April 2006 Archives

Sunday, April 30, 2006

After Passover the weather in Israel always turns hot and clear. Perfect weather to save money.
American hot water heating is always on and is always wasting electricity or gas.
Passive solar is cheap and simple plus it can be supplemented with electrical on cold days.
It is law that every home have a passive solar water heater so I get to see the design on every house,
being in the West Bank I also see that the Arab homes and mansions will always have at least one dud shemesh (sun water heater)
If a commercial model is too expensive the construction would be simple and cheap: The collector is about 1.5M x..75M x 7-to-8cm deep panel placed at the lowest south facing part of the roof. Hoses carry the water up to the "dud" or tank which is as high as possible on the roof Israeli tanks are insulated, cheaper Arab models are simple black plastic tanks on stilts. Convection carries colder water from the bottom of the tank into the collector and hot water rises to the upper intake on the tank. On cold winter days we set the timer to run the immersion heater built in to the tank as on days near freezing the heater barely produces luke-warm water.
A wood framed glass paned collector with Black painted PVC pipe would likely make a great collector and a plastic barrel would probably make a good tank with a little Bondo work, similar to the Arab heaters.
Insulating the tank would make for warm water in the early morning. If a tank were suspended above the chimney it might be able to grab a few more precious BTUs from the hot gasses during the winter, get creative and let us know. Israeli water heaters will run near boiling. It is possibly easier to heat and insulate a small amount of very hot water than large tanks of less hot water.

On a related note: Your body also a solar collector. Avoid heat related injury. Remember that as hot weather approaches to keep hydrated!! If your urine is not clear and colorless you do not have a sufficient internal water storage and you are storing up toxins that your body wants to eliminate. Make a pre-hydrated body part of your survival kit!
You should always have at least a liter of water in your hand in your pack or next to you even when you are inside.


In response to Rosy the Bull, I have to say I'm not so pessimistic. I heard similar dire warnings about how the US economy would collapse at $3 a gallon gas, and it didn't happen. A great many countries in Europe and Asia, with smaller economies than ours, are paying over $6 a gallon now, which as a percentage of per capita income is five to ten times what we're paying.
As to the comments on nuclear attacks, those are inaccurate. Depleted Uranium is barely radioactive, and its danger is as a colloidal heavy metal toxin. The dangerous radionuclides from nuclear blasts are dangerous because of their short half life. It takes days for most to reach safe levels, months for a few. Even most of the area around Chernobyl is now repopulated, and that was a far more toxic contamination than most nuclear weapons. (The Ukraine insists it's not safe, despite people living there and GUIDED TOURS, because they get aid money from fuzzy-minded anti-nuke types.) Almost all nuclear weapons these days are designed for efficiency, and the "dumb" ones are still a triple stage fission trigger with a tritium squirt to generate enough extra neutrons for the remaining fissionables to be as thoroughly used as possible. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were 1.4% and 14% energy efficient. Modern fusion boosted weapons are up to 40% efficient. It's normally the case that the radius of total destruction exceeds the radius of the radiation.
Even with crude weapons--there are people living at ground zero in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki today, and were there within a few months of the attacks. The fear of contamination lasting "lifetimes" is groundless.
While any disruption of oil will affect the world market, whether or not we get oil from Iran (Which at present we mostly don't), I'm more concerned about the long term effects of industrializing India and China. Their populations are going to need massive amounts of resources, and no amount of politicking will reduce the effect. High fuel prices are the way of the future, and they are painful. But I don't believe they're going to cause a collapse.

Good to see your using the CRKT knives. They are very affordable. I also like the 12 series tantos. Thery have a good portable size. I followed the link that you provided. I hope you didn't pay the $48.00 price though, I sell that same knife on eBay for $34.99. Go to 'Knife Brigade' if you are interested. I can normally beat the prices of most of the other vendors. I'm just happy to get $10-to$15 dollars over what I pay per knife (guess I wont be getting rich). Best Regards - Jason
P.S. Remember--Monday May 1st is 'American Buy a Gun Day'


Hi Jim,
I’ve been reading your blog for several months now and really appreciate all the work you put into this.
I just wanted to comment on your recent survivalblog post relating to knives.  I’m in no way affiliated with their company but Swamp Rat Knife Works makes knives which are very literally some of the toughest and best performing in the world at only a slightly higher cost than Cold Steel products.  They are superior in nearly every way imaginable and, as I just mentioned, are quite reasonably priced.  They also have a no-questions-asked warranty and top notch customer service.  I have been incredibly well impressed.  They’re certainly worth a mention next time the subject comes up.  Also, you may want to consider referring people to BladeForums for a reference on knives.  That is where the experts go to chat and there is a great wealth of information available there.  Again, not affiliated just passing on some info I learned the hard way having many knives fail on me at inopportune times. Take care! -Ian


Greetings James and Family, and Blog Readers,
I am not a knife connoisseur or aficionado. However there are some knives that ‘strike my fancy’ for one reason or another. One such knife is a Mikov knife made in the Czech Republic. I was at a show several months ago and ran across a vendor for these knives. Like a lot of gun show vendors I had ran across his table at several other shows. I stopped and talked to him for awhile and when I left I had one of his Mikov knives in my possession. The knife is very well made in my opinion and the price ranges from around $50.00 up depending on what you want.
They offer features from a basic knife with automatic blade and ABS scales to Damascus blades and Stag scales along with rare woods and other exotic materials. The automatic feature is quite unique as compared to other knives of the same genera. It can be carried in the pocket safely or on the belt in a holder. I think one thing that attracted it to me was the way it felt in my hand. For me it is comfortable and well balanced and the auto activation of the main blade is fast, sure, and solid. The particular model I selected was the Mikov auto - 241 NH2, which has an integrated manual saw blade. The basic model has only the auto blade. And the additional manual saw blade does not add a lot to the thickness of the knife and retains much of the same feel as the single auto blade model. Another aspect that amazed me was the spring system for opening the knife. The spring is owner replaceable if ever broken or lost. The cost of a replacement spring is only five bucks. And if you live in an area where automatic knives aren’t lawful to carry the spring can be easily removed and the knife converts to manual operation. Mikov offers other knife models with additional tools and one model designed with EMTs and Rescue personnel in mind. It has a
special blade for cutting through seatbelt harnesses as well as other tools such as an integral auto glass breaker. The EMT and Rescue models have a bright yellow handle, as requested by the Czech Rescue organizations, for quickly locating the knife. The Mikov Company also makes the Czech Army fixed blade-fighting knife. This knife also incorporates other useful tools with it that the trooper may require like a detachable saw blade that can be stored in the handle. This sheath knife like it’s automatic little brother, in quite ingeniously designed. I think from a value for the money aspect the Mikov knives should be considered by any outdoorsman, camper, or survivalist. They also offer their automatic in a left-handed model for you southpaws. And for you do-it-yourselfers they have kits with the same quality components as their complete knives. In my opinion this is a totally
fascinating knife maker with a good product. Of course I have not dropped my Mikov knife out of a chopper from 400 feet, nor ran over it with a vehicle to see if it breaks. But I have managed to utilize it under normal circumstances with no injury to myself, and so far even my ‘ham handed’self has not broken it!
For the ABS scale knives, see: http://www.mikovknives.com/ABS/abs.html
For their homepage, see: http://www.mikovknives.com/index.html
- The Rabid One

Saturday, April 29, 2006

I've been reading your superb site for some time and have learned a lot. There's lots of interesting and helpful stuff.

As a family, we are about to leave the shores of 'Airstrip One' [England] and have purchased a few acres of Greek island to return to our smallholding roots. Our patch, in common with most places in the Med, is in an earthquake zone and we own a hilltop and steep slope. The area is also prone to brush fires in the summer.

My query is, should we cut back the vegetation on the slope for fire suppression or is the need to prevent land-slip, either by earth tremor or seasonal rains, more of an issue? Many of the locals simply cut back to bare earth, but there is a significant amount of landslip in these places and we do not want to awaken one morning and find our home in the neighbour's olive grove at the bottom of the hill...

Any comments/advice appreciated. Keep up the good work and congratulations on becoming full time on the site. I wish you every success for the future. - Mike in England

JWR Replies: Of the two risks, fire is the greater concern. I'd recommend a minimum 20 foot firebreak around your house and keeping the remaining brush pruned low. Since you will be building from scratch, use fireproof construction. (If it is masonry, be sure that it is very well reinforced, since Greece is indeed earthquake country. Although you will probably not have access to the equipment and materials in Greece, SurvivalBlog readers in other areas might consider Monolithic dome or Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) construction. Monolithic domes are virtually fireproof and ICF houses are fairly resistant to fire, depending on the type of roof used.


We have a copy of your novel "Patriots" published by Huntington House; and even had the 8.5 x 11 [self-published] precursor to the book. I'd like to ask you a question. Do you know of any tactical/SERE knife evaluation forums out there.
I'd like to obtain the best folder out there for my son. I have an old Al Mar SERE, but am curious if anyone has compared the various folders such as Al Mar, Masters of Defense, Benchmade etc.
Keep up the great work, James! - R.S. in Ohio

JWR Replies: I am by no means a knife expert. (Although the Memsahib claims that I am a seasoned expert at buying knives.) My general preference is for folding knives. Why? Because you will almost always have a folding knife in your pocket. Big sheath knives get left behind--often when they are needed the most.

The following is my advice for those you that like me are not independently wealthy: I think that the Cold Steel, CRKT, and Benchmade brands are some of the best affordable knives on the market. Granted, there are custom knives that are superior in many aspects, but most of them are quite expensive. I would rather have a half dozen Cold Steel or Benchmade knives than spend the same amount to buy just one from a "name maker." Lets face it: If they are used on a day-to-day basis, knives get lost, stolen, or broken with alarming regularity. I know some purists who swear by their Chris Reeve, Lyle, Ruana, or Randall knives. More power to them. They own great knives that are expertly-made, durable, and, will hold an edge. They will even appreciate in value, if well cared for. (Witness the recent meteoric price increases for early Randall fighting knives in Heiser sheathes.) But my approach is instead to have a larger number of moderately priced knives. With these extra knives I will have spares on hand in the event of loss or breakage, and perhaps even a few for barter and charity. You can of course follow this approach to an absurd extreme. Don't buy Chinese junk, just because you can get 10 knives for $100!

FWIW, my "daily carry" folder is a small CRKT M16-12Z with Zytel grips. This is a good knife that sells for less than $50. It has a half-serrated AUS8 stainless steel blade with a Tanto type point. BTW, I prefer tanto style blades, since they are less prone to broken tips. (Yes folks, I'm a bit hard on knives.) It has a belt clip, which I consider a necessity on small and medium-size folders. I previously carried a larger model (also a Tanto style, from Benchmade), but I found that it was too bulky.

Regardless of your choice of knives, a top quality knife sharpening system is a must for your retreat. At home, I prefer the Lansky Sharpening System. When out in the field, I use a compact Cam-Nu sharpener. There are several other good ones on the market. But just be sure to get a diamond-impregnated sharpener if you have any knives that are made with the modern stainless steels such as ATS-34. These are usually hardened to a high Rockwell scale number, so you'll find that they are difficult to re-sharpen with a set of traditional stones. (But the good news is that their hardness also means that they hold an edge much better than traditional knives.) A diamond sharpener is a must!

Dear Jim,
I love the site and have learned much. As soon as I can scrape together some extra money, I will be joining the Ten Cent Challenge.
"Some Guy" wrote about the lack of availability of spare parts for the XD series pistols and the lack of certified armorers. One is true, the other is patently false. Springfield has indeed been less than forthcoming with spare parts. Most of this seems to be just a lack of manufacturing capacity. If I remember correctly, they can barely get enough parts to make the pistols, let alone keep extras around. Why no third party has taken up the slack, I have no idea. They do, however, have a lifetime warranty which Springfield is quick to honor. Also, the weapon is built rock solid, even passing the fabled Glock abuse test, and it is only the odd pistol that needs work.
As far as there being no certified XD armorers, that is demonstrably false as I have dealings with one on a regular basis. He is also a Glock armorer, and a Kel Tec armorer. They are out there but one can get certified only by invitation, not just any guy in his garage can become an XD armorer. Here is a good forum for more info on the XD: http://www.hs2000talk.com/
Thanks again for all the info. - DD

Yikes! Copper is at $7,000 per ton!

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The folks at Safecastle mentioned that they give substantial discounts (generally 10-20%)to Survivalblog readers --for everything listed in their eBay store . All you have to do is mention SurvivalBlog when you e-mail your requests for quotes. Some of Safecastle's highest volume product lines are Maxpedition, Mountain House, JetBoil, and Katadyn. BTW, it is better if you e-mail Safecastle at jcrefuge@safecastle.net rather than using the eBay message system.

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Take the time out to read Dr. Peter Hammond's great piece about Switzerland. This is something you don't read in most history books.

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SurvivalBlog reader Dutch in Wyoming notes that America is experiencing another unintended consequence of our debt-financed Asian buying binge: The death of our oak tree forests.

"Strong men greet war, tempest, hard times. They wish, as Pindar said, to tread the floors of hell, with necessities as hard as iron." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, April 28, 2006

Yesterday I took a "speed hike" day with #1 Son and and #3 Son here at the Rawles Ranch,. (I'm trying to lose a few pounds and get in shape for a four day course that the Memsahib and I plan to attend at Front Sight, later this year.) While on the hike, we got our best view ever of the beavers on our neighbor's pond. They are cute, but destructive critters. They have been busy for the past two years. Their dam has raised the pond's level by a couple of feet, and this has increased the pond's surface area to nearly six acres. (It was formerly only about five acres.) They have also decimated the trees that used to ring the north end of the pond. Since they are rapidly exhausting their food supply, I suspect that the beavers will abandon their lodge and move further up-country next year. Coincidentally, our first letter today concerns ponds...

Hello James,
In the event of a TEOTWAWKI scenario, as discussed previously on your blog, food and water will become critical in supply. My query is to seek out knowledge from within your following on newly constructed ponds as a water and food source. Here are my questions:
1). What type of fish replenish the most rapidly while offering a genuine nutrition?
2). What types of fish are compatible or necessary to keep a full circle eco-system continuing?
3). How many fish can you support per cubic yard of water?
4). Should food be introduced into the water until the young are established?
5). What predators, (i.e.- ground/air living) would be a potential food source or havoc on your newly established "eco-system".
I don't recall any lengthy discussions on this subject. Any advice would be greatly welcome! - The Wanderer
JWR Replies: I have only limited experience with ponds and aquaculture. Perhaps our correspondent in Brazil would like to chime in. He has been developing a pond aquaculture system there for several years. Does anyone else out there care to comment?

Hey James,
Hope you and your family are well. I have read many books on the coming economic collapse and Peak Oil, your opinion and also your readers comments on SurvivalBlog. For quite a bit of it, I agree. However, I doubt we'll see a true TEOTWAWKI because of a lack of
oil or even a complete collapse as some are predicting. One thing people are forgetting is the HUGE (1.5 Trillion barrels or so) of oil deposited in oil shale in the Western United States. At $35 per barrel of oil, it becomes profitable to start producing oil and gas from oil shale. So I wouldn't be too worried about peak oil just yet.
Personally, I believe that we will see inflation to the point where they classify it as hyperinflation (prices going up 100% over the course of 3
years), and I think we will see a major depression starting somewhere around 2010. Up until that time, we'll just see massive amounts of inflation, maybe another war and our citizens' actual buying power decrease to a point where it really puts a strain on the economy. You know, people will still use credit cards without the thought of the ability of paying it back or what is
going on around them. I give it four years and we'll see 10% to 15% unemployment (possibly higher), the massive increase of foreclosures and bankruptcies and the tightening of peoples' belts.
I do see things getting worse, because oil will go way over $100 per barrel and there is no real movement on the part of our government to nip our energy crisis in the bud. Welcome back to the 1970s and early 1980s, however, it will be much worse, because this time it is not just based on world politics. Sincerely, - K.L. in Michigan

The much-publicized Iranian oil bourse, conducting trades in Euros, opens for business next week.

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SurvivalBlog reader R.B.S. (who kindly sends us several links every day) spotted this interesting site: The U.S. Gas "Temperature" Map. As you can see, Wyoming has some of the lowest prices--proving yet again that the Free State Wyoming folks made a good choice for their locale.

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An interesting thread on the pros and cons on the various commercial versus military camouflage fabric patterns is underway over at The FAL Files.

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This Generator Site has some great links in the left hand bar. (At least 50 links.)

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The Buckshot's Camp May-June Newsletter is now available for free download. As usual, there is some very interesting reading--and as always, it is in Buckshot's unique writing style.

"An armed society is a polite society." - Robert A. Heinlein, Beyond this Horizon

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Today we welcome Captain Dave's, our 24th advertiser. They have some great products at very competitive prices. Also be sure to check out their extensive free survival FAQs, and copious links.

We need 40+ advertisers to make a go of this, so please contact anyone you know that might be an appropriate advertiser and ask them to consider getting an ad. You can tell them that our ad space rates are very low, especially compared to magazine advertising. A small ad is still just $55 per month!

And BTW, whenever you contact any of our advertisers, please let them know that you saw their ad on SurvivalBlog. Thanks!

When I meet new folks, they typically ask what I do for a living. I mention SurvivalBlog and then the topic of survivalism inevitably comes up. A few ask: "How can you sleep at night, worrying about all of that?" My reply is: " I sleep very well, know ing that I have done my best to ensure the nourishment, health, and safety of my family. I would only lose sleep if I went to bed knowing that I was under-prepared." I am tempted ask them in turn (but being diplomatic in polite society, I generally refrain): "How can you sleep well at night, with at most a week or two food in your pantry, minimal first aid supplies, no stored fuel or backup method to heat your home, no communications gear, no alternative lighting method beyond candles to last a day or two, no method to transport or treat water from a nearby pond, and no means to defend your life and property?"

Being animis opibusque parati (prepared in mind and resources) is not a source of anxiety. Rather, effective preparedness relieves anxiety. Just don't make the mistake of dwelling constantly on every potential cataclysm. That is a trap that will indeed cause you to lose sleep. Here is my outlook/approach in a nutshell: Trust in God. Prepare the best that your resources allow. Carry on with your normal day-to-day life. You'll sleep well.


I recently read the novel "The Hunt for Confederate Gold" by Thomas Moore. (Published by Fusilier Books, ISBN 0976998203) It may sound cliched, but I couldn't put it down! I am not surprised that it has a perfect five star rating on Amazon.com. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that it is three intertwined storylines wrapped into one. (One of which takes place in the closing days of the Confederate States of America.) This is Moore's first novel. It is a thoroughly captivating, thought-provoking novel. I found it both entertaining and educational. Much like in my novel "Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse", the author weaves a lot of useful factual information into a fictional storyline. Moore includes lots of Civil War history facts as well the historical context of Reconstruction and the whole American experience, recent abuses by Federal government agencies, the fiat paper money fraud, and an analysis of current U.S. policies in the Middle East.

The story and characters are believable. Many of the characters--both heroes and villains--are obviously drawn on some real life individuals but subtly changed to avoid any legal unpleasantness. My only technical nit-pick is that one of the characters refers to "five millions" worth of gold and silver (circa 1865) fitting into two large wooden chests that could be carried by a few men. Even if it were all gold, and assuming that most of it were $20 gold pieces, then $5 million would weigh nearly 18,000 pounds and occupy about 150 cubic feet. Since the hoard was described as a mixture of gold and silver, the weight and bulk would of course be even greater. But that is just a minor quibble. In fairness, perhaps the character was referring to "five millions" worth of inflated Confederate currency...

One refreshingly nice thing to mention about this novel is that that it was obviously written by a true southern gentleman. It includes a minimum of harsh language, profanity, or other offensive content. Unlike the racy novel Unintended Consequences by John Ross (a similar adventure/think piece), I could in good conscience hand this novel to my teenage sons.

As a novelist myself, I can attest that Moore's smooth writing style is difficult to achieve. His gift for writing is a rarity, particularly among "first novelists." In fact, I wish I had some of Mr. Moore's finesse! I highly recommend this novel. It is from a small publisher, so odds are that you won't find a copy at your local book store. Your best bet is finding a copy through Amazon.com.


Hello James,
It has been a busy weather pattern for this early in the spring in our area. Two weeks ago tornadoes, yesterday, snowflakes! I have been surveying some of the damage in our area and have been surprised at the damage a F1 category tornado can cause. It is imperative to understand that while a large percentage of homes built today are constructed to withstand 120 mph sustained winds, that this does not take into consideration that flying debris (like entire oak trees, cars, etc...) with large mass [that] cause enormous damage when faced with a sudden stop. There were pictures in our local paper showing 2x4 lumber debris embedded into concrete walls. If that does not make one think, nothing will.
In the SurvivalBlog archives there were many discussions on varying Home/Retreat construction methods. I viewed a concrete wall home and was not surprised at the integrity, however, the roof became the hinge for the added pressure, (conventional wood roof). My personal opinion is that in this case, anyone inside of this home, (which did not have a basement or safe room) would have been sucked out and thrown many football fields away.
Your vendors have options out there for safe rooms, and the government has outlines for building your own. I suggest some serious consideration for anyone living in the prone areas for such weather events. - The Wanderer
P.S: I had a most pleasant experience with Freeze Dry Guy. As other readers have commented, it is nice to have your endorsement when making big purchase decisions like that. Thanks!

I have to highly recommend AGAINST the Army's new ACU uniform. Officially, there are only a few detergents "approved" for cleaning them, to avoid excess wear on the fabric. The running complaint from people with ACUs (a mere few months after issue) is that they wear out within a few washings. Soldiers are wearing them to look strack, but wearing their old BDUs in the field for durability. Also, ACUs are expensive.
I got to see a firing line full of troops a couple of weeks ago. At less than 100 yards, both ACUs and the new MARPAT Marine uniforms blended to a neutral gray because of how small the pattern is. While that's better than no camo, it's no better than the old green fatigues. Meanwhile, there were still visible color breaks on BDUs at that range. Since the main purpose of camouflage is to disrupt outlines, the BDUs are better. I'm not happy with the excessive amount of green in BDUs--most of nature is brown or tan--but they do work.
Additionally, walking around a military base is instructive. At considerable distance, the brain screams, "Look! There's someone in the new ACUs!" The color choice doesn't seem to blend in in any terrain, and is visible against most natural and artificial backgrounds. The Army insists that black wasn't used because "black isn't a color found in nature." Bull. Black appears as shadow at a distance. Something without shadow cannot blend in. There is so little difference in the tones of color used that there is no contrast.
Frankly, as much as I love high tech, I'm convinced the digital fad in camo will die a quick death. One of the big selling points is that it's better against [electro]optics. But how many of our current threats are using [electro]optics? And since that is the case, showing troops a video of a pattern designed to defeat digital video technology gives them a false faith in the reliability of the pattern to defeat the Mark 1, Mod 0 eyeball.
My preferred camo for the last 20 years has been [the commercial] All Season All Terrain (ASAT). (See: www.asatcamo.com.) Take a look. I think you'll be impressed. - Michael Z. Williamson

JWR Replies: As previously mentioned, the Army gray-green pattern does blend in well in sagebrush. But I must concur that the color is not right when seen against most other foliage. And yes, it does lack sufficient contrast.

One often overlooked consideration for survivalists wishing to secure a retreat is the need to distinguish friend from foe at a glance. By standardizing with an uncommon camo pattern (such as ASAT or perhaps one the various RealTree patterns) for all of your retreat residents you will more easily be able to detect someone infiltrating your property. I know of one retreat group in Northern California that uses Swiss Alpenflage (a distinctive camo pattern with lot of red blotches in it) for just this reason. (And, not coincidentally, their retreat property is infested with poison oak, which has red leaves for half of the year.) The Woodland BDU pattern, although quite effective, is ubiquitous in North America. (It is also used around the globe--from the Philippines to Serbia!) As the new digital patterns are fielded , there will be even more Woodland BDUs hitting the U.S. surplus market. So be forewarned that if you standardize your family (or retreat group) with Woodland BDUs, then you will lose lose the advantage of instant friend from foe recognition at a distance.


Hi Jim,
A quick comment on the Springfield XD-- a friend of mine purchased one recently and has been completely unable to acquire spare parts for it! Springfield will only sell spare parts to certified XD armorers-- and word is that there are none of those yet. As of now, the market is limited to (Wolff) recoil springs, spare mags, and components such as replacement sights.

So if something breaks, you have to ship your pistol to the manufacturer. Now, random parts breakage is fairly rare, but this is the death knell for these guns, in my opinion, as a serious survival sidearm. Hopefully, this will change in the future with readily-available spares.

In my personal opinion, one should, at the very least, focus on a core battery of weapons that have easily obtainable spare parts and bulk ammunition. Not in the future, but NOW, when you buy the gun. A pistol with a broken firing pin is a paperweight. A rifle with a faulty extractor has very limited use. Etc.

The reason that I recommend Glocks as survival arms is that a mentally deficient ape such as myself can maintain them with ease. Very easy to work on! Parts are readily-available and inexpensive. You can easily rebuild the entire weapon down to the smallest part, by yourself, with the basic Glock takedown tool. And the most robust and versatile of the Glocks, in my opinion, are the 9mm variants, the 17 and 19 in particular. A police trade-in, ten magazines, five sets of each spring in the weapon, and a bundle of spare extractors, firing pins, et cetera will not set you back too much.

1911s have more of a learning curve, repair-wise, but again, parts are readily available and basic parts replacement is fairly easy for handy people (hand-fitting aside). Not as easy as the Glock, but with a mentor, you can do it.

