Note From JWR:

Round 6 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest ends today! The writer of the best non-fiction article will win a valuable four day “gray” transferable Front Sight course certificate. (Worth up to $1,600.) Second prize is a copy of my “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. If you want a chance to win Round 6, e-mail us your article, ASAP. Round 6 will end on September 30th. Remember that the articles that relate practical “how to” skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging. The following article is the final entry in Round 6.

Stockpile Fire Safety Considerations, by AVL

Hazardous materials storage laws can affect your intended stockpile. The survival mantra is “Be Prepared!” to this end; it is often necessary to have stockpiles of materiel that may come in handy in case of an emergency. Most conversations about such stockpiles talk about food, water, clothing, and of course gasoline, ammunition, gunpowder, primers etc. While there are currently no limits as to what quantity of food, water, and shelter you can store, gasoline, ammunition and firearms are another story entirely.
What is considered hazardous material?
A hazardous material is anything that may adversely affect your safety or the safety of those around you. Normally this might be considered acids, flammables, strong bases, oxidizers, fine particulates (asbestos) or radioactive materials.
Hazardous materials fit into a number of classifications based on their affect on health, flammability, and chemical reactivity. This is defined by the NFPA 704 … Continue reading

Letter Re: 12VDC LED Christmas Lights for Emergency Lighting

On a lark, I order two strings of these 12 VDC LED sort-of Christmas lights. I ordered one string of blue for the porch (really easy on Night Adapted Eyes and one string of white.
Wow! Really neat. Low current (i.e.: extremely low power consumption) and just plain handy. I’m just guessing but I figure two strings would run for 6 weeks on a fully charged car battery.
Nice for those “loss of electricity days/nights” and a lot cheaper than the camping/emergency lighting systems. I think it is a reasonable purchase.Best Regards, – The Army Aviator

Odds ‘n Sods:

Cathy Buckle’s latest “African Tears” letter from Zimbabwe is a compelling read. (The letter dated Saturday 23rd September 2006). I am surprised that the the economy in Zimbabwe has not fallen into total collapse. For now, it is somehow managing to stagger along on inertia. Please pray for a change of government there.

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SurvivalBlog reader”Felix” mentioned this story: The Italian parliament has passed legislation allowing people to shoot robbers in self-defense.

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Reader S.H. mentioned another cool project at the MAKEzine blog: Geiger Counter Modification (a V-700 upgraded with digital readouts, etc.)

Three Letters Re: Questions on the Pickup Truck as a Multi-Purpose Retreat Vehicle

Dear Jim and Survival Blog:
I’m sure the question of the best truck for a survival retreat will generate a large response. By trade, I am an engineer; however, I currently am working as a maintenance person for a large camping facility in upstate New York. In my experience with equipment and vehicles, I would have to say anything with a Cummins 6B or 4B diesel power plant will earn the owners respect for the amount of work it will do and the long life you can expect from the unit. I live next to a medium size farm operation and they have several tractors powered by a Cummins engine and they regularly get 15,000 hours before any major work needs to be done to the motor. In my estimates, this is the same as driving 1,500,000 miles (yes, that’s 1.5 million) on the highways and by-ways. Anything built … Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

From Lew Rockwell’s site: Why Bush Will Nuke Iran, by Paul Craig Roberts

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Reader C.M. sent a link to a news story about a power failure in Bangladesh. C.M.’s comment: “Less than two days without electricity and a mob has formed to burn institutions. Fascinating how quickly
it can all come apart.”

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As I predicted, silver and gold are starting to recover from their dips earlier in the month. Buy on the dips!

The Real Estate Bubble Bust — Where and When is the Bottom?

Here is your daily dose of Doom und Gloom (DUG)TM: I was recently asked by a consulting client where and when the U.S. real estate market will likely bottom. Clearly, the market has until recently been frothy, with all the signs of a speculative bubble. Lots of people that had no business doing so bought “spec” houses. Many of these buyers were under-qualified, often stretching the truth on their mortgage applications when they described their assets and incomes. Many houses were bought with interest only loans. They purchased second, third, or even fourth homes with the goal of flipping them for a quick profits. Now the klaxons have sounded and the spec buyers are crowding the exit doors. Its a Hollywood epic in the making. Recent news reports have confirmed that we are well beyond the to. Bloomberg reports that U.S. home resales are falling. This is the … Continue reading

Letter Re: Deciphering MRE Date Codes

My thanks to R.E.M. for his hard-earned experience on rotating food stocks. Perhaps I can ease his frustration a bit about not reading the packing date of USGI MREs – there is indeed a numbered code packing date on every MRE case, the outside of the newer USGI MRE retort packages and best of all, every individual item in each MRE package. You can go to the web site for the whole story, but to condense the code for you, say you have a four-digit or longer number on the outside of the package – take the first number to mean the last number of the year the item was packed and the next three numbers to mean the day of the 365 or 366 day calendar year. For instance a date code of 6097 means that the item was packed on the … Continue reading

Letter Re: Rethinking Global Oil Reserves

Michael Z. Williamson is correct that folk don’t think about all the uses of oil in the products we buy. The sustainability of our growing population is dependent upon massive amounts of oil used in pesticides and fertilizers in order to obtain spectacularly large crop yields per acre, not to mention the harvesting, transportation, and transportation of food. Shortages of oil could have a severe impact on food production, and last year even the “moderately high” price of fuel caused a few farmers to not be able to harvest their crops.
One problem with the oil picture is that not all sources disclose or accurately portray their reserves. The Saudis have said for a while that they will increase production but in fact their recent production has decreased as they pulverize their fields with water injection. Their new ratios of heavy crude to light crude are also not encouraging. … Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

The Rabid One mentioned that there is an interesting thread of conversation over at The FALFiles Survival/Preparedness Forum about fallout meters and the small “personal” detectors such as Nuk-Alert.

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SurvivalBlog reader Stephen mentioned that there is some interesting commentary on derivatives down near the end of The Mogambo Guru’s latest posting.

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Reader Ben L. mentioned this article about more Nanny State encroachment: Breed Specific Dog Bans

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“Being a lover of freedom, when the [Nazi] revolution came, I looked to the universities to defend it [freedom], knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but no, the universities were immediately silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers, whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks…Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration for it because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual and moral freedom. I am forced to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.” – Albert Einstein, translated from Kampi und Zeugnis der bekennenden … Continue reading

From David in Israel: Chevron’s Deep Oil Strike in the Gulf of Mexico

There is a big problem with counting the Chevron Oil strike in the Gulf of Mexico because of its depth. This hit that is estimated to be large is also inaccessible using current equipment. Chevron and two other companies had to go 7,000 feet below the warm water layer of the Gulf of Mexico, and then drill miles below the sea floor for a total depth
of 28,175 feet. For comparison this is cruising altitude for an airliner, compare that depth to the 69 foot depth of the first commercial oil well in the USA. We need to first design and build tools that will let us design and build the drilling equipment needed. Let us say around ten years in the good side to get this alleged huge deposit running. The dry tundras in Canada are no picnic either since the oil production is dependant on ability to … Continue reading