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 Google’s newly-announced photo OCR technology.

Google Can Now Search for Text in Your Pictures

Regular content contributor G.P. sent this: Google Photos can now search for text in your pictures, copy and paste it. JWR’s Comment: Never forget that the Internet is an enormous vacuum cleaner, sucking up data. Whatever goes there often ends up ends up in persistent databases. This technology is probably already being misused by malefactors–both state actors and non-state actors. In addition to using a tool like ExifPurge to remove GPS tagging from your personal photos, it is very important to not post any close-ups that reveal your fingerprints and to not let things like firearms serial numbers, credit cards, personal correspondence, bills, receipts, or car license plate numbers be seen in any uploaded photos. OCR technology is progressing rapidly. And with AI now increasingly being used to cross-correlate data, the implications are huge.

Maunder Minimum? Central England’s Chilly October

SurvivalBlog reader A.D. spotted this news: Central England experiences Historically Chilly October. The article begins:

“The UK’s October 2019 sure felt like a chilly one, but now official Met Office temperature data has confirmed it — Central England just experienced a month on par with those of the mid-to-late 1600s.

The Central England Temperature (CET) record measures the monthly mean surface air temperatures for the Midlands region of England, and is the longest series of monthly temperature observations in existence, anywhere in the world.

Its mean reading for October 2019 came in at a nice round 10C — that’s 0.7C below the already cool 1961-1990 average (the current standard period of reference for climatological data used by the WMO).

In the 360 years of CET data there have only-ever been nine other years with an October average temperature of 10C — these are 1659, 1660, 1663, 1668, 1669, 1670, 1672, 1679, and 1722.”

No Power = No Phones

Peter sent us this: PG&E blackout knocks out quarter of Sonoma County cellphone towers. JWR’s Comments: California’s regulations don’t require backup power–even for some land line phones. This underscores the need to have both our own power generating  capacity and to have ham radio gear and practice with it.

Mat Shea on The 2nd Amendment

Rep. Matt Shea – Rally for Your Rights – 2nd Amendment. Parenthetically, this 2017 document was mentioned as recommended reading, by Shea: Here’s the Memo That Blew Up the NSC.

Bad News From Argentina

H.L. spotted this at The American Thinker: Bad News From Argentina

Andy Ngo’s Harassment by AntiFa Continues

At WRSA: What Serious Looks Like. A snippet:  “I am sure that your readers are familiar with Andy Ngo and his run in with antifa. They are staying on him like a tick on a dog’s ear. They are staying in close contact with his family.”

Gun Control Activist Shoots Her Three Children in Murder-Suicide

Reader H.L. sent this: Sick: Texas Gun Control Activist Shoots Her Children Dead in a Triple Murder-SuicideJWR’s Comment: So these are he sorts of people who are attempting to dictate what what sorts of guns the general citizenry can and and cannot own?

File Under: No Great Surprise

Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy more consistent with homicidal strangulation than suicide, Dr. Michael Baden reveals

BBC News Launches ‘Dark Web’ Tor Mirror

Reader A.D. sent this: BBC News Launches ‘Dark Web’ Tor Mirror. A.D. also noted:  “Instead of visiting or, users of the Tor browser can visit the new bbcnewsv2vjtpsuy.onion web address. Clicking this web address will not work in a regular web browser.”

Reid Heinrichs:  Is There an AR-15 Violence Crisis?

A recent vlog  from firearms trainer Reid Heinrichs: Is There Really an AR-15 Violence Crisis? Perception vs. Reality Matters. (Thanks to Tim J. for the ink.)

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


  1. Last weekend I was looking at some car ads.Like the article stated,the license was blacked out.
    Then they listed the address,sellers name,e-mail address,and phone number.Still puzzeld over that.?????????

  2. My buddy was telling me about the Google Home speaker his daughter had bought. So I said” So you say hey google whats the temperature?”My phone was on the table, it lit up and told me the temperature at our location. I NEVER EVEN HAD GIVEN IT A THOUGHT! THEY CAN AND DO LISTEN TO EVERYTHING!

  3. We are lucky to have under ground utilities.When the power is out our 1960s Princess phone gets plugged in to the wall jack.I have seen them at thrift/second hand stores
    reasonably priced.They are available on line if you don’t mind getting gouged on the price.

