Before we get into The Skills of Commander Shepard, just a quick update on our current quest, The Call of the Bluebird. We’re only 11 Twitter followers away from getting a new video game combat guide video, so remember to follow @daratmastah if you haven’t yet, and tell your friends as well!
Alrighty, on to business then!
Hacking is kind of a broad term, used and interpreted by different people in different ways. For the purpose of this post, however, we’re going to say a hacker is someone who finds creative methods of bypassing, modifying, and/or taking control of computer systems. This is basically what Shepard and her comrades do in-game, when they take control of and break down non-organic enemies, bypass lock security, or repair armor in the field. So how do we get started?
Next, you should get yourself acquainted with non-microsoft/apple operating systems. I’d recommend a Linux build, like Ubuntu. There are other Linux builds out there, but I find Ubuntu translates best for people who are just starting out with a non-microsoft or apple OS. It’s also free(as are most Linux builds). Get acquainted with the community for your new OS, and start messing around with it. There’s tons of forums out there for this, but a good place to start is on the Ubuntu Forums themselves.
Remember, in addition to computer-based hacking, there’s also hardware hacking. For that there’s always the Instructables site to get you started. There’s also Arduino and Raspberry Pi to begin on working on custom hardware applications. Remember that hackers solve problems, so figure out something you’d like to try to automate or improve(something simple!) and give it a shot!
Above all else, remember that the hacking community runs on reputation and respect. Be humble and respectful when you start out, and realize you have a lot to learn. Once you start to learn it, make sure you give back to the community. Respect is a veritable currency in the hackerspace, the more you have it, the more you’ll be able to learn.
First off, if you’re not meditating yet, you should be. I’ve written up a starter guide for the beginning biotic. Go check it out, and start practicing it at least once or twice a day. Half an hour of meditation a day(fifteen minutes in the morning, fifteen at night), can do wonders for your stress level AND increase your ability to focus your mind.
Now, your brain works in funny ways. Understanding the way your brain works can seriously improve your day-to-day processes. For this, I would recommend the book Mind Hacks(Amazon affiliate link), and its accompanying blog. Both are fantastic, and well worth your time.
There’s also the ever-awesome Lifehacker blog. You’ll find mental tricks here, as well as tons of tips on efficiency and self-improvement(which are kind of superpowers in and of themselves).
Remember, we may not have developed biotic implants yet, but if you can get your brain to be even 10% faster, more efficient, more productive, and more focused than the average person, you might as well have superpowers anyway. It’s amazing what just a little boost in thinking and approach can do for you in your day to day life.
Persuasion and Intimidation
So, according to which expert you ask, body language and nonverbal clues account for 60%-93% of all communication. As such, if we’re looking to sway someone’s opinion, be it through persuasion and intimidation, we’re going to want to work on our body language mostly. This includes the body language messages we’re sending, and the messages we’re reading from the other person.
So where do we start? Well, let’s divide the body up by regions, and take a look.
Position of the head is important. If someone is tilting or cocking their head to one side, it can mean they are mentally challenging whatever it is you’re saying to them. That said, if the tilt is far, or exaggerated, they’re most likely expressing sympathetic emotions to whatever you’re communicating. The secret is often in the eyebrows. If they’re furrowed upwards, they’re probably being sympathetic. If furrowed downwards, or with one eyebrow raising/twitching, they’re probably challenging.
Eyes in particular are good to watch. If someone appears to be looking past you, or looking around a lot, or just plain not focusing, they’re probably not paying that much attention to you at all. If they’re blinking often, and/or looking down/too the side frequently, they’re probably trying to conceal something or are flat-out lying to you. Conversely, if they’re looking upwards and/or behind them, they’re probably sincerely trying to remember something(unless they’re seriously over-dramatizing it).
Crossed arms in front are usually the universal sign of someone not opening themselves, socially. Chances are someone doing this when talking to you either don’t feel completely comfortable with you, or they may be generally reserved and do it out of habit. Clenched fists can mean nervousness and/or anger, depending on other visual cues they can also mean excitement(these emotions can be closely linked). Hands in pockets signal vulnerability and/or feeling a need to be interacted with. Hands behind the head or just relaxed at the sides mean the person is generally open to whatever you’re saying. If a person is fidgeting a lot, and or rubbing/patting themselves, then they’re either bored, or feeling uncomfortable with the situation at hand.
Think of the lower body as similar to the upper body in some ways, with feet triggering the same responses. If someone’s feet are turned outwards, or towards you, they’re probably open to whatever it is you’re saying. If they’re turned inwards or away from you, they most likely are not. Interestingly enough, when someone is really interested in something they instinctively tend to point their feet towards whatever it is. Position of knees is similar too, although this is tough to interpret with women in skirts and dresses, as they’re conditioned from a young age to cross their legs and ankles, and keep their knees together, when wearing this type of clothing(for good reason, too!).
Remember that body language is not an exact science. You can combine these elements to generally get an idea of how people are feeling, though, and start to learn how to “read” them. Pseudo-psychics and used car salespeople use these techniques all the time to get a read on people. Try going down to the mall, or a busy park, and watch other people interacting. See if you can figure out how their conversations and interactions are going. Try to apply it in your normal day-to-day life as well. Remember, even if you’re doing visual clues deliberately to other people to convey a message while you talk, their subconscious will still pick up on the cues and take them as genuine. Start playing around with this and see if you can steer people’s reactions to what your saying just by what your body is doing. Here’s a great resource to continue learning about body language, that goes much more in-depth.
Whew, that was a pretty long post. O_O Not as long as The Elements of Pokemon, but still pretty good sized for a daily post. Hope you all enjoyed it! If you did, please feel free to share it on your social media platform of choice(buttons are at the bottom of the post!). I need your help to grow this site more, and we have some awesome stuff coming down the pipe. Tomorrow, we check out the Paragon and Renegade elements that make up Shepard’s psyche, with The Balance of Commander Shepard. Until then, continue to be awesome.
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace