Letter Re: A Holiday Trash OPSEC Warning

James Wesley,
I just wanted to mention something that has been on my mind for some time but recently re-emphasized as I drove to work the other morning.

Along my route (20 blocks or so before I hit a main thoroughfare) the other day the concept of trash OPSEC really hit me. It was trash day for that part of town and I saw signs everywhere that said “come burglarize this house”. I saw flat screen television boxes, video game boxes, stereo boxes, DVD player boxes, computer boxes, small appliance boxes, toy boxes, you-name-it boxes in all sorts of shapes and sizes all prominently displaying beautiful full color graphics of the contents that they once held that were now readily available inside the home. They just looked like big billboard shopping signs for any would-be thief telling them exactly where these lovely and expensive items were.

Of … Continue reading

Letter Re: Roll-up Hurricane Shutters

Mr. Rawles,
I just wanted to mention the possible use of [European-style roll-up steel] hurricane shutters when constructing your retreat. Here is eastern North Carolina hurricane shutters are very popular and are built right into the existing house. Roll down shutters provide many conveniences as they are built in and have very little visual impact. They can also be controlled from inside the home and provide excellent security. In addition some designs will completely seal out light from inside or outside the house. Thanks, – Jared C.

Letter Re: New British Camouflage Pattern Uniforms

It appears the Brits are upgrading to a new camouflage uniform to replace the venerable Disruptive Pattern, Marine (DPM) and in some instances, the #5 Desert Combat. Dubbed the Multi-Terrain Pattern (MTP), it was developed by Crye Precision and bears a striking resemblance to their “MultiCam” camo.

It looks like their will be a flood of the old DPMs on the surplus market in the near future. [JWR Adds: This release of surplus uniforms will undoubtedly be a boon to preppers. Be prepared to stock up when the prices drop at vendors like CheaperThanDirt.com.]

Take care and God bless, – Paul

Letter Re: How Hygiene and Sanitation Have Increased Human Life Spans

While obtaining law doctorate, one of my classes was Health Law, which is two parts navigating your way through the morass of Federal intrusion. One part was actual policy. But, I digress. Only one thing of significance stuck in my mind from that whole class: “Of the forty years increased life expectancy enjoyed in the past one-hundred years, 35 of those years are the result of improvements in
hygiene and sanitation. Five years are due to clinical medicine.” I translate that to: “you owe more for your health to the trash man and plumber than you do your doctor.”

I hope yours was a Merry Christmas. – Ben W.

JWR Replies: As prepared individuals, we need to recognize the public health risks posed by any major disruption of utility water, sewers, and garbage collection. Again: It the power grids go down for more than four or five … Continue reading

Letter: Re: Errant Guidance from Vehicular GPS Systems

Dear Editor:
I often find myself visiting family in the mountainous areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky. I can’t believe how incorrect my TomTom can be. I first got it because I’m a bit of a gear junkie and I’ve got one on a boat in the Canadian Great Lakes area which has always been very accurate.

This Christmas, I was blessed enough to be able to be off work from the fire department and went to visit my mother in North Carolina. Little did I know that I-40 has been shut three miles into North Carolina from the Tennessee state line due to an 18 story-tall rock slide that happened in October. BTW ,they say that it’ll be open in March or April. My GPS hadn’t been updated and I found it hard to get it to navigate me around the mess.

It turns out that … Continue reading

Economics and Investing:

Morrie recommended a web page that he found by way of Dan Denninger’s site: Move Your Money.

SJR spotted this: Government moves closer on fresh aid to GMAC

El Jefe Jeff E. sent this: Economists React: Prices Have Further to Fall.

Also from Jeff come this in The Wall Street Journal: State, Local Tax Revenues Decline 7%

Items from The Economatrix:

Government Gives GMAC $3.8 Billion in New Aid, Boosts Stake

Chinese Firm Says it Won’t Pay Goldman on Derivatives Losses

Banks Bundled Bad Debt, Bet Against It, and Won

World Stock Market Rally Seizes Up

Consumer Confidence Up, House Prices Stall

The Day The Dollar Died (Part 10): The Dented Crown and Worthless Pound

Gold Rush Grips China as People on Buying Spree
Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

John C. recommended this: Seven Resource for Learning to Safely Forage for Wild Food.

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Do you want to buy American, but you’re frustrated by the profusion of imported goods? Reader K.T. suggested a company that is one of the last of the All-American textile firms: Maine Heritage Weavers.

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Larry O. flagged this: Plan to turn farms into forest worries Obama official

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Ferd spotted this over at KK Cool Tools: Eskimold Igloo-building kit

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“Now it becomes my duty to carry out the sentence which I have imposed on these men for killing and stealing within the territory under my jurisdiction. However, I want it strictly understood that there will be no undo shooting or cheering or drunken talk when I pull that lever on account it would offend the dignity of the occasion.” – John McIntire, as Skagway Sheriff Gannon in The Far Country (1954). Screenplay by Borden Chase.

Letter Re: The Bosnian Experience

Mr. Rawles,
I want to thank you for having this site and presenting people with opportunity two obtain useful information that could save their lives one day. I have been dedicated reader of your blogs for some time and now think that is my time to contribute some information instead of just reading it. I have survived through collapse of former Yugoslavia and the years of war that followed after. I will try to cover as much of different topics that pertain to every day survival. No matter on how much the person is prepared, it might not be enough.

I was born and raised on farm in Western Bosnia and we always had enough food and supplies on the farm to survive at least one year without any contact with the outside world. We grew our own wheat and corn and always had enough flour for at least … Continue reading

Letter Re: An Incendiary Perimeter Security Method for TEOTWAWKI

First of all, thank you for such an informative blog and web site. I wanted to share one of my solutions to the problem of perimeter defense [in worst case situations]. Perhaps it will be of some value. I have created natural hiding places for intruders varying from 80-150 yards around the perimeter of my property. In close proximity to these carefully chosen areas I have made an allowance for the future placement of 1-to-5 gallon containers of gasoline, which are visible from my defensive position yet not readily recognizable to intruders. These may easily be ignited by first puncturing said container with a few rounds from a rifle, thus expelling the liquid, followed by an incendiary round. The eruption is not explosive, however there is a significant fireball and spontaneous ignition of the surrounding area, which I have carefully crafted in order to provide containment for … Continue reading

Letter Re: An Upcoming BBC Documentary on Pandemic Flu

The BBC is doing another pandemic flu documentary, this one centered on Los Angeles. I did some video stuff for them last fall. I got a call just before Christmas from the Times of London wanting to interview me about the documentary. The BBC reporter said I was apparently the most depressing man in the world, but I told her she should talk to you! Regards, – Michael Bane, Producer, DownRange.TV

Economics and Investing:

The Mother of All Bailouts (MOAB) continues to grow: U.S. may prop up housing further via Fannie, Freddie; Unlimited support may presage more aggressive action in mortgage markets. (A tip of the hat to Randy F. for the link.)

Adjusted for Inflation Dow’s Gains are Puny. (Thanks to James B. in Colorado for the link.)

Items from The Economatrix:

Retailers Stores Thinly Stocked, Profits Won’t Be

Stocks Edge Higher As Shoppers Step Up Spending

Holiday Sales Rose Estimated 3.6%

“Reasonably High Chance” Economy Will Contract in 2010

Cash-Strapped US Running Out of Unemployment Money

Home Equity Lines Of Credit Have Dried Up All Over the US

Oil Hits Five-Week-High on US Cold, Optimism

Odds ‘n Sods:

Ferd was the first of several readers to mention a news article that illustrates both the current over-reliance on GPS and the need to keep outdoor survival gear packed in your car: Couple stranded three days after GPS leads them astray.

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Our friend Tamara (the editor of the very entertaining View From The Porch blog), suggested this piece about weather whiners. OBTW, Tamara refers to the new Avatar movie as “White Guilt in 3-D. aka Dances with Aliens.”

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Best Prices Storable Foods (aka The Internet Grocer) has announced an End-of-Year Blowout Clearance Sale, with the following discounts:

15% off Canned Dehydrated Foods (*excluding* Milk, Morning Moo and Wheat). Code is DEC15.
15% off Mountain House on any order. Free shipping (48 states) on orders over $150. Code is MH15.
15% … Continue reading

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“We’re on a journey – and we don’t know it – back to a nation of communities where your character really matters, and where character rests on whether your deeds comport with truthfulness. Many will be dragged kicking and screaming upon that journey, and many a dark night will be passed in the cold and damp on the way. But it will take us to a place where the hearths are burning brightly and the estranged spirits of our national character await a reunion with us: fortitude, patience, generosity, humor. That will be a Christmas to live for and remember” ! – James Howard Kunstler (Author of the post-Peak Oil novel World Made by Hand)