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 “JWR”. Our goal is to educate our readers, to help them to recognize emerging threats and to be better prepared for both disasters and negative societal trends. You can’t mitigate a risk if you haven’t first identified a risk. Today, we look at the threat of a global pandemic similar to the Spanish Flu, of 1918. That pandemic killed more people than the combat casualties of the four years of World War I.

In a Global Pandemic, Which Countries are Safest Havens?

Reader C.B. sent this Fox News link: In a global pandemic, which countries are safest havens? JWR’s Comment: Madagascar!”

An India-Pakistan Nuclear War Could Kill Millions, Threaten Global Starvation

Another from C.B.: An India-Pakistan nuclear war could kill millions, threaten global starvation. Here is how the article begins:

“A nuclear war between India and Pakistan could, over the span of less than a week, kill 50-125 million people—more than the death toll during all six years of World War II, according to new research.

A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and Rutgers University examines how such a hypothetical future conflict would have consequences that could ripple across the globe. Today, India and Pakistan each have about 150 nuclear warheads at their disposal, and that number is expected to climb to more than 200 by 2025.

The picture is grim. That level of warfare wouldn’t just kill millions of people locally, said CU Boulder’s Brian Toon, who led the research published today in the journal Science Advances. It might also plunge the entire planet into a severe cold spell, possibly with temperatures not seen since the last Ice Age.

His team’s findings come as tensions are again simmering between India and Pakistan. In August, India made a change to its constitution that stripped rights from people living in the long-contested region of Kashmir. Soon after, the nation sent troops to Kashmir, moves that Pakistan criticized sharply.”

Hong Kong Protesters Build Makeshift Catapult

H.L. spotted this, over at Zero Hedge: Hong Kong Protesters Build Makeshift Catapult On Third Day Of Unrest Over ‘Anti-Mask’ Law. JWR’s Comments: Protests like this underscores the importance of the individual right to keep and bear arms–which sadly does not exist in China. Picture how differently these protests would have been if the majority of the protestors had a loaded AK slung over their shoulders. Armed men control their destiny, while disarmed men are at the mercy of others.

Ron Paul on Inaccurate Homeschooling Statistics

Former congressman Dr. Ron Paul noted in his recent newsletter:

“Something doesn’t add up.

According to the U.S. government’s National Center for Educational
Statistics, in 2012, there were 1.77 million homeschooled students in
2012. This is reported in Figure 1 (p. 7). This was 3.4% of all students (Table
1, p. 6). This report was published in 2017.

In that same year, the NCES published another report. In it, we are told that the number of homeschooled students in 2016 was 1.69 million. This was 3.3% of all students. This is reported in Table 7 (p. 18).

So, we are asked to believe, between 2012 and 2016, the number of
homeschooled students fell by 81,000 students.

Does this reflect your experience?

Maybe more homeschool parents are refusing to answer government surveys,
or maybe it’s normal sampling error. But I don’t believe that homeschooling
became less popular between 2012 and 2016.

I wonder what the next survey will report . . . and when it will be released. “

Disappearing Rural Grocery Stores

Reader DSV sent us this think tank news item: As Rural Groceries Fade Away, Lawmakers Wonder Whether to Act. A snippet:

“In North Dakota, a legislative panel is studying rural food distribution and transportation amid a steep decline in the number of groceries serving rural areas. The committee is considering whether there are public policies that could work, said state Rep. Thomas Beadle, a Republican committee member. But Beadle hopes consumers will organize and solve problems on their own.”

The Most Miserable Countries

A hat tip to H.L. for sending this: The Most Miserable Countries in the World.

You can send your news tips to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) Thanks!


    1. Sssshhh. We are getting our long ships ready to retake it as soon as the darn ice melts away like it did when my viking forbears moved there 1200 years ago. Keep it quiet.

  1. I totally believe that the number of homeschooled kids has decreased. Many states are now offering free online homeschool. If you enroll your child in that program, you are now counted as a public school student. I personally know of several families who did this within the last 10 years. If you count those kids as homeschooled, I’ll bet that the number has actually increased a good bit.

    1. I, too, have seen an increase in people I know using the free government homeschooling curriculum. These kids claim they are homeschooled, and indeed, they are home, however they are simply public schooled at home. I understand homeschooling can be expensive, but can you put a price on what you are allowing your children’s head to be filled with? Also, that government “free” computer follows them cradle to grave. I’ve homeschooled my three children, my last child now a senior, and they have remained true to their convictions.

