What is it like to be a lifelong smoker?
I have smoked for 23 years. I am currently 39 years old. Apart from internal damage that I just don’t know about yet, here is how smoking has affected my life:
- Running for any considerable distance is impossible. I lose my breath quickly.
- Swimming for any considerable distance is impossible. I lose my breath quickly.
- I clear my throat about 100 times per day.
- I cough about 100 times per day.
- I wake up with a sore throat regularly.
- I, along with my home and vehicle, smell like cigarette butts.
- The reward centers of my brain are broken—I’m constantly looking forward to the next cigarette even though they are not pleasurable in any real way.
- I spend more than $100 per month on cigarettes.
- No matter where I am or what I’m doing, I have a nagging compulsion to stop and smoke. Whether I’m working, relaxing, playing video games, having a conversation with friends or anything else, I am always anticipating the next “smoke break”. To a smoker, life is what happens between cigarettes…which is pathetic and sad.
- Running out of cigarettes is not an option. If I had no cigarettes, I would have an anxiety attack. Smokers like to call them “nicotine fits” but let’s call them what they really are—ANXIETY ATTACKS. They’re a symptom of mental illness and severe addiction.
There are many other ways that smoking has affected my life. Some of those ways will become more apparent as I get older.
I have “quit” several times. The longest that I have “quit” was for 6 months. I used a hypnosis program that worked very well. I screwed it all up by smoking a single cigarette…a single cigarette that turned into pack after pack after pack…
I need to quit this shit for good.
– Jonathan Lafferty
What happens when a .50 caliber bullet hits a person?
A new seaman in my naval unit in Vietnam was accidently shot in the back at a range of about 2 yards by a .50 cal. I arrived at the scene before the ambulance and found that the exit wound was about a foot in diameter with nothing visible in his thoracic cavity but there were a few things hanging out which I assumed were what was left of his intestines – he was eviscerated. I accompanied him to the nearest Mash unit where my last view was two or three surgeons frantically around him. He lived for at least 20 minutes.
When I reported the incident to my CO, who had been an enlisted pilot in WWII and had also flown Navy Panthers from carriers during the Korean War, he remarked that he did not recall anyone who recovered from being shot by a .50 caliber.
– Robert Lockwood
50cal vs Bulletproof Glass
What is the procedure for executing a person on death row?
The inmate may have the following visitors at the Huntsville Unit: Inmates at the Huntsville Unit may have visits from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice chaplain(s), institutional division chaplain(s), minister(s), attorney(s). All visits must be approved by the Huntsville Unit warden. With the exception of the chaplain’s visits, all visits will be terminated by 12:30 p.m. on the day of the execution.
An inmate scheduled for execution shall be transported from the Ellis/Mountain View Unit to the Huntsville Unit prior to the scheduled execution. Transportation arrangements shall be known only to the unit wardens involved, and no public announcement to either the exact time, method, or route of transfer shall be made. The director’s office and the public information office will be notified immediately after the inmate arrives at the Huntsville Unit. During transportation and after arrival at the Huntsville Unit, the inmate shall be constantly observed and supervised by security personnel.
The final meal will be served at approximately 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Prior to 6 p.m., the inmate may shower and dress in clean clothes. The Huntsville Unit warden’s office will serve as the communications command post and only operations personnel will be allowed entry to this area.
All other individuals, including witnesses to the execution, will assemble at approximately 5:55 p.m. in the lounge adjacent to the visiting room. All necessary arrangements to carry out the execution shall be completed at the predetermined time. Shortly after 6 p.m., the door will be unlocked, and the inmate will be removed from the holding cell. The inmate will be taken from the cell area into the execution chamber and secured to a gurney. A medically trained individual (not to be identified) shall insert an intravenous catheter into the condemned person’s arms and cause a saline solution to flow.
At a predetermined time, the witnesses shall be escorted to the execution chamber.
Witnesses to the execution
Witnesses shall include:
The media: One Texas bureau representative designated by the Associated Press, one Texas Bureau representative designated by the United Press International, one representative for the Huntsville Item, and one representative each from established separate rosters of print and broadcast media will be admitted to the execution chamber as witnesses, provided those designated agree to meet with all media representatives present, immediately after the execution. No recording devices, either audio or video, shall be permitted in the unit or in the execution chamber. Reporters from community where crime was committed have first choice to witness execution.
Witnesses requested by the condemned:
Policy allows for up to 5 pre-approved witnesses requested by the condemned.
Policy allows for up to 5 immediate family members or close friends of the victim to attend.
Once the witnesses are in place, the warden shall allow the condemned person to make a last statement. Upon completion of the statement, if any, the warden shall signal for the execution to proceed. At this time, the designee(s) of the director shall induce by syringe, substance and/or substances necessary to cause death. This individual(s) shall be visually separated from the execution chamber by a wall and locked door, and shall also not be identified.
