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Last minute pro tips:
1. 5 gallon buckets (available at Lowes and Home Depot for example) are great for use in storing water, food, or used as a latrine. A potty seat is available at camping stores that fit on top of the bucket. Lids are available that make the buckets pretty much waterproof. You can also store non-food items that are at risk of water damage.
2. A decent flashlight is a must. LED and at least 100 lumen or greater. Waterproof is a huge plus. Most high end flashlights are about 300+ Lumens and are waterproof. Avoid batteries that are AAA, C, D, 9V. AA and 18650 Lithium rechargeables work great. CR123A are ok and common for high end flashlights. The batteries are not as easily found as AA but they are available at Lowes, Home Depot, and any store carrying camping goods. CR123A rechargeables are not advised as they tend to shut off when running low, giving little to no warning when they are nearing end of charge. 18650’s do the same but I have found they last longer and give more warnings, like dimming lights or causing the flashlight to switch to a lower lumen mode.
Olight S1R Turbo S rechargeable 900 Lumens CREE XP-L LED Flashlight
Great tactical light-
Fenix Flashlights FX-PD35TAC Flashlight, 1000 Lumen
3. Cell phones are likely to have coverage loss during disasters, but they are still recommended since they may still offer signal and a way to call for help, receive information, and entertain one while they wait for the all clear. Use waterproof pouches like Dandy Case, they are reusable and water tight. A zip loc bag works in a pinch. Squeeze out as much air as possible. Double bag for extra protection. Bring a power bank for recharging. Old cell phones that no longer have active service (working SIM) are great for emergencies. Charge them fully, shut off, and place in a waterproof bag. They work like a tablet and can be used to call 911.
4. Food. Count on the loss of power, so all refrigerated food will be lost. Obviously eat that first. Don’t count on utilities like natural gas or running water. A propane grill or camping stove is a great way to cook during power loss. Have canned goods, freeze dried food, dry goods like crackers, beans, and rice on-hand for long term. You can go 30 days without food, but you can only survive a few days without water. If you run out of stored water, a water filter is a great backup plan. Katadyne and other manufacturers offer pumps, water bottles with built in filters, and real time filtration like the Life Straw. Always have a filter as a backup to bottled water.
5. Remember survival fundamentals: avoid injury, regulate core temperature, stay dry, hydrate, and maintain food rations.
6. Self defense may become necessary. Firearms work well if the operator has training. Non-lethal options like pepper spray are a good backup. I advise against stun guns, they don’t work when they get wet and you run the risk of shocking yourself, and they must be used at close range. I also advise against bladed weapons unless you are an expert in hand to hand combat. The best solution is avoidance. De-escalate when possible. Situational awareness is 80% of the battle.
7. Transportation. Last minute evacuation or escape (from imminent threat) may be necessary. Keeping a kayak or inflatable boat is recommended if possible. Inflatable mattresses work in a pinch but are not stable and hard to navigate (i.e. you fall off when sitting on the edge – required to paddle). Cars aren’t always practical – flooded roads, traffic jams, fallen trees, eroded roads, and other obstacles are likely. A motorcycle is the best solution for long distance travel on less than favorable terrain. Bicycles are excellent as they don’t require gas but range is obviously limited. Evaluate what you have and what you are capable of using. I.e. small children rule out some options.
8. Communication and plan. Have a plan and communicate it with friends and family. One of the biggest problems with war and natural disasters is the lack of communications. Communication is essential to avoid unnecessary casualties. i.e. relative goes looking for you when you are safe, and is injured or killed unnecessarily. Evacuation plan. Meetup points/times. Don’t count on the cell phone. 2-way radios when close enough. Have a paper map or waterproof GPS device for navigation.
9. Tools. Have a knife on you at all times. Fixed blades are most useful for survival but quality folders work well and are more practical in certain situations. Multi-tools work well for various purposes but are poor knives (clumsy). In emergencies a tool may be required to fix or build something that can provide transportation, shelter, etc. It’s hard to tell what will be needed ahead of time. Large tool sets work well when bugging in. Go lightweight when bugging out. There are some most frequently used tools that can be carried – Leatherman with bit set. Fire starter is handy but I recommend the small Bic lighters. Get a handful for a buck each and they last a long time. Carry several.