    1. It’s because of Walmart… Don’t forget! Prices too low for a Mom and Pop to compete and make a living. Mom and Pop don’t have the volume to keep prices low.

      1. I’m not so sure. I my suburban neck of the woods, there’s been a growing backlash against the Big Box stores due to their lack of customer service, changing policies that disfavor conservative values, and facial recognition tracking in-store. Think Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid, Kroger, etc. These stores have increasingly been caught (and Walmart & Home Depot have recently admitted to) using facial recognition to identify and track their customers for a full decade. A lot of people I know have been waking up to this and slowly diverting their buying habits to smaller stores that “care” about them more.

      2. The Dollar type store in my small farm town (10 miles to grocery store in a urban environment) is a positive presence and closely mimics the traditional small town General store of the past. In that, there is a value to the elderly and less able to travel, provides a convenience, and contributes to community unity while reducing exposure to security related issues associated to shopping in the urban stores. It also employs local from management on down. In my mind the above mitigates the negatives of quality of products and big box style methods.

  2. re:
    the ‘clarity in action’ department

    “The committee is investigating whether there are public policies that could work”

    Obviously, another committee is clearly needed to investigate whether that committee needs a committee to investigate scheduling further investigations…

  3. Maybe the decline in rural grocery stores is a problem for legislature to tackle,but then again maybe not.Its likely that the decline was caused by a drop in profitability,which is all that most companies care about.They can’t relate to being a good neighbor.
    Very little gets done at any level of government without committee,after committee.Sadly that’s just how the system grinds along.
    Kalispell Mt. has four large chain grocery stores. Their prices are fair and competitive for the most part.
    Then there is Bigfork.The item for item grocery prices at Harvest Foods are considerably higher than most ever where else in the valley,with the exception of the “People’s Republic”
    of Whitefish where almost all goods and services are crazy expensive.
    Republican or Democrat, Coservative or Liberal doesn’t matter. Only bottom line profit matters.
    Some companies don’t understand that there is a difference between scratching your butt and ripping it to shreds.
    Be careful what you wish for.

    1. Normal Chuck-
      Isn’t it like government to try and regulate the problem away? I read the article and thought why was there absolutely NO mention of RURAL people growing or raising their own food???

  4. 1) Re the threat of nuclear winter in the Science Advances article, I would note that several of the authors have been long time proponents of the nuclear winter thesis – Turco and Toon were part of the Carl Sagan TTAPS group arguing for the thesis back in the 1980s.

    2) This is not a personal attack – it is merely to point out that these scientists have been ignoring contrary arguments from their critics for almost 40 years. Which is not science – it is advocacy.

    3) In 1990, some of these same authors joined with Carl Sagan in warning that an invasion of Kuwait could lead Saddam Hussein to ignite the Kuwaiti oil wells and the resulting smoke could trigger widespread catastrophic cooling across the globe and crop failures in Asia. A disaster that did NOT occur when Saddam actually lit the 600 oil wells:

    4) After a period of silence, an article similar to the Science Advances one — re the danger from an India-Pakistan conflict — was put out in 2007 by some of these same guys (Robock, Turco, Toon ) and refuted by the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2018:

    The money quote from Los Alamos: “Our analysis demonstrates that the probability of significant global cooling from a limited exchange scenario as envisioned in previous studies is highly unlikely, a conclusion supported by examination of natural analogs, such as large forest fires and volcanic eruptions.”

    5)Note that the Science Advances article only acknowledges the Los Alamos article on the minor point of fuel loading in Atlanta – while ignoring the primary conclusions. Note that the Science Advances authors have a large number of citations to their past articles going all the way back to 1983.

    6) It should be noted that the USA and Russia have almost 12,000 nukes combined versus the few hundred possessed by Pakistan and India. Russian and US nukes are not mere 45 kiloton nukes – many of them are in the 800kt and 500 kt range. Note that those current inventories are a mere fraction –roughly 17% — of the nukes possessed by the USA and Soviet Union in the 1990s. A result of multiple arms reduction treaties.

    Yet I don’t recall these vocal nuclear winter proponents letting out a single peep of dismay when Obama destroyed the nuclear arms reduction process and reignited the Cold War arms race with the 2014 coup in Ukraine –right on Russia’s doorstep.

