Note from JWR:

Today we present the final entry for Round 17 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best non-fiction article will win two valuable four day “gray” transferable Front Sight course certificates. (Worth up to $4,000!) Second prize is a copy of my “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. Round 18 (which runs through the end of September) begins tomorrow, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entries. Remember that articles that relate practical “how to” skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

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Preparing for a Dam Breach, by A.B.S.

Many of my fellow Tennesseans awoke to headlines the other day that two of the Corp of Engineers dams in our area that are supposed to protect the people from floods and provide water and electricity are in danger of failure. Built more than 50 years ago, the Wolf Creek Dam and the Center Hill Dam overlook several hundred thousand people in central Tennessee, and are leaking significantly. The Wolf Creek Dam has been classified as being at high risk of collapse. The Wolf Creek Dam is located on the Cumberland River 190 miles up stream from Nashville. The dam has had problems for more than a year and last year, officials determined repairs would need to be made to the dam because of leaks in and around it. The dam holds back 100+ miles of the Cumberland River, near Jamestown in south central Kentucky. Now, the dam is weakening and immediate action is being taken to stop what could be a catastrophic flood. The water level was dropped and more testing was done on the dam. It is the results of those tests that caused officials to put the dam at high risk of failure, though they state failure … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Converting Gas Engine Vehicles to Propane

James; I haven’t seen much discussion to date in SurvivalBlog on Propane-burning vehicles as a retreat / bug out / EMP-proof vehicle. From what I understand, Propane combusting vehicles are not as popular in the USA as they have been in Canada, not to say we have a large amount of them running on streets, however, they are here and they are available. I’m looking at a EMP proof vehicle right now which happens to be a 1985 Chevy, 4×4, 1/2-Ton which has been converted to propane. Are their any issues with this that you may or may not be aware of as an EMP proof convertible vehicle? Propane is currently cheaper [per gallon] than gasoline and as you know stores much longer than that of Gasoline or [even] Diesel. If it can be done, others should start looking that way. Aside from the small amount of loss in power, the pros could far out weigh the cons providing they can be EMP-proofed, which I don’t know anything about when it comes to propane vehicles. Please advise. Thanks in advance. – Dan S. JWR Replies: Because propane might be hard to come by “on the road”, I don’t recommend propane … Continue reading

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Odds ‘n Sods:

Andrew Hankinson, a journalist at FHM magazine in the UK, e-mailed us to mention that he is looking for a survivalist in the US to spend a few days with. There would also be a photographer. He’s looking for someone who lives somewhere remote, hopefully in a survivalist community. The idea is to sample life as a survivalist. It is a serious piece coming on the back of much Peak Oil debate in the UK. If anyone could help – it would need to happen sometime in early August. lease contact him via e-mail.    o o o Cheryl N. flagged this from The Telegraph: Bigger Than Roosevelt’s New Deal: The Fannie and Freddie Bailout, as well as this from The Mogambo Guru: The Problems-Solving Paulson Package    o o o Reader KT mentioned a mobile “under the hood” arc welding generator made by Zena Corporation.    o o o D.A.B. found this article about DARPA’s Big Dog robotics program.

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Note from JWR:

The high bid in the current SurvivalBlog Benefit Auction is $500. This auction is for a big mixed lot: a NukAlert radiation detector, donated by KI4U–a $160 value), a DVD of 480 E-books on Alternative Energy (donated by WK Books–a $25 value), and the following package of survival gear all kindly donated by CampingSurvival.com: One case of MREs, one pack of water purifications tablets, a bottle of colloidal silver, a fire starter, a bottle of potassium iodate tablets, an emergency dental kit, a pack of “Shower in a bag” bath wipes, and one messenger bag to pack it in. The auction ends on August 15, 2008. Please e-mail us your bid.

