Read This: Emergency [Story Time]

December 30th, 2009 § 3 comments § permalink

Book Cover I have written about Emergency for the upcoming blog Cultureist and thought I would share my review with you here:

Ever seen those Jason Bourne films? You know, where Matt Damon is a trained assassin who travels the country with fake identities and amazing talents? Oh, I love those movies. And every time I watch one, my pulse rate goes up, and I start jumping around the room, pretending to stab someone in the neck with a ballpoint pen. All right, I really don’t do that.

Seriously, the point of that overly personal view of my life was to bring your attention to the tricks of the trade Bourne uses. One of them is storing money and a whole bunch of other stuff in “caches” in different banks around the world. And if you ever wanted to know how he managed to do that, this is your lucky day.

Emergency, an awesome book by Neil Strauss led me to discover how to be self-sufficient. That’s a tame way of saying it. The book shows you how to survive in the wilderness, survive urban life without electricity, basic survival skills and about escape and evasion. Don’t forget how to plant a little nest egg in another country for safe keeping. Wonderful. As Tim Ferris said “If you’ve ever wanted to beat the system, get off the grid, or become an escape artist, [Emergency] is your manual.”

Why would you want to read it? If it seems a little far-fetched that a  student needs to know how to kill an animal to eat, think again. While in a college class, you are not likely to be asked to do that, it can be helpful to know what to do when the sky comes falling down.

That being said, don’t hesitate to get the book. Any split second delay and you could be without power wondering how to survive without clean water for two days (hint: your neighbor’s pool is a nice place to bathe.)

You can purchase Emergency by Neil Strauss here.

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Wood Ash and Pee = Soil Fertilizer [Sustainable Food]

December 29th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Inspired by something I heard in Collapse, I did some research and found this article on the use of ash and urine to revive your soil.

Results of the first study evaluating the use of human urine mixed with wood ash as a fertilizer for food crops has found that the combination can be substituted for costly synthetic fertilizers to produce bumper crops of tomatoes without introducing any risk of disease for consumers. The study appears in the current issue of ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

In the study, Surendra Pradhan and colleagues point out that urine, a good source of nitrogen, has been successfully used to fertilize cucumber, corn, cabbage, and other crops. Only a few studies, however, have investigated the use of wood ash, which is rich in minerals and also reduces the acidity of certain soils. Scientists have not reported on the [combination] of urine and wood ash, they say.

Read the article in its entirety here.

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Behind the Scenes Peek at the Secret Service [Photo Essay]

December 28th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

In a rare instance of pulling back the curtain, the Secret Service granted Life permission to shoot some photos of them in action. In one shot, the caption shows how they protect the POTUS (President of the United States) when working a rope line.

When it comes to security at this level, one way to manage the risk of an AOP (“attack on the principal”) is to grab hold, and not let go. When the president works a rope line, one agent’s hand is never more than six inches away from him—and frequently rests right on his waist, or his back, or literally grips the back of his belt—ready to tackle the commander in chief in the event of an emergency, or spirit him away at any genuine sign of trouble.

Another photo describes the President’s limo, aptly nicknamed “The Beast”.

The Beast has its own air recirculation system to protect the president in the case of a chemical attack. Its doors are now sheathed in 8-inch-thick military-grade armor. Even the bulletproof windows are five inches thick. “The limousines of yesteryear were designed to provide protection and to get the president out of any situation,” Ken Lucci, CEO of Ambassador Limousine Inc. and owner of two Reagan-era limos, told CNN. “Today, they [the Secret Service] expect a prolonged attack, and they expect an attack that is a lot more violent than [with] a weapon you can hold in your hand. It literally is a rolling bunker.”

But this photo essay is not simply about procedures and tools that the Secret Service use. In this photo, the caption describes tactics to spot warning signs in crowds.

“You develop a knack,” Joe Petro told LIFE when asked about warning signs that agents look for when working near crowds. “You develop a way of watching. We all go through the same training, but we develop our own styles of scanning, assessing. We watch for someone who looks uncomfortable, or out of place. Dressed wrong for the weather. Someone unsmiling when everyone else is laughing and waving. And then, every once in a while, you catch someone staring at you. Maybe they’re just curious about the job, or you happened to lock eyes at the instant their gaze moved briefly from the center of attention. But it’s strange, and it definitely raises flags—even if a moment later it’s clear that it meant absolutely nothing.”

As it turns out, the Secret Service is not just dedicated to the President.

The Secret Service is not made up exclusively of agents wearing suits, ties, shades, and earpieces. In fact, as the agency’s “dual mission” is to both protect VIPs as well as safeguard the nation’s financial infrastructure (e.g., take down counterfeiters, fiscal gangsters, ID thieves, etc.), most agents spend as much time in SWAT-style gear as in white shirts and wingtips.

Ever wanted to know what equipment is available to the Secret Service? Here’s the lowdown:

[T]he weaponry available to agents is among the most advanced and lethal on the planet, including SIG Sauer P229 pistols fit with huge .357 cartridges; classic Remington 870 shotguns; light (7 lb.), 30-round, state-of-the-art M4 carbines; Uzis; and the compact, thoroughly nasty-looking Belgian FN P90 submachine gun (pictured) with a top-mounted magazine of armor-piercing rounds.

Highly interesting comments. Take a look for yourself at the photo essay here, and subscribe to Lone Iguana to get more awesome tips, tools and knowledge to arm yourself with.

via Gizmodo

Bonus: Interested in more Secret Service information? Grab this book about the service for details, and subscribe to stay tuned for reviews, articles and more.

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Watch This: Collapse [Movie Time]

December 27th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

Collapse is a new movie about the collapse of the economy and the breaking down in structure in the world today. In a interesting, noir-ish style, the film communicates the issues with the current crises and what you can do. Learn more information about the movie here, find showings near you here, or watch the movie online here.

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December 27th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

For the time being, while new content is being created, stay content with this quick blurb about the blog:

Here is the logic: Many kids, adults and in between love the idea of masterminds, thieves and spies. This is shown in the enormous interest in James Bond, Jason Bourne, Batman, etc. These are all cool jobs that many would like to have or try out. The Art of Manliness is running a series called So You Want My Job and a now inactive site, Tricks of the Trade also satisfied this craving. But for those that love learning tips and tricks of cool “trades” this blog is a must.

So… be sure not to miss any new posts on the topic, subscribe!

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