My personal favorite handgun is a Steyr M40, which I also consider superior to a Glock-- academically. But from now on, I am transitioning to the Glock 9mm variants for the reasons above. Regards, - SomeGuy

A reader mentioned this site with some good general information, particularly on assembling survival kits.

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SurvivalBlog reader B.T. found this link to a PDF of The U.S. Army Survival Manual. (19 chapters and eight appendices, each as a separate PDF file.)

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A lengthy but informative piece on Peak Oil.


"It was on the Rütli Meadow that the Swiss Confederation was first formed on 1 August 1291. For 650 years, Swiss fighting men had earned the reputation as the most ferocious in Europe. Their determined refusal to live under the rule of foreign kings, was legendary. Most people know the story of William Tell, the hero who refused to bow before the Austrian governor Gessler. He was condemned to shoot an apple off the head of his 6-year old son at 120 paces. If he refused, both father and son would be executed. In a remarkable display of archery skill, William Tell succeeded in hitting the apple and missing his son. Congratulating Tell, Gessler asked why he had another arrow in his quiver. Tell responded that, had he injured the child, he would have sent the remaining arrow into the governor's heart. Tell was condemned to life imprisonment for his insolence, but he escaped while being transported across Lake Lucerne." - Peter Hammond

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A reminder that the deadline for entries for Round 4 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest is May 31, 2006. The writer of the best contest entry will win a four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. There haven't been may entries yet for this round, so your chances of being judged the winner are better in this round. Please e-mail me your entries, and I will post them.

I've been doing some research this week for a consulting client this week, trying to find her an ideal retreat property. One 10 acre parcel I found looked promising, so I made some inquiries. I was told that the land was in a Homeowner's Association (HOA) and that there were "a few" CC&Rs. So I asked, "How many?" and "Can you FAX me the CC&Rs to review?" The agent called back an hour later, and sheepishly told me: "I can't FAX them to you, because I found out that the CC&R document runs 207 pages." Needless to say, my client asked me to keep looking, elsewhere.

March 22, 2006 - why it's not going human to human (yet)

Where is it now (map)
and http://www.birdflumap.com/
Note that there is a Yahoo group on this that John Locke hosts: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BIRDFLUWATCH/

I should also mention that a person on my group alerted me to this site on bird flu: http://www.fluwikie.com which has the most forthright presentation of what you can do and should consider as to hygiene that I have seen: http://www.fluwikie.com/index.php?n=Consequences.PersonalHygiene

Regards, - Rourke

Dear Jim:
Well the Glock may finally have been outclassed in the self-defense pistol category! A diehard 1911 guy sings the praises of the XD for ergonomics and reliability, see this post at 1911.com. ...and rates it BETTER than the Glock:

"Both have polymer frames, are square and blocky, and have the little trigger flange safety thing. The sights and trigger on the Glock are plastic; they are steel on the XD. I think the trigger and grip on the XD is better. The XD has a grip safety like the 1911; the Glock does not. The XD pistols tend to be a bit heavier than their Glock counterparts. The grip angle of the XD is similar to the 1911, and for 1911 shooters, the XD points more naturally. The rifling of XD barrels is traditional, making them a tad more friendly to reloads and lead bullets than the polygonal rifling of the Glock. The chamber in the XD is fully supported in contrast to the partially unsupported chamber design of the Glock. While both pistols are striker fired, the XD is fully cocked by the recoil of the slide, making it a single action pistol. The Glock is partially cocked by recoil, and then the cocking is finished by the trigger pull. Opinion time: I feel that the better trigger and grip, the supported chamber, traditional rifling, grip safety and steel sights make the XD an improvement over the Glock."

And gun guru Chuck Taylor gives it a big thumbs up:

...and the XD is finally available in .45 ACP (NOT just .45 GAP)

I'll have to borrow one from one of the IDPA shooters who sold his Glocks to replace them with Springfield XDs.

Regards, - OSOM - "Out of Sight, Out of Mind"

JWR Replies: I've been hearing from several sources that the Springfield Armory XD series pistols--in particular the new .45 ACP variants--are the ars nova. The only substantive complaint that I've heard about them is that their bluing is more prone to corrosion than the Glock's finish. This could be an issue for those of you that live in damp climates. But of course there are always exotic gun coatings available from folks like T. Mark Graham at Arizona Response Systems.

As a follow-up to our recent item on surplus Titan missile bases, a reader spotted this fly-in dream home/bunker for New Yorkers: http://www.silohome.com. The asking price is a cool $2.3 Million. OBTW, please don't bug Bruce James with any questions unless you are a sincere, qualified, potential buyer. And if you do you buy the place, tell Mr. James that Jim Rawles from SurvivalBlog sent you, and hopefully I'll get a nice little "non-agent" commission.)

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Financial analyst Puru Saxena warns "Cash is Trash."

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It is hardly a news flash for SurvivalBlog readers, but MSN Money Central's Bill Fleckenstein reports: The Housing Bubble Has Popped

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Spot silver is recovering nicely, after the recent profit-taking. I hope that you bought on the recent dip, because I don't think that there will be many more pull-backs that will bring silver below $12 per ounce. The silver bull will soon resume his charge.

"Put your faith in God, and keep your powder dry." - Oliver Cromwell

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Just one more note regarding the rising cost of metals, especially copper in the market - I sent an earlier message regarding recycling cartridge brass (which contains copper) instead of stockpiling copper, but now the New York Times notes in a Saturday brief:

"Price of a Penny Could Exceed a Cent
- What happens if a penny is worth more than one cent? That is an issue the U.S. Mint could soon face if the price of metals keeps rising. The cost of the metal in a penny has climbed to almost one cent. Add in the cost of transporting the pennies, and the cost to the government of producing a penny is estimated at 1.4 cents.
The real problem could come if metals prices rise so high that it would be economical to melt down pennies for the metals they contain.
Appearances aside, pennies no longer contain much copper. In the middle of 1982, after copper prices rose to record levels, the mint started making pennies that consist mostly of zinc, with just a thin copper coating. But these days, zinc is newly popular. Rising industrial demand and speculation have sent the price rocketing. Since the end of 2003, zinc prices have tripled. Gold, by contrast, is up only about 50 percent."

Will pennies disappear soon, or will they remain as a token of our graciousness to 'give a penny, take a penny'? Regards, - Redclay

JWR Replies: If rapid inflation re-emerges (and I suspect that it will, soon), then those ubiquitous "give a penny, take a penny" bowls will likely be superceded by "give a dollar take a dollar" jars.

I think we now have another way to compute the countdown to the collapse of our society as we know it.
Several months ago I read on one of the economic web sites, we both visit, that for every penny the price of fuel goes up $1,400,000 per day is sucked out of the consumer economy.
With oil at $74 per barrel today and the PENAC people pushing for another Middle East war, this one with Iran, we are looking at oil reaching $125 per barrel or higher as soon as this dumb war starts. This translates to $5.25 - $6.00 per gallon fuel by October / November.

The media and the economists are now saying that we will have $4.00 per gallon fuel by June 1 on current oil prices. One of my trusted friends is telling me that fuel is already $3.90 per gallon is some rural California cities.
I believe that the true unemployed figure here in the US is more than 12%. And, that the underemployed figure is 6% to 10% With our millions of unemployed, increased fuel costs will dry up the economy before winter this year. That means the crash will come before the first of the year.
Just using the preceding figure of $1.4MM per day being sucked out of the consumer economy the numbers look something like this.
1 cent per gal increase = $1,400,000 per day.
50 cent per gal increase = $70,000,000 per day.
100 cent per gal increase = $140,000,000 per day.
150 cent per gal increase = $210,000,000 per day.
30 days at 150 cent per day increase = $6,300,000,000 . That number is six billion three hundred million dollars being sucked out of the consumer economy in 30 days ending June 30, 2006.
Granted there are all kind of formulas to compute the disastrous affects of such an increase and my math is simple and rough, however, the American people cannot withstand such a hit and survive as a nation.
Now look at the global effects of a war with Iran. The US purchases no oil from Iran. Most of Iran's oil is sold to Europe and other nations. A dumb nuclear strike or using depleted uranium ammo on Iran will contaminate that country for many lifetimes. Oil will trickle out of Iran just like oil from Iraq fluctuates. The price of oil will skyrocket as nations compete for available oil. The high price of fuel will curtail farming, food packaging, trucking, energy production, manufacturing, construction and the economy. The economies of many countries of the world will crash because the fiat dollar is the current primary global unit of International exchange. The Euro will crash a short time later because their central banks are tied to our central bank.
Yes, the crash can be put off for a little while by nationalizing the oil companies, major manufacturing, restricting travel, electrical use and subsidizing the farmers, but it will come regardless because you cannot build a nation on usury. Usury violates the 10th commandment and mocks God.
The lack of or the price of oil will soon bring our nation to a standstill, with or without another un Constitutional war. Civil unrest will surface and Americans will start taking out their frustrations on all foreign workers holding work visas, illegal border jumpers (the uncharged criminals living of America), the owners of businesses who hire foreigners, the banks that do business with them, foreign embassy consulates, the PACs, NGOs, churches, and the globalist in America. Under the guise of Homeland Security our anti American government employees will try to intervene and that will foster rebellion in various parts of the country. I am thankful I do not live in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, California or any sanctuary city. My brother and his entire extended family just moved to Idaho without any encouragement from me.
Now I am sure there are some economic professionals who visit this blog and can provide a better analysis than myself and I welcome their comments as to when we might expect the crash. I will go out on a limb and say, that absent government intervention it will probably come before the first of the year. Regardless, it is coming, and very soon.
Sincerely, - Rosy the Bull in Montana

Here is the best place by far that I have found when it comes to quality BDUs and good prices: www.BDU.com. I have ordered from them in the past, and the next time I order I'm going to tell them about SurvivalBlog.- Gung Ho

JWR Adds: For any SurvivalBlog readers that live in sagebrush country, I highly recommend the new U.S. Army gray-green "digital" camouflage pattern. You will blend in very well in sagebrush. The only drawback is that these uniforms have some Velcro closures which are noisy.

We asked you this week, dear reader: What will the next Great Depression bring? How will Americans survive in our day-to-day lives? The responses to this not-so-hypothetical query continue to clog up our inbox, which doesn't surprise us. What does surprise us, however, is how united our readers are on this subject. Not one message lamented on how strong our economy is right now, and how we are fools for even bringing up the possibility of another Great Depression. Each e-mail portrayed how
real this idea is to Americans - that something this bad could be right around the corner.
"A Great Depression signals a swerve in global direction, a massive transformation of the world society and economy," says echolist.com.
"One great system perishes. The Great Depression marked a critical stage in a transformation of the global economy that began around 1900. That's when the Industrial Economy of the 19th century slowly and fitfully began to morph into the 20th century's Consumer Economy. To tame the almost naked continent of 1845, the Industrial Economy required immense savings. To save and invest became the 11th Commandment. Imagine. Americans saved up to 40 percent of their income!"
Apparently, we learned nothing from the events that occurred over seventy years ago. The U.S. savings rate has fallen into the negative level for the first time since the Great Depression. Debt, consumer and national, is skyrocketing. We continue to see people dig themselves deeper and deeper into debt, with no regard for preparing for the future.
"Having parents who lived through the First Depression (during the late 1920s-1930s), and having a father-in-law who was the proverbial 'packrat' (among other things, 7 washing machines, 15 vacuum cleaners, etc., when we cleaned out his house) they all had the mentality that nothing was wasted;
everything had value; and that what they had was of good quality," writes one Daily Reckoning reader.
"Today we have very little of this. We do not know how to fix anything, build anything, or save anything of quality (because what little we have is made to expire and be thrown away).
"I personally can not imagine what it will be like when our dollar is worthless, and the shelves at the stores display a few dented cans of beans that are selling for whatever the price of an ounce of silver (or gold for that matter) is worth.
"Who among us will be able to keep the lights on, the water running, and our cars tuned?! What jobs will pay the best? For that matter, what jobs will be available for any of us? And what about our children? How will we care, feed, and educate them?
"I am half-empty kinda of person, but what I see ahead for the USA scares me very much (especially since it will stretch into my elder years of
life). It is going to be a very hand-to-mouth existence, with a lot of sadness, anger, and senseless violence (over simple everyday commodities)."
Short Fuse - The Daily Reckoning.
JWR Adds:
The Daily Reckoning is one of my daily "must reads." Subscriptions are free.

Spot silver is down to around $12.00 on profit taking. If you haven't already diversified into precious metals, then I recommend that you buy on these dips. The long term trend is definitely upward. (See the six month and one year charts at Kitco.)

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"My Night with The Minutemen" by Bryanna Bevens

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Hurricane Katrina, first hand evacuation experiences

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Gary Duncan of the Times of London on Avoiding an Economic Earthquake

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The Kiplinger Letter has made the following energy price forecasts: Crude oil early July '06: $82 by Dec. '06: $68, Gasoline early July '06: $3.50 December '06: $2.75, Diesel Fuel early July '06: $3.50 December '06: $3.00. Top off your storage tanks NOW.

"Chinese President Hu Jintao didn't mince words: China's currency will stay where it is. For the second time in less than a year Asia's No. 2 economy outmaneuvered the world's biggest on the yuan. Last July, China announced a negligible 2.1 percent increase in its currency's value versus the dollar. This week Hu, on his first official U.S. visit, didn't budge amid Bush's concerns an undervalued yuan is costing the U.S. jobs." - William Pesek, in a recent editorial for Bloomberg.com

Monday, April 24, 2006

My sincere thanks to those of you that have kindly subscribed for $3 per month as part of the 10 Cent Challenge. To eke out a living as a full time blogger, I need at least another 200 subscribers. If you find what you read here has some value, please do your bit. BTW, if you already have a PayPal account, subscribing takes less than a minute.

By clicking on the PayPal button above, you can automatically bill your credit card or PayPal balance for a monthly charge of $3.00. Many Thanks!

Between work and studies, I came across an article in my local newspaper about new evacuation routes for the Houston area during hurricane season. I stayed out of the last one, but came real close to riding my bike to College Station, our evac[uation] rendezvous point. I don't think the police would have taken kindly to someone riding down the highway on a Schwinn with a Remington 870 on his back.
Anyway, the article got me thinking about the gridlock people suffered and the ensuing confusion that lasted for a couple of days. If I didn't see anything on evac & evasion on SurvivalBlog, then I must have missed it, but what knowledge can you or some of the other contributors provide that can make an evacuation go quicker? The local government's plan is to open contra-flow lanes on most of the major arteries leading out of Houston. The plan also calls for pre-positioned fuel trucks and tow trucks along those highways. Gas stations are also encouraged to stay open and medical services will be provided for every few miles. Sounds like a larger version of the MS 150 ride I will partake in this weekend (except with cars). Our mayor is an avid cyclist, and I am sure he was thinking of that same thing. How can a prepared individual and his family avoid the mayhem and confusion that plagued Houston last time? Sorry, I couldn't find the link to the article. Peace, - Shooter

Mr. Rawles:

This is in response to Michael Z Williamson's arguments concerning the ongoing illegal alien problem. I have heard his arguments for the past 20 years..they are repeated over and over on talk radio (in my consideration a waste of time--most people simply regurgitate what the government suggests via the talk radio host, usually a buffoon more interested in his 6 or 7 figure salary than solving problems). We as a nation have an obligation and a duty to retain our borders, culture and language. We owe it to those that came before us and to those that will come after. What we lack is will. The billions quoted to address the problem are a drop in the bucket compared to what we have so far expended on a foreign excursion that had no clear goals and was based on lies. A lot of the so called 'patriots' in this country and the churchgoers have stood by largely quite while a few have been lucid enough to see the problem for what it is, an invasion. What Americans need to do is put down the remote control and stop letting their sports games, fast food, internet pornography and silly useless hobbies dictate their lives and address this problem for what it is. You are certainly right when you stated that we will one day wake up and we will be strangers in our own land. Their isn't an exodus of largely white americans leaving the southwest because they hate the warmth and sunshine. Its because they see an invasion within their midst and their culture being dismantled and those charged with protecting the fragile society we live in doing nothing. We can all shoot our guns, buy more ammo and prepare for the 'end times' till the cows come home but all that will be largely useless if we simply accept this invasion on the grounds that it is somehow inhumane or bigoted to not jealously guard what is ours. As a nation of far less people over 60 years ago we fought a two front war, produced nearly 4,500 planes a month and countless other munitions, supplies and resources and as well put nearly 20 million of our men into uniform to protect the rest of the world from tyranny. To say we cant address this problem with even a fraction of that effort is insulting. Thanks, - Jason in North Idaho



Michael Z. Williamson's letter about the problems with building a border fence is a good, logical analysis of the problem. Perhaps there are other solutions.
Asset (or civil) forfeiture is not popular with many constitutionalists, but it is in fact constitutional. It was employed by the states from before the signing of the constitution to the present. Unlike today, it was originally used at the border, to seize contraband goods. In so doing, it helped enforce our borders. And it could help us do so today. I would like to see the Federal Government seize any recordable property belonging to illegal immigrants, on the grounds that the property is being used to aid and abet their illegal presence in the United States. Illegals won't want to stay if they can't own real property in the US. And fewer will come if they don't think they can stay.
I am quite against some of the other modern uses of asset forfeiture - seizures based on some "malum prohibitum" crime that offend the "morals" of the government. But if it were returned to its original purpose - to enforce our borders - it might become respectable again. - Sun Dog

The switch from MTBE to ethanol for gasoline oxygenation has caused a Gas Shortage on U.S. East Coast

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A Titan 1 Missile Base in Eastern Washington is Being Auctioned on eBay. Wow! 57 acres, 120,000 square feet of underground space, and hundreds of million of dollars worth of concrete. It has been bid up to $476,000 and there are still two weeks until the end of the auction. I spoke briefly with the seller about the property. He said that the nice thing about this one is that the water table is down at the 400 foot level. Thus, there has been no groundwater intrusion into the silos--a common problem found in missile bases in other areas. This one is also fairly well removed from likely nuke targets. (Some of the other missile bases that have recently been for sale are in the middle of active Peacekeeper missile fields!) BTW, for some similar properties, see http://www.missilebases.com

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Victor Davis Hanson opines: Where are People More Safe? -- Iraq Versus California

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A scholarly analysis on Multiculturalism, Immigration, and Aztlan by Maria Hsia Chang

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"Biosecurity" is the buzzword du jour at chicken, turkey and egg operations across the country.

"It's the same with white people. They cleared the forest, they dug up the land, and they gave us the flu. But they also brought power tools and penicillin and Ben and Jerry's ice cream." - Elaine Miles as Marilyn Whirlwind, Northern Exposure

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Is there a stream at all [on the Paratus Farms Property]? Seems like a plateau would not have any streams or open water.

[One passage deleted, for OPSEC.]

By the way, thanks for the insight on silver. Based on your tip, I bought junk silver when it was at $7.80. It's hard to believe it's already over $13. Cheers, - Rookie

JWR Replies: The Paratus Farms project is still stalled because of finances, so your question is largely rhetorical at this point. But it does raise an important issue for retreat site selection: Water versus defensible terrain. Yes, The Paratus Farms property is a plateau, but it is a big plateau (nearly one square mile on the plateau top) in an area with precipitation almost year round. There is one stream that runs off the north end of the plateau. It runs 10 months of the year. In an absolute worst case multi-generational total collapse (when even photovoltaic well pumps could fail), for two months out of the year residents would have to either hike a half mile down to the year round creeks and river (on three sides) for water, or pull water up by hand from wells. The static level of the well water will be around 100 feet.) Yes, both are laborious.

Consider that access to water and defensible terrain have been trade offs since the earliest days of castle construction in Europe. If you want plentiful water, by definition you will not be on defensible high ground. In a societal collapse there will be plenty of rural locales with good farm land and water. But very few of them are suitable for defense by a small group. In my estimation, a well-trained squad on the Paratus plateau could hold off a full company of marauders. There is only one road in to the property and its seven hilltops provide mutually supporting fields of fire. Unless they are suicidal, looters will find easier pickings elsewhere.

I'm an engineer working on E911 systems and I'd like to correct this whole post. I've included some references so all your readers can peer review.
> #1 The chip does not function unless you either... Incorrect. The requirements typically state for Public Safety and in support of local laws, the mobile station (cell phone) has to handle all network requests for location.
> #2 Its not real GPS. There are two separate systems that can be hybridized together.
First is the network based system described above that works great in urban areas with lots of compatible cell towers. It is fast, but it can not get down to 3 ft., maybe 100 m.
The second system is Mobile Station based (Cell phone) and it typically uses GPS just like a Garmin. It works great in rural areas. It is not so great in large cities as all the concrete, steel and coated glass both block and reflect the GPS signals. A differential GPS system in time can achieve accuracies in cm. However just like your Garmin, it can take a long while to search for satellites and download the data from them.
The hybridized systems, where the network and the mobile work together, can achieve the best of both accuracy/speed and urban/rural performance. The network can tell the GPS on the mobile station approximate time, approximate position (with xx km of the cellular tower), where the satellites are in the sky and lots of other information that it would take your Garmin 20 minutes to get from the satellites.Reference. Section 10.10 GPS Assistance Data for more information. This document applies to GSM and 3G/UMTS phones, but it is not atypical.
Also the new hybridized systems can combine the cell tower ranging with the GPS satellite ranging to get a system that works where neither system alone will.
#3 While it is possible...
Ah, no. The solution is Periodic measurements. in other words generating a location every 5 minutes would not affect battery life much. It is used to track commercial delivery personnel all the time.
#4 Yes there really is....
Again no. This is internet Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD). The FCC requirement is that x% of mobile stations can be located to certain accuracy. GPS is not a requirement.
#5 There is also the secondary issue.
The analog is not illegal, yet. It is just not cost effective for the bandwidth reasons. Second for some networks that depend on GPS in the mobile station (typically CDMA), the old phones stand in the way of meeting the FCC requirement.
#6 Analog shutoff.
I do not have any information on this.
#7 Cell phones use lots of electrical power...
Motorola Razor talk time 200-430 minutes. Standby 180-290 hours. Reference [JWR Adds: I believe that the writer was referring to cell phone cell tower facilities rather than hand-held cell phones themselves.]

As to charging more during blackouts, any company that did this would invite a class action lawsuit for breach of contract and endangering the public.

OBTW, one other bit of FUD that I'd like to comment on:
Yes, off does not mean off in regards to modern electronic devices including cellular phones. While "off" they may need to support an alarm clock, calendar alerts, monitor battery charging, alert for low battery and do a lot of other things. However, removing all the power sources kills anything! If your phone continues to run without a charger or batteries, I think you could name your price to sell it to any of the big cell phone companies. - Raven



I have personally been present, when a 'Federal investigator' ordered a cell phone security manager (what the heck that is I don't know) to 'turn on' a particular Electronic Serial Number (ESN).

It was my understanding that the phone had to be 'on' in the first place. It was explained to me that there was a dual mode capability. One was the retransmission of GPS positioning data and the second triangulation.

We found the 'bad guy' we were looking for for a covert surveillance regarding a narcotics investigation.

He wasn't in a call - it was a pretty weird moment for me to see this happen, and it was about four years ago. I can only imagine the capabilities built into the system mandated by post-9/11 are more enhanced than then.

I trust the data given to me by the writer about GPS positioning as he understood it. I saw different. The federal investigator was pretty closed mouth about it, and the black box he used that (I suppose) received the data was no larger than a lunchbox. Steered us right in.

I've long ago given up on trying to maintain much privacy in my electronic life. I really don't have much to hide, but if I did - electronics wouldn't have any place in my home. - Jimsee

From Fortune magazine: Ready for $262 Per Barrel Oil?

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A new Biodiesel Reactor Technology was announced by Oregon State University researchers. For some technical details, see this PDF.

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Some interesting commentary on the Refuge Blog: "Mistaken Entitledness is a Core Global Issue"

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U.S. Agriculture Secretary Johanns releases national animal ID implementation plan. For details, see the USDA's official plan (a PDF.) Be careful not to be fooled by their claims of "extensive dialogue with producers and industry organizations across the country." The NAIS is being advocated by the big agri-corps as a method to eliminate competition and gain access to foreign markets. Preventing disease is just an excuse. Please see the NoNAIS.org website for the other side of the debate. Please spread the word about this treachery. NoNAIS has several nice posters, pamphlets, and flyers that you can be print out.

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." - 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Dear Jim,

Someone wrote about E911 phones and GPS tracking. I worked in that industry, with that specific issue and I can provide some facts.

#1 The chip does not function unless you either Dial 911 or turn it to Location On, which shows a circle with a plus sign through it and two end parentheses to its right. It is common to see the circle-plus sign without the parentheses. Check your manual to verify this. It will list this under "icons" or E911. Phones come with them preset to "911 only", not "on". Phones from Nextel/Sprint or using location based services must have the GPS turned on to work.

#2 Its not real GPS. It does not talk to satellites. Its just triangulating on the company towers. This gives an accuracy of +/- 3 feet but its main purpose is to get you to the nearest 911 call center in the event you dial 911. That's about it.

#3 While it is possible the phone operating systems could be fibbing and the Location service could be on when it says its off, that is unlikely since it would affect battery life, require violation of customer privacy rights, risks lawsuits when exposed, and requires a conspiracy to accomplish, the black helicopter kind. I'm not a fan of conspiracies since humans are very good at bungling basic stuff and very bad at keeping secrets. It is far more likely that it really is off, just like it says.

