Hacking Consumer Electronics: The Low-tech Way

The paragraphs below are taken from “100 Deadly Skills: The SEAL Operative’s Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation“, a book that’s not available on WikiLeaks but on Amazon. Written by a retired Navy Seal, Clint Emerson, the book describes skills “which all rely on low-tech or no-tech tools, because complicated instructions are the last thing you need when facing imminent peril”.

Skill No.55: TURN A SPEAKER INTO A MICROPHONE

“Stashing a voice-activated recording device in a target’s room or vehicle is relatively simple, but without sound amplification, such a setup is unlikely to result in audible intelligence — a proper audio-surveillance system requires amplification via microphone. In the absence of dedicated tools, however, the Nomad can leverage a cell phone, an audio jack, and a pair of headphones into an effective listening device.”

“Because microphones and speakers are essentially the same instrument, any speaker — from the earbuds on a pair of headphones to the stereo system on a television — can be turned into a microphone in a matter of minutes. The simple difference between the two is that their functions are reversed. While a speaker turns electronic signals into sound, a mic turns sound into electronic signals to be manipulated and amplified…”

“Any small recording device can be employed, but using a phone set to silent and auto answer as a listening device has two advantages: It captures intelligence in real time and does so without the operative having to execute a potentially dangerous return trip on target to collect the device…”

From: “100 Deadly Skills: The SEAL Operative’s Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation“, Clint Emerson, 2015.

Lost Crops of Africa

lost crops of africa

“Like Asia and the Americas, the continent of Africa is blessed with a rich tropical flora. Many of the 50,000 or so plants that evolved within its forests and savannas ripen fruits to tempt the myriad wild creatures into spreading their seeds. Speaking generally, Africa has as many of these tasty morsels as tropical Asia or America.

This fact, however, is something one would never guess by looking in produce markets or college textbooks. Today, American and Asian species dominate tropical fruit production worldwide, including within Africa itself.

For this, there is good reason. Africa’s fruits have not, by and large, been brought up to their potential in terms of quality, production, and availability. Geographically speaking, few have moved beyond Africa’s shores; horticulturally speaking, most remain poorly known. Thus, the vast continental landmass lying between Mauritania and Mauritius contains a cornucopia of horticultural, nutritional, and rural-development jewels still waiting to be cut and polished.”

The three volumes can be consulted online at The National Academic Press. Previously: Lost crops of the Incas. Via Avantgardens.

Agricultural Heritage Systems

agricultural heritage systemsSix traditional farming systems in China, Iran and South Korea known for their unique characteristics and approaches to sustainability have been designated Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

They include Iran’s Qanat Irrigation system, an ancient network of farms that have survived for nearly three millennia; a 22-thousand-kilometer system of black stone walls built from volcanic rock in Jeju, South Korea; and the traditional Gudeuljang Irrigated rice terraces in Cheongsando, South Korea.

Also on the list are a trio of sites in China: the unique Xinghua Duotian Agrosystem, famous for its method of water-land utilization; the historic Jasmine and Tea Culture System of Fuzhou City; and, the Jiaxian Traditional Chinese Date Gardens. The sites were officially recognized during the 28-29 April meeting of the GIAHS Scientific and Steering Committee at FAO headquarters in Rome.

These new designations bring the number of GIAHS systems to a total of 31 sites located in 14 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. The sites are considered models of innovation, sustainability and adaptability, delivering important benefits to the ecosystem. The GHIAS website has extensive documentation about most of these agricultural heritage systems. Picture: The Jasmine and Tea Culture System of Fuzhou City, China.

Appropriate Technology Publications Online

Engineering for change (E4C) reports about the publication of two new peer-reviewed journals dedicated to the use of technology in developing countries. Both are freely accessible online and may be of interest to Low-tech and No Tech Magazine readers.

ASME-DEMANDDemand, a publication of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), was launched in December 2013. It mixes case studies, stories and original reports from leaders in the sector’s fields. In the first edition, the US engineering professors Nathan Johnson at Arizona State University and Kenneth Bryden at Iowa State University place pieces in the unused cookstove puzzle with their own research in rural Mali. Other notable topics include low-cost and rugged wheelchair design, remote sensors for project evaluation, smokehoods reimagined to fight indoor air pollution and funding for social innovators. Read more about the launch of the new magazine.

The Journal of Humanitarian Engineering (JHE) was launched in May 2012. Two volumes have been published so far, and a third is on the way. The magazine, which is published by the Engineers Without Borders Institute in Melbourne, Australia, presents outcomes of research and field experiences at the intersection of technology and community development. “One of the wishes we’ve heard from experts in humanitarian design and engineering is for academia to keep pace with the rising interest in the field. Appropriate technology design and the invention of new devices, tools and infrastructure for use in regions with few resources has apparently had trouble gaining recognition in major universities. With a few notable exceptions, formal academic programs in appropriate technologies are rare, and academics have few outlets to publish their research. The JHE aims to fill this gap.” Read more about the initiative.

