Thinking Cap: Podcasts, Articles And Clips To Make You Smarter

Thinking Cap: Podcasts, Articles And Clips To Make You Smarter

This week we’re checking out what it takes to produce zero waste for 30 days, learning how criminals actually steal passwords, looking at where nuclear weapons live around the globe and talking about jobs with the best perks.

Welcome to Lifehacker’s Thinking Cap, a series where we round up interesting, informative and thought-provoking podcasts, interviews, articles and other media that will teach you something new, inspire you and hopefully cap off your week nicely.

How Hackers Really Steal Your Passwords

With the exception of social engineering, which is a very convenient way to steal credentials, most passwords aren’t stolen by simple dictionary attacks or super complicated cracking. In fact, it’s much easier than you think, especially when databases that aren’t properly salted and hashed are concerned.

This video from DNews explains how evildoers really get their hands on your passwords, and how you’re especially vulnerable if you’re using uncomplicated passwords, popular ones that everyone uses or easily guessed passwords. In reality, once someone gets their hand on a password database, they just check it for already hashed passwords that are known and long decrypted. So a password like “password123” or even “passWord123!” already have well-known hashes, and if that hash is found in the database, that’s a cracked account for the taking, no brute forcing required. Of course, salting and hashing password databases is the solution here, but the video goes into more detail. Check it out – and then go change your password to something you don’t know. And get a good password manager while you’re at it. [via DNews (YouTube)]

Have You Ever Taken a Job Just for the Perks?

If you’re lucky enough to have a job with perks, odds are they’re something simple, like free coffee in the kitchen and maybe an employee discount program with some select retailers or something. But this thread at Quora offers up an interesting question: Have you ever taken a job just for the perks?

I mean, some jobs have great perks – Google is kind of famous for this, with their sprawling campus packed with food and snack shops that cater to all kinds, and on-campus recreation and exercise facilities, all for free to employees (and in some cases, their families). Or maybe getting a job at a stadium just to see your favourite team play for free, or an arena just to get access to the concerts. Of course, many perks are designed to keep you at work as much as possible, but there’s no denying the perks are lovely. This answer in the thread gave me a chuckle:

Growing up in Italy, my husband loved bread so much he was literally leaving none left for the family’s dinner. In Italy the bread is bought fresh every morning for the day’s lunch and dinner.

So my mother-in-law sent him to work as a delivery boy for the local baker. Problem solved!

To this day he loves nothing more than a few slices of salami on some good Italian ciabatta bread.

But the question remains. What about you? Have you ever taken a job just for the perks it offered, even if those perks were minimal? [via Quora]

Could You Make Zero Trash for 30 Days?

Considering the average Australian produces about two tonnes of garbage annually, it’s a pretty big challenge to try and produce zero for 30 days, but Buzzfeed’s Auri Jackson tried, and learned a lot along the way. She learned how to adapt; what the stakes are if we don’t start recycling, reusing and repurposing more of the things we bring home and otherwise just toss in the garbage; and she also learned how much of a privilege in itself it was to even try the challenge, since most affordable and accessible foods come in packaging, but things like fresh produce come in no packaging, but is more expensive.

The full five minute video of her challenge is fun and entertaining to watch, but it’s also a bit of an eye opener, and kind of runs counter to the whole “one person really can’t make a difference” mentality that’s so prevalent right now. After all, all we have is ourselves to make a difference with. [via Buzzfeed (YouTube), thanks Boing Boing!]

How Close You Live to a Nuclear Bomb

So, how close do you live to a nuclear bomb? Well, if you live in the southern hemisphere, congratulations, you’re probably pretty far from one. It’s a good time to be Australian. But considering 80 per cent of the human population on Earth lives in the northern hemisphere, well, odds are you’re relatively close to one, especially if you’re reading this from inside the United States, in Europe or somewhere in Russia.

This video, from Real Life Lore, outlines where many countries tend to keep their nuclear weapons and silos, and that’s just on land, and on top of that, what’s public information. It’s also worth keeping in mind that many countries keep a substantial number of nuclear weapons on submarines and other launch platforms at sea, in classified locations. Bottom line though, depending on where you live, you’re either very close — mostly if you live in Europe or western Russia, or substantially farther, like in the United States.

That all said though, it’s less whether you live close to one now and whether you live near a city on a nuclear target list, right? [via RealLifeLore (YouTube)]

A Live Eagle Cam from Southwest Florida

How about some beautiful birds to finish your week? This live camera of a bald eagle nest in southwest Florida is a joy to keep up in a side window or a picture-in-picture view, and just chill enough to be relaxing and non-distracting, but still offer you a little interest to keep an eye on from time to time. Super chill, and plus, there’s a new baby bird in the family.

Stream it from YouTube above, or check out some alternate cams and information about the birds and their feeding times over at the Eagle Cam homepage. Have a great weekend! [via EagleCam]

That’s all for this week. If you have thought-provoking stories, interesting podcasts or eye-opening videos, share them in the comments below!

Title illustration by Nick Criscuolo.

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