Technology making our lives easier

In the words of the poet and philosopher Homer J. Simpson “It’s funny ’cause it’s true.”

How much tech actually improves your life versus the devices that simply raise your blood pressure? About three years ago I culled as many of the Hulk-rage inducing items out of my life as I could. I don’t miss them at all, but my friends have since been denied the pleasure of seeing a grown man have a temper tantrum. So I guess there is some opportunity cost.

109566859 898dd5de4e z Technology making our lives easier

image by Dan Fulano

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Blindspots

IMGP7189 450x298 Blindspots

img by Max Slowik

IMGP7196 450x298 Blindspots

img by Max Slowik

While leaving Die Less World HQ the other night I had a Die Less experience. As I walked around the front of my truck there was a pile of broken glass where my window should have been. I was pretty surprised because I don’t leave valuables in my car, ever –years of living near Detroit will teach you that lesson. With no valuables visible from the outside, I’m not sure what attracted the thieves to break in. And it was only my truck, none of the other vehicles on the block were molested. I have some ideas now about why, but they’re pretty thin.

In their best effort to find something valuable, they did rifle through the center console, the glove box and some papers. There were a few things of minor value there: my insurance paper work, my vehicle registration (including a registration sticker I’d not yet applied) and some miscellaneous crap. None of those items were taken.

All of this got me thinking; If the person(s) who broke into my car were so inclined, they could have a pretty good start to an identity theft profile. They would have had my name, my address, my insurance policy number, and access to my driving record. Not enough to immediately turn into a false identity, but probably 80% of the necessary information.

Since then I’ve sterilized the inside of my car. There is no identifying paperwork in the truck. All of that is in my wallet. Now on the one hand I’ve just made it so that if the wallet is lost or stolen the door to identity theft is wide open. On the other hand, it’s a wallet, that’s where an identity is kept, so I’d be screwed regardless. Sterilizing the vehicle at least reduces my exposure. When you consider that cars are often left unattended for hours at a time, I can’t see a good argument for not sterilizing a vehicle.

Finally, as I started examining the idea of limiting my exposure I realized I had been making a terrible mistake. For years I’ve kept a spare key to my house and car in my wallet. Think about that. I carried around keys to everything I owned in my wallet; with my license, which has my address printed right on the front. If it were stolen that would be an invitation for the wrong kind of person to come help themselves. Sometimes I marvel at the blind spots that develop around convenience.

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Turn the awesome up to 11

Even robots rock to Ace of Spades. Proof that the Motorhead hit is the awesomest jam out song ever written. Seriously, I had to remove it from my iPod because every time it came on while I was riding I’d end up rolling about 20% faster than my skill level would allow.

I’m not sure why, but the drummer’s head bob makes me laugh. I hope this isn’t the last we’ve heard of Compressorhead.

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Total focus

A while ago Eric posted some video of the Isle of Mann TT. Irish Road Racing is in the same spirit of racing on closed public roads -and all the risk that entails- except instead of racing the clock, riders are racing an entire field of people whose idea of risk management is just as skewed.

It’s a throwback to an era when almost all racing took place on public roads. Sane people have since moved onto purpose built tracks, but there are still a few willing take the same risk as the old timers. Just take a second to think about what kind of focus and determination it takes to drive anything like that knowing that the wrong move at the wrong time, and you’re a grease stain.

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North Korea looking to open to foreign trade

tl;dr NoKo hiring Germans to bring order to autocratic society

The Un 450x432 North Korea looking to open to foreign trade

Has eaten recently. (img by dapd)

@Speigel Online:

On New Year’s Day, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for a “radical” economic renewal for his country and an end to decades of conflict with South Korea. Now, a German media report says he is moving quickly to fulfill at least the first pledge.

According to an article to be published on Saturday by the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the communist regime in Pyongyang is preparing to open up the country’s economy to foreign investors. Moreover, it has enlisted the assistance of German economists and lawyers to lay the groundwork for the move.

“There is a master plan,” one of the economists involved in the plan told the paper. “They want to open up this year.” The FAZ did not identify the economist, but noted that he works at a respected German university and that he had advised other governments in Asia in the past.

The economist told the paper that the country is primarily interested in modernizing its laws relating to foreign investment. However, North Korea is not intending to follow the Chinese model, which called for the creation of special economic zones for foreign investors, the economist told the FAZ. “Rather, they are interested in the Vietnamese model, in which specific companies were chosen as recipients of investments,” the source said.

Holy shitballs. Continue reading @Speigel Online.

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Abandoned Russian naval base

constrrusfleet001 11 450x747 Abandoned Russian naval base

constrrusfleet001 12 450x614 Abandoned Russian naval base

constrrusfleet001 10 450x337 Abandoned Russian naval base

This is a somewhat familiar sight to me, the abandoned military complex. We’ve talked about this type of urban exploration before and have even put together this guide for people who decide to poke their heads underground for a quick look-see.

I gotta remind you, though, everything down there is falling apart, including much of what you’ll be standing on. And the surface of everything is going to be rusting and growing weirdo no-light-needed life that’s guaranteed to be bad for you, and anything you’ll be standing in won’t be water, but some really damp heavy metals and other shit that is toxic in ways medical science has yet to fully understand.

And that’s assuming you don’t fall; falling being one of the greatest killers of mankind.

That being said, there’s only one way to get these pictures and go on this type of adventure, so get your fookin’ rope and goggle up, ’cause these places won’t be there forever. More pictures after the jump.  (more…)

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