Preparedness Notes for Wednesday – April 25, 2018

Today is the birthday of physicist, inventor, and entrepreneur Guglielmo Marconi (1874–1937). He was known for his pioneering work on long-distance radio transmission as well as for the development of Marconi’s law and a radio telegraph system. He is often considered the inventor of radio.

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SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

Today features another entry for Round 76 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
  8. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
  6. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 76 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.



Preparing for Chaos, Theory and Application- Part 2, by DF

In part 1 of this two-part article, I wrote about the theory behind the reason for preparing for chaos and provided and overview of the laws of supply and demand. Then, I moved from theory into practical matters. I began with alternative feed for chickens, as chickens are a means for sustaining us when the SHTF and our transportation system is not delivering feed, chicks, or supplies to our stores. We have looked at crabapples and how to provide them with various insects. Now, let’s look at sunflowers to use as chicken feed.

Sunflowers/Sunflower Seeds

One of my neighbors grew some sunflowers one year and complained how much work it was to prepare the sunflowers for human consumption. My response was simple; grow them for the chickens and let them do all the work. Chickens will peck at a sunflower head until all the seeds are consumed.

My first challenge was to find some good sunflower seed. The local bulk seed store did not sell seeds for growing, but they had black oil sunflower seeds for bird feed. I just bought one 50 lb. bag, and the seeds had a 97% germination rate. So that’s what I planted.

A Modified Three Sisters Plant Strategy

I co-planted the sunflowers with an heirloom variety of large winter squash as a kind of modified three sisters plant strategy, with only two sisters. Sunflowers replaced the corn in the sister group, providing some shade for the squash as well as a grid for the squash plants to climb. By arrival of autumn, I had a few hundred sunflower heads (and a lot of squash). It is important to harvest the sunflowers before the wild birds eat too many of them. Also the sunflower seeds provide valuable fat and oils to the chickens, but they can make them fat and unhealthy if fed exclusively. It is also important to have a mouse-free bin to store the sunflower heads, since rodents like them, too.

Continue reading



Economics & Investing For Preppers

Here are the latest items and commentary on current economics news, market trends, stocks, investing opportunities, and the precious metals markets. We also cover hedges, derivatives, and obscura. And it bears mention that most of these items are from the “tangibles heavy” contrarian perspective of JWR. (SurvivalBlog’s Founder and Senior Editor.) Today’s focus is on Bitcoin Market Manipulation. (See the Cryptos section.)

 

Precious Metals:

First up, at Zero Hedge: Russia Buys 300,000 Ounces Of Gold In March – Nears 2,000 Tons In Reserves

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Silver Short Squeeze Unable to Ignite the Gold Sector…Yet

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Michael Ballanger: Whither Silver From Here?

 

Stocks and Bonds:

I warned readers that rising interest rates would cause some big market drops. Well, here they come: Dow drops over 500 points after 10-year Treasury yield touches 3%

Cryptos (Bitcoin Market Manipulation):

It is noteworthy that the U.S. Dollar trade value of Bitcoin (BTC) has been bouncing around $9,300 but then it regularly gets pushed back down below $8,850. This definitely smacks of automated sell orders that are in place. As I’ve mentioned before, only 50 individuals and entities hold more than half of all of the Bitcoin now in existence. One of those entities is the U.S. Government. It does so, because the Justice Department made a few high-profile seizures of Bitcoin.  Most notorious was their “tackle in the public library” seizure of more than 144,000 BTC from Silk Road manager Ross Ulbricht (aka The Dread Pirate Roberts or DPR) in 2013. At the time, that chunk of BTC (then worth $130 per BTC) was valued at just $28.5 million. But at $9,000 USD each, that 144,000 BTC equates to nearly $1.3 Billion USD!Continue reading



JWR’s Recommendations of the Week

Here are JWR’s Recommendations of the Week for various media and tools of interest to SurvivalBlog readers. This week the focus is on RTIC Coolers.

Books:

With my prematurely aging eyes, this has become my preferred printing size: Holy Bible: KJV Large Print Thumb Index Edition: Tan

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Black Sheep One: The Life of Gregory “Pappy” Boyington

 

Movies:

A Noble Lie: Oklahoma City 1995. Available on DVD. Also available for free download for Amazon Prime members.

