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DIA conspiracy made top page of this sub finally!!! Now seems like the perfect time to maybe share new things, but more importantly ask for help in connecting MAJOR dots. They aren't THAT smart, we can solve this.

I'm so happy to see people are looking at Denver Airport again, however we were never looking close enough. I've been interested in DIA for quite a long time now and within the last year had the chance of visiting, and can't help but wonder why no one has ever found anything?
When you reach this point as a Conspiracy Hypothesizer (I didn't stutter), you have to realize that answer is still there, you just have to see the issue in a way many others aren't.
Now, to brush up on the basics of DIA:
At 33,531 acres (52.4 sq mi; 135.7 km2),[3] it is the largest airport in North America by land area and the second largest in the world, behind King Fahd International Airport.[4] Runway 1634L, with a length of 16,000 feet (3.03 mi; 4.88 km), is the longest public use runway in North America and the seventh longest in the world.
For reference; Manhattan stands at 22.82 mi^2, meaning you could fit Manhattan TWICE in DIA's property.
The runways totally DO look like Swastikas. You can't even deny it.
-Not to mention they openly admit, but never DISPROVE any conspiracies surrounding the airport. The effect has been... well no one thinks DIA is up to anything really anymore from workers claiming they've never seen anything to gargoyles literally mocking you for thinking they are up to something, they did a great job considering I still smell shit in the air and it isn't me. Yet the rest of the population seems to have forgotten some VERY important history.
Now onto some deeper thoughts:
The infamous "New world airport commission" stone.
The biggest thing anyone has pulled from this was that infamous, yet non-existent group that is first listed under "Contributors". While I agree this is strange, there is so much more to this stone guys.
March (3) 19, 1994.
1+9+1+9+9+4 = 33
Time Capsule to be opened in 2094 "for the people of Colorado"
20 + 9 + 4 = 33
-This date surrounding 1994 CANNOT BE COINCIDENTAL. I will prove it... keep reading.
Important person:
-Wellington E. Webb.
If you google that name with "Freemason", you'll find his PERSONAL WEBSITE. Where it strictly lists he is a 33rd degree mason, yet you cannot find that info anywhere else. This man is very mysterious to me and I'd love if someone can help me dig on all of this info. ANYWAY:
Wellington Webb's 1991 bid for mayor included his "Sneaker Campaign", in which he walked door to door through a large portion of Denver, introducing himself as a relatively unknown candidate.
Unknown candidate.
Webb served as mayor of Denver for 12 years, from 1991 to 2003. One highlight of his years in office was the South Platte River Corridor Project, involving commercial and residential redevelopment, as well as reclamation of park land, along the South Platte River in central Denver. He was also mayor at the time of the completion of Denver International Airport, started by his predecessor, Federico Peña.
Finished DIA, and is a 33rd degree Freemason. His name is on the stone, so this isn't hard to believe, I mean like he John Hancocked the thing lmao. Also in 1994:
In 1994, officials ordered a $62 million backup baggage system built to speed the airport's opening and to fill in until the kinks could be worked out of the main system.
So, Wellington Webb took over as mayor in 91', delayed DIA's opening 4 times and went so far over budget for an airport its unreal. The airport opened in 95', making 1994, the year the stone was also laid, the last year DIA would be closed and anything not hidden could be hidden.
Why am I so focused on 1994 and the stone?
-I was dumbfounded once I REALLY looked at the stone closer. Why is everyone so tied up on "The New World Airport Commission" if it doesn't exist on paper? Perhaps the members are listed on the stone I thought...
Martin Marietta Aeronautics.
That is the second name listed, right below the new world airport commission. Who is this company and why has no one ever heard of it you're wondering? Because in 1995, The Martin Marietta Corporation merged with the Lockheed Corporation to form what we now know today as: Lockheed Martin. This would make 1994 the last year that "Martin Marietta Aeronautics" would even exist, thus placing the stone in this year would never raise suspicion of conspiracy to anyone in the future, because Lockheed Martin is the most advanced technological companies in the entire world. Especially regarding military equipment. Just read up on some patents that Lockheed Martin holds to understand the true gravity of what this means.
Martin Marietta Corporation + Lockheed Corporation = Lockheed Martin = largest military arms supplier in the entire world, arguably holding the most advanced tech of our race = The New World Airport Commission? Why else would Martin Marietta hold any relevance to DIA whatsoever?
Fentress Bradburn Architects is also listed, though I couldn't find anything relevant but a quote:
I don't begin with a preconceived notion of what a building should be – it is not a sculpture. I prefer to patiently search through extensive discovery until I find a seam somewhere, crack it open and discover the art inside.[27]
from their Wikipedia page. The stone also lists:
Benjamin H. Bell Jr. and Claude w. Gray Sr. Both are very high ranking Freemasons, you've never heard of them before and cannot find ANYTHING online about these people EXCEPT for Freemason websites. VERY strange and I really need help finding out more, these people are smart but they are naive in thinking they can't be caught, the answer is here somewhere.
Now, this is gonna get me some hate I bet but I need to mention it: Wellington E. Webb, Benjamin H. Bell Jr, and Claude W. Gray Sr, are ALL 33rd degree African Americans. I don't know what this means or why, but I just know... it means something. Especially considering His recent political views from this 2020 interview. Notice him cheering on the violence of BLM protests:
Webb: I am so proud of these kids protesting that I boil over with pride. It’s also good to continue to see the old-timers who have been protesting police brutality and social justice issues for decades.
Strange markings on the floors:
Dzit Dit Gaii - "White Mountain" - Blanca peak, Colorado. If you're paying close attention... you'll notice the ranking for this mountain for North American highest mountain peaks is ranked... 33rd. Why would this be put in a strange language in the middle of the airport? HMMMMMMMMMMMMM. No coincidences.
Anywho, I know DIA has just loads of shit out of the ordinary and spending multiple hundreds of millions of dollars for a "Luggage system" that failed is just not true. If you've worked there, I can assure you, you have not seen all 53sq Miles of that location and you never will. They could MILES underground for all we know and from the tech they can have. Anyway Im really tired so thats all I got for now lol, please help me expand on this info WE CAN SOLVE THIS MYSTERY PEOPLE WE JUST GOTTA THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!!!
EDIT: Just wanted to add that 54.2sq miles is also 33,531 acres... gotttaaaa love the 33rd.
EDIT2: just wanted to state that on a map, its eerie that DIA is practically the start of Denver.
Also, I took my own picture of Bluecifier when I flew in to DIA... ill never forget that horse man.
submitted by Worm2120 to conspiracy [link] [comments]