Benchmade – Griptilian 551 Knife, Drop-Point, plain edge with satin finish
Swiss army knife
Leatherman – Wave Multitool, Stainless Steel
Leatherman 931014 Black 21 Piece Bit Kit
Fixed blade knife with kydex sheath – Boker Magnum Urban King Knife Fixed Blade
10. Secure property. Put up shutters, tie down things, bring stuff inside.
bug in vs. bug out
Bug out bag
Rules of survival
regulate core temp
powerbank for cell
case for phone
Skim the material beforehand
If you are familiar with the subject, or have prior knowledge that can be associated with the new knowledge, the new material will be retained more effectively.
immerse yourself in the material. Don’t read with the TV on. Read with deliberate practice.
repeat the material to remember better
teach it to others, or prepare to teach it
Those in multi-sensory environments always do better than those in uni-sensory environments. They have more recall with better resolution that lasts longer.
I find that auditory lends itself better to storytelling and less so to lists. Visual is the master for techniques with details or diagrams with much detail or interrelation. Pictures are better than words alone, and videos are better than pictures. Example of a list style book is The Millionaire Next Door. Storytelling book example are any by Malcolm Gladwell.
When I teach salsa, the students that do best are those who show up every week. Those who practice outside class are much better than those who only dance in class.
The title of the book sounds like the author, Mark Manson, will teach you not to care. In fact the book is all about learning how to care in the right way. The author wants you to care about things that serve you, that are truly important in life. we sweat the small stuff and that drains us from giving proper energy to the best stuff. Like Gary Keller’s The One Thing, care about what is most important to you, and care less (or not at all) about everything else.
The more you pursue something the more it reminds you of the fact that you don’t have what you pursue. Pursuing positive things is a negative experience and pursuing pain and suffering is a positive experience.
Emotions are signals to take action. Negative emotions are a call to action while positive ones are a reward for success.
the author talked about how in Russia they are candid and tell it like it is
Take responsibility for your circumstance, regardless if it was your initial fault or not.
I recommend of Viktor Frankl. He says you make meaning of what happens to you. The author has similar sentiments.
We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can control how we interpret and respond.
The happiness of pursuit (book recommendation).
We are always chasing the next high. Don’t do things that make you feel good, do things that give you purpose. It’s good if some things make you feel good – but you won’t always feel that way (sometimes working out sucks) so using ‘feeling good” as a barometer of whether or not to do something is a very bad idea. It is better to Commit to activities that are fulfilling, better to be satisfied than happy.
Back in the day we were in competition for survival, today we are in competition for “status”. Status is an illusion. Modern “success” seems to be measured in your house/car/girlfriend/FB status.
Author discusses diminishing returns and after a certain amount of money you really don’t get happier.
Focus on the process, not the end result. Pursuing a process is a rewarding experience.
People need adversity in their lives. It’s true that rough seas make the best sailors.
When we try to eliminate hardship, we shortcut the process. We learn from mistakes. Working towards a goal makes it more enjoyable once the goal is achieved. I equate good vs. bad experiences like tasting sweets vs. salty. If you have all of one and not enough of the other, you get numb to the overall experience. Don’t try to be “a happy person” all the time. Be realistic.
Practice gratitude when possible.
People who try to be happy all the time are delusional.
“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” -Albert Camus
Push through the adversity and pain by not giving a F about the bad.
We are all going to die someday. Once you release your fear of death, you increase your ability to live, uninhibited. The author spent a lot of time on the death concept.
The human mind has a tendency to invent problems when you don’t have any in order to fill the void.
Suffering is inevitable. What you resist persists. Push through it.
Being concerned with what others think doesn’t serve you. The author feels it’s due to what values you hold. This makes sense and I will add that you should not have an external locus of control. You need to refocus to having an internal locus of control, so that your feelings and the decisions you make are based on your core values.
Rather than focus on the way you think things should be, its better to focus on what is. Got dealt a raw deal? Accept the situation, stop feeling sorry for yourself, and move on. Take action and fix it. Own it.
