The Secret World newsletter

The excellent first edition of Matthew Braga's new Secret World newsletter looks at exactly who you're calling when you use a satellite phone or Garmin emergency beacon to call for help:

It turns out that, anytime someone calls 911 on a satellite phone, or presses the SOS button on a dedicated GPS tracker — anywhere in the world — those messages typically go to one place: The International Emergency Response Coordination Center, or IERCC, about an hour outside of Houston, Texas. The center has coordinated more than 10,000 rescues in 169 countries, and responds to anywhere from 30 to 60 requests each day. Whether you're a hermit in the Scottish highlands in medical distress, or a kayaker in eastern Tajikistan with altitude sickness (true stories) the IERCC is your point of first contact. Every hour, every day of the year, a rotating team of six watchstanders determine the closest available search and rescue team and coordinate the response.

The IERCC headquarters includes what sounds like a real-life vault from Fallout:

The entrances were hidden within a pair of massive pagodas, with gunports for the armed guards to shoot at whoever who came near.

Read the rest of the newsletter here, including a description of drone warfare involving tractor beams.