Hindsight is 2020: #1 - Firth of Fifth

from Selling England by the Pound, 1973
Listen to it here!
Here at the end, it’s only appropriate to go back to the beginning. Well, a beginning, at any rate. You see, streaming internet radio was a relatively new service during my college years. I’m not talking about simply pulling up a local radio station’s website and streaming its actual live radio feed, mind you, but the idea of subscription-based, curated music; radio stations made especially for an individual. We tend to take that sort of thing for granted now, and there are a number of options, but for a student in the mid-2000s, it was a novelty. I don’t recall exactly how I heard about the particular service I used, but I made a free account and decided to try it out.
I don’t know exactly what I expected. I imagine that I didn’t expect much at all, frankly. The idea of “you say you like this one song so we’ll give you other songs you like” felt a little like “yeah, right” to me. But modern live radio wasn’t proving interesting to me anymore, and I liked the idea of being exposed to new things, so I figured, why not? The first thing I was asked after confirming my new account was to “create a station,” and to do that I had to select a song or artist I enjoyed so it could find more things like that. That was a really interesting question I hadn’t quite been prepared to answer. What do I want to hear more of? I like Journey, but do I want a radio station dedicated to arena anthems? I like The Beatles, but will a 60s rock station have any staying power for me? I like a bit of 80s and 90s pop, but will that actually expose me to much of anything new?
In the end, I made what in hindsight was one of the most important musical decisions of my life. I told the service to build me a station around the song “Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding” by Elton John. My parents both liked Elton John and I’d heard a fair bit of his music, liking almost all of it. Great piano rock stuff. Yet this song had captured me in a different, deeper way. For one thing, it's eleven minutes long, and the first half of it is entirely instrumental. It runs through multiple moods with an arrangement covering a lot of different is, in a word, “progressive,” though that wasn’t really a word in my musical vocabulary at the time. And then the second half was this exquisitely-arranged jam of a song; thumping piano rock, melodic guitar solos, intricate bass work, outstanding vocal harmonies, and again a range of sounds and moods. In my mind, this was a totally unique thing in the world of music, utterly captivating start to finish. “Give me more songs like that. Do any even exist?”
It took a bit of time. Through selectively “liking” or “disliking” tracks, I was refining the station’s perception of my musical taste and driving it towards discovery of other music in this vein, though I got a wide variety of other great stuff along the way as well. My routine at the time was that I’d boot up World of Warcraft, mute the game, turn on this station, and do some mindless in-game tasks so I could just enjoy the music. At one point, a song came on that I didn’t recognize, though I knew Phil Collins’ voice instantly. The station listed it as “Old Medley (Live)” from Genesis. I wasn’t too keen on hearing live versions of things, since I traditionally preferred studio versions unless I was physically at the concert myself, but this was new, and I’d always liked Genesis growing up. Knew all their hits and could recognize a few album cuts as well here or there, so eh, I’ll leave it on. At nearly 20 minutes long, this was bound to have something interesting.
The opening bit was pretty good even though it didn’t leave a tremendous impression on me right away, but then came “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”, and hey, I know that one! Then another bit I didn’t recognize, though it sounded pretty strong, with a big “Wow” moment at the end. Then off into a keyboard solo...that’s pretty good I guess, cool drumming too. And that’s when my musical life really changed. Because after that keyboard solo wound down, I heard a guitar solo that made me stop everything else I was doing and just kind of go, “Whoa….” for a while. The medley went on into something else and touched lightly on a number of other songs I half-recognized, but I was still in that guitar solo in my head. I had to know what in the world I’d just heard. So I pulled up a browser and searched for this “Old Medley” to find its component parts, eventually learning that this section was from something called “Firth of Fifth”.
“Well that’s a ridiculous name.”
Tony: There's a river in Scotland called the Forth, and the word for a delta or inlet in Scotland is a “firth.” So, it's known as the Firth of Forth. It's sort of north of Edinburgh. So, I thought, forth, fifth, you know, “Firth of Fifth.” We're talking about the early '70s here, so it was a little bit pretentious, in a way. But it's quite a fun title. It's totally untranslatable, of course, so I'm always getting these questions from Germans and French people asking, "What does it mean?" It sounds more profound than it is because it was supposed to be just a slight joke, really, as a title. 1
So I hunted for the song. Back then YouTube wasn’t replete with music and I didn’t really have any ability to pull it up on-demand anywhere, but somehow I managed to locate this track somewhere and play it in its entirety. And man, it was something else.
Check out this monstrosity of time signatures. 2/4 into 4/4 that’s actually more like 16/16 back to 2/4 into 13/16 into some 15/16 stuff as well? I’d heard this stuff in the synth solo in the medley, but with the full band playing it didn’t really register. Now, hearing this stuff on only grand piano in the song's intro, it was just this overwhelming feeling of “WHAT?!”
Tony: I just played it on a piano. It was kind of difficult at the time. I remember in the studio we were in, it was very difficult to get the noise of the pedal out of the way, so I tried to play it without the pedal, which was a bit difficult to do because it's not the easiest thing to play. But it was something I'd written and developed. I had this sort of arpeggio idea that I was working with. I'd written another piece which used a similar feel, which we never ended up using, and I just had this section of it, which I then developed and made this piece of. I thought it worked really well as a piano piece on its own, and then it worked well with an arrangement, as well. So, it's just one of those things. With Genesis, we just did what appealed to us, really. We didn't worry too much how other people were going to respond to it. It was a fun thing to do. It's a difficult thing to play live because, at the time, I didn't have a real piano. I tried to play it on the electric piano and that was quite difficult. I don't think it ever really sounded very good, but it was fun to try. 1
It’s a shame that a mix of sound quality concerns with logistic issues prevented this intro from being played live until it was too late in their careers to do the song in full anyway, because that piano intro carries a LOT of water for setting the stage for everything to come. At this point I knew that I’d likely hear this absurdly complex melody again in synth form, and I knew that guitar bit was going to show up later, but I had no idea how I’d get there. Yet I had a sense from hearing this piano intro that the rest of the song was going to measure up just fine.
The piano intro concluded, but by “concluded” I really mean “the band exploded in on a huge chord” as Peter began singing the opening lines. “Oh, that’s right, Peter Gabriel was in this band, wasn’t he?” The lyrics he was singing didn’t seem to mean much to me. Some decent turns of phrase like “And so with gods and men // the sheep remain inside their pen // though many times they’ve seen the way to leave.” That’s a good bit! What it means I couldn’t really tell you, but it certainly sounded profound at the time! And these words were being well-delivered by a voice with an unusual quality to it that made the whole thing somehow more mysterious. Even so, there didn’t seem to be much tying these various phrases together. And…did he just say “cancer?”
Tony: We were a bit stuck for an idea for a lyric. We started off writing very simply about a river, then the river became a bit more...a river of life. You know, it’s quite allegorical and I don’t think it’s our most successful lyric. I’ve always been a bit disappointed with the lyric on that. It’s a great piece of music but it’s a pity we didn’t get a better lyric. I don’t think it says very much. We tried a bit too hard. It just didn’t come, whereas the other one we wrote on the album, “Cinema Show”, we were much more pleased with. There we had a specific idea to aim for. 2
Nevertheless, it’s all pretty compelling, and oooh, “undinal” is a fun word. Sirens’ cry? So is this song actually nautically themed then? I think I can dig that. Oh hey, a flute! That was unexpected. This is really good, really haunting. Pretty and understated but totally entrancing. Oh like a siren! I get it now!
Tony: With “Firth of Fifth” I was pretty pleased with that at the time, I have to say. Because you had lots of bits in it… My favorite bit really is what was a flute solo. And I’d really just seen it done like that, just flute and piano. 3
Steve: As the melody starts to move and it starts to weave upwards and duck’s got lots of bendy notes in it. Slightly oriental sounding, slightly sort of French-impressionist-Erik-Satie-type melody stuff. Originally Tony played it on piano and I thought, “It’s a very interesting sketch, but we need to flesh this out.” When you first hear that melody, Peter Gabriel plays it on flute along with the piano… I think there’s something very poignant about the melody. I don’t seems to touch people. In fact my mother, whenever she comes to a gig, she says, “It always makes me cry, that thing.” 4
Then this piano bit again picking up tempo - man, this is really getting going now! And then, ahhhhh I know this! It’s that synth solo from the medley! But man, I hadn’t heard just how crazy that drumming is before, or those oscillating guitar sounds. This is really something else!
Steve: And then you get a recapitulation of the solo piano thing that starts the thing out; it becomes a synth solo. Fast and furious drum and bass happening from Mike and Phil. 4
Tony: [This album was] the first time I ever used a synthesizer as well. So it was quite a big move for me to have this instrument, this ARP Pro Soloist thing, which was quite a simple monophonic synthesizer, but it had quite a nice little range of tones on it. And it was one you didn’t have to do any programming; just preset sounds, which was nice for me. Obviously “The Cinema Show” is very much based on that, but I used it throughout the album on little bits and pieces and it was a really interesting addition to the armory. In these days it was organ, piano, and Mellotron. To have something alternative to play lead on like this opened up possibilities for me… When the synthesizers came in it just opened up the keyboard world so much. 5
But oooh, hearing all this crazy synth solo stuff means that guitar solo has got to be coming up next, right? Right???
Tony: I think it’s the most successful all-round song on Selling England by the Pound. It’s a very romantic song. It builds to a climax with the guitar solo - which recalls an earlier flute theme - with masses of Mellotron. 2
Peter: Steve definitely I think gained in confidence and “Firth of Fifth” is very much a Tony piece, in terms of how it started and how it built. But Steve did let loose in I think probably the best way up to that point, at the end. 5
Steve: I tend to come alive when I think of Selling England... I think I was able to infuse that album with the enthusiasm of a player and as an interpreter on, for instance "Firth Of Fifth". Basically the whole song was Tony's baby from beginning to end, apart from the lyric which he co-wrote with Mike. [Yet] the thing that people mentioned about that song was the guitar solo, which is my most well known solo really, and really that interpretation of that melody played legato with all that anguish. 6
To my great surprise, the guitar sounded...different somehow. It wasn’t just the fact that there were twenty or so years between the recordings, either. No, the version I’d heard in that medley was a dazzling technical display, wowing me with a great melody but also the pyrotechnics of the player. This? This wasn’t that.
Steve: I play it at a deathly slow speed. Funereal speed. As a colonial guitarist it's different for Daryl. Seriously, to play someone else's part is almost impossible. I understand his need to play it differently. It is very difficult to play exactly the same notes as someone else... I think these things for musicians are not sacred. Somebody has always to give something of themselves. 7
And yet I wasn’t disappointed either. I may have missed a couple small embellishments, but I still got those same goosebumps. I was still completely enthralled by what I was hearing. A little confused, I suppose, but enthralled nonetheless. I did a bit more digging on it later; ah, this was a fellow named Steve Hackett who used to play with the band but had left. That does explain things a little.
The excitement didn’t abate there though; I still had a whole minute of song left! It’s another verse, eh? That works. Sounds good, sort of repeats that line about gods and men and sheep I liked. “The sands of time were eroded by the river of constant change.” Oh now that is good. Maybe all this meant something more and I just need to listen better, or maybe have the lyrics beside me.
And then a grand piano outro, fading out gently. What a pleasant little bow to put on the package.
Phil: It came to life on the [Trick of the Tail] tour. It really got a great audience reaction whereas before…‘Cause the ending is quiet and people would sit around waiting for somebody else to clap. Maybe it was because everybody knew it by the time of the last tour...And with two drummers it just seemed to happen. 2
Man...that guitar solo though. This song was nice, but that guitar solo.
...I’ma play it again.
Man, still impressed by how intricate this piano work is. OK, do these verses make more sense now? Who is “he” who’s riding majestic? What scene of death are they talking about? Oh they really did say “cancer growth.” Gross.
Tony: Mike and I wrote the lyric together, although it was mainly me - I won't put too much of the blame on Mike. I don't know really. It was just following the idea of a river and then I got a bit caught up in the cosmos and I don't quite know where I ended up, actually. But, it just about stands up, I think, for the song. For me, musically, it's got two or three really strong moments in it and fortunately they really carried us along. It's become one of the Genesis classics and I'm very happy for that. 1
OK, heading into the instrumental middle again...oh! That’s a guitar or something doing an actual siren wail! I didn’t even catch that before, that’s really cool!
Tony: Steve I think was really starting to find his feet a bit more as a player, and live and everything. And also he always contributed…A lot of Genesis music obviously required a sort of guitar, acoustic guitar picking and stuff, but people notice it less, I think. People tend to notice lead playing a little bit more. 5
Steve: With the show I am doing at the moment [my solo band] decided to do a full-length version...of “Firth of Fifth” rather than just the guitar solo. It is arguably Genesis' best-known guitar tune, and it is a damn good song there that isn't heard. I don't think even Genesis do that anymore, and maybe they never will. I do enjoy a lot of these songs in their entirety. The fact that I left the band doesn't mean to say that I am not, in spirit at least, one with many of those tunes. I still love them, for what it’s worth. 7
Hey, wait a second! That flute melody is the same as that guitar solo melody! That’s fantastic! This song is like three distinct sections but they all get done in different ways! What a brilliant approach to the music! How did they even figure out to combine them all like this?
Tony: I had these three bits I’d written, which I originally assumed would go into three different songs. But I think, probably because the others wanted my stuff sort of [shoved into] a kind of Banks ghetto, they all ended up in the same song, which ended up being “Firth of Fifth”. I really just strung the three bits together; well, made sense of them in a way to make them good. 5
Phil: “Firth of Fifth” was one of those things where Tony just sort of, you know...we’d all get together to play each other our bits, of which he had hundreds. Mike had quite a few and Peter had a few. And we’d be steamrollered into playing “Firth of Fifth”. 5
Tony: It was pieced together with the whole group around so it was one of those things where the group arrangement is quite important. There were three separate sections and it was Mike’s idea to put them together. I was thinking of keeping them separate, but they worked very nicely together. I’d offered some of it at the time of Foxtrot and Phil found it very difficult to play on it - this one part of it - so we dropped the idea. I’m glad we did ‘cause I developed it a lot better. I think it was great to be told “no” at that point and produce something a lot better as a result of it. 2
This thing works really, really well as a flute melody too. They must have had this wicked guitar solo and some genius figured out “it could probably work scaled down on flute, too,” and then they actually did that! So cool.
Tony: The way the guitar solo evolved was quite interesting really. Because I’d written the three bits, and the second bit I’d written was just really a flute and piano melody. I’d just seen it as that. We played it a few times and it sounded really nice. And then one time Steve started playing it, you know. Started playing it [big] like this. I thought, “Well, great! Let’s put the Mellotron in, big chords!” It was almost like a joke. We were kinda doing this sort of “a la King Crimson” is how we saw it. Just this overblown thing. And I thought, “That actually sounds really good, this!” So for the reprise of that melody when it came in the second half of the song, we said, “Well, let’s do it this big way. See how it works.” And it worked really well. It gave a chance for Steve to actually do a sort of proper guitar solo. 5
Tony: And so we used that as the sort of peak for the song, and stuck all the other bits in with it. It’s just an example of how...If I’d written the song on my own and it had just been credited to me, it would never have done that probably. It needed the whole band there to do the other thing with it. And that’s the sort of thing you get out of a group. I think it just leads you places you weren’t perhaps otherwise gonna go. 3
Well hello again, guitar solo. You’re looking lovely this evening. You know, it’s OK if you’re not as technical as that live rendition. This is actually way more artistic I think. Sounds a lot more like it’s “supposed” to sound, if that makes sense. And good grief, he’s holding that note out forever!
Steve: I was bending all the notes… I remember one or two people said, “It sounds a little bit Indian, almost like a sitar.” There was a note that I was able to sustain that would work nine times out of ten. At the top I’d do a high F#, and just with proximity to the speaker cabinets, it fed back. So it sounded like I had perfect sustain on every note; I didn’t. But I was able to fade in the notes on the beginning of it and sort of wait for it, wait for it, wait for it. Coast over, sort of atmospheric section. 5
Ooooof those big chords on the guitar’s second run through the main melody. That deep bass. It’s a guitar solo, but the guitar isn’t even what makes it so strong! It’s everything else. That guitar is just riding on top of it. Perfectly.
Steve: So you have that idea of the song, the whole sort of idea of water; the sea and rivers and all of that. Very Genesis kind of tone poem type stuff. And I was trying to create the idea of a bird in flight. So I held it and made it sustain, and I thought, “Well, this could be a little bit like a seagull over a calm sea.” And then it becomes more turbulent... It’s just one of those gorgeous melodies. 4
So daggone good. Did they play it live in full? I bet they played it live. Probably no fade-out ending there either. I’ma find it live. Oh, here it is.
Tony: We’re doing “Firth of Fifth”...and musically it stands up very well... It’s a sort of period piece… We’re not trying to change the old songs. It’s nice in some ways to recreate the era. Because you’re playing in a way you don’t play now but did play then. It also means that the songs stand up for themselves, the old and the new. But we’ve always done that you know. 8
Aww, no piano intro here. No flute either! Phil’s singing too, but that’s fine, I love Phil. But this still sounds really good. That bass comes through really well during the guitar solo. And hey, my embellishments! They’re back, but still done really tastefully! I guess this is actually the best of both worlds! THOSE BIG CHORDS. And man, I didn’t notice before, but this thing just rolls on longer than guitar solos typically ever have a right to, doesn’t it?
Mike: Once again it’s a nice section. You know, it’s about more space. We’re taking the main theme from the song and just letting it run for about four minutes, with a lovely guitar solo playing the melody and some lines in between. So we’re starting to give sections more space, and more time to sit in one mood rather than move on too fast. 5
Steve: It’s kind of become Genesis’ most well-known guitar solo. So yeah, I was allowed to play - forever, it seems - this great long guitar solo in the middle of something written by Tony. 5
Ooh, the outro! Is it gonna fade out? Whoa hey! It didn’t! In fact it ended exquisitely!
...I’ma listen to it again.
Come back to me, oh marvelous solo. I shall earn your company by listening to the rest of this music as well, but then with me you shall stay, forever and ever.
Tony: I suppose on this it was more of a genuine guitar solo. Some of the others were a bit tricksy; he was kind of thinking very hard about every note he played, and so it didn’t sort of soar in quite the way that this does. Where I think he allowed himself to have a bit more freedom with it, particularly before the main melody starts; just some really nice little phrases and stuff. So he sounds more like a real guitarist. 5
Steve: Iconic instrumental stuff... It aspires to symphonic rock at its best. I think without the Mellotron, that wouldn’t have happened. This is three guitar takes all played back together for the last time around that favorite melody. John Burns, who was engineering at the time, said, “Why don’t we just play them all back together?” So I was able to get away with something that’s nearly a three minute guitar solo. Unheard of for Genesis back in those days, but I think the whole song is absolutely beautiful. Of course, it’s also I think memorable for keyboard players as well. But being a guitarist of course, I have favored the famous guitar moment! 9
...Guys, I never did stop hitting that replay button. “Firth of Fifth” is not only my favorite Genesis song, and not only one of my favorite songs period, but it’s the song that broadened my musical horizons. It’s the song that taught me what “progressive” means. It’s the song that sent me spiraling down into what then felt like a dark, bottomless pit of Genesis material to explore. Well, I’ve explored that shadowy pit now. I’ve mustered enough light to identify one hundred ninety-seven individual works of art down here, and I’ve assembled them into a big pile so I can climb back out. And here, at the peak, is the song that got me into this mess in the first place. I always liked Genesis, but “Firth of Fifth” made me a Genesis fan in earnest.
Steve: When I play guitar on "Firth of Fifth" to this day it still feels like flying over a beautiful ocean. 10
I’m soaring right beside you, Steve. Every time.
Let’s hear it from the band!
Steve: The song had an aspect of blues, an aspect of gospel about it. It had something of English church music, but it also had an aspect of something Oriental or Indian, almost. So, it was a fusion of influences. But at the time, we weren’t using the word fusion - and we weren’t using the word progressive. It would eventually be described as progressive, which was a catch-all phase covering an awful lot of bases. I think it can support [its length] because it’s thematic. Basically, it’s the same melody played three times with minimal variation. It’s done like jazz, with the statement of the theme then you go off and improvise, and then return to the theme. On “Firth of Fifth”, when it comes back it’s a larger arrangement. It’s the tune as written, then “let’s take this to the mountains,” to a certain extent. 11
Phil: “Firth of Fifth” was a big tour-de-force. 5
Tony: This album I think we came together much more as players. We sound convincing as players to a greater extent… There’s a bit more technique in there. I always like to think that technique is just another sort of paintbrush, in a way. It’s something you can use, and it can be very effective at times. It should never take over. I think with some groups it takes over; it becomes “the technique’s the thing.” You know, you’ve got a guitarist who can play so fast that he can’t stop doing it. And we’re very happy...I’m very happy to just sort of sit down and hold down chords, which I do a lot of the time. And other times, you’d go mad. The contrast works and you just use it [to] illustrate something you want to try to illustrate with a piece of music you’re writing. That’s the thing. And I think Steve’s playing on this was really good. Obviously the “Firth” solo was a standout moment for his time with us. 5
Peter: Most of our stuff took time, took a few plays to sort of open up to a listener. But if they got it, it would stick around for quite a long time. 5
The sands of time may erode, but “Firth of Fifth” is a constant in my life. Thank you all for taking this journey with me. And thank you Genesis for making it possible.
1. Songfacts, 2018
2. NME, 1977
3. Genesis - The Songbook
4. Steve Hackett, 2020
5. 2008 Box Set
6. The Waiting Room, 1997
7., 2009
8. Sounds, 1981
9. Steve Hackett, 2020
10. HackettSongs, 2018
11. Something Else, 2014
submitted by LordChozo to Genesis [link] [comments]

Oct/6/2020 wrap-up: \\ War in Karabakh (Artsakh) \\ media reacts to Azerbaijan's use of cluster bomb on civilians \\ ethnic minorities condemn Aliyev regime \\ revealed: Azerbaijan recruits more jihadists \\ Iran & Russia warn \\ casualties & losses \\ donations intensify \\ eagle vs lizard \\ bills

Previous reports:
October 5, October 4, October 3, October 2, October 1, September 30, September 29, September 28, September 27
An English-language documentary explaining the conflict, Turkey's involvement, and Azerbaijan's recruitment of terrorists.

"This isn't out war" / Talysh minorities complain about Azerbaijan's discriminatory draft & hate speech

A few days ago we learned how the government of Azerbaijan intentionally drafts disproportionately higher numbers of ethnic minorities. A new report came from Talysh activists.
The letter reads: There is no military solution to this conflict, as it will only lead to problems for future generations. We are extremely concerned about the steps taken by the Azerbaijani authorities to send the Talysh to the battlefield.
We condemn the government's efforts to sow hatred in our community towards Armenians. Most Talysh people are dissatisfied with this situation.
On the one hand, the government of Azerbaijan suppresses freedom of speech. On the other hand, it is exploited by those with close ties to the government to present as if there is hatred of Armenians among the Talysh.
We call on the Azerbaijani government to finally end its policy of sowing hatred. We urge the Talysh not to engage in hate speech. We urge them to refrain from participating in clashes. We have never been an opponent of any people in our history; we will continue this path.

