Notes for Thursday – September 29, 2016

September 29th, 1881, is the birthday of Ludwig von Mises (born 1881, died October 10, 1973).

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SurvivalBlog just learned that Bill Millison passed away in Hobart, Tasmania, Austrailia at the age of 88. Together with Davide Holmgren, he developed what we now call Permaculture, a holistic way of farming, changing the lives of millions around the world

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Today, we present another entry for Round 66 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $12,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Tactical Self-Contained 2-Series Solar Power Generator system from Always Empowered. This compact starter power system is packaged in a wheeled O.D. green EMP-shielded Pelican hard case (a $1,700 value),
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 20 Magpul PMAG 30-rd Magazines (a value of $300) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt; (an equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions),
  6. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  7. The Ark Institute is donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package (enough for two families of four) plus seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate (a $325 retail value),
  8. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  9. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating an AquaBrick water filtration kit with a retail value of $250, and
  10. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  3. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  4. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  5. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  6. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  8. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A $245 gift certificate from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  3. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  4. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  5. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Precision Rest (a $249 value), and
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 66 ends on September 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

The Art and Practice of OPSEC, by T.H.

What is it? We often hear the term OPSEC, also know as Operations Security (not Operational Security), but few people actually know what it really means. When asked they often say, “It means not talking about what you are doing.” Or, they may say, “It means staying gray.” This is an extremely simplistic view of the program and fails to incorporate the nuances and methodology of the process.

The concept is nothing new. In the fifth century BCE, Sun Tzu wrote, “If I am able to determine the enemy’s dispositions while at the same time I conceal my own, then I can concentrate and he must divide.” The idea of keeping military information closely held has been practiced by the U.S. military in every war and conflict.

opsec1

Being that OPSEC is a military program, let’s look at the official definition:

“An analytical process used to deny an adversary critical information about our planning process and operations.”

That is all well and good, but what does that really mean and where did it come from? OPSEC, as a formalized security program, came from a Vietnam era NSA effort called “Purple Dragon”.

purpledragonorg

In 1965, LBJ ordered bombing missions against Viet Cong (VC) and North Vietnamese Army (NVA) targets in SE Asia. These missions operated under the code names ARC LIGHT and ROLLING THUNDER. By 1966 it was becoming obvious that the bombing missions were not having the desired effects. U.S. ground units and bomb damage assessments were showing there were far fewer VC and NVA personnel and equipment in the targeted areas that intelligence reports had predicted. After a year of heavy bombing and the expenditure of millions of dollars, ARC LIGHT and ROLLING THUNDER appeared to be a failure.

Why was our intelligence so faulty? There must be a reason. As U.S. intelligence dug deeper, they noticed an increase of CHICOM message traffic during these bombing missions. Somehow the Chinese, and thus the NVA, were aware of the U.S. missions before they were launched! These messages even contained extremely detailed target information and warned VC and NVA units up to eight hours in advance.

DoD established a team to investigate this situation. The investigation was codenamed PURPLE DRAGON. PURPLE DRAGON discovered several items of interest, but one stood out. Under International Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) rules, any time that an aircraft moved out of one Air Traffic Control (ATC) jurisdiction into another it was mandated that it file a flight plan with the local ATC and let the new ATC know when and where it would be entering the new ATC’s jurisdiction. The new ATC would release a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) listing flight path, altitude, times of arrival, and other details of the specific aircraft’s itinerary. NOTAMs were available to all civil aviation authorities. This information was sent to all adjacent ATCs, so they would also be aware of the aircraft.

B-52 missions flying out of Guam and Thailand were required to file flight plans as required with the local ATC and thus to the world in the form of a NOTAM. North Vietnam was receiving these NOTAMs via the CAO and were able to extrapolate target data from the documents. This gave ample time to warn potential targeted units and locations with up to eight hours to vacate the area and make defensive preparations.

