We are all being watched

peekaboo 450x322 We are all being watched

img by Front404

What better day to point this out than the 110th anniversary of George Orwell’s birth? Artists and social commenter Front404 used Orwell’s birthday to bring attention to this fact by putting party hats on every security camera they could find.

Take a few minutes to examine the areas near your home and see how many security cameras you can see that are filming public areas. Still think no one will see you picking that booger?

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5 tips for surviving an economic disaster

OK, so this guy’s five tips really boil down to “have important stuff and keep it safe.” Having plenty of important stuff is important for dealing with serious stuff. Gotcha.

But as a survivor of an economic crisis and witness to others of late he makes one strong point: have cash money. Make it rain.

Hyperinflation is one possible result of economic meltdown, but it’s not necessarily the result, and even after it starts, having a supply of cash on-hand is a good idea. Cash, even in an economic disaster, has value for a time.

If you don’t have twenty minutes to listen to the guy ramble, the types important stuff to have in case of serious stuff are pretty straight-forward and can be classified as a couple of things:

  • Have safe stuff: high ground, shelter, layered security, and safes for your important stuff,
  • Have important stuff: money, money alternatives, water, food, ammo, etc.

That’s pretty much it. His suggested money alternatives are get an offshore bank account and get some precious metal currency. There are still limits to gold and silver, but if you have that, cash, and stuff to barter with, well, you won’t die.

Also, be wary of any Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. After the collapse, they go evil.

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Parenting for zombies: ‘CARGO’

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ACLU Launches Nationwide Police Militarization Investigation

militarized police puppetgov 450x340 ACLU Launches Nationwide Police Militarization Investigation

tl;dr damn police, you scary!

@Huffpo

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has launched a nationwide campaign to assess police militarization in the United States. Starting Wednesday, ACLU affiliates in 23 states are sending open records requests to hundreds of state and local police agencies requesting information about their SWAT teams, such as how often and for what reasons they’re deployed, what types of weapons they use, how often citizens are injured during SWAT raids, and how they’re funded. More affiliates may join the effort in the coming weeks.

Additionally, the affiliates will ask for information about drones, GPS tracking devices, how much military equipment the police agencies have obtained through programs run through the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security, and how often and for what purpose state National Guards are participating in enforcement of drug laws.

“We’ve known for a while now that American neighborhoods are increasingly being policed by cops armed with the weapons and tactics of war,” said Kara Dansky, senior counsel at the ACLU’s Center for Justice, which is coordinating the investigation. “The aim of this investigation is to find out just how pervasive this is, and to what extent federal funding is incentivizing this trend.”

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Lying liars of multi-tasking

texting 450x337 Lying liars of multi tasking

img by mrJasonWeaver

Multi-tasking has been a workplace buzzword for more than a decade. For years I kept an ugly secret; I couldn’t really multi-task. I just couldn’t get my brain engaged on simultaneous tasks adequately enough to do a good job with both of them. One or both of the tasks would end up looking like the dogs breakfast. About five years ago I was vindicated when I heard this story on the radio.

“People can’t multitask very well, and when people say they can, they’re deluding themselves,” said neuroscientist Earl Miller. And, he said, “The brain is very good at deluding itself.”

Last week those earlier findings were bolstered by this study. Both studies show basically the same results; a nominally functioning brain really can’t multitask, and when we try, we end up doing a poor job at two—or more—tasks.

There was a negative correlation between multitasking ability and practice: Those who performed worse on the test were the most frequent multitaskers in real life. The subjects in the top 25 percent of performers on the multitasking test were also the least likely to multitask.

What our brains are good at is breaking big tasks into small components, and then sequencing the components of Task A with the components of Task B. This allows us to squeeze more productivity into a given period of time because we take the lulls and waiting around involved in Task A, and use that time to move Task B forward. Sequencing becomes even more proficient as we get more familiar with both Task A and B.

Take this knowledge and store it in your back pocket for the next time someone tries to imply you need to improve your multi-tasking. You’ll look smarter than them, probably because you are, and most people lose their steam when you trounce all over their argument before they really get rolling.

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Meteor detonates over Russia, or This is why we need NASA

“After the flash, nothing happened for about three minutes. Then we rushed outdoors The door was made of glass, a shock wave made it hit us,” said Yekaterina Melikhova.

Later Friday, an asteroid known as the 2012 DA14 as due to come within 17,100 miles of Earth at 2:24 p.m. ET, a record close-approach for an asteroid this size.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the incident showed the need for leading world powers to develop a system to intercept objects falling from space.

“At the moment, neither we nor the Americans have such technologies” to shoot down meteors or asteroids, he said, according to the Interfax news agency.

We don’t have a way to stop planet-killers (although 2012 DB14 isn’t). Not that people don’t have good ideas, but most—if not all, still the most viable solutions—we can’t put into motion. We don’t have a heavy-lift space platform, because we retired the Shuttle.

And even still, the Shuttle wasn’t the most powerful, that title is still held by the Saturn rocket. The preeminent vehicle mankind has ever endeavored was the Saturn, which was designed with slide rulers.

A while back I read “Space Chronicles” by Neil deGrasse Tyson, an interesting albeit somewhat repetitive collection of essays. Tyson makes four very strong arguments for why people should be willing to give a latte’s worth of money a year to NASA and why NASA needs to build a new heavy-lift platform.

  • We need to go to Mars. With people. If we ever expect to understand life, answer the question, “How did we get here?” it’ll be on Mars,
  • You can thank NASA for pretty much everything. All your Walkmans and airplanes and microwave ovens can trace a near-direct lineage to the space program, and if we want new science, we need to spend money on it
  • If an asteroid is out to get us, we can’t do jack about it. Russia is keenly aware of this today,
  • A fourth point I can’t ever remember. It was a while back, I read the book right when it came out.

Anyway, shit got real today, this is a stark reminder of how fragile things are. Hug a loved one today, we all got lucky for the trillionth time.

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