Paracord Handles for Jeep Wrangler


This was a cool project, that brought together to great passions- driving a Jeep and making paracord bracelets with skulls 🙂

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The handles are 8 inches, king cobra weave to give them a great grip. I’ve seen other people do 10 to 12 inches on the handle, and I tried it, but it just felt like too much, and made getting in the jeep awkward.

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The loops are 10 inches, with a single cobra weave, and seem to work really well and don’t slide around, so everything feels secure.

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I am going to add at least two more handles for the back seat…. maybe four more. And I think I want one down the center of the roof too.

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What do you think?

 

 

MX Linux MicroSD Card Install After a Week


MX Linux has received a lot of attention and kudos lately, and I have had it on my desktop for a few months, but honestly haven’t used it that much, because I just don’t tend to use my desktop too often. So after trying Solus, and Zorin on my ultrabook, which were both really slick, modern, and appealing, I wanted something that was easier to tinker with for me, and as MX Linux is based on Debian, there were a lot more repos and packages available. I was also hoping that switching to MX would improve the 3.5-4 minute boot times on my laptop that I got with Solus and Zorin.

Screenshot

So I installed MX Linux, and a little over a week on, I love it on my laptop. Unfortunately, the boot time is about the same as with Zorin and Solus, but I think I can live with that. Once I boot up, I don’t usually have to reboot very often, just close the lid, the laptop sleeps, I open the lid, and the screen is on, and PC humming along well before it is at eye level.

There are some great things in MX. One thing that really floored me was after I added a few repos from MX and Debian. After adding in the Apt address, and updating, I found that the GPG keys were missing. I haven’t done this in a few years, so checked in a few Linux forums for how to add the GPG key files, and had no luck, then when doing something else, in the MX Start menu, under the MX Tools, I found, “MX Fix GPG Keys”, which automatically scanned all my sources and added GPG key files for any that were missing. Wow!

There are a ton of MX Tools, which is awesome, and really highlights the strength and energy of the community.

Screenshotmenu

A little customization with MX Tweak, installed a few themes and icon sets, installed Plank, Guake, Mega, KDE Connect to sync with my phone, and it’s kicking ass!

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I’ve had a couple freezes, which sucks, looking at you KDE Connect, haha, just kidding, who knows what it is. It could be Flash on Firefox, which usually works fine, but is finicky even on Windows, or some other process or program. Which actually brings me to another great thing about MX Linux, which is that it is a rolling release, so you don’t have to wait for big releases for updates, they come out as the developers release them. I actually really love KDE Connect. I  have been using it to sync up, and get notifications from my phone, explore, copy and paste files from my phone to my laptop, and other super secret spy stuff. Really a great program, that has made the laptop much more functional.

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It has been a few years since I’ve installed Linux on a laptop, and there have been a lot of upgrades and improvements under the hood. On my old XPS laptop, and Alienware laptop, even though I loved it, Linux always seemed to run hot and used a lot of RAM and CPU, but now the system is quiet and cool. I also have learned to watch out for background processes that can hijack hardware resources too. I installed Dropbox, which I haven’t used in years, and thought would be nice, but it really seemed to suck up a lot of RAM and CPU, even when idle, so I ditched it for Mega, which is better anyways, and definitely much friendlier to resources.

I also, in the mean time, installed BionicPup, a cool version of Puppy Linux to another SD card, and the boot time was just over a minute, which is great, but that install has it’s own issue , so after an evening playing around with it, I went back to MX. Probably write that up later.

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So overall, even with a few hiccups, I’m loving MX Linux on the laptop!

Loving Zorin Linux


So I went from Solus linux, which I really liked, but still took 2 minutes and 20 seconds to boot from the micro SD card, to Zorin Linux, which I have always kind of resisted for years. O e kf my buddies swears by it, but the whole replacement for windows thing always kind of soured me on it. But, I read it was a fast booting system, so I reluctantly gave it a try. And I love it. It has a really nice look and feel, and when I switched to a gnome 3 style desktop and added Cairo dock, it’s just awesome. It take over 3 minutes to boot, so I am thinking either my micro SD card is really slow, or there may be a hardware issue with this particular laptop and it’s SD card reader.