The Purple Dragon team were able to identify the vulnerability in this process. Using this example the team developed a process to review, analyze, and protect unclassified information that could be exploited by our enemies. They focused on indicators, patterns, and signatures of upcoming operations. This process became Operations Security or as we know it today: OPSEC.

The process is pretty straightforward in a military setting but not so clear in our private lives. We talk about not standing out but how do we accomplish this. What are we trying to protect, and who are our adversaries? Should these issues be addressed in our dealings on the Internet?

Let’s look at that definition again: “An analytical process used to deny an adversary critical information about our planning process and operations.”

It really is as simple as this:

  • What information do you want to protect?
  • Who wants your information?
  • How is your information vulnerable?
  • What is the risk for your information?
  • How can you protect your information?

The OPSEC process consists of five steps. The text book answer is that they are not in any particular order, but personally I like the following:

  1. Analyze the Threat.
  2. Identify Critical Information
  3. Analyze Your Vulnerabilities.
  4. Assess the Risk.
  5. Apply OPSEC Countermeasures.

opsec2

Analyze the Threat

Who are our enemies and what are they capable of? Are your enemies street criminals, identity theft scam artists, the Mafia, burglars, armed robbers, and/or terrorists? A person living in Atlanta would have a different set of threats (street criminals, et cetera) than a rancher in Arizona (drug runners from Mexico, et cetera). An owner of a logging company may be threatened by eco-terrorists, like Earth Liberation Front, where a butcher may be targeted by the Animal Liberation Front. Conduct research in your area, and determine what the local threats are to you! These may be drastically different than that of your neighbor or local friend.

When analyzing the threat, look at the group’s existence, capability, intent, history, and targeting.

Identify Critical Information

Put yourself in the mind of the adversary. As yourself, “If I were going to attack this person, what info would I need to execute the assault?” For our purposes, we will use an example of identify theft. I would want to know: name, SSN, DOB, account numbers, address, credit card numbers, POB, phone numbers, computer pass words, and other personal information. These questions are called Essential Elements of Friendly Information (EEFI). The answers to these questions are called your Critical Information List (CIL). Try to have no more than 12 items in your CIL.

Analyze Your Vulnerabilities

All of your CILs may not be vulnerable for exploitation. For example, I don’t write my passwords down, but my SSN is on my DL, even though I have the option to opt out by request (in my state). Let’s say I don’t shred my mail and I use my real name on the Internet. Are there any indicators or signatures of my operations?

Assess Risk

Not everything is at risk. We must address only those things that could affect us if compromised. This is called Risk Management vs. Risk Avoidance. A simple formula to help us with this is Threat x Vulnerability x Impact = Risk (T x V x I=R). If any one of these factors is zero, then your have no risk. Let’s say I live on a restricted high security military compound. In this situation, the threat (T) of street criminals is non-existent and is thus a “0”. Factor this in with the fact that I carry large amounts of cash and would be impacted by its loss. Use a scale of 1-5 for each element with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. The carrying of cash (V) would be a 5 and the impact (I) would also be a 5. With the risk formula T x V x I=R, in this case we’d have a risk of 0 x 5 x 5=0; thus, there would be no risk. Use this formula for each of your threats and vulnerabilities to determine your unique overall risk. This also helps you to rate your risk from highest to lowest and allows you to prioritize the expenditure of your limited resources.

Apply Countermeasures

Whatever vulnerability is left after being bumped against threat and impact should be eliminated with a countermeasure. Be open minded when going through the process and try to truly take the role of the adversary.

The thing to keep in mind is that every person, group, company, or operation has a unique set of threats, EEFIs, CILs, vulnerabilities, risks, and countermeasures. There is no one size fits all.

Let’s look at an example of how this comes together for a fictitious tactical training group called the Baytown Training Group (BTG).