Azerbaijan's use of illegal cluster bomb on civilians

The Telegraph: "Azerbaijan dropping cluster bombs on civilian areas in war with Armenia." The Daily Telegraph saw evidence of the banned munitions' use in the capital of Karabakh.
The munitions, which scatter tiny bomblets over a wide area, are banned under a global treaty because of the risk they pose to civilians, especially children.
On a downtown street full of shops and housing blocks, large quantities of the bomblets - small cylindrical tubes about the size of a film can - were left scattered on the concrete. Several had failed to explode, posing an ongoing risk to passers-by.
Russian journalists run for cover and record the moment the rocket hits the ground capital Stepanakert (1:39 mark).
"There are no military objects here. It's downtown. Only civilian shops and districts. A mine's tail was left on a balcony. Lots of damage."

the 1,500 Syrian jihadists

Foreign Policy writes: Turkey has sent ~1,500 Syrian mercenaries to Azerbaijan after 5-60 day training, according to our source. They went from Syria to Gaziantep, Turkey on September 25th.
They were offered $1,500/mo to sign a 4-month contract. Now, many regret signing it after learning about the death of 55 mercenaries. (learn to code then). They were mislead about being sent to guard facilities.
"There is no communication between us and the Azerbaijani forces," one of the militants based in the Barda region of Azerbaijan told Foreign Policy. "All militants are dissatisfied with the situation in Azerbaijan. The psychological atmosphere is very difficult."
The arrival of 55 corpses near Aleppo village was tragic. They hadn't seen anything like that before. Turkey will pay $7,800 to the families of the deceased.
"Syrian fighters in Idlib expressing dissatisfaction of others leave for Azerbaijan, while they as they claim it, have a lot to do in Idlib. They are also sorry for some 50 of them killed."
Another 40 bodies of mercenaries killed in Azerbaijan, are taken to Syria. Another 50 were taken on October 4th.
WarGonzo military journalists have learned that Azerbaijan plans to import 1,000 additional mercenaries from Pakistan/Afghanistan. The source claims it's due to the Azeri army's inability to complete the task when it comes to face-to-face fight. "Aliyev has also failed to keep the promisee he gave to Erdogan about finishing it with blitzkriegg."
almasdarnews: Hundreds of Syrian mercenaries head to Azerbaijan to replace lost fighters

the fight against terrorism

Artsakh government plans to creature a coalition to fight terrorism. The Artsakh Parliament has contacted Iran to create a joint task-force "to locate and destroy the terrorists".
"Terrorists fight against our homeland already disguised under the flag of a UN member state Azerbaijan, in the regular army of Azerbaijan. Everyone saw and recorded the entry of the global jihadist network into Azerbaijan. This terrorist cell is being fed by Turkey.
As the president of a state fighting for its independence, I call on the civilized world to take an active part in this struggle. Creating an effective and efficient global anti-terrorist coalition is imperative today. I am sure the victory will be ours," said Artsakh president Arayik Harutyunyan. ,
Sometime before or after: President of Iran Rouhani spoke with Ilham Aliyev and informed him that Iran is concerned with the involvement of "third countries" in this conflict and the disability in its northern borders which could open the doors for terrorists.

a few more things from yesterday

Artsakh President Arayik: yet another day with a stable success in the front. The army has accomplished the task brilliantly and is currently successfully defending in the air and land while inflicting heavy losses on them.
This was the reason why the Azeri army fired over 100 Smerch missiles on the capital Stepanakert.
I was also informed that the diaspora has already donated $50m. Thank you. We will restore the ruins after our victory. This unity of ours is proof that Azerbaijan has already lost.
Rapper The Game also published an Instagram video in support of Armenia. "Share your voice. End global terrorism." Another rapper Xzibit shared a similar post yesterday.

October 6th begins

8:25 WarGonzo from Stepanakert: a surprisingly calm morning. Usually, they'd bomb by 6:30 am. Even the siren didn't go off.
9:15 WarGonzo: Okay, the sirens have just gone off again to warn against incoming bombs. Cluster bombs were dropped on Stepanakert ,
WarGonzo crew went to southern Hadrut city to record videos:
8:47: the Armenian Cultural Center in Athens, Greece has organized recruitment of volunteers willing to fly and join the army. The Assembly of Armenians of Europe has welcomed the effort.
"The Armenian people have always been peace-loving, but when the enemy declares war and leaves no other choice, we have to volunteer for the army of freedom and justice from all over the world."
8:51 Artsakh prez. spokesman: Good morning. We are strong and powerful. Long live the collective will and power of the Armenian people, before whom the crushed Turkish-Azerbaijani tandem will soon bow.
9:06: ANCA chairman Raffi Hambarian has contacted the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and asked to suspend the drone sales to Azerbaijan, citing their use against the civilian population.
9:18 Artsakh president: Last night, the front line was generally stable. The army continues to perform its combat mission brilliantly and professionally.
All levels of government are effective at doing their job. Both in the rear and on the front line, everyone is well aware of what to do. The victory will be ours, rest assured.
10:24: the railway company and the Armenian embassy in Georgia deny reports about facing issues while importing fuel through Georgia. ,
11:15 army: Azerbaijan has lost 3,454 soldiers (KIA), 4 Smerch, 379 tanks and armored vehicles, 17 aircraft, 16 helicopters, 125 drones, etc.
11:26 Healthcare Minister: almost all of the wounds are from shrapnel caused by a bomb explosion. There will be a new hotline to allow families to find the location and details of their relatives. Most wounds are light or medium degree. , ,
12:27: Syrian president Assad has accused Erdogan of organizing and encouraging the latest conflict in Artsakh. "We can confirm that Turkey sent Syrian jihadists to Karabakh. Erdogan supports terrorists." ,
12:41 Artsakh Parliament Speaker: Aliyev's plan to drink tea in Stepanakert and Shushi after a blitzkrieg has failed. He is no longer in charge in his country; the war is managed by Turkey.
13:45 MoD of Armenia: the govt of Azerbaijan continues to lie to its people and the world about us allegedly shelling them from the Republic of Armenia territories. It's a propaganda tool used as a pretense to resume their attacks.
14:04: the army published 21 names of soldiers who died in battles. The total confirmed is 240.
14:53: soldiers sent a video from the front.
15:08 Artsakh govt: the Army has inflicted new losses on the enemy troops in all directions. We have some positional success.
16:03: Pashinyan visited Artsakh to hold a meeting with the Artsakh president and army leaders. "We discussed the plan to destroy the new terrorist cell in the region," said president Arayik. ,
16:27: Azeris resumed the large scale operations in the south, involving large reserves and heavy equipment. "They are also ignoring the safety of Iranian territories."
Army: Welcome to Hell. We are methodically destroying the opponent's capabilities.
MFA: this attack is happening while Turkish MFA is in Baku, and just hours after OSCE released a statement calling for a ceasefire. All the responsibility of consequences is on the Azeri govt shoulders.
Army: explain this to the terrorists. The area near Araks river is flat plains, while our soldiers are mountain eagles. A lizard cannot defeat an eagle. (he means Azeris can easily crawl along the furthest southern border but up north they'll face Armenians on higher grounds. Azeris have captured some territories in the south since the war began.) , , ,
16:28 Head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service Narishkin: Turkey made an open and unequivocal support for Azerbaijan. In addition, the armed confrontation in Karabakh attracts the militants of various international terrorist organizations.
We have intel about the involvement of thousands of terrorists from several cells. Al Nusra terrorists are also being deployed there.
This is concerning because they could enter other neighboring countries including Russia. ,
WarGonzo reports that Russia plans to conduct airstrikes against the Syrian jihadist cells in northern Syria. Among them will be the ones that sent mercenaries to Karabakh.
Yesterday we learned that an insider exposed the location of these jihadists to a Syrian govt agent, who then presumably passed the info to the Russian air force. There is a $300 bounty on exposing the cell locations.
16:54: the shelling of capital Stepanakert has resumed.
16:58 Artsakh govt: Azeris sustained heavy losses. Their large assault in the south is their last effort to gain some results.
17:36: an Azeri drone has allegedly emergency-landed on Iranian territory in the south.
17:43 QP MP Alen: Azerbaijan has no major strategic victories. I want the Azeri public to know that they're being lied to. We get the impression that Azeri soldiers are being thrown into a meat grinder so that Aliyev can post a photo on the internet. Azerbaijan will ask for a ceasefire, while Aliyev will flee and leave the public in poverty.
17:55 political expert: Azerbaijan has lost most of whatever equipment they collected in the past 30 years. With oil prices remaining low, the chances of them repeating this, at least in the near future, are low.
18:00: one of the Smerch missiles fired by Azerbaijan exploded near the Red Cross office in capital Stepanakert.
Artsakh govt: The shelling of Stepanakert by the enemy will receive a proportionate response. We won't target civilians... Our missile strikes on enemy military facilities located in major cities are not yet subject to publication. We'll publish a whole list after the war.
As a result of our strikes, not only have large enemy reserve forces been destroyed, but there have been long traffic jams on the highways to Baku for two days now. (civilians moving away from areas with military objects) ,
18:29: NSS warns citizens not to answer unknown calls/SMS claiming to be surveys, and to avoid falling victim to fake news.
To gather more info, the NSS contacted a certain "journalist named Artyom Khachatryan" who took a report from an Azeri outlet and reprinted it as a fact. The reporter later claimed it was an opinion piece. ,
19:22 video of elder volunteers in front: "we knew the spirit would be so high but didn't suspect it would be this much. We came here to encourage the boys, but it's them who began reassuring us."
Among them are female mortar operators.
19:27 ethnic Yezidi MP Bakoyan: I am glad that Yezidi and Armenian Diasporas are working together. I urge you to continue to provide financial support. (
19:32: ARF party is uring the govt to reduce cooperation with NATO if they're unable to restrain their member Turkey.
19:44: the European Court for Human Rights has approved the second petition filed by Armenia. This one requires Turkey not to target Armenian civilians (Turkish air force helped Azeris to bomb settlements).
19:53: MFAs of Russia and Iran discussed the conflict.
20:13: Azerbaijan's govt-run Haqqin outlet published two separate fake stories about Armenians admitting to targeting civilians (mistranslation), and allegedly killing Kurdish mercenary fighters in Karabakh (they are Armenian). ,
21:09 army: yesterday, Azeris lost 300 soldiers (KIA), 2 helicopters, 11 armored vehicles, 2 drones. Data on today's losses will be available tomorrow.
Stepanakert's civilian infrastructure was bombed this morning. There were casualties.
Fierce battles resumed in the south today. They launched an attack along the Araks River. ,
22:06: photos showing the damage done to city Shushi after Azerbaijan's indiscriminate fire at civilians.
22:10: Artsakh war veteran and politician Vahan Badasyan was wounded in the front lines. Condition stable-serious.
Former SOC chief David Sanasaryan will join the front. "My service in the rear is complete."
23:54: Armenia and Artsakh have denied the Azeri claims that the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline was targeted. "This is false information with which Azerbaijan is trying to mislead the international community."
A military expert explains the current situation in the front lines:

the international community

Iran's Ayatollah's Foreign adviser: The war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, two neighboring countries of Iran, and the emergence of some events, including the involvement of the Zionist regime, Turkey and Takfiri terrorists in this war, as well as regular shootings and shelling on Iranian territory in this battle, are worrying. It should be stopped as soon as possible
Cyprus plans to pass a resolution in support of the Artsakh population.
Daily Mail: "Azerbaijani forces are using banned cluster bombs on their Armenia enemies as sides battle over disputed Nagorno-Karabakh, western journalists confirm"
Small un-detonated bomblets have been seen littering the streets of Stepanakert following heavy shelling by Azerbaijani forces
Members of the Italian Lega party held a protest in support of Armenia. Among the attendees were a Rome municipality adviser, Lega's leader in Rome's municipality council, a Senator, and others. They condemned Turkey, Azerbaijan, and called for the independence of Karabakh.
Armenians held a march in Milan:
Wall Street Journal: Can Anyone Stop the Caucasus Clash? Turkey bets that the West and Russia will sit idle as Nagorno-Karabakh burns.
German outlets Zeit, Welt, Tagesschau, n-tv, and others covered the topic and mentioned Turkey's involvement in the conflict, the use of F-16, and Azerbaijan's shelling of civilian population. Speigel mentioned Pashinyan's accusations that 150 Turkish commanders are leading the Azeri army actions.
U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff: The United States should review its relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey. The American people must understand what is at stake when the people of Artsakh are killed, when civilian settlements are bombed and shelled by Azeris, and all this, with the help of Turkey, threatens all our freedoms.
PACE has reminded that by becoming members, Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to settle things peacefully. They condemned Turkey's provocative rhetoric. "This war is threatening the region."
European Parliament MP Lars Patrick Berg has joined colleagues and called for "Azerbaijan to withdraw its troops and seek a constructive dialogue within the OSCE... The Turkish intervention emboldened Azerbaijan. According to reliable information, Turkey has sent Syrian militants to support the Azerbaijani army."
The "Jerusalem Post: Erdogan's Turkey: Drunk on power." The raging conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Karabakh has given Turkey another opportunity to expand its violent, imperialist tendencies. In fact, the sudden outbreak of violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan is more than likely orchestrated in part by Erdogan.
La lettre A French paper: Azerbaïdjan-Arménie : la bataille d'influence gagne peu à peu les élus
https://www.lalettrea.faction-publique_lobbying/2020/10/05/azerbaidjan-armenie--la-bataille-d-influence-gagne-peu-a-peu-les-elus,109611208-ge0 ,
The French city of Valance will provide medical supplies to the Artsakh population. "For 8 days, our friendly country, Armenia, is in a critical geopolitical situation."
President Sarkissian to CNN: If the international community does not stop Turkey, the Caucasus may turn into a new Syria, then may God save Europe and Central Asia.
Nikola Aznavour sent a letter to Emmanuel Macron, asking France to officially recognize the independence of the Artsakh Republic so it can use its international rights. He also urged sanctions against Azerbaijan and Turkey.
UFC champion Ronda Rousey: Armenia and Artsakh are under attack. Raise awareness and demand that the leadership of your countries condemn the actions of Turkey and Azerbaijan. They want to expel Armenians from their historical homeland Artsakh.
Russian-Armenian TV host Tina Kandelaki shared the video of Stepanakert's indiscriminate bombardment. "This is the war until the victorious end. A war that needs to stop now."
The Canberra Times wrote about a rally organized by the Australian-Armenian community in front of Azerbaijan's embassy.
Armenians of Javakh, Georgia organized a rally.

people continue to donate

An Indian-owned family restaurant "Mehak" is helping Artsakh residents with free food. The owner says he's willing to fight if necessary.
13 tons of various aid was sent to Armenia from France. "We promised never to leave Armenia and Artsakh. I confirm that," said Laurent Wauquiez, the head of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.
Armenian communities in Germany, Jerusalem, Chechia, and other places have organized donation campaigns.
Yerevan volunteers collecting humanitarian aid for Artsakh residents and soldiers: has so far received $69m. 96 is the same as 69 but reversed, FYI.

here we go again

Actress Penelope Cruz has a new movie coming out in which she features the Colombian flag behind her. Colombian flag is the Armenian flag upside down.
As always, some Azeri social media users confused the two flags and thought Penelope joined the Armenian cause. Angry replies ensued:

Parliament approved a few bills

Parliament voted 99-1 to approve a govt bill that expands the powers of the Nature Inspection Agency. It'll be allowed to suspend company operations without a court order if there is evidence of harm to nature.
Parliament voted 100-0 to extend the law that provides various subsidies to residents living near borders. The amended law also covers the damage caused by Azerbaijan's shelling.
You've read 3181 words.
submitted by ar_david_hh to armenia [link] [comments]

Snake Oil Salesmen #2 – A unique way to say NO to the customers that don’t fit.

Hey guys, Snake Oil Salesmen is a fortnightly series on how to sell, with examples of Tech/SaaS products. I got good responses to my first post here, so here I am with issue #2.

This series is for people who

I try to give examples of human nature that I’ve observed, read, and put into practice in my four years of sales experience.

Let’s dive in.

Sometimes as a salesman, you meet customers who aren’t right for your product/service.
For some reason, they insist on buying from you even though it doesn't solve their problem in the way they would expect it to. Then they suck your time with complaints and request for more features.
The customer experience sucks and soon you find yourself hating going to the office and start saying ‘Thank God It’s Friday’.
How do you deal with them? By saying no, of course.
But why is saying no so hard?
For some cultures, it is rude to say no… (Asians, I am looking at you!)

And there are enough people who take advantage of this inability of some of us to say no. Casually browsing through Choosingbeggars, you can find many of them. (Think annoying influencers who can't influence for shit, begging small businesses to give free stuff)

I take inspiration from Steve Jobs, who is famous for curt ‘no’ replies to customer complaints. (Here’s a non-comprehensive list of the times he has said no to his customers)

I am not asking you to be an arrogant douche. But consider what happens when you say yes... To quote the company behind Basecamp, a project management tool targeted at remote teams:

Each time you say yes to a feature, you’re adopting a child. You have to take your baby through a whole chain of events (e.g. design, implementation, testing, etc.). That’s why you start with no. Every new feature request that comes to us — or from us — meets a no. We listen but don’t act. The initial response is “not now.”

Ahrefs took this a step further with their trial pricing and they are gonna be the focus of this discussion.

Ahrefs is an SEO toolset. You use it to find topics that people search for in Google and then use it to rank your site on the first page of the results. Their main competitor is Semrush. Both have similar features, with Semrush gaining a slight edge on product features and Ahrefs being better in the UI/UX department.

