105 Best Affiliate Programs of 2020 (High Paying for

My BLACK BELT Intro

Hey everyone, my name is Riccardo “Baleia” Ammendolia. I am a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under the Mendes Bros & (Assistant) Instructor at Pura Jiu-Jitsu In Hamilton. I have been training in grappling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since around 1997. I was never a big time competitor but was one of the first Canadians to ever win a jiu-jitsu event in Manaus Amazonas Brazil, back in 2004. That’s my big Al Bundy Polk High School line lol I have been teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jits since around 2002 on a part time basis as I do not own an academy. I have had the privilege and honor to train jiu-jitsu all across the U.S. and Brazil. From White to Brown Belt I was very fortunate to be a part of an Alliance Jiu-Jitsu affiliate academy, Joslins MMA, and was able to train with some of the teams best such as Romero Jacare, Fabio Gurgel, Marcelo Garcia, and some of the ex Alliance alumni such as Leo Vieira, Ze Mario Esfiha, Fernando Terere, Ricardo Vieira & more! In 2010 our academy began an affiliation with the Mendes Bros and Atos Jiu-jitsu and I was able to train with many of the top competitors from those teams as well throughout the years.
I was one of the first people to help organize proper Brazilian Jiu-jitsu competitions in Ontario Canada by unifying and educating many of its promoters around 2008. I helped to get events such as Abu Dhabi World Pro, Copa Podio and more on the TV Channel the Fight Network. And throughout the years I have helped behind the scenes many top events worldwide such as ADCC, UAEJJF, AJPTour, Grapplers Quest, Five Grappling and more.
I actually used to run my own invitational event in Canada back in 2004-2006 called the Ontario Submission Wrestling Invitational. The event showcased top local talents in Gi and No Gi superfight matches and featured the Countries top grapplers such as GSP George St Pierres, Fabio Holanda, Rob DiCenzo & more!
In 2009, I started commentating grappling & Jiu-jitsu events worldwide and that has been so amazing. Some of the events I have commentated have been: ADCC, Abu Dhabi World Pro, Grapplers Quest, Five Grappling, The Ultimate Absolute, Copa Podio & more!
About a year ago, I started a Youtube Channel, where I post anything from Old School Classic Matches, Match Breakdowns, my New Podcast Episodes & more. Feel free to check it out:
https://www.youtube.com/riccardoammendoliabjj
Also, if you can here are my social media accounts
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RiccardoAmmendoliaBJJ/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/riccardoammendoliabjj/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/RiccardoAmmendoliaBJJ
Twitter: https://twitter.com/riccardobaleia
I know it is cliche, but Jiu-Jitsu really did change my life and I owe alot to this amazing art. So, I decided a long time ago to try to help promote it the best I can through creating content, organizing events and just preaching the gospel of the jiu-jitsu lifestyle.
If you have any questions, I’d be more than happy to answer them. Have a great day everyone.
submitted by riccardobaleia to bjj [link] [comments]

How to access the "Forbidden Wiki"

We all love Wikipedia, don’t we? A seemingly endless source of information, all consolidated on a well-formatted, visually pleasing website. And despite what your teacher might tell you, I can guarantee you that just about nobody’s trying to rewrite history pages with false information. Nobody has the time for that, nor does anybody care enough to do it.
Beyond research and general curiosity, there’s a ton of fun stuff you can do on the site. For example, there’s the Wikipedia game, where you start on one topic page and then click on related hyperlinks until you reach the pre-specified destination page. Also, did you know that if you go on a Wikipedia page relating to any topic, click on the first hyperlink and repeat the process, you’ll eventually find yourself in a loop that always directs you back to the page for philosophy? Deep stuff, really.
Now, that’s all fun and whatnot. But did you know that there’s something else you can do on Wikipedia? A ritual of sorts?
I recommend proceeding with caution. There is a certain level of risk involved when pursuing something like this. Would I recommend it? Not really. So why am I talking about it at all? Well, I’ll explain later.
This is what you’ll need:
A device with internet access. Preferably something mobile, like a laptop or smartphone. Make sure that none of your personal information is stored on this device. If it’s a smartphone, take out the SIM card, delete all your contacts, social media apps, photos, etc. This is not an optional step.
Internet access. Preferably public, like a library or a large, crowded coffee shop. Obviously not so feasible right now, so I’d wait until the virus dies down. You can also just use your home internet. Not recommended, though.
A weapon/bodyguard/vehicle. Optional, but also not at the same time. You’ll only need these things for reasons I’ll explain later. But more often than not, you won’t be needing these things. 15/100 times, I’d say. Still, better safe than sorry. Try and pack some heat.
Here’s what you’ll need to do. Sit down at a library, coffee shop, university campus, or any place with public Wi-Fi. Start off by visiting an extremely popular Wiki page. For example, Michael Jordan, World War 2, Elon Musk, Google, etc. Now, here’s where you gotta exert a bit of brain power. You’re gonna have to traverse from this popular page to an obscure page that has hardly been seen at all in comparison. But don’t go searching up something like “creepiest Wikipedia pages”, or “most bizarre Wikipedia pages” and try to get there. If those pages are on a list, then they’ve probably received a lot of traffic.
You’ll need to find a page about something truly unknown/inane, like some unheard-of Romanian folk singer from the 1960’s who only released 2 songs before dying in their 30’s or something. Doing this is harder than you might think. The page truly has to be something that very few people are aware of or would bother to learn about.
Once you’ve found a page that you deem suitably obscure and unseen, you’ll have to click on the Wikipedia home page, find another popular topic and repeat the process. Maybe 3, 4, 5 times at the very max. But don’t worry about clicking pages endlessly. You’ll know that you’ve done it right when you come across a seemingly blank page. The Wiki symbol and side options will still be there, but the page itself will be devoid of any pictures or text. Except for the title of the page at the top, that is.
It’ll say “INFORMATION LIMIT”, followed by a string of numbers. Remember that string. You’ll need it later. Also, don’t close the browser.
You’ve done it. The “ritual” has officially begun. At this point, you’ll have to leave the location you accessed it at. For the love of God, don’t just go back into your house. Get into your car or walk on foot to a remote location without internet access. You can’t just be disconnected from a network. There should be no networks available to scan for at all.
Make yourself comfortable and open that Information Limit page again. Hit refresh. Another page should load up, despite the lack of connection. It’ll be a login screen, with a single prompt.
“Enter access point: “
Enter the string of numbers you memorized earlier, EXCEPT for the last 2 digits. Most people who try this just type in the string as it is. Do not do this or you’ll be met with a horrible fate. Pay attention and refrain from fucking it up. Once this is done correctly, you’ll be directed to something that looks like the Wikipedia home page, but just a bit different.
Now, I’m not quite sure what kind of site this is, or where it even originates from. A lot of people just call it the “Forbidden Wiki”, myself included.
I need to note something of great importance here. If the page that loaded up is not in English or whatever language that you originally accessed it from, then click off immediately and go home. You… shouldn’t try and subject yourself to any of the images that may pop up on the pages you visit. They aren’t meant for you. Aren’t meant for human perception. If you glance upon these images, you’ll end up with a fate worse than the one that you’d get if you entered the entire string into the prompt. And that one is bad to begin with. You’re curious, but don’t take the risk.
But if the page is in the language you recognize, then go ahead and proceed. You’ll notice that the Wikipedia symbol will now be a bit different than the one you’re familiar with. It might be a different shape. A different color. Different symbols, perhaps. More often than not, it’ll look more ominous. More sinister, I suppose.
You need to keep in mind that the articles and topics you might stumble across on this site do not exist in our world. They are not something we need to be worried about. Don’t stay up at night thinking about what you’ll see. As far as we need to be concerned, they’re not real.
From this point, you have free range to explore as you please (somewhat). Be sure not to look at more than around fifteen pages, spending less than a minute on each. If you linger around forbidden knowledge for too long, they will know you’re looking. And they’ll be sure to look for you as well. This is information that you shouldn’t be privy to, and they’ll make sure it remains that way.
Who are “they”, exactly? Anybody who has a solid answer to that question likely isn’t around to divulge it. Just know that they are not from this plane of reality. That they possess far more strength and knowledge that you could ever imagine. Don’t think you’ll be able to evade or God forbid try and fight back against them. Even the most decorated government field agent who’s been through hell and back wouldn’t come close to succeeding. Humans that try and overstep the boundaries of what they’re supposed to know are nothing but pesky bugs that need to be exterminated to them.
Or in the worst case… bugs that need to be made an example out of first.
But don’t be too scared. Like I said, just don’t linger on any one page for too long and don’t visit too many. If you do this, you’ll more or less be able to bypass their detection.
But don’t think this means you’re somehow getting the best of them. You’d need to read and analyze these forbidden articles for upwards of hours before understanding what they truly mean and the ramifications of their existence in the multiverse. With less than a minute of exposure, you’ll only be able gain a surface-level understanding of the subjects at best. And “they” hardly care about that.
However… there is a way to legitimately bypass their detection, enabling you to look at the articles for a longer duration of time. But these involve complicated strategies that require extensive knowledge in both programming and arcane occult rituals. And even then… the risk is still astronomically high. Again, not recommended.
You might be wondering why you can’t just take pictures and look over them afterwards for however long you want. Well, I suppose you could. But it makes no difference. They’ll still know you’re looking and react accordingly.
So why bother bringing any kind of weapon, you might ask? Well, it’s not to fight back against “them”. Like I said, that’s a fruitless effort. Nah, these weapons are for the “Lurkers”. Sometimes, if you’re unlucky (around 15% of the time, like I said), your mere digital presence on the Forbidden Wiki will alert them to your location, and it’s something that can’t be helped. But even though the Lurkers aren’t in any way affiliated with “them”, they do have comparable goals. They don’t want you looking at that information either. But unlike “them”, the Lurkers don’t want you to have any kind of awareness of the subjects at all.
You won’t be able to anticipate them. They might fall out a tree if you’re in a forest. They might step out of a dark corner if you’re in an abandoned building. They might crawl out of a lake. You get the gist of it. You won’t see them coming.
Some will be more humanoid in appearance. Some will look more… unfamiliar. They will try and kill you in any way possible should you keep looking at the site. One sure way to guarantee your survival in these situations is to just close the browser, drop your device and take off. If you do this, they’ll have no reason to chase you down.
However… if you do want to keep looking, the Lurkers aren’t impossible to dispose of. In fact, if you’re armed well and have moderate combat experience, you should be able to wipe them out relatively easily and then continue exploring the site. Conversely, you could hire somebody else to deal with them on your behalf while you continue browsing. I’d recommend this option. Like I said, you can’t stay on one page for too long. And if the Lurkers start giving you trouble... then you might be a bit screwed.
I’m not quite sure what the deal is with the Lurkers either. One theory is that they’re simply interdimensional agents/mercenaries hired by a 3rd party who wants to protect their information from outsider eyes. But then who is this 3rd party? And why are they trying to protect the info? This is why I don’t bother with the theorizing. There’s simply too much that we can’t know.
Well, now that that’s all out of the way, let me tell about some of the pages I’ve come across on the Forbidden Wiki. Keep in mind that I had under a minute to glance over these, and despite having a fairly good memory, I’ll only be able to describe so much.
The Great Lakes Incident
“The Great Lakes Incident was a naval battle that took place across all five Great Lakes on the Canadian-US border from 2007-2011. Reports about a mysterious ship rising out of the water alerted Canadian authorities in late 2010… the belligerents were of an unusual nature, able to withstand conventional weaponry… possessing multiple heads, considered in between amphibian and humanoid… finally resolved using firebombs and chemical weapons…”
Inhabitants of the Bermuda Triangle
“…the beings living on these small, scattered islands are extremely hostile towards human contact… reported to be able to fly, causing trouble for aircraft travelling through… believed to have originated from a large, underwater volcano…
The Grand Canyon Void
“The Grand Canyon Void is a hole in the ground in Northwest Arizona measuring approximately 4.6 meters in diameter… hikers reported staring into the hole for hours on end, before they were dragged away from it by park authorities… an average of 12 hikers were reported to have jumped into it during the month of March, with their bodies turning up in different countries…”
Mr. Dream
“Mr. Dream is an Australian DJ from Perth… his self-proclaimed style is known as ‘infernal trance’. People at his live shows have been reported to experience moments of incredible euphoria, before disemboweling each other in the crowd… the manhunt is ongoing, with his latest show reported to have occurred in June 2019, at an underground venue in Paris.”
The Akroid mansion
“The Akroid mansion is a large estate located on the outskirts of Houston, Texas, belonging to the Akroid family… famously known for being the founding members of the cult known as ‘The Dawn of the collapsing Moon’… 77 attempts have been made to infiltrate the house, resulting in 587 Officer casualties. Only one known member of the Akroid family has been neutralized… the members are known to conduct rituals involving biological transformations of the human body… these creatures react in accordance with lunar cycles, exhibiting the most violent tendencies when the moon appears early in its first quarter…”
Channel 51 News
“Channel 51 news is a controversial news station that broadcasts on Channel 51 between 3-4AM… the reports presented on the program have been considered nonsensical and disturbing to the viewers watching… sometimes the hosts have reported incidents that have not occurred up until that point, only for these incidents to transpire one week after, as was the case with the Tokyo Massacre… The location the channel broadcasts out of remains impossible to pinpoint…”
As hard as it may be to believe, these are some examples of the more normal pages on the Wiki. Some of the other ones I’ve seen are… downright fucked.
The man inside your head
“The man inside your head is an arcane entity that exists within your subconscious. His intentions are malicious, and a good portion of your mental capacity is used to suppress him from escaping at any given time. Don’t let him escape.”
Eye in the Sky
“The Eye in the Sky is large eye measuring approximately 4400 meters in diameter that appears in the sky every so often, usually during violent storms. When it appears, it is advised not to look at it under any circumstances. The only exception to this rule is for those who have been forsaken and absolutely need to. You’ll know if you need to.
The corner in your basement
“The corner in your basement is that one dark spot in your basement tucked away in that far corner. No matter how much light you shine on it, it’ll never illuminate, and you’ll never know what’s lurking within it. You better figure out what it is soon.”
The Snowstorm Angel
“The Snowstorm Angel is that figure you see in your backyard during heavy snowstorms. You’ll think your eyes are playing a trick on you, and that your senses are somehow being distorted by the snowfall but make no mistake. It’s there. People often assume its nature to be benevolent, given its name. That assumption is incorrect.”
These kinds of articles were always shorter in length. In fact, what I described above pretty much represented the entirety of the text. These articles all included pictures as well. I regret ever looking at any of them.
You might be wondering why I’m telling you about the Forbidden Wiki at all, along with how to get there. As contradictory as it may seem, this is a precautionary tale. Most people will read this and believe it to be fake, or simply lack the time, energy or motivation to go through with it. Good. Be one of those people.
But then there’s the people who don’t fit that bill. The “thrill-seekers”, so to speak. These are the ones who’ll look for it no matter what. Eventually they’ll find another set of instructions written by somebody else. But one that might not include a proper warning. One that doesn’t tell the whole story.
I am here to give you that warning. Don’t do this.
I thought I was safe just browsing around. I followed all the rules. I hired hitmen off the dark web to accompany me in case the Lurkers showed up. I always made sure to not overstay my welcome on any of the pages, in order to keep myself hidden from “them”.
In reality, the Forbidden Wiki is a strange and complicated place. You may think that you’ve experienced enough and that you’ve figured out all of its tricks… but don’t underestimate it. We were never meant to lay our eyes on something like this.
I stumbled upon a ‘particular’ page the last time I paid a visit to the site. This was the page that ruined everything. The title was simply a phone number. A phone number that contained my area code. Here was the description. I remember this one verbatim:
“(XXX)-XXX-XXXX is a number that will be calling you in a few days. You are obligated to answer his call and follow his instructions. If you refuse, he will come to you. You will only have two chances.”
Here’s the thing. I live in an apartment so I don’t have a basement. I’m pretty sure there’s no demonic entity living inside my head. I’ve never seen a giant eye in the sky. I’m in the South, so snowfall is rare and sparse at best. Up until a point, the shit I’ve seen on the Wiki had been 100% separate and disconnected from my real life. I really thought I had no cause for concern.
But… I did get a call. A call from a number I really hoped I wouldn’t see again. I let it ring through without picking up.
One last chance.
submitted by Mr_Outlaw_ to nosleep [link] [comments]

Beyond Ghislaine: The Maxwell Octopus

Robert Maxwell (born Ján Ludvík Hyman Binyamin Hoch) was born into a poor yiddish-speaking Jewish community in Czechoslovakia in 1923. When Nazi Germany invaded Czechoslovakia during the Second World War, Maxwell fled to France as part of an underground organization ferrying youth out of his homeland. Still a teenager, this would be his first taste of the world of spycraft, an occupation which would define the remainder of his inscrutable life. After several years spent engaged in underground resistance activities which saw him shuttled across Eastern Europe and the Middle East he eventually found himself back in France, now a member of the French Foreign Legion and an active participant in the French Resistance, utilizing the newly acquired pseudonym of Ivan du Maurier.
After participating in the Allied invasion of Normandy, Maxwell (soon to adopt the name of Leslie Johnson) was shortly recruited by British Intelligence. Already a seasoned veteran of international espionage, the young man's multilingualism and underground connections made him a valuable asset to the British government. He continued to work for Britain in the years leading up to the end of the war and in its immediate aftermath, ostensibly as a press attache to the foreign office in Berlin. His actual assignment was to interrogate captured German scientists, work likely done in conjunction with the Alsos Mission, a branch of the American Manhattan Project which cooperated with British forces to collect and classify information on Germany's atomic weapons program. Though the goal of Alsos was primarily to prevent sensitive information from falling into Soviet hands, Maxwell soon also became affiliated with Soviet intelligence due to his desire to seek out surviving relatives who still resided in his homeland, now under Soviet jurisdiction.
He changed his name for the last time in 1945, and as the newly-christened Captain Robert Maxwell married Elisabeth Meynard, a native of France and the future mother of all nine of his children. Still working for allied intelligence, Maxwell began to anticipate the value his work could have on the private market. He started to gather German and Russian scientific documents and research papers which were unknown in the English-speaking world, with the intention of later selling or publishing them for profit.
Meanwhile, in America, a young scientist and child of Czech immigrants by the name of Frank Malina was establishing an international reputation for himself in the field of rocketry and aeronautics. As a graduate student at Caltech, Malina and his longtime friend Jack Parsons founded the research center that would later become the Jet Propulsion Lab. Parsons, himself a brilliant young rocket scientist, was also an avid follower of notorious British occultist Aleister Crowley. Parsons' involvement with Crowley's Thelema movement was so deep that he would eventually become the leader of the California branch of the Ordo Templi Orientis, a Thelemite initiatory organization whose practices included ritualistic sex magic and the summoning of supernatural beings. Thelemites shunned traditional religion and morality in favor of a belief in the supreme power of the will, an echo of Hitler's Nazi philosophy which was itself rooted in the same spiritualist and theosophist ideas as Crowley's. The supreme goal of Thelema, as with all occult practices, is the ultimate union of mind and matter, the combination of the disciplines of science, art, philosophy and religion into a single comprehensible whole. While continuing to work closely with Malina at this time, Parsons also became closely affiliated with Scientology founder and fellow occultist L. Ron Hubbard.
Malina and Parsons went on to form the Aerojet Corporation, a rocket and missile manufacturer from which Parsons was ousted in 1944. In early 1945, Aerojet was purchased by General Tire, a company whose business included contracts with the U.S. military during the second World War. Later in 1945, Malina's research facility was moved to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico where the first Atomic Bomb was detonated that same year.
Leaving the British Army in 1947, Robert Maxwell utilized his military and intelligence connections to go into business as the British and US distributor for Springer Verlag, a Berlin-based publisher of scientific texts which had been taken over by Allied forces after the war. Maxwell soon purchased a majority share of the company, which he re-dubbed Pergamon Press, a reference to the ancient Greek city and center of pagan worship of the same name. During this time, Maxwell also became heavily involved with the newly-designated Israeli intelligence service Mossad, a connection which would arguably remain his primary allegiance throughout the remainder of his life.
In 1947 Frank Malina left rocketry and his native country behind to move to France, ostensibly because he had grown disenchanted with the military applications of his research, although at this time he was also being investigated by the FBI for his undisclosed involvement with American communist organizations in his youth (an ideology Parsons had also toyed with before moving onto more esoteric concerns). Malina took a job in Paris as Secretariat of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), where he worked under famed English eugenicist Julian Huxley, the father of mysticist author Aldous Huxley.
Back in America, Parsons was also increasingly hounded by the FBI. He devised a plan to flee to Israel after he was offered a job working for the infant Israeli rocket program, but a suspicious transfer of documents led to allegations of espionage from the FBI (later dismissed in court). Parsons remained in America until his 1952 death in a mysterious laboratory explosion, the cause of which would never be sufficiently explained.
After his stint with UNESCO, Malina left the organization to pursue his interest in art. In 1968, while still living in Paris, he founded 'Leonardo', an academic journal published by MIT Press which covered the application of science to the arts. The journal remained his primary concern until his death from natural causes in 1981, at which point control of Leonardo turned over to his son Roger Malina.
Maxwell, meanwhile, was busy building his publishing and media empire, amassing a variety of subsidiaries including newspapers, television networks and tech companies. He spent six years as a Member of British Parliament in the 1960s before being defeated in the election of 1970. Though nominally a British citizen, all of his children were born in the wealthy suburbs of Paris, their mother's native land. As his wealth and influence rose, Maxwell remained deeply entangled with MI6, the KGB, the CIA and Mossad.
In the 1970s Maxwell became involved in an intelligence operation centered around PROMIS, a database management software program that could be described as a forerunner to modern internet search engines. PROMIS was groundbreaking in its time, allowing the user to aggregate disparate databases into a single accessible interface. Though initially designed to help prosecutor's offices track and share data, the program quickly caught the attention of intelligence agencies who foresaw its potential for monitoring and compiling information in a variety of fields. In a sense, their plan could be viewed as a nascent version of the information gathering activities which would be exposed by Edward Snowden decades later.
The U.S. Department of Justice hired two men with connections to the Israeli defense forces to infiltrate Inslaw, the company which had produced PROMIS, under the pretense of being potential buyers for the Israeli Public Prosecutor's office. In reality, the men were sent to steal PROMIS and bring it back to their clients in U.S. and Israeli intelligence without Inslaw's knowledge. Their mission accomplished, the thieves soon devised bigger plans for the software than its application to their own systems. They hatched a scheme to sell the software to foreign intelligence agencies with covert back doors, thus obtaining a worldwide database of the intelligence activities of all the major powers in the world. In order to enact this plan they needed a middle-man with deep connections in the global intelligence community, someone who would be trusted as a known quantity by all. Naturally, they turned to Robert Maxwell.
Maxwell used his corporate empire (he had quietly purchased several fledgling Israeli tech companies which served as fronts for the sales) to broker deals with China, the KGB, and anyone else who would be interested in the ground-breaking software. Before long he even began to double-cross his own handlers, helping create new backdoors for China and Israel so that they in turn could spy on the Americans. The software began to find its way into banking systems and government databases worldwide, growing into a vast interconnected network which came to be dubbed "The Octopus". At the head of this Octopus was not any particular state government or intelligence agency, but Robert Maxwell himself, the only man who had been able to game the technology to his own advantage without being taken advantage of in turn.
When Inslaw discovered how their technology was being used they filed a series of lawsuits against the DOJ alleging that PROMIS was illegally stolen from their company. Without these lawsuits, it is unlikely that any of the information regarding PROMIS would have ever come to light. The lawsuits were predictably ruled in favor of the US Government, bankrupting Inslaw in the process. Danny Casolaro, a journalist who was covering the story (the man who coined the term 'The Octopus') was found dead in a hotel room in 1991, his wrists slashed several times in an apparent suicide. Casolaro had complained of threatening phone calls in the days leading up to his death, and his family have long asserted that he was murdered.
Eventually, Maxwell's double-dealing caught up with him. At the behest of China's Secret Service he sold a compromised version of PROMIS to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, birthplace of the American atomic bomb. This modified version of PROMIS installed at the Los Alamos facility was designed to give Chinese Intelligence access to America's nuclear secrets. The affair became the subject of several FBI investigations regarding Maxwell's conduct, documents regarding which have never been made publicly available except in a prohibitively redacted form. Western intelligence agencies, Israel in particular, were incensed at Maxwell's dealings with China, which they saw as a betrayal of his allegiance. For the first time, serious discussion of Maxwell as a potential liability began to take place.
In 1991, while travelling aboard his yacht 'The Lady Ghislaine' (named after his youngest and favorite daughter) Maxwell fell overboard into the Atlantic ocean. His body was recovered the next morning and the cause of his death was officially ruled as a heart attack which led to an accidental drowning. Rumors of his murder continue to persist to this day, occassionally spurred on by daughter Ghislaine herself. Robert Maxwell was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, at a funeral attended by several Israeli government officials and known intelligence operatives.
In the aftermath of his death, Maxwell's empire fell apart. Financial improprieties were discovered and the Maxwell companies were soon bankrupt. The stage was set for a new generation of Maxwells to assume his position.
Twin sisters Isabel and Christine Maxwell moved to Silicon Valley in the 1980s, and despite having no apparent formal training in technology, founded the early internet search engine and e-mail provider Magellan. After selling this company, Christine would go on to form Chiliad, a data analysis company with its headquarters in the Washington D.C. suburb of Herndon, VA. An announcement on the appointment of Christine as the company's interim CEO in 2013 boasts
"The company’s Discovery/Alert big data search tool – operationally proven by the US law enforcement community – reaches across information stored in incompatible databases, documents and applications held in separate departments and organizations to provide the proactive, real-time situational awareness necessary for protection and preparedness."
-A perfectly accurate description of the PROMIS software co-opted by her father a few decades earlier. A 2008 article in Business Wire quotes Chiliad CEO Dan Ferranti as saying "In just a few years, Chiliad will be known as principal arms supplier to the information age."
In 1986 Christine married Roger Malina, the MIT-educated son of Frank Malina, and current editor of his father's 'Leonardo' journal. While it is unclear where and when the couple first met, it would seem that there was no shortage of opportunities for the two to cross paths considering their long shared family histories of involvement in Parisian society, technology, government service, and science publishing.
After two failed early marriages, Christine's twin sister Isabel would herself find love with a man named Al Seckel. Seckel was an avid atheist activist and collector of optical illusions, a self-styled intellectual whose academic credentials were overstated at best and non-existent at worst. The source of Seckel's finances were never entirely clear. He described himself as a dealer of rare books, but those who dealt with him in this capacity described him as a con artist and swindler. Seckel ingratiated himself with the academic society around Caltech and was well known for the lavish parties he threw, often packed with celebrities of academia and entertainment. His primary academic concern seemed to be the field of cognitive psychology, specifically the psychology of perception. It was a subject which surely overlapped with the interests of his brother-in-law, editor of the 'Leonardo' Roger Malina.
Many of Seckel and Malina's interests would also be shared by the longtime companion of their wives' younger sister Ghislaine, the namesake of the boat from which their father fell to his death. This man, Jeffrey Epstein, is likely already well-known to the reader. Ghislaine allegedly met Epstein in the early 1990s, a time when she was still heavily involved in her father's business dealings. Suffice it to say that Epstein would seem to fit right in with the Maxwell archetype- a shady cosmopolite of mysterious origins with unaccountable finances, questionable morality and deep ties to the worlds of scientific academia (especially at Caltech and MIT), technology, finance, French society, and, perhaps most importantly, international intelligence- specifically as related to the state of Israel. In 2010, two years after Epstein's conviction on charges of soliciting a child for prostitution, Al Seckel hosted a "private scientific conference" on Epstein's island which was attended by numerous superstars of scientific academia. As a side note, Epstein's island is known to contain a mysterious temple, the design of which makes use of optical illusions, labyrinthine motifs, a statue of Poseidon and twin golden owls, figures associated with occult and pagan symbolism. The purpose of the temple has never been fully explained.
Al Seckel would eventually be found dead in 2015 near his home in France after having apparently fallen off a cliff. After his death it was discovered that his marriage to Isabel Maxwell was never legitimate, as Seckel had still been legally married to a previous wife. In the last years of his life Seckel was reported as having been trying to sell the personal papers of his late father-in-law Robert Maxwell.
With Epstein apparently dead (typically, under mysterious circumstances) and Ghislaine Maxwell arrested, one might be tempted to feel a sense of closure regarding their crimes. The truth, as outlined here, is far more complicated. In all likelihood, the activities of the youngest Maxwell and her notorious associate were actually just a small branch of a much larger story, one with deep roots in the history of post-WWII academia, society, international espionage, and perhaps even the occult. It is difficult to draw conclusions from such disparate facts, and it is unlikely that the questions which arise can be easily answered. At a bare minimum, it seems fair to suggest that there is far more to the story of Robert Maxwell and his extended family than meets the eye.
submitted by evil_pope to Epstein [link] [comments]