I have puppy Linux lined up next, on a separate SD card, it’s an old traditional SD card from an old unused camera.

See how it goes.

Installing & Booting Linux from an (micro) SD Card


Ive been playing around with trying to get Linux installed and booting from an SD card on a laptop for a couple years. At first I was using UnetBootin to install an ISO to the SD card, and with Voyager Linux I was able to kind of enable persistence between boots. I got really excited when I found out MX Linux is able to run as a live iso, but that it enables persistence between boots.

I was able to boot with MX linux on the sd card, but for some reason it MX would not recognize that it was running from an SD card, and even though it booted to grub, it wouldn’t actually load the OS, because it could/t find a CD or USB drive- argh!

So then I got the idea of running MX Linux from a USB drive in Live mode, and installing the OS to the SD card, just like it was a partition of the hard drive, and…SUCCESS!!! Just make sure to install an MBR with Grub to the root partition.

It booted up and everything was perfect, I was able to install programs from synaptic, and there the were after a reboot.

The one minor wrinkle was that a boot up to MX Linux took over 3 minutes. That was mildly annoying at first, then very, very annoying as time went on.

So now I am doing the same thing with Solus Linux 4- which is not based on Ubuntu, and is supposed to be one of the fastest booting Linuxes. So stay tuned. Solus 4 just came out, and I am excited to see what it is like. And if I don’t like it, it’s on to Puppy Linux!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump’s DoubleBind


Reuters has an interesting article on how Trump is failing to fire up the conservative base. I the think the problem is actually deeper than that.

Here is one of the charts they use to illustrate their point:

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Their main point is that Trump is down 20 points (61.5%-82.6%) with moderately conservative voters, compared to Romney in 2012. What i find striking is that he is also down by 10 points (74.1%-83.9%) with Very Conservative men as well. This may mean that if Trump finds a way to win over the moderates, he may very well further alienate the  die-hards. So  he’s down 10 now with the far right, and he moves to the middle on some issues, which he may have already started to do over this past weekend, then he improves his standing with the moderates, but he looses ground with the far-right doctrinaires.

 

Adding the Wim Hof Technique to My Meditation Practice


 

I’ve recently added the Wim Hof breathing and meditation to my daily meditation practice. I’ve read a lot about him, and seen him on some documentaries, and it is hard to argue that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, so  I decided to try out his breathing technique just to see what it was like,  and was quite surprised with how deep and quiet my normal meditation is after doing the Wim Hof breathing.

Wim Hof

Wim hof is a guy from Holland who holds over 20 Guiness World Records, most of them having to do with withstanding cold, but one is for running a marathon in 2011 in the Namib desert without water. Befoire that, in 2009, in another astonishing feat he ran a full marathon  above the arctic circle in nothing but shorts (no shoes) in temperatures of -4 degrees Fahrenheit, in 5 hours 25 minutes. His most recent record in 2011  was to  stand submerged in ice for 1 hour and 52 minutes. Most normal people would die after about 20 minutes.

So how does he do it? According to Wim, it is all about meditation, focus, and breathing- and he says he can teach anyone to do what he does!

The great thing about Wim, is that he is open about his technique. Yes you can take a class from him, both via the internet and in person, but you can learn pretty close to everything he teaches through the internet. At the end of the post I’ll share what I’ve learned and been practicing.

There are some great documentary videos about Wim Hoff, but one of the things that really impressed me are the research studies that have been done on Hof.

The first study in 2011 was just on Hof, and yielded amazing results on the physiological effects. The second study in 2014 was a follow up and instead of examining just Hof, it also looked at 12 volunteers trained in his method, and 12 untrained comparison subjects.