Here’s a comparison of their pricing plans
Plan Ahrefs Semrush
Trial $7 for 7 days Free for 30 days
Basic $99 $99
Intermediate $179 $199
Enterprise $399 $399
Their pricing is pretty similar, except for one thing...

Every SaaS company I know of usually offers a free trial to get the customer hooked onto the product.

But Ahrefs does not have a free trial! They charge 7 dollars for 7 days when their competitor is offering a 30-day free trial.

Their CMO – Tim Soulo is quoted on their landing page as saying

“Don’t spend $7 on the trial until you learn how Ahrefs can help you get more search traffic and grow your business.”

They tell their potential customer outright not to spend their money! Why?

It's because they invested significant time and money to build content that teaches you how to rank your website on Google. Once you know this, you are more likely to spend $$ on a recurring basis.

And since their own content ranks on the first page of Google results (most often in the first or second result) people started to trust them.

In addition to the articles, they also made an $800 course called Blogging for Business. It was made free during the pandemic (and that's how I came to know about Ahrefs). The people who complete it, go on to sing their praise to others (like I am doing now. The course is still free btw, in case you want to check it out)

The course did name-drop the tools sold by Ahrefs from time to time. But the principles taught in the course could have been used with any tool. So you could have completed their course, and simply signed up with Semrush instead as they give a better trial offer of 30 days.

But by the time you complete the course, you're familiar with their tools, and more importantly, you have some goodwill towards Ahrefs. People in general usually feel obligated to give back when you do something for them. Ahrefs is betting that once you complete the course you will pay to use their product at some point.

Having a quality product that is easy to use attracts a lot of people who abuse the free trial. It only takes 7 days to find content ideas for the next six months.

They indirectly say NO to their customers by having a paid trial. And they directly say NO by quoting their CMO asking them not to buy it until they have learned to use it!

And by saying no, they achieve two things:
  1. They reduce free trial abuse which saves them time and resources &
  2. They shorten the sales conversion cycle to 7 days, which allows them to earn revenue from the 8th day as opposed to the 31st day (which is the case for their main competitor – Semrush)

That’s the end of my analysis. I have three questions for you:

  1. Can you share any other examples (personal or otherwise) of companies saying no to their customers that don’t fit their product?
  2. Have you struggled to say no to your customers or did so and felt all the better for it?
  3. What do you think of my analysis?

If you were looking to subscribe to my newsletter, here is the permalink.
Edit: Spacing
submitted by leucyne to Entrepreneur [link] [comments]

Lost in the Sauce: DHS hides intelligence that reveals Trump using Russia's playbook, again

Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis.

Trump’s playbook is Russia’s playbook

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in July withheld an intelligence bulletin warning of a Russian plot to spread misinformation regarding Joe Biden's mental health. The bulletin, titled “Russia Likely to Denigrate Health of U.S. Candidates to Influence 2020 Election,” was blocked by the office of acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf on July 9.
  • The bulletin states that analysts had “high confidence” in their conclusion. However, a DHS spokesperson tried to defend the “delay” in issuing the document by saying it did not meet the agency’s standards. This is curious because just a week later, on July 16, DHS circulated a bulletin on anarchists in Portland that officers admitted they had “low confidence” in. Why was the Russia memo held back but the Portland one released?
  • Trump has been pushing the same line of attack against Biden for months - yet another instance of Russia and Trump operating from the same playbook. For instance, in March Trump said there was “something going on” with Biden; in June Trump ran selectively edited ads asserting that Biden is “unfit to serve as Commander in Chief”; last month Trump ran a digital ad portraying Biden as perpetually confused and mentally unstable. Most recently, Trump said questions about his own health are only in the news because “they want to try and get me to be on Biden's physical level."
DHS is just the latest agency in the Trump administration to erode election security, following actions by the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) last month. DNI John Ratcliffe announced he was ending in-person congressional briefings on election security ahead of November and AG Bill Barr removed a leading career official at the Justice Department’s national security division, replacing him with an inexperienced political appointee.
The ODNI’s decision to halt congressional election briefs may have been influenced by top White House officials. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, among others, have repeatedly discussed in meetings with staff and with Trump “how to restrict and control the flow of information on such sensitive topics to Capitol Hill.”
One White House official told The Daily Beast that Meadows has for months been wary of the type of briefings on Capitol Hill that Democratic sources can potentially use to try to make Trump look bad through surreptitious leaks to media outlets.
Meanwhile, interim Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Marco Rubio (R-FL) said last week that his committee will be granted an exception to the ODNI’s new policy and continue to receive in-person briefings from top U.S. intelligence officials about election-security issues. This essentially means that only Democrat-led committees have been cut out of the process ensuring election security.
House Democrats wrote to Ratcliffe insinuating if his office does not provide the previously scheduled briefings this month they will issue subpoenas and/or defund the ODNI in the appropriations bill due by the end of the month. Read the letter here.
In addition to attacks on Biden’s health, DHS has determined that Russia is seeking to “amplify” concerns over the integrity of U.S. elections by promoting allegations that mail-in voting will lead to widespread fraud. Intelligence analysts say this strategy has been underway since at least March, coinciding with Trump’s own assaults on mail-in voting.
  • For instance, in March Trump said if he agreed to funding vote-by-mail expansions in the first coronavirus stimulus bill, the U.S. would see “levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again” (clip). Fact check: Neither party has historically benefited. On April 7, at the White House press briefing, Trump claimed: "Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country, because they're cheaters… They're fraudulent in many cases" (clip). Fact check: There is no evidence that mail ballots are dangerous or fraudulent.
At a White House press briefing on Friday, Trump denied there is any proof that Russia poisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Instead of backing the German government's analysis of Nalvany's illness, Trump then redirected the criticism from Russia to China (clip).
"I don't know exactly what happened. I think it's tragic. It's terrible; it shouldn't happen. We haven't had any proof yet, but I will take a look. It is interesting that everybody is always mentioning Russia - and I don't mind you mentioning Russia - but I think probably China, at this point, is a nation that you should be talking about much more so than Russia. Because the things that China's doing are far worse.”
Trump then went on to say he’s “taken stronger action against Russia than any other country in the world,” but added “I do get along with President Putin” (clip).
  • RELATED: Leaked notes obtained by the Telegraph say that when Theresa May asked for Trump to take a strong stand after Russia poisoned Sergei Skripal, Trump replied “I’d rather follow than lead.” He pushed May to “put together a coalition” first.
The Trump administration plans to deport a Russian national living in America, a move experts say is in response to a politically motivated request by Russia. Gregory Duralev was persecuted by the Russian state for exposing corruption. He fled to America and applied for asylum in 2015. While waiting for a decision on his application, he was arrested by ICE and jailed for nearly 18 months. His case is now in court.
“DHS has acted no better than the Russian authorities,” Duralev said. “They simply fabricated charges against me for violations I never committed — and if DHS can trump up charges against immigrants with impunity, nobody can guarantee they won’t start doing it” to regular Americans. “So that’s the main message I now hope to send.”

Michael Cohen & Peter Strzok

Former FBI agent Peter Strzok has a book coming out called “Compromised.” In it, he alleges that FBI investigators came to believe it was “conceivable, if unlikely” that Russia was secretly controlling President Trump after he took office:
“We certainly had evidence that this was the case: that Trump, while gleefully wreaking havoc on America’s political institutions and norms, was pulling his punches when it came to our historic adversary, Russia,” Strzok writes. “Given what we knew or had cause to suspect about Trump’s compromising behavior in the weeks, months, and years leading up to the election, moreover, it also seemed conceivable, if unlikely, that Moscow had indeed pulled off the most stunning intelligence achievement in human history: secretly controlling the president of the United States — a Manchurian candidate elected.”
He now says he doesn’t believe that Trump is literally a Russian spy: “I don’t think that Trump, when he meets with Putin, receives a task list for the next quarter,” Strzok said, referencing the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. “But I do think the president is compromised, that he is unable to put the interests of our nation first, that he acts from hidden motives, because there is leverage over him, held specifically by the Russians but potentially others as well.”
In an interview with Politico, Strzok confirms that he and then-deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, opened a counterintelligence case on the president, but that it likely was never pursued. Two weeks ago, NYT reported that Rosenstein secretly closed it.
As if there weren’t enough political books coming out this summefall, Michael Cohen is releasing his, called “Disloyal: A Memoir.” The following a couple of quick takeaways:
Cohen says that he, Trump, Aras Agalarov, Emin Agalarov, and others, watched a strip show in Las Vegas where one performer simulated peeing on another performer, who pretended to drink it. Trump reportedly reacted with “delight.” Aras Agalarov, a Russian real estate mogul, is a trusted associate of Putin and reportedly served as a liaison between Trump and the Russian president during Trump’s trip to Moscow.
On Russia, Cohen writes that the cause behind Trump’s admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin is simpler than many of his critics assume. Above all, he writes, Trump loves money — and he wrongly identified Putin as “the richest man in the world by a multiple.” Trump loved Putin, Cohen wrote, because the Russian leader had the ability “to take over an entire nation and run it like it was his personal company — like the Trump Organization, in fact.”
...According to Cohen, Trump’s sycophantic praise of the Russian leader during the 2016 campaign began as a way to suck up and ensure access to the oligarch’s money after he lost the election. But he claims Trump came to understand that Putin’s hatred of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, dating to her support for the 2011 protest movement in Russia, could also help Trump amass more power in the United States.

USPS & mail voting

According to a Washington Post report yesterday, Postmaster Louis DeJoy engaged in campaign money laundering, also called a straw-donor scheme, at his former logistics business. Five of his former employees told WaPo that they were “urged” to donate to politicians in North Carolina and would be paid back through bonuses from DeJoy. Such a plan would allow DeJoy to illegally circumvent campaign donation limits.
“Louis was a national fundraiser for the Republican Party. He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses,” said David Young, DeJoy’s longtime director of human resources, who had access to payroll records at New Breed from the late 1990s to 2013 and is now retired.
“He would ask employees to make contributions at the same time that he would say, ‘I’ll get it back to you down the road,’ ” said [another] former employee.
...A Washington Post analysis of federal and state campaign finance records found a pattern of extensive donations by New Breed employees to Republican candidates, with the same amount often given by multiple people on the same day. Between 2000 and 2014, 124 individuals who worked for the company together gave more than $1 million to federal and state GOP candidates. Many had not previously made political donations, and have not made any since leaving the company, public records show.
More than one million mail-in ballots were sent late to voters during the 2020 primary elections, an audit by the USPS IG’s office determined. Most of the ballots were late, the USPS says, because local election boards sent the ballots to voters at the last minute. Official press release.
[The audit] found the problems during primaries had been most pronounced in Kentucky and New York, where a combined 628,000 ballots were sent out late. In 17 states, the audit found, more than 589,000 ballots were sent from election boards to voters after the state’s ballot mailing deadline. In 11 states, more than 44,000 ballots were sent from election boards to voters the day of or the day before the state’s primary election.
One particularly troubling situation, auditors found, unfolded in Pennsylvania, where 500 ballots were sent to voters the day after the election.
Furthermore, only 13% of the ballots were mailed with the recommended bar code tracking technology.
Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) was blocked from attending two scheduled tours of USPS facilities last week. Local Postal Service officials informed her and union leaders waiting to accompany her into the building that national USPS leadership had directed them to bar the group from the building. A Postal Service spokeswoman said they simply needed more notice for a tour.
Many states, including important battleground states, are not legally permitted to process mail-in/absentee ballots until Election Day, leading to concern that results will be delayed by days or weeks. For instance, in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan election officials cannot even begin processing ballots until Election Day. Processing involves opening envelopes, flattening ballots to run through the scanning machine, and prepping for the scanning.
"When voters have to wait so long for results, it erodes trust in the process and leaves room for partisan bad actors to dispute the will of the people," said Amber McReynolds, CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute, a nonprofit organization.
AG Bill Barr made three stunning false claims about mail voting during an interview with Wolf Blitzer last week. First, Barr wouldn’t even acknowledge that voting twice is a crime - because just hours earlier, Trump encouraged his North Carolina supporters to vote twice to “test” the state’s mail-in voting system (clip).
BLITZER: It sounds like he’s encouraging people to break the law and try to vote twice.
BARR: It seems to me what he’s saying is, he’s trying to make the point that the ability to monitor this system is not good. And it was so good, if you tried to vote a second time you would be caught if you voted in person.
BLITZER: That would be illegal if they did that. If somebody mailed in a ballot and then actually showed up to vote in person, that would be illegal.
BARR: "I don't know what the law in the particular state says.”
BLITZER: You can’t vote twice.
BARR: "I don't know what the law in the particular state says.”
Then, Barr tried to assert that foreign countries could fake ballots, but when challenged he admitted he had no evidence (clip).
BLITZER: You’ve said you were worried that a foreign country could send thousands of fake ballots, thousands of fake ballots to people that it might be impossible to detect. What are you basing that on?
BARR: I’m basing — as I’ve said repeatedly, I’m basing that on logic.
BLITZER: Pardon?
BARR: Logic.
Finally, Barr cited a supposed incident of mail-in voting fraud in Texas. Too bad it doesn’t exist.

The payroll

Charles Rettig, the Trump-appointed IRS Commissioner who has refused to release President Trump’s tax returns, has made hundreds of thousands of dollars renting out Trump properties while in office. Rettig makes $100,000 - $200,000 a year from two units at Trump International Waikiki. When first nominated, Rettig failed to disclose his financial ties to Trump Waikiki. When questioned by Congress, he did not directly answer concerns about the properties.
CREW: With Trump’s name removed from some buildings as it began to hurt property values, we can only imagine how toxic it would become if a bombshell in his tax returns were released. Which means the IRS Commissioner has a vested interest in the success of the Trump brand—and of preventing anything that could damage it.
Voice of America staffers say Trump appointee Michael Pack is threatening to wash away legal protections intended to insulate their news reports from political meddling. Since arriving, Pack has fired the network's leaders, pushed out agency executives, refused to approve allotted budgets, and refused to renew visas for foreign employees.
  • Further reading: “Deleted Biden video sets off a crisis at Voice of America,” Politico.
Pack suggested the staff he fired and foreign journalists he essentially kicked out may have been foreign spies, without offering any evidence to support his claim. A group of 14 senior VOA journalists are openly disputing his explanation:
“Mr. Pack has made a thin excuse that his actions are meant to protect national security, but just as was the case with the McCarthy ‘Red Scare,’ which targeted VOA and other government organizations in the mid-1950s, there has not been a single demonstrable case of any individual working for VOA — as the USAGM CEO puts it — ‘posing as a spy,’ ” they wrote.
The White House is searching for a replacement for Federal Trade Commission Chair Joe Simons, a Republican who has publicly resisted President Donald Trump’s efforts to crack down on social media companies. Simons, a veteran antitrust lawyer, cannot legally be removed by the president except in cases of gross negligence. But the White House has already interviewed at least one candidate for the post.
  • RELATED: The Justice Department plans to bring an antitrust case against Google as soon as this month, after Attorney General William P. Barr overruled career lawyers who said they needed more time to build a strong case.
Richard Grenell, formerly the highest-ranking out gay official in the Trump administration, has joined a law firm founded by Pat Robertson that has a history of opposing LGBTQ+ rights. Grenell also recently joined the Republican National Committee to do outreach to LGBTQ+ voters.
The Trump administration has quietly named a new acting State Department inspector general. Matthew Klimow, the U.S. ambassador to Turkmenistan since mid-2019, is the third acting IG since Trump and Pompeo ousted Senate-confirmed IG Steve Linick in May.
Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s current special envoy to Northern Ireland, former Chief of Staff, and former acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is starting a hedge fund focused on financial services regulation. Ethics experts say Mulvaney explicitly using his knowledge of CFPB to place bets for and against companies gives him an unfair and perhaps illegal advantage.