#4 Yes, there really IS a law enacted by FCC back on Sept 12, 2001 that required these chips to be mandated into phones by July 1, 2005 and all non GPS phones taken out of service by the end of 2006. Some of my former customers had received letters from their carriers and verified by the FCC to this effect.

#5 There's also the secondary issue that older phones typically have stronger and now illegal analog signal amplifiers which when running analog can block more than 720 digital calls. This has been a real waste of bandwidth and the FCC has been after the cell companies to get them off the market and into the garbage bins. The companies have handled it by offering incentives to change out the phone for a newer model with E911 and usually all digital. All digital phones don't hog bandwidth, don't block other's calls, but don't really work in the boonies either. For the boonies, you need a Tri-Mode phone. This means digital and analog backup. You also need an extendable antenna. A stub antenna is nearly worthless in analog areas because the signal won't propagate well. Many phones have plugs for antenna extension kits, the kind you can mount on a car roof and a small cable and jack to plug into the phone. Those work well, BTW.

#6 The boonies are mostly analog until Jan 1 2008, when all analog cell service is turned OFF, permanently, another FCC mandate. This means that either these sites get upgraded to digital or they lose their licenses, probably auctioned off and end up with big carriers. The carriers will do a cost study and decide for themselves whether said boonies are worth converting to digital or if they'll just let them die with no signal. Some sites may not get bought and those regions may lose cell service entirely. Cell companies are very greedy, keep in mind. If they can't make a huge profit, they won't do it at all. A small profit or slow profit is not within their timescale. It is likely that many rural areas with low populations will lose cell service entirely.

#7 Cell phones use lots of electrical power. This means that in blackouts, while they do have generators, those must be topped off. In a survival situation or one of slowly deteriorating conditions they will work, at first. The more phones in digital, the less issues with blocked service. After spending lots of money and time topping off tanks it is highly likely, if the conditions persist, that cell companies will start charging more money for calls made during blackouts than ones when the power is on. Expect to have to pay a hefty premium and overage rates for calls made during blackouts. The companies have not released any plans for this, but they already produced emergency blackout kits for their retail stores last summer, as if they fully expect to operate when the power is out, which is particularly weird since you can't activate or change service without computer access to the network switches. Hope this info helps. Best, - Marshall

Dear Jim:
All the talk about Bird Flu, and we are noticing we have a Mumps outbreak going on: “The mumps outbreak is being called the nation's worst in 20 years. As of Thursday, Iowa had 975 cases of probable, confirmed and suspected cases, said Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, the state epidemiologist.” In addition, see the CDC's backgrounder on Mumps. Regards, - Rourke

Jim, I must respectfully disagree with your suggestions for dealing with illegal immigration. You stated:
1.) A stout fence and plenty of sensors, regardless of the cost, to make the southern border less porous. I believe this would be an utter waste of time and money. Here's what I anticipate from that:
Tunnels under, which already exist for the drug trade. I also heard of a case where near 1000 Mexicans just swarmed a border crossing on foot. Perhaps 1 in 10 was rounded up.
Attacking the fence will become a sport--coyotes and dogs will be goaded across minefields, or across sensors to generate false positives. Mines would be pelted with rocks. Mines will be stolen for the explosives therein. Fences will be cut or have vehicles driven through them.
Even people who don't intend to cross the border will find this a sport. Think of your local teenagers--would they enjoy this? Now, how much more peer credit would Mexican youths get in their culture for tearing down the fence?
This will cost billions to build and maintain (And being cynical, how many of those contractors will employ illegal Mexican laborers?) and accomplish less than the Maginot Line.
I heard a suggestion that we should just start shooting people. How very American. If that happens, it is the end of any pretension of morality and due process in this country.
2.) Local police and sheriff's departments empowered to arrest illegal aliens
The problem with this is under what cause? This would require them to stop anyone who appears Asian or Hispanic, and certainly will not help legitimate immigrants integrate. I've heard people recite the classic, "I don't like the idea of having to carry a federal ID, but..." I'd like to refer those people to Edmund Burke's comment. "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
and 3.) A larger staff for the Border Patrol. Without those measures, the gradual demographic of cultural and linguistic change will reach a tipping point in the border states and beyond.The problem here is that for each agent on the border, there is additional support staff and infrastructure needed, and how many suspects can they actually stop? I think the whole concept of sealing the border physically is on par with Canada's insane gun registration scheme that's over a Billion $CAN and rising, with nothing substantive accomplished.
I should mention here that I am by no means a racist. Quite the contrary, I am an anti-racist. But I must concur with talk radio show host Michael Savage: "Borders, language, and culture" matter. They, in part, define a society. If those three underpinnings are not preserved, then we will wake up someday and find ourselves in someone else's society. I absolutely agree with you here.
[some comments on personal experiences with the INS snipped, for brevity]
The INS is a bloated bureaucracy, and even good people can have insane problems getting the paperwork they need.
Recently, I was up in Detroit and got some information from the Coast Guard for a book I'm writing. Here's an example of one area for consideration:
Apart from the shipping channel (23 feet) the deepest part of Lake St. Claire is 19 feet. Half of it is less than 4 feet deep. The river can be crossed by a motorboat in less than 60 seconds. There are native reservations on either side, where CG jurisdiction is awkward. Also, once on US soil, a person can't be stopped without probable cause. Both illegal aliens (usually Asians "vacationing" in Canada) and whole bags of drugs flow across this point. The CG is aware of the problem, and stops a few percent, even with 24 hour patrols.
Illegal Asian immigrants come into LA and NY in container ships. Better security at the docks will help with this, but it's a huge job at Long Beach, and we need the resources to move, not sit in port racking up fees for hours or days. Ships move in, unload while reloading and fueling, and are gone. They're losing money when not moving.
This is a case where everyone knows the problem exists, but not what to do. The trick is to differentiate people with honest intentions from layabouts.
My suggestions would include:
Not allowing anyone without proper ID to get drivers' licenses or jobs. At the same time, the government cannot Constitutionally deputize employers to handle the illegals. And following up on all reports is tough.
Requiring proper ID to register for school and vote. That's how it's done here in Indiana. I have a right to vote. That right implies protecting it from being stolen or diluted by another voter with fake ID. Ditto for my kids going to school. It's not unreasonable or unconstitutional to ID oneself to receive service from the government.
The proposed immigration bill is quite sensible in several provisions: identify aliens. Require those who have ONLY violated the border to pay a fine, and then return if recent. If they have been here some time and are a productive part of the economy, they may APPLY to be permanent residents, if an employer will sponsor them. This means enforcement efforts can be drawn away from the known, responsible parties and aimed at the clandestine and criminal parties.
I don't believe most people realize that's what the proposal says. It's not "amnesty." No one has suggested that 10 million people be granted free citizenship. They may APPLY to be residents, and, if accepted, then may APPLY to be citizens. And naturalized citizens are required to be literate, productive, not have subversive ties, and demonstrate a working knowledge of our form of government. They tend overwhelmingly to be conservative, moral, patriotic and good taxpayers. These types of immigrants should be encouraged, even if they fought their way in as refugees. (Why did Bush win Florida and therefore two elections? Because Cuban Americans have seen socialism first hand and HATE it. So they vote Republican.)
Consider the proposed alternative: an expensive wall that won't stop anyone (has the 90 mile hurricane-ridden ocean between Cuba and Miami had much effect?), billions to round up illegals IF WE CAN FIND THEM, and even if we assume $500 each to deport them (the price of JUST THE PLANE TICKETS the US is chartering to send illegal Central Americans back), we're looking at $5 BILLION. Add in the locating, the acquiring and the processing fees, and we're talking the cost of a war.
We had a war on alcohol. We have a war on drugs. Canada and parts of the US have a war on guns. None have accomplished anything. A war on illegal aliens will simply cost more billions and destroy more rights. - Michael Z. Williamson

I'm presently reading the novel "The Hunt for Confederate Gold" by Thomas Moore. (Published by Fusilier Books.) I'm now halfway through the novel, and I can't put it down! Without giving too much away, I can tell you that it is three storylines wrapped into one. (One of which takes place in the closing days of the Confederate States of America.) Thusfar, I can highly recommend the novel. I'll post a full review once I've finished reading it.

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The Survival Report for April 2006 from Mike "Mish" Shedlock and Brian McAuley provides some good background on the financial markets.

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SurvivalBlog reader RBS alerted me to "Strong Signals"--a fascinating site for those of you that are shortwave or scanner listener.

"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder the hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only Light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only Love can do that." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Alabama 1966.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The New York silver market has been pushed down sharply on profit taking, to around $11.85 per ounce. (It was over $14 per ounce on Thursday, which was a 25 year high.) My advice: Look at this as a short-term buying opportunity. Buy on this dip! The silver bull should resume his charge in May.

Even at under $12 per ounce, silver is still quite high compared to just a month ago. OBTW, I recently bumped up my allowance on pre-1965 silver coinage to NINE times face value, for anyone that wants any of my mail order merchandise (or to pay for advertising, for that matter) and that would like to pay in silver coinage. (I had previously allowed seven times face value.)

The recent run-up in spot silver leads me to an observation:
In 1964, a basic blued steel Colt M1911 .45 automatic pistol cost around $65. Today they cost around $600. If you were to sell some of your cache of silver coinage at your local coin shop and then go buy a .45 at you local gun shop, you'd find that it is not autopistols that have gone up in price. Rather, it is paper dollars that have gone down in value. The bottom line: You can trust tangibles, but don't put much trust in paper currency in the long term!

I read your commentary today; I've never ever had a very good crystal ball, but any good analysis could see what's coming long term... Sorry for being long winded... I'm up late working on a project and some of what I've been reading in the news has been troubling me...

It's the [Chinese President Hu [Jintao] visit... With the Chinese economy growing at double-digits and their defense budget growing at double digits and they being the four largest economy in the world. I found an interesting piece in Defense Industry Daily.

It's only a matter of time...

We gave them the technology and ability to launch missiles (to save the U.S. a few dollars in launching themselves)... God know what else we probably gave them... We continue to fund their double digit growth... Almost every corporation in America is making them the world's economic leader... China is buying up American farm land... China is funding our T-Bills, etc... "The borrow is the servant of the lender"... Look at everything you buy in the store these days (where is it being manufactured)...

With the baby boomers going into retirement starting in 2012 the country will no longer have the surplus to fund corporate growth. As the trillion dollar debt continues to grow it will rear it's ugly head...

With the U.S. not being the manufacturing based economy that saved us in WWII... We are left to being a paper tiger, intoxicated on oil without having that as an in-the-pocket resource... Oil which we are at the mercy of obtaining from very unstable sources...

The U.S. needs to encourage growth in other countries such as Brazil, Indian, Mexico, rather than fund this double digit growth... The U.S. also saw hard times in the 1970s... similar prediction were there, but with deterrence and containment and excellent leadership in high places we overcame those difficulties... We saw the iron curtain fall and with a little prayer we may see the bamboo curtain fall also. It would be great to see China become a leader of the free world... they're already good capitalist and hard workers. Their people need to see the tremendous value of freedom...

Enuf said... My prayer is that we will die watching our grandchildren grow up in freedom under a good government and that our leaders will actively plan for our future success rather than burying their heads in the sand. - John Z.

Something just occurred to me as far as an overlooked essential: food plates and bowls. The glass mixes (Corelle, etc) are far better than the stoneware for cleanliness and durability, but they can still be broken. I found out recently that the cheap, media tie-in dishes that extol Disney and various other children's movies are not only unbreakable plastic, but are immune to gun cleaning solvent--I used an old one, figuring to throw it away when done. But a quick rinse with a dab of soap and it was clean--impervious to the chemical, not even the cartoon image was blistered. I then tried acetone, gasoline and an acidic household cleaner. These things are brutally tough.
We picked up the last batch for the kids at a Goodwill [thrift store] for five cents a plate or bowl. It may look funny at your campsite or TEOTWAWKI eating off Bug's Life or Buzz Lightyear plates, but at least you'll have plates to eat off. Or dig with. Or mix chemicals in. Or play frisbee with. - Michael Z. Williamson

Good Morning Mr. Rawles,
I just wanted to say how pleased I am with the services provided by your advertisers. I recently bought four 8x57 pre-1899 Turkish contract Oberndorf Mauser's from the kind gentleman in South Carolina [The Pre-1899 Specialist]. I got two of the first batch, and two of the second, nicer rifles. I have to say I was very pleased with the first two, and the second two are in fantastic condition.

I also received excellent service from Vic [at SafeCastle] in purchasing some more freeze dried food supplies. The most important point for me in using your suppliers is that I trust you, and by association I trust them. Though there may be a lengthy delay due to freeze dried food shortages, I have no concerns that I normally would while waiting for a multi-thousand dollar order to arrive. Thank you, Sir. Sincerely, - Steve Mc


In the letter titled "Stocking up on Copper Tubing/Pipe", the writer mentioned wanting to build a still. For those interested, here is an excellent step-by-step guide to building a reflux still: http://designer-drugs.com/pte/
I would be interested in hearing of any potential uses for a still other than making alcoholic drinks. I don't use alcohol or any other drugs, but I am fascinated by the reflux distillation process and its potential uses [for fuel, disinfectant, chemical/formulary processes, et cetera] following a collapse. <>< - Stephen

U.S. Army Dragon Skin body armor test have been delayed.

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Oil and natural gas industry analyst Dr. Joe Duarte reports of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is taking decisive steps to turn off the oil taps to the U.S. He says that
Venezuela's state owned oil company PDVSA has inked a key deal with India, taking the first key step away from the U.S. as its major oil buyer.

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SurvivalBlog reader Scott M. told us about a novel "Send A Brick" congressional mailing campaign has been launched in the U.S., designed to a send a not so subtle message to our legislators about the need for need for better border security. By the way, we've heard that NoNAIS.org is planning "Egg Day" which will involve mailing more than 10,000 plastic Easter eggs.

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The Wiggy's 15% off sale on sleeping bags ends in just nine days. Get your order in soon! OBTW, they also have their woodland camouflage Desert Combat Parkas on sale for 25% off. (A great item.)

"We will continue to make our greatest efforts with the utmost sincerity to seek the prospects of peaceful reunification. Meanwhile, we will never tolerate 'Taiwan independence' and never allow the 'Taiwan independence' secessionist forces to make Taiwan secede from the motherland under any name or by any means." - Chinese President Hu Jintao's speech to CPPCC members on cross-straits relations, March 14, 2005

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Please continue to spread the word about SurvivalBlog. I would greatly appreciate it if you sent a one or two line e-mail to family and friends on your e-mail list. Many thanks!

Many of my recent consulting clients have mentioned the same feeling of unease about the coming years. Perhaps it is just the general predisposition of my consulting clientele, but they nearly all say things to the effect of "I've always been well prepared, but now I consider myself under-prepared, because I feel like something big is coming." One American client summed it up best when he told me, "I get the impression that I'm living on September of 1929 or November of 1941. Something macro scale is approaching, and I want to be in the right place and to be well-provisioned when it happens."

Certainly, recent international events (Iran's posturing and threats, sectarian strife in Iraq, etc.) are cause for alarm, as is the mountain of debt (both public and private) that is looming. Gold is seen as a refuge in times of war or currency chaos, and the fact that gold and other commodities are soaring is indicative that a growing number of savvy investors see trouble coming--especially for the dollar as a currency unit. Whether it will be just another economic head cold or whether it will be double pneumonia remains to be seen. Similarly, wars and major terrorist attacks are difficult to presage. I can't in good conscience make unfounded predictions. In fact, I cannot say anything with certainty other than that tomorrow will not be like today. The bottom line is that we are living in turbulent times and it is prudent to prepare.

The latest murmurings from Wall Street and the Chicago Board of Trade are that the commodities markets have not nearly reached their peak. If anything, the traders say, we are in the opening stages of a secular bull market that will likely continue for several years. As I've stated on previous occasions, the second half of the Aughts will probably look a lot like the second half of the 1970s, with rising interest rates, consumer price inflation, international tensions, and galloping commodities prices.

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We just returned from a family trip down to California. (Which explains the brevity of today's posts.) The trip was enlightening if not downright alarming. I was surprised to hear so many Spanish language radio stations--they are now scattered up and down the AM dial. Some of the city buses now carry advertising placards in Spanish. Immigrant day laborers cluster on street corners, hoping for work at construction sites. I have concluded that the illegal immigration problem needs to be resolved quickly and decisively. In my opinion, the United States needs: 1.) A stout fence and plenty of sensors, regardless of the cost, to make the southern border less porous 2.) Local police and sheriff's departments empowered to arrest illegal aliens, and 3.) A larger staff for the Border Patrol. Without those measures, the gradual demographic of cultural and linguistic change will reach a tipping point in the border states and beyond. I should mention here that I am by no means a racist. Quite the contrary, I am an anti-racist. But I must concur with talk radio show host Michael Savage: "Borders, language, and culture" matter. They, in part, define a society. If those three underpinnings are not preserved, then we will wake up someday and find ourselves in someone else's society

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A rare case of Bubonic Plague in California

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More revelations on Iran's nuclear program

"Remember, no matter where you go... There you are." - Peter Weller, Buckaroo Banzai

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Note: I posted the following to the Usenet newsgroup "misc.survivalism" on July 17. 1997, in response to an ongoing thread about gold and silver. OBTW, at the time, gold was selling for around $320 per ounce, and silver was around $4.25 per ounce.

[LOTS deleted]
> Gold coins frequently are only some part gold - in actuality an
>alloy comprised of MOSTLY gold, but not always.  Different gold coins have
>different gold contents and it's not always clear what percent.  For
>instance, did you know that the US RARELY minted a .999 pure gold coin?
>That's why Kruggerands [sic] and Canadian Maples are more pricey - they are pure
>gold.  US Gold coins are usually a 90% alloy.

That is not correct.  American Eagles weigh around 1.1 ounce, and are .9167
fine. (22 karat.)  You still get a full ounce of gold for your money.  They are made
22 karat for durability. The .999 fine bullion coins are too soft for
general circulation.  They wear quickly.

> Q: Is my preference for small denomination silver over large denomination
> gold sound?
Yes, if you have all your other logistics (food, weapons/ammo/medical)
squared away FIRST.  

> Q: How much of this stuff should I buy?  As much as I can? Some percentage
> of my ability?
Again, after you get everything else squared away, then I'd recommend
putting roughly half of your savings in precious metals.

> Q: What should I do with this stuff in the mean time?  "Safe Deposit" , er,
> isn't.  "Creative Burial?"
Bury it!

> Q: Silver is a private store (ie, the govt cannot confiscate and doesn't
> even know I have it).  How can I keep it that way?  The company does not
> report sales to the IRS.  Hell, purchases of $1,000 or more do not even
> require the collection of taxes.
Bullion coins--even silver .999 --trade dollars"--may eventually be
subject to confiscation (Like the gold confiscation in 1933.)  I'd stick
with "junk" silver (pre-1965 U.S. circulated silver coins), and MS-60 or
higher U.S. numismatic gold pieces, preferably PCGS or NGC encapsulated

> Q: Basically, am I on the right track to preparation for economic crisis?
Only if you buy your "beans, bullets & band-aids" first.  I can't
emphasize that enough!

I have been following the metal’ and copper in particular, as it is a very necessary part of our modern existence.
One of the things I envision, is a shortage of copper tubing. I have been buying a little extra every time I go to the home store. Some of it I plan use for making a still-- for making alcohol, other sizes are for my propane tanks and last but not least, I still have copper [water] pipes in my house that are going on 30 years old, so I have been buying some to replace that.
What is strange, is that copper tubing has almost doubled in prince in the last two years, and they say it’s because of China buying most of the worlds production for electronics and other stuff. Not sure, but I have been getting a good replacement stock of the tubing.
BTW there are several different grades of tubing and you need to be buying the K grade as it is thicker walled, and approved for propane. The M grade is not approved for propane, as it has thinner walls. The K grade bends easily without kinking, and the M grade will not bend [properly] at all. Most of the solder-on fittings are for the M grade and the compression type and flare fittings are for K tubing. - Mel

Cowabunga! Spot silver is over $14 per ounce, and gold is at $621. The shorts are heading for the hills! There may be some fright inducing pull-backs along the way, but I think that this bull market is just getting started. Consider any deep dips your best buying opportunities.

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Richard Kiyosaki on "The Coming Oil Crisis"

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From the Second Amendment Foundation: More than seven months have passed since New Orleans residents were forcibly and illegally disarmed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and starting Monday, April 17, the City of New Orleans will be returning seized firearms to their rightful owners, thanks to legal action by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and National Rifle Association (NRA). 'We’ve learned from the police that starting Monday at 8 a.m., New Orleans gun owners can get their firearms back,” noted SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. “The city had been denying for more than five months that these guns were in possession. Only when SAF and the NRA filed a motion to have Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley held in contempt of court did city officials miraculously discover that more than a thousand seized firearms were being stored.”

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The folks at The Pre-1899 Specialist mentioned that their latest batch of 8 x57 pre-1899 Turkish contract Oberndorf Mauser rifles is by far the nicest that they've ever had. Recognizing their scarcity, one SurvivalBlog reader recently bought four of them. Since they were all made between 1894 and 1896, they are Federally exempt "antiques" --which means no paperwork required for delivery to most states. (No Form 4473 required!)

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Swiss America Trading quotes Frank Gaffney on the Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Threat.

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"Reversion to the mean" bodes well for the price of gold . Less than a year ago, the price ratio of silver to gold was around 70-to-1. Currently, it is bucking the trend and is down to around 44-to-1. Assuming that prices will follow their tendency for the ratio to revert to the long term trend ("reversion to the mean"), that will equate to $980 per ounce gold, even if silver stays in the $14 range. (And I expect $20+ silver within another year.) Tempering this, there are those who contend that the silver/gold ratio will return to the classic 15-to-1 ratio. Why? Unlike gold, most industrial silver is not recovered after use, and eventually the supply of available silver will dwindle.

"We have counted the cost of this contest, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery. - Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon them." - John Dickenson and Thomas Jefferson, Continental Congress, July 6, 1775, Declaration of Causes and Necessity for Taking Up Arms

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

There are a great many imponderables that have surfaced with the current saber-rattling situation in the Middle East. But one thing is clear--the uncertainty is rippling through the commodities markets. I guess you've all seen the higher prices at the gas pump, and the precious metals are spiking. For example, see the charts at Kitco. (To get the big picture, click on the one year chart, down at the bottom of that web page.) Silver was over $13.50 per ounce yesterday afternoon!

What can you do?

1.) Pray for peace. Please pray for the survival of the people and nation of Israel.

2.) If you have any friends that live (or are stationed) in the Middle East, check and see it they have any Potassium Iodate (KI) on hand, to prevent thyroid damage if they are exposed to fallout. They should also have a fallout dosimeter, fallout rate meter, and a charger for both. Warn them about consuming fresh dairy products that are produced in any fallout area. Fallout probably won't be much of issue here in the States unless the situation escalates into a full scale exchange. KI and fallout meters are available from a number of vendors including www.ReadyMadeResources.com , www.KI4U.com, and JRH Enterprises.

3.) Prepare for the global economic consequences of regional war in the Middle East. If you have a propane, gas, diesel, or heating oil tank, switch to more expensive "keep filled" contracts instead of waiting until your tanks get nearly empty for your re-fills. If you don't already have large capacity vehicle and heating fuel storage tanks at your home/retreat, then invest in tanks and keep them full and stabilized. It will be better than money in the bank

4.) Diversify out of the U.S. Dollar. The dollar is already in trouble, and if the Islamic nations declare war on the dollar (since they most assuredly see the U.S. as an ally of Israel), they could both dump their dollar-denominated assets and start demanding payment for oil in Euros. (Part of the current crisis has been caused by Iran announcing a new oil bourse denominated in Euros.) Put your money in tangibles: productive farm land, precious metals, common caliber ammunition, extra guns, gold, and silver will be your best bets. Buy physical metals and hide them very well at home. Don't buy silver or gold ETF shares, or leave your metals in a safe deposit box. In a severe economic crisis, who knows how government might over-react and attempt to seize precious metals assets.

5.) Take prudent food storage measures for your family, with the assumption that the economic impact of war in the Middle East could have far-reaching effects.

6.) Repeat step #1, daily.