  4. Ref the Western Rifle Shooters Association/Andy Ngo link: I saw the statement below their
    header and was surprised to learn that there are whole organizations of cop haters.
    Perhaps someone of authority that we all listen to could comment on this.

  5. The PGE outages were a great demonstration on the lack of planning on many organizations.

    My cell tower went down with the power outage, no surprise there. 4 hours later, my land line phone went out as Frontier didn’t bring in a generator to keep the lines up and their backup battery finally died. (Why am I paying for a land line?)

    Even more interesting, the local Police Departments repeater in my valley (a small sliver of their jurisdiction) also went dead after about 4 hours.

  6. My phone is always off, I really like that, no wrong calls, no sales calls. If power goes out I have some small solar lights that sit on the windowsill that I can use. I have a wood stove that can heat my house even in the coldest weather. I can also cook on my stove and inside my stove.

      1. It is a Vermont Casting Aspen model.
        You may be asking about the stove because I stated I cook in it. I have cooked baked potatoes and steaks inside the stove. The stove is clearly not set up to do that but you just let the wood burn to coals and put the food on the coals. I have a small grill screen that I put the steak on and set that directly on the coals. Obviously cooking on the top is more straight forward. I cook rice, vegetables, bacon and eggs and other things on the top. This particular stove doesn’t get as hot on the top as some wood stoves but the only effect that has is that it takes a little longer.

  7. We, too, kept a 9 dollar plug in phone back in the days when we had a land line. It would continue to work when the phone company’s electrically charged land line was energized and the public utility power went off.

    But now in many areas the land lines connect somewhere to a communications tower which radios the traffic to another tower. That now can become a disconnection point in disaster areas, and in high crime regions like ours.

    Communication points frequently have their copper wiring ripped off and stolen along with the backup batteries. Thieves don’t care that they are only getting pennies per pound. They take it anyway, and your comms are down.

    If anyone out there is interested in setting up independent telecom and radio traffic capability business, there is clearly a business opportunity in the Redoubt.

    1. We use radio. We do not rely on repeaters. Most of the Amateur radio repeaters do not have adequate back up power. I’ve talk to the guys to motivate them to put at least one repeater totally on solar, but they do not see the need.

      We also had cell phones go down for most of one day. Never happened before. All these recent events may have motivated a local utility to once again install radios in their vehicles. I may take the job.

  8. Pictures taken with a (non-phone) digital camera and stored on an off-grid computer can’t be hacked by SkyNet and used against you.
    To preserve our most important liberties, its best not to feed the beast by uploading ANYTHING to the internet. – Of course, I’m violating my own advice by uploading this comment 🙁
    I’m 60 and I lived the first two thirds of my life quite happily without the internet. I’m working at getting back to that level of simplicity and personal privacy. How quickly we gave it all up to the Grid. Very sad.

    1. HikerSkip … me, too. What is really getting difficult is securing products and services locally. I needed some fabric for an important home project, and I had two options: JoAnn Fabrics and Walmart. I had previously purchased it at Walmart (though generally I do not shop there). It was at neither place this time, so now I’m stuck with less-favorable options, including buying online, which I also rarely do.

      I still contend that we are prepping as a hedge against invasive technologies, even more than natural or man-made disaster.

    2. Hikerskip,,your not alone in your thinking. I wake up at night thinking about how much better life was with out the web ,going dark is allways in the back of my thoughts. The computer is ok , but the web is a curse ,what if ,what if ,i know that there is life behind the white wall ,
      Who is John Galt ?what can we learn from that saying ?

  9. There can be many questions and interpretations from Ashley Auzenne’s violence. Ponder this one. If someone who believes and recognizes that guns can be dangerous can’t safely manage her gun, who can, and how can it be done? It’s better for everyone if this never happens. It would also be better if gun owners figured out how to reduce the occurrences vs people who don’t own guns.

  10. 16 yrs ago my family moved from Miami to the foothills of Sierra Nevada el dorado county. I had a whole house generator installed and the electrician said I was nuts. “There is no need for a generator we don’t lose power in California like Florida after a hurricane”. I told him I lived through hurricane andrew with no electric for weeks and to keep digging. Needless to say our electric went out last week [intentionally by] {PG&E) four days and it saved our 150 lbs of grass feed beef in two freezers. Point. Don’t get discouraged by others when your gut …and prayers tell you to do something else.

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