Court and DOJ matters

Court cases
The Trump administration must, for now, stop winding down in-person counting efforts for the 2020 census, a federal judge in California ordered.
The three-judge panel hearing a challenge to Trump’s new anti-immigrant census policy seemed hostile to the government’s arguments in a hearing last week.
A federal judge has stopped the Trump administration from enforcing a rule change that would let health care providers deny medical services to LGBTQ patients on the grounds of religion.
Justice Department
Federal prosecutors are preparing to charge longtime GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy in connection with efforts to influence the U.S. government on behalf of foreign interests. Broidy helped raise millions for Donald Trump’s election and the Republican Party.
Barr ordered another round of changes to FISA rules, tightening the use of government surveillance on political candidates or their staffers — a move conservatives will likely cheer, as they have long criticized how the FBI investigated the Trump campaign in 2016.
Before conducting physical searches or wiretaps of a federal election official, members of the official's staff, candidates for federal office, or their staff or advisers, the FBI must now consider giving them a "defensive briefing," to tell them that they could be the target of foreign influence.
submitted by rusticgorilla to Keep_Track [link] [comments]

My First 6 Months in IT - What to expect in YOUR Journey - Featuring advice on CVs/Resumes, Interviews, Certificates and training, and how to handle being laid off.

My Experience in IT after 6 months, What Can You Expect?
Hi all, I recently read a on r\ITCareerQuestions about being frustrated with all of the posts asking for help. This in part, is a response to that.
Fair warning – this is going to be a long one (slightly over 5000 words), strap yourself in or get out while you can, you have been warned! I have tried to break it up into sections, so feel free to skip to parts that interest you. I will happily answer all questions, PLEASE feel free to DM me. I will help anyone with resources that I used, and advice on best career pathways.
Who is this post for?
I think this post is going to be for you if you fit into any of the following categories. If you are looking to break in to IT and you haven’t even taken your first step, if you have been studying for certificates and you want to know if it is all going to be worth it (is there a light at the end of this tunnel). Maybe you want to know what your first 6 months in IT are going to be like. Maybe you want realistic salary expectations and you don’t want to ask a salesman or the guy driving an expensive car. Maybe you have been a lurker on this thread and you’ve seen all the conflicting advice. Perhaps you have sent out 400 job applications and had no bites. Maybe you have had 20 interviews and no one has given you a chance. My point being there are many steps you need to take to take your “first step” or to get your foot in the door. If you are someone who is taking any one of those steps, I do recommend reading this.
My Journey, two jobs, one lay-off, sleepless nights, a global pandemic and an incredible wife.
When I was 28, I decided I wanted a stable and steady career. Something I didn’t have to fight 30 other younger and hungrier people for. To put this into context I once applied for an entry level market research position and I don’t mind telling you that interview experience was something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I hadn’t applied myself at university, I studied Biology, something I had no passion for and the competition in scientific research was something that you would never survive without passion.
I was always exceptional at exams/learning/studying, to that end I was first in my year at university for exam results. And for that great honour I was awarded a £1000 cash scholarship prize. And being an irresponsible student I spent the entire thing (and some student overdraft) on my very first PC.
I spent hundreds of hours watching Linus tech tips, and Jays2cents and how to build a PC. I was hooked, I built that PC, booted her up, and realised…. I still want to watch build videos. I genuinely found out that I loved learning about hardware. I didn’t know that about myself. I know I see a lot of backstory posts asking for help that all say “I am tech savvy, I am the techy one in the family” etc etc.
So, I think these people know what I mean. By the way if you are worried that being the “techy one” isn’t valuable then you are dead wrong. It means you can learn technologies quickly and interact with user interfaces with ease. These are going be all you do for a long time in IT. You will have many user interfaces thrown at you that are custom to your company, but more on that later.
Well, unfortunately, years pass me by while I take a job in biology I have no passion for, I didn’t hate my job, I got to work at a university helping students with disabilities cope with every day life. But I didn’t feel excited or driven.
And then one day I was watching the UK version of the apprentice, absolute trashy TV at its finest for those that don’t know what it is. It is a competition in which people present a business plan to a billionaire and that billionaire decides if the business plan has legs.
So I am watching this guy with perfect quaffed hair and teeth that would blind you, (you know the type, he works is sales and thinks the world would collapse without him) and he is pitching a Cyber security recruitment company. And he has the leading experts in the country critiquing him, and I heard the same thing over and over. IT is desperate for people, for every 10 roles in IT security, there are only 1 or 2 qualified people.
I have to admit I got a little excited, nervous excited. I did something that changed my life. I googled it and made a phone call. That’s right, I spent all of 2 minutes before I was on the phone to a salesman. Let me tell you, if I could go back in time a slap myself for buying in to this pitch I would.
“The average person in IT security in the UK earns £72,000”, Booom, I am hooked. You are telling me I can earn £72K and they will be desperate to have me? I won’t have to compete? It won’t be a dog fight… Where the hell do I sign up? Well spoilers for what is to come later, but no, I didn’t end up as CIO of a small company making silly money in year one.
So, what were they offering me and what did it cost me? I signed up for a course that included a Microsoft Technical associate (MTA) in server fundamentals and an MTA in security fundamentals. I signed up for a Comptia certificate in Network+ and in Security+ and finally an EC council certificate in ethical hacking, called CEH. All for the price of around £3000. “Not bad” I told myself for a £72K/year job. “Not bad” I told my wife (who supported me through every single step).
So, when did I first begin to have doubts? That is easy, I remember it like it was yesterday. I had this awful procrastination habit (I bet almost ALL of you do it too) I would google jobs for whatever certificate I was going to study. For me, this was the CEH. A simple “CEH Jobs” search was almost all I ever googled back then. And there were hundreds of them, decent pay too. And then one day I saw it “we are looking for real candidates, no offense to those with a CEH”. It was like a punch to the gut, but worse as my heart raced with fear. What the hell did they mean?!
It was at this point I realised I might be in trouble. I am sure a lot of you feel that way now. Have I just been swindled by a Nigerian prince who just needed my bank details so he can transfer me my millions? Well yes and no. Yes I had been swindled by the promise of £72K, and yes I had been swindled by the CEH, it is one of the most expensive certificates you can get and it does make you look like an idiot to anyone in field. But no, I had not been swindled out of a career just yet.
I kept my head down and I nailed my first ever certificate and I have to admit, it was the hardest things I ever studied. I would say that knowing hardware helped a bit with the server fundamentals certificate, but only for about 5-10% of the learning objectives that were focussed on hardware. The rest was like information overload. I had to learn about how servers worked and communicated. I had to learn Microsoft’s branding too, which is a feat of its own. But I did it, I finally got an IT certificate.
I powered through my security MTA full steam ahead knowing I could achieve it with hard work and consistency. And that is when things got interesting. I began studying for my network+, and let me tell you, I fell in love. I began feeling like the curtains were being drawn on the way the world worked. I understood how if I sent an email, that email was carried across the country to my friends and family.
However, the instructor kept saying the same thing over and over. “And if you take a CISCO course you will learn all about it”. I mean if I had a £ for every time she said it….
Well, I did it again ladies and gentleman. I went back to the same person who sold me my snake oil. And I asked if they did CCNA courses. Of course they did, for the cool price of £800. What the hell I thought, the CCNA is a “real” certificate finally. Finally, I won’t feel worry and despair at the thought of this all being in vane, because I, Jacob Smith will be a network engineer.
The course was mediocre, and I found myself frustrated, so I did the unthinkable. That is right, I spend £10 on an Udemy course. I mean obviously it was going to be terrible. You would have to be an idiot to think a £10 course could be better than an £800 one. Well Neil Anderson spared no time showing me the error of my ways. His course was phenomenal. I bought the course for the first half of the CCNA, then I bought the course for the second half, and then I thought why the hell not, its only £10, I will buy the course that comes as whole package just to support him.
This is the lesson I learned that day. A person can sell their 20 hour course for £10 if they know it is good enough. And then they can make more money than the predator who sells their course to desperate people for thousands.
Let’s skip forward a few months. It is the last hour of the last day in which I can sit the CCNA before they retire it and change it completely. The exam went amazingly, and for those interested I used Neil Anderson’s course, and Boson netsim and boson exsim for the tools.
I am done. I have finally sat the last certificate I am going to sit before I start applying for Jobs. I no longer want the CEH as I know it will just make me look bad and I don’t want to commit the hours required to learn something that will hurt me.
Advice on Resumes/CVs
I fire up google again and waste no time typing “professional CV templates”. Wow, CVs look incredible these days, look how pretty I can make my application. I have dedicated sections for skills, work experience, school etc.
Here is lesson number two, and more important than you realise. Do NOT use these templates ever. Every recruiter that you send your CV to has some sort of CV filter on it. These CV templates are terrible for a number of reasons. Firstly, the format cannot be read by the CV filter, it doesn’t know what it’s looking at so it just bins it. If you are using one and you have sent hundreds of applications and had no bites, then I strongly recommend you read this part and do what I did.
Secondly, these templates are designed for people with work experience and skills. Unfortunately that wasn’t me, I was breaking in to IT. This meant that the focus of my CV HAD to be biology, there was no way to change this. My CCNA was at the bottom of my second page under “other”. So if by some divine intervention my CV did get through to a recruiter, there was no way they would ever read I had 5 certificates.
I had some of the worst and most sleepless nights of my life for the next 2 weeks. I applied to 20-40 jobs a day and heard nothing. Not a peep. It is at this point my beautiful wife lets slip that her sister is in IT recruitment. Mixed emotions is an understatement, I bounced between desperate joyous relief and utter disbelief that at no point did she think to mention this.
Here is what I learned. You are not applying for a social media job, you are not applying for a graphic designer job. A recruiter reads a hundred of these a day and there is nothing that annoys them more for IT people than a fancy looking CV. Put this CV in black and white, have literally nothing but words. Don’t even break the page up with horizontal lines. Put everything IT related at the top, have a strong and promising professional statement. Focus on your certificates, focus on your lab experience. And cram that CV full of skills that you know about. You want something like this in there.
DHCP, DNS, IPv4, IPv6, AD, NTFS, Switching, Routing, Wireless, STP, RIP, OSPF, EIGRP. Hyper-V, VMWare.
Windows 7/8/8.1/10, Windows Server 2008/R2, 2012/R2, 2016, 2019.
iOS, MacOS, Android.
This along with your certificates, your goals and your passion. Along with (briefly) anything transferable from other non-IT related jobs, I am talking about customer service, high stress jobs and time sensitive roles. These skills will be valuable but they should be secondary and again I cannot stress this enough, make it brief. Your education, and non-IT related jobs should make up a small portion of the CV that follows at the end. A recruiter is going to pick your CV up and see your skills, see your certificates and personal statement and then just put it down and give you a call. I doubt they ever get to the part where you describe what working at Pizza hut was like.
Round 2 of applying for jobs
Once I rewrote that CV (annoyingly I had already applied to a lot of the jobs in my area with my poor CV) I sent it out. The difference was life changing. I got a call back the next day actually I got three call backs the next day. Over the next 2 weeks I got roughly 12 recruiter calls, I got three interview offers. I did 2 interviews and got offered to the next stage. The first was with a large corporate company with 1000s of employees. They IQ tested me and they told me that I would be drug tested at my interview. This was a huge red flag to me. I have never done drugs and nor would I want to. But if these people are going to greet me at the door with a mouth swab, then I hate to think what working for them would be like. I turned down their offer for a second interview.
Instead I went to interview at a nearby (well not nearby 90 mile round trip commute) MSP. This was mid-March and I have never enjoyed an interview experience more in my life. The culture was very much this is a place where we have a laugh and you will love working for us. I didn’t have any red flags at the time, I just was so pleased this was all finally happening for me. We joked about football, we talked about hobbies, some IT related questions, typical interview stuff. He even joked we had a bromance going on and said, and I quote “F**k me, you know an interview is going well when its been over and hour and you haven’t noticed”.
Honestly, I think my older age was an advantage here, I was 30 at this point and I am at a stage in life where I am able to hold a conversation well without being nervous or self-conscious. There are obviously going to be downsides to being 30 and starting out too, but I was happy this worked in my favour.
I got a full day and a half of training (sitting behind a guy and watching him work), okay some red flags cropped up at this point. The people here didn’t seem to care very much, nor did they know a huge amount. The way the cases distribution worked was everything went to 2nd line, and they trickled down anything they didn’t want to 1st line and they pushed up what they needed to, to 3rd line. So, I got all the “my webcam isn’t working” calls, which was fair enough, I was grateful to have the job. But I had nothing in my queue that I thought “omg I have no idea what this is”. That might sound like a good thing, but it is the worst thing that can happen to your career. How are you supposed to learn how to install SSL certificates if you never have a case for it?
Well I doubt it is any shock to any of you crazy enough to still be reading, but I after a mindblowing 14 days, I was put on furlough (not sure if Americans have this, but it means temporarily laid off). It seriously makes you question why they hired someone that they laid off 14 days later, but that follows with the “everything is a laugh” attitude I suppose.
I spent the first half of April not knowing (but having a bad feeling) what was going to happen next. And then our prime minister announced the first extension of the lockdown. And when I woke up the next morning I had been completely locked out of all my accounts and I had a “whatsapp” message waiting for me. You read that correctly, Mr fun and games decided it was appropriate to give me bad news over whatsapp. He told me he really liked me and to look out for a message from him when this all blows over, as I will be the first person they call. But he had to let a lot of staff go permanently.
I spent all off April preparing for this, but it still didn’t help me through what this felt like. Try and imagine working your ass off for 18 months to begin a life you never once dreamed was possible, to have it given to you and then taken away in the space of a month.
I was let go on a Friday and I didn’t sleep a wink that whole weekend. I did get a phone call from my recruiter which I thought was nice. But it turns out they were only calling me because the company that let me go were claiming it was because of poor performance. They didn’t want to pay the recruitment fee, and they were willing to damage my reputation and relationship with the recruiter. However, it turned out to be the best thing that happened to me. Them refusing to pay the recruitment fee, drove my recruiter to immediately look for a job for me. It is Sunday afternoon that same weekend and I get a call saying “I have an interview lined up for you tomorrow, can you make it?”. I could not believe what I was hearing. I have an interview lined up and I may not even miss a pay day? I felt like crying. But what was that he said? I must have misheard, did he say it was for tomorrow? That’s right, after having no sleep and being in a state of emotional and physical exhaustion I now had less than 24 hours to prepare for a job I had no idea about.
How to prep for an interview
I worked my arse off. I learned everything I could about the company, I read their testimonials, I studied their customers, I looked at the solutions they provided. I like to have all my certificates with me, along with copies of my resume. I like to have prepared questions to ask the interviewer. I like to have a separate document that I can pass to them with all of my documentation from my labs. (this obviously means you have to document all your labs). I dressed as smartly as I could and gave it everything I could. I watched youtube videos of typical helpdesk questions, I learned the tricks to the questions they ask, e.g. The owner of your company says his printer is broken at the same time you get a call from a customer saying all 200 staff have lost connection to the internet. What do you do? The trick is to communicate with your team, with a team you can do both at the same time. These videos are an amazing tool to prep with and they give you really good answers that you don’t have to think too hard about. They also take away some of the nerves.
So how did it go? Well of course I just didn’t sleep. I mean who would have been able to sleep after what I had been through. I thought about postponing it but I still went for it. I can’t begin to describe the difference in management style. This man was a manager, he was an IT professional with 25 years experience, and he had owned, ran and sold his own successful MSP.
It was both refreshing and worrying. He expected nothing of me, he didn’t really care about my technical knowledge. I didn’t know this at the time, but it was because everyone at this company was driven and knew their stuff. Everyone held 10+ certs and had years and years of experience. This was a different company, with serious people and incredible opportunities to learn.
I thought I had bombed, I was tired and a little defeated. But I got a second interview, and with sleep was able to completely turn it around. I turned my weaknesses in knowledge into opportunities to ask my manager to showcase his knowledge. I was far more engaged and I was offered the job at this far more serious role for the same money I was originally on and I cut my commute in half (well technically I am work from home).
What to expect from a serious MSP?
At my new company, cases come in to 1st line and you are expected to work on everything, and only after you have exhausted your ability can it go up to second line. It is also worth noting the main difference between the two companies is that the first one only provided services for their customers and they had monthly rolling contracts. My current company is a cloud provider and they host all of their customers infrastructures and endpoints, as well as having 1-3 year contracts (much harder to pull out of during a pandemic) it didn’t hurt that a lot of their customers are hospital related.
I have been at my new company now for 4.5 months and learned more there than I could have ever learned at the first company.
I put my money where my mouth is. It wasn’t long before my first manager called me and offered me my old job back. This time with a 33% pay increase. I flat out told him no (respectfully of course) but firmly. It was a lot more money than I am on now but that wasn’t the point. I would not want to stymy my career by working at such a poorly managed company. In the UK, they could have just left me furloughed (it wouldn’t have cost them anything) and I would have received 80% of my salary. But they terminated me and then expected me to come back? I wasn’t going to repay my new manager’s act of saving me from that hell with disloyalty (I know loyalty can be looked down upon in this sub, but that is how I was raised).
What can you expect in your first 6 months?
Enough about me, let’s look at you. Let’s look at what you can expect.
You can expect that certificates can take between 2-6 months each depending on how much time you dedicate to them.
You can expect your first job to pay a little more than minimum wage. However, most places now pay for your training, pay for your exams and give extra time to study during work. You can more than likely expect your first job to be helpdesk.
You can expect to have to apply to hundreds of jobs to get your first one. However, if you follow my previous advice you should be getting call backs from recruiters at a minimum. If not, then it will be your CV that needs to change.
If you want to be successful you will have to sacrifice. I get up 3 hours before my shift and I study. Every single day, and I work longer on weekends. I offer every single time someone needs to stay late or come in early. I often stay late after work finishes to tidy up cases and prepare for the next day. I work through every single lunch. The reason for this is because I take twice as many cases as the other person that started 3 months before me, lets call this person “anon”, anon is my direct competition and he drives me to be the best I can be.
The results of my hard work are that I am sitting my exam in half the time that Anon will take (honestly I doubt he will take it when he says). I have closed more cases than him and he has been at the company for 7.5 months vs my 4.5 months. I was asked to go to site to setup a switch for a customer (twice) over anon. I have been “selected” by my manager to work directly with on a fileserver project. It looks like he has taken me under his wing (which I highly recommend, if you can get someone to teach you that is half as smart as my manager then do it).
I have had multiple people tell me they notice how engaged I am during meetings, and how well they think I am doing. I have had a number of times a 2nd line ask me if I want to be shown something that typically only goes to 2nd Line.
I have learned that hard work, determination and a willingness to learn does not go unnoticed.
What are some of the negatives to expect?
But it isn’t all fairytails, there are downsides too. I don’t spend as much time with my wife or doing the things I like. I feel guilty if I watch a film instead of study. If you take twice as many cases you are going to make at least twice as many mistakes. Making mistakes is normal, and you have to learn from them, but if you take them to heart like me, then you are going beat yourself up twice as often.
Ultimately, the sky is the limit, how hard you work will depend on you and what drives you. I have my foot in the door and I have no intention of taking my foot of the gas anytime soon. If you think that once you get your foot in the door that the hard part is over, then that simply isn’t the case I am afraid.
How to give yourself the best opportunity in your career (tips no one tells you).
I push myself out of my comfort zone many times a day. I do this so that these things become my comfort zone. I notice how often my manager trusts me to do something that he wouldn’t normally let a 1st line support engineer do.
You can expect to have a highly stressful working environment. You are going to have many fires to put out at the same time, and you need to organise yourself so it doesn’t overwhelm you. I think something that no certificate teaches you, or that I have yet to see, and it is easily the most important thing I have learned, is to have a to do list. First thing in the morning, before you do anything, fire up notepad or onenote and write down everything you have to do in that day. It doesn’t have to be in order, just get writing. And then anytime you complete a task look at notepad and start working on the next thing. Also, if anyone asks you to do anything ever, fire up notepad, and write it down. You can be albert Einstein himself, and you are going to forget to do a good chunk of that stuff if you write it down. And remember, you are going to make a lot of mistakes, but forgetting to do stuff is a terrible mistake to make and can be easily avoided.
If you have to stop someone mid flow because you realise they are telling you to do a multistep thing, then stop them and fire it up and ask them to start again. Annoying but better than having to call them later and ask them to say it all again, or worse just forget it.
You can expect a relatively thankless job. There will always be those people who remember to thank you and make you feel like you are appreciated, but more often than not you will get someone who the second the thing works, they want off the phone. Get used to goodbyes being a tad rushed/awkward.
You can expect that you will need a lot of help. But try to be smart and kind about it. Try speaking to those people about things in which you don’t ask for help and ask them about themselves. Develop relationships that are meaningful. Also, try and vary the people you ask for help from, don’t take advantage of someone because they are polite and never let you know that inside they are frustrated because they too have a big to do list. Spread your help out and try and make up for the fact you are going to be a big inconvenience by offering to help in other ways. Make the coffees, make the teas, offer to take dogsh*t menial tasks that need doing. These sorts of things are good way to pay it back to someone that you won’t be able to help technically.
Advice to avoid serious mistakes.
Always think about what you are doing. Always. Is this something you should be doing? Is this something that needs approval? is this something you should check with someone first?
Checking with someone is not the same as asking for help and it has saved my ass more times than I can count. Don’t be the person that causes a service outage because you didn’t check if something is right. It may feel obvious, it may make you look dumb. But if I was to be shown 100 tasks and asked what my gut tells me is the “proper protocol” for each one, I would get most wrong. Don’t try and guess what is best for the customer or company policy.
This is what I like to call good old-fashioned Arse-covering. It covers yours and your employers.
Those £72K jobs exist. And people do them. You could be one of them, but it will take years of dedication and sacrifice. If that sounds like you, if you can be driven, passionate and determined then nothing will stop you.
Thank you for reading.
If you are crazy enough to still be reading this, then thank you. I wish you all the luck in the world.
TLDR: Hard work and self-belief pays off. Nothing is going to stop you except YOU.
submitted by jacobsmith14433 to ITCareerQuestions [link] [comments]