CRITICAL INFORMATION LIST

The CIL for BTG is:

  • The names, addresses, and contact information of members
  • Date time group (DTG) and specific locations of training activities
  • After Action Reports (AAR) of training results that show a materiel unit weakness
  • Images of members associated with BTG (Photographs may be released if member’s faces and identities are redacted and no specific mention is made of BTG. The individual member must approve the release of the redacted photograph.)
  • Operation Orders (OPORD)
  • Equipment load out for specific operations/missions (Generic equipment lists are releasable.)
  • Communications: frequencies, call signs, cell numbers, capabilities, email addresses, and PGP encryption keys
  • Supply and logistics

INDICATORS

The indicators are:

  • Increased chatter on social media in the clear
  • Members meeting in a public place before a training event
  • Visible equipment in vehicle
  • Acquisition of supplies by multiple members at the same place at the same time
  • Visual compromise of operations by unauthorized personnel
  • Distinctive unit insignia

THREAT

The threat is:

  • Curious public
  • Criminals seeking to steal weapons and equipment
  • Law enforcement encumbrances
  • Inadvertent disclosure or discovery during an event by unauthorized personnel
  • Open source information on members and group
  • Interception of communications

VULNERABILITIES

The ways that information is vulnerable for BTG:

  • Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)
  • Use of email between participants
  • Talking in public places
  • Recycle bins
  • Trash
  • Details on tactics, techniques, and procedures
  • Social media
  • Families and friends
  • Interception of comms
  • Visual assessment of equipment and operations

RISK

The following vulnerabilities are acceptable risks:

  • Encrypted email between members containing Critical Information (CI)
  • Telephone calls between members
  • Conducting operations without a cover plan on secluded private property
  • Use of unencrypted RF comms as long as brevity codes are used
  • Use of social media as long as the forum is not available to the public and DTG and OPODR is not posted

The following vulnerabilities will be countered:

  • Keep equipment covered if visible by public
  • Develop a cover story if operating in public, e.g. an air soft club, geocaching, hiking group, et cetera
  • Email with specific CI will be encrypted
  • Brevity codes and Signal Operation Instructions will be developed when using RF comms
  • Good Information Security practices will be used when handling or transporting paper media
  • Practice good situational awareness and tradecraft when speaking in public
  • Conduct perception management (e.g misdirection and Information Operations)

Summary

purpledragon

As we have learned, OPSEC is a methodological, continuous process that protects your critical information. Each person, organization, or operation will have a different CIL. OPSEC focuses on the utilization of precious time and resources to protect only that information that is critical, vulnerable, and worthwhile. Once you prioritize your information and decide what is important, it will be much easier to manage from an OPSEC perspective. OPSEC doesn’t involve protecting all information from all potential advisories.

The proper utilization of OPSEC for unique situations and day-to-day life will help create desirable outcomes, pave the way to success, and help minimize difficulties. Become familiar with the process, and get used to using it for every activity. Soon, it will become second nature, and you will have tamed the Purple Dragon!

Letter: Use Even More Caution Putting Personal Information Out There

HJL,

A study by the RAND Corporation, published in the Journal of Cybersecurity, looked at the frequency and cost of IT security failures in U.S. businesses and found that the cost of a break-in is much lower than thought, typically around $200,000 per case. With top-shelf security systems costing a lot more than that, not beefing up security looks in some ways like a smart business decision. “I’ve spent my life in security and everyone expects firms to invest more and more,” the report’s author Sasha Romanosky told The Reg. “But maybe firms are making rational investments and we shouldn’t begrudge firms for taking these actions. We all do the same thing, we minimize our costs.” Romanosky analyzed 12,000 incident reports and found that typically they only account for 0.4 percent of a company’s annual revenues. That compares to billing fraud, which averages at 5 percent, or retail shrinkage (i.e. shoplifting and insider theft), which accounts for 1.3 percent of revenues. As for reputational damage, Romanosky found that it was almost impossible to quantify. He spoke to many executives and none of them could give a reliable metric for how to measure the PR cost of a public failure of IT security systems. – P.S.

Economics and Investing:

There are huge implications to society if this forecast is even partially correct. Men Without Work. – P.S.