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Letter Re: Advice on Versatile Pasture Fencing

Mr. & Mrs. Rawles, Following the guidance in your “Rawles on Retreats and Relocation” book, I. recently bought a 20 acre retreat in southeastern Oregon that backs up to BLM land, with some good ground for pasturing [livestock].(But most [of it] is too rocky for cutting hay.) There is an old fruit/nut orchard with some amazing big trees. (It is half of what was originally an 1880s homestead.) There is both a well and spring. The spring only puts out 1.3 gallons per minute, but I plan to have it fill a big cistern that I’m soon to be building. We might be able to get a [grazing] permit on the [adjoining] BLM land. I’m not sure what sort of animals we will be getting (sheep, cattle, or whatnot). We might also get a horse. The property has some old falling-down fences (three strands of old rusty barbed wire). I’m planning to rip that out and start fresh. What would you recommend for fencing that’ll “do it all”? What kind of posts, and [at] what spacing? What is the best way to stretch a fence [to proper tension]? Do you like tube-type gates? Thanks for your blog and books. They’ve … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Opening a Non-Dollar Denominated Offshore Bank Account

Mr. Rawles, My wife and I have a Certificate of Deposit (CD) at 5.25% of $425,000 that will be maturing in December. She is all fired-up to travel to Canada in September, and with an interest-only withdrawal using $20, 000 to open bank account using converted US Dollars [(USDs) to another currency] as a hedge against the falling value of the USD. I have a bad feeling about this. From reading your site for several months, I suspect that you would suggest buying tangibles but, I fear that my wife will not agree to spending that kind of money on tangibles. What are your comments regarding direct investment in foreign currency? JWR Replies: Since you have that much money to shelter, an offshore account has some merit. Just make sure the grand total that you are carrying is less than $10,000 each and wearing or carrying no jewelry (aside from wedding bands) or other items such as optics, collectibles, gemstones, or flash memory cards that could be deemed “liquid/cash equivalent” assets. (The $10,000 reporting limit for Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs), I’ve been told, is practically sacrosanct, and the IRS has no sense of humor.) Also, be advised that multiple trips … Continue reading

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Odds ‘n Sods:

JT found us this: Bad News and Bank Runs. Talk about more “stimulus checks”, and blaming “blogs” for “misinformation” that fed people’s fears. And reader Cheryl N. found two articles that tie in nicely: FDIC Smoke & Mirrors and US National Debt Limit Raised Ahead of Budget Busting Bailout Legislation. (Cheryl’s comment: “Paulson’s Bazooka will be locked and loaded with enough firepower to blow what’s left of our economy into the dustbin of history. “)    o o o The WRSA has another “Grid-Down Medical Course” scheduled soon. This one will be in Everett, Washington, September 12-14. Their training is inexpensive, and highly recommended. This is also a great way to bump into fellow SurvivalBlog readers. (Wear your SurvivalBlog hat or t-shirt!) For those of you living in the Eastern United States, Medical Corps has a “Medical Response in a Hostile Environment” course scheduled for that same weekend, and they may still have a few seats available.    o o o Reader Michael H. recommended some economic commentary from Bob Chapman: Paper Sold To Pools Of Liquidity    o o o Just in time for the Olympics, Recombinomics reports an outbreak of an unidentified hemorrhagic fever in China’s Shandong Province. … Continue reading

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Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"…[P]art of your diversification strategy should be to have a farm or ranch somewhere far off the beaten track but which you can get to reasonably quickly and easily. Think of it as an insurance policy…Your safe haven must be self-sufficient and capable of growing some kind of food. It should be well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc. Think Swiss Family Robinson. Even in America and Europe there could be moments of riot and rebellion when law and order temporarily completely breaks down.” – Barton Biggs, in “Wealth, War & Wisdom"

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Letter Re: More Observations on the Aftermath of Hurricane Dolly

Dear JWR and Memsahib, On June 30, in a response to “Help with a Non-Preparedness Minded Spouse”, I shared the thoughts of like-minded men in a group meeting regularly with my husband to prepare for survival needs. Due to the lack of female companionship I was experiencing, and the frustration my husband’s buddies were experiencing, I offered to start a “Ladies Auxiliary” group to motivate the wives to see the value of preparing for emergency survival. Living near the coast of Texas provides us with the challenge of hurricanes each summer, so that became the topic for personal and immediate preparedness. We had NOAA hurricane tracking maps, National Hurricane Center Weather Service information, hurricane terminology lists, emergency preparedness time lines, steps for a family plan, lists for emergency/bug out kits and first aid kits, what to do before, during and after the storm, links to pet plans, and how to secure your home, help for the elderly, online vulnerability awareness of communities, plans for escape routes, and the Contraflow Plan for one way traffic during evacuation, all in binders with appropriate tabs. At the back of each binder, I placed a print out from the well-known Red Cross web site … Continue reading

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