Everything I found out, when looking into the Ingredients / Formulation and Suppliers of The Minimalist

I do not consent to this post or any part of it being reposted on any social media (including but not limited to YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat). I do not want to see screenshots of my post on any influencer's Instagram handle/website/blog without my explicit written consent. DM / Modmail me if you would like to share this post or use content from this post on your social media with appropriate credit to the sub and me.

u/Aayu07, cross checked the Ingredients lists of the Minimalist product against the Ordinary and had posted this in Insta stories "@she.awoke".
Looking at it, there was definitely a pattern. Minimalist had used same formulation and just changed active. Basically 3 formulas 10 products. I had shared this is my stories [@avaale_]. Purely because I found it interesting. Reproducing those stories here, if you'd like to take a look.
Today I decided to take a deeper look at the products, since I was getting comments like 'are you trying to say these products are useless?'. And I had too cursory an examination to be comfortable saying it's good or bad. The Minimalist had outdone themselves with transparency and even mentioned supplier details, for every main active. (Not being sarcastic, I'm genuinely in awe, that they did this, while have the Indian skincare world refuses to declare full list of ingredients).
Started with

Vitamin C 20% (SAP) + Ferulic Acid

They had sourced the SAP from BASF. Searching for details on their SAP, I found this. The technical information sheet for SAP from BASF itself.
A few things stand out.

Salicylic Acid 2%

From the site "Formulated with Curcylic 40 (SA) based on advanced pre-solubilized technology from Vantage, US, a global natural chemistry company"
Now the INCI name for Curcylic 40 is Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine & Salicylic acid. As u/Aayu07 pointed out in her Insta stories "Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine" part is not mentioned in the Minimalist website at all. I assume they're writing the whole thing SA.
If you check out Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine in Incidecoder. It not only talks about Curcylic 40, but also rather helpfully shows us other products with this ingredient, one of which happens to be The Ordinary Salicylic 2% & The Ordinary Aha 30% + Bha 2% Peeling Solution. The ordinary does mention Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine in their ingredients list by the way. So for2%, they basically have 5% Curcylic 40 and pH is supposed to be between 3 and 8. But pH of this product is not mentioned on the minimalist site.

Retinol 2%

From the site "Contains top quality Granactive Retinoid sourced from Grant Industries, USA, A leading global supplier in skincare"
The granactive retinoid, they're sourcing from Grant has the iNCI name Dimethyl Isosorbide (and) Hydroxyp­inacolone Retinoate. Which they've split up, maybe due to percentages of concentration. The ordinary did this too.
I found this list of actives and briefs about them from Grant Industries. Where they mention these results.
INCI Decoder also provides a summary of the ingredient itself and results from manufacturer's tests and results from Estee Lauder comparitive in-vitro study between Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, tretinoin, good old retinol and retinyl palmitate in collagen boosting effectiveness.
Their bottomline "We are really happy to see some innovation happening with retinoids, and we think Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate is a super promising rising star, but it’s not fully proven yet. If you are someone who likes to experiment and try out the newest things, grab your running shoes and try some HPR containing serum now (see product list below :)). If you like the tried and true, however, stick to retinol and tretinoin for now and re-examine the question in a couple of years when (hopefully) more research will be available. "
Manufacturer recommends upper limit use of 1%. This is where retinol comes in I'm guessing. For the other 1% or more. This is the same combination The ordinary uses in their Granactive retinoid 2% emulsion.
Also the other products using this ingredient in Incidecoder is a who's who of brands.
The science behind this product on the Minimalist website, speaks pretty much only about the granactive retinoid, even though the product is called Retinol 2%. Retinol and Retinoic acid esters are not the same and don't work exactly the same way.

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc

From the site "Formulated with Niacinamide USP Grade (US Pharmacopeia approved) by Lonza, Switzerland, a leading global supplier of Vitamin B3 for over 40 years"
Lonza is definitely big into Niacinamide, and a well known legit supplier.
But onto more relevant information, I did find this data sheet from Lonza with briefs on a few efficacy studies.

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + Vitamin B5

From the site "The key ingredient is sourced from Royal DSM, Netherlands; a global science-based company ranked in Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations 2020"
Bare bones Data Sheet of Hyaluronic Acid from manufacturer.
Bare bones Data sheet of Panthenol, from Royal DSM. But I'm not sure if they're sourcing this from them too. One thing though, if they're sourcing ingredient from here pH of 5% solution in water is 9 to 10.5. Now the panthenol is probably lesser than 2% since hyaluronic acid is listed first (this is an assumption since Indian companies don't really care about listing in order of %).
I'm not sure how relevant this is but pH of hyaluronic acid is 6 to 7 according to the data sheet. Panthenol is 9 to 10.5. This is a serum that I originally assumed for pH balanced. But the incidecoder lists no buffering agent. Skincarisma doesn't mention a pH adjuster either. So I'm very curious to see what the actual pH of this product.
Disclaimer: I'm not a cosmetic formulator and while I roughly know ingredient purposes, I've no idea how all the ingredients would interact with each other and affect the pH. Which why I started this with 'I'm not sure, how relevant this is'.
I did ask a friend who purchased this product to check pH and if or when she gets back to me, I'll update this accordingly.
Also while the science behind the products had this to say 'Not all topical Hyaluronic acid serums are equally effective as the molecular size of HA determines the depth of its delivery in the skin. The smaller the molecule size, the deeper it penetrates the dermis. Larger-molecule size HA stays at the epidermis and provides surface hydration only.' The data sheet attached above mentions a molecular mass of 1.6 MDa. This is middle molecular weight.
So is this inherently bad? Not necessarily, as ecowell explains in detail in this post. All sources are cited. Also this.

Lactic Acid 10% + Hyaluronic Acid 2%

From the site "Formulated with natural and pure ingredients sourced from leading global suppliers such as Corbion and Royal DSM, Netherlands"
I think we can safely assume that HA in this product is sourced from Royal DSM. And I've already gone in-depth into it above. So directly onto, lactic acid. And we have the data sheet here.pdf). Nothing that alarms me.

Kojic Acid 2% + Alpha Arbutin 1%

From the site "Formulated with the most stable form of kojic acid, Kojic Dipalmitate, sourced from Alpha Environmental, USA, a leading global supplier"
I found nothing. Zilch. Not even a info page on their own site. Just a listing that shows they sell both Kojic Acid Dipalmitate as well as Alpha arbutin.

AHA 30% + BHA 2%

From the site " All ingredients are sourced from leading global suppliers such as Fortune 500 Chemours Company, USA, and Vantage, US"
Since we already BHA is Curcylic 40 ie Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine & Salicylic acid, and it's been analysed above, I'm moving on the AHAs.
Chemours offers a variety of Glycolic Acid products for different purposes. Their Glypure TM range which comes in 3 variants are our best bet and Glypure GL which is glycolide, the cyclic diester of glycolic acid. I found a lot of information
However very little on Glypure™ Preneutralized which I feel is the actual product used. All we know about this is "• Pre-neutralized Glypure™ is an aqueous solution neutralized with ammonium hydroxide. It is available in a variety of pH levels—2.25, 3.25, 3.8, 4.0, 4.4—as well as custom pH."
Incase I'm mistaken I'm leaving other info attached above.
Logically lactic is probably from Corbion (which is not mentioned) and BHA from Vantage, which is mentioned.
I found no mention of mandelic acid in both Chemours and Vantage's sites. I've no clue where it's sourced from.

Apple Cider Vinegar 2% + Glycolic Acid 10%

From the site "It is formulated with high-grade ingredients sourced from a Fortune 500 company, Chemours, USA"
This obviously refers to Glycolic Acid as discussed above. No idea about source of ACV.
But Neemli and Minimalist, 2 brands recently picked this combo to formulate products with. So I had a cursory glance at studies and found this one study where "A total of 22 subjects (11 AD and 11 healthy controls) were enrolled. Subjects soaked both of their forearms for 14 days, with one arm in dilute ACV (0.5% acetic acid) and the other in water 10 minutes daily. Transepidermal water loss and pH were measured pre- and post-treatment." Conclusion: Dilute ACV soaks have no significant effect on skin barrier integrity but caused skin irritation in a majority of subjects.
Neemli's site did mention this "A natural astringent, Apple Cider Vinegar helps increase the blood flow to the skin, minimizing the appearance of pores. It also helps balance the skin’s pH to keep it functioning optimally and fighting acne-causing bacteria." as the reason it was added.
I'll have to look into this deeper later, but for now, this combination baffles me.

Benzoyl Peroxide 2% + Glycolic Acid 5%

From the site "Contains top quality ingredients sourced from Vantage Specialty, USA, ranked in the top 30% of the most sustainable companies in the world by EcoVadis"
And we're back to Vantage. Glycolic Acid has to be from Chemours. so the BP is from Vantage.
Vantage markets BP as Curoxyl 42. The INCI name is Aqua & Benzoyl peroxide. Found the brochure and I find this product quite intriguing since they claim that it's a "aqueous based, micronized benzoyl peroxide dispersion (40%) in the form of a gel that can replace traditional BPO due to its low irritation profile" while normally I find BP quite irritating.
No mention of pH on the site, while Bp is supposedly 4.8 to 6.6. And glycolic acid traditionally potent at much a lower pH. This study on glycolic acid's antibacterial activity against C. acnes found it most potent at 3, while it did kill C.acnes upto 4.5. Less efficient killing was found at pH 5.
So I'm curious about the pH of this product too.

