ve heard. It’s because it’s the police officer’s job to apprehend criminals. Once Brown assaulted the officer, it was the officer’s duty to arrest him. This “baby” had attacked two people that day. What if he assaulted a third person and killed him? Should cops just let all criminals go? Let them attack more people and commit more crimes?

Some protesters were criminals and troublemakers looking for a chance to steal some TVs and burn down some buildings. People in that group I don’t care about. But most protesters were basically good people who felt some great social injustice had been done. It’s this second group of people who annoy me. Don’t the facts of the situation matter?

Brown did not have his hands “up” as was falsely claimed. There is nothing in the information we know to indicate the officer was a racist or abused his authority.

It’s jaw dropping to realize this: Preppers reading this blog aren’t in danger of Brown, other criminals, or violent protestors. Most preppers own guns and shoot very well. Many have been trained in the use of lethal force. Some are experienced in deploying lethal force and have combat experience. The best preppers can hit a quarter at 100 yards with a rifle or draw and shoot an attacker dead at will with their pistol carried daily.

If the officer had let Brown go, Brown would be a threat to exactly the people protesting. They would have been the targets of his future assaults and robberies. Lacking impulse control, it’s likely he’d have been a rapist and engaged in other criminal behavior. He was a kid who took what he wanted and didn’t think the rules applied to him.

The police can’t let violent criminals flee. It only takes a small number of active criminals to bring tremendous pain and suffering to a community. If a town of 1,000 people has 999 honest and good people who are liberal pacifists, it only takes one unchecked sociopathic criminal to wreck havoc. If he robs one person a day, in the course of a year, a third of the population has been robbed. Assaults, rapes, and other crimes by this one degenerate make the community look like a Hell hole.

Societies answer is to employ police officers to enforce minimum standards of social conduct. Assault and rape somebody, go to jail. Officers are employed to protect and defend those who can’t protect themselves.

What is the result of the situation in Ferguson? The officer has been forced to retire. If he remains on the police force, he’d be a target of those who want to harm him. His career has been destroyed because he did what he was trained to do. And what he did was protect many of the people who protested his actions.

I can’t help but think of the story Atlas Shrugged. What if all those in law enforcement and the military just stepped down? Let the criminals run wild. Protect your families and each other. Let the rest of the population fend for themselves. How soon do you think it would take before these citizen protesters would be begging for the return of those who enforce the law?

It’s a sad commentary on society. If I had a son or daughter choosing a career, I’d discourage them from entering the police or military. It’s not worth sacrificing yourself for a society that doesn’t care.

***

Wondering if the NSA has installed spyware on your computer? Free software finds it.

This 77 year old lady is awesome. She can do one-handed pushups:

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/21190/20141129/superwoman-this-77-year-old-granny-can-do-one-handed-push-ups-and-deadlift-215-pounds.htm

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Identify Russian Spies Using Functional MRI (fMRI)

3 Oct

I came across a great prepper blog over at thoughtfullyprepping.wordpress.com. 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
( http://brainworkshop.sourceforge.net/ ) 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 apartmentprepper.com
http://apartmentprepper.com/the-cost-of-not-prepping/
http://apartmentprepper.com/preps-versus-debts/

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?

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.