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The Chronicles of Melanie. Available on DVD. Also available for free download for Amazon Prime members.

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Preparedness Notes for Tuesday – April 24, 2018

April 24th is the birthday of Carolyn Cole(born 1961), a well-known staff photographer for the Los Angeles Times. For a few years in the late 1960s, the Cole family lived next door to JWR’s parents’ house in Livermore, California. That little girl with whom he played hide-and-seek would grow up to earn a Pulitzer Prize, two World Press Photo awards, and be named Photojournalist Of The Year. Congrats and Happy Birthday, Carolyn!

This is also the day in 1915 of the Armenian Genocide, where Ottoman (Turkey) Muslims slaughtered 1.5 million of their Christian neighbors, intellectuals, and community leaders. The Ottoman government proceeded with multiple phases to round up men in mass executions and drive women and children into the desert on death marches. They also lead the general Muslim citizens to participate in brutal periodic massacres within their communities signaled with the blow of a bugle in a Manchurian candidate-type of manner. It is one of the first modern genocides and serves as a warning for us today. Sarah Latimer, decades ago, spent most of a day on a flight speaking one-on-one with an elderly woman, who told of her account as a child escaping this horror and of her faith in God, which her family would not renounce and for which most died. She lost most of her family, including her father, because they would not renounce their faith. This woman had a great impact on Sarah. There are chilling accounts contained in Islam scholar Andrew Bostom’s book, The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War And the Fate of Non-Muslims

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SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

Today features another entry for Round 76 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
  8. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
  6. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 76 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.



Preparing for Chaos, Theory and Application- Part 1, by DF

Many people view the possibility of economic/societal disruption and collapse as science fiction, suitable as entertainment in dystopian novels or movies. I view it as actual science, not fiction and am preparing for the ensuing chaos and necessities to get past it. Well-proven theories in the areas of nonlinear systems and economics can help us partially understand what can happen, how we can prepare and respond, and even what is not possible to predict.

My first section on “theory” is quite abstract. It looks at some of the basic principles of chaos theory to describe the mechanisms of economic/societal collapse. It also looks at the laws of supply and demand to understand the likely failure of normal supply chains for goods and services. The other two major sections are very practical, almost boring, advice on creating your own supply chain for food supply to your farm animals, and ultimately, you.

Section I – Theory

I would like to discuss two theories– chaos theory and the laws of supply and demand.

Chaos Theory

Chaos theory describes certain types of nonlinear dynamic systems. It is characterized by a high gradient (driving force) and extreme sensitivity to initial conditions. The sensitivity to initial conditions make it impossible to calculate the exact behavior of the system very far into the future. Below are some simple examples.

Example of Water Flowing Through a Hose

Water flowing through a hose is completely predictable using newtonian physics at low flow rates. The water comes out in a smooth predictable tube the same shape as the hose. When the “gradient” of pressure driving force exceeds a certain threshold, the flow becomes turbulent and starts to spray in many different directions. Turbulence is a chaotic phenomenon that makes it impossible to predict where any specific water molecule will go.

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SurvivalBlog’s News From The American Redoubt

Here is SurvivalBlog’s News From The American Redoubt. This weekly column features news stories and event announcements from around the American Redoubt region. We also mention companies of interest to preppers that are located in the region. The emphasis this week is on the Sunshine Minting Company.

Idaho (Sunshine Minting)

The refined folks at Sunshine Minting (with several facilities, one of them in Coeur d’Alene) are seeing a jump in wholesale orders, because of rising silver prices. They make 1-ounce .999 silver planchets (blanks) for many other private mints and the popular U.S. Mint for the American Eagle coin minting program. The planchets for the discontinued American Redoubt coins also came from Sunshine Minting. They also make bars, up to 100 ounce weight, for companies such as APMEX. And of course they produce silver rounds and bars with their own logo. Those are sold by all of the major bullion coin sellers, and are so ubiquitous that you’ll often find them on eBay and at local coin shops.