Beyond Ghislaine: The Maxwell Octopus

Robert Maxwell (born Ján Ludvík Hyman Binyamin Hoch) was born into a poor yiddish-speaking Jewish community in Czechoslovakia in 1923. When Nazi Germany invaded Czechoslovakia during the Second World War, Maxwell fled to France as part of an underground organization ferrying youth out of his homeland. Still a teenager, this would be his first taste of the world of spycraft, an occupation which would define the remainder of his inscrutable life. After several years spent engaged in underground resistance activities which saw him shuttled across Eastern Europe and the Middle East he eventually found himself back in France, now a member of the French Foreign Legion and an active participant in the French Resistance, utilizing the newly acquired pseudonym of Ivan du Maurier.
After participating in the Allied invasion of Normandy, Maxwell (soon to adopt the name of Leslie Johnson) was shortly recruited by British Intelligence. Already a seasoned veteran of international espionage, the young man's multilingualism and underground connections made him a valuable asset to the British government. He continued to work for Britain in the years leading up to the end of the war and in its immediate aftermath, ostensibly as a press attache to the foreign office in Berlin. His actual assignment was the interrogation of captured German scientists, work likely done in conjunction with the Alsos Mission, a branch of the American Manhattan Project which cooperated with British forces to collect and classify information on Germany's atomic weapons program. Though the goal of Alsos was primarily to prevent sensitive information from falling into Soviet hands, Maxwell soon also became affiliated with Soviet intelligence due to his desire to seek out surviving relatives who still resided in his homeland, now under Soviet jurisdiction.
He changed his name for the last time in 1945, and as the newly-christened Captain Robert Maxwell married Elisabeth Meynard, a native of France and the future mother of all nine of his children. Still working for allied intelligence, Maxwell began to anticipate the value his work could have on the private market. He started to gather German and Russian scientific documents and research papers which were unknown in the English-speaking world, with the intention of later selling or publishing them for profit.
Meanwhile, in America, a young scientist and child of Czech immigrants by the name of Frank Malina was establishing an international reputation for himself in the field of rocketry and aeronautics. As a graduate student at Caltech, Malina and his longtime friend Jack Parsons founded the research center that would later become the Jet Propulsion Lab. Parsons, himself a brilliant young rocket scientist, was also an avid follower of notorious British occultist Aleister Crowley. Parsons' involvement with Crowley's Thelema movement was so deep that he would eventually become the leader of the California branch of the Ordo Templi Orientis, a Thelemite initiatory organization whose practices included ritualistic sex magic and the summoning of supernatural beings. Thelemites shunned traditional religion and morality in favor of a belief in the supreme power of the will, an echo of Hitler's Nazi philosophy which was itself rooted in the same spiritualist and theosophist ideas as Crowley's. The supreme goal of Thelema, as with all occult practices, is the ultimate union of mind and matter, the combination of the disciplines of science, art, philosophy and religion into a single comprehensible whole. While continuing to work closely with Malina at this time, Parsons also became closely affiliated with Scientology founder and fellow occultist L. Ron Hubbard.
Malina and Parsons went on to form the Aerojet Corporation, a rocket and missile manufacturer from which Parsons was ousted in 1944. In early 1945, Aerojet was purchased by General Tire, a company whose business included contracts with the U.S. military during the second World War. Later in 1945, Malina's research facility was moved to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico where the first Atomic Bomb was detonated that same year.
Leaving the British Army in 1947, Robert Maxwell utilized his military and intelligence connections to go into business as the British and US distributor for Springer Verlag, a Berlin-based publisher of scientific texts which had been taken over by Allied forces after the war. Maxwell soon purchased a majority share of the company, which he re-dubbed Pergamon Press, a reference to the ancient Greek city and center of pagan worship of the same name. During this time, Maxwell also became heavily involved with the newly-designated Israeli intelligence service Mossad, a connection which would arguably remain his primary allegiance throughout the remainder of his life.
In 1947 Frank Malina left rocketry and his native country behind to move to France, ostensibly because he had grown disenchanted with the military applications of his research, although at this time he was also being investigated by the FBI for his undisclosed involvement with American communist organizations in his youth (an ideology Parsons had also toyed with before moving onto more esoteric concerns). Malina took a job in Paris as Secretariat of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), where he worked under famed English eugenicist Julian Huxley, the father of mysticist author Aldous Huxley.
Back in America, Parsons was also increasingly hounded by the FBI. He devised a plan to flee to Israel after he was offered a job working for the infant Israeli rocket program, but a suspicious transfer of documents led to allegations of espionage from the FBI (later dismissed in court). Parsons remained in America until his 1952 death in a mysterious laboratory explosion, the cause of which would never be sufficiently explained.
After his stint with UNESCO, Malina left the organization to pursue his interest in art. In 1968, while still living in Paris, he founded 'Leonardo', an academic journal published by MIT Press which covered the application of science to the arts. The journal remained his primary concern until his death from natural causes in 1981, at which point control of Leonardo turned over to his son Roger Malina.
Maxwell, meanwhile, was busy building his publishing and media empire, amassing a variety of subsidiaries including newspapers, television networks and tech companies. He spent six years as a Member of British Parliament in the 1960s before being defeated in the election of 1970. Though nominally a British citizen, all of his children were born in the wealthy suburbs of Paris, their mother's native land. As his wealth and influence rose, Maxwell remained deeply entangled with MI6, the KGB, the CIA and Mossad.
In the 1970s Maxwell became involved in an intelligence operation centered around PROMIS, a database management software program that could be described as a forerunner to modern internet search engines. PROMIS was groundbreaking in its time, allowing the user to aggregate disparate databases into a single accessible interface. Though initially designed to help prosecutor's offices track and share data, the program quickly caught the attention of intelligence agencies who foresaw its potential for monitoring and compiling information in a variety of fields. In a sense, their plan could be viewed as a nascent version of the information gathering activities which would be exposed by Edward Snowden decades later.
The U.S. Department of Justice hired two men with connections to the Isreali defense forces to infiltrate Inslaw, the company which had produced PROMIS, under the pretense of being potential buyers for the Isreali Public Prosecutor's office. In reality, the men were sent to steal PROMIS and bring it back to their clients in U.S. and Israeli intelligence without Inslaw's knowledge. Their mission accomplished, the thieves soon devised bigger plans for the software than its application to their own systems. They hatched a scheme to sell the software to foreign intelligence agencies with covert back doors, thus obtaining a worldwide database of the intelligence activities of all the major powers in the world. In order to enact this plan they needed a middle-man with deep connections in the global intelligence community, someone who would be trusted as a known quantity by all. Naturally, they turned to Robert Maxwell.
Maxwell used his corporate empire (he had quietly purchased several fledgling Israeli tech companies which served as fronts for the sales) to broker deals with China, the KGB, and anyone else who would be interested in the ground-breaking software. Before long he even began to double-cross his own handlers, helping create new backdoors for China and Israel so that they in turn could spy on the Americans. The software began to find its way into banking systems and government databases worldwide, growing into a vast interconnected network which came to be dubbed "The Octopus". At the head of this Octopus was not any particular state government or intelligence agency, but Robert Maxwell himself, the only man who had been able to game the technology to his own advantage without being taken advantage of in turn.
When Inslaw discovered how their technology was being used they filed a series of lawsuits against the DOJ alleging that PROMIS was illegally stolen from their company. Without these lawsuits, it is unlikely that any of the information regarding PROMIS would have ever come to light. The lawsuits were predictably ruled in favor of the US Government, bankrupting Inslaw in the process. Danny Casolaro, a journalist who was covering the story (the man who coined the term 'The Octopus') was found dead in a hotel room in 1991, his wrists slashed several times in an apparent suicide. Casolaro had complained of threatening phone calls in the days leading up to his death, and his family have long asserted that he was murdered.
Eventually, Maxwell's double-dealing caught up with him. At the behest of China's Secret Service he sold a compromised version of PROMIS to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, birthplace of the American atomic bomb. This modified version of PROMIS installed at the Los Alamos facility was designed to give Chinese Intelligence access to America's nuclear secrets. The affair became the subject of several FBI investigations regarding Maxwell's conduct, documents regarding which have never been made publicly available except in a prohibitively redacted form. Western intelligence agencies, Israel in particular, were incensed at Maxwell's dealings with China, which they saw as a betrayal of his allegiance. For the first time, serious discussion of Maxwell as a potential liability began to take place.
In 1991, while travelling aboard his yacht 'The Lady Ghislaine' (named after his youngest and favorite daughter) Maxwell fell overboard into the Atlantic ocean. His body was recovered the next morning and the cause of his death was officially ruled as a heart attack which led to an accidental drowning. Rumors of his murder continue to persist to this day, occasionally spurred on by daughter Ghislaine herself. Robert Maxwell was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, at a funeral attended by several Israeli government officials and known intelligence operatives.
In the aftermath of his death, Maxwell's empire fell apart. Financial improprieties were discovered and the Maxwell companies were soon bankrupt. The stage was set for a new generation of Maxwells to assume his position.
Twin sisters Isabel and Christine Maxwell moved to Silicon Valley in the 1980s, and despite having no apparent formal training in technology, founded the early internet search engine and e-mail provider Magellan. After selling this company, Christine would go on to form Chiliad, a data analysis company with its headquarters in the Washington D.C. suburb of Herndon, VA. An announcement on the appointment of Christine as the company's interim CEO in 2013 boasts:
"The company’s Discovery/Alert big data search tool – operationally proven by the US law enforcement community – reaches across information stored in incompatible databases, documents and applications held in separate departments and organizations to provide the proactive, real-time situational awareness necessary for protection and preparedness."
-A perfectly accurate description of the PROMIS software co-opted by her father a few decades earlier. A 2008 article in Business Wire quotes Chiliad CEO Dan Ferranti as saying "In just a few years, Chiliad will be known as principal arms supplier to the information age."
In 1986 Christine married Roger Malina, the MIT-educated son of Frank Malina, and current editor of his father's 'Leonardo' journal. While it is unclear where and when the couple first met, it would seem that there was no shortage of opportunities for the two to cross paths considering their long shared family histories of involvement in Parisian society, technology, government service, and science publishing.
After two failed early marriages, Christine's twin sister Isabel would herself find love with a man named Al Seckel. Seckel was an avid atheist activist and collector of optical illusions, a self-styled intellectual whose academic credentials were overstated at best and non-existent at worst. The source of Seckel's finances were never entirely clear. He described himself as a dealer of rare books, but those who dealt with him in this capacity described him as a con artist and swindler. Seckel ingratiated himself with the academic society around Caltech and was well known for the lavish parties he threw, often packed with celebrities of academia and entertainment. His primary academic concern seemed to be the field of cognitive psychology, specifically the psychology of perception. It was a subject which surely overlapped with the interests of his brother-in-law, editor of the 'Leonardo' Roger Malina.
Many of Seckel and Malina's interests would also be shared by the longtime companion of their wives' younger sister Ghislaine, the namesake of the boat from which their father fell to his death. This man, Jeffrey Epstein, is likely already well-known to the reader. Ghislaine allegedly met Epstein in the early 1990s, a time when she was still heavily involved in her father's business dealings. Suffice it to say that Epstein would seem to fit right in with the Maxwell archetype- a shady cosmopolite of mysterious origins with unaccountable finances, questionable morality and deep ties to the worlds of scientific academia (especially at Caltech and MIT), technology, finance, French society, and, perhaps most importantly, international intelligence- specifically as related to the state of Israel. In 2010, two years after Epstein's conviction on charges of soliciting a child for prostitution, Al Seckel hosted a "private scientific conference" on Epstein's island which was attended by numerous superstars of scientific academia. As a side note, Epstein's island is known to contain a mysterious temple, the design of which makes use of optical illusions, labyrinthine motifs, a statue of Poseidon and twin golden owls, figures associated with occult and pagan symbolism. The purpose of the temple has never been fully explained.
Al Seckel would eventually be found dead in 2015 near his home in France after having apparently fallen off a cliff. After his death it was discovered that his marriage to Isabel Maxwell was never legitimate, as Seckel had still been legally married to a previous wife. In the last years of his life Seckel was reported as attempting to sell the personal papers of his late father-in-law Robert Maxwell.
With Epstein apparently dead (under typically mysterious circumstances) and Ghislaine Maxwell arrested, one might be tempted to feel a sense of closure regarding their crimes. The truth, as outlined here, is far more complicated. In all likelihood, the activities of the youngest Maxwell and her notorious associate were actually just a small branch of a much larger story, one with deep roots in the history of post-WWII academia, society, international espionage, and perhaps even the occult. It is difficult to draw conclusions from such disparate facts, and it is unlikely that the questions which arise can be easily answered. At a bare minimum, it seems fair to suggest that there is far more to the story of Robert Maxwell and his extended family than meets the eye.
submitted by evil_pope to conspiracy [link] [comments]