The Journal of Humanitarian Engineering (JHE) publishes outcomes of research and field experiences at the intersection of technology and community development. The field of ‘humanitarian engineering’ describes the application of engineering and technology for the benefit of disadvantaged communities. This field spans thematic areas from water to energy to infrastructure; and applications from disability access to poverty alleviation. The JHE aims to highlight the importance of humanitarian engineering projects and to inspire engineering solutions to solve the world’s most pertinent challenges. – See more at: http://www.ewb.org.au/explore/knowledgehubs/education/journal#sthash.QPQnfYzI.dpuf
The Journal of Humanitarian Engineering (JHE) publishes outcomes of research and field experiences at the intersection of technology and community development. The field of ‘humanitarian engineering’ describes the application of engineering and technology for the benefit of disadvantaged communities. This field spans thematic areas from water to energy to infrastructure; and applications from disability access to poverty alleviation. The JHE aims to highlight the importance of humanitarian engineering projects and to inspire engineering solutions to solve the world’s most pertinent challenges. – See more at: http://www.ewb.org.au/explore/knowledgehubs/education/journal#sthash.QPQnfYzI.dpuf

Demand and JHE join a growing library of publications that specialize in “global development technologies”. Appropriate Technology has been around since 2003, while Makeshift saw the light in 2011. These magazines have to be paid for. More publications and academic programs can be found here. Previously: How to make everything yourself: online low-tech resources.

Directory of Open Access Journals

Open access journals“The aim of the Directory of Open Access Journals is to increase the
visibility and ease of use of open access scientific and scholarly
journals thereby promoting their increased usage and impact. The
Directory aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access scientific
and scholarly journals that use a quality control system to guarantee
the content. In short a one stop shop for users to Open Access Journals.”

Especially interesting for Low-tech and No Tech Magazine readers are the journals in the categories History, Archaeology, Technology & Engineering, and Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Dedicated to Aaron Swartz. Also: #PDF Tribute to Aaron Swarz (via TechCrunch), a mass protest uploading of copyright-protected research articles. Previously: Censors of Knowledge.

How to Build a Medieval City

how to build a medieval city

The “Dictionnaire raisonné de l’architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle” is an overwhelming reference work consisting of 9 books (some 5,000 pages in total) on medieval and renaissance architecture in France. It is written in French, as you already suspected, but the detailed illustrations make it worthwhile for all architecture and history devotees. There is really all you need to know to build, for instance, a gothic cathedral, including the gargoyles. The work appeared in 1856 and was written by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, an architect known for his restorations of medieval buildings. The separate volumes can also be found on the Internet Archive.

 

Community-Based Health Care

HealthHesperian is a non-profit publisher of books and newsletters for community-based health care. Our first book, Where There Is No Doctor, is considered to be one of the most accessible and widely used community health books in the world. Simply written and heavily illustrated, Hesperian books are designed so that people with little formal education can understand, apply and share health information. Developed collaboratively with health workers and community members from around the world, our books and newsletters address the underlying social, political, and economic causes of poor health and suggest ways groups can organize to improve health conditions in their communities. Hesperian publishes all of our books in English and Spanish and our open copyright policy facilitates adaptations and translations into many other languages. Our books are available for purchase or free download.” Via The Survivalist Blog.

Censors of Knowledge

JSTOR1 “This archive contains 18,592 scientific publications totaling 33GiB, all from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society and which should be available to everyone at no cost, but most have previously only been made available at high prices through paywall gatekeepers like JSTOR. Limited access to the documents here is typically sold for $19 USD per article, though some of the older ones are available as cheaply as $8. Purchasing access to this collection one article at a time would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Whether or not you are interested in the publications, the accompanying manifest written by Greg Maxwell deserves to be read. Find a summary below. Original manifest + download here. Via Edwin Mijnsbergen.

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Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of Applied Mechanics: a Dictionary of Mechanical Engineering and the Mechanical Arts

Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of Applied Mechanics

“Appletons’ cyclopaedia of applied mechanics: a dictionary of mechanical engineering and the mechanical arts (1880): Volume IVolume II” is another great resource on 19th century technology. Via Tecob. Previously:

Appropriate Technology Sourcebook

appropriate technology sourcebook “Welcome to the online edition of the Appropriate Technology Sourcebook which reviews over 1,150 of the best books on appropriate technology.

This is the online version of the latest edition guide to practical books on village and small community technology. Over 50,000 print copies of the previous editions have been used in more than 130 countries to find a wide range of published technical information that can be used by individuals and small groups.

In the new edition, 1150 publications are reviewed, covering small water supply systems, renewable energy devices such as water mills and improved cook stoves, agricultural tools and implements, intensive gardening, nonformal education, small business management, transportation, small industries and other topics.”

All previous entries in ‘Books & Reference‘.