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”. You might be paranoid, but that doesn’t meant they aren’t out to get you. Websites are watching your every move.

Civil Asset Forfeiture

Despite reform at the state level, police departments are finding ways to still grab personal assets of people when no crime has been committed or even charged. The latest that we’ve heard was sent in by reader H.L. who forwarded this article on the City of Denver. The city is targeting low level crimes and seizing their cars. Here a Denver cab driver had his cab confiscated on suspicion of involvement in a prostitution sting. He was acquitted by a judge, but still had his car taken for over a month. He chose to pay the blackmail fee of $1000 to the city rather than fight in court. It’s getting harder to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

Gun Control

Rio De Janeiro has some of the strictest gun control laws there are. As a result, people are completely vulnerable as violence surges in the city. There are actually apps for smartphones now where citizens can track reports of live gun fire before plotting their commutes. Some schools have to make daily decisions on whether to cancel classes or not because of nearby shootouts. As Brazil’s recession deepens, the violence increases and the corruption that has bankrupted government coffers cannot help the individuals. They are on their own with no real method of protection against drug trafficking organizations and gangs as well as random violence. Thanks to S.R. for the link.


Valley Food Storage has an interesting reminder article on how 148 Tornadoes in one year changed how we look at emergency preparedness. Most people don’t remember that year very well, but over 300 people died and 6,000 more were injured as the tornadoes ripped across 13 states. The tornadoes left such a massive disaster in their wake that many people were were left without shelter, food or water as thousands of homes were destroyed. It’s a good reminder to make sure you can feed your family during and after a catastrophic event and to consider how those preps can survive through the disaster.

Plague Update

Hospitals in Madagascar are reporting an increasing incidence of infected patience escaping the hospital to see their relatives back home. Their desire to leave is so great that they choose to escape from the life saving care and risk infecting others. The pneumonic version of the plague that is prevalent this year can pass from person to person through simple coughing and can kill within 24 hours if left untreated. It would appear that some patients who are not used to modern medicine are afraid of needles. Some also believe that they do not have the disease. In any case, hospitals are having to post guards at the doors to keep patients from escaping.

iPhone or Wind Turbine?

For what one of those new iPhones cost, you can own your very own wind turbine that can generate 3 to 5 kWH of electricity every day. Reader G.P. pointed us to this article that makes the comparison to an Indian startup making inexpensive wind turbines. I would note that there are actually several relatively inexpensive turbines available off of Amazon as well. A simple 400W turbine can produce electricity at nearly the same price as a solar panel (roughly $1/watt) and can easily generate 3 to 5kWH of electricity during the day. While you can’t run your microwave off of this very easily, you could certainly power a few lights and a small refrigerator.

Ad Based Censure

Information giants Google and Facebook have the lions share of electronic ad revenue. Reader G.P. also sent in this article showing how these two giants minimize dissent by defunding information streams that they don’t like. While they are private corporations, the sheer size of the behemoths and their ubiquity in the daily lives of people mean that they have the power to censure what you see. The web is becoming Orwellian.

Watching Your Every Move

Speaking of Orwellian principles, a recent study showed that many sites actually log your keystrokes and mouse movements in real time before you ever click “submit” on their forms. Of 50,000 sites studied, over 482 used these tracking scripts with no clear disclosure that they were doing so. Websites like Walgreens were some of the worst offenders as the program doing the login actually sent the data back to the server over an unencrypted HTTP channel despite the fact that the user was accessing the site over a secure HTTPS channel. This article contains a video showing you how the sites can record and playback your mouse movements and keystrokes as you fill a form out.

o o o

Please send your news tips to HJL. (Either via e-mail of via ourContact form.) These are often especially relevant, because they come from folks who watch news that is important to them. Due to their diligence and focus, we benefit from fresh “on target” news. We often “get the scoop” on news that is most likely ignored (or reported late) by mainstream American news outlets. Thanks!


  1. Regarding civil asset forfeiture, the best personal defense is a recording device on your person. Like a video recording pen or key chain dongle. Found at Fry’s or Microcenter for around $90.

    The long term solution is to work with your state legislatures to pass laws reeling in forfeiture without criminal conviction. The Institute for Justice has model legislation for this:

    This is done by several state bills. One forces the police to report to the legislature how much money that have taken. Another bill forbids them from forfeiture without a criminal conviction. Then there’s the anti-circumvention bill, which prevents cops from taking under the aegis of a federal agency, then getting a kickback from the federales.

    All these are needed for a state to respect citizen’s 4th and 5th amendment rights.

  2. On the wind turbine, they look cool and all but a friend of mine has been using both wind and solar since the 1970’s and has been keeping track of their production. Solar will beat wind for power production, no, they don’t produce at night but windmills don’t produce in calm. There tends to be more sunlight than useful wind.

  3. On the wind turbine at Amazon:

    Rated at 400 watts at 46 ft/s

    46 feet per second x 60 = 2760 fee per minute

    2760 x 60 = 165,600 feet per hour

    165,600 divided by 5280 = 31.4 miles per hour.

    I guess for marketing it sounds better saying 400 watts in a gale force wind rather than pointing out about 130 watts with a 10 mph wind.

    …. unless you live in Wyoming.

    1. Rather than looking at commercial wind turbines, which are greatly overrated for power outputs, it might be useful to look up homebrew options for wind/solar/micro-hydro. A useful site that has an abundance of information on the design and construction of such systems is You can design blades to meet your nominal wind speeds and maximize your energy output rather than buying an off-the-shelf sub-optimal design.

  4. I remember in 1974 seeing wind turbines at Pacheco Pass in central Kalfornia. They must be profitable by now….my point being that if you want to just use fat-burning lamps made from your own pigs by-products, they will work and you are welcome to do so for your sole energy source.

    But it’s a far better thing to invest in some power generating equipment than to merely debate about comparative efficacy. Get something operational. Use it. For those like myself with limited imagination and skill, even the 100 watt solar kit at Harbor Freight on sale at $149 bucks is better to have than nothing.

    A wind turbine costing less than a 5th or 6th spare weapon is a better choice, even if you arer only getting a 7 mph wind. I remember along the Big Horn Mountains from September through May we’d get so many days of 20+ MPH winds it would have been a great thing to have enough wind generators to even get one addition heating unit to keep our family warm.

    Best wishes and God Bless

  5. On the other hand, Missouri Wind and Solar has a 2kw wind generator complete with the prop and mount for about $800. Just build the tower, actually the most expensive part of the installation. Last I checked they had all the hardware in a kit for a 6kw solar power system for about $12k. That would be the panels, the racks, the charge controller and inverter, and cables and connectors. Just add the mounting base, the tracking mechanism, and the batteries. I’ve heard both good and bad about this company. Most of the bad comes from people who had unrealistic expectations. If nothing else watch their videos, it’s enlightening.

  6. There is a reason why PV and wind energy requires a substantial subsidy. They generally don’t produce anywhere near their ratings/predictions. They cost far more than you thought they would and they can and do have maintenance/reliability problems. Most commercial PV and wind is simply a ploy to “mine” government subsidies.

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