What a USL D1 league might look like

TL;DR: Man with too much time on his hands goes deep down the rabbit hole on a concept this sub already didn’t seem that enthusiastic about. If you really want to skip ahead, CTRL+F “verdict” and it’ll get you there.
Two days ago, u/MrPhillyj2wns made a post asking whether USL should launch a D1 league in order to compete in Concacaf. From the top voted replies, it appears this made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.
But I’ve been at home for eight weeks and I am terribly, terribly bored.
So, I present to you this overview of what the USL pyramid might look like if Jake Edwards got a head of steam and attempted to establish a USSF-sanctioned first division. This is by no means an endorsement of such a proposal or even a suggestion that USL SHOULD do such a thing. It is merely an examination of whether they COULD.
Welcome to the Thunderdome USL Premiership
First, there are some base-level assumptions we must make in this exercise, because it makes me feel more scientific and not like a guy who wrote this on Sunday while watching the Belarusian Premier League (Go BATE Borisov!).
  1. All D1 teams must comply with known USSF requirements for D1 leagues (more on that later).
  2. MLS, not liking this move, will immediately remove all directly-owned affiliate clubs from the USL structure (this does not include hybrid ownerships, like San Antonio FC – NYCFC). This removes all MLS2 teams but will not affect Colorado Springs, Reno, RGVFC and San Antonio.
  3. The USL will attempt to maintain both the USL Championship and USL League One, with an eventual mind toward creating the pro/rel paradise that is promised in Relegations 3:16.
  4. All of my research regarding facility size and ownership net worth is correct – this is probably the biggest leap of faith we have to make, since googling “NAME net worth” and “CITY richest people” doesn’t seem guaranteed to return accurate results.
  5. The most a club can increase its available seating capacity to meet D1 requirements in a current stadium is no more than 1,500 seats (10% of the required 15,000). If they need to add more, they’ll need a new facility.
  6. Let’s pretend that people are VERY willing to sell. It’s commonly acknowledged that the USL is a more financially feasible route to owning a soccer club than in MLS (c.f. MLS-Charlotte’s reported $325 million expansion fee) and the USSF has some very strict requirements for D1 sanctioning. It becomes pretty apparent when googling a lot of team’s owners that this requirement isn’t met, so let’s assume everyone that can’t sells to people who meet the requirements.
(Known) USSF D1 league requirements:
- League must have 12 teams to apply and 14 teams by year three
- Majority owner must have a net worth of $40 million, and the ownership group must have a total net worth of $70 million. The value of an owned stadium is not considered when calculating this value.
- Must have teams located in the Eastern, Central and Pacific time zones
- 75% of league’s teams must be based in markets with at a metro population of at least 1 million people.
- All league stadiums must have a capacity of at least 15,000
The ideal club candidate for the USL Premiership will meet the population and capacity requirements in its current ground, which will have a grass playing surface. Of the USL Championship’s 27 independent/hybrid affiliate clubs, I did not find one club that meets all these criteria as they currently stand.
Regarding turf fields, the USSF does not have a formal policy regarding the ideal playing surface but it is generally acknowledged that grass is superior to turf. 6 of 26 MLS stadiums utilize turf, or roughly 23% of stadiums. We’ll hold a similar restriction for our top flight, so 2-3 of our top flight clubs can have turf fields. Seem fair?
Capacity is going to be the biggest issue, since the disparity between current requirements for the second-tier (5,000) and the first tier (15,000) is a pretty massive gap. Nice club you have there, triple your capacity and you’re onto something. As a result, I have taken the liberty of relocating certain (read: nearly all) clubs to new grounds, trying my utmost to keep those clubs in their current markets and –importantly--, ensure they play on grass surfaces.
So, let’s do a case-by-case evaluation and see if we can put together 12-14 teams that meet the potential requirements, because what else do you have to do?
For each club’s breakdown, anything that represents a chance from what is currently true will be underlined.
Candidate: Birmingham Legion FC
Location (Metro population): Birmingham, Ala. (1,151,801)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Legion Field (FieldTurf, 71,594)
Potential owner: Stephens Family (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Birmingham has a pretty strong candidacy. Having ditched the 5,000-seater BBVA Field for Legion Field, which sits 2.4 miles away, they’ve tapped into the city’s soccer history. Legion Field hosted portions of both the men’s and women’s tournaments at the 1996 Olympics, including a 3-1 U.S. loss to Argentina that saw 83,183 pack the house. The Harbert family seemed like strong ownership contenders, but since the death of matriarch Marguerite Harbert in 2015, it’s unclear where the wealth in the family is concentrated, so the Stephens seem like a better candidate. The only real knock that I can think of is that we really want to avoid having clubs play on turf, so I’d say they’re on the bubble of our platonic ideal USL Prem.
Candidate: Charleston Battery
Location (Metro population): Charleston, S.C. (713,000)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Johnson Hagood Stadium (Grass, ~14,700)
Potential owner: Anita Zucker (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Charleston’s candidacy isn’t looking great. Already disadvantaged due to its undersized metro population, a move across the Cooper River to Johnson Hagood Stadium is cutting it close in terms of capacity. The stadium, home to The Citadel’s football team, used to seat 21,000, before 9,300 seats on the eastern grandstand were torn down in 2017 to deal with lead paint that had been used in their construction. Renovation plans include adding 3,000 seats back in, which could hit 15,000 if they bumped it to 3,300, but throw in a required sale by HCFC, LLC (led by content-creation platform founder Rob Salvatore) to chemical magnate Anita Zucker, and you’ll see there’s a lot of ifs and ands in this proposal.
Candidate: Charlotte Independence
Location (Metro population): Charlotte, N.C. (2,569, 213)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Jerry Richardson Stadium (Turf, 15,314)
Potential owner: James Goodnight (reported net worth $9.1 billion)
Notes: Charlotte ticks a lot of the boxes. A move from the Sportsplex at Matthews to UNC-Charlotte’s Jerry Richardson stadium meets capacity requirements, but puts them on to the dreaded turf. Regrettably, nearby American Legion Memorial Stadium only seats 10,500, despite a grass playing surface. With a sizeable metro population (sixth-largest in the USL Championship) and a possible owner in software billionaire James Goodnight, you’ve got some options here. The biggest problem likely lies in direct competition for market share against a much better-funded MLS Charlotte side due to join the league in 2021.
Candidate: Hartford Athletic
Location (Metro population): Hartford, Conn. (1,214,295)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Pratt & Whitney Stadium (Grass, 38,066)
Potential owner: Ray Dalio (reported net worth $18.4 billion)
Notes: Okay, I cheated a bit here, having to relocate Hartford to Pratt & Whitney Stadium, which is technically in East Hartford, Conn. I don’t know enough about the area to know if there’s some kind of massive beef between the two cities, but the club has history there, having played seven games in 2019 while Dillon Stadium underwent renovations. If the group of local businessmen that currently own the club manage to attract Dalio to the table, we’re on to something.
Candidate: Indy Eleven
Location (Metro population): Indianapolis, Ind. (2,048,703)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lucas Oil Stadium (Turf, 62,421)
Potential owner: Jim Irsay (reported net worth of $3 billion)
Notes: Indy Eleven are a club that are SO CLOSE to being an ideal candidate – if it weren’t for Lucas Oil Stadium’s turf playing surface. Still, there’s a lot to like in this bid. I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what current owner and founder Ersal Ozdemir is worth, but it seems like there might be cause for concern. A sale to Irsay, who also owns the NFL Indianapolis (nee Baltimore) Colts, seems likely to keep the franchise there, rather than make a half-mile move to 14,230 capacity Victory Field where the AAA Indianapolis Indians play and expand from there.
Candidate: Louisville City FC
Location (Metro population): Louisville, Ky. (1,297,310)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lynn Family Stadium (Grass, 14,000, possibly expandable to 20,000)
Potential owner: Wayne Hughes (reported net worth $2.8 billion)
Notes: I’m stretching things a bit here. Lynn Family stadium is currently listed as having 11,700 capacity that’s expandable to 14,000, but they’ve said that the ground could hold as many as 20,000 with additional construction, which might be enough to grant them a temporary waiver from USSF. If the stadium is a no-go, then there’s always Cardinal Stadium, home to the University of Louisville’s football team, which seats 65,000 but is turf. Either way, it seems like a sale to someone like Public Storage founder Wayne Hughes will be necessary to ensure the club has enough capital.
Candidate: Memphis 901 FC
Location (Metro population): Memphis, Tenn. (1,348,260)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Liberty Bowl Stadium (Turf, 58,325)
Potential owner: Fred Smith (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Unfortunately for Memphis, AutoZone Park’s 10,000 seats won’t cut it at the D1 level. With its urban location, it would likely prove tough to renovate, as well. Liberty Bowl Stadium more than meets the need, but will involve the use of the dreaded turf. As far as an owner goes, FedEx founder Fred Smith seems like a good local option.
Candidate: Miami FC, “The”
Location (Metro population): Miami, Fla. (6,158,824)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Riccardo Silva Stadium (FieldTurf, 20,000)
Potential owner: Riccardo Silva (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: Well, well, well, Silva might get his wish for top-flight soccer, after all. He’s got the money, he’s got the metro, and his ground has the capacity. There is the nagging issue of the turf, though. Hard Rock Stadium might present a solution, including a capacity of 64,767 and a grass playing surface. It is worth noting, however, that this is the first profile where I didn’t have to find a new potential owner for a club.
Candidate: North Carolina FC
Location (Metro population): Durham, N.C. (1,214,516 in The Triangle)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Carter-Finley Stadium (Grass/Turf, 57,583)
Potential owner: Steve Malik (precise net worth unknown) / Dennis Gillings (reported net worth of $1.7 billion)
Notes: We have our first “relocation” in North Carolina FC, who were forced to trade Cary’s 10,000-seat WakeMed Soccer Park for Carter-Finley Stadium in Durham, home of the NC State Wolfpack and 57,583 of their closest friends. The move is a whopping 3.1 miles, thanks to the close-knit hub that exists between Cary, Durham and Raleigh. Carter-Finley might be my favorite of the stadium moves in this exercise. The field is grass, but the sidelines are artificial turf. Weird, right? Either way, it was good enough for Juventus to play a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara there in 2011. Maybe the move would be pushed for by new owner and medical magnate Dennis Gillings, whose British roots might inspire him to get involved in the Beautiful Game. Straight up, though, I couldn’t find a net worth for current owner Steve Malik, though he did sell his company MedFusion for $91 million in 2010, then bought it back for an undisclosed amount and sold it again for $43 million last November. I don’t know if Malik has the juice to meet D1 requirements, but I suspect he’s close.
Candidate: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Location (Metro population): Pittsburgh, Penn. (2,362,453)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Heinz Field (Grass, 64,450)
Potential owner: Henry Hillman (reported net worth $2.5 billion)
Notes: I don’t know a ton about the Riverhounds, but this move in particular feels like depriving a pretty blue-collar club from its roots. Highmark Stadium is a no-go from a seating perspective, but the Steelers’ home stadium at Heinz Field would more than meet the requirements and have a grass surface that was large enough to be sanctioned for a FIFA friendly between the U.S. WNT and Costa Rica in 2015. As for an owner, Tuffy Shallenberger (first ballot owner name HOF) doesn’t seem to fit the USSF bill, but legendary Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Hillman might. I’m sure you’re asking, why not the Rooney Family, if they’ll play at Heinz Field? I’ll tell you: I honestly can’t seem to pin down a value for the family. The Steelers are valued at a little over a billion and rumors persist that Dan Rooney is worth $500 million, but I’m not sure. I guess the Rooneys would work too, but it’s a definite departure from an owner in Shallenberger who was described by one journalist as a guy who “wears boots, jeans, a sweater and a trucker hat.”
Candidate: Saint Louis FC
Location (Metro population): St. Louis, Mo. (2,807,338)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Busch Stadium (Grass, 45,494)
Potential owner: William DeWitt Jr. (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Saint Louis has some weirdness in making the jump to D1. Current CEO Jim Kavanaugh is an owner of the MLS side that will begin play in 2022. The club’s current ground at West Community Stadium isn’t big enough, but perhaps a timely sale to Cardinals owner William DeWitt Jr. could see the club playing games at Busch Stadium, which has a well established history of hosting other sports like hockey, college football and soccer (most recently a U.S. WNT friendly against New Zealand in 2019). The competition with another MLS franchise wouldn’t be ideal, like Charlotte, but with a big enough population and cross marketing from the Cardinals, maybe there’s a winner here. Wacko idea: If Busch doesn’t pan out, send them to The Dome. Sure, it’s a 60k turf closed-in stadium, but we can go for that retro NASL feel and pay homage to our nation’s soccer history.
Candidate: Tampa Bay Rowdies
Location (Metro population): Tampa, Fla. (3,068,511)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Raymond James Stadium (Grass, 65,518)
Potential owner: Edward DeBartolo Jr. (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: This one makes me sad. Despite having never been there, I see Al Lang Stadium as an iconic part of the Rowdies experience. Current owner Bill Edwards proposed an expansion to 18,000 seats in 2016, but the move seems to have stalled out. Frustrated with the city’s lack of action, Edwards sells to one-time San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., who uses his old NFL connections to secure a cushy lease at the home of the Buccaneers in Ray Jay, the site of a 3-1 thrashing of Antigua and Barbuda during the United States’ 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign.
Breather. Hey, we finished the Eastern Conference teams. Why are you still reading this? Why am I still writing it? Time is a meaningless construct in 2020 my friends, we are adrift in the void, fueled only by brief flashes of what once was and what may yet still be.
Candidate: Austin Bold FC
Location (Metro population): Austin, Texas (2,168,316)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 95,594)
Potential owner: Michael Dell (reported net worth of $32.3 billion)
Notes: Anthony Precourt’s Austin FC has some unexpected competition and it comes in the form of tech magnate Michael Dell. Dell, were he to buy the club, would be one of the richest owners on our list and could flash his cash in the new first division. Would he have enough to convince Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (I’m not kidding, that’s its actual name) to go back to a grass surface, like it did from ’96-’08? That’s between Dell and nearly 100,000 UT football fans, but everything can be had for the right price.
Candidate: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Location (Metro population): Colorado Springs, Colo. (738,939)
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Falcon Stadium (FieldTurf, 46,692)
Potential owner: Charles Ergen (reported net worth $10.8 billion)
Notes: Welcome to Colorado Springs. We have hurdles. For the first time in 12 candidates, we’re back below the desired 1 million metro population mark. Colorado Springs actually plans to build a $35 million, 8,000 seat venue downtown that will be perfect for soccer, but in our timeline that’s 7,000 seats short. Enter Falcon Stadium, home of the Air Force Academy Falcons football team. Seems perfect except for the turf, right? Well, the tricky thing is that Falcon Stadium is technically on an active military base and is (I believe) government property. Challenges to getting in and out of the ground aside, the military tends to have a pretty grim view of government property being used by for-profit enterprises. Maybe Charles Ergen, founder and chairman of Dish Network, would be able to grease the right wheels, but you can go ahead and throw this into the “doubtful” category. It’s a shame, too. 6,035 feet of elevation is one hell of a home-field advantage.
Candidate: El Paso Locomotive FC
Location: El Paso, Texas
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Sun Bowl (FieldTurf, 51,500)
Potential owner: Paul Foster (reported net worth $1.7 billion)
Notes: God bless Texas. When compiling this list, I found so many of the theoretical stadium replacements were nearly serviceable by high school football fields. That’s insane, right? Anyway, Locomotive don’t have to settle for one of those, they’ve got the Sun Bowl, which had its capacity reduced in 2001 to a paltry 51,500 (from 52,000) specifically to accommodate soccer. Sure, it’s a turf surface, but what does new owner Paul Foster (who is only the 1,477th wealthiest man in the world, per Forbes) care, he’s got a team in a top league. Side note: Did you know that the Sun Bowl college football game is officially, through sponsorship, the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl? Why is it not the Frosted Flakes Sun Bowl? Why is the cereal mascot the promotional name of the football game? What are you doing, Kellogg’s?
Candidate: Las Vegas Lights FC
Location: Las Vegas, Nev. (2,227,053)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Allegiant Stadium (Grass, 61,000)
Potential owner: Sheldon Adelson (reported net worth $37.7 billion)
Notes: Sin City. You had to know that the club that once signed Freddy Adu because “why not” was going to go all out in our flashy hypothetical proposal. Thanks to my narrative control of this whole thing, they have. Adelson is the second-richest owner in the league and has decided to do everything first class. That includes using the new Raiders stadium in nearby unincorporated Paradise, Nevada, and spending boatloads on high profile transfers. Zlatan is coming back to the U.S., confirmed.
Candidate: New Mexico United
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Isotopes Park – officially Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park (Grass, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Maloof Family (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: New Mexico from its inception went deep on the community vibe, and I’ve tried to replicate that in this bid. The home field of Rio Grande Cr---I’m not typing out the whole thing—Isotopes Park falls just within the expansion rules we set to make it to 15,000 (weird, right?) and they’ve found a great local ownership group in the Lebanese-American Maloof (formerly Maalouf) family from Las Vegas. The only thing to worry about would be the metro population, but overall, this could be one of the gems of USL Prem.
Candidate: Oklahoma City Energy FC
Location: Oklahoma City, Okla. (1,396,445)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (Grass, 13,066)
Potential owner: Harold Hamm (reported net worth $14.2 billion)
Notes: There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow and it says it’s time to change stadiums and owners to make it to D1. A sale to oil magnate Harold Hamm would give the club the finances it needs, but Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (home of the OKC Dodgers) actually falls outside of the boundary of what would meet capacity if 1,500 seats were added. Could the club pull off a move to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma – home of the Oklahoma Sooners? Maybe, but at 20 miles, this would be a reach.
Candidate: Orange County SC
Location: Irvine, Calif. (3,176, 000 in Orange County)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Angels Stadium of Anaheim (Grass, 43,250)
Potential owner: Arte Moreno (reported net worth $3.3 billion)
Notes: You’ll never convince me that Rangers didn’t choose to partner with Orange County based primarily on its name. Either way, a sale to MLB Angels owner Arte Moreno produces a fruitful partnership, with the owner choosing to play his newest club out of the existing Angels stadium in OC. Another baseball conversion, sure, but with a metro population of over 3 million and the closest thing this hypothetical league has to an LA market, who’s complaining?
Candidate: Phoenix Rising FC
Location: Phoenix, Ariz. (4,857,962)
Time zone: Arizona
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): State Farm Stadium (Grass, 63,400)
Potential owner: Ernest Garcia II (reported net worth $5.7 billion)
Notes: We’re keeping it local with new owner and used car guru Ernest Garcia II. His dad owned a liquor store and he dropped out of college, which is making me feel amazing about my life choices right now. Casino Arizona Field is great, but State Farm Stadium is a grass surface that hosted the 2019 Gold Cup semifinal, so it’s a clear winner. Throw in Phoenix’s massive metro population and this one looks like a lock.
Candidate: Reno 1868 FC
Location: Reno, Nev. (425,417)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Mackay Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: Nancy Walton Laurie (reported net worth $7.1 billion)
Notes: The Biggest Little City on Earth has some serious barriers to overcome, thanks to its low metro population. A sale to Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie and 1.6 mile-move to Mackay Stadium to split space with the University of Nevada, Reno makes this bid competitive, but the turf surface is another knock against it.
Candidate: Rio Grande Valley FC
Location: Edinburg, Texas (900,304)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): McAllen Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Alice Louise Walton (reported net worth $45 billion)
Notes: Yes, I have a second straight Walmart heiress on the list. She was the first thing that popped up when I googled “McAllen Texas richest people.” The family rivalry has spurred Walton to buy a club as well, moving them 10 miles to McAllen Memorial Stadium which, as I alluded to earlier, is a straight up high school football stadium with a full color scoreboard. Toss in an additional 1,500 seats and you’ve met the minimum, despite the turf playing surface.
Candidate: San Antonio FC
Location: San Antonio, Texas (2,550,960)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Alamodome (FieldTurf, 64,000)
Potential owner: Red McCombs (reported net worth $1.6 billion)
Notes: I wanted to keep SAFC in the Spurs family, since the franchise is valued at $1.8 billion. That said, I didn’t let the Rooneys own the Riverhounds based on the Steelers’ value and it felt wrong to change the rules, so bring on Clear Channel co-founder Red McCombs. Toyota Field isn’t viable in the first division, but for the Alamodome, which was built in 1993 in hopes of attracting an NFL franchise (and never did), San Antonio can finally claim having *a* national football league team in its town (contingent on your definition of football). Now if only we could do something about that turf…
Candidate: San Diego Loyal SC
Location: San Diego, Calif. (3,317,749)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm) (Grass, 70,561)
Potential owner: Phil Mickelson (reported net worth $91 million)
Notes: Yes, golf’s Phil Mickelson. The existing ownership group didn’t seem to have the wherewithal to meet requirements, and Phil seemed to slot right in. As an athlete himself, he might be interesting in the new challenges of a top flight soccer team. Toss in a move to the former home of the chargers and you might have a basis for tremendous community support.
Candidate: FC Tulsa
Location: Tulsa, Okla. (991,561)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: George Kaiser ($10 billion)
Notes: I’m a fan of FC Tulsa’s rebrand, but if they want to make the first division, more changes are necessary. A sale to Tulsa native and one of the 100 richest men in the world George Kaiser means that funding is guaranteed. A move to Chapman Stadium would provide the necessary seats, despite the turf field. While the undersize population might be an issue at first glance, it’s hard to imagine U.S. Soccer not granting a waiver over a less than a 10k miss from the mark.
And that’s it! You made it. Those are all of the independent/hybrid affiliates in the USL Championship, which means that it’s time for our…
VERDICT: As an expert who has studied this issue for almost an entire day now, I am prepared to pronounce which USL Championships could be most ‘ready” for a jump to the USL Prem. A reminder that of the 27 clubs surveyed, 0 of them met our ideal criteria (proper ownership $, metro population, 15,000+ stadium with grass field).
Two of them, however, met almost all of those criteria: Indy Eleven and Miami FC. Those two clubs may use up two of our three available turf fields right from the outset, but the other factors they hit (particularly Silva’s ownership of Miami) makes them difficult, if not impossible to ignore for the top flight.
But who fill in the rest of the slots? Meet the entire 14-team USL Premier League:
Hartford Athletic
Indy Eleven
Louisville City FC
Miami FC
North Carolina FC
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Saint Louis FC
San Antonio FC
New Mexico United
Phoenix Rising FC
Las Vegas Lights FC
Orange County SC
San Diego Loyal SC
Now, I shall provide my expert rationale for each club’s inclusion/exclusion, which can be roughly broken down into four categories.
Firm “yes”
Hartford Athletic: It’s a good market size with a solid stadium. With a decent investor and good community support, you’ve got potential here.
Indy Eleven: The turf at Lucas Oil Stadium is no reason to turn down a 62,421 venue and a metro population of over 2 million.
Louisville City FC: Why doesn’t the 2017 & 2018 USL Cup champion deserve a crack at the top flight? They have the market size, and with a bit of expansion have the stadium at their own SSS. LCFC, you’re in.
Miami FC, “The”: Our other blue-chip recruit on the basis of ownership value, market size and stadium capacity. Yes, that field is turf, but how could you snub Silva’s chance to claim victory as the first division 1 club soccer team to play in Miami?
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Pittsburgh sacrificed a lot to be here (according to my arbitrary calculations). Their market size and the potential boon of soccer at Heinz Field is an important inclusion to the league.
Saint Louis FC: Willie hears your “Busch League” jokes, Willie don’t care. A huge market size, combined with the absence of an NFL franchise creates opportunity. Competition with the MLS side, sure, but St. Louis has serious soccer history and we’re willing to bet it can support two clubs.
Tampa Bay Rowdies: With a huge population and a massive stadium waiting nearby, Tampa Bay seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up for the USL Prem.
Las Vegas Lights FC: Ostentatious, massive and well-financed, Las Vegas Lights FC is everything that the USL Premier League would need to assert that it didn’t intend to play second fiddle to MLS. Players will need to be kept on a short leash, but this is a hard market to pass up on.
Phoenix Rising FC: Huge population, big grass field available nearby and a solid history of success in recent years. No brainer.
San Diego Loyal SC: New club? Yes, massive population in a market that recently lost an absolutely huge sports presence? Also yes. This could be the USL Prem’s Seattle.
Cautious “yes”
New Mexico United: You have to take a chance on New Mexico United. The club set the league on fire with its social media presence and its weight in the community when it entered the league last season. The market may be slightly under USSF’s desired 1 million, but fervent support (and the ability to continue to use Isotopes Park) shouldn’t be discounted.
North Carolina FC: Carter-Finley’s mixed grass/turf surface is a barrier, to be sure, but the 57,000+ seats it offers (and being enough to offset other fully-turf offerings) is enough to put it in the black.
Orange County SC: It’s a top-tier club playing in a MLB stadium. I know it seems unlikely that USSF would approve something like that, but believe me when I say “it could happen.” Orange County is a massive market and California likely needs two clubs in the top flight.
San Antonio FC: Our third and only voluntary inclusion to the turf fields in the first division, we’re counting on San Antonio’s size and massive potential stadium to see it through.
Cautious “no”
Birmingham Legion FC: The town has solid soccer history and a huge potential venue, but the turf playing surface puts it on the outside looking in.
Memphis 901 FC: Like Birmingham, not much to dislike here outside of the turf playing surface at the larger playing venue.
Austin Bold FC: See the other two above.
FC Tulsa: Everything’s just a little bit off with this one. Market’s slightly too small, stadium has turf. Just not enough to put it over the top.
Firm “no”
Charleston Battery: Small metro and a small potential new stadium? It’s tough to say yes to the risk.
Charlotte Independence: A small new stadium and the possibility of having to compete with an organization that just paid over $300 million to join MLS means it’s best for this club to remain in the USL Championship.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: When a club’s best chance to meet a capacity requirement is to host games at a venue controlled by the military, that doesn’t speak well to a club’s chances.
El Paso Locomotive FC: An undersized market and a turf field that meets capacity requirements is the death knell for this one.
Oklahoma City Energy FC: Having to expand a baseball field to meet requirements is a bad start. Having to potentially play 20 miles away from your main market is even worse.
Reno 1868 FC: Population nearly a half-million short of the federation’s requirements AND a turf field at the hypothetical new stadium makes impossible to say yes to this bid.
Rio Grande Valley FC: All the seat expansions in the world can’t hide the fact that McAllen Memorial Stadium is a high school stadium through and through.
Here’s who’s left in the 11-team Championship:
Birmingham Legion FC
Charleston Battery
Charlotte Independence
Memphis 901 FC
Austin Bold FC
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
El Paso Locomotive FC
Oklahoma City Energy FC
Reno 1868 FC
Rio Grande Valley FC
FC Tulsa
With MLS folding the six affiliates it has in USL League One, the league is a little bit thin (especially considering USSF’s requirements for 8 teams for lower level leagues), but seems definitely able to expand up to the necessary numbers with Edwards’ allusions to five new additions this year:
Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
Forward Madison FC
Greenville Triumph SC
Union Omaha
Richmond Kickers
South Georgia Tormenta
FC Tucson
Format of Assorted Leagues – This (like everything in this post) is pure conjecture on my part, but here are my thoughts on how these leagues might function in a first year while waiting for additional expansion.
USL Premier – We’ll steal from the 12-team Scottish Premiership. Each club plays the other 11 clubs 3 times, with either one or two home matches against each side. When each club has played 33 matches, the top six and bottom six separate, with every club playing an additional five matches (against each other team in its group). The top club wins the league. The bottom club is automatically relegated. The second-bottom club will enter a two-legged playoff against someone (see below) from the championship playoffs.
USL Championship -- 11 clubs is a challenge to schedule for. How about every club plays everyone else three times (either one or two home matches against each side)? Top four clubs make the playoffs, which are decided by two-legged playoffs. The winner automatically goes up. I need feedback on the second part – is it better to have the runner-up from the playoffs face the second-bottom club from the Premiership, or should the winner of the third-place match-up get the chance to face them to keep drama going in both playoff series? As for relegation, we can clearly only send down the last place club while the third division is so small.
USL League One – While the league is so small, it doesn’t seem reasonable to have the clubs play as many matches as the higher divisions. Each club could play the other six clubs four times – twice at home and twice away – for a very equitable 24-match regular season, which would help restrict costs and still provide a chance to determine a clear winner. Whoever finishes top of the table goes up.
And there you have it, a hypothetical look at how the USL could build a D1 league right now. All it would take is a new stadium for almost the entire league and new owners for all but one of the 27 clubs, who wouldn’t feel that their property would be massively devalued if they got relegated.
Well that’s our show. I’m curious to see what you think of all of this, especially anything that you think I may have overlooked (I’m sure there’s plenty). Anyway, I hope you’re all staying safe and well.
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Covid-19 update Monday 20th April