I should mention that there seems to be some confusion between the company names of the famous Sunshine Mine and and Sunshine Minting. They are separate companies. Their only relationship at present is that Sunshine Minting does buy some silver from the Sunshine Mine. Started in 1884, the Sunshine Mine is still going strong, producing a high volume of silver ore.

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Woman airlifted to hospital after motorcycle crashes into herd of deer

 

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The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog presents another edition of The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods— a collection of news bits and pieces that are relevant to the modern survivalist and prepper from “HJL”.

I’m finally beginning to get some dexterity back in my fingers after the accident. It’s tough not being able to use your hands when there is so much to be done. Spring is definitely here! On the bright side, I spent some time watching YouTube videos and found a new vlogger that I like. AvE is a Canadian that believes in destructive testing of products. He tears down expensive tools and compares them to the cheap alternatives. He’s very ADD and reminds me of myself when I was younger.

In particular, he has a series where he compares the “Made in the USA” tools to Chinese imports and the results are rather surprising. In some cases, the “Made in the USA” tool performs better, as you would expect, but only marginally. In other cases, the Chinese import outperforms the USA product. I’m reminded of the early days of Japanese car imports. There was a time when Japanese car companies truly did produce junk, but it wasn’t long before they had a quality product on the market and the US auto manufactures were still producing the same old thing. You could routinely get 500,000 miles out of a Japanese engine while American engines were doing good to get 100,000 without having to be rebuilt. Who doesn’t think of Toyota as a quality product nowadays?

Competition is a good thing for the consumer. In any case, destructive testing is always fascinating to watch, especially when the product is expensive. Note: He does use rough language.

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The Editors’ Quote of the Day:

“There is but one step from all this sense of irresponsibility and self-separation from city government—and I believe this is the very road which is taken—to that deep pit of fallen citizenship into which men plunge who bribe their way through city government to what they want. These men commit the unpardonable sin of city life. I know of nothing in all the range of municipal reform more important than the tearing up by the roots of the infamous practices of bribery. There is no worse citizen in America than the good citizen who pays a bribe. He is as much worse than the man he bribes as his social and financial opportunities are greater and his temptation less. His crime is committed without necessity and without haste. It is cold-blooded, mercenary debauchery, and wholly inexcusable. It inevitably must be stopped. It furnishes food for the greater part of the corruption of city government; with the spoils system it furnishes nearly all; and it is impossible to reform city government as long as this horrible vice in its present virulence exists. It is not only a grand obstacle to the introduction of business methods in city government, and it is not only immoral, dishonest and dishonorable as scarcely anything else in the corruption of city life is, but, upon the part of the bribers, is scandalously mean and degraded, in view of their chances in the honorable competition of business life and of the absence of all serious temptation.

As I believe the uprooting of these practices to be of the greatest moment to municipal reform, I beg to offer the practical suggestion that a change might be made in the laws punishing the crime. We have tried without avail laws making both briber and bribed equally punishable, because, as both are liable to punishment, both have the highest motive for secrecy—and evidence can hardly ever be obtained. We have also tried making the bribed alone punishable; and this has not availed because the briber is usually a man of too much position to be willing to tell the truth and appear in his true light. He is of that higher grade of criminals which can be trusted to believe in honor among thieves. I suggest the remaining alternative of making punishment apply only to the briber, for though the bribed would not always peach, he is of the sort that certainly sometimes would; and the briber, knowing the grade of man he was dealing with, would always regard him as a man who might; and would be apprehensive that when exposure did not follow, blackmail would; all of which would add new risks that very few monied men would dare to take. Moreover, in city government bribery there are usually so many of the bribed that the risks of exposure or blackmail would be immensely multiplied.” – Treasury Secretary Franklin MacVeagh (November 22, 1837 – July 6, 1934)





Kershaw/Emerson CQC-8K Tactical Folder, by Pat Cascio

Under review today is the Kershaw/Emergson CQC-8K Tactical Folder. It’s one of the most popular tactical folding knives, designed by custom knife maker Ernest Emerson himself.

Knives Illustrated

Many years ago, I wrote for Knives Illustrated magazine, and for quite a few years I was their West Coast Field Editor. In my experience, what you see today in what is called Knives Illustrated isn’t really a staff-written cutlery magazine. Instead, it is designed to appear like a magazine, when it is nothing more than paid advertisements that look like articles but are not. Don’t be fooled. What you read there are paid advertisement “articles.”