    1. Correction to para 5 above — I just noticed that the Science Advances article does acknowledge (p.6) the refutation presented in the 2018 Los Alamos article. It dismisses it on the basis of Pakistan & India cities having denser fuel loading but it admitted earlier that it can not be sure how much urban fuel would burn and how much would be buried under rubble by the blast wave arriving up to 30-50 seconds after the thermal pulse.

      An uncertainty that Glasstone pointed out back in 1977 in his Effects of Nuclear Weapons. If you don’t know how much urban fuel would actually burn then you don’t know how much smoke will be created, how intense the fires will be and hence how high the smoke would rise. If little smoke reaches the stratosphere 17 kilometers above the ground –> no nuclear winter.

  5. 1) Re a refuge from a global pandemic, why AUSTRALIA? Possessing only 25 million people and with over 4 BILLION Asians to the north. 4 Billion Asians connected to Australia by a short island chain.

    We went around this rose bush back in 2007:

    2) In response to my 2007 comment, an Australian replied:

    “Being in the Navy with access to (and having helped written a few) classified studies into mass illegal immigration scenarios I’m limited in exactly what I can say. I will say this: if I was looking at a retreat in the north or north-west of Australia I would locate my retreat at least 60 miles from the coastline. – Mike McD

    3) Someone send Fox News a Goode’s Atlas.

  6. Madagascar is itself a deadly place to visit. They are suffering their own pandemics of biblical diseases.

    Rural grocery stores: I live in a rural area and the grocery stores charge markups of about 100%-150%. So I and many of my fellow residents, wait until we drive into the next larger city to buy from Walmart.

    The India/Pakistan problem cannot be fixed by outsiders and likely will never be fixed. Part of it is religious and part is cultural with a whole lot of land grabbing thrown in. It will likely end in all out war eventually and I don’t see how it could then not go nuclear. Having said that I still believe that the next nuclear war will begin in the Middle East. Most likely Iran will either initiate it directly or through surrogates. They will attack Israel, perhaps in a series of ramped up attacks and counter attacks until one of the two countries resorts to nukes. Israel is so small that two nukes would kill 75% of their population so they cannot afford to absorb a first strike.

  7. Should the government FORCE people to shop at rural stores or merely CLOSE the other stores that are available to rural shoppers ? Is that the question ? What a joke !
    Sometimes the arrogance and stupidity of government-worshippers amazes me.

  8. Rural grocery stores: I support family-owned stores! The closest small town to my location has two family-owned groceries and one small Pigley Wiggly (yes, they still exist!) We also have one family-owned pharmacy, which I use for other-than-maintenance meds. There is a new local doctor-owned pharmacy being built just north of town. I support all of them buying fresh produce and what ever they have on sale. The feed store is family owned and I pay a little more to support them. For the long term storage groceries, (the 25-50 pd bags and #10 cans and 3-5 gal containers, plus misc. bulk buys ), I hit the warehouse stores in a city about and hour away.

    1. Animal House,

      Do you know the value of shopping locally? It buys you loyalty. During the ammo drought when police departments were having a hard time obtaining ammo my local gun shop owner told me a story about a guy that came into his shop and asked if he had any .223. Owner says “No”. Guy continues to look around and see several ammo cans and ask the shop owner “what’s in those?” To which the Marine Vietnam Vet Gun shop owner says “223” guy says “thought you said you didn’t have any?” Gun shop owner say that is for my “customer” Guy says “I’m a customer.” Gun shop owner responds “you are NOT a customer, you have never been in here before, that 223 ammo is for my customer who support me all the time. Guy walks out grumbling. Same gun shop owner gets a call from a local police department, “hey we hear you have 9mm and .223 ammo.” Gun shop owner, yes I do. Police Dept. “Can we get X number of rounds for our qualification?” Gun shop owner- “No, it is for my loyal customers”. PD- “well don’t you want to support a local police department?” Gun shop owner- “I’ll support you when you support me by buying locally.”

      We have a small family owned hardware/department type store that has been around for over 100 years. Since I make a lot of the purchasing decisions where I work I like to go there. Do I get the best price? No not always but I get knowledgeable customer service. I have gone in several time and told them I was looking for “X”. If they don’t stock it they will look through their supplies for it and get back to me. They also know that I want “Made in America”. You can’t get that level of service at Lowe’s or Home Depot – I used to go their for my personal shopping too but since we have moved it doesn’t make sense to travel 40 miles to it one way.