The author talks about how unreliable memory is. False memory of molestation.
One of the most insidious foes we face is entitlement. When we feel entitled to a reward, we seem to stop working towards it. Also when we suffer a setback we spend more time resenting the setback than working to make up lost ground. Whether you had it and lost it, or never had it to begin with, we must own our current circumstance and work towards where we want to be.
Fight Club-ish quote: We work at jobs we hate to buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like.
The majority of people cannot be above average. People tend to feel they are a special. You are not. You may not be special to (many) others, but you are special to you. So be kind to yourself. You are not a special snowflake in the sense that your problems are not unique. This may be depressing at first, but it becomes comforting when you think more about it. Common problems have been solved many times before – and you can solve all your problems more easily than you think. And since the problems are so common, you are likely to find solutions and how-to’s out there that will make your challenge easier to overcome. If someone else has done it, so can you.
Picasso napkin – lesson learned, don’t ask for the napkin. Fish it out of the trash instead.
We get better slowly over time. Don’t expect instant success.
The more you progress, the better and/or harder your problems get.
Something I got out of this book, be it directly from the author or indirectly is this: Often we hide from challenge because we are afraid of failure, or we are avoiding pain of some type (the more you ask for, the more you get in severity or quantity). Don’t retreat from the challenge. If anything charge at it. Let yourself throttle the pain/load. For example, in the workplace – ask for difficult or high volume work if you feel you can handle it. Also don’t be afraid to tell work that you need time off. Defend your borders. Don’t become a workaholic. One of the lessons in the book is to not to live for work. The F’s you give need to be things like “family first” and “when you die what will be your regrets?”. Once your boundaries are set, feel free to go all in on your work. This distinction is important and nuanced. It’s a challenging balance to become the go-to pro at work and also put your personal time first. Avoid the American pitfall of thinking the 80 hr workweek is heroic. It’s not. It’s suicide. Granted times will arise where you must push hard to get a goal. Make sure it’s a goal you really want. Use these 80 hr weeks prudently as they come at a cost.
As technology progresses, so will your exposure to more/differing ideas. Be prepared for this.
The same way everyone reports only the best and most exciting things in their social media, the news sensationalizes everything – because of revenue. If it bleeds it leads. You will be bombarded with how awesome everyone else is. You will feel that you really suck. Don’t fall for this. There is NO overnight sensation or BORN talent. Everyone must work very hard for many years in order to get good at something. Just like how people post pictures of their European vacation but never the mundane daily commute to work and all the bills they pay.
The author states the more uncomfortable an answer is the more likely it is to be true. I would modify that statement to read the more uncomfortable an answer is for you to hear, the more important it is for you to receive it. The theme here is take criticism of all forms and make it constructive by taking action.
People who base their self-worth on being right all the time prevent themselves from improvement and learning from their mistakes. You must empty your cup before your teacher can fill it. Ryan Holiday in Ego is the Enemy stated that ego prevents us from advancing – how can you improve if you think you are perfect already?
People want to always be happy and successful. This is not the key, we are better off accomplishing things and persevering through adversity. The feeling at the end of that is more sustainable and healthier for people. Chasing the next high is like eating cookies.
Your identity is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Be inspired to do something. Then derive inspiration from the accomplishment which fuels the next endeavor. This is an upward spiral.
How does one be a prolific writer? “200 crappy words per day”
The author talks about going deep, plant roots. There is joy in focusing from breadth to depth.
The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker
Life isn’t just one big problem to solve. If we avoid problems we won’t be happy. We have to learn to enjoy solving problem. And we need to be careful which problems we choose to solve. It’s ok not to finish #1 in every contest you enter. You can’t be the best at everything. However if you focus and work hard you can be the best at something, or at least really good at it.
Originally it was thought that the predictor of a person being successful was IQ. Traditional intelligence is a critical factor to being successful, however there are some attributes to intelligence that can lead to ones downfall. One is ego. Ego is the enemy. Also Tetlock in Superforecasting determined that the most intelligent forecasters were not necessarily the most accurate. IQ is definitely a contributing factor but by itself insufficient to success.