Mr. Rawles,

The most vital point, I think, of Buckshot's piece is not that feral dogs will eat us all alive, but that [applying] current attitudes in future scenarios CAN GET YOU KILLED!
  You'd better get you mind wrapped around the hard decisions now the best you can.  Buckshot is exactly right: if you're making decisions on the fly as a situation unfolds, you're dog food.  The same goes for any, shall we say, less-than-polite social encounters with humans.  ARIES (Autonomic Response In Extreme Stress) is an acronym we used when I taught self-defense.  Most guys would pooh-pooh the idea because they were super-fit and could  kick you right in the face with ease.  They never got the idea of Spiritual Point of Origin, a concept that one attains when you've wrestled with all the moral-ethical dilemmas, as well as realizing one's physical capabilities AND limitations.  The "dojo jock" never prepared for any real conflict; it's all a game, but the minute things changed up, they end up getting the cr*p beat out of them.  When you are under stress, you will become much less coordinated, particularly in fine motor skills (read: sight acquisition, operating safety levers, firing-and moving maneuvers) unless they have been practiced to the point of neuro-muscular memory (i.e. second nature).  You WILL perform AS you have practiced, not just WHAT you have practiced.  Remember, practice DOES NOT make perfect; practice makes permanent what is practiced.  Now is the time to deal with the mental aspects of what you will need  to keep you and yours, safe and alive, not when the wolves (dog pack, murderous thugs) are at your door.  A perfect example is the horrific Manson Family murders: while testifying at their trials the women of Charlie's lovely little clan complained bitterly how hard it was to kill Sharon Tate, that she pulled their hair and  kicked and pushed them away. She possessed the will to fight back, but apparently lacked either  the skill to fight effectively, or, more likely, the willingness to injure a fellow human being.  Students in self-defense classes get squeamish when the idea of eye-gouging or kicking to the trachea comes up, but in reality, if you're not willing to do what it takes to win the fight, WHY ARE YOU IN A FIGHT? Better to surrender now, save yourself the beating, and pray that you will be rescued by some unforeseen circumstance.  Remember, suspect first, prospect later.  You are only paranoid if they're not out to get you. - Bonehedz

When I was a river [rafting] guide we used toilets made of [military surplus wooden] rocket boxes.
The premise is to take a large Army rocket box (a toilet lid fits inside ) and use double lined plastic bags and plenty of powdered lime. Regular old lime for the disinfectant.
We would use on of these on extended wilderness rafting trips for 30 or 40 people.
Here’s how it works. Set up the rocket box and remove the large roll of heavy black plastic trash bags. Take TWO bags and double bag them and line the inside of the box.
Set the lid on top and ONLY put toilet paper and feces in the box. All urine goes on the ground. After doing your business  take a small scoop of lime and sprinkle enough of the powder to cover the waste. After finishing, remove the seat and place the lid back on but don’t seal it. The next person comes along, takes the lid off (which keeps the flies out ) and puts the toilet seat on and does the same.
When a bag is full, remove it from the box, and tie off and then put it inside another bag in case of leaks.
This gets put in the trash bags for later disposal. ONE rocket box can handle about 30 people for a weekend easily going through 2 to 4 bags every 2 or 3 days. We always brought two, one for women and one for men. Once ready to break camp, we removed the bag of dump, put the bucket of lime, the roll of trash bags and the lid inside the box and sealed the lid.
This was VERY effective and met the U.S. Forest Service "pack it in, pack it out" rule.
Lime is a VERY good thing to stockpile. In addition to keeping the oders down on feces, it can also keep the odor down on rotting bodies, as will 20 Mule Team Borax. I use that for raw tanning hides and have some that have NEVER been chemical tanned and ONLY had Borax and are now going on 10 years with no hair slippage or odor. These are deer hides that I have made into rugs. - Mel

Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad alternately threatens to annihilate or "liberate" Israel. With these tensions is it any wonder oil an precious metals are spiking?

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David Limbaugh comments on "Immigration Madness"

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It looks as if the short squeeze that I predicted in the silver market is starting to unfold. Look for a substantial spike in the price of spot silver in the next two weeks, as the shorts panic to cover their positions. This spike may very well be followed by some profit taking, but who knows--the stair step pattern may persist.

"Iran has dropped its pretense of benign intent. It has used the passing time to disperse, diversify, conceal, and protect its nuclear centers. But [the U.S.] cannot prevent this through military means—unless it is willing to commit itself to all-out war. Realism about Iran starts with throwing out any plans to bomb." — James Fallows, The Atlantic.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The first letter posted today is a thought-provoking piece directed toward fellow Christians, but the issues that it raises might be of interest to those of you that are of other faiths and even those who are not religious. I often stress charity in my writings. As a Christian, I consider charity my duty, and I feel strongly convicted to have extra food and gardening seed on hand to dispense as charity in the event of a disaster. Even for those of you that are not religious, I still recommend the practice, since it demonstrates kindness, and kindness builds trust instead of distrust. When times get bad, you will want neighbors that you can trust.

 I offer the following discussion (and answers, I hope) for Christians.
Proposition/assumptions: Good financial planning and even seeming ‘common sense’ dictates that we plan our income and expenditures wisely so as to have the ability to withstand a crisis.  This plan makes sense on an intuitive level, and also can be argued quite easily that as a Christian we have a duty to provide for the life and livelihood of our dependents; and that this provision includes saving money and goods for the event of hard times.  Or does it?
Our Christian duty is also unquestionably to be charitable and to avoid the sin of covetousness/greed.  First, some definitions:

Covet (verb: to covet): to wish, long, or crave for something, especially the property of another person
Greed: excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves (syn. Avarice: a more religious term, one of the Seven Deadly Sins)
Charity: (one of the Three Theological Virtues), meaning loving kindness towards others; it is held to be the ultimate perfection of the human spirit, because it is said to both glorify and reflect the nature of God. In its most extreme form charity can be self-sacrificial. Charity is one conventional English translation of the Greek term agapeAgape to the early Christians meant that inner bond of blessed union which united the individual with divinity, and mankind with their fellowmen. Till our eyes are fully opened, "there abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity" (1 Cor 13).  Charity is commonly understood to mean ‘giving to the needy’.
Reflections:  Is there gray area?  Where is it?  Is saving the necessary substantial sum for a child’s college education acceptable?  Is having six months living expenses in the bank acceptable?  Is a year’s worth of food storage acceptable?  Can I save for economic downturns without knowing with certainty that they will come?  Can I save for them knowing for certain that they WILL come, but not for certain that it will result in my inability to provide for my family?
What amount of saving is acceptable?  Where does it become ‘hoarding’?  Is the sin of greed more one of quantity, or one of attitude?
If any amount of saving is acceptable, how much?  Is it acceptable to save excluding  charity until the acceptable amount is reached?  Or are we obliged to give to charity while saving toward that amount?
It is generally accepted that Christians must lend without charging interest; but in what circumstances?  All without exception?  Toward family members?  To other Christians?  Can we earn interest on investments?  Is an interest-earning savings account acceptable? 
Can we earn interest in excess of the rate of inflation without sin?
Can we sell our home for a profit if we do not need a larger home to accommodate our own immediate needs? 
And some rhetorical questions, not meant to insult; but to add more facets for discussion: Does God always provide for his faithful?  Historically, have Christians been safe from starvation through economic hard times?   Is not saving and preparing for disaster a simple reality of living in the temporal world The Almighty has placed us into?  Is saving a function of ‘giving to Caesar’, which is considered acceptable as long as we also give to God? - C.P., MD

I wanted to share the following with you. It really made me stop and think. I just finished reading G. Gordon Liddy’s book "When I Was A Kid, This Was A Free Country." It is a very good read. Chapter seven is titled "Survive Or Prevail," and in it he makes an excellent point. Do we want to survive, or prevail? The dictionary says that "to survive" means merely "to continue to live or exist." Yet the definition of "prevail" means "to overcome; to gain the victory or superiority; to gain the advantage; to have the upper hand, or the mastery; to win; to triumph; to be victorious." Being a survivor and surviving a SHTF situation is not a bad thing, but we are capable of, and should try for much more. We may indeed end up just surviving, but as my Dad used to say: "Shoot for the stars and you might hit the moon. Shoot for the moon, and you might hit your foot." We should all be aiming to be "prevailers." - Gung-Ho

Dear Mr. Rawles,
I have wanted to write to you for a week or two with respect to an oddity.  An increasing number of sources are discussing the degree to which the base metal in the US penny is becoming more valuable than the penny itself.  This is odd, and www.coinflation.comis tracking it with alleged numerical precision.  If I get some spare time this week, I hope to write about the death of the penny in more detail. Best Regards, - K.A.D.

JWR Replies: Silver is about 45 times more bulky than gold, (As I'm writing this, gold is $605.10 per ounce, whereas silver is $13.28 per ounce.) Even still, I prefer investing in silver. It is bulky, but stilll marginally portable. However, in general, I cannot recommend investing in physical copper! It is far too bulky. As a base metal, copper is far too heavy and bulky to be practical as a tangible investment. Just $2,000 worth would be too heavy to carry in a car. Perhaps if you are a retiree that lives at your retreat year-round, and if you have no intention of moving for the rest of our retired life. For anyone else, I cannot recommend investing base metals. Since only pre-1982 U.S. pennies are all copper (the later ones are merely copper-flashed zinc tokens) unless copper skyrockets, it is hardly worth your time to sort pennies. (But you might get lucky and find a cache of prte-1982 penny rolls.)

Chuck the Welding Wizard introduced me to an amazing publication, called the Encyclopedia of "Made it Myself " Ideas. (30th Anniversary Edition, published by the folks at Farm Show Magazine). It has a wealth of knowledge on farm machinery modifications and outlandish inventions, some of which will doubtless prove useful at a retreat. It is available through http://www.farmshow.com. While you are at it, I recommend that you get their collection of magazine back issues on CD-ROM--less than $40 for 30 years of back issues.

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Former Federal Reserve Chairman Al Greenspan says that he regrets "irrational exuberance"

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Another U.S. mountain lion attack


"If you don't have anything worthwhile to pass on, pass on." - Kurt Saxon

Sunday, April 16, 2006

We're having some difficulties getting our continuous loop scrolling ad bar to work with Internet Explorer. :-( So unless you have Firefox, Safari, or Netscape, our ads may "disappear" until we get things straightened out. (Needless to say, I'll be crediting all of our advertisers for some free days.) We may revert to non-scrolling ads for a while. Thanks for your patience.) Firefox browser. It far less glitchy, and most importantly is is much more secure and resistant to viruses.

This article raised a valid point. But I think it overstated the threat. And it conveyed a lot of negative thoughts, like "you will freeze up, your shots will go into the ground, you will be overwhelmed before you can react," etc.
  I'm a dog lover; owner of three Bull Terriers, which are basically civilized, happy Pit Bulls. No question, the strength, destructive potential and "hard to kill" factor of many dogs is true. But the author of that article overlooked a key feature of the "pack mentality." Kill the lead dogs, and the followers probably will slink away.
Granted, the earlier the interdiction the better, via snares or other means. But I'd like to present a more positive scenario if one is attacked. I agree that short barreled, smaller caliber handguns may be inadequate. So if feral dogs are a real risk, carry a shotgun loaded with buckshot. You are less likely to miss, and more certain to stop any dog you solidly hit.
If attacked, identify the alpha dog and his strongest followers (that won't be hard; they'll be in front,) and shoot them in order. If you have six to eight rounds of buckshot, and use them effectively you very probably will prevail. In fact you may be surprised how fast the "follower dogs" run off once the Big Dogs go down.
If the SHTF badly enough for packs of wild dogs to form, one already should have got over that "can't be happening" response. Training should have overcome the "ejecting unfired rounds" syndrome too. If you're still worried about that, get a semi auto shotgun.
Your site is great, and the original article was valid. Just wanted to address the issue from a different perspective. - Mike in Mesa

Mr. Rawles,
I read the article on the housing bubble on SurvivalBlog and would like to add a bit of evidence to the claim.  I currently own a home in Orlando, Florida and haven't sold in five months.  This is unheard of for that region, but it is just not me all the houses in the area having the same problem.  Here are a couple of quotes from my real estate agent on the Orlando market:
"I just returned from a real estate conference in Tampa.  The main topic was the large amount of time listings are sitting the market before they sell.  And, the huge inventory of homes available. 
There are six times more homes on the market right now than this time last year." The Denver market seems to be doing similarly.  My sister is a real estate broker and she heard at a recent conference 50% of all homes for sale in Denver are in foreclosure.
The bubble is bursting. - Sean

Your book "Patriots" radically affected my life: I only wish I had read it pre-Y2K. I live in Nebraska where the farmers are struggling with historically low prices and unprecedented costs for producing their products. Because of their relationships with their creditors(i.e. bankers) they have no choice but to continue going further
into debt. If they don't plant, they will be foreclosed on, but if they do plant,they are probably going to lose even more money. They lose no matter what they do. In spite of the unprofitable nature of farming, the price of land is continuing to appreciate and taxes are rising, making it even more unprofitable. In the last week there have
been rumors that farmers are receiving unsolicited cash offers for their farms from foreign (Chinese) investors. Jim, I believe that in the event of a dollar collapse, we could end up in a situation like that of Argentina, where foreign corporations own the farms and refuse to sell their products for worthless dollars. Additionally, we are
now a net importer of food. Finally, I believe that the rise of Aztlan is attracting the notice of the people that can be awakened and a mass exodus of refugees from the Southwest is about to ensue.
This will have a profound impact on the food supply as investments in this region will become speculative and as the farm laborers become more militant.
In conclusion, while I believe a housing collapse is inevitable, I think that agricultural land in the Northern states will continue to appreciate as long as financing is available. Thanks for all you do. - Neb

Poll says 6 out of 10 Americans consider the income tax unfair.

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An interesting pre-Y2K diary at the Survival-Center web site.

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Commentary from market strategist Emanuel Balarie (quoted at Gold-Eagle.com): "$600 Gold: We Have Only Just Begun"

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I wish you all a joyous Easter, as we celebrate the resurrection of our Passover Lamb, Christ Jesus.

"And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.- Mark 16:5-6

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I am now convinced that the housing bubble in The United States is about ready to pop. Once home sellers see that "the Spring buying season" does not reappear along with hay fever this year, they will get panicky. Up to 30% of the homes that have been sold in the past two years have been sold to over-extended speculators who were hoping to "flip" them--taking advantage of the rising house market. The old saying goes "A rising tide raises all ships." But the inverse is also true. When the flippers realize that they are on a down escalator, they will start discounting their prices to make sure that their "spec" house sells before the music stops. Once this psychology sets in, it is just a matter of time before the mindset of "Get my investment back out of it" is replaced by "Dump it, and save part of my principal, while I still can."

There are already reports coming out of Florida and Southern California of a "buyer's market", with prices being substantially discounted. Some of the big house builders are offering unusual incentives ranging from gym memberships to cruise ship tickets. One of them is even advertising a "selling at our cost" sale, in an attempt to break even. Methinks this smacks of desperation.

As quoted in yesterday's Daily Reckoning (one of my daily "must reads"--BTW, I highly recommend that you sign up for a free subscription) economic analyst Richard Benson offered his insights on why housing is about to go to H*ll:
"Consumer debt is up to $2 trillion (not including $440 billion of revolving home equity loans and $600 billion of second mortgages). Not only do consumers owe a whopping $9 trillion in mortgage debt, but home equity extraction has reached $600 billion annually. Homeowners have basically received, and spent, in excess of $2 trillion that they never
earned (Just take a look at the increase in total mortgage debt in the Federal Reserve's Flow of Funds Data since 2000).
"Home prices are under horrible pressure. There are probably a few million property owners, including speculators, flippers, and second-home buyers, who are in way over their heads. We've all heard stories about second-home buyers who really couldn't afford the luxury and high expense of a second-home priced at $200,000, yet they purchased one for $250,000
and rationalized its affordability because 'the value would only go up to $300,000 or more.' Besides, they naively believed 'It could always be sold quickly in a bidding war for a profit.' In resort areas - given the number of days people actually use their second home - staying at the Ritz for $500 a night could be a much better deal. Do the math; it's not pretty."

My advice: If you have a second home, sell it muy pronto. And if you anticipate moving within the next two or three years, sell your house and rent. The hassle of moving to a rental is nothing compared to the mental anguish of being "upside down" in a house mortgage in a plummeting market. The next five years will be a great time to be a renter. One unusual approach that might be prudent: Sell your house to a property management company, and then rent it back from them. Let them watch the value of the house go down. meanwhile, you'll sleep well.

Mr. Rawles:

I have maintained that next to water, food, medicine, and defense; waste disposal is going to be a BIG unexpected problem if and when any prolonged interruption of services occur after 9/11 part 2 or some other calamity eventually happens.
One of the reasons New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) is not rebounding is that garbage that piled up after Katrina is still rotting in the streets.
People that I have seen at my place of work from that area say that less than 5000 people showed up for Mardi-Gras this year because of the stench of rotting garbage and even corpses of dead animals that are still in the streets, waterways, and sewers. Many that showed up stayed a day and left Ricky-Tick because the air quality was so bad.
In my own back yard, we had no garbage pick up for nearly 10 days after hurricane Rita. People from other areas began to trespass dumping their waste in our area or putting it in the burn pile. The president of the homeowners' association was notified and went to the dumpsters and burn pile and put up a chain link fence and notice in order to secure the area.
We tried calling the Sheriff's department, but they would not respond to anything that was not considered "life threatening." I can only imagine what would have happened if things had gone on for several more weeks, months, or if the entire State had been affected.
Most Americans take waste disposal for granted with curbside garbage pick-up, flush toilets, and sink disposal systems. Where I live, we have none of these "luxuries" and they can be a hassle at times.
During inclement weather, taking the trash to the dumpster is a hassle. Kitchen scraps have to be taken to the compost pile, and wastewater either goes to the septic system if it is blackwater, and to a cache for reuse if it is greywater. The septic tank has to be babied, and you have to be very careful what you pour down the sink, since the water is reused.
One of the big problem during Katrina was that during the flooding, with waters up to 20 feet high, all the household chemicals that were typically stored under the sink contaminated the entire city and will never biodegrade. (At least not in our lifetimes.)
Again, I bring these issues up because most people do not consider them a high priority. In a situation where the service infrastructure fails, it is not going to be a matter of how your 401(k) is invested or how many guns you own. It is going to be a matter of how well you can deal with seemingly insignificant things like what to do with your own body waste.- RJL 

Letter Re: Unintended Consequences of a Failure of Basic Services in a Disaster

Mr. Rawles:

I have maintained that next to water, food, medicine, and defense; waste disposal is going to be a BIG unexpected problem if and when any prolonged interruption of services occur after 9/11 part 2 or some other calamity eventually happens.
One of the reasons New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) is not rebounding is that garbage that piled up after Katrina is still rotting in the streets.
People that I have seen at my place of work from that area say that less than 5000 people showed up for Mardi-Gras this year because of the stench of rotting garbage and even corpses of dead animals that are still in the streets, waterways, and sewers. Many that showed up stayed a day and left Ricky-Tick because the air quality was so bad.
In my own back yard, we had no garbage pick up for nearly 10 days after hurricane Rita. People from other areas began to trespass dumping their waste in our area or putting it in the burn pile. The president of the homeowners' association was notified and went to the dumpsters and burn pile and put up a chain link fence and notice in order to secure the area.
We tried calling the Sheriff's department, but they would not respond to anything that was not considered "life threatening." I can only imagine what would have happened if things had gone on for several more weeks, months, or if the entire State had been affected.
Most Americans take waste disposal for granted with curbside garbage pick-up, flush toilets, and sink disposal systems. Where I live, we have none of these "luxuries" and they can be a hassle at times.
During inclement weather, taking the trash to the dumpster is a hassle. Kitchen scraps have to be taken to the compost pile, and wastewater either goes to the septic system if it is blackwater, and to a cache for reuse if it is greywater. The septic tank has to be babied, and you have to be very careful what you pour down the sink, since the water is reused.
One of the big problem during Katrina was that during the flooding, with waters up to 20 feet high, all the household chemicals that were typically stored under the sink contaminated the entire city and will never biodegrade. (At least not in our lifetimes.)
Again, I bring these issues up because most people do not consider them a high priority. In a situation where the service infrastructure fails, it is not going to be a matter of how your 401(k) is invested or how many guns you own. It is going to be a matter of how well you can deal with seemingly insignificant things like what to do with your own body waste.- RJL 

Dear Jim:
The article "A New Breed of Feral Dogs", by Buckshot was excellent.  I think he's right that far too many of us only have "Lassie" or "Benji" idea of dogs.  One generation back my family had labs and would have trusted them with their lives.  Remember the old dog lover vs. cat lover saying, "If you die alone in your home, your dog will die at your side, but if you have a cat, it will eat you".  I certainly prefer dogs to cats, but I  was over to friend's home who had a Doberman and felt very uncomfortable with that animal, and kept watching where it was. My aunt was once suddenly attacked at a friend's home by their dog, and had to protect her with her left forearm, which the dog mauled before the owners could get control of the beast.  She had to have plastic corrective surgery and had to go to her only daughter's wedding with a cast over it.  Was the dog put down for that?  Unfortunately this happened in California, so no, it wasn't.  My Uncle threatened to kill the dog, and they told the police, and the police threatened him.
In the recent 2004 movie The Day After Tomorrow, they had to make the giant leap of faith that a pack of wolves somehow escaped from the New York City zoo, but notice this is what they chose as the terrifying nemesis from nature – being hunted by a pack of wolves in New York City.  There is something about that, being the elk, being the moose, surrounded by the pack that is a scary thought.
With our modern day veterinary science keeping dogs far more healthy, we forget about the image of a dog "foaming at the mouth" – and thus being rabid and dangerous.  I think people in very rural areas do have more of an appreciation for this article.  I had a friend who, as a young teenager in Northern Wisconsin got cornered on a dock alone while fishing by a smaller dog, literally foaming at the mouth.  He used his fishing poles to fend it off from coming toward him on the narrow dock, and considered jumping off and swimming for it, when the dog heard something in the woods and took off.  After a few minutes he ran to the cabin and called his father.  He, a few men then hunted it down as it was vacation area with a lot of children. The point one of the men made that my friend remembered was – "Once a dog goes wild, it's different than other wild animals because it has no fear at all of man."
My brother recently went fishing in Alaska and brought a .45 Winchester Magnum, an actual "Grizzly Mag" on an [oversize] 1911 frame.  The guides up there though used 12 gauge with Moose shot (OOO size buckshot, I believe) and aim for the face seeking to take out the eyes and have the shot go into the brain and take the big animal down.  For those of you who can't walk around with a gun, remember the old postman's remedy, pepper spray.  It's an easy thing to carry, especially if you are just out walking or even biking in a rural area.  My sister in law loves to run in rural areas, and I have finally convinced not to do that without pepper spray on her, dogs being one of the main reasons is used.  Cheers, Buckshot, great article on something we all should consider. - Rourke

For those of you that own .223 AK-47s, I just noticed that the folks at K-VAR got in a batch of those nifty Bulgarian "clear" plastic AK magazines. Tell them that Jim Rawles at SurvivalBlog sent you.

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DEA Agent shoots himself in the foot during lecture--stupidity caught on tape

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The markets were closed yesterday for Good Friday, but the New York Access ("after hours") Market was open, and the commercial traders bid spot silver up to $12.91 per ounce! With silver consistently holding over $12.70 and the launch of two silver ETFs just around the corner, a "short squeeze" in silver is looking more likely. If there is indeed a full scale squeeze on the short sellers, spot silver could jump to $18 an ounce (or higher) within the span of a week. Mark my words...

"Taxation with representation ain't so hot either." - Gerald Barzan

Friday, April 14, 2006

The biggest myth is that dogs are your friend. People have been around tame dogs their entire lives. A dog is the friendly one, protects you, fights off wild animals for you. He is your best friend. Once a true collapse happens people well have that mindset. The mindset is: dogs are our friends therefore friends are not going to hurt me. Woman with their kind hearts are very vulnerable to attacks. Because in their world if you love enough the dog won't hurt you. Nothing wrong with women thinking this way today, just a mindset based on a life experience with dogs all being good. What I truly fear is when a collapse happens and million upon millions upon millions of dogs will be turned loose. It will be done out of short-sighted kindness: "We'll let Rover go, so he won't starve. He can hunt rabbits." They will revert back 10,000 years to a true wild animal. Disney will be a distant memory and life and death struggles will happen everyday. Packs will form, based on survival instinct. Just like man if you are going to survive you have to adapt. So will the packs. The dogs will learn what attacks that work and what causes death or injuries to them. This will result in a new breed of some very feral dogs.

Say you leave and your wife, or daughter who is going to work in the garden. To be safe you give her a .38 Special loaded with hollow points. A pit bull comes in to attack. She fires thinking it will be just like TV and the dog will fly off four feet and die. But instead the dog charges in for the kill. Now your wife, daughter, son or you will have a very good understanding of "fight or flight." Your life experience base on TV is saying Dogs are your friend. TV has taught you that when you do shoot the dogs is supposed to drop dead. Right then a whole new reality is going to happen in seconds. What do you do? Are you thinking: this could never happen. One shot and the dog is done. Read one of the e-mails I received on this very subject:

In reference to your writings on dogs. I'm was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. And I am lucky to have had a grandfather who taught me all the advantages to learning about weapons for hunting and survival. When I was about 17 yrs. old I got a call from my mom about my older brother who seemed to always have disagreements with local law enforcement. Well, it seemed he was going away for a short vacation, if you know what I mean, and it seemed my mom was stuck with dealing with my brother's large stock of pit-bulls and a couple of pit-bull-Doberman crossbreeds. Majority of the dogs I had no problem getting rounded up and taken to the humane society. Now a couple, mainly a crossbreed named Dragon, was going to be a different story. No one could get close to him because he was so vicious, even my brother had trouble with him. Well, I knew the humane society wouldn't take a mean dog so I opted to put him down rather than have him hurt someone or God forbid a child. So I took a Charter Arms .38 caliber snub nose with hollow-points and proceeded to put him down. As I approached him he was snarling and trying to break the chain that was tethering him to a broken down '71 Chevy pickup truck axle still attached to the truck. I shot him from about 5 yards away and hit him behind the left ear. To my shock and amazement he yelped once and proceeded to jerk the truck sideways sliding it about 4 or 5 inches in my direction forcing me to jump back about two feet, almost losing my footing. I hastily shot him two more times, once in the chest and another in the neck before he finally fell. The ordeal had me shaken up a bit to say the least. I knew that if he would have had less tied to him he would have easily jerked free and I'm not sure if I would have been quick enough with the follow up shots. I learned very fast the choice of a .38 caliber was not enough for a dog, and he wasn't a very large dog either, I would say probably 65 lbs. tops. And I know of countless other dogs just in that neighborhood alone many from the same bloodline, and I would hate to even think of them getting loose and into a pack mentality. Thanks for bringing this very likely scenario to me as it never even crossed my mind once. I was only thinking of the 2-legged threat while not thinking of the obvious 4-legged one.