Good morning from the UK. I am late today but with good reason, my wife has had a really tough time this weekend with mental health (she is on meds for OCD, anxiety and Bipolar Type 2). Lockdown is tough for us all, but believe me it’s harder still for those with pre-existing mental difficulties. It could be worse, one of her friends (who has been sectioned before for mental breakdowns) is having to manage her mental health whilst fulfilling her duties as an A&E (ER) doctor in Wales. How my wife’s friend does it I have no idea, the stories coming out of UK hospitals are deeply disturbing (this link is 2 weeks old).

Anyway, onto supply chain; this morning I read an article from Forbes about the problems supply chain disruptions can cause. Here’s a lengthy quote:
“Our firm recently polled executives at major corporations around the world to ask them about the operational risks they perceived to their supply chains, and the response strategies they had in place. The results were enlightening. Executives identified a broad range of risks (see chart below), from volatile commodity prices (which 43% considered a major challenge), to protectionism (31%), to piracy (just 7%). That executives identified such a broad range of risks told us that global supply disruption is indeed a top-of-mind issue for managers of global corporations.
When we asked a subsequent question about the strategies in place to mitigate these risks (see chart below), we found no favorites. Rather executives were across the board, choosing a number of different approaches, but not necessarily those best suited to the operational risks they were facing: 33% of respondents indicated that they would make no changes to their supply chains, 20% intended to decrease the number of production locations, and 15% planned to increase the same; and a range of other options as well.
Given the nature of the modern, global corporation and the complex supply network that has developed around it, it is unsurprising that executives have not aligned on a unified strategy to mitigate supply chain risk. No longer does a supply chain consist of a simple process from factory to warehouse to delivery (if indeed it ever did). Rather, as new sources of supply have arisen, new markets have opened, and companies have sought greater scale and specialization. Supply chains have evolved into a network of hundreds of suppliers, sub-contractors and distribution centers, adding tremendous complexity…
...I was recently at a conference of supply chain executives in the United States who told me that planning is dead – the best they could hope to do was respond to risks as they arose. Who has the time, and what is the benefit, of planning in a world of continuous change, demand-driven marketing, and intense pressure for instantaneous responses?...
...In an environment where changes in global supply chain can be as sudden as they are unscripted, companies have to arm themselves with both foresight and peripheral vision, an understanding of the long-term, and agility to deal with the short-term. More than ever, companies have to provision for multiple scenarios and they can only do that by engaging in a dynamic and multi-dimensional scenario-based strategic planning process.”
----------
I like the last two paragraphs of the article in particular. In case anyone wants to read the rest of the article, it’s dated May 2010 and written in reaction to the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull and the chaos it caused to supply chains around the world. Plus ça change; it seems some boardrooms didn’t adjust their supply chains after that black swan event (maybe due to the cost and the resulting negative shareholder pushback). Link to the story.

Virus news in depth

Our Pandemic Summer: The fight against the coronavirus won’t be over when the U.S. reopens. Here’s how the nation must prepare itself. - The Atlantic has written a lengthy article about what the mid-long term looks like for the US in relation to getting back to normal after Covid-19. “I think people haven’t understood that this isn’t about the next couple of weeks,” said Michael Osterholm, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota. “This is about the next two years.” The article goes on to look at the pharmaceutical supply chain; “According to a University of Minnesota analysis, about 40 percent of the 156 drugs that are essential parts of critical care are becoming limited. Many of these depend on supply chains that involve China (where the pandemic began), Italy (the hardest-hit region in Europe), or India (which halted several exports)” … “Albuterol, the drug used in asthma inhalers, is scarce. Antibiotics, which control the secondary bacterial infections that afflict COVID-19 patients, are being depleted. Basic painkillers and sedatives, which are needed to keep patients on ventilators, are being exhausted. Hydroxychloroquine, the drug that Trump has repeatedly touted as a COVID-19 treatment despite a lack of good evidence, is running out, to the detriment of people with lupus and arthritis who depend on it. “It’s like everything we give to patients, we’re in short supply of,” said Esther Choo, an emergency physician at Oregon Health and Science University. “We’re now scrambling to find the backup medications, and we’ll run out of those too.””
(cont’d) If it turns out that, say, 20 percent of the U.S. has been infected, that would mean the coronavirus is more transmissible but less deadly than scientists think. It would also mean that a reasonable proportion of the country has some immunity. If that proportion could be slowly and safely raised to the level necessary for herd immunity—60 to 80 percent, depending on the virus’s transmissibility—the U.S. might not need to wait for a vaccine. However, if just 1 to 5 percent of the population has been infected—the range that many researchers think is likelier—that would mean “this is a truly devastating virus, and we have built up no real population immunity,” said Michael Mina, an epidemiologist and immunologist at Harvard. “Then we’re in dire straits in terms of how to move forward.” The article is lengthy and also discusses options for reopening the economy and society in the USA.

