Note from JWR:

It’s your last day! More than 675 SurvivalBlog readers have bought Foodsaver vacuum packing/sealing systems at the special December $59.99 sale price. We get a little “piece of the action” for each order. So this a is a great way to save money and to support SurvivalBlog in the new year. Don’t miss out on this sale! You can buy a FoodSaver v2830 for $59.99 (originally $169.99) with free Standard Shipping for orders over $100, directly FoodSaver.com.Use code L8FAV28 at checkout. This sale ends at midnight Eastern Time, tonight. By buying foods in bulk and re-packaging them in more handy (single meal size) vacuum bags, you can save a lot of money on your grocery bill. You can also vacuum pack Mason jars! (These come with a wide mouth Mason jar adapter as an included accessory.) But be sure to get an additional regular mouth Mason jar adapter, for an extra $8.99.) Buy a FoodSaver. You’ll be glad that you did!

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Two Letters Re: The Best College Degrees for the Next Depression?

Sir, College is alarmingly pricey. As a child of the 1970s, I grew up understanding that you either got a useful degree or paid your own way. I contend that the most useful education currently is learning a trade. Welding, auto repair or electrician’s certification will pay the bills through the rough times as people choose to repair instead of purchase. As times get better, some of those trade school credits may transfer to a college and you are on your way. What is that architecture degree, but about a year of drafting plus three tortuous years of art…the discovery of use of light and space…with a dash of engineering. One of the coolest people I know, was a blacksmith who got his doctorate in physical chemistry. You never know where your trade may take you. Art comes in many mediums that must be learned such as welding for those grand sculptures that grace the lawns of universities and corporations. Get the “practicals” under your belt first, while you make a few bucks or barter for your dinner. Don’t forget that the library is free. You should know your reference librarian as she hold the key to all knowledge or … Continue reading

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Two Letters Re: Seeking Advice on Assembling Web Gear

Sir, In a recent post you mentioned unbuckling your ALICE belt when going prone. I learned a little trick in ROTC using a carabiner and two pieces of 550 [parachute] cord. First, adjust belt the way you want it. Second, tie the two pieces of 550 cord onto the end of the ALICE belt and hook them together with the carabiner. Adjust the length of the 550 cord to get the slack needed when going prone. This allows you to keep your belt buckled but when you need additional slack, just release the buckle and the 550 cord keeps the belt from flopping around too much. Don’t tie the 550 cord together, as the carabiner allows you to unhook the belt quickly if you fall into a creek or river and need to dump your LBE – Bill N. Dear Jim: Thank you for referring readers to us for advice on web gear. At BulletProofME Body Armor we are authorized dealers for Blackhawk and SpecOps tactical nylon gear, but really our focus is body armor. Normally we only do quantity orders for tactical nylon, outside of specific armor-related items we stock. But we can give some good advice on the … Continue reading

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Odds ‘n Sods:

 Reader N.L. spotted this useful article at the Backwoods Home magazine web site: Bury a gun and ammo for 15 years. (BTW, I consider a subscription to Backwoods Home magazine for families that are seeking genuine self-sufficiency.)    o o o Eric flagged this Wall Street Journal piece: Bumpy Crop: Farming’s Sudden Feasts and Famines, As Grain Prices Rise and Fall and Perhaps Rise Again, Growers Struggle to Navigate a New Age of Volatility and High Costs    o o o The Werewolf (SurvivalBlog’s correspondent in Brazil) must have been thinking about the snow-bound Great White North when he spotted this snow bike and sent us the link.    o o o The Economatrix sent all these: Wall Street Makes Gains as GMAC Gets $5 Billion Lifeline — US Confidence Sinks to Record Lows — Home Prices in 20 Cities Drop 18% in October Alone — Holiday Sales Drop to Force Bankruptcies, Closings — Japan Banks May Get $110 Billion Bailout — New Thai PM Warns of Shattered Economy — UK Workers to Face Layoffs and Pay Cuts in 2009 — Crackdown on Hedge Funds After Madoff — Celente: Top Trends 2009 — People Pulling Up to Pawn Shops Today … Continue reading

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Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“While 2008 will probably be best known as the year that global stock markets had their values cut in half, it was really much, much more. It was a year in which every major asset class – stocks, real estate, commodities, even high-yield bonds – suffered significant double-digit percentage losses, resulting in the destruction of over $30 trillion of paper wealth. To blame this on subprime mortgages alone would be to dismiss an era of leveraging that encompassed derivative structures of all types, embodying a belief that economic growth was always and everywhere a certainty and that asset prices never go down.” – Bill Gross

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Letter Re: Home Invasion Robbery Countermeasures–Your Mindset and Architecture

Dear Mr. Rawles: First and foremost thank you for your novel “Patriots” which I am currently reading. I live in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. As of late there seems to be a rise in the number of “home invasion” type of crimes in this area. Every morning that I go to work I hear about a new incident in the metroplex. This has led me to put inside locks on my bedroom doors and purchase my first gun. I consider myself one of those “know enough to be dangerous” people, but am planning on taking a handgun safety course . I’d like to know your thought on preparedness for these “home invasion” crimes which are on the rise. Once again thank you for your novel which has opened my eyes to just how unprepared I am. Sincerely, – Geoffrey T. JWR Replies: You’ve surely heard the phrase “caught off guard.” In my opinion, almost the entire American citizenry has been systemically “off guard” since the end of the US Civil War. There are two fundamental weaknesses that make American homes vulnerable to home invasions: a condition white mindset, and appalling architectural weakness. I’ll discuss each. Condition White Mindset First and … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Seeking Advice on Assembling Web Gear