Ernest Emerson

If you don’t know who Ernest Emerson is, I’d suggest you Google his name. You’ll see that he is not only a custom knife designer and maker, but he’s the real deal. He is a well-known martial artist as well. Emerson talks the talk and walks the walk. I have, in the past, spent many hours talking with Emerson on the phone when I was reviewing some of his knives for articles. The man is genuine. And before I knew it, several hours passed when we talked on the phone. Back then, in the early 1990s, Emerson had just started mass producing his knives in a small factory he started in California. Emerson couldn’t begin to keep up with orders for his custom-made knives, and the only solution at that time was to start his own factory and train the personnel to produce his knives.

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Recipe of the Week: Waldorf Salad, by L.H.

This “old-fashioned” salad (my recipe card for it is circa 1979) has seemingly fallen out of favor, and I don’t know why. It’s yummy and unique, and fairly simple to throw together. It will be perfect alongside your next grilled chicken dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 3 apples (your favorite variety), peeled, trimmed, and cubed into bite-sizes
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 c. pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. sugar dash of salt

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Economics & Investing For Preppers

Here are the latest items and commentary on current economics news, market trends, stocks, investing opportunities, and the precious metals markets. We also cover hedges, derivatives, and obscura. And it bears mention that most of these items are from the “tangibles heavy” contrarian perspective of JWR. (SurvivalBlog’s Founder and Senior Editor.) Today’s focus is on private mints.

 

Precious Metals (Private Mints):

One aspect of the thin precious metals market is often overlooked: The small number of private mints in the U.S. and Canada. There are only a handful of mints, and the volume of coins and bars that they can produce is limited. The huge coin presses that they use are specialized pieces of equipment. And not many manufacturers have experience pressing medallions. So if there is ever a spike in demand, other makers can’t jump into the market overnight. If and when we do witness a big spike in silver, it is safe to assume that the private mints will not be able to keep up with market demand. At that stage, the premium for coins of any type will go up. But presently, with silver just now emerging from the doldrums, you can still get silver coins at a very low markup over the spot price of silver.

Mints that have a low debt burden seem to do best, as they are usually able to ride out the highs and lows of the market. Silver Towne Mint and Sunshine Minting are two good examples of low-debt mints that have been in business for decades.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the profit margin for private mints is small, yet their capital equipment costs are high. So small mints going bankrupt is a fairly common occurrence, especially in bear market phases. (See for example, the sad demise Mulligan Mint and Northwest Territorial Mint, in 2013 and 2016, respectively.) Inevitably, it seems that their specialized minting equipment and assorted tooling gets sold through bankruptcy liquidation sales or auctions. Then another firm opens up or expands an existing mint using part or all of that same equipment. To clarify: The 1-ounce .999 silver round is essentially generic. Most mints use .999 fine silver planchets (blanks) produced by larger companies. The only thing unique seems to be the dies for the coins. But their quality varies. Highly-polished dies can produce proof quality coins.

There are not many mints that actually have the equipment to melt raw .999 silver, roll it to an exacting thickness, and then punch out their own planchets for minting bullion coins. Just a few mints have that flexibility. The majority of private “mints” are not really mints per se. Rather, they are low-temperature pressing operations that lack high temperature planchet production capability. Hence they are at the mercy of the market. In times of high demand, a chronic shortage of silver planchets develops. So the mints that don’t produce their own planchets find themselves unable to produce many coins when demand is at a peak.

Keep all of the foregoing in mind. I generally recommend buying coins from coin dealers rather than from mints. But even coin dealers can go out of business. (Like the Tulving debacle in 2014, for example.) So do your due diligence before you buy. Buy only from well-established dealers or mints with good reputations.

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The 30-day chart for spot silver is looking promising.   But remember: Silver is more of a long term hedge.

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The Editors’ Quote of the Day:

“The President can exercise no power which cannot be fairly and reasonably traced to some specific grant of power in the Federal Constitution or in an act of Congress passed in pursuance thereof. There is no undefined residuum of power which he can exercise because it seems to him to be in the public interest.” – President William Howard Taft