Virus news in brief


My usual sources are as normal The Guardian and CNN live blogs unless otherwise specified.















Personal note: If you are on the Eastern seaboard of the US and in a hurricane prone area, it would be a good idea to review your hurricane plans and supplies now, e.g do you have a generator and does it work, spare fuel, batteries, candles, do you have enough long life food already stored + cleaning products, do you have an alternative method of cooking food, what’s your evacuation plan, etc etc. See https://www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane-plan for help with this and note FEMA is already under a lot of strain due to the virus and would thus likely struggle with a major hurricane impact on the US seaboard - see also this USA Today article dated 6th April this year on that topic).



Supply chain news in depth


Susceptibilities of Solar Energy Supply Chains - The Global policy journal has written a detailed review of the supply chain disruption faced by the solar panel industry here. Whilst manufacturing was significantly reduced from January to March in China (down 13.5%) and is now almost fully recovered, its reliance on materials from around the world mean the supply chain is exposed in other parts. China has the majority market share in the mining or processing of most minerals used in solar panels, such as: silicon, aluminum, selenium, tellurium, arsenic, cadmium, and gallium. However, China still depends on many other countries to complete their solar panels, such as Peru for copper, Saudi Arabian oil for energy, and Japan for silicon wafers. In mid-March, Chinese owned mining company MMG Ltd reduced operations at its Peruvian copper mine after Peru declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus. Due to the damaged mining link in the supply chain, an initial spike in solar module price is expected due to shortages of materials for solar wafers and module glass, affecting the solar industry for months to come. Kangping Chen, the CEO of the top solar module supplier in the world, JinkoSolar, stated that around 400-500MW of Q1 2020 shipments are likely to be postponed to Q2 2020. The 500 MW postponement is approximately 14% of JinkoSolar’s 3.6GW quarterly solar panels production last year. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) stated that “before the pandemic hit, the solar industry was poised to set a record for deployment in 2020,” with solar installers being America’s fastest growing profession. A new SEIA survey now suggests cancellation rates for residential solar systems in the US are now at 19%, with postponement rates hitting upwards of 50% in some areas.

Illinois adjusts on the fly to meet medical supply needs in a coronavirus ‘Wild West’ - The Chicago Sun Times details a story from about two weeks ago where Illinois officials tracked down a supply of 1.5 million potentially life-saving N95 respirator masks in China through a middleman in the Chicago area and negotiated a deal to buy them. One day before they were expecting to complete the purchase, they got a call in the morning from the supplier informing them he had to get a check to the bank by 2 p.m. that day, or the deal was off. Other bidders had surfaced. Realizing there was no way the supplier could get to Springfield and back by the deadline, Illinois assistant comptroller Ellen Andres jumped in her car and raced north on I-55 with a check for $3,469,600. That’s just a taste of the “Wild West” world of emergency procurement taking place over the past several weeks as the state fights for equipment and supplies to protect frontline workers and patients in the battle against COVID-19. Most of that work is being performed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration through a rapid-procurement strike team, pulling together procurement specialists from around state government under the auspices of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. As Pritzker has made clear at his daily briefings, it’s an effort made all the more difficult by the absence of a strong, coordinated White House response. That’s left Illinois competing against other states, foreign nations and even our own federal government for the same materials. They’re all looking for what we have come to know as PPE or personal protective equipment — masks, gloves, gowns and face shields — plus coronavirus testing kits and swabs and, most prized of all, ventilators to help those most seriously ill keep breathing.

SWABS, STAT! Inside the Maine factory racing to supply America with virus test swabs. - If you’ve ever used a home DNA kit, opened wide and said “ahh,” or measured the depth of a knife wound in a stabbing victim, chances are you’ve used a device made by Puritan Medical Products Co, says Bloomberg. And if you’re tested for Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, it’s quite likely that the swab used to collect a sample from inside your nose will have been made by Puritan, too. Located in Guilford, Maine (population 1,521), Puritan is one of two companies that make essentially all of the swabs used for coronavirus testing. (The other, Copan Diagnostics Inc., is in Italy, an epicenter of the deadly virus.)
(Cont’d) “Swabs could be a weak link in broadening testing,” former U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted on March 16. That was four days after Puritan first started getting calls from the U.S. government, according to Timothy Templet, executive vice president for global sales, who entered the conversations himself shortly thereafter. “I’ve been on the phone since Saturday with many government organizations—Health and Human Services, FDA, working groups—just trying to provide accurate information regarding the ability to produce as many swabs for the country as we possibly can,” he says. The federal government, however, doesn’t buy directly from Puritan. Instead it helps coordinate with Puritan and other medical suppliers and distributors to get the swabs where they need to go. “We are ramping up to produce and wrap a million swabs a week that we need to put into the supply chain across the U.S.,” Templet says. His problem? Not enough machines or labour to meet demand.

**In Pursuit of PPE (**Or if you prefer, “how I managed to buy some PPE on the American black market for my hospital”) - The New England Journal of Medicine is not something I often read (Actually I’ve never read it before in my life) but this article caught my eye: As a chief physician executive, I rarely get involved in my health system’s supply-chain activities. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed that. Protecting our caregivers is essential so that these talented professionals can safely provide compassionate care to our patients. Yet we continue to be stymied by a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), and the cavalry does not appear to be coming. Deals, some bizarre and convoluted, and many involving large sums of money, have dissolved at the last minute when we were outbid or outmuscled, sometimes by the federal government. Then we got lucky, but getting the supplies was not easy.
(Cont’d) A lead came from an acquaintance of a friend of a team member. After several hours of vetting, we grew confident of the broker’s professional pedigree and the potential to secure a large shipment of three-ply face masks and N95 respirators. The latter were KN95 respirators, N95s that were made in China. We received samples to confirm that they could be successfully fit-tested. Despite having cleared this hurdle, we remained concerned that the samples might not be representative of the bulk of the products that we would be buying. Having acquired the requisite funds — more than five times the amount we would normally pay for a similar shipment, but still less than what was being requested by other brokers — we set the plan in motion. Three members of the supply-chain team and a fit tester were flown to a small airport near an industrial warehouse in the mid-Atlantic region. I arrived by car to make the final call on whether to execute the deal. Two semi-trailer trucks, cleverly marked as food-service vehicles, met us at the warehouse. When fully loaded, the trucks would take two distinct routes back to Massachusetts to minimize the chances that their contents would be detained or redirected.
(Cont’d) Hours before our planned departure, we were told to expect only a quarter of our original order. We went anyway, since we desperately needed any supplies we could get. Upon arrival, we were jubilant to see pallets of KN95 respirators and face masks being unloaded. We opened several boxes, examined their contents, and hoped that this random sample would be representative of the entire shipment. Before we could send the funds by wire transfer, two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrived, showed their badges, and started questioning me. No, this shipment was not headed for resale or the black market. The agents checked my credentials, and I tried to convince them that the shipment of PPE was bound for hospitals. After receiving my assurances and hearing about our health system’s urgent needs, the agents let the boxes of equipment be released and loaded into the trucks. But I was soon shocked to learn that the Department of Homeland Security was still considering redirecting our PPE. Only some quick calls leading to intervention by our congressional representative prevented its seizure. I remained nervous and worried on the long drive back, feelings that did not abate until midnight, when I received the call that the PPE shipment was secured at our warehouse.

Supply chain news in brief








Good news section


Deserted Thai beaches lure rare turtles to build most nests in 20 years - Thailand has found the largest number of nests of rare leatherback sea turtles in two decades on beaches bereft of tourists because of the coronavirus pandemic, environmentalists say. In Thailand, with 2,765 infections and 47 deaths, travel curbs ranging from a ban on international flights to an appeal to citizens to stay home have brought a collapse in tourist numbers, but freed up the beaches for wildlife. The 11 turtle nests authorities have found since last November were the highest number in 20 years, said Kongkiat Kittiwatanawong, the director of the Phuket Marine Biological Center. “This is a very good sign for us because many areas for spawning have been destroyed by humans,” he told Reuters. No such nests had been found for the previous five years. Leatherbacks are the world’s largest sea turtles. They are considered endangered in Thailand, and listed as a vulnerable species globally by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They lay their eggs in dark and quiet areas, scarce when tourists thronged the beaches. People have also been known to dig into their nests and steal eggs. (link)

Minnesota trooper's roadside gesture during traffic stop brings doctor to tears - A state trooper pulled over a doctor for speeding on an east-central Minnesota interstate, told her she should know better and sent her on her way grateful for receiving only a warning and not a ticket. The trooper also gave her a fistful of coveted N95 medical masks that were issued for his protection from the deadly coronavirus pandemic. “I burst into tears,” Dr. Sarosh Ashraf Janjua, a Boston native and cardiologist, wrote in a detailed Facebook account of the traffic stop on March 21 along Interstate 35 in North Branch as she traveled from work in Duluth for a break in Minneapolis. “I think he teared up a little as well before wishing me well and walking away.” Janjua also saw the masks handed to her as having value beyond their role in stemming the virus’ spread. “This complete stranger, who owed me nothing and is more on the front lines than I am, shared his precious masks with me, without my even asking,” she wrote. “The veil of civilization may be thin, but not all that lies behind it is savage. We are going to be OK.” (Star Tribune link)
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Fiber Internet DIY pfSense - Fiber Transceiver & Switch Questions - SINGTEL ISP

Fiber Internet DIY pfSense - Fiber Transceiver & Switch Questions - SINGTEL ISP
This is a long read but it reflects the invested research time into setting up a home network upgrade to fiber internet service with the potential to upgrade to 10gbit service. The post is actually pasted from my document I am working on to share the journey and instructions with others. It also reflects the days of reading that were dedicated to this before asking the questions at the end of the post.
If any additional advice or questions are warranted - I greatly look forward to the dialogue.

Introduction

I have recently moved to Singapore with my family and will be here for the next three years. After settling into our new home, we started to implement some creature comforts such as internet because our cell phone data plans were becoming troublesome due to data limits with pre-paid SIM cards. We opted to do business with Singtel and acquired cell phone plans in addition to an internet and home phone plan. Regarding our internet plan, Singtel provided the standard of what most internet service providers (ISPs) lease to customers in the United States. Most technical folks will find the hardware and software lacking and will desire to upgrade this equipment after cursory investigation.
After researching some of the articles available from Singtel regarding fiber internet options, I concluded to investigate further outside of their site. There have been some forum posts dating as far back as 2010 but nothing truly comprehensive or concrete in the past three years. My first Google Search displayed nearly nothing which I was looking for and ultimately led to a deep dive about fiber internet technology.

Hardware & Software to Run It All

There are countless articles written on a variety of off the shelf equipment and software to utilize for home networking needs. In the beginning of my network tinkering in the late 1990s, I was investing into Linksys Wireless Routers that allowed for flashing custom firmware. DD-WRT and Open-WRT would become the tipping point to my dabbling and passion for network configuration and research. Nowadays I have been running pfSense since roughly 2003 and have only done vague investigations into custom firmware due to the hardware pfSense can run on. For the sake of this research revolving around gigabit fiber, my goal was to build a device that could facilitate small to medium businesses to future proof the device.

Network Router + Firewall

The website “The Geek Pub” has a great article, “The Best pfSense Hardware for Businesses” which I reviewed. Based upon the very first recommendation, the goal is to run the SuperMicro SuperServer E300-8D server. The equipment has two SFP+ Ports allowing for up to 10G each. The goal would be to connect the incoming fiber from the ISP to one port, and the other to a 10G Base-T Ethernet Switch.

Network Switches

The goal would be to future proof for the long-term. I see the options being potentially the NETGEAR 10-Port Multi-Gigabit/10G Smart Managed Pro PoE Switch (MS510TXPP) or the NETGEAR 8-Port 10G Ethernet Smart Managed Plus Switch (XS708E). The latter being significantly future proof but lacking the PoE that I use for other equipment. (Power-over-Ethernet [PoE] Wireless Access Points [WAP]) The WAP do not require anything over a gigabit – so I would be wasting a port on the 10Gig switch – which is why I plan to keep the other 1-gigabit PoE Switch in service.

Fiber Internet Starting Point

I cannot recall how I landed at Tutorials Point’s article, FTTH – Quick Guide, but I am thankful that I somehow reached it! The article starts with the most basic concepts of Fiber to the Home (FTTH) and what optical fiber technology entails. I have no affiliation with the site but if you are interested in supporting them for this article, they sell the FTTH Tutorial as a PDF from their site. Additionally, if you plan to go over FTTH in depth, the FTTH Tutorial is the comprehensive review on the site.
For the sake of preparing to upgrade your home equipment for fiber internet, I highly recommend reviewing the FTTH – Quick Guide from beginning to end. There will be sections describing how the technology works, terminology, comparing prior networking technologies, technology standards, etc. There were many new terms and acronyms that I learned along the way and would help my future Google Searches be more successful.

