How to Spot a Two-Way Mirror [Spot the Enemy]

Ever walked in to a room to wonder if behind that large mirror is a video camera, or worse, a team of people watching your every move? Want to find out how to check the mirror? Read on.

First off, don’t act suspicious. You don’t want to let on that you think it is a two way mirror because then you would lose your edge on the enemy. You can approach the mirror casually, as if checking yourself out. If you don’t mind looking a little silly to the would-be viewer, pretend as if you are alone and make some “sexy” faces, admiring your fine physic. Casually get closer to the mirror, as if staring into your own eyes, or checking you teeth for spinach. Then place your finger to the glass, the first test. If your nail touches the reflection, it is very likely to be a two way mirror. In a regular mirror, the fingernail does not touch the reflection.

Take a look at the mirror from a far. Is the mirror embedded in the wall or hung? Embedded in a wall is another good sign that the mirror is two ways. Another quick way is to inconspicuously shine a flashlight at the mirror, looking for light to appear on the other side.

Now, you should have a good idea what kind of mirror it is. Even if you think it is a one way mirror, always make sure to be careful about what you say and do. There might be hidden cameras and microphones in the room.


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Top 10 Winter Survival Tools and Tactics [Survival]

Lifehacker recently had this article about winter survival. I found this part interesting:

Forget what you’ve heard about cold-weather exercise—it’s perfectly fine, if you take the right precautions. offers up a few tips for keeping safe and warm on the roads, and Runner’s World offers a webapp designed to help you decide what you should wear. MetaFilter founder Matt Haughey has previously outlined the best gear for winter cycling. Some dreary days, though, it’s not the pants or gloves you need to get running, but motivation. One winter runner learned to trick her mind into running all winter, using a few tricks from psychology, chemistry, and plain old bragging rights. Photo by lululemon athletica. (Original post: myths, running, cycling, myths).


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How to Get Someone to Order A Dish [Screw With People’s Minds]

Book CoverAt one point in life, you realize that people are not doing what you want them to do. Let’s take, for example, a cook, who slaves over a hot stove for hours, creating dishes that would astound most. But every day, customers order the cheapest meal, perhaps the pasta. This is problem might be solved with a few changes to the menu. Don’t believe it? A recent article featuring William Poundstone discussed what goes into effective menus.

5. Columns Are Killers
According to Brandon O’Dell, one of the consultants Poundstone quotes in Priceless, it’s a big mistake to list prices in a straight column. “Customers will go down and choose from the cheapest items,” he says. At least the Balthazar menu doesn’t use leader dots to connect the dish to the price; that draws the diner’s gaze right to the numbers. Consultant Gregg Rapp tells clients to “omit dollar signs, decimal points, and cents … It’s not that customers can’t check prices, but most will follow whatever subtle cues are provided.”

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Read This: Predictably Irrational [Screw With People’s Minds]

Have you ever wanted to know how to sell more of something? Perhaps push a particular product? Well, look no further. Dan Ariely’s book, Predictably Irrational gives you an idea of why people do things. While I am sure the intention of the book was not to exploit people, you can use this knowledge to your advantage. Below is my review of Predictably Irrational for the upcoming blog, Cultureist.

You probably don’t realize it, but your mind is flawed. Very flawed. Here’s a simple example:


In our minds, it seems to show three different sized lines. Now instead of doing a fancy animation on how the lines are all actually the same size, I am going to let you take a good old fashioned piece of paper, and measure each line only to discover- they are all the same length!

This is just one of the hundreds of flaws contained in your mind. But why on earth would you want to learn how your mind is flawed?

It is depressing and seems unhelpful. Wrong. While it can be sad to realize this fact, we can learn. We can learn about the flaws in our minds so we can realize how we make decisions and in the future, be aware of bad decision making. This rationality of thinking is talked about a great deal in Dan Ariely’s book, Predictably Irrational.

One of my favorite things about the book is that it does not ramble on about brain waves and years of careful study, as what you would expect from a psychological book. Instead, it talks about down to earth experiments with interesting conclusions and how it relates to you.

Still not sure if you want to get the book? Take a look at Dan Ariely’s TED talk:

Ready to buy? Get Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely here.

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Type This: [Web Time]

I have talked previously about wtshtf, or when the sh*t hits the fan. Wtshtf can be described as when all hell brakes loose, when the sky falls or when, in milder terms- The END of the world as we know it. Now, while this seems pretty much like this, wtshtf is nothing to jeer at. While it may not be as dramatic as depicted above, it can be taken with just the right amount of seriousness. Which is prepare for the worst, hope for the best. is a forum dedicated to discussing the issues of this phenomena, and if you seem to be looking for some help in this matter. Self described as a “Modern Day Survival Forum”, the forum is sure to be an interesting source of information.

WhenSHTF Forum

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Read This: Emergency [Story Time]

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]

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]

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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