Lethal injection saline solution consists:
Sodium Thiopental (lethal dose)
Pancuronium Bromide (muscle relaxant)
Potassium Chloride (stops the heart beat)
After the inmate is pronounced dead, the body shall be immediately removed from the execution chamber, taken to an awaiting vehicle and delivered to a local funeral home for burial by the family or state.
The inmate may request that his body be donated to the state anatomical board for medical research purposes. Arrangements for the body is to be concluded prior to the execution.
The Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division, in accordance with Article 43.23, shall return the death warrant and certificate with a statement of any such act and his proceedings endorsed thereon, together with a statement showing what disposition was made of the body of the convict, to the clerk of the court in which the sentence was passed.
Why is Saudi Arabia’s civilization fragile?
I used to work in the Middle East, in Saudi Arabia. It has absolutely zero freshwater lakes or rivers. Besides some shallow aquifers that are rarely replenished by rain, Saudi Arabia relies entirely on huge desalination plants – most of which are poorly maintained and over-used. Saudi also relies on imports for 80-90% of it’s food.
The temperature is often above 35-40 degrees celcius, and every single building and vehicle is air-conditioned to about 18 degrees all of the time. It often felt like living on another planet, where you stepped out of an airlock, going from cool climate-controlled environments into the desert air outside. It felt like walking into a giant oven. The air pollution was horrific, and some of the major cities are reported to be some of the most toxic environments on the planet.
I worked there for two years. I was a foreigner, far from my own country. I lived in a walled compound protected by soldiers, tanks and .50 calibre machine guns. I went through a bomb checkpoint twice a day just to get in and out.
The road system was fucked. It took three hours to drive from one side of the city to the other. Completely gridlocked roads were a normal part of daily life in the city. Yet you had no choice – walking long distances outside was near impossible. You would probably collapse from exhaustion, dehydration and sunstroke before you even made it a few blocks. In an emergency situation ‘bugging out’ was not an option. What do you do? There are no forests, no mountains to hide in. Your only options to get out of the city were to either own or steal a boat and leave via the Red Sea (and go where? Sudan? Chad? Egypt?) or to walk out into the Arabian desert and die in the sand.
When it rained (once or twice a year, for days at a time) the entire city flooded and hundreds of people died because they kept stubbornly driving into tunnels, got trapped in gridlocked traffic, then drowned in their vehicles when the tunnels flooded. The sewage system overflowed into the streets and mosquitoes bred in the stagnant floodwaters in their millions. When we had severe sandstorms, you had to walk around with a face-mask to avoid inhaling dust laden with pollutants from the air.
All of that was bad, but the moment that completely changed my entire life and my perspective occurred in March 2016. The power went off, as did the water. This was not that uncommon and usually didn’t last for more than a few hours.
This time it did not come back on for four days. No air-conditioning, no ceiling fans, nothing. I found myself in 35 degree heat and humidity, indoors in the shade. I stripped down to my boxers and was still sweating. My cupboards and fridge were empty – I had very little extra bottled water in the house. Even when the water was running, you could not drink tap-water as it was almost certainly contaminated.
I usually just bought bottled water at work during the day. I then bought a few big bottles every couple of days to drink at home in the evenings. With no power or water, people immediately emptied the stores. The one store in the compound ran out of bottled water within hours. I had to ration out the little water that I had until I could get more. I had no water to shower with to cool myself down.
It was only then; overheating, dehydrated and sweating, lying on the cool (ish) tiles of my villa in Saudi Arabia, that I fully grasped the fragility of the situation.
If there was an extended blackout, if power and water went off for a few weeks, everyone was dead. Simple as that. If there was no electricity to power the desalination plants, there was no water.
If there was a war, economic crisis or even diplomatic crisis that stopped food imports, everyone would starve. In the chaos, foreigners like myself would be the first to be dragged out onto the streets and beaten to death.
The broken and corrupt Saudi government and incompetent authorities are not capable of organising any kind of emergency water/food importation and distribution in time. They can barely maintain their own infrastructure, let alone repair it quickly enough in the event of any severe damage. Quite simply, the entire country is likely to collapse at the slightest disruption and everyone will die.
Luckily that time the power and water did come back on. The first thing I did was stock up on water. Lots of water. I bought food supplies. I studied desert survival. I prepared a bug-out bag. I started researching the quickest routes to the embassy.
That led me down the rabbit-hole. I started asking questions. How likely was Saudi Arabia to collapse? What would happen to the country if it did? Wait, what would happen to the region if Saudi collapsed? How would that effect oil prices? What would happen to the world economy? Are other countries also vulnerable to collapse? Wait, is all of modern civilization actually very fragile and vulnerable to complete collapse?