Note from JWR:

Here in the northern hemisphere, we are about to have our Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year. For some of us, that means that it is time to start planning our Spring gardens! (The seed catalogs will start to arrive soon. They are reliable as our January snow and Spring rain.)

Two Letters Re: Vehicle Recommendations?

Mr. Jim, You perfectly encapsulated a modification I just did to the kit I carry in my vehicle. While I knew better, it still took reading “One Second After” to set me thinking: How do I get home if the car dies? Your reference: “My personal circumstances are unusual, since I live at my retreat year-round. So the gear that I keep in my vehicle is more of a “Get Me Back Home Kit” rather than a “Get Out of Dodge Kit” is perfect. I have carried a pretty decent vehicle breakdown kit for some time, but I did so …

Three Letters Re: Covert Home Power for When The Grids Go Down

Sir: I am not an electrician, and I set as system like this up at my house three years ago. It kept our food cold, and the house tolerably warm for three days when the power was out. But I endorse a couple of important differences. First, letting your car run at idle will run down your battery. The alternator doesn’t reach full output at low RPMs, so you need to kick up the throttle a little bit. How much will depend on your car. I watch the volt-meter built into the inverter, and set the engine at about 1,500 …

Economics and Investing:

Reader M.S. spotted this editorial by James Quinn: Brave New World 2010. This editorial by Frank Seuss was linked over at The Daily Bell: The Life-Long Challenge of Differentiating Between Truth, Paradigms, Truisms and Plain Lies RLG sent this video clip: Ryedale Coin Penny Sorter. Keep in mind how much profit from how many hundreds of thousands of pennies it would take to recoup the cost of buying a sorting machine. To my mind, this is a hobby business strictly for retirees with strong backs! Bill from Ohio sent this: Six Banks shut down Friday – 140 total this year …

Odds ‘n Sods:

Henry L. suggested this article over at Market Skeptics: 2010 Food Crisis for Dummies    o o o SurvivalBlog’s Editor at Large Michael Z. Williamson spotted a blog post about a warning poster at Fort Benning. Mike’s comment: “We’re terrorists, apparently.”    o o o From Ferdinand: Man kills bobcat with bare hands during north Phoenix attack. He comments, “Even if it isn’t a complete collapse, things like this will become more common. Being defenseless–having to use your bare hands qualifies you as defenseless–is a death sentence, in my opinion.”