My thoughts

  1. Vitamin C 20% (SAP) + Ferulic Acid (pH reasons)
  2. Benzoyl Peroxide 2% + Glycolic Acid 5% (pH reasons)
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar 2% + Glycolic Acid 10% (combination)
  4. Hyaluronic Acid 2% + Vitamin B5 (pH reasons)
  5. Kojic Acid 2% + Alpha Arbutin 1% (no details, no idea what to think)

Also speaking about popular bloggers / influencers, a lot of info about minimalist that's been going around in social media is clearly from this sub.
As you guys know this is a completely non-profit platform that we're using to educate ourselves and others, the other contributors and I gain nothing from doing all this research and sharing it, And while I have no problems with people sharing and using this information, I do wish credit is given where credit is due. And if you're asking "how do we credit? you're anonmyous", u/Aayu07 and I both started Instagram handles. Well she has had hers for years. I started it because she wanted to credit me for sharing some glycolic acid stuff. And I'd appreciate it if you credit me if you use this information anywhere. Just DM me or u/Aayu07 or any other user here to find out whether they wanted to be credited. Basic courtesy guys. For instance u/kparwal and u/e-lusion were also credited when u/Aayu07 used their findings.
Just to be clear, "I do not consent to this post or any part of it being reposted on any social media (including but not limited to YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat). I do not want to see screenshots of my post on any influencer's Instagram handle/website/blog without my explicit written consent. DM / Modmail me if you would like to share this post or use content from this post on your social media with appropriate credit to the sub and me***"***
submitted by Avaale to IndianSkincareAddicts [link] [comments]

Biden's New START and modern nuclear war

Well, boys, I reckon this is it - nuclear combat toe to toe with the Roosskies. Now look, boys, I ain't much of a hand at makin' speeches, but I got a pretty fair idea that something doggone important is goin' on back there. And I got a fair idea the kinda personal emotions that some of you fellas may be thinkin'. Heck, I reckon you wouldn't even be human bein's if you didn't have some pretty strong personal feelin's about nuclear combat. I want you to remember one thing, the folks back home is a-countin' on you and by golly, we ain't about to let 'em down.
Major Kong, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb [quote here] [full film available here at, highly recommend, definitive American dark comedy on the subject]
Hello! We're sort of taking a break from East Asia-specific this week to talk about a great conversation-starter: Thermonuclear war. As developments in this area have not entirely halted in the past few decades, and yet I suspect most [not all--there's probably like one 80-year-old or something] of the readers of this post were either not alive during the Cold War or were too young to really appreciate most of what was happening during that period, I feel that it's important to cover the topic, especially with "great-power competition" being a new buzzword and the possibility that the NPT and the other arms control and limitation agreements that have been prominent for the past few decades falling apart being very real.
I'm sorry in advance if I occasionally get a bit repetitive but I think I've made a fairly comprehensive post on the subject, and I don't think I've particularly biased it one way or the other [though of course, that's what I would think].
Bunker-buster = nuclear warhead designed to destroy hardened sites, like bunkers or missile silos
Nuclear weapon = nuclear bomb = nuclear warhead = weapon that uses an operating principle based on nuclear physics
Thermonuclear weapon = more advanced type of nuclear weapon that uses fusion as its primary energy source rather than fission
Warhead = the part of the weapon that goes boom
Fuze = what sets off the bomb, distinct from fuse, which is an electrical part
Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty = one of the biggest arms control treaties in recent years, barred the US and USSRussia from having land-based missiles that were nuclear capable with a range from 500km to 5500km]
Ballistic missile = missile that travels in ballistic trajectories, fast, difficult to intercept, accuracy problems and always powered by rockets
Cruise missile = missile that travels in the atmosphere, smaller, difficult to intercept but easier than ballistic missiles--but harder to detect, powered by jet engines and air-breathing and thus slower
SRBM = Short-range ballistic missile [1000km range or less, most less than 300km to comply with MTCR or less than 500km to comply with the former INF Treaty]
MRBM = Medium-range ballistic missile [1000km to 3000km range, common in arsenals outside the US and Russia]
IRBM = Intermediate-range ballistic missile [3000km to 5500km range, common in arsenals outside the US and Russia, previously barred by the INF Treaty
ICBM = Intercontinental ballistic missile [5500km+ range, standard in US and Russian arsenals, China, France, and possibly North Korea operate a handful]
SSBN = "boomer" = ballistic missile submarine, nuclear powered and nuclear armed [no conventionally armed ballistic missile subs exist at present to the best of my knowledge, the only proposal being known a Trident conventional version]
Early warning = the systems used to detect missile launches and track them, could be ground-based radars or satellites
MIRV = Multiple independent reentry vehicles, a way to attach multiple warheads to one missile
SLBM = submarine-launched ballistic missile
Tactical nuke = determined by usage, not yield, tactical nukes are meant to be used in conflicts that do not escalate to an all-out nuclear war
Countervalue = a capability to strike against an opponent's cities and hard targets
Counterforce = a capability to strike against an opponent's hardened missile silos
Gravity bomb = nuke dropped from a plane
Nuclear triad = the full set of nuclear delivery methods: Air-launched cruise missiles/bombs, submarine-launched missiles, and ground-based missiles
SDI = "Star Wars" = strategic defense initiative, the origin of all of America's modern missile defense efforts
ABM = anti-ballistic missile
Nuclear sharing = a system via which nuclear warheads, owned by the US, are located in NATO countries [and in the past non-NATO countries] and can be turned over to their management in wartime
Some particular pieces of hardware to know about:
Trident = the submarine-launched ballistic missile currently used by the US and UK, can carry up to 14 warheads in MIRV configuration [typically 4 under treaty limits], solid-fueled and an ICBM as well as a SLBM
Minuteman-III = the current ground-based nuclear deterrent of the United States, ICBM, also MIRVed to handle 3 warheads, built in the 1960s originally and solid-fueled
Peacekeeper = MX = LGM-118 = the most sophisticated ground-based ICBM fielded by the United States and, possibly, by any power, solid-fueled and carried 12 [limited by treaty to 10] MIRVed warheads. Retired in 2005 due to high cost and arms limitation treaties. Meant to replace Minuteman.

1. The Bomb

The very first nuclear bombs relied on fission, the power of splitting atoms of fissile material to generate vast amounts of energy very quickly in a chain reaction. The general principle here is critical mass. Once a critical mass of the fissile material is achieved--usually either Uranium-235 or Plutonium-239--it activates a chain reaction which results in a nuclear explosion. These bombs are very simple in operating principle--pretty much anyone could build one if given the requisite materials. The main problem, and the reason we have not yet seen a nuclear warhead DIY, is that the fissile materials are very difficult to get. One must either synthesize plutonium in an atomic pile or use one of the various methods developed to enrich uranium--gaseous diffusion and centrifuges being the major ones. Either one takes a significant amount of time and specialized equipment, at least to produce nuclear weapons in any quantity. However, when you get down to it, any sufficiently motivated group could build one of these--at least if not stopped by another, more motivated group. Even North Korea could do this.
The next step in evolution was the boosted fission nuke. It represented a nuclear weapon that was more capable, but not radically so. By adding fusion fuel to the nuclear weapon, specifically the fission assembly, you could get a better yield--splitting more of the atoms in the core assembly before it suffered a critical existence failure and got spread out over several square miles. Fission-boosting is also fairly easily done, with the main obstacle being obtaining enough deuterium, lithium, and/or tritium to do the job correctly. These are, to my knowledge, pretty seldom seen; but I would suspect that both Pakistan and North Korea have them.
Thermonuclear weapons are, however, a major leap in capability. Much larger yield warheads can be built, in the multi-megaton range, and miniaturization is also possible, which is very useful for missiles in particular. Thermonuclear weapons rely on adding a fusion "secondary" stage, which is set off by a "primary" fission stage and generates vast quantities of energy. However, thermonuclear weapons are much more difficult to develop than fission-based weapons; largely because they rely on exotic materials and classified physics to operate. The United States itself has had difficulty building new thermonuclear weapons, or refreshing ones in current inventory, because it has lost knowledge of how to build some key materials. Most nuclear powers, however, are believed to or known to possess thermonuclear weapons, the exceptions being Pakistan and North Korea.

2. The Cold War

Nuclear weapons were probably the defining feature of the Cold War, at least once it finally began in earnest in the 1950s. To this day, the Cold War defines the cultural conception of nuclear weapons.
What this is about, though, is more a mechanical than philosophical or sociological discussion, explaining why nukes were, and are, used. Or rather, are planned to be used, because despite hundreds of nuclear tests, nobody has ever used a nuclear weapon in wartime in just over 75 years, since the US dropped a crude plutonium device on the Japanese city of Nagasaki.
The very beginning of nuclear war involved hundreds of strategic bombers--first B-29s, which actually cost more than the Manhattan Project to develop--and then more advanced jet bombers, the most iconic of which and perhaps the most enduring is the B-52 Stratofortress, which the US Air Force expects to remain in service through possibly the end of the century. These were the only viable delivery vehicles, and thus both the US [well, mostly the US] and the Soviet Union rushed to build as many of them as possible, with [unfounded] concerns of a "Bomber Gap" resulting in the construction of thousands of strategic bombers. In the event of war, these bombers would take off from their bases and drop nuclear bombs on enemy positions. For a substantial length in time, the US actually maintained a constant patrol of B-52 bombers with nuclear warheads onboard, which, in the event of a surprise attack, would retaliate against the USSR. It is one of these bombers which Dr Strangelove focuses on--though I should note that only a handful of people actually possessed the ability to launch a nuclear strike, and even then only in contingencies when the president was unavailable, and this persists to this day, excepting submarines--which will be mentioned in a moment.
However, technology marched on, and soon the ballistic missile became the delivery vehicle of choice. Early ballistic missiles were relatively crude, based off of the original V-2 design and whose quality was largely determined by how many Nazis you had stolen at the end of the Second World War. However, technology continued to evolve, and soon ICBMs had enough accuracy to launch countervalue attacks. These attacks targeted cities and aimed to deter an enemy from launching a first strike by ensuring that doing so would destroy the nation of the attacker. This doesn't mean that ballistic missiles were the only delivery method, though. Smaller nuclear weapons were built, designed to be delivered by air. They offered greater accuracy and tactical utility, and lowered the risk of a strategic nuclear exchange breaking out. It was around this time that tactical and strategic nuclear exchanges began to be devised in nuclear theory, with tactical nukes becoming essential to NATO war plans due to the numerical, and sometimes qualitative, inferiority of their conventional forces when faced with Warsaw Pact opponents. Nuclear weapons found their way into practically every kind of format. Nuclear-tipped air-to-air rockets were an early invention, aimed at shooting down massed bomber formations. Nuclear-tipped surface-to-air-missiles soon followed. Nuclear anti-ship missiles, nuclear artillery, and even "backpack nukes" like the Atomic Demolition Munition all were developed for a variety of purposes. Nuclear depth charges, nuclear torpedoes--if you put explosives in something, chances are someone drew up a plan to put a nuke in it. [as an aside, Cold War schemes to use nuclear weapons to perform massive construction projects, such as liquidating the Athabasca Tar Sands or creating a giant salt lake in Egypt, are one of my favorite Cold War relics]. Nukes were the bread and butter of Cold War strategy in a way that seems hardly conceivable today. This is largely why both the US and USSR had stockpiles of tens of thousands of weapons.
Mutual assured destruction, or MAD as it is commonly known, was also derived during this time, suggesting that the way to prevent nuclear war was by ensuring that any initiation of nuclear combat would lead to certain destruction. The development of SSBNs and SLBMs, which provided a way to ensure survivability of the nuclear arsenal and a sure second strike capability--usually countervalue because of the lower accuracy of SLBMs--seemed to make this set in stone. These would avoid destruction in a first strike by hiding within the ocean, and would then launch based off of orders issued from base--or, in the case of Britain, off of orders written by the Prime Minister and secured in the submarines to be opened in event of war.
Unfortunately, life tends to make things more complicated, and this was and is the case with MAD. The first problem that developed was that of the MIRV, or Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicle. This allowed missiles to carry large numbers of warheads, as many as twelve in the case of the LGM-118 Peacekeeper [probably the most sophisticated ICBM ever developed, the Soviet R-36 threw 10 and Trident D5 14 smaller warheads]. As a result of this fact, combined with increasing accuracy of reentry vehicles [especially, it is thought, on the part of the United States], a counterforce strike that could eliminate an enemy's ground-based nuclear deterrent became possible. MIRVs also place a high value on first-strike because each MIRVed missile can destroy numerous enemy silos but is correspondingly more vulnerable to first-strike as it replaces a dozen independent missiles with a single one. As a result limitations of MIRVed warheads have been a major focus of arms reduction treaties and several attempts have been made to ban usage of the technology altogether. Other problems complicated the situation further, such as anti-ballistic missiles, which potentially could shelter a nation from a weak second-strike. However, this broadly describes most of the key elements of nuclear war, skipping over the vast cultural and political impacts of nuclear weapons for the most part, because that's not really what I'm focused on here.

3. Arms control and non-proliferation

From the moment the US first got its hands on the bomb, it sought to keep it away from everyone else, including a very miffed Britain which had been promised access to the secrets learned from the Manhattan Project as a result of the contributions of its "Tube Alloys" program to the American development of the bomb. The Atomic Energy Act of 1946, or McMahon Act, has largely set American nuclear policy since its creation. Britain ultimately developed its own nuclear bomb, and the Soviets, in a large part thanks to the involvement of traitorous American nuclear scientists, developed their own bomb as well. By the 1950s, the world was in a frantic race to build the bomb--those who had it, to build more of them, and those who didn't, to get them. Even Sweden ran a nuclear weapons program. France got the bomb, and China did as well--much to the chagrin of the Soviets, who had undergone a dramatic split with the Chinese a few years earlier and whose original research work was invaluable in contributing to the Chinese nuclear program. It must be understood that back in those days building nuclear weapons was much more difficult than it is now, without computers or without even easy resources as to how they functioned. Nowadays, I can learn how to build a nuke off of Wikipedia, and, barring the ten tons of heavy water, hundreds of kilograms of natural uranium, and large quantity of nitric acid required, doing so is a relatively trivial task.
The real shift, however, began around 1970. The first major act in this was the development of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, in which all the nuclear powers promised to work towards the reduction and abolition of nuclear weapons, and in return the majority of non-nuclear powers agreed not to build nukes, and it is upon this foundation that the modern order is built. However, it has hardly proved perfectly successful--only six years later the detonation of the first Indian nuclear weapon occurred, which had been built using Canadian technology that had not been adequately controlled, or, indeed, controlled at all--the reactors Canada sells are, by the way, essentially DIY kits for nuclear weapons. As a result, an increasingly involved control regime began to be built. The IAEA was founded and membership was generally required for the ownership of nuclear reactors. The nuclear powers banded together to ensure that critical components of nuclear programs were not exported, pressured nations in their own blocs into cancelling nuclear programs [as the US did to both South Korea and Taiwan], and, barring some relatively low-profile cheating on the part of China, which has sold peripheral equipment to North Korea, Pakistan, and Iran, this vast patchwork mostly held together. As a result, instead of a predicted 30-40 nuclear weapons states, there are only 9 today.
Also around this time, both the US and USSR recognized that spending large quantities on building ever-increasing quantities of nuclear weapons without either side gaining any decisive advantage was helping absolutely nobody, and the two states began to agree to various reductions in arms and limitations in weapons development, including the ABM treaty and SALT.