I love the questions on web gear. Best advice I can give, having gone through multiple iterations of trying this and that, is to divide up your load. What do I mean by this? In the military they have a “combat load” and an “approach load” concept. Your “combat load” is the web gear that you see troops with all the time – their “battle rattle.” On the other hand the “approach load” is similar to what we would refer to as a survival load (roughly). The major problem with web gear is that it does not work with any backpack that has a waist belt unless you set it up to not carry anything on the pistol belt unless it is carried with a drop leg (thigh) type of setup. Oops, no ammo pouches or canteens on the pistol belt. That means that forget the cheap ALICE gear etc. unless you plan on walking only for a day and not even spending the night in bad weather. You have to go with a vest type setup right out of the gate if you want to use a large backpack. Personally, I have used an Enhanced Load Bearing Vest (ELBV) … Continue reading

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Odds ‘n Sods:

In the wake of the real estate collapse comes inevitably: Squatters: The latest real-estate menace. (A hat tip to Hoffmama.)   o o o Several readers sent this: As if Things Weren’t Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S. (Of course, consider the reliability of the source.)    o o o David D. mentioned that Farm Show magazine has lots of articles with energy saving ideas, including: “Wood Gas Generator Produces “Free” Power”, a Coal-Fired Grain Dryer, Biodiesel Generator Powers Up On Veggie Oil (or Almost Any Oil) , and Manure Furnace Burns All Kinds of Waste.    o o o Florida Guy mentioned another Nanny State scheme: Oregon attempts mandatory GPS car tracking of all new autos    o o o The latest Glut-‘o-Gloom from Cheryl: Kerkorian Sells Off Remaining Ford Shares — Oil Surges on Concerns Mideast Violence will Disrupt Supplies — Fallout Begins After Dismal Holiday Season — Ruble in Trouble — 10 Things that Won’t Survive the Recession — Crisis Batters American Small Businesses — In a Recession, Execs Make a Quick Getaway — Stocks Pull Back Amid Mid-East Tensions — Dollar Rocked by Mid-East Violence — Wall Street Faces Record Losses in Last Week … Continue reading

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Notes from JWR:

Just three days left! More than 625 SurvivalBlog readers have bought Foodsaver vacuum packers at the special December sale price. I consider a home vacuum packer & sealer a key item to own for family preparedness. These greatly increase the storage life of foods. They also allow you to inexpensively buy foods in bulk and then pack them in single meal sizes. This capability alone will make the Foodsaver pay for itself in less than a year. And if you get the optional regular mouth Mason jar vacuum sealer attachment for an extra $8.99 your Foodsaver will be even more versatile. (They all come with a wide mouth Mason Jar attachment as a standard accessory.) We get a little “piece of the action” for each Foodsaver that is sold using our link. So this a is a great way to save money and to support SurvivalBlog! Don’t miss out on this sale! You can buy a FoodSaver v2830 for $59.99 (originally $169.99) with free Standard Shipping for orders over $100, directly FoodSaver.com. Be sure to use code L8FAV28 at checkout. This offer is valid during the month of December, or while supplies last. We’ve had one here at the Rawles … Continue reading

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From the SurvivalBlog Archives: Inflation–Past, Present, and Future

It has been said that nothing is inevitable except death and taxes. But personally, I add inflation to that list. Inflation is an insidious hidden form of taxation We’ve been robbed! According to The Inflation Calculator, what cost $100 in 1905 would cost $2052.36 in 2005. The U.S. dollar has lost 95% of its value in that time. (If you were to buy exactly the same products in 2005 and 1905, they would cost you $100 and $4.87 respectively.) The inflation rate jumped considerably in the 1960s and 1970s. It is no coincidence that the U.S. Treasury stopped minting real silver coins in 1964. Even it this current era of supposedly”low” inflation, the depredations of inflation are inexorable– but just slower. It is like watching a 50 pound ice block sitting in the sun. The real rate of inflation is presently about 6.5%. Thus, you need to make at least 6.5% a year on your money just to keep pace with inflation. In the long term the concept of “saving” for retirement is almost fallacious, especially when you consider the bouts of inflation that are likely to occur in the next 20 years. The twin deficits–budget and trade–will inevitably lead … Continue reading

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Two Letters Re: Jerry Cans Killed Nationwide by California Political Correctness

Mr. Rawles, I just wanted to get the word out to all that have not heard yet, all non-CARB (California Air Resources Board)-approved fuel cans will be no longer be sold nationwide [in the US] after January 1, 2009. That means you will not be able to buy any more of the ever-so-useful NATO gas cans to store fuel in and I assume any other fuel can that does not meet this new regulation. I know this is a little late to post this, I just found out myself a few days ago. I talked to Maine Military Surplus this morning and they still have a few left and are expecting a new shipment soon although they had to pay more for the latest ones. With shipping these were just over $26 apiece. Anyone who thought this was a free country needs to think again. Thanks so much for all you do, Mr. Rawles. I hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas. – S. in Oklahoma   Sir: I read the recent post on CARB compliant gas cans that are going to be mandatory for the US in January. Here in Pennsylvania we’ve had them in place for … Continue reading

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