      So what happens when “things get bad”? That loyalty won’t be forgotten.

      1. The Quality of the Service is part of what you pay for with the Price of the product, so if you value this you could get best Price in value which isn´t the same as the cheapest price

  9. Since we have moved we have been trying to find local stores to meet our needs. Like someone said there are dollar stores “in the middle of NO where”! Our new community lost their local grocery store a few years ago. But there is a bulk food store near by that also sells fruits and vegetables from their garden orchards. Unlike many of the bulk food stores I’ve been to in the past this one sells cheese, lunch meets and other refrigerated items. The item that got me very excited was the sleeves (of 1,000) of canning jar lids!

  10. The most miserable countries in the world. Something is wrong with their formula. It seems too simplistic. Imagine Thailand being the least miserable place to live based large;ly on it’s full employment. Aside from the fact that third world governments are notorious for cooking their books to make things look better; ask yourself if you would trade your middle class job for a middle class job in Thailand? I’m guessing you might have to give up a few things.

  11. During the Black Death in the mid 1300’s, the death rate in central Europe was very low. We do not hear about this because for us, “Europe” means France, England, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain. Those other countries? What other countries?

    When the Black Death hit, Austria and other central European countries chose to read the Bible, and see what it commanded about skin diseases. Big black buboes on the skin; clearly a kind of skin disease.

    Aha! Quarantine, and good nursing care (mostly by the monks and nuns, who risked their lives, as Christians should). The contagion rate was low, the recovery rate was fairly high, considering no antibiotics. If you look at a mortality map of Europe during the Black Death, you will see a large hole in central Europe.

    Read the Bible? Monks? Nuns? No wonder it doesn’t get into our history books.

      1. There were external quarantines everywhere, to keep people out, and they did not work well.

        This was a Biblical quarantine; taking the affected people out of their homes to places near their towns where they could be sheltered and receive nursing care, and their families would not be exposed to the infection.

        This has become standard practice for modern epidemics, but it was not so in the past. People often either fled, or drove the sick person out of the house.

        This happened even in America in the 19th century. Cancer was thought to be contagious, and cancer victims were often driven out of their homes by their terrified families. This is why Nathaniel Hawthorne’s daughter, Rose Hawthorne, established a cancer sanctuary that still exists in upstate New York. She had become a nun, and spent her life caring for dying cancer patients.

        The Holy Roman Empire was a huge, sprawling multinational area with boundaries that varied from war to war. There was no consistency internally in what people did. The area that mostly escaped the high death rate from the plague was in central Europe. Austria is in central Europe.

  12. Don Williams saved me a lot of typing. Carl Sagan and his friends were hell-bent on stampeding people into unilateral disarmament during the Regan deployment of Pershing II IRBMs. Sagan knew his nuclear winter theory was never going to pass the peer review process with both the American and Russian Academy of Science, so he published his fraud in Parade Magazine to further his political agenda. Later, when the academies got around to examining his theory, he was laughed out of the room.
    Sagan’s earth model was a ball of dirt, with no oceans (huge reservoirs of heat), and no precipitation to scavenge particulates out of the upper atmosphere (rain, snow cleans the atmosphere).
    The activists at the U of Colorado are just reheating an old myth. A bit of fallout can be expected to blow over here, but not enough to get very excited about. Low-yield surface bursts don’t heave much into the stratosphere…most of the junk will fall out fairly soon.
    My FEMA Attack Environment Manual contains calculations about fallout dose rates in Europe and Asia drifting over from a USA mauled by a 5,000 MT attack. Annual dose in Moscow, 1 rad. Oooo. Anything light enough to reach the stratosphere usually stays there for decades anyway, and that’s a good place for it to be. There is still bomb debris up there from the 1950s test series.
    Like most other lectures from our universities, you can safely ignore this one, too.

  13. The death rate from a Indy/Paki exchange would not just be from direct casualties or fall out but from knock on economic/political realities. Two major political/population/military/economic entities going at it would have major political repercussions(everyone gets to us’em if you got’em)because no one has envoked the UN Chapter 7 for transgressions in the past. The Chinese PLA would be over the borders in hours(if not minutes based on US invasion of Haiti)and likely never leave(US Haiti model) making them the largest,most populous,richest entity. World economic and food/manufacturing/shipping flows forever altered and a new Asian Lion would rule.

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