2011 Study

In this study they injected Wim with an “endotoxin,” basically a dead bacteria, that the body thinks is alive for about 3 hours. So for that 3 hours people experience flu-like symptoms, including fever, trembling and headaches. In the blood stream “inflammatory agents from the immune system goes way up. After 3 hours the body realizes nothing is wrong and returns to normal. It is a safe and standardized way of measuring a person’s immune response.

The researchers looked at brain activity, and monitored the inflammatory response in Wim When the endotoxin was injected into Wim, in terms of flu-like symptoms. The inflammatory agents were close to normal levels, and cortisol levels were much higher. This stress hormone is known to suppress the immune response.

This study amazed the researchers, who decided to do a follow up study in 2014 with a larger group of subjects.

2014 Study

This study looked a t a group of 24 people- 12 trained in Wim Hof’s method of breathing and meditation, and 12 normal people untrained in breathing or meditation. In this study the followed the same method. All participants were injected with the endotoxin, and their bodies monitored. Incredibly all 12 normal people went through 3 hours of flu-like hell, while those trained by Wim were fine: No flu-like symptoms, significantly higher blood PH, epinephrine, and anti-inflammatory agents, with significantly lower levels of inflammatory agents in the blood.

Incredibly the researchers reported that the trained individuals epinephrine levels rose higher than those reported in a recent study that monitored epinephrine in people about to bungee  jump!

In the end the researchers concluded that: “…The sympathetic nervous system and immune system can be voluntarily influenced through practicing techniques that are relatively easy to learn within a short time frame. It therefore could have important implications for the treatment of a variety of conditions associated with excessive or persistent inflammation, especially autoimmune diseases” (Kox, et. al, 2014 p. 7383).

Prior to this most researchers believed the immune system and sympathetic nervous system were beyond voluntary control. Now we now that we can in fact control them and affect how our bodies react to inflammatory disease! Now for me this study was the clincher for why I decided to try this out, but the documentaries are also very powerful. The reactions of the researchers is quite impressive and can be seen in the documentary by vice, and in other videos around the web. Check them out.

So what I’ve been doing is:

  1. Breath in as deeply as you can
  2. Release breath naturally, but don’t force yourself to exhale completely
  3. Do this 30-40 times
  4. On last Breath, breath out fully and hold until gasp reflex(my record after 3 days of practice is 2 minutes 28 seconds)
  5. Inhale fully and hold for 10-15 seconds.
  6. Repeat this cylce 5 times.
  7. Meditate for 20 minutes.

 

Couple Other Things

Another thing that Wim recommends is cold training. This involves getting into cold showers for as long as you can stand it, which is actually harder than it sounds, then working your way up to ice baths. I’ve actually done ice baths in the past, as a way to recover from a long run, which I picked up from Dean Karnazes, but stepping into a cold shower is actually harder I think. I’ve made it for 2 minutes so far. I’ve lasted in an ice bath for 10 minutes.

Finally, he recommends throwing in exercise on the last set of breathing exercise. So after the 5th set of breathing exercise try to do as many push-ups as you can while holding your breath. I’m up to 35.

Studies:

Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre. (2011, April 22). Research on ‘Iceman’ Wim Hof suggests it may be possible to influence autonomic nervous system and immune response. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 17, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110422090203.htm

Kox, M., van Eijk, L. T., Zwaag, J., van den Wildenberg, J., Sweep, F. C., van der Hoeven, J. G., & Pickkers, P. (2014). Voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system and attenuation of the innate immune response in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(20), 7379-7384. http://www.pnas.org/content/111/20/7379.long

 

 

How-to Guide for Wim Hof Method:

http://highexistence.com/the-wim-hof-method-revealed-how-to-consciously-control-your-immune-system/

 

Documentary video:

http://www.vice.com/video/iceman

Many others on YouTube.