Popular and Regular Terms

Optical Access Network (OAN): The Optical Access Network is an access network towards the network side, it is also known as SNI (Service Network Interface). Up-link ports of OLT connects with L2 Switch Ring of access network. All other in-between components such as ODF/FDMS connected towards SNI comes under the Optical Access Network.
Optical Distribution Network (ODN): In a PON Technology towards downstream side, all passive components from the PON Port of OLT to the PON Port of ONT come under Optical Distribution Network. Normally, Splitter and ODF/FDMS come under this category.
Optical Line Termination (OLT): A Central Office (CO) equipment provides PON with the various network interfaces. One OLT serves multiple ONTs through PON Downstream transmission, i.e., from OLT to ONT is usually TDM. Upstream traffic, i.e., from ONT to OLT is usually TDMA. PON system may be either symmetrical or asymmetrical.
Optical Network Termination (ONT)/ Optical Network Unit (ONU): An Optical Network Termination is a Customer Premises Equipment that provides user interfaces to the customer.
Physical Reach: The maximum physical distance for a transmission system. ‘Physical reach’ is the maximum physical distance between the ONU/ONT and the OLT. In GPON, two options for the physical reach: 10 km and 20 km.
Bit Rate: GPON aims at transmission speeds greater than or equal to 1.2 Gbps. Accordingly, GPON identifies two transmission speed combinations as follows −
· 1.2 Gbps up, 2.4 Gbps down
· 2.4 Gbps up, 2.4 Gbps down
The most important bit rate is 1.2 Gbps upstream and 2.4 Gbps downstream, constituting nearly all the deployed and planned deployment of the GPON systems.
Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Networks (GPON): A way of providing FTTH through a Gigabit Passive Optical Network, or GPON. GPON is a point-to-multipoint access network. Its main characteristic is the use of passive splitters in the fiber distribution network, enabling one single feeding fiber from the provider to serve multiple homes and small businesses. GPON has a downstream capacity of 2.488 Gb/s and an upstream capacity of 1.244 Gbp/s shared among users. Encryption is used to keep each user’s data secured and private from other users. Although there are other technologies that could provide fiber to the home, passive optical networks (PONs) like GPON are generally considered the strongest candidate for widespread deployments.
Ten-Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Network (XG-PON): The “X” in XG is based from the Roman Numeral X or 10. After GPON development, FSAAN and ITU-T started working on Next-Generation Passive Optical Network 1 (NG-PON1) with the following features:
· Low cost product
· Large Capacity
· Wide Coverage
· Backward compatibility
NG-PONs are divided into two phases by FSAN based on the current application demand and technology
· NG PON1 − NGPON1 is backward compatible with legacy GPON ODNs. NG-PON1 has an asymmetric 10G system with 10G downstream/download and 2.5G upstream/upload speed. This NG-PON1 is enhanced TDM PON system from GPON.
· NG PON2 – to be defined later
The main feature of NG-PON1 is to provide higher bandwidth than GPON as the same time. It should be backward compatible with the existing GPON network, which will reduce the operator’s cost. This NG-PON defined by the FSAN and ITU-T is known as XG-PON1.
FSAN and ITU-T has defined the following data rates for XG-PON1:
· Downstream Data Rate − 10G
· Upstream Data Rate − 2.5G
Upstream data rate of 2.5G is twice the upstream data rate of GPON. Apart from all elements of GPON, ODN (optical distribution network) can be reused in XG-PON1 network.
By adding only 10G downstream card in the existing GPON OLT, the GPON enhanced to XG-PON1.

Singtel & FTTH Research

After getting a better understanding of what FTTH is, I opted to review the Singtel site again to determine if I could discover any hardware insights from their equipment. My Google Search for specifically Singapore + Singtel + pfSense resulted in nothing of value and decided to navigate to the Singtel site and visit the FAQ and Support Pages.

Singtel Support Page

I decided to see if I could find any information from the Singtel Support Page and determine the model number of Optical Network Termination (ONT) (Terminals on their site). They had broken down the sections by equipment types. Those listed were Router Guides, Optical Network Terminals (ONT) LED Troubleshooting, and OPTICAL NETWORK Router (ONR) LED TROUBLESHOOTING. (Not sure what happened regarding CAPS LOCK for the final section on the site) The ONT Section caught my eye initially but ultimately did not display any of the equipment models nor imagery of the equipment aside of the front LEDs display. The only crumb of information I had was in the ONR section which clearly indicated the equipment Make and Model as “Huawei HG8224H ONR.”

Investing Extra Time with Google

Since the Singtel Support Page did not specifically provide models for their equipment I had to do manuals searches and find the information I was looking for through a combination of Google Images and external vendor support pages. I was eventually able to find the information below regarding the equipment.

Singtel ONT Models

· ALU ONT = Alcatel-Lucent (Nokia) G-240G-C (GPON ITU-T G.984.3, G.988)
· Ericsson ONT = Ericsson T063G (GPON ITU-T G.984. 1-5)
· ZTE ONT = ZTE ZXA10 F620G (GPON ITU-T G.984. 1-4, G.983.1, G.983.3)
What was also discovered by looking at all these models was the standards at which they operated for Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON). This made me pay more attention to the standards provided by the ITU and I wanted to review what was available from a high level review to determine if there would be any concerns regarding the type of optical module acquired. What consistently showed across all three devices was the ITU-T G.984.x standards which I then investigated further on the ITU site. I started with the first iteration at G.984.1 and reviewed the free PDF provided by their site. The table of contents then provided me the standards which to pay the most attention to.

https://preview.redd.it/hdjedzl3ttz41.png?width=1214&format=png&auto=webp&s=cb4948b5f03d86bb4eeeaa3bcec877cdf3530a43
Figure 1. Standards Information for ITU-T regarding Digital Line Systems
I then took to the individual Singtel ONT devices GPON Standards and the ITU Standards page again to capture all the information regarding G.980-G.989 that was relevant to those specific models for my investigation which I have highlighted in the following list below.

https://preview.redd.it/0ahezl15ttz41.png?width=1070&format=png&auto=webp&s=138b8824e2cbb1fd8c0452ac81cd4ee58b2df6e5
Figure 2. List of applicable ITU Standards for Singtel ONT equipment

Huawei Investigation

The Singtel site may have succeeding in getting me the best piece of information I had found so far but further investigation on the Huawei site was the next step. My Google Search for Huawei was able to provide me immediately with the Huawei Support page for the EchoLife HG8244H equipment but any information on the site was behind a paywall. I attempted to access the information via SMS Verification but did not work from my mobile phone. Once that effort resulted in no additional access to the support materials, I moved on to other Google Search results.

Manuals Lib – The Ultimate Manuals Library

Once again, the various pages and searches I was running simultaneously led me to this discovery and sadly how is what I cannot recall. The manual for the “EchoLife” device and its various iterations was now available to me, and more specifically the Physical Specifications and Protocols and Standards.

Investigating the Optical Options

Based upon the information from the EchoLife equipment manual, the specifications for the Protocols and Standards supported the additional research on the Singtel ONT equipment and would grant the ability to finally start a Google Search that would help shopping for a fiber transceiver.
This topic provides the protocols and standards which the ports of the ONT comply with.
· GPON: ITU-T G.984
· VoIP: H.248, SIP, G.711A/u, G.729a/b, and T.38
· Multicast: IGMPv2, IGMPv3, and IGMP snooping
· Routing: NAT, NAPT, and ALG
· Ethernet: IEEE 802.3ab
· USB: USB 1.1/USB 2.0
· Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11n
Table 1. Protocols and Standards for the EchoLife ONR Model provided by Singtel.
A simple Google Search brings you conveniently to the standards page with the first hit! Once on the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) site, I modified the URL to take me to the various standards to read more into each highlighted in Figures 1 & 2.

What type of Transceiver?

Now that there was a multitude of devices that had similar specifications in their manuals, the next step was to start doing a Google Search that asked the question, “What type of fiber module is required for fiber internet GPON?” One of the results that captured my attention was the question of “SFPs: B+ and C+ - What’s the Difference.” The SFP B+ specification was within one of the Singtel ONT devices’ manual. (The T063G Network Interface description to be exact)

Conclusion and Request for Support

This is where my efforts have come to a head and I am coming to a much larger community for input and advice. I hope that with what is shared I can make this into a post which many others can benefit from as a starting point – which will then be supplemented with a much more involved “How-To” including QoS, VLAN, configuration, some before and after pictures, etc.

The Intended End-State

· Measure twice, cut once. I have done all this research with the intent to have the equipment be suitable for the near and far future. (10Gbit fiber / copper internet)
o Am I right for believing XG-PON / NG-PON1 are to be compatible with GPON due to the ITU standard indicating backwards compatibility?
· Affordability / Compatibility. Since this device will be a FreeBSD – pfSense build, the drivers for any transceiver would need to be compatible with this OS and server chassis
· Recommendation(s) for transceivers between SuperMicro Server and 10gbit switch?
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Dear Future Dental Students