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As Heavy-Truck Sales Go, So Goes the Economy – G.G.

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44 Percent Hike in Taxes Covers Obama-Era Debt – B.B.

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8M Americans Paid $1.7 Billion For Not Having Obamacare – B.B.

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SurvivalBlog and its editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for details.

Odds ‘n Sods:

At Senate hearing, US State Department refuses to say how many Syrians in next year’s flow – B.B.

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Refugees from all 50 states in DC today lobbying for more $$$ and more refugees – B.B.

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Secret Report: Terrorists Running Wild Within U.S. Borders – V.E.

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Solar storm heading towards Earth threatening to break your Sky TV and mobile phones – G.G.

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Used Coffee Grounds Can Clean Contaminated Water – S.B. – D.S.

Notes for Wednesday – September 28, 2016

Today, we present another entry for Round 66 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $12,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Tactical Self-Contained 2-Series Solar Power Generator system from Always Empowered. This compact starter power system is packaged in a wheeled O.D. green EMP-shielded Pelican hard case (a $1,700 value),
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 20 Magpul PMAG 30-rd Magazines (a value of $300) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt; (an equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions),
  6. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  7. The Ark Institute is donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package (enough for two families of four) plus seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate (a $325 retail value),
  8. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  9. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating an AquaBrick water filtration kit with a retail value of $250, and
  10. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  3. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  4. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  5. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  6. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  8. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A $245 gift certificate from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  3. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  4. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  5. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Precision Rest (a $249 value), and
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 66 ends on September 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Prepping Mindset: The New Normal, by D.V.

I am a one year oral cancer survivor. I survived a 13 hour operation that included removing my lower right jaw and replacing it with the tip of my shoulder blade. My operation is called a lateral neck dissection, and it sounds nicer than it felt! The lining of my cheek received a living tissue transplant from the same shoulder area. I had a tracheotomy and couldn’t speak. During the “cut, burn, and poison” treatment, I was connected to a feeding tube for four months. Months of treatment and physical therapy have helped me survive, but I am still discovering what my “new normal” will be.

How does my “new normal” relate to prepping? “New normal” is a term the cancer community gives to how well a cancer survivor functions in life compared to their original abilities. Let’s look at my experience and see if we can draw some similarities to prepping. First, let us look at expectations.

Expectations

My cancer came on me quickly and unexpectedly. That sounds similar to how the experience Preppers are preparing for is expected to come also– quickly and with little or no warning. I had a few weeks to prepare for a planned easy removal of a cancerous sore inside my cheek that was the size of a pencil’s eraser. I studied every article and video available, and I knew what to expect from this operation. The plan was that doctors would take a piece of my forearm tissue to provide tissue and artery replacement. I didn’t count on the team of doctors stepping out of the operating room and gaining permission from Nancy to remove my jaw because cancer had spread like a wildfire out of control. The result was that I woke up with the very things I was told not to expect. I couldn’t speak because of a tracheotomy. I had a feeding tube, a different donor site for tissue, a longer hospital stay, and a bigger struggle than I was expecting. As preppers we should be prepared. However, realize that you might wake up one day and all of your preps are not going to match the tragedy unfolding in front of you. How will you respond? Will you listen to the new diagnosis and respond to a revised plan, or will you go negative because things are not working according to your plan? It is good and Godly to prepare but also to approach calamity with a discerning eye and adjust to the “new normal”!

If you read the Internet or actually talk to cancer survivors, you soon find they learned early on to have no or few expectations. Read the Internet or actually talk to Preppers and you may experience too many preconceived notions as to what the future dilemmas in life will be. A cancer patient’s day is filled with doctor visits, hospital stays, and medical tests. Ask a room full of medical staffers to predict your results, estimate your length of stay, or pre-plan your treatment, and you will get a room full of differing answers. Our mind tries to grasp at all of the “grey” issues and sort them into black and white pigeon holes. You must lower expectations, live in the moment, and reactively respond to current situations as they occur