EQ was thought to be the secret to success, a critical requirement for leadership. Imagine how helpful it is for leaders in general and successful people specifically to achieve success through the help of others. The best way to elicit others help and motivate them is via EQ. While EQ is definitely a strength that facilitates success, it alone is also insufficient.
Some people think Darwin is quoted as saying “It Is Not the Strongest of the Species that Survives But the Most Adaptable.” There is a theory that it was someone else discussing Darwin who said it. Either way everyone can agree that evolution and adaptation is essential of the success of a species. Life is the best test of success. Who survives? Everything stems from evolution. Biological evolution has been studied for many decades and is well understood now, but how does adaptability apply to success in the modern world? We have so many technological advantages today that almost everyone can survive, and even thrive. The strongest by far are not the advantaged anymore. Evolution applied to a product means that the company who manufactures it is constantly improving it based on its’ success and customer feedback. Evolution applied to personal development is constant improvement. Go with what works, and drop or fix what doesn’t. Adaptability is a powerful skill to improve oneself and be successful. But alone it is not the sole key to success.
Gratitude helps one cope with the stress of life. They say one can’t feel gratitude and be depressed or sad. Feeling gratitude eliminates the negative feelings that produce stress hormones. Also negative thinking wires the brain for failure.
The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – But Some Don’t by Nate Silver
Nate silver writes on his blog http://fivethirtyeight.co
Every prediction always needs the proper assessment of a human being.
You can use Bayes’ theorem to account for errors in your own predictions.
describes the probability of an event, based on prior knowledge of conditions that might be related to the event. For example, if cancer is related to age, then, using Bayes’ theorem, a person’s age can be used to more accurately assess the probability that they have cancer, compared to the assessment of the probability of cancer made without knowledge of the person’s age.
The more famous a political pundit/expert is the more likely they are to be incorrect on average.
Averaging across individual experts’ forecasts provides better forecasts than the average for any one individual, the difference being about 15-20%
Some experts are better than others. Experts who do better tend to be multidisciplinary, pursue multiple approaches to forecasting at the same time, be willing to change their minds, offer probabilistic prediction
This episode is part of the Systems engineering for non-systems people series.
Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson discusses why and how things become popular. He has thoroughly researched his material and the book is written in a storytelling manner which lends itself fantastically to audio. I highly recommend this book for its educational value as well as how easy and enjoyable it is to read (or listen to). You will get a lot out of this book whether you read it for leisure or to self-educate. I highly recommend this book.
My observation of the author’s work is that that there are 2 ways in which something can become popular, organically or promoted. I have seen this many times outside the book. In social media advertising regarding content there are organic vs. paid views. Analytics are gathered and classified as organic when the post receives views naturally, usually based on the value of the post. One can also pay for views which can be considered advertising (boost your post). These are considered paid views. Likewise a song can become a hit organically if it is great and gets circulated by a fan base (which includes DJ’s and non-paid reviews by popular people). Also a song can be promoted (pushed) by a label and through intentional means become a hit.
Personal anecdote: I went to a country bar to take swing dance lessons. They played country music mixed in with the dance music, and after the lesson it was mostly country. I eventually grew to like country. I never liked the old school twangy country, and I do like modern country, so it could have been a combination of exposure and the modernization of the country music genre that caused me to like it.
Organic ideas can be like a pressure cooker over time, the artist builds skill or a body of work, creates a following and marches towards critical mass until the artist and the art can no longer be unknown.
the work or the artist gets picked up in a popular news feed or reviewed in an outlet (like the TV show Oprah), the one to many (millions) multiplier effect kicks in.
One good idea or funny thing gets shared and a geometric multiplying factor happens.
Chewbacca Mom is an example of an average person’s video going “viral”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?
The author states “Quality, it seems, is a necessary, but insufficient attribute for success.”
And I’d like to add that the quality is very subjective. There are some TV shows and songs that I find total rubbish, however they are mega hits. I guess they better not put me in charge of picking the new hits. LOL.