EDIT (May 18, 2020): Added some more content.
Know who you are and understand your why. These will be the first and most important steps in becoming a dentist in the future. It will also be a constant reminder of your motivation for the difficult years to come.
Albeit the lifestyle of being the owner of the clinic, leader of the dental team, dictator of your own work hours is a great reason to be interested in the career, this reason alone will only get you so far. There are so many other careers that have a similar lifestyle that requires less schooling. If it’s because of the prestige or because you have been told to become a dentist from family and friends, you will fail yourself. The journey is long and difficult, their desires alone will not help you surpass the mental fatigue that you will have to endure.
That being said, if you’re looking for a career that allows you to own a business and dictate your own hours, having the business being dental- or health-related, your options are more numerous than dentistry. Look into becoming lab technician (dental or medical), dental hygienist, denturist, or dental therapist. Yes, the money you earn won’t be the same as a dentist if you plan to work for someone else but as far as money made as a business owner, the sky is the limit. Speaking from experience, an average salary for a technician may be between $40,000 to - 50,000 but the business can bring in over twice or thrice that in profit (yes, after expenses) with time. Just a word of caution though, owning a business carries it own risks. Just like a dentist who opens their own clinic or buys out a clinic, you also have the chance of misfortune too. These risks affect everyone.
Know your why. It will be part of your personal statement. It will help you tie up why you volunteered where you did, why you participated in certain events, why you believe dentistry is right for you, and why you may be the unique candidate that fits well with their dental school family.
Understand what it means to become a dentist. It's not simply drill, fill, and bill nor is it just cleaning teeth.
Personally, I would recommend shadowing experience once as a high school student and once more as an undergraduate student. Ask your general dentist if you could observe their dental team. As a high school student, I would recommend that you shadow the dentist for a full work week during the summer break. As an undergraduate student I would advise you to shadow the entire team for a full ~40 hour work week. It is your job when shadowing as a high school student to determine if this is the sort of job and work you are interested in. Ask a lot of questions pertaining to the duties and lifestyle of a dentist. As an undergraduate student, you should have a better understanding of what dentistry is really all about. While shadowing, do not sit in a corner and observe. You are losing precious hours of shadowing experience unable to see the intricacies of handling the scaler or drill, unable to see how the dental team cooperates in the operatory, unable to visualize the difficulties a dentist may face while operating in the oral cavity. Make mental notes of relevant questions and ask the doctor in between patients, not in front of them unless the doctor is already addressing it or welcomes it. Convey your interests and ask questions you may have. As a high school student or undergraduate student, you need to build this professional relationship. This could be the source of one of your future letters of recommendation. It would also be wise to document this experience and the number of hours as it will play a role in your future application to dental school.
Know where you want to be, what is needed of you, and how you are going to get there. You should understand the application process like the back of your hand. You should know what is required of you by the start of your first year of undergraduate studies.
Know what you are required to have completed by the end of your undergraduate studies. Understand the conditions that you must meet: full-time student status, GPA cut-offs, completion of specific courses, required DAT components (such as the manual dexterity test), DAT score cut-offs, completion of a 3 or 4 year undergraduate degree (or not), how many letter of recommendations and from whom, shadowing experiences (number of hours), citizenship, etc. The list varies across dental schools. It would be a good idea for you to figure out where you want to go and compile the list of requirements such that it will not come as a surprise when you do apply. Use Google and figure this stuff out or join your school's pre-dental student club if one exists. Listen to dentistry-oriented podcasts or watch Youtube videos posted by dental students or read their blogs. The information is out there and very plentiful.
If you are seeking current dental students or dentists to inquire about the DAT exam, about how to get into dental school, how to apply, or any of these sorts of questions you are wasting their time and embarrassing yourself. These questions can be answered with simple google searches, do it yourself. If you require clarification, contact the organizations directly and obtain the information from the horse's mouth. Ask the dental students about dental school and dentists about the work field/industry. Ask about things that are not so readily available online. Ask about the cool things you heard, watched, read about dentistry online that is recent. For some, it was the potential rise and takeover of corporate dentistry, for others it was the integration of CAD/CAM and its impact on clinical dentistry. Perhaps the impact of COVID-19 and its future implications will be what you want to know more about. Stay with the times in the field. This will additionally benefit you when it comes to the interview process of dental school applications.
Know when. Understand your means and live within them. Dentistry is not right for everyone at any time in their life. Understand your (and your family's) financial capabilities. Understand what GPA and DAT scores you realistically need to matriculate into dental school. Compare your capabilities with the current class profile (projected cost of attendance, dental school class profiles with GPA/DAT score ranges and averages are provided by most schools online). Dentistry may not be right for you this year, perhaps not the next. But eventually.
GPA As I mentioned earlier, check the schools’ class profile/admissions statistics. Most schools publish these numbers on their website. It will give you the best picture of what your chances are like. Understand that most schools provide an ‘average’ and not a ‘range’. This means they admit people with both lower and higher GPAs than the one they state. The closer you are to this average, the better (obviously). The higher your GPA is, the more ‘wiggle room’ you have for any deficiencies you have in the rest of your application.
Double major? Double minor? Honors degree? Personally, I would pick the program/degree that would allow me to do my absolute best. The program that allows me to take courses I am most interested in generally sets me up to do well. I am interested, engaged, and not burning out.
You do not necessarily have to take a science-related undergraduate program. Non-traditional applicants do exist. Just make sure you completed the required courses.
Letters of Recommendation Generally, you would want two letters from science professors (who have taught you lecture-based courses) and one from a dentist. Just a recommendation, not a requirement. Schools have been known to accept or require a letter from the leader of your religious community. This also depends on the school(s) you are interested in applying to.
How do I approach this? Ask your science professors ahead of time (beginning of the semester that the course is in). If they are comfortable, they will provide you with conditions in which they will be willing to write you the letter. Determine if your interaction (or lack of) in class is adequate for them to judge you as a dental school candidate. If it’s a very large class and it lacks any discussion, it might be a good idea to attend office hours regularly and ask good questions. It provides opportunity for them to get to know you as a person and as a student. If you have developed a good relationship with your professor already, just ask them if they are willing to write you a letter. Your professors are there to help you attain success academically. Most of them actually care and want you to succeed and are willing to write you a letter as long as you aren’t being a pain in the buttocks about it. Treat them with respect. Update them as the application cycle progresses. Celebrate with them (via e-mail if you must) and keep them in mind in the future years. They helped you, remember this well.
AADSAS has instructions on how your referees can submit their letters. You will not be able to view these letters. Be aware, some individuals will ask you to ghost-write for them. At which point, you can: refuse, provide bullet points that you wish to highlight, or just write it. But, yes, ethics. Your call. Many before you have had to make the decision, I am sure you will find one that best suits your morals or writing ability. At the end of the day, you won’t know for certain what is submitted (unless they are literally showing you and submitting it thereafter, I suppose).
Shadowing Experience I mentioned it earlier. Some schools require a certain number of shadowing hours. Make sure you are shadowing a dentist. Shadowing auxiliary dental positions will help you understand the field better but the hours schools generally ask for are from a licensed dentist.
How do I find a dentist to shadow? Just drop by and ask in person or send an e-mail. The dental team will get back to you (or not, this can also happen). You may be rejected by some, don’t be discouraged. Some dentists will reject you out of conflict of interest as they may be a part of the admissions committee for a school. This is also not uncommon if you are seeking shadowing opportunities near a college/university town/city.
But COVID-19, I can’t shadow. Well, there are opportunities. You just have to be patient and tactful. Here’s a post you can follow up on: https://www.reddit.com/DentalSchool/comments/gjmpnj/virtual_shadowing_mentorship_and_volunteering/
Volunteering
Plenty of opportunities in your local community. Just look for it. I won’t be diving too deep into this. Generally, you can use volunteering to show you are well-rounded individual. You can also use it to show commitment (many hours over long durations of time). Just keep in mind that the volunteer experience’s description isn’t the only thing that matters. It would also be beneficial to add that some applicants are accepted with few volunteering opportunities and some are accepted with extraordinary number of volunteer hours with quite numerous organizations. Some even started their own organization. Just keep track of your hours and keep your superior’s contact information handy for your application.
DAT Exam Preparation Know which DAT exam you are going to take and scour the internet for reviews on DAT preparation resources. The Canadian and American DAT are different and contain different components, do your research well.
Everyone has their own opinion of which resource is the best. The truth is, each of them offer the same thing: first- and second-year undergraduate level knowledge of biology and chemistry.
Let’s face it. This knowledge hardly changes. What you need to determine is how they differ and which difference will propagate your success. For some, this means sitting in a classroom with an instructor. For others, it is at their own convenience on a phone app or whenever they have time to access the materials on a laptop. Perhaps you require more help in a specific area such as the perceptual ability test or reading comprehension. Just take any free material these different resource companies offer and determine if their premium material will be worthwhile or not based on how much the free stuff helped. Ultimately, the actual DAT exam is straight-forward and the depth of the scientific knowledge necessary is still basic. You’ll see what I mean when you dive into the material or take your first mock-DAT.
I have access to preparation material from 2010, do I need more recent material? Science at the level tested on the DAT hasn’t changed much. Look into whether the exam itself has changed between those years. Ultimately, you’re investing into your future. Allocate the necessary financial resources as you see fit. If you’re smart enough to become a dentist, you’ll be smart enough to decide whether the cost outweighs the risk.
Price is just too high? Look online for coupons and do your research on when they hold their sales. Your local pre-dental club may also have their own promotional code for a huge range of DAT preparation resources. These companies will also provide vloggers, bloggers, and podcast hosts promotional codes for sponsored content. Look out for them. They are everywhere, you just need to spend a little bit more time searching.
Score to aim for? Check the class profiles. Generally, you’ll see between an average DAT admission scores between 20-22 depending on the subject. The higher you can score, the better. I personally got 21 in every category except general chemistry, where I got a 19 (Canadian DAT, no manual dexterity test).
What did I personally use? Do I recommend it? I used Bootcamp but I would not recommend it over other resources. But if this is your choice, I advise you to cut your DAT Bootcamp cost by using their free resource before you buy their subscription. Here’s a link if you’re lazy: https://www.notion.so/DAT-Bootcamp-Bio-Academy-c9625820803548d698a9b47c5dd35fa4. I also caution you that Mike’s General Chemistry videos were very basic and not helpful (in my opinion). I regret not checking out Chad’s videos. The reason I decided to use Bootcamp was because of their PAT generators. Everything else they provided (other than the mock exams and biology notes) were not helpful (excluding non-Canadian DAT subjects because I did not need to know it). Nevertheless, I got a good enough score to get in with less than a month of studying.
How I studied? I took it a day at a time and tried my best to complete one or two chapters (or sub-chapter in the case of physiology topics) a day. If I skipped a day, I made sure I made up for it in the following day. With less than a month to study, I used that ‘one a day’ minimum rule to make sure I went through all of the material at least once before my exam.
Final advice? Do not do a full mock-DAT the morning of your actual DAT exam. You’re probably nervous/anxious af but trust me, it was the worst thing I ever did to myself. I was completely burnt out after the first section of my actual Canadian DAT exam. Eat breakfast and keep food and water with you for your breaks. Eat food that you’re used to such that it doesn’t make your stomach churn in the middle of the exam. If you’re falling asleep between sections, do some jumping jacks or push-ups. Wear layers so you can achieve the right body temperature and comfort during your exam. The building may or may not have air conditioning or adequate heating. You ‘could’ appeal these conditions but you’re risking your future over something you could have controlled yourself.
General Dental School Applications Do your research. Know where you can financially afford to go and compile the list of requirements as I previously spoke about. Each school has their own unique set of requirements. Make sure you meet these requirements. Moreover, make sure that the school is accredited and have had no recent issues with maintaining its accreditation. Statistically, the more schools you apply to, the more chances you have of being accepted, but the more expensive it will become. Some admissions committees may ask you how many other schools you applied to, which ones, and why. This is not atypical. Be aware of this.
How many should I apply to? It depends on you and your situation. Only you can really give the best answer. Personally, I worked before going back to undergrad and had enough money to go wide in terms of number of schools I applied to. I filtered every school based on what I believed was the weakest part of my application, which was my GPA. I decided I would take the statistical approach – the more shots I take the more chances I would have. I knew I could afford this because I saved for it. I strategized. I knew mentally, I kept comparing myself to my friends from my first university who had finished their degrees and got their desired jobs. For me, the mental exhaustion from the need to re-apply year after year outweighed the cost of applying to more numerous schools.
What I should look into other than class profile/admissions statistics? Since all accredited programs will provide you with adequate education for licensing exams, look into things such as cost of living and how this affects other parts of your life (family, friends, significant other(s), source of income, etc).
Know that you will be required to order and send your official transcripts directly from your undergrad institution(s) and DAT score from the Canadian Dental Association (in my case). You will be asked to provide contact information of people who can attest to your community involvement experiences and any other extracurricular you claimed to have been involved in on your application. Be honest about it or the admissions committee will weed you out during the interview process for lying or over-exaggerating your claims. Know that your DAT scores must be submitted before your application will be looked at. There will be administrative fees for submitting your application(s) from both the third-party website (such as ADEA AADSAS) and the institution (dental school) themselves – yes, two fees.
Secondary/Supplementary School Applications follow the submission of your general application. This second application will come with the fee I described in the earlier section as well as contain a few essay questions with characteword limits. It is advised that you write these on an external document and have them proof-read by someone you trust before you submit them. It will improve your writing drastically. It would also be extremely helpful if they help you from the perspective of looking for any flaw to disqualify you as a potential candidate because I assure you that the competition is tough and that the admissions committee is looking for easy ways to eliminate as many candidates as possible to focus on the strongest of candidates.
Remember! Your application is incomplete and will not be looked at by the admission committee if ‘any’ component is missing. This will be especially important to note for anyone taking the Canadian DAT on that one day in November or February since interviews begin in September. Take into consideration of the time it will take for the Canadian Dental Association to mark the tests and submit the results via physical mail. For November exams, it could be around Christmas when it is finally marked and closer to February by the time dental schools obtain them. Interviews last up until the end of February but the later you interview, the fewer seats there are to interview for. This is especially disadvantageous for those who feel less competitive. You may be on the lower end of competitiveness (in how admissions committee scores you) and potentially get a chance to impress at the interview in the early applicant pool and may have even been offered a seat. If you were to wait until the late applicant pool arrives, you may fall even lower in the rankings and not even be invited for an interview let alone offered a seat for the upcoming year. Apply as early as possible! But do not be discouraged if you are late, it is still possible to be waitlisted or offered a seat.
Some secondary applications will ask you for a professional headshot. I was advised by a friend to use a limestone wall as a background as a professional photographer had advised him the year before I applied. Hopefully it works for you. At least wear something with a collar and show that you can be professional and dress accordingly.
Interviews At some point you will have to physically meet people from the admission committee in person and be interviewed. The structure will be important to understand as it will help you determine what information you need to adequately communicate within the short time period you have been provided. Know your application inside out, I mean it is your life and the cumulation of what you have done and what you believe up to this point in your life, should be easy to talk about.
Before you are even invited to an interview, it would be a fantastic idea to be prepared ahead of time. Your school will undoubtedly have a “student success center” (focused on helping graduates find success in obtaining a career), which will have interview practice sessions (and potentially sessions to help you improve your application). Use all of the resources you have available to you!
If you want to know what kind of questions you will get, check the Student Doctor Network (SDN) forum. They compile past dental applicant reviews of each school and the questions they were asked. No, you are not asked to sign a non-disclosure form. The information there is fair game and legal. Being able to answer the ‘types’ of questions from the institution that invited you for an interview will be a huge advantage in your preparation.
Research the school, their missions, values, outreach endeavors, renowned scientific research, specialties offered, etc. If the school values service or research, learn about them. If any of them interests you, make a mental note of it. It may come up as a question somehow on interview day. You know everyone else is bringing their “A-game”, why not bring yours, right? Personally, I know on my interview day, everyone spoke about how awesome their outreach efforts were, but no one spoke about the fantastic research that the school was known for. I think I scored some brownie points there. Everything helps. It is a competition at the end of the day.
Closed filed interviews? These people do not know anything about you. You will have to convey the best things about you during the interview and pique their interest for the most optimal results. Open file interview? They know everything written on your application. Try to give them something that is not already on there. In both cases, if there are things you could not include in your general or supplementary application, it would be wise to somehow incorporate them into your answers in this stage of the application process. Be creative but do not throw these experiences in as a shameless plug. It should come in organically. Some interviewers are very laid back and will simply have a conversation with you. Others will stick to a list of specific questions provided by the admissions committee. It’s a lottery as to which interviewer you will get. Make the most of it regardless of which end of the stick you receive.
Question period. You will have time to ask any question of your choice at the end of your interview. It might be wise to pay attention to your interviewer’s introduction and cater the question such that it is relevant to them, their field, or profession. Not everyone on the admissions committee owns a private practice, some are your future instructors, some are retired dentists who have an interest in what the future of dentistry will look like. If you are stuck on basic questions in your interview preparations, start listening to some dentistry podcasts where they often explore the ‘latest trends’ or ‘controversy’ in the field of dentistry.
Final advice for your interview? 1) “Suit up!” -Barney Stinson (and like anyone else in the world if they knew you were planning to go with a t-shirt and jeans) 2) Your interview begins the moment you arrive in the state/province/country. You NEVER know who you will run into and who they know or are affiliated with. Be professional. Even to your ubelyft/taxi driver. It’s a small world and any criticism that gets to the admissions committee will just be another factor used against you. 3) DO NOT FORGET YOUR INTERVIEWER’S NAME(S). If it is an atypical name or too long to remember, ask them to spell it for you. Whatever method works best for you. Bring a pen with you if you must. You’ll be provided an information package anyway and will have plenty of places to jot down a name or two. 4) Make sure your meals leading up to the interview is typical and will not upset your stomach. Avoid overeating. Some interviews will provide an information session followed by lunch before your actual interview. Be a normal person and have a small bite to eat. Pack a brush and floss (if you can) to freshen up after the meal before your interview. Avoid carbonated drinks or coffee if you can – burping and being jittery during your interview may be a big disadvantage despite how much these beverages helped you in getting to this point in your life. 5) Schedule your flight in/out of the state/province/country several hours or a day after your interview’s scheduled end to leave room for any socials/networking opportunities that you are presented with. Thank your admissions committee for their time and effort. If anyone stood out, mention them explicitly in the e-mail by name (or not at all). 6) If you suck at talking to new people, practice your interview questions aloud. It will train you to speak reflexively on specific topics. It definitely helped a lot of my answers roll off my tongue in a coherent manner.
No Offer of Admission It sucks. Take some time for yourself and get back on the grind soon. There are many things you can do to improve your chances for the next cycle: employment (preferably in a dental-related field), volunteer, research, post-baccalaureate programs, improve general application question responses, supplementary application responses, or on interview skills. If the admissions committee is able to provide you with feedback on your application, request it and learn from it. If not, ask a friend who got in. Ask the dentist you shadowed, family, or significant other. It will be beneficial to have different perspective of your application as it can help you figure out what your deficiencies were. Generally, if someone is invited to the interview stage, I personally say it is not a matter of ‘if’ they will get in but ‘when’. Admissions committees have generally been confident about candidates who make it to the interview stage being good enough on paper to become a dental student. So if this is you, consider improving interview skills.You will hear tales of people making it on their 6th application cycle. Yes, there are people who have applied for 5+ years straight. Do not be discouraged.
Offer of Admission Congratulations! Really. You did it. Now what? Go through the matriculation checklist. Attend the information webinars, etc. All of the things you probably did as a freshman for undergrad.
Consider your options. Know what the financial costs are and what other variables are affected if you choose to attend that specific school. All accredited dental schools will prepare you for the licensing exam in their respective country. Must you go there when there is a cheaper option? Do you plan to specialize? Will a pass/fail grading system affect your chances of specializing? Are the facilities adequate or do you have to struggle use the facilities over the four years? Are you ok with using these facilities for four years for the price point? Do you have a significant other? Have you spoken about long distance relationships or your future together and how dental school will affect these plans? Figure this stuff out.
Don’t be hasty with your decision but don’t be a dick and wait until the absolute final day to accept your offer. Many people are in the same boat as you and they are trying to wait for their dream school or just ANY school. The longer you take, the longer they and those after them remain on the wait list. Can you imagine the mental burden they’re experiencing? Of course, you probably had the same feeling up until you got your offer. So, if you know with certainty you want to attend a specific school and have considered everything else, just accept the offer damn it.
Thank those who have helped you get to this point. Yes, family and friends, your significant other, your kids, those who wrote your letter of recommendations, the dentist who you shadowed, the whole shabang.
This is it. This is basically all I intended to cover. Just remember to be the best dentist that you can be and not compare yourself to others too much. A little can encourage competitiveness but too much can be detrimental to your health and performance. Make friends, have a great time in dental school and make memories.
Imposter Syndrome (Feel like a fraud?) the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.
No one speaks about this enough. It affects everyone but is often more severe in URMs. You are of the 0.01% in the world that made it into dental school and will soon join the field of dentistry as a dentist. If you got to this point, you deserved it. The admissions committees are seasoned veterans who have dedicated decades of their careers to this careful selection process. It is extremely unlikely for anyone to have made it to this point by chance. Offers of acceptance made in error (due to technical problems or what not) are typically resolved very shortly after. You should not worry about that at this point.
Find people who you can rely on for mental and emotional support. You will want them in the future as they can remind you that you are capable and can succeed. Dentistry is a demanding field, and everyone will feel like an imposter at some point in their student life, let alone in the actual workplace. It is likely that your classmates also feel imposter syndrome but do not speak about it. This does not mean you are the only person who believes they do not belong here and that the admissions committee will soon figure you out. It is important to be able to speak to your classmates and your loved ones about these insecurities. If you are still unconvinced, you could probably just directly speak to the admissions committee. I am sure they will set you right if you’ve become that desperate for proof. You wouldn’t be the first and you won’t be the last to do it.
Many geniuses have even experienced imposter syndrome. It’s not exclusive to only you. Though many people feel this, they do not necessarily know the name for it. But now that you do, you can do extra research on the topic to help you feel more at ease.
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