Now you are thinking: "My wife carries a 9mm Glock". My answer, "So what?" There have been plenty of cases where police have shot attacking dogs with 9mm Parabellums and been chased on top of their patrol car, after the dog was hit numerous times from the 9 mm. I don't want this to get in a huge debate over what gun to carry. If you are going to carry a sidearm its caliber had better start with "4". But it is more than that. Okay, the gun is a .45 are you sure you can hit a charging, growling, snapping dog running at you at 30 m.p.h. with four of his friends behind him. How about your wife, how about your daughter, your son, your best friend? In a true life and death struggle most people go through a slow motion time frame, tunnel vision, and based on your life experiences you can make critical or even fatal mistakes. Our mind is a wonderful computer. It will fill in voids, your mind is going to open the dog folder, dogs are your best friend this causes hesitating, your next folder will open up this is a attack like a pack of wolves killing an elk. Right then you realize you have changed from being predator to prey, then your adrenaline dump will happen. perhaps 80% of untrained people will make a critical error next. They will freeze. Just like a computer that is getting conflicted reports it freezes up. Their mind will be screaming "This isn't happening!" and like a deer in the headlights staring at the oncoming semi truck, the dogs will knock them off their feet.

The new breed of wild dogs will have a system to kill humans, base on past success. They have no natural fear of man, they normal get fed by man, it will be natural to turn to man for food, even if the food is man himself. They will work out a hunting system because they are pack animals. Like wolves circling a deer, like a single lion chasing the herd of impala into the main pack, like an alligator waiting for the Zebra to dip his head for a drink. You see, the predator's job is to survive. In order for them to survive they must work out a hunting system. The new breed wild dogs will work out a hunting system, with humans as their prey. As I have stated previously in my writings, the normal American household has less then 50 rounds of centerfire ammo. [JWR adds: And roughly only half of households have a gun.] There will be millions of people walking around unarmed. The dogs will have a system worked out before they find you. In other words, you are dealing with seasoned troops. The troops attacking you are successful human hunters--otherwise they wouldn't be attacking you.

The attacking force is successful, vicious, and is miles ahead of you in the thought process. They know what their goal is, to feed on you. They have successful stalked to within strike range. You have entered the kill zone. This is analogous to the hunting method of a dog I once owned: The dog was smart and hated squirrels crossing our lawn. The dog would sleep under a pine tree. This dog from past hunting experiences knew when the squirrel was in the kill zone. The kill zone was the point of no return for the squirrel. He would be too far from the safety of the tree he just left and too far from the safety of the tree he was heading to. The dog would charge out and before the squirrel reach the tree he was caught and killed. The squirrel made the critical mistake of entering the kill zone.

This is my point. Having watched dogs my whole life, hunt with me or by themselves I have an understanding based on reality. Even with me giving you these written warnings, people are still going to hit the critical kill zone from dog packs. The new breed wild dogs will allow you to enter their kill zone or stalk you until they feel you are in their kill zone. When you become aware of the attack you will have precious few seconds to react. Having read hundreds of true attack stories, people have reported essentially the same thing: "I could not believe it was happening to me. I froze not knowing what to do." This is why I am writing this, hopefully to to open your eyes. Dogs are attacking. Hopefully your computer brain will hit the "wild dog attacks" file and you will react. But even if you clear leather of your holster in time, bring the handgun up and fire. The distance is already critical. Missed shots could be fatal. The first missed shot or not damaging enough to put the dog down is going to cause you to have a second adrenaline dump. Your heart rate is going to change from a normal 75 beats a minute to 150 beats a minute. You are now going into a panic as you try to fire faster, praying that one will hit the target. Police officers in shoot-outs have often shot the ground on their first shot trying to return fire too fast in a high stress situation. People have gotten buck fever and worked lever action .30-30s without firing--ejecting fully loaded rounds to the ground. (I've seen this happen. When asked later what he was doing, he replied: "I was shooting at the deer." In his mind, he was shooting. But all around him are littered unfired cartridges. Yes, it happens!) Firearms training is crucial. You must be confident and competent with all of your defensive guns.

My point is that you don't know how you are going to react. You have entered the kill zone of seasoned troops whose whole survival is base on successful hunts. Now wouldn't it better if you had a working system to catch the new breed of wild dogs before you enter the kill zone? To start, the best thing you can do is put away 10 dozen medium snares at your retreat. You can easily surround all the main trails coming into to your area. It might not stop them all but if you have a pack of 30 coming in and only three make it through, then you just increased your survivability by tenfold.

There is no better survival tool for the new breed wild dogs then real professional grade self locking snares. Get the DVD. Learn how to use these wonderful tools for gathering food and for protecting your retreat, your livestock, your family, and yourself. See: http://www.buckshotscamp.com/Video-6-Sales.htm and http://www.buckshotscamp.com/Snares-Buckshots-Medium-Sales.htm.

Hopefully you will never have to see this threat first hand. But I know the city people mindset when it comes to their dogs. There are 100 million dogs in America. What if only 10% turn in to feral packs. That is still 10 million predators. Work out a hunting system. It will take years for them to get cleared out. There could be packs that breed that have even smarter and more vicious offspring. The pack teaches the hunting system the offspring learns what works and what doesn't. Each time they will get smarter. Can you imagine how bad it could be 10 years after a collapse if these packs are not brought under control? That is enough to keep you up at nights. - Buckshot

I think this would come under the heading of privacy....or our losing more and more of it on a daily bases. I got a call from my cell phone company today (US Cellular) they told me that I was going to be required to bring in my old phone...the same one I have had for five years... and trade it for one that was capable of being tracked by 911 (these are the [E-911] ones with GPS chips in them.) I told them that I did not want to. They told me I had no choice. They said that continuing to use the phone would result in FCC fines. (Has anyone else heard about this?) It seems that the only choice they are letting me have is picking out my new phone. So I'm going to have to do this, and according to them everyone who has an old phone is also going to be required to trade. So, I guess I will also be building a Faraday cage to keep my phone in when not in use. Actually, I'm just going to keep it in an ammo can. Hey, it's my business where I go and what I do, not the government's. - The Army Aviator

A bad omen for the U.S. stock market?

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Mike the Blacksmith pointed us to this interview with Dr. Michael Osterholm of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy about H5N Asian Avian Flu.

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Middle East expert Ken Timmerman (one of my associates from my days with Defense Electronics magazine) reports on the "Big George" attack plan for war with Iran

"Put it on a plate, son. You'll enjoy it more." - Mrs. Maddox, Repo Man

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I have recently been pondering the far-reaching implications of a grid-down economic collapse situation--commonly called The End of the World as We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) in survivalist circles. One of the under-emphasized implications of TEOTWAWKI will be the psychological stress of the situation--both upon you and upon your neighbors. For many years, psychologists have used the Holmes-Rahe Social Adjustment Scale (also commonly called the "Life Events Stress Scale") to gauge the level of stress that their patients are experiencing. I can foresee that a TEOTWAWKI situation will be off the scale for any of your neighbors that are not prepared. In short, a lot of them are going to come unglued. If you live in a city or suburb, expect to see a lot of your neighbors become so profoundly stressed that they will develop manias, phobias,and compulsions. You can also expect a good portion if them to commit irrational and criminal acts. With both the land line and cellular phone systems down, even if the police are still on duty, they will not know where to respond. I anticipate that the stress level will be lower in rural areas, but still profound. Just the loss of access to the mass media will cause stress in a lots of individuals. Think back to the emotional trauma that the survivors of  Hurricane Katrina went through. Now imagine a nationwide crisis, with no relief in sight. It will be "YOYO" (You're on Your Own) time, and it won't be pretty.

The Life Events Stress Scale is a useful tool for characterizing the stress that an individual is experiencing. You've probably seen this scale presented in a high school or college course. Looking at this scale, can you imagine the cumulative level of stress that you will feel when the power grid goes down and the 18-wheelers stop rolling? Now picture yourself as one of your "Joe Sixpack" neighbors. Typically, he has: no food storage plan, no alternative home heating plan, no alternative power system, no stored fuel for his vehicles, no method for treating pond water (when water stops miraculously pouring from the faucet.)  Talk about stress!

Life Events - Scale of ImpactScore
Death of spouse 100
Divorce 73
Marital separation from mate 65
Detention in jail, other institution 63
Death of a close family member 63
Major personal injury or illness 53
Marriage 50
Fired from work 47
Marital reconciliation 45
Retirement 45
Major change in the health or behavior of a family member 44
Pregnancy 40
Sexual difficulties 39
Gaining a new family member  (e.g., through birth, adoption, oldster moving, etc.) 39
Major business re-adjustment  (e.g., merger, reorganization, bankruptcy) 39
Major change in financial status 38
Death of close friend 37
Change to different line of work 36
Major change in the number of arguments with spouse 35
Taking out a mortgage or loan  for a major purchase 31
Foreclosure on a mortgage or loan 30
Major change in responsibilities at work 29
Son or daughter leaving home  (e.g., marriage, attending college) 29
Trouble with In-laws 29
Outstanding personal achievement 28
Spouse beginning or ceasing to  work outside the home 26
Beginning or ceasing formal schooling 26
Major change in living conditions 25
Revision of personal habits  (dress, manners, associations, etc.) 24
Trouble with boss 23
Major change in working hours or conditions 20
Change in residence 20
Change to a new school 20
Major change in usual type and/or amount of recreation 19
Major change in church activities  (a lot more or less than usual) 19
Major change in social activities  (clubs, dancing, movies, visiting) 18
Taking out a mortgage or loan for a lesser purchase (e.g., for a car, TV, freezer, etc.) 17
Major change in sleeping habits 16
Major change in the number of family get-togethers 15
Major change in eating habits 15
Vacation 13
Christmas season 12
Minor violations of the law (e.g. traffic tickets, etc. )

This scale was first developed in the mid-1960s. In my estimation it is not useful as a tool for gauging cumulative stress levels, so don't attempt to "add up" your stress level. Just consider it a tool in generalities. Also, parts of this scale are most likely out-dated.  For example, consider the category: "Taking out a mortgage or loan for a lesser purchase". Our society has become so debt-addicted that additional debt is no longer considered stressful.  (Perhaps it will be when mass unemployment makes paying those debts impossible.) The scale also does not reflect the modern-day reliance on communications systems such as cell phones, e-mail, and instant messaging/text messaging. These days, "server crash "hard disk drive failure", and "unexpected deletion of e-mail archives" should be added to the list.  More importantly, the scale does it address the potential psychological impact of the loss of infrastructure that would be concomitant with TEOTWAWKI. For some, life without electricity and indoor plumbing might rate as high as the death of spouse.

Looking at this scale and comparing it with the potential psychological effects of a grid-down economic collapse situation, you can see why I often emphasize:

1.) The importance of living at your intended retreat before times get bad.  Moving by itself is quite stressful.  Can you imagine the stress of moving under duress? How about the stress of having to leave the majority of your possessions behind?  Make the move now and you will obviate that stress.

2.) Communications-- consider the stress of being out of contact with loved ones in the event of TEOTWAWKI. Invest in a HF ham radio transceiver. Someday you may be glad that you did.

3.) Food storage. If you have lots of food stored, you won't have to worry about whether or not you can eat, or the stress of seeing your children go hungry.

4.) Storing extra for charity. Obviously you cannot store enough food to feed all of your neighbors. This is why moving to a rural agricultural area makes sense. Odds are that you will be living in an area where the majority of your neighbors already have a vegetable garden and do home canning. Many will already have livestock. So it will just be a minority that will have no stored food at all. If you have extra wheat, rice, beans, and gardening seed to distribute, then you will be doing your Christian duty, and you will probably be building valuable friendships in the process.

5.) Addictions. What will life for your family be like without cigarettes, alcohol, junk food, and television? The more addictions that you can eliminate now, will equate to less stress after the onset of TEOTWAWKI. The side benefits will be that your family will be healthier and able to withstand the other stresses without succumbing to disease.

6.)  Alternative power and heat. Having no power will be a huge stress.  You can judge how stressful it will be to your family by their present-day reactions to local short-term power failures. How will you cook without power for the stove, oven, or microwave? How will you keep warm? Lights?  What about recreation?  Our kids are book worms but vast majority of children and teenagers that we know de-stress by watching DVDs, playing electronic games, and listening to their music.  Can you supply alternative power for electronic de-stressing devices?

7.)  Long term "house guests." Odds are that you will have relatives arrive on your doorstep on TEOTWAWKI+1.  (You are the member of the family that they tease for being "over-prepared."  But guess where they will go when the Schumer hits the fan? Your house. Think in terms of storing extra gardening tools, gloves, bedding, linens--and even more blankets or tarps to improvise privacy screens, et cetera.  Think this through, folks.

8.)  Life without television. We only owned a  TV for two years of our 18 years of marriage. We sold it before our last move because we concluded that it was a huge waste of time. There is an old saying: "Its easy to get along with what you've never had."

In addition to the major sources of stress that I mentioned, ponder the umpteen minor stressers that will come with TEOTWAWKI. Do your best to eliminate as many sources of stress as possible, in advance.

Reference: "Social Readjustment Rating Scale" - Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe. Published in Journal of Psychosomatic Research,1967, Vol. II, p. 214.


I noticed that you have remained relatively quiet on the millions of illegal aliens that have been demonstrating in dozens of American cities this past week..was wondering if you considered the Marxist led demonstrations that call for the death, expulsion of Americans on our own soil by foreigners a threat or a concern? I find it disheartening that so many are chiming in about potential asteroid strikes yet no comments about the very real and present threat posed by so many millions right in our own midst. Hope American wake up, its seems that the 12-20 million illegal aliens are quiet awake, hope to see the 280+ million 'legal' Americans as well shake themselves from their slumber and start taking this 'reconquista' as the threat for what it really is. I myself have contacted my representatives here in Idaho, recounting my experiences of living amongst illegal aliens in California and recounting the utter devastation that their presence has proved to be in California (overcrowded schools, overtaxed hospitals, highways, insurance problems associated with non-legal residents, the travesty of a people that largely refuse to learn our language, do not embrace our culture, except for the basic concept of making money.) I find it odd that so many in the survivalist community have largely ignored this 'clear and present danger' and instead are scurrying to renounce supposed racial bigotry when that is not the point. The point is we have been invaded by a foreign people and the flow continues at the rate of a half division of people a day! When I lived in southern California I had several illegal aliens tell me to my face they were planning on 'taking back' the southwest. I was hearing this rhetoric nearly 20 years ago! It is now being said rather publicly and MUCH more frequently. The Marxist leaders of these mass demonstrations have even had the Mexican flags removed and replaced with American flags. (Better to fool the gringo with, I've been told!) The 'Plan of San Diego' has even been trotted out, a plan to 'kill all males 16 and older'. You can Google that as well as all the other key phrase's like 'reconquista' and see for yourself the seriousness of the threat. I hope that the 'survivalist' community decides to comment on this threat and plan accordingly. Best Regards! - JD in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho

JWR Replies: Thanks for your comments. You summed up the situation very succinctly. OBTW, when Googling "reconquista" , I recommend also doing  a search on "Aztlan.")

Although I agree with you that illegal immigration is a big issue, you have to consider that not everyone reading SurvivalBlog lives in the United States.(We have readers in 60 countries--see our hit map.) Our readers in England and Australia probably could care less about U.S. domestic political issues. I have noticed that the immigration issue has been well-covered in other media outlets. Trumpeting the illegal immigration issue on SurvivalBlog probably would not accomplish a lot. (Ditto for a lot of other political issues, which I consciously de-emphasize.) You can see that on a gazillion other blogs and web sites, such as The Barnes Review and American Patrol. Instead, I try to cover the survival-related topics that the MSM overlooks. Scroll through the subject lines for the past three or four weeks of SurvivalBlog postings. (Try finding those topics on CNBC or even on WorldNetDaily!)

It was funny that the majority of the criticism to my last writing had to do with the Mayan calendar and the Bible Code since I didn't consider that my main focus and was meant as a lead in. I will say most prophecy is simply too vague to be useful, and the only time it really catches my attention is when separate sources, separated by thousands of miles, hundreds or thousands of years, and of different religions and cultures, somehow reach the same conclusion. My real intent was more so to play "connect the dots" with what NASA and the US Federal Government are doing along these lines. Do you realize that Yucca Mountain is a $48 Billion dollar project, meaning of course it will actually cost several times that (private sector utilities can only dream of that cash outlay). The drilling machine doing it is like the one that made the Chunnel between England and France, and the initial tunnel is 10 miles long. Since the US government won't allow the reclaiming of spent nuclear material (like France does and we should too IMHO), presently all nuclear "waste" is stored on site with each reactor (a method which seems to have been working). If anyone would ask the private sector, I'm sure an above-ground facility on government land in Nevada (since nobody wants it in there back yard and the Federal government owns most of Nevada) could be done for a couple hundred million, and it could then be watched. Bury and forget for 10,000 years doesn't sound like a good strategy, but it does allow for justification of building such a deep and gigantic underground system which could be used for other things. Presently we know about NORAD and Weather Mountain, and presume there are other such huge underground secret government facilities. (http://www.sauderzone.com/ubtlinks.htm -that one is the least UFO-based, so don't start in on that please) Thanks in particular to Michael Williamson for that great link, which really makes the point it happened before, thus it will happen again. Remember, those are just the land strikes. Since the Earth is 2/3 water, statistically twice as many as shown on that site on land - have hit water and no doubt made tsunamis that made the 2005 tsunami one look like nothing. This should be a concern to anyone living anywhere near the ocean, and not on very high ground. Also, I am aware of the propulsion ideas, where land craft would land on an inbound asteroid and then apply thrust to send it off course. The problem there is we currently we lack the technology to do this to a sufficient extent. Comets (or "giant dirty snow balls") are real wild cards, and according to many scientists impossible to stop (but they've been wrong). Remember the Near Earth Object Program has a stated goal of identifying 90% of objects one kilometer or larger, though they are identifying basically everything they can find. The fear is one sneaking up from behind the sun, or some viewpoint we can't see very well, thus giving us almost no warning. The only thing I hope people take away is two fold: 1.) This is a serious threat with a long term proven history of catastrophes, and 2.) Keep an eye on what NASA is doing. If you knew, would you tell people? I agree with the comments that the general pubic (especially considering world wide) would probably not be as cooperative and well-behaved as portrayed in the movie Deep Impact. I'll close this with another movie reference: Remember Close Encounters of the Third Kind? When the Piggly Wiggly semi-trucks start pulling into Yucca Mountain, worry and prepare.- Rourke http://groups.yahoo.com/group/survivalretreat

The Army Aviator mentioned this great article by Bob Carter in England about the global warming issue.

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SurvivalBlog reader "KYPD" mentioned that Mel Tappan's book Survival Guns is now back in print. You can get a copy at Delta Press for only $24.95. Delta Press also has many other very handy books such as "Nuclear War Survival Skills", "Where There Is No Doctor", Where There Is No Dentist", "Ditch Medicine" and other hard to find titles.

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Of interest to home schoolers--and anyone else interested in U.S. history: The story of the Gadsen ("Don't Tread on Me") flag.

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The dates for more rifle matches and clinics for the RWVA Apleseed Tour have been inked in:
Indiana, Evansville: April 29/30
Wyoming, Guernsey: May 13/14
Wyoming, Worland: May 27, 28, 29 (in conjunction with Boston T. Party's Free State Wyoming Jamboree- but open to everyone!
Idaho, Coeur d'Alene: June 10/11
Alabama, Birmingham: June 24/25

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From Gold -Eagle: Philip Barton's Commentary on Market Fundamentals.

"When written in Chinese, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity." - John F. Kennedy

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I'd like to add some input to the meteor thread. First, there's a near complete (based on our knowledge) and growing database at: http://www.unb.ca/passc/ImpactDatabase/ that shows the residual effects of quite a few impacts. Megaton range impacts occur surprisingly frequently--about once a century. Tunguska level events (that killed almost everything in 2000 sq miles) occur about every thousand years.
I don't like Deep Impact as a scenario, because I cannot for the life of me see 300 million Americans, not to mention the rest of the world, just accepting that a select few will go into a safe cavern, without a global riot that would likely end civilization in the process.
The original and accurate story of this type of impact, involving a comet in this case, was Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's "Lucifer's Hammer," which I recommend all survival minded readers check out. It covers panic reaction prior to the event and during, and coping mechanisms for a post-holocaust world, including the problems (in 1976) that many children would have without TV. Add cell phones and computers to that (This is a serious emotional issue for current military recruits denied their cell phones and Internet for a couple of months) and a great many young people who can't grasp the destruction will still be in psychological shock. Add in food, transport, disease and bandits, and it's a grim tale without being excessively emotional.
The best way to deal with Earth-grazing asteroids is not to attempt to blow them up, but to use charges to divert them--a subsurface detonation can move enough mass to act as a rocket. This causes the asteroid to divert into another orbit that doesn't intersect with Earth. Any large enough mass can't be destroyed, but will gravitationally coalesce back into an effectively solid mass in fairly short order.
Related threats include the potential of Yellowstone every 650,000 years (It's been about 650,000 years) to erupt and spew 200 cubic MILES of ejecta into the atmosphere. And a sufficient earthquake could trigger multiple Cascade Range eruptions from California's Mt. Baker all the way up into Alaska. I've been threatening to write the SF story of a 50 megaton impact in Yellowstone triggering it, the Cascades, the San Andreas and New Madrid faults...
Speaking of the New Madrid Fault, it's potentially more dangerous than San Andreas--the soil structure of the eastern US is such that ground waves are possible with a strong tremor. The effects could travel as far as the Carolinas and Pennsylvania. I'll leave everyone with those cheery thoughts of Mother Nature for now. - Michael Z. Williamson

I had the opportunity to speak to one of the Bible Code team rabbis and this is important for people planning their future to know. Bible code only works on five books of Torah. It doesn't predict the future only several possible outcomes. Its purpose is to show evidence divine inspiration by being several hundred thousand times more organized and patterned than normal text.  Mayan calendar or any non -Torah based prophecy is derived either from necromancy or astrology. These two methods may appear effective but they are reading from the wrong end of the process and their purpose is to give free will to reject prayer as the real answer. [When you] rejects the Creator and worship the creation and your life will be ruled by the stars, I choose to be in the hands of G-d who moves worlds at his whim.

A comet strike story is well told in [Niven and Pournelle's novel] Lucifer's Hammer which covers many survival topics one of my favorites. If such a strike comes to pass it like all of life is just a step toward the final redemption. Happy and Kosher Pesech  (Our big bug out from Egypt) - David in Israel


Rourke needs to check his facts. The Aztec calendar does not end in 2012 or any other date. It is as open ended a calendar as any other. There is a neat astronomical alignment at the end of 13-baktun/21dec2012, but that's all it is- scientifically speaking anyway.- K


Mr. Rawles:
Good article on asteroid impacts. But as it lead off with the Mayan calendar ending in 2012, I must comment. What no one seems to mention when they talk about the end date is that it might not mean a darn thing. The Mayan civilization ended from resource depletion. Doesn't it stand to reason maybe the guys that were making the calendar died off before they could finish the job? Sorry, I just had to comment. Take care, Great job, - Jim

SurvivalBlog reader R.H. forwarded us a link to an accurate summation of the illegal immigration situation in the U.S. by Cinnamon Stillwell.

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I just stumbled across a downloadable version of Mel Tappan's book, "Tappan on Survival." It is a "must read" for anyone who is serious about preparedness.

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SurvivalBlog reader "Merlin" mentioned that the documentary series "Victory at Sea" has recently been spotted on sale in WalMart DVD "dump bins" for only $5.50 for the entire series. That series is one of my favorite documentaries. (I included it my list of recommend videos in my Bookshelf page.)

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt, Address at the Sorbonne, 1910

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

If you have not yet visited the web sites for each of our advertisers, please do so. They have some hard to find products at great prices.

Just over a month ago we were marveling at the fact that silver was solidly over $10 per ounce. I just checked the charts at kitco.com, (see: http://www.kitco.com/charts/livesilver.html) and spot silver was at $12.80 per ounce! (As a data point: The New York close was at $12.05 just four days ago--Friday April 7th. Quite a change since then!)  At the current spot price, means that a $1,000 face value bag of pre-1965 circulated ("junk") silver U.S. coinage worth $9,152 wholesale. (Assuming 715 ounces in a typical bag of well-worn coins.)

The silver market is showing all of the signs of a major long-term bull. Rather than the typical rallies and pull-backs, it is now "stair-stepping" upward. Thus, there is presently no chance to "buy on the dips" unless perhaps you buy on intraday dips.

The word on the street is that if New York spot silver closes at over $12.50 an ounce for three days in a row, then there will likely be a big short covering rally, or perhaps even a full scale "short squeeze." As the short sellers scramble to cover their positions, we may see silver to zoom up to $16 an ounce, or higher. I'm still predicting $20 silver by next February ('07), and perhaps even $40 silver by the end of Aught Eight.

The abrupt ending of the Mayan calendar in December of 2012 has long been assumed to be an astrological catastrophic event for Earth (http://survive2012.com). More recently, the Bible Code has produced passages/matrixes that seem to announce a comet impact in 2012 (http://www.satansrapture.com/nasa2012.htm). [JWR Adds: Beware! Not Biblically supported doctrine at that site!] There are said to be two conflicting matrixes, once saying the Earth is annihilated, the other that the comet is annihilated. I realize what most people think of prophecy (unreliable, to say the least), so let’s take a more scientific look at this, and consider that if there was such an asteroid or comet coming and our government knew this, what would the government actually do about it?
Before I start, I should make sure that some key words are defined. An asteroid is a celestial body found especially between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter (asteroid belt). It is theorized that a planet, or beginnings of planet once existed between Mars and Jupiter, but that the extreme gravity of mighty and gigantic Jupiter busted it up into pieces. A meteor is a particle of matter in the solar system that are directly observable only by their incandescence from frictional heating on entry into the atmosphere (visible during Earth atmosphere entry as they usually burn up). Once a meteor hits the ground, anything you find of it is a meteorite. A comet is celestial body that consists of a fuzzy head usually surrounding a bright nucleus, and that when its orbit is near the sun develops a long tail which points away from the sun (has a big tail).
The idea or realization of large meteors striking the Earth and doing great damage is largely new to 20th Century thinking. The first proven meteorite creator is in Arizona http://www.meteorcrater.com/, http://www.barringercrater.com/science/ and in the early 1900s the owner went bankrupt searching and drilling for the meteorite as proof, when it is now believed it exploded on impact (sending tiny bits everywhere, thus leaving no large meteorite to be found). The famous and mysterious Tungsuka impact in Siberia of 1908 http://newsfromrussia.com/society/2002/06/29/31473.html is now recognized to be a meteor impact which completely exploded above the ground (thus leaving trees dead center under the blast still standing). Finally of course there is the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, which is believed to have killed 70% of all life on Earth at that time.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/06/0617_020617_fossilleaves.html You may be surprised to learn that this was not the only such mass extinction http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/diapsids/extinction.html, and there have be more. However, it was really the spectacular 1994 impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 into the planet Jupiter which ended the speculation about asteroids or comets impacting into planets. http://www.solarviews.com/eng/impact.htm
As this article points out, one look at our very pock-marked moon should be an indication asteroids we have and will likely continue to be hit both the moon and the Earth (erosion over time, from water, helps hide the Earth’s wounds). http://www.thesahara.net/asteroid_2002_nt7.htm. The results to us of such an impact would of course be disastrous, depending on the size, speed, and make-up of the asteroid or comet. http://www.sandia.gov/media/comethit.htm And also see.. http://www.pibburns.com/catastro/impacts.htm. However, just like with nuclear winter, if you survive the initial blast and any generated tsunamis (serious concern since Earth is 2/3 water of course), and stay underground, out of the potentially abusive weather, and wait for everything to settle out of the atmosphere, you can survive. But let's focus on the issue of stopping the comet or asteroid in the first place…
In the past 25 years, Hollywood has taken a few takes on this issue of stopped an inbound asteroid or comet, and the work they did is worthy of consideration as a starting point. What I am trying to do is look at the facts, and then employ the “what would I do” method of backward engineering government decisions. In the recent movie remake of Pearl Harbor, Dan Akroyd, playing the role of an intelligence officer, is asked why he thinks Japan would hit Pearl Harbor when he has no hard evidence. He replies, “Well, it’s what I would do”. Such will be my approach here.

The 1979 movie “Meteor” starring Sean Connery introduced the concept of using nuclear warheads to try and destroy an incoming meteor (or asteroid actually, before it hits the Earth’s atmosphere). The movie Armageddon in 1996 took the thinking to the next level, realizing that surface explosions would be insufficient to break up an asteroid, and thus presented the idea of astronauts going to the asteroid and then “drilling” the nukes into the asteroid as the best approach to bust it up, or into two pieces at least. This production, staring Bruce Willis, was certainly exciting, but a little too fantastic. The most realistic of the movies made, IMHO, would be Deep Impact, released in 1998. The primary plan was similar to the Armageddon plot, which of course is simply too fantastic and unnecessary, but it was the government’s contingency plan C which really interested me. This was that if the astronaut mission failed (Plan A), and if a bunch of ICBMs launched when it was near Earth (Plan B) failed, there would be a national lottery for one million people (none over age 50 and 200,000 pre-selected government officials and scientists of course) to survive in a Ark made up of man made caves drilled into Missouri limestone with enough supplies to last 2 years (Plan C – “the rules of 3” right from Ragnar Benson, author of The Survival Retreat and others). Wages and prices were frozen, and people were made to "go to work and pay your bills". Martial Law was declared and people were to be home at night. "Hoarding" was not allowed (though I still think that is a term not really defined as to where the line is, and the term is used as if people just seem to understand where that line is). There was an optimistic plan A and B which kept people going, and hoping, and in the movie that seemed to work and hold off the riots, though they did show characters putting up bars over their windows, meaning there were some problems. Other countries were left to do as they could.
Now let’s look at the facts, real life. NASA currently operates the Near Earth Object Program, who’s stated purpose is to identify 90% (highest they think they can get to) of the objects in space that may come into contact with the Earth. http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov If you have never seen this site, take a look. Check out Close Approaches and Impact Risk in particular, but you will have to brush up on your math to remember how very large numbers are presented to the powers format with the little number superscript (i.e. thousand = 1000 = 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 = 103). In Close Approaches, note that a Lunar Distance (LD) is the average distance from the Earth to moon (~384,000 km or ~240,000 miles). So if an asteroid was going to pass 16 LDs from Earth, that would be 16 times the distance from the Earth to Moon.
Now before you laugh this off as such an event being less likely than you winning the Powerball lottery, you had better take a look at this link: http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news149.html That one in going to miss the Earth by only 5.7 times the diameter of the Earth in 2029. That asteroid also has a diameter of 320 meters or over 1040 feet. How much damage could that do? Well let’s look back to the damage caused by the Arizona meteorite which was only 150 feet in diameter (<50 meters) http://www.barringercrater.com/effects/. We are probably talking about wiping out the better part of Texas here or worse. Note that the article says this is BELOW the level of geosynchronous Earth satellites. One more thing about the Powerball lottery; Why do people pay money to play something they know they have a less than 1 in hundred million chance of winning? Answer: Because the payoff is so large. Now reverse that logic as to asteroids; Why should you worry about the very very small chance a large asteroid or comet will collide with the Earth? Because the payoff is so large if it does.
Now I want to insert the “what would I do” if I was with NASA. My very first comment is that you don’t need a manned mission to nuke an asteroid or comet headed for Earth. There are two methods to “drill” a nuke into an asteroid. First would be to land a probe and have it land on the asteroid that had such automated capacity to drill a nuke in. I will note that this part was done back in 2001. Remember the landing on Eros? (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1148071.stm and http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/solar_system/59734
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1162463.stm )
The second way makes more sense to me and is actually easier to do IMHO. Here you want to punch a nuke into the asteroid so you can just aim the satellite right into it. Torpedo it. The trick though is developing a nuke that would survive the harsh impact and then blow up at depth inside the steel or rocky asteroid or comet. The military calls these "bunker busting" weapons, originally made from old cannon barrels, and non-nuclear variants are nothing new at all, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_bunker_buster. It is interesting to note that exactly such a nuke has been in the research and development works of the US Pentagon for some time now. It’s called a RNEP for Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/systems/rnep.htm ). This remains an issue of Congressional funding http://www.ananuclear.org/rnep.html Clearly using a penetrating bunker buster type tactical nuclear bomb could work for an asteroid or comet. Rather than going through the difficulties of a landing on an asteroid or comet and drilling, we could merely proceed with the presumably easier task of merely intercepting it (torpedoing it). This was exactly what the 2005 Deep Impact probe did by hitting an asteroid at 23,000 mph, a mere 200 feet off its target on a city-sized asteroid.
It is clear IMHO that scientists are considering this method for dealing with an inbound asteroid or comet. They even call this entire line of thinking deep impact.
Billions have now been spent developing exactly the technologies needed to deal with an incoming asteroid or comet. The question is, was there merely done a precautionary science, or do they have a reason to keep this research moving along. Consider it. What would you do, if you knew?

One final thought: As in the movie Deep Impact would the government build a gigantic underground shelter to house people for this period time as a backup plan? How could they hide such an operation of such scale? Perhaps by building it for a different purpose (cover story, or perhaps real alternative)? Where is the government spending billions hollowing out a mountain right now? Answer: Yucca Mountain NV. Why? For spent nuclear storage, officially. http://www.epa.gov/radiation/yucca/ And what is the proposed completion date before this becomes operational? I'm not joking. They say "2012 or later." See: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,165203,00.html, http://ocrwm.doe.gov/ymp/index.shtml, and http://www.nsc.org/ehc/yuccamt.HTM

Here are two other sites of interest:
Meteor showers http://home.att.net/~thehessians/asteroidstrike.html
Meteor Impact game http://www.barringercrater.com/game/

- Rourke http://groups.yahoo.com/group/survivalretreat

In reference to eating bugs: Jews who settled in Yemen after the destruction of the first Temple and stayed there until the 1960s had the tradition of eating and
identifying the kosher locusts. My Temani (Yemeni) friend in Kollel did not know what the identifiers were.

As for kosher and survival, I quote my old Rav from Portland, Oregon "If someone held a gun to my head and said 'Eat that pork chop!' my answer would be 'where's the
catsup?'" Your Maker and Keeper wants you to live so you can glorify him, the mitzvah of saving a life includes your own.- David

Cathy Buckle's recent letters from Zimbabwe are "must reads."  Have you ever considered the prospect of hyperinflation in the future?  Some folks are living through it in Zimbabwe right now. Here are two brief quotes from Cathy's letters in March: "In March 2005 a loaf of bread was four thousand eight hundred dollars. In March 2006 that same loaf is sixty six thousand dollars. Unless something dramatic happens in the next few weeks and assuming prices continue to rise at their present rate, a loaf of bread in March 2007 will be nine hundred and eight thousand [Zimbabwean] dollars. Imagine, almost a million dollars for a loaf, what shame upon Zimbabwe. It is impossible to believe that just six years ago we were called the 'Breadbasket of Africa'." And, "You see a familiar product, put your hand out and then gasp in despair when you realise that just a bottle of shampoo costs 1.2 million [Zimbabwean] dollars. Five years ago I could have bought a prime luxury car for just over a million dollars."

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Signs of the times: Russian airline passengers will soon face lie detector tests.

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A reader recommend this great blog site for Christian youth: Turning the Tide.

"No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. - Ronald Wilson Reagan

Monday, April 10, 2006

On Eating Insects, by Maui Mike

In an TEOTWAWKI scenario, securing a renewable source of protein and fat is vital. While previous postings have discussed how family chicken farms have kept people alive during the last depression and the viability of rabbits, I'd like to add my two cents in. It started with my learning about hydroponics. Hydroponics is the growing of plants in nutrient enriched water without soil. Then I learned about aquaponics. In this instance fish are raised in tanks (aquaculture) and plants are raised hydroponically and the systems are merged. In this way, the nitrogen rich excrement of the fish feeds the plants and the plants filter the water for the fish. This system now provides both protein and plants, but you still need to feed the fish. My feverishly inventive mind (FIM) thought 'why not keep the tanks outdoors (I live in Hawaii) and put modified bug zappers over the fish tanks so that rather than collecting the insects, they would drop into the fish tank directly thus feeding my fish for free'. Add solar-powered water pumps and a battery powered bug zapper and viola!
Then I thought that for every pound of fish, I would have to go through many more pounds of insects, and it seemed a waste of protein so I bought some books on entomophagy (insect eating). Man Eating Bugs (best), Creepy Crawly Cuisine and the Eat-A-Bug Cookbook are all good reads.
Here's some of what I learned. There are 1,417 known edible species of insects. The most popular insects for eating are Beetles, butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, ants, grasshoppers, crickets, termites, locusts, flies, mosquitoes, water boatmen, backswimmers, worms, spiders and stink bugs. Flavors include: nutty, sweet, herring, corn, apples, pumpkin, bread, pine nut, avocado to whatever the insects have been recently eating.
Most edible insects range from 30 to 85% high-quality protein and many are excellent sources of fat (See butterworms and waxworms for fat content. Note, these are not really worms but larvae). As long as you do not have an allergy to seafood (the chitin in the seafood is the same as in the exoskeleton of many insects, eating insects, as long as they are cooked presents little health risk. (Assuming that the insects are not being exposed to insecticides...).
Some notes:
When cleaning and preparing them.
1) Remove any dead insects
2) Do not feed them for four hours before eating them
3) Put them in a bag in the fridge for 15 minutes if they are mobile like grasshoppers to slow them down.
4) Avoid freezing as this reduces flavor, but you can store them for a long time in the fridge and they will stay alive.
5) Remove wings and legs if present
6) Cook at over 410 degrees F to kill any germs

All in all, I think earthworms the best to raise and eat and here's why:
1) No crunchy exoskeleton to get in your teeth
2) Easy to dehydrate, powder and add to breads or soups
3) Flavor not bad
4) Lumbrokinase enzyme in worms cleans plaque out of the arteries
5) Not picky eaters, no specialized food requirements so they are easy to raise
6) Double in size in 60-90 days
7) Can't fly away
8) Only one stage (no pupae/larvae) so they can all raised together at any growth stage without eating each other
9) You can get them from the ground, no starter kit required
10) 70% protein

I've forgotten my higher math, but I think that you should be able to harvest about 1% a day (under optimal conditions) without losing your 'worm capital'. Let's say .5% to be on the safe side. If a person needs a minimum of 40 grams of protein a day, a family of four would need 160 grams a day. That's 228 grams of worm a day. At .5% you would need about 100 pounds (45,600 grams) growing at any one time (please check my math).
100 pounds could easily be grown (either building up over time or getting 100 pounds to start) in an apartment in the city. There are compost kits you can buy or you can make your own. Most are designed for composting foods and harvesting the worm castings for the garden rather than mass worm production so you'll have to dig in with your hands to get the worms out and clean them off (no big deal).
I think this the optimal covert city 'livestock' farm. You can feed them your leftovers and collect remains from restaurants and grow them silently and vertically in a closet. If someone broke into your apartment seeing how well fed you appeared and searched for your 'food' all they would find would be worms...
Another hint. Before eating them, put them in flour for a few hours. This will purge their intestines and fill them with flour (nice for baking).
While I think worms the best for many reasons, if you are outdoors, consider the black light Thai cricket farm: Two fluorescent UV black lights are suspended high above a clear plastic sheet that glows blue from their reflection. Crickets are attracted to the lights, hit the plastic and slide down into a bucket placed below it and drown. You may have to empty the bucket every few hours as this is very effective at catching them. The setup is shown on page 50 of Man Eating Bugs.
Consider insects in your cache of survival knowledge.
Bug Sources:
Grubco 1-800-222-3563
Hatari Invertebrates 520-558-2418
There are scientific supply houses that carry a large variety of insects but they are more expensive so use them only for you initial breeding stock, not for bulk purchases...

JWR Adds: For those readers that feel bound by Levitical law, consider: "All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be detestable to you. There are, however, some winged creatures that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. But all other winged creatures that have four legs you are to detest." - Leviticus 11



RE: > I also didn't buy the use of a smoke detector to test a CDV survey meter so I checked it out. Didn't show squat since that meter is relatively insensitive.
Oh, I also tried a smoke detector with my Digilert-100 from http://www.seintl.com .
This detector reads Alpha, Beta, Gamma and X-rays. Nada.

BTW, the Digilert has available some neat software that I use to track background radiation on a daily basis.
Normal background here in Colorado is between 20 and 39 counts per minute.
The unit also has an alarm level that can be set to any given level of radiation. I keep mine at 50 Counts per minute. The only time it ever went off was on the interstate while passing one of those semi flatbeds carrying two big concrete cylinders. (Probably a radiation waste transport). needless to say, I made a distinct effort not to pace HIM anymore.
I've been using the old yellow CDV radiation detectors and haven't noticed any deterioration with the chamber.
As a note, the CDV-700 (with the wand, a true geiger counter) also will see background if you cheat. With the probe cover opened (roll it around until the slots are open, but NEVER use it in service with the cover open) , and the adjustment turned up, you will see background radiation. I used the Digilert-100 and adjusted the screw pot on one of the CDV-700's until it matched the background count on the Digilert-100. Amazingly enough when done, the CDV-700 mostly passed the check using the beta source on the side of the unit. Needle went a little high than it was supposed to, but not much. Maybe I should say it was close enough for Government work.
The German surplus dosimeters from Major Surplus also passed testing at a local metallurgical shop with a source.
All in all, my two cents worth is everybody oughta have some of the above, just like a spare tire in your trunk.
I just hope I never have the occasion to see a reading on the less sensitive survey meters! (Insert wry smile here.)

A thought to keep in mind about battery chargers. I'm sure that a sizeable percentage of readers of this blog have rechargeable batteries and battery chargers. I wonder how many of those battery chargers require AC power (normal house electricity) to work. Keep in mind there are some great DC battery charges out there. Most will power up with 12 Volts DC and charge NiCd, NiMh, Li-ion and Lead Acid batteries from 1.2 volts to 30 volts DC.
Could make the difference sometime. (Hint, keep it in the car and it will even charge your cell phone Li-ion battery with two paper clips and a little ingenuity.

I forgot to mention that I always have that Washington, D.C. status symbol with me--my NukAlert from http://www.ki4u.com
Wouldn't be without it. Amazing how many "civil servants" (Please note the quote marks) in D. C. have this device. If I was in D.C. very often, I'd probably carry two, just kidding. But seriously, it does provide peace of mind. Best Regards, - The Army Aviator

The Mogambo Guru (Richard Daughty) thinks that the "Two Trillion in Fresh Cash rumor is unfounded.

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From the London Telegraph: British Government Makes Secret Preparations for "Waves" of Asian Avian Flu Pandemic Exceeding Six Months

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I just heard that Gun Parts Guy is having a big clearance sale on some assorted FAL and L1A1 parts. (Carriers, slings, top covers, carry handles, scope mounts, flash hiders, sights, et cetera.) Please mention SurvivalBlog if you place an order. The sale ends on April 17th.

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Bush Administration Contingency Plans for War with Iran?



Timon: This looks like a good spot to rustle up some grub.
Young Simba: What's that?
Timon: A grub. What's it look like?
[Timon eats the grub]
Young Simba: Ewwwww, gross.
Timon: Tastes like chicken.  - The Lion King

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Mr. Rawles,
I'm very suspicious of the information from "Ole Rad" that you could test a Civil Defense field survey meter with the radiation that comes from a smoke
detector. Several things in his post don't add up:
1) Smoke detectors use Americium-241 as their source and the radiation at 1 meter distance is "less than 1/1000th of that from background radiation" (source: http://www.arpansa.gov.au/is_smkdt.htm).
2) The CDV-777-2 is the radiation detection kit which contains a field survey meter, dosimeters, and a dosimeter charger. The kit might also contain a CDV-700 geiger counter, but that has it's own beta check source on the side. Also, the CDV-700 uses 4 D cells, while a CDV-715 or 717 uses 1 D cell. The CDV-720 uses 2 D cells.
3) It takes a minimum of 0.1 R/h (or 100 mR/h) to defect the needle to the "1" position on the meter for a CDV-715, 717, or 720 field survey meter set
to the lowest range (meter reading x 0.1 R/h). A 1 microCurie Cesium-137 source emits about 2 milli-R/h at the surface. Thus, it would take 50 of these sources together to produce 0.1 R/h. A low-level source can be used with a field survey meter, but it requires a special pancake probe instead of the ion chamber. Regards, - A.C.

JWR Replies: In my estimation, Ole Rad's advice only applies to Geiger counters with a low (highly sensitive) range.

Jim: There has been some confusion lately about the surplus civil defense radiation gear. Here is a quick rundown on what you might find.
Survey Meters
CDV-715, CDV-717, CDV-720 - These are what's known as a "high range" meter. They use a device called an ion chamber to measure life- threatening levels of radiation. They were intended to be distributed to fallout shelters in the event of a nuclear war, so that radiation levels outside could be monitored and reported. This type of unit WILL NOT detect low levels of radiation, such as that from a "dirty" bomb, a radium-dial clock, smoke detector or tritium gun sight. About the only way to make the needle move much on one of these is to expose it to a large gamma source (such as in a calibration lab or cancer treatment facility). You may be able to test one of these by exposing it to a doctor or dentist's X-ray machine. Set the meter on the lowest range and see what happens.
Most of these have a self-check circuit that can let you know if the basic electronics are functional. If you are serious about keeping one or more of these around for a real emergency, you should definitely get it calibrated and serviced. The KI4U folks can get this done, and there are several other facilities that will calibrate these meters. Expect to pay $20-75 for a meter in good shape, and possibly another $100+ for calibration.
CDV-700 - This is a true Geiger counter. You can easily spot these by the "hot dog" shaped probe attached to it via a cable. These are pretty sensitive, and will pick up small radioactive items, such as radium-dial watches. Tritium gun sights are just too weak to be detected by any common detector. Also, these have small test source affixed to the side that you can use to instantly test if the meter is working. These usually sell for $100+, and would be much more appropriate for detecting fallout from a dirty bomb, nuke plant accident, etc. These were designed for checking people, food, etc for small amounts of contamination.
Along with the Civil Defense surplus, there are a number of newly made Geiger counters, usually from Russian companies. Harbor Freight sometimes has one called the Quartex, and there is another one called the RKSB-104. You can often find these on eBay.
These are small, yellow sticks that look like a big crayon. Unlike a survey meter or geiger counter, these do not instantly show you how much radiation they are being exposed to at the moment. Rather, you wear them around, and they let you know how much total dosage you received over a day, month, etc. Like the survey meters, these come in high and low-range models. The good ones are made by Bendix. Avoid the other brands, unless they are of new commercial manufacture (such as Dosimeter Corp).
CDV-741,742 - High range (0-100 or 0-200 RADS). Useful after a nuclear war, not useful for much else.
CDV-138 - Low range (0-200 Millirads). Useful for working around an X- ray machine, checking if you got exposed from a small source or accidental leak. Much more rare than the other type.
The dosimeters must be charged before they are useful. Look for a CDV-750 or similar charger. You can test dosimeters by charging them up (this sets the needle to zero) and then leaving them sitting for a couple of weeks. If some of them rapidly leak down to zero, they are bad. Otherwise, these items have a very long useful life. They have no batteries, and only need the charger to put a static electricity charge into a small piece of fiber. The static charge leaks off it when exposed to radiation.
Here are links to more than you ever wanted to know about Civil Defense gear:
Thanks, - JN

Hi James,
Regarding the post from Wednesday about the old rad meters for $60, they were about the only thing easily available before Y2K. At that time the conventional wisdom, (which I am almost certain goes back to Bruce Beach, since he was selling piles of old Canadian ones for 50 bucks) is that the ionizing chamber can deteriorate over time and to be safe you must multiply by a factor of four when using it. If it reads 5 R, figure it is 20 R. If it reads 20 R, figure it is 80 R. This should definitely keep you safe.

By the way, Shane at ki4u.com calibrates rad meters and the turn around time is currently 10 days. See here: http://www.radmeters4u.com/calibrate.htm

Shane has said in posting at the doomer-prepper forum www.timebomb2000.com that if you carry a rad meter in your car where it gets heated, frozen, and bumped around, it should be recalibrated yearly.

By the way if your readers are not familiar with Nukalerts, they are a great little gadget.

God bless, - Lyn

JWR Replies: I agree that recalibration is a good idea. Also keep in mind the radioactive decay of test sources. If your test source is tritium, since tritium has a half-life of 11.2 years, then obviously if your test source is 11 or 12 years old then your meter will only indicate one half of the reading versus a fresh test source.

I also agree that the NukAlert is a great product. They are available from Ready Made Resources and several other vendors.

In rebuttal to the letter posted by Dr. BCE on Saturday, April 8, 2006:

Dear Dr. BCE:

My article is entitled "Suggestions" not answers to the Avian flu. We are currently in the process of testing the product on H5N1 patients in Asia. Time will tell if it works and to what degree. Dr. BCE, if you think you have a better idea of what to do, then by all means post it. I don't mean this in an adversarial way, I'd really like to see another protocol, any protocol. Until I see someone else step up to the plate and offer another protocol, I'll stick with what I've done. Survival is never guaranteed, you do the best with what you have.

OBTW, I read back through some of the past archives [in SurvivalBlog] about the use of elderberry extract. To clarify what I said in the article, elderberry is great for the common flu but for the H5N1, it must be balanced with a TNFa inhibitor like tumeric. Otherwise the benefits of the elderberry may be outweighed by the increased cytokine storm it also engenders.

Sincerely, - Spencer Feldman

The $44 Trillion Mountain of Debt

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SurvivalBlog reader RBS recommended a site with some very revealing reading on what your bank might consider a "red flag", at the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering InfoBase.

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Does anyone have anything more substantial than "a confidential source" or "According to our sources in the U.S. Treasury" about the rumors swirling around Washington D.C. that the Federal Reserve is printing an extra Two Trillion U.S. Dollars in cash? (Also repeated at OSS.net.)  These kind of rumors drive me crazy.  In the past two weeks I've had more than 60 e-mails from readers on this topic, which I have refrained from posting. Please, please, somebody point me something official--or otherwise substantiated, otherwise let's write this off as unfounded rumor-mongering.

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An interesting piece of FFTAGFFR on Islam, Terrorism, and Category Error.

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Times of London Reports: World cannot meet oil demand

"It is He who got out the Unbelievers among the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] from their homes at the first gathering (of the forces). Little did ye think that they would get out: and they thought that their fortresses would defend them from Allah! But the (wrath of) Allah came to them from quarters from which they little expected (it) and cast terror into their hearts so that they destroyed their dwellings by their own hands and the hands of the Believers. Take warning then O ye with eyes (to see)!"  - Surah Al-Hashr Ruku 1 (A.Yusuf Ali Translation of the Qur’an)

My heartfelt thanks to all of the folks that have sent "10 Cent Challenge" contributions. The steadily expanding base of subscribers will allow me to quit my "day job" at the end of March. (Deo volente.) I will then have the time to cover topics in greater depth. SurvivalBlog subscriptions are voluntary. All that we ask is ten cents a day--but only if you feel convicted to do so. If what you read here is not worth ten cents a day to you, or if you are on a tight budget, then you can pass. And for those of you that are on a tight budget, you can "do your bit" to support SurvivalBlog by contacting potential advertisers and asking them to get a banner ad. They start at just $55 per month. That is dirt cheap compared to a magazine ad.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Today we welcome two new advertisers:

First, a gentlemen in Colorado, who is selling the most elaborate underground retreat house that I have ever seen. Even if you aren't currently looking for real estate, be sure to look at his web pages. You are bound to learn a lot about retreat architecture! Something tells me that given the "niche" readership of SurvivalBlog that this property will not be on the market long! OBTW, unless you are a serious potential buyer, please do not pester the owner with questions!

Second, Bear Basin Outfitters, one of the nations' premier optics dealers. I am quite impressed with the breadth and depth of their product lines. They also have great prices. Please consider them the next time that you plan to buy a traditional scope, tritium or LED-lit reticle scope, bullet-drop compensating scope, night vision scope, spotting scope, laser range finder, shooting glasses, or binoculars. Tell them that Jim Rawles at SurvivalBlog sent you!

Mr. Rawles:
The following is an excerpt from an interesting string of conversation on Survival Forum about calibrating a survey meter. I don't know this as fact, but if true. It would useful info. I should say that the poster that posted this has been reliable in the past, and well-documented.

I asked Ole Rad 'bout the calibration of me CD 777-2 survey meter. Says he-- "1 microcurie of Cesium 137 should cause a defection." Purty cool, huh? Turns out 1 microcurie source of Cesium 137 is a common smoke detector-- that only took me two days ta find out. So's I load the ole D battery , which falls out of the battery holder in a CD777-2 without taping the battery in place.Set the scale for the lowest setting and zero the thing-circuit test gives a full deflection. Cool, huh? So's I take the meter out of its box and touch the chamber to the smoke detector little black box of cesium and -- I get a needle deflection of one mark-- that would be 1 microcurie. The durn thing is still in calibration and working fine.Only took me two days to figure out. Da**it, Rad-- why didn't ya say what a 1 microcurie Cesium 137 source was? I was ready to order some bag of ore or sumthin and I had the source to check me meter right on my wall.

Again, great blog. I will be praying about your change in employment. Regards, - C.K.

I read with concern the post yesterday (Friday 7th April) about Avian influenza. The post while appearing to be well referenced, in fact misrepresents what many of the trials and studies referred to actually state. The general implication is that there is a vast body of scientific research supporting the authors position. This is not the case at all, the articles do not say this and the authors spin on what some say misrepresents them. The majority are very early in-vitro or animal model studies which do not translate at all in terms of efficacy in humans. Most biomedical scientists would agree that only about 1:500-1000 of these very early trials will go on to a meaningful application in human medicine - it is plain wrong and intellectually dishonest to use them as the author has done here. Cheers. - Dr. BCE from New Zealand

SurvivalBlog reader S.H. mentioned a Big Listing of Shelter Manufacturers--All different types, in ground (steel and fiberglass), above ground, and inside safe room retrofit types:

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Ireland's Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO) has their Newsletter #64 (April, 2006) now available. The newsletter is not yet transcribed for best online viewing, but you can download the PDF file directly: http://www.peakoil.ie/downloads/...200604.pdf

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An interesting article on Asian Avian Flu and Your Cat

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Wow! Take a look at the 30 Day and Six Month Gold and Silver spot price charts at Kitco. This bull market seems to have no intention of slowing down!

"The human race has had long experience and a fine tradition in surviving adversity. But we now face a task for which we have little experience, the task of surviving prosperity.” - Alan Gregg

Friday, April 7, 2006

Thanks for all of the recent 10 Cent Challenge contributions. At this juncture I should mention that starting Saturday I will be foregoing my corporate salary and benefits to take up writing SurvivalBlog, full time. (Read: Big leap of faith.) I don't want to drone on and on and on like some dreaded PBS telethon about this. The bottom line: If you find some value in what you read here, then please consider subscribing for 10 cents a day. Thanks!

The H5N1 (Asian Avian Flu or "Bird Flu") virus owes its lethality to its ability to instigate pathological immune responses in the host via cytokine storm. This leads to disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) and massive infiltration of inflammatory cells into the lungs. Thus, any H5N1 protocol must take into consideration, not only the inhibition of the virus, but also the effects of DIC and alveolar flooding.
Given that there are reports of some patients dying within three hours of initial symptoms, any medical response must be swift and aggressive.
Traditional models for treatment outside of a hospital setting rely upon antiviral medications. This is insufficient as there are now strains of the H5N1 that are resistant to all major antiviral drugs, and furthermore does nothing to address the issues of DIC and alveolar flooding.
Alternative models concentrate on immune stimulating products. This is a dangerous idea as it is the strength of the immune response that makes the H5N1 so deadly. Increasing immune response may prevent an initial infection, but in an infection that has already taken hold, it will only worsen the outcome.

Preventative Measures
Studies suggest that Vitamin E and Selenium may decrease the infectivity and pathogenicity of the H5N1 Avian Influenza(1). Additionally, air pollutants have shown to increase the risk of contracting the H5N1 Avian Influenza(2). Raising glutathione, a primary detoxification pathway for petrochemicals may be of benefit. Finally, strengthening capillary walls may be suggested in preparation for a possible hemorrhagic episode.

Acute Management
Current scientific thought holds that the lethality of the H5N1 Avian Influenza may be caused by systemic viral dissemination, cytokine storm and/or alveolar flooding(3).
As such, an intelligent protocol for supporting the body would be to take these factors into consideration.
The H5N1 Avian Influenza contains the compounds Hemagglutinin and Neuraminidase (also called sialidase). Both of these compounds are required in the infection cycle of certain virus. The drugs Zanamivir and Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) are both Neuraminidase inhibitors. One study suggests that the common Chinese Herb Astragalus may also be a Neuraminidase inhibitor(4). Since another study(5) suggests that Ca2+ and Mag2+ both speed up the activity of neuraminidase, and that Ca2+ is required for its function, making these elements unavailable via chelation with sodium and potassium citrate may be of use.
Studies also suggest that Lactoferrin(6), sulfated polysaccharides such as Ceramium Rubrum(7) (Red Marine Algae) and Elderberries(8) may be Hemagglutinin inhibitors. Unfortunately, Elderberry also increases cytokines (see above) especially Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNFa)(9) which is specifically associated with the toxicity of the H5N1 Avian Influenza (10).
For this reason, ingredients that studies suggest normalize TNFa such as Curcumin and Vitamin E (11),(12) should be considered.
One outcome of a cytokine storm can be disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). DIC may be responsible for the massive hemorrhaging seen with the H5N1 Avian Influenza(13). Thus, in addition to supporting normal cytokine levels, supporting the body in normalizing blood coagulation parameters with nutritional compounds may also be suggested(14),(15),(16).
The drugs Amantadine and Rimantadine work by inhibiting the matrix protein(s). Studies indicate that Glutathione and Resveratrol may have an effect on matrix proteins as well(17), (18).
Finally, Lactoferrin may support the body in decreasing infiltration into the lungs of inflammatory cells(19).

Emergency Solution
While I have already manufactured a product that contains all of the ingredients listed, the FDA does not allow for commercial sale alternative products to be made (other than homeopathics) for the bird flu. (While no claims are made nor can be made for a product with these ingredients, those interested in procuring some for research use only can do so by calling the author at: 808-573-8166.) You can see the other products we make at http://www.remedylink.com.

The following ingredients should be available locally and would be the basis of a makeshift H5N1 survival pack.
1- Curry powder as a source of turmeric to suppress TNFa
2- Red wine with the alcohol boiled off as a source of resveratrol
3- Kelp as a hemagglutinin inhibitor
4- Astragalus as a neuraminidase inhibitor (available at any Chinese herb shop)
5- Vitamin E as a blood thinner (available at any health food store)

Reports of people dying from the H5N1 Influenza in as little as three hours from the first signs of infection suggest the necessity of carrying on one’s person whatever they consider an adequate defense against this infection.
To recap,
In designing such a defense, the key factors to address regarding the H5N1 virus would be:
1- Decreasing the risk of initial infection
2- Decreasing the potential virulence of infection
3- Inhibiting Hemagglutinin
4- Inhibiting Neuraminidase
5- Inhibiting Matrix proteins
6- Binding of viral receptor sites
6- Reduction of calcium and magnesium
6- Decreasing general inflammatory cytokines
7- Decreasing TNF-a in particular
8- Supporting normal platelet activity
9- Decreasing free radical activity in the lungs
10- Minimizing hemorrhage
11- Strengthening blood vessels
12- Protecting against the after effect of hemorrhage
13- Replenishing electrolytes lost to diarrhea
14- Inhibiting secondary infections

JWR Adds: I have contacted the inventor personally. He told me that if an easily transmissible strain of Asian Flu does break out, it is likely that he will make his product available as long as supplies last.

An object lesson in inflation: Take a look at the 5 billion (millard) Mark note from the Weimar Republic, and ponder it. Hyperinflation has happened before, and it will happen again.  It is a risk in any country where the currency is not freely redeemable from the national treasury in specie.

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SurvivalBlog reader J.N. sent a link to a site with free PDFs of many military medical manuals. Also, a PDF for anyone wanting to know more about wound healing and suturing:

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On the lighter side: Our friend Chuck says, "Regarding Gold... This is how I feel! Gold hit $600 per ounce, yesterday. And silver is holding over $12!

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I just added a big pile-o-books to my mail order catalog. There are some great titles on a wide range of subjects, all from my personal collection--which I am presently paring down. See: http://www.survivalblog.com/catalog.html

"...a further pandemic can be expected. When that will be is not known, but the consequences, when it does, will be serious."
"A future pandemic is likely to spread rapidly to all parts of the globe and cause sudden and sharp increases in illness over a matter of weeks. A pandemic could therefore rapidly overwhelm health and other services. The overall impact is likely to be even more far reaching, affecting daily life, business and consequently national and global economies."
"The impact of a flu pandemic on health and social services is likely to be intense, sustained and nation-wide; they may quickly become overwhelmed." - U.K. Health Departments’ Influenza Pandemic Contingency Plan

Thursday, April 6, 2006

  Tomorrow will be my last day as a salaried technical writer. Henceforth, I will be blogging and freelance writing full time. I'd appreciate your prayers for God's guidance and providence. I am hopeful that SurvivalBlog will continue to gain readership and advertisers. This will require greater public awareness that this blog exists. Please help spread the word about SurvivalBlog by adding one of our banners to your e-mail footer. Thanks!

I was recently talking with a farmer friend and said "You are surrounded by food!" He said "Sure wheat and corn fields." I smiled. "No I mean wild foods. Oh you mean ducks and deer. It is a societal mind set. Farmers, like hunters, think in the only ways they have been taught. He wanted to get rid of a problem beaver that was taking out his shelter belts trees. Being new to North Dakota and seeing very few trees I thought there isn't much food for a beaver. "Must be a little one that wandered up here."

He takes me over. Walking the creek, sure enough, I see that this beaver had just helped himself to the few trees around. In fact in one spot the beaver completely killed off every single tree. There was a small 30 tree section, gone. The farmer said "You know I had not been down here for a few weeks and drove by and all my trees were gone. I drove down to my neighbor's house and asked if they had seen anyone cutting down all my trees and hauling them out for firewood? I want put that SOB in jail!" The neighbors replied no one has hauled any firewood past me. He drove back and walk down to the creek edge and saw all the trees were laying on the ground with chew marks on them. He came down later just before dark and shot at one beaver that swam off. He wa hopeful that was the end of the beaver problem. I smiled and said "Nope." He said "You're right. He went farther up the creek and started on the next section of trees. Can you get rid of him for me?" I answered, "Sure, no problem."

A week later the ice broke and one of the traps was missing. Floating under the surface was this large brown spot that looked like mud. The farmer asked "Is that the beaver?" "Could be", I answered. Pulling on the trap wire, the first thing I saw was a monster beaver tail. Yep there was our problem beaver. How big? 60 pounds. I could not believe my eyes here I am in a place I thought I would not being trapping beaver hauling a monster out from the this tiny creek with few trees. I commented, "You know, these are good to eat." So we headed to his place and cleaned, fleshed and tacked out the hide. Then we popped the back legs off. He parboiled them. He cooked just the meat--slow cooked with cream of chicken soup, all day. We had it the next night for dinner, over noodles. His comment: "I didn't believe you but your right that is real close to beef." His two sons joined us and enjoyed it. Surely they'd be telling all their friends at school they had a Mountain Man dinner.

We were talking after dinner and I told him: "Look at all the food around you. Look at the potholes ( they call ponds potholes here) with all the cattails. There was six muskrat dens you could trap 15 muskrats a year out of that pothole. Your shelter belts are loaded with squirrels and rabbits. He added: "Deer, too." I added, "You have plenty of cattails for flour, potatoes substitute, fresh like cucumber-tasting stalks. You have raccoons running all over the place." He said "I never thought about it, but you are right. All my farmers friends are really going to like you. Yep, I have feeling this fall I going to be very busy cleaning out problem critters."

People get in a mindset and only see part of the picture. When your long term survival depends on bringing meat home you are going to want to do it silently. I passed a pothole today that was next to a dirt road, and 20 ducks flew off. If I would have snuck up with a shotgun I might have got two or three of them. But you know what? Ducks don't like getting shot at. Chances are they would find a safer place to feed or rest for the night. But with six model 110 conibear  killing traps, in a total collapse situation (note that it is presently illegal to trap ducks) you could easily add two to three ducks a day. But the good news is the traps would not spook the rest of them so they would keep coming back. That is just one example of using your head to make sure your family had meat on the table. Small game snares would have worked the same way. Set the trap where the ducks are feeding. Tie off a weight to the snare and once caught it would pull the duck down out of sight.

Any animal, bird, or fish can be caught more efficiently with traps, snares and gill nets than with the sportsman's methods. Sportsman chances are nowhere near as good. Think about it: You put out a gill net and leave, the net is doing the fishing for you. You are not standing there casting for hours. You just come back in a few hours and collect your catch. What about a "bug out" situation? You can easily deploy a gill net, or snares or traps just before dark. Check and pull them in the morning. You have fresh caught breakfast hopefully extra for lunch and dinner. You move on. If you did it right no one has a clue that you harvested your food. No gunshot to broadcast that are in the area. No standing on the river or lake banks exposing yourself for hours.

If you are in a secure location you could easily snare a deer and then spend a day or two smoking the meat. I cover wilderness smokers in my Survivor Vol 3. DVD. Smoking is going to reduce the weight of deer and you could have 2-to-3 weeks of food to get you where your going. Being mobile and having the knowledge--not only how to obtain food but how to preserve it--is life saving. How many of you remember the 20-20 TV documentary with the young man in Alaska nicknamed Super Fly. He shot a moose but didn't have the knowledge to properly smoke the meat. It was bad in a week's time. He ended up eating some poison berries and dying alone in the wilderness. A sad tale. But with just a little bit of knowledge it could have been totally different. If he had survived he might now be writing books on how to survive in the wilderness.

Knowledge is power. Proper training can turn hard times into something you can survive. Think about it. I have trapped beaver in Arkansas, Texas, Michigan, Colorado, and North Dakota. Tons of food is waiting to be harvested.

Small pocket size gill nets or larger gill nets for your retreat can be found here: http://www.buckshotscamp.com/Gill-Net.htm
Snare kits can found here: http://www.buckshotscamp.com/Snare-Kits-Sales.htm
Size110 conibear traps can be found here: http://www.buckshotscamp.com/Traps-Sales.htm\

As Duncan Long said it so well in his book Survival Guns: "A good garden and traps will provide more food then a wealth of hunting rifles."
In order to survive you must be able to adapt, change your thinking, and take advantage of every food source you can. - Buckshot



Dear Jim:
I know your site talks about night vision ["Starlight" light amplification technology], but thermal night vision if you can afford it is far superior for hunting/perimeter defense/tracking. It doesn't matter about movement or camouflage [since these can literally see body heat.] See: http://www.imaging1.com/thermal/Thermal_weapon_sight.html and
- S.F.

Hi James,
Just wondering if you have a recommendation for or warning against this surplus (but "brand new condition") CDV-720 portable radiation detector from the Sportsman's Guide Catalog: http://www.sportsmansguide.com/cb/cb.asp?a=256259
It looks snazzy, but I thought (with the exception of the Kearny Fallout Meter) that viable radiation detectors ran in the hundreds of dollars...? - David in Pleasanton, California (One of your $100 contributors)

JWR Replies:  A CDV 720 is a Civil Defense surplus survey meter. If it is truly working, then at $60 it is a bargain. I recommend that you go ahead and order one. When it arrives, immediately inspect it inside and out. (Corrosion caused by battery acid is one of the worst culprits.) Then test it. Some of the better detectors come with their own small built-in radioactive test source. If you don't have a test source, then you might get a reading from a tritium firearm sight, or a beta light. If the unit doesn't work, then return it immediately for a refund or replacement. You may have to sequentially order two or three in before you get one that works well. If the company guarantees the meter to work, then take full advantage of their return policy until you have a one that works. Your only extra expense will be the cost of return shipping. Who knows? You might get one that works the first time.

First, to explain some basics:

Geiger counters measure point sources of radiation, such as grains or flakes of radioactive fallout.

Dosimeters measure your cumulative radiation dose.

Rate meters (also known as survey meters) measure the rate at which you are receiving radiation at any given time.

To have a fully equipped shelter, you would need all three.  (But if you have plenty of supplies, you can probably get by with just a dosimeter and ratemeter.) 

To explain the $60 price: Civil Defense organizations bought rate meters in huge numbers back in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Uncle Sugar's original cost was probably around $120 each (in 1960 dollars!) Most of them just sat around in warehouses for decades. Those are now hitting the surplus market. For a good general background on dosimeters and and rate meters, see this FAQ: http://www.radmeters4u.com/ as well as Bruce Beach's excellent article:  http://www.ki4u.com/nuclearsurvival/survival/detectors/index.htm  True Geiger counters are a much more sophisticated device, designed for finding point sources of radiation. Because they were much more expensive initially, and made in much smaller number, these do cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, unless you get lucky. In general, if a meter has a separate hand-held probe (typically a nickel-plated rod), then it is classified as a Geiger counter.  (Although their quality/sensitivity varies a bit.) Unlike dosimeters and and rate meters, Geiger counters are what is needed for decontamination of someone that is entering a fallout shelter that is possibly contaminated. (So you can identify and brush/hose off bits of radiating fallout.) However, for those with a well-stocked home fallout shelter, where you plan to "button up" for the duration of a radiological event, rate meters (also known as survey meters) will be your most important radiation monitoring tools. You will also need a pen-type dosimeter to measure your accumulated dose while sheltered. Together, they will be how you determine when it is safe to exit your shelter. (Initially for just short periods of work, and then when the radiation level has fallen considerably for all but sleeping hours, and eventually when the radiation has dropped to near background level, you can quit shetlering altogether.)

In closing, I strongly recommend that you get a copy of Cresson Kearny's book, Nuclear War Survival Skills. It is available from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.

OK, just my $.02 on the wilderness EMT article...

The thing I see that's missing from this article, and many like it is the focus on practice. I've been doing EMS long enough; and run enough calls to know that any EMS certification is a LICENSE TO PRACTICE medicine. People who get the training and don't use it might be kidding themselves. "The body does well what it does often" -- I can't remember who said that, but it's true.

Most newly-minted EMTs that I work with aren't worth squat in the field. Not until they have survived their first 100 calls or so. Maybe it is like the difference between taking a class on technical writing versus doing it for a living. Best Regards, - Mr. Kilo in the Northwest

One disparate view on Asian Avian flu worth considering as FFTAGFFR: The Threat of an Avian Flu Pandemic is Over-Hyped, by Michael Fumento, JD. See: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/16106.html

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Richard Benson comments on the coming Housing Bubble Implosion

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A new mumps outbreak in the U.S. Midwest.

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A report from Scotland on America's Cyber War.

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SurvivalBlog reader S.F. recommended this great resource: http://www.buildanark.net

"America's social entitlements, created as a safety net to keep its citizens out of the pit of despair when they were down on their luck, has now for too many become a hammock to lounge in, as a lifestyle. The opposite of entitlement thinking is survivalist thinking." - Rourke

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

This past month, I attended a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician W-EMT class put on by Wilderness Medical Associates at a local university. I can say that this is by far the best survival-oriented medical training I have received to date. This particular class was geared towards those who are already certified at the EMT level. The class was intense, and I learned a lot of things that were never brought up in my regular EMT classes.
To start, here is a bit of background on what levels of medical training are out there. Most of these are accessible to the average person willing to put in the time and money.
Basic First Aid - This is what you are typically taught in school, Boy Scouts, or a one-day class offered by the Red Cross. The most basic life-saving skills are taught, such as how to manage bleeding, how to recognize when someone should not be moved due to a possible spinal injury, etc. Everyone should at least get themselves to one of these classes. Many times, they are offered for free or at low cost at a community center, college, etc.

Wilderness First Aid - This is another class that goes over the basics, but in more depth. The Wilderness First Aid (WFA) courses will cover topics like altitude sickness, heat/cold emergencies, and wound care in more depth than a regular (urban) first aid class. These classes are typically two days or so.

Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA) - Similar topics to a WFA class, but goes into much more depth. Typical class is 4 days.\

Wilderness First Responder (WFR) - This is standard training for professional outdoor guides and group leaders. A lot of emphasis is placed on patient assessment, evacuation, etc. These classes are around 8 days, and will be intense. I would recommend a class like this to anyone who is serious about survival and/or outdoor travel.

Emergency Medical Technician - EMT is the certification level that is recognized at the county and state level, and is the entry-level certification for working on an ambulance crew, as a tech in an ER or other basic EMS work. It typically involves 150+ hours of training, plus hands-on contact with patients at an ER or on ambulance ride-alongs. You will learn basic anatomy, the critical body systems, how to identify common medical emergencies, extrication, patient packaging, trauma, delivery of some medications such as Oxygen, and get a basic grounding in emergency medicine.

Wilderness EMT - This class is EMT plus another 40-50 hours of training. The additional training covers topics that are specific to the back country (hypo/hypertherima, altitude, etc) in more detail than regular EMT or WFR training does and also introduces six new protocols. These include administering epinephrine injections for allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), managing sever asthma, reducing simple dislocations, advanced wound care, cessation of CPR, and clearing patients for spine injury. This would be about the best level of training most of us not working full-time in a medical field would be able to get to.
Note that EMT training is typically offered in evening or weekend format in most areas. I think a good bang-for-bucks training strategy would be to go for a first aid or better yet WFR class to get the basics plus wilderness training, then think about enrolling in an EMT program at your local community college. Mine took a semester of night classes to complete, and cost about $300, including enrollment, rooks and uniform.

The upgrade from EMT to W-EMT is a voluntary class that is not recognized by the state or county agencies in many cases. However, many employers recognize it and allow WIlderness-trained EMTs to use that extra training when they are away from a hospital/standard EMS.
The class that I took was five full days, and very hands on and intensive. It was taught at a level of training that assumed students knew basic medical terminology and standard EMT skills. We started with classroom review of the important body systems needed for survival, went over differences in assessing patients in the back country, then went right into the wilderness protocols. Each day was 9-10 hours long, and the class included three full-scale disaster simulations, with made-up patients needing assessment and treatment. The simulations were videotaped and critiqued in class. There was definitely no room for big egos here, as everyone made lots of mistakes, and improved their skills from one simulation to the next. They worked us pretty hard, and expected 100% from everyone.
The instructors were both outdoors people, one a working flight paramedic and the other a mountain-school instructor. Their insights and stories helped flesh out a lot of detail as to how and why a lot of this stuff is done. Additionally, a lot of discussion was had about medical topics not in the EMT protocols, such as applications for OTC and prescription medications for personal use, and what to expect from ALS (paramedic/advanced life support) crews, aircraft and search and rescue. Unlike the urban EMT class, they placed a lot of emphasis on making do with what's on hand, and using hands-on skills in place of equipment you may not have.
I think an important thing I learned is that just about anyone can be taught how to do even advanced medical procedures. The hard part, is knowing when to do them (and when not to).
I would encourage anyone concerned about being prepared to look into one of these classes. I went to the WMA school but we also heard good things about the other two schools included in the following links:

Wilderness Medical Associates

SOLO Schools

Wilderness Medical Society

Regards, - JN

Dear Mr. Rawles,

You wrote the following lumping NZ in with two other countries “The downside in all three countries is that their citizenries are unfairly subjected to draconian gun laws. (At least by American standards.) If you can live with registering all of your guns and some ridiculous restrictions on full capacity magazines, then by all means take a look in New Zealand. By reputation, the real estate firm to consider there is Bayleys”.