People are both “neophilic – curious to discover new things – and deeply neophobic – afraid of anything that’s too new. I see a parallel in political views. Conservatives hold value in old and traditional ways (neophobic) while liberals and progressives embrace change (neophilic).
and Lullaby has origins in a folksong that was widely known back in the day.
The author discusses how going viral is nothing like a virus. With a virus the spread of the contagion occurs from one individual to another single individual and repeated many times. In modern life when a YouTube video or social media meme goes viral it occurs when a few people with a very large audience shares it. One-to-many such as a book appearing on Oprah.
Some trends grow in popularity then lose their appeal over time. The laugh track on TV sitcoms is one example. TV shows were recorded in front of live audiences to give it more of a “fresh” and real feeling. Then the audience was dropped, I assume because of budget or time constraints, so they added a laugh track and played it every time something funny happened. As TV evolved to more a movie-like feel, the laugh track became a parody of itself. Movies are “big-time” and TV wanted to emulate this, so they did away with TV like things and now TV shows are like short movies.
Raymond Loewy created MAYA which means Most Advanced Yet Acceptable. Examples of this were discussed such as mimeographs, trashbins, bullet-shaped train locomotives, Coldspot refrigerators, and Lucky Strike cigarette packs.
Casandra syndrome – occurs when valid warnings or concerns are dismissed or disbelieved. Also
when someone has a realization and nobody believes them. I see an example of this is when Michael Burry profits from creating credit default swaps by betting against market-based mortgage-backed securities. One way you can be victim of the Casandra syndrome is if you see a black swan event (Nassim Nicholas Taleb) coming before anyone else, but nobody will believe you. This does happen every once in a while due to the law of large numbers. Easily foreseen events are acted upon frequently because they are easily seen. This is why Black Swan events are so impactful.
“the impressionist canon focuses on a tight cluster of seven core painters: Manet, Monet, Cézanne, Degas, Renoir, Pissarro, and Sisley – the Caillebotte Seven. When painter and collector Gustave Caillebotte donated his art collection upon his untimely death, his donation helped to create the impressionist canon. The power of repeated exposure, whether it is paintings that are exhibited or other things is a powerful tool in determining what is a hit.
What makes a song succeed? “Even at the dawn of the American music business, to make a song a hit, a memorable melody was secondary to an ingenious marketing campaign.”
The author makes a note how people claim that new forms of media kill old ones. Newspapers, radio, TV, internet. VHS, DVD, Netflix. The truth is that the popularity of media evolves, yes. However older forms of media still exist. Despite the internet we still have magazines, newspapers, and radio/TV shows. However people do prefer on-demand vs. broadcast due to its’ convenience, binge watching ability, and an all-you-can-eat plan.
“Does great art begin with feedback, or does it start with the opposite–a quiet space, devoid of distractions, where creators can turn the spotlight inward and make something mostly for themselves?”
“perhaps the best writers also knew to just do the work and forget, for a moment, that anyone would ever read their reverie”
Many works of art were undervalued or underappreciated in their day. Some because of feedback loop, others because ahead of their time (maybe too much novelty, not enough familiarity?).
“there is such a thing as too much familiarity. It’s everywhere, in fact. It’s hearing a catchy song for the tenth time in a row, watching a movie that is oh so predictably uncreative, or hearing a talented speaker use over familiar buzzword after buzzword. In fluency studies, the power of familiarity is discounted when people realize that the moderator is trying to browbeat them with the same stimulus again and again. This is one reason why so much advertising doesn’t work: People have a built-in resistance to marketing that feels like it’s trying to seduce them.”
Facebook changed news delivery. Many people get news from Facebook now. Facebook has algorithms that control what comments and news and ads you see. Facebook likes, shares and comments pour into an algorithm that is constantly reordering the feed to surface the most relevant stuff at the top. People who see positive articles are more positive in their posts, and likewise for negative articles. Moods are contagious.
Click-bait headlines: “Wonder about/if you think. The answer will surprise you.”
Aspirational vs. actual behavior
McDonalds offers healthy options on the menu to get you in the door. (aspirational behavior) However when the people ordered food, unhealthy decisions outnumber healthy ones. (actual behavior).