4. Anti-ballistic missiles and Star Wars

Eventually, starting in around the 1970s, people got the idea that maybe you could stop ICBMs. This sounds absolutely ludicrous--but it wasn't, per se, impossible, and it led to a lot of really advanced, science-fiction sounding technology.
The very first method was to launch interceptor rockets that carried H-bombs of their own, aiming to detonate them close enough to the missiles that they would either destroy the reentry vehicles, their electronics, or cause a non-critical "fissile" of the warhead. This was halted, however, by the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, one of the first big arms limitations agreements, and also by a simple fact: Ground-based missile interceptors are generally much more expensive than building additional missiles--for instance, the US Ground-Based Midcourse Defense costs more to produce, missile for missile, than a LGM-118 with 12 warheads. This treaty actually held for its full term, despite what you may have expected, as it did not limit research, only the actual building of anti-ballistic missile systems, and actually, IIRC, excluded space-based defenses via omission. However, until Ronald Reagan came along, the idea of ABMs was largely cast to the wayside.
Reagan, however, revived the idea quite famously in his Strategic Defense Initiative, dubbed "Star Wars" by many. It explored a number of ideas, many of which were quite outlandish--one of the more successful proposals, at least in terms of how much funding or attention was devoted to it, involved setting off nuclear warheads in space to power x-ray lasers to shoot down enemy missiles, which if nothing else sounded really cool. By far the most practical program to emerge out of this, however [a rather relative merit], was called "Brilliant Pebbles". It relied on a constellation of tens of thousands of kinetic interceptors, small, only a few kilograms each, which would target and destroy any ballistic missiles in low orbit. This plan was supposed to solve the issue where interceptors were more expensive than missiles, and allow the US unquestioned missile superiority.
It was also around this time when surface-to-air missile systems, originally designed with the mission to shoot down aircraft, began gaining limited anti-ballistic missile capabilities, which were... somewhat underwhelming in the Gulf War, though the technology was brand new at the time.

5. Peace dividend

When the Cold War finally ended, one of the parts of the peace dividend that probably made more sense than most was the vast savings made on nuclear weapons. The trend had already begun in the late Cold War, but once the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed, stockpiles fell from tens of thousands of warheads to just a few thousand on the part of the US and Russia. All sides had a vested interest in arms reduction, and so those thousands of warheads were disassembled and largely turned into fuel for nuclear reactors.
Ballistic missile defenses also got cut. The original Brilliant Pebbles scheme was cancelled and replaced with a less-expensive but substantially less effective program called the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense, which relies on a relative handful of interceptor missiles in Alaska to shoot down ballistic missiles in the midcourse stage; primarily designed with China or North Korea in mind [oddly enough the first ballistic missile defense program of the US was also designed with the intent of stopping a Chinese nuclear attack]. Ironically Ground-Based Midcourse Defense ended up costing a large portion [more than half] of what the final Brilliant Pebbles implementations were proposed at, for a system with very limited capabilities [this cancellation may have also been part of what killed the DC-X spacecraft].
Vast fleets of SSBNs were disassembled. Expensive delivery platforms and programs, like the MX Peacekeeper, were scrapped. All in all, the threat of nuclear war practically vanished, excepting on the subcontinent, where India and Pakistan engaged in nuclear showboating multiple times. It's really hard to understate the sheer magnitude of what happened, with the number of warheads in existence shrinking from around 70,000 to 10,000 or so, with around half of those today being inactive. The US Navy went from stocking multiple warheads on each ship to removing them entirely from the fleet, aside from, of course, the SSBNs.
The successor states of the USSR, aside from Russia itself, were successfully convinced to hand over their nuclear weapons in exchange for security guarantees--Ukraine most infamously--and their fissile materials were turned into [relatively] harmless nuclear fuel. South Africa became the first nation with an independently developed nuclear arsenal to voluntarily denuclearize, admittedly largely out of fear of what the black population might do with the bomb.
Other areas saw major reductions and non--proliferation efforts. The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program decommissioned large quantities of nuclear delivery vehicles and Soviet biological and chemical weapons sites. The Missile Technology Control Regime expanded and enveloped most nations with the capability to develop ballistic missiles and long-range cruise missiles, making nuclear weapons delivery difficult for the aspiring third world dictator--for instance, an Iraqi program to develop a ballistic missile in partnership with Argentina was scrapped by American pressure and Argentine admittance into the MTCR. While India and Pakistan still harassed each other, their open non-nuclear conventional war assuaged some concerns while raising others [perhaps nuclear powers could engage in conventional war after all]. Nuclear programs in several countries were stopped by diplomatic pressure, as in Libya, rather than by Israeli bombing campaigns.
For a time, all was peaceful. In the last decade or so, however, things have changed--and for the most part, they have done so below the radar of even Washington policymakers.

6. A Return To The Old Days?

Things in the past decade or so, however, have changed the nuclear situation substantially.
First on the list is that North Korea now has nuclear weapons and, it seems, a deterrent. This has seriously tested the efficacy of non-proliferation already, with the merit of non-proliferation when North Korea and Pakistan have weapons being rather suspect. Iran is also building nukes. North Korea's case was, and is, dangerous in particular because it suggests that, barring strong support from a great power, nukes are the only way to maintain autonomy [Ukraine and Libya both offering examples of why surrendering nukes, or even a nuclear program, is a bad idea to the world], and that they aren't too difficult to get. North Korea also may well already be engaging in proliferation activities as a revenue source--it's already known that they sell ballistic missile delivery vehicles and have exported materials related to chemical weapons production in the past, so exporting nuclear technology is hardly a stretch, especially given that North Korea is not seriously threatened by these activities and they provide a useful revenue source for the regime. As a result, the non-proliferation circle built over decades by the various great powers now has a rather large North Korea-shaped hole in it. This, however, isn't leading to big changes in Russia, China, and the United States. Rather, technological advancements, largely by the US and China, are slowly nibbling away at the tenuous nuclear peace.
Second is the problem, for Russia, created by the new Trident super-fuze. Under cover of a "refurbishment" of the Trident warhead family, a new fuze was introduced. However, this fuze is no mere one-for-one replacement: Instead, it allows the warhead to detonate within a range of zones that could destroy the target, allowing warheads that would previously overfly the target and miss to instead detonate in an airbust directly above said target. In effect, it increased the power of Trident by as many as five times, and has made it into a counterforce or first strike weapon. Quoted figures are a .86 probability of kill for a 10kpsi target, about as hard as defensive structures get, and .99 probability of kill for a standard, 2kpsi hardened target. As most of Russia's missile silos are only secure to the point of the latter, and Russia uses liquid-fueled ICBMs for the most part that are much more sensitive to attack than Western or Chinese solid-fueled ones, what this means is that Trident is now capable of wiping out Russia's entire ground-based strategic deterrent at extremely short notice. This has, it seems, quite possibly frightened Russian leadership, and is the likely reason why they have been desperately trying to devise new outlandish delivery vehicles, like an unmanned nuclear torpedo or a nuclear-powered cruise missile. This is further complicated by the fact that Russia has more or less completely lost its space-based ballistic missile warning network and does not seem to have the capability to replace it, which means that Russia must rely on land-based early warning radars to inform it of a nuclear strike. As a result, Russia will have as little as ten minutes of warning for an incoming nuclear attack, and will have essentially no idea what it will look like or what scale it is on. When Russian sources say they'll treat any ballistic missile strike as a nuclear attack, they probably aren't lying, because their sensor network is so bad they can't tell whether a sounding rocket is a nuclear first strike, and their survivability is so bad they can't afford to not launch.
There's also the interesting problem presented by the development of a new low-yield Trident warhead. While it might possibly have some use, many believe that low-yield nuclear weapons are dangerous because they blur the line between conventional and tactical nuclear war, and the use of Trident as a delivery vehicle runs a substantial risk on account of the fact that it may be difficult for an adversary [such as Russia] to discern that the vehicle is a tactical nuclear strike rather than the beginning of a strategic exchange. These same very concerns scuppered a conventional variant of Trident proposed for the Prompt Global Strike program, which would have used Trident to launch large conventional payloads, a bad idea for multiple reasons.
Arms agreements that defined the 1990s and 2000s have also begun to fall apart. The cancellation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was just the latest in what has been a slowly escalating trend since the 2002 expiration of the anti-ballistic missile treaty. The Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement, for instance, which required the US and Russia to convert their stockpiles of plutonium into MOX reactor fuel, is also dead, ostensibly for financial reasons on the part of the US, but quite possibly to allow the US to retain its 80+ tons of plutonium in a diluted form so it can be easily converted back into warheads [keep in mind only a few kilograms of plutonium is needed for a warhead so we're talking about thousands of devices in the several hundred kiloton range].
Why this is happening is an interesting question, and it seems that both the US and Russia [but, to be honest, mostly the US] are involved in the end of these arms restriction treaties. The first problem, and most obvious, is China. China has a general policy of not engaging in arms-limitation treaties, viewing them as a way for dominant powers to retain their position, and has a nuclear arms reduction policy that amounts to "get rid of all of your nukes and then we'll talk". With China becoming an increasingly significant threat to the United States, the arms controls placed on it by agreement with Russia have become problematic for American strategic planners. In particular, the limitation on intermediate-range forces was seen as a major difficulty given the increasingly capable conventionally armed intermediate range ballistic and cruise missiles that are one of the edges the PLAN holds; and, I suspect [but cannot prove] that planners within the US government view tactical nuclear war with China as a very real thing they should plan for, with the US using nukes first to gain a decisive tactical advantage and not escalating to a strategic exchange--this is enabled by the fact that China has essentially no tactical nuclear weapons, seems to believe it can avoid nuclear war with the United States [or possibly not--I've heard both], and a very small strategic stockpile of which only around 50 missiles can hit the continental US. Russia, on the other hand, has a rather different problem. Its conventional forces in Europe are inferior in quality and quantity to what NATO can field, so it has to plan to make up the difference with nuclear weapons. Furthermore, the increasing sophistication of American capabilities in ways which Russia simply cannot match means that the survivability of the Russian nuclear force is beginning to be called into question, and thus a larger arsenal is required to ensure that a strategic deterrent can be maintained as it has traditionally. As a result, both parties are abandoning arms treaties with, well, reckless abandon.
Finally, the development of increasingly capable ballistic missile defenses, especially by the United States--which now holds pretty much all the cards in the event of nuclear war--means that nations will be required to develop either new and more sophisticated delivery vehicles, or, alternatively, produce more warheads, to ensure that they can maintain deterrence. These include the SM-3 anti-ballistic missile, which can intercept ballistic missiles in the midcourse stage, though only shorter ranged ones and not full ICBMs at the moment, and which is being deployed by the US not only aboard its numerous destroyer fleet but also in "AEGIS Ashore" sites in Eastern Europe [which also caused concern by Russia because these units could easily fire ground-launched cruise missiles that were banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty], and were to be deployed in Japan before local opposition halted construction. The US also designed THAAD, or Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, which provides an interceptor to destroy even ICBMs in the terminal stage, and has made significant improvements to the Patriot missile system which enhance its ABM capabilities. The US has also discussed reviving technologies from previously abandoned schemes such as the YAL-1, a 747 that aimed to shoot down ballistic missiles with lasers at a range of hundreds of kilometers [though it was suggested the new implementation be on a stealth drone] and even considered further research into space-based interceptors--which seem far more feasible in a day and age when private companies are already putting up constellations of advanced communications satellites in similar numbers to those proposed for the "Brilliant Pebbles" scheme.

7. Conclusion

As a result of these shifts, the current lull in nuclear war preparations and small nuclear arsenals of today may not last much longer. Indeed, to an extent, the lull has already ended.
Without a doubt Biden will try to negotiate a renewal of New START--he himself has stated his intent to do so multiple times, but the short time window he has in which to renew it [it expires on 5 February 2021, little more than a week after his inauguration] means that whether he will be successful is uncertain. Even if New START is renewed or brought back in a new form I would expect it to be much less restrictive and a de facto abandonment of the arms reduction that has characterized the last thirty years of nuclear policy. I also don't think that New START, even extended, will last past 2026--that's the point when major nuclear modernizations are set to begin to the US arsenal, including the introduction of the Columbia-class SSBN into service and replacement of the 1960s-era Minuteman III ICBM that constitutes the ground-based deterrent.
Both the US and Russia are poised to make major modernizations to their nuclear arsenals and I expect both of their stockpiles to grow barring a renewal of New START as presently constituted. I also expect that the US may well begin preparing to build new facilities for nuclear weapons production, as its old ones have pretty much all closed at this point. Nuclear weapons may also begin to see a return to the naval field, with nuclear-tipped anti-ship missiles and torpedoes possibly seeing revivals--watch for a return to the US's historic nuclear ambiguity policy on whether or not its ships carry nuclear weapons.
New forecasts say that China is poised to double its nuclear arsenal in the next decade, and I suspect these ones will actually turn out, because China knows that their arsenal at present is too small to pose an effective deterrent to tactical nuclear war and may, within a relatively short time, become an ineffective strategic deterrent.
The list of states with nuclear weapons is likely to grow--South Korea is a near sure bet for reasons I have described previously, but I would not be surprised to see more states get the bomb. Iran seems likely to build one unless stopped via force, and they've gotten quite close already. However, more than the number of states which will possess nuclear weapons outright will grow, I predict a major expansion in nations which attempt to reach a nuclear-latent state. The recent burst of smallsat launchers provides a perfect cover for ballistic missile systems to be developed; drone technology and electronics have made cruise missiles easier than ever to design, and nuclear power will be sought after by a large number of states with potentially ulterior motives--once a sufficient stockpile of used fuel is made reprocessing it to extract the plutonium within is relatively trivial, and I expect more states to push for reprocessing technology and "full control over the nuclear fuel-cycle". As a result, strategic planners may ultimately have to reckon with a world in which most nations [or far more than the 9 current nuclear-armed states] could well develop modest nuclear arsenals within a few months to a few years.
As for what the US should do--well, my opinion is that the US should just embrace the inevitable. During the Cold War, the US saw that France wasn't going to be stopped from building the bomb--so instead they helped the French build their weapons and thus gained the trust and friendship of the entire French strategic community, at least to an extent where their nuclear and even conventional forces were de facto reintegrated into NATO.
That has lessons for today, I think. If something is going to happen one way or another, the US should just embrace it and try to help the process along and gain the trust and friendship of the nation involved, provided such a move is not directly contrary to American interests. For instance, take South Korea. If it becomes clear that South Korea intends to build nuclear weapons, the US would be better off discretely enabling that by amending its Section 123 agreement and clandestinely supporting the program than trying to fight it.
The US should also seriously reconsider whether it should maintain a non-proliferation stance, although I can see strong cases on both sides. Non-proliferation has failed to stop Pakistan or North Korea, and at that point it's really rather questionable whether it works, but for the moment it's the only thing that's holding the Middle East and world as a whole back from a nuclear arms race. If Iran does get the bomb, I doubt that the US will continue to hold onto that position. At that point [or this point] most of the nations the US doesn't want to have the bomb either already have it, cannot be stopped from getting it without war, or just flat out can't build it due to lack of money, will, and resources. It's unlikely that the US will openly support proliferation, especially Congress, but I find it quite probable that the US may well take a "wink-and-a-nudge" approach to the whole issue. A Section 123 Agreement might be amended to allow reprocessing and a solid-fuelled smallsat launcher sold or authorized, but how was the US government to know that the nation was pursuing nuclear weapons?
Furthermore, the US should start preparing as if an all-out nuclear arms race may resume, because it may well do so. Developing a new comprehensive ballistic missile defense strategy is part of this, possibly including Brilliant Pebbles--I'm a strong advocate of at least researching the solution especially given that so many hurdles already have been met by private companies like SpaceX--but also terminal defenses and directed-energy weapons. The US should also begin thoroughly examining the use of nuclear weapons in a modern context and prepare facilities needed for the production of additional warheads, including possibly a lithium-separation site to manufacture additional tritium, as well as reprocessing sites to produce additional plutonium.
[citations in comments due to max character limit]
submitted by AmericanNewt8 to neoliberal [link] [comments]

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