I would like to clarify a few points. First of all our gun laws are better here than some of your cities and states. There is no registration of sporting weapons, only MSSAs [Military Style Semiautomatic rifles or shotguns], Collectors (full auto), and pistols. If you have MSSA’s or pistols your magazines are not restricted at all. Any licensed gun owner can buy a suppressor from the local gun shop with no paperwork. By the same token, I could say the US has draconian gun laws because you can’t buy suppressors without ridiculous fingerprinting and outrageous tax penalties by the [American] BATFE. Also, our tax collectors don’t burn children for their own good like the ATF.

Bayleys is a fine real estate firm but they specialize in the premium end of the market. Those wishing to move here would be advised to spend some time determining where they want to live before plopping down serious money for a property as we have a huge range of climates and lifestyles (rural through urban). Cheers, - B.

SurvivalBlog reader J.C.S. recommended a site by a gent that used school buses to build a fallout shelter: http://www.webpal.org/webpal/index.htm

Doc at http://www.bigsecrets.cc recommended this site: http://www.undergroundhousing.com/  Doc says: "The author of "The $50 Underground House Book" did not start out to design a livable fallout shelter, but that is what he did."

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony on the Biblical Gold Standard: http://www.chalcedon.edu/articles/article.php?ArticleID=281

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JPFO Talkin' to America recently interviewed Fred of Fred's M14 Stocks regarding the RWVA Appleseed Project educational program. For downloadable audio, see: www.jpfo.org/talkamerica.htm

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A "must read" piece of economic analysis:  "Central Banks, Weimar Germany and Gold" by Richard J. Greene. See:

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Interesting article about possible societal responses to terrorism in the USA (written by an ex-SOG(?)commander) :

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Peak Sugar, Fuel, or Food?

"I sought the Lord and He answered me,

And delivered me from all my fears." - Psalm 34:4

A professor at the University of Texas proposes that a plague wiping out 90% of Earth's population would be a good thing. (I'm dubious.) See: http://story.seguingazette.com/drudge.html, and  http://www.sas.org/tcs/weeklyIssues_2006/2006-04-07/feature1p/index.html

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I just heard that Ready Made Resources is now offering free shipping on their freeze dried food!

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To our U.S. readers: Just enter your zip code in the site below, and it tells you which gas stations have the lowest (and the highest) gasoline prices in your zip code area. It's updated every evening. Be sure to scroll down after getting a map of your area.  See: http://autos.msn.com/everyday/gasstations.aspx?zip=&src=Netx



"Invest in silver and you can never go wrong." - Nelson Bunker Hunt

Tuesday, April 4, 2006


I just found my way to this site and thought it would be another good source of survival information for your readers, especially as it had been compiled with military rescues in mind at the time. I have no affiliation with the site, author, etc. Just wanted to pass on a link: http://tions.net/CA256EA900408BD5/vwWWW/outdoor~03~000

Here is a snip from the site: "The section is home to an on-line edition of a classic text that is sadly now out of print, 'The 10 Bushcraft Books' by Richard Graves. Richard Harry Graves was born 17th July, 1898 (some sources list year of birth as 1897 or 1899) in Co. Waterford, Ireland. He died 3 days before I was born, on the 3rd of February, 1971 in Sydney, Australia. He is credited with the authorship of several books and is formerly a Commanding Officer of the Australian Jungle Survival & Rescue Detachment on active service with the U.S.A.A.F.
'The 10 Bushcraft Books' are the seminal texts on bushcraft and this on-line edition (based on the first edition of the book set) has been released to share this unique source of knowledge. Originally written as wartime information for conducting rescue missions, the notes were later revised and prepared for a School of Bushcraft which was conducted for nearly 20 years. Almost all the quirks of the original text have been retained (illustrations by the author, inconsistent word usage, strange punctuation, etc.) although I have removed 50% of
the commas (believe it or not). I have also converted all imperial measurements into metric.
Each web page in this section is quite large (typically 100 to 150 Kb, including images). All large images have a 'thumbnail' place holder that can be used to access the full-size version of the image (by clicking on the thumbnail image)."
Book 1. - Ropes & Cords
Book 2. - Huts & Thatching
Book 3. - Campcraft
Book 4. - Food & Water
Book 5. - Firemaking
Book 6. - Knots & Lashings
Book 7. - Tracks & Lures
Book 8. - Snares & Traps
Book 9. - Travel & Gear
Book 10. - Time & Direction




Here's one of at least two commercially available conversions for black powder to cartridge: http://www.kirstkonverter.com By installing one of these cylinders, one is legally manufacturing their own weapon, so no paperwork is involved. [Under the Federal law] as long as the components are shipped separately, it can be mailed to any adult per federal law. Note however, that some states and localities will have differing laws. - Michael Z. Williamson



Hi Jim,
Boy, is your blog the "cream of the crop"! I've read it daily, almost from the very beginning, and am always amazed by the breadth of knowledge within. Great job!

I fully recognize the need for a suitable fallout shelter for my family in these trying times. By suitable I mean more than just an expedient shelter. We may need to be sealed off for several weeks in a worst case scenario. Don't get me wrong, an expedient shelter will save lives but may not be the most desirable conditions for a wife and toddler. In doing much research on the subject, reviewing Joel Skousen's books and other's, I've come to the conclusion that this is a MAJOR undertaking involving BIG BUCKS! How can I construct a solid, waterproof, underground fallout shelter, doing a lot of the interior outfitting myself, without breaking the bank? Many shelter producers charge $15-to-$100K per unit. This is almost impossible, while budgeting for other "needs", without incurring debt. Right now the steel culvert type shelters seem to fit the bill.

Please share your thoughts, concerns, advice. Congrats on your full time blogging, and may God continue to provide for you and your family. - SP in NC

JWR Replies: The first thought that comes to mind to reduce costs is to use one or two fiberglass prefabricated septic tanks as the primary structure for the shelter. Perhaps some SurvivalBlog readers will have other cost-saving suggestions. Please e-mail me, and I will post them.

A professor at the University of Texas proposes that a plague wiping out 90% of Earth's population would be a good thing. (I'm dubious.) See: http://story.seguingazette.com/drudge.html, and  http://www.sas.org/tcs/weeklyIssues_2006/2006-04-07/feature1p/index.html

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I just heard that Ready Made Resources is now offering free shipping on their freeze dried food!

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To our U.S. readers: Just enter your zip code in the site below, and it tells you which gas stations have the lowest (and the highest) gasoline prices in your zip code area. It's updated every evening. Be sure to scroll down after getting a map of your area.  See: http://autos.msn.com/everyday/gasstations.aspx?zip=&src=Netx



"Invest in silver and you can never go wrong." - Nelson Bunker Hunt

Monday, April 3, 2006

As previously mentioned, I will be writing SurvivalBlog full time, starting April 7th. Quitting my "day job" is a huge leap of faith. To make a living at this, I will need far more 10 Cent Challenge contributors. I don't intend to place "guilt trip" on anyone, nor do I want to sound like a beggar, but ponder the fact that less that 2% of the folks that read SurvivalBlog weekly have ponied up 10 cents a day. All that I ask is that if find what you read here valuable, then please pitch in. Thanks!

Today we present the first entry in Round 4 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best contest entry will win a four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. The deadline for entries for Round 4 is May 31, 2006.

The USDA is now claiming that the NAIS (National Animal Identification System) is necessary because of Asian Avian Flu. It would is pointless, because the flu could carried by wild birds. See this article in the Seattle Times. Mike Johanns (Secretary of Agriculture and one of the major advocates of the NAIS) said, "None of us can build a cage around the United States. We have to be prepared to deal with the virus here."

The NAIS program is clearly an attempt by the big agri-corps to remove competition and open foreign markets, or if you are more conspiracy minded, a system to control the nation's food supply. Please oppose this scheme by writing to your representatives and spreading the word. See the SurvivalBlog NAIS primer, NoNAIS.org, and the USDA's NAIS page.

Let me tell you a little story. It was January 1978, my sister was 8 and I was 11, and we were standing in front of the window in my parent’s front room. Outside the world was being covered in ice, or at least the slice we could see from there. The trees, the streetlight, the cars, even the recent snow had a pretty sheen that we thought was beautiful. Mom and Dad didn’t seem to share our enthusiasm, but heck, we knew that the old fogies didn’t know what cool was. Then of course, the lights went out.
No biggie, the lights had gone out before and our parents had already brought out the transistor radio and the oil lamps. Then my father went into the pantry for a flashlight and our family trip veered out of Coolville and into the land of bad vibes. You see, it being a month since Christmas, and electronic toys being on every kids list, all the batteries had died a natural death, including the ones that your’s truly had hijacked from the old man's torch.
As usual, we were all treated to several minutes of one of my father’s famous bi-lingual cursing sessions. I won’t repeat it here, but he was most vocal about his views on children who stole batteries out of flashlights and failed to tell anybody. I, being the fine upstanding lad immediately confessed my crime and threw myself on the mercy of the court . . . not! No way, I kept my mouth shut and let that storm pass as I hoped it would.
Once he calmed down (or possibly ran out of curse words, though I wouldn’t have bet money on that), Dad was quiet for a few minutes. Then he walked into the kitchen and called for me. I arrived quickly, hoping he hadn’t figured out who the battery thief was, and found him rummaging through the trash. He told me to go get a couple wire hangers from the closet and two candles from my mom.
After obtaining these items I returned to the kitchen where my Dad had two vegetable cans which he was washing carefully after removing the labels. I wondered what the heck he was doing as he washed and thoroughly dried the cans inside and out, but as it didn’t seem to involve hitting the boy for swiping batteries I figured I’d roll with it. Once the cans were clean and dry he put everything in a bag and handed it to me, and we were off to the basement.
I’ve always thought of my father’s basement as being like Santa’s workshop. Or the workshop Santa would have if Mrs. Claus booted him out and the elves took a hike when he cussed them out in Spanish. It was tight and dark (even when the lights were on) and cluttered with tools and scrap and goodness knows what, but it was cool. Anyway, down we went, my father gathering odds and ends and tools as we descended.
Once he had everything and the lamp was set where we could see and not burn the joint to the ground, Dad started in. First he selected a piece of scrap 2X4 which had one end cut down to about 2X2 and put it in the vice with about 5 or 6 inches sticking out. The he had me hold the can in place while he used an old ice pick and a hammer to punch a small hole about 1⁄4 inch behind the band that remained from the cut off lid. He repeated this on the other end and put another hole in the bottom of the can just below the one in the side (cans had two lids in those bygone days, not the seamless one-piece types we see today, oh how primitive). Then he rotated the can 180 degrees and used a 1” chisel to cut an “X” in the can.
Needless to say I was somewhat confused by all this and wracked my little brain as Dad repeated this operation on the second can, but still no hitting of the kid was going on so I figured I’d play along. Then he asked for a hanger, and clipped off the hook with a pair of wire cutters. Taking one of the cans he examined the two holes at the closed end and bent the freshly cut hanger wire with a pair of pliers so that it was almost a half loop. He then inserted the wire into the hole in the side and carefully poked around until it came out of the hole in the bottom. Once this was accomplished he worked some of the wire through the hole until he could twist the short end around the long one. Straightening the rest of the hanger out he went up about 4 inches from the can and bent the wire 90%, he bent it 90% again at the open end of the can and cut it off less than an inch below the side of the can. Putting the wire through the front hole he bent it up and twisted it around the now newly formed handle! He flipped the can over and began using the rubberized handle of his pliers to push on the 4 V-shaped pieces of can that made up the “X”. He only pushed them in a little, because once he had them started, he took a candle and jammed it into the hole until around an inch was sticking up inside the can.
Dad looked at me and smiled, then he dug out his good old Zippo and lit the candle. He held it by the handle and panned it around “One each, Hillbilly flashlight”. It worked as well as just about any flashlight we owned back then (we were too cheap to buy the really good ones). Minutes later we had two functional flashlights that didn’t need batteries and that would allow me and my sister to move around the house without carrying a large glass oil lamp or being escorted by a parent.

What is the point of this story? Well, I’ll tell you. This simple little episode is what I believe survivalism is really all about. Too many of us get wrapped up in arguments about weapons, equipment, and all the other stuff that we read about, but the real essence of survivalism is making due with what we have. It’s about using our brains to overcome our material deficiencies, not trying to buy our way out of trouble. I’ve seen too many people who think that if they just buy the right stuff they can overcome anything.
The truth is that the one thing every survivalist needs is the one thing no amount of money can buy, a proper mindset. History is filled with stories of people who faced apparently insurmountable odds with nothing but their wits and survived, and each one of us must be ready to do the same. If our world truly does go down the tubes as we fear it might, it will not be our STUFF that allows us to survive, it will be having the strength of will to keep going no matter what, and the willingness to use our heads to find solutions where our material preparations are lacking.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of having everything I can get to make my life easier. I’ve been in situations where I had to deal with problems without having the right tools and materials and it was a serious drag. Our caveman ancestors managed to get by with almost nothing, and while I respect them for it I have no desire to try it myself. The idea is not to become dependant on our store-bought tools or our prefab supplies. Think! Ask yourself, “What would I do if. . .?”, “What can I use instead?” All our lives, most of us have been taught to rely on others and it is a hard habit to break, but we must, if we are to survive. - Warhawke


Regarding's Dave's recent mention of the Firefly strobe: "...the PX32 can also be used in an adapter for the old "Firefly" strobe..."
I just thought that I'd mention the solution I found for military strobe batteries. Actually, I may be thinking of another strobe, the military SDU-5E orange rescue strobe.An amazing gentleman, Brooke Clarke, has simply done so much for so many at his site: http://www.pacificsites.com/~brooke/ .
Be it a military radio, or a cool battery facilitator, Brooke is simply amazing. Here's the URL for his adaptors: http://www.pacificsites.com/~brooke/PRC68COM.shtml or directly for the strobe adapter: http://www.pacificsites.com/~brooke/5BA.shtml.
I know he made my life a lot nicer with two 3 volt lithium batteries powering my rescue strobe.God bless Brooke for all he's done and all he will do for all of us.
Best Regards, - The Army Aviator

The U.K. is making contingency plans for mass burials in the event of an influenza pandemic: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4869224.stm

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If you have an interest in raising livestock, or even just an interest in healthy eating, take a look at this informative (and quite amusing) parody site: The Meatrix

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As reported by the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, on March 28, U.S. Congressman Bobby Jindal (R-La.) introduced H.R. 5013, the "Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act of 2006." This NRA-supported bill would amend federal emergency statute laws to prohibit local authorities from confiscating lawfully owned firearms during times of disaster.

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If you haven't yet read Doc's Preparedness page, do so. I consider it a "must read." See:  http://www.bigsecrets.cc/prepare.htm  Follow the links!

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SurvivalBlog reader Sid C. noticed the following bit of temporal trivia: On Wednesday of next week at two minutes and three seconds after one in the morning the time and
date will be: 01:02:03:04/05/06 (hence, 1 2 3 4 5 6 ) This will not happen again in our lifetimes.

"A heart well prepared for adversity in bad times hopes, and in good times fears for a change in fortune." - Horace.

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Wow!  We just surpassed 10 million hits since SurvivalBlog was launched eight months ago! Of course it's not as important as unique visits, but even that count is exploding: More than 322,000  unique visits!  Thanks for making SurvivalBlog such a success. Please continue to spread the word.

I will be writing SurvivalBlog full time, starting April 7th. To make a living at this, I will need to find more advertisers. I'd greatly appreciate your help:  If you know of a potential advertiser, please call or e-mail them, and ask them to get a banner ad at SurvivalBlog.  They cost as little as $55 per month. Many Thanks!

Mr. Rawles,
Thank you again for your blog. It is a VERY helpful resource. I plan on becoming a contributor to your site soon. What are your thoughts on moving to New Zealand? Would it be an alternative 'safe place' to be located, instead of putting together a retreat here? You have chosen to remain in the states for certain reasons. What are those reasons? Regards, - Luke

JWR Replies: The mild climate, low population density, and low crime rate in new Zealand make it quite appealing as a retreat locale. I can say much the same for parts of Canada and Australia. The downside in all three countries is that their citizenries are unfairly subjected to draconian gun laws. (At least by American standards.) If you can live with registering all of your guns and some ridiculous restrictions on full capacity magazines, then by all means take a look in New Zealand. By reputation, the real estate firm to consider there is Bayleys. (http://www.bayleys.co.nz/)


The IM-179 is a really neat little meter unless you need to measure background, but there are other meters for that. I've been using the following as replacement batteries for my IM-179:

#1 [Replacement for Mallory BA1312U]:

Batteries Plus: ALK 1.5V/325Mah Cat # DURPC640A Were $2.99 each
UPS #041333040431 Batteries Plus -91
On the battery it says:
PC640A China (Ha!) Alkaline

#2 [Replacement for Mallory BA1318U]: Batteries Plus DANTR164A Batteries Plus #90 Were $11.99 each
On the battery is says:
Excell A32 . A164 6.0V Alkaline
PX32A EN164A PC164A

Hope this helps. Isn't it amazing how common pieces of equipment from divergent sources show up in the hands of people who read this publication. :-) Best Regards, - The Army Aviator

Mr. Rawles:

I have several the original [IM 179] units. Batteries are no longer manufactured. But Major Surplus has the replacements for about $19.00 plus shipping. Great little meters. The calibration is off a little and when you test the meter swings over too far. After test you must let meter reset for 10 minutes to clear the ion tube. You will have to make an adapter for the 640A cell that replaces the large round mercury cell. You can make one out of thick cardboard or fiberboard. The Units purchased from Major Surplus come with the adapter. Major has the Duracell PX32A, made for them buy Excell. Jordan Electronics in California calibrated them for Major and work great. The reason for the change was because the big cell was mercury. Best of luck. - JWH


The IM 179 is a nice little radiac set that it easy to use and handy but the batteries have been out of production for a long time. The good news is that commercial batteries can be adapted for it.

The information is in the book "Power up" that I wrote about 13 years ago. It has been out of print for several years and the publisher is out of business. About a year ago I found that the book could be downloaded from a web site in the UK called "Army Radio". As I recall this site  is for collectors of military radios.

The adapter for the IM 179 used one Duracell PX32 & one Duracell R640. A little cardboard , masking tape & aluminum foil & you are in business. Note: You MUST watch the polarity as the suggested batteries have a "negative tip"!

BTW, the PX32 can also be used in an adapter for the old "Firefly" strobe.   At the time I wrote the book these were available at most Radio Shack stores but I do not know it this it still true. I hope this helps & if needed I can try to sent you the plans for this to share with readers. - Dave

The folks at The Pre-1899 Specialist tell us that their new batch of 8 x57 pre-1899 Turkish contract Oberndorf Mauser rifles is going fast. This is by far the nicest batch of Turks that they've ever acquired. Since they were all made between 1894 and 1896, they are Federally exempt "antiques" --which means no paperwork required for delivery to most states. (They come right to your doorstep, with no pesky 4473 form required!)

   o o o

Gold and silver aren't the only commodities on a stratospheric trajectory. Copper and uranium recently hit all time records. Oil is very strong, too. Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens says that he sees $5 per gallon gasoline looming, worldwide

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Noah at the DefenseTech blog reports that the U.S. has done an about face on reimbursement for soldier-purchased body armor.  OBTW, in a recent issue, Noah has a link to an amazing video of an LPG tanker truck BLEVE explosion. Scary stuff.

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SurvivalBlog reader R.B.S. recommends this article on currency inflation, by statistical analyst Jim Willie.

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Never one for subtlety, Doc at www.bigsecrets.cc recommends this device for rodent control.

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SurvivalBlog reader Rourke just happened across this North Carolina retreat property when surfing the net: http://www.greatcarolinaproperty.com/farms/112284d.htm

"I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution." - Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, April 1, 2006

I'm not much of a trickster, so I won't subject you to any April Fool's Day prank posts.

And the winner is...  The winner of Round 3 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest is K.A.D., for his article titled: "Defending Your Home: An Outline of Security for Troubled Times"  The author will be mailed a four day &qout;gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. Thanks to the contest sponsor, we will be repeating the contest, with the same valuable prize. The deadline for entries for Round 4 is May 31, 2006.

For this latest round of the contest, special judging consideration will be given to the article with the most useful and detailed information on a practical skill that is applicable to a TEOTWAWKI situation. Get to writing, folks!

OBTW, for convenient reference, we have created a new permanent archive of the contest winning articles

Note to K.A.D.:  Let me know your snail mail address and I'll mail you your four day course certificate. Congratulations!

US Readers: Don't forget to "spring forwards" tonight.

Mr. Rawles:
I recently attended a forestry conference where Doug Freedman of Harrisburg, Oregon was speaking. He is the owner of RCO Inc., a company that deals with varmint problems on an industrial scale. Here are some of the notes that were taken at his presentation: You start doing some of the math on the breeding numbers these guys could produce and it is flat scary. (Please note that if errors exist, it is due to my rapid note taking rather than a lapse by Mr. Freedman, who is an expert in his field. )

Pocket Gophers:
Tunnels: are 80-800 feet long-random in direction and consists of main and lateral tunnels. They make 2-to-3 mounds per day-moving two tons of soil per year.
Food: 3-5 food caches per tunnel system. They like tuberous plants ( particularly thistle he said ). They introduce their own habitat ( i am assuming ala war of the worlds )
Life cycle: multiple litters per year breeding starts in March and June. 19 day gestational period with 3-to-7 per litter. Mature dependency from adults in 40 days. Sexually mature in 1 year and they live 2-5 years.
Traps: control and trap both directions and place in main tunnels. Can use mouse traps on incline with strings tied to them. They patrol their tunnels 2-3 times per day ( very territorial ) if they see light they will investigate why a tunnel is opened.
Baits: Bait only main tunnels use strychnine and PREMIUM grade oats. Higher quality oats and freshness = palatability.
Control: remove forbes with tap roots

Habitat: Live above or below . Like a 14" canopy of grass golf ball sized holes. Can burrow 5-6 feet. Groups of 7-8 rodents nest together in winter
Food: tend to girdle seedlings and small trees. also may eat some grass ( unsure on this one )
Life cycle: 19 day gestational period. They have 6-to-7 litters per year. Can re-breed in 20 hours.
Control: cut grass below 10"
Baits: Zinc Phosphate.

Ground Squirrels:
Damage: They can carry the Plague. Forage on grain crops. Holes damage farm machinery. Have been known to damage dikes.
Habitat: Live above and below ground tunnels 15 feet long
Food Grass and grains
Life cycle: 1 litter per year usually 5 per litter
Baits: strychnine. Below ground only. Bait in summer to late fall. Place unpoisoned grain in an area to get them used to feeding in a spot. Then place the poison and get the whole family. can trap and shoot also can fumigate. Some have tried the ol propane wand and suffocation. Others have tried to ignite the burrows (Not suggested ).
Thanks Much, - E.B. in N. Idaho

You listed some criteria for countries suitable as offshore retreats. Unfortunately, I'm not sure there are any countries that meet all of them, in Central America--or North America for that matter! Having spent a lot of time looking into things, I'd like to share a few observations:
-Nicaragua is widely reported as having a low crime rate, plus they now offer the same immigration incentives that used to be available in Costa Rica. It is also noteworthy that most of the Nicaraguan crime is cross-border, into Costa Rica.
-Belize has a fair bit of crime, some political instability, and a bad attitude towards guns. Plus it's relatively expensive.
-Costa Rica is going down the globalist path just as fast as the US and England--they are just starting from a freer level. The recent tax laws might make it the worst in Central America. Fortunately, the Supreme Court threw them out on a technicality.
-The folks I met who were evaluating both Costa Rica and Panama leaned strongly toward Panama.
-The weather and scenery in Costa Rica are great.
-Many expats who like Mexico see it as a snowbird destination; more like a modern-day Arizona.
-The visa (e.g., Pensionado) programs are really important. Belize's retirement visa starts at age 45, which is quite generous.
Sincerely, - Pablo

Where can I get replacement batteries for my IM-179 radiacmeter? It takes Mallory BA1312U or Mallory BA1318U batteries.  Thanks, - D.A.B.

JWR Replies:  Sorry, but I had no sources listed in my research files, and I struck out with web research. "Phone a friend" failed, so now I think it is time to "Poll the audience." Lets see what they say. Collectively, there is some amazing knowledge out there, and they haven't failed me yet.

A Blackwater Brigade for Darfour?

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U.K.'s Prime Minister Blair Calls for a Technological Revolution to Combat Climate Change

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SurvivalBlog readers in the Great Lakes region should consider getting training from Dave Schleicher of Eagle Personal Protection, in Michigan. Dave is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor who shares his knowledge gained at a wide range of schools including Lethal Force Institute(LFI-I and LFI-II certified), Options for Personal Security (Handgun Skills and Tactics, Carbine, Surgical Speed Shooting), Universal Shooting Academy, Gunfighters, Ltd., Suarez International (Low Light Gunfighting, Close Range Gunfighting, Knifefighting) and E.A.G. Tactical (Combat Carbine.) Dave really knows his stuff, and offers small class sizes with lots of individual attention.

   o o o

DefenseTech reports that DARPA is developing mini-sensors called "Camouflaged Long Endurance Nano-Sensors":(CLENS)

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Here is a great web site on mortgage banking economics: Great Depression 2 ("Fannie, you're in a heap-a trouble!")

"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions." - James Madison

All Content on This Web Site Copyright 2005-2014 All Rights Reserved - James Wesley, Rawles - SurvivalBlog.com

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