Kay Kamen (Herman Samuel Kominetsky) Baltimore, Russian emigre, hs dropout, juvenile penitentiary in teens, selling mink hats in Nebraska, unattractive but successful salesman, in 1920s, specialized in developing products based on movies, 1932 saw Mickey Mouse cartoon and recognized the mouse could be a star beyond movies, called walt and Roy: “let me sell your cartoon mouse.” He suggested move MM out of dime store into dept stores, which was where consumers were moving.
Signed to license Disney character merchandising worldwide. Hollywood regarded toys as ads for movies. Kamen saw the money in merchandising. Biggest: Mickey Mouse watch, which debuted Chicago World Fair in 1933.
People find a blend of many average faces more attractive to a classically attractive face. Apparently average is attractive.
People are born average (homogeneous) and die unique (specialized).
Radio airplay products of testing and distribution strategies that ran on sheet music and shoe leather.
SPotify playlist by Napster cofounder Sean Parker credited with launching Lorde’s “Royals” 2013. Tastemakers. Call Me Maybe didn’t take off for a year until Justin Bieber praised it on Twitter.
HitPredictor (iHeart Media, the largest owner of radio stations in the US), predicts based on playing a hook from a new song to online audience 3 times — to capture the catchiness in a vacuum, numerical rating. But: every year catchy songs don’t become hits.
Streaming internet radio station was picking songs it thought listeners liked. Then the database was erased and they started from scratch.
Repetition has made aphorisms sound true. “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit….an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
aphorism – a pithy observation that contains a general truth, such as, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”.
To be interesting, be interested.
Tips for using personal time to become more productive.
Learning time – when I run I listen to audio books or podcasts.
Also take time out to read.
Meditation time – bike riding or walks are meditation time for me.
Exercise gets the heart pumping which also stimulates the brain. Sitting is the new smoking.
Time block but inside the blocks be flexible. Take breaks. It’s part of the creative process.
The brain is an additive device. You can’t subtract ideas.
Don’t think of a pink elephant.
You can add new things, but can’t intentionally forget an idea or memory.
Stressful or unproductive experience – how to mitigate this?
People will obsess over an idea, especially if it is strongly emotional.
People can’t help but have their thought drawn to strong emotional experiences, even when this doesn’t serve you well.
If these thoughts enter your mind, say STOP! out loud. If in public think it or whisper it. But the louder you do it the more effective it will be.
The external command of saying stop has a larger impact than just thinking it.
Modalities for example, loud and close have larger impact than small and far away.
Thinking about a bad experience doesn’t add new information that will help you, all it does is have you relive it over and over again. This is not productive. It induces stress and anxiety.
I am not saying resist. What you resist persists. So think and feel it once. Then let it go.
Address what you need to do, pay a fine, search for a job, whatever you need to do to seek closure. But make sure your actions are productive.
Looking for new information is an external process, not internal. Obsessing over it by thinking of it constantly is highly unlikely to help you remember something new. You are better served to investigate this on the external.
This can be easier said than done. A strategy is needed to help you forget unproductive things.
If you are obsessing over mad experiences you are paying an opportunity cost by not thinking of good and productive things.
Saying stop will give you an interrupt if you are thinking of something unproductive. This alone is not enough because in the presence of a vacuum your brain will drift off to the most sticky thought and that is most likely the thing you are trying to forget. You need to displace the bad thought with a good thought.
Occupy your thoughts with productive things. Imagine your mind is a glass of water. The bad thought is hot water, scolding water. Now imagine a good thought is like pouring cold water into this glass. The hot and cold water mixes creating warm water. Warm water is more tolerable when you stick your hand in it. Preoccupying your mind with productive or good thoughts will distract you from the bad thoughts.
Whenever you think of something you reinforce it. The goal is to think of good things and reinforce those neural pathways. The less you think of the bad thought, the more it fades into obscurity. Time heals all wounds. Eventually you will forget the bad thought. Feed the good wolf, not the bad one.
Everyone inside them has a good wolf and a bad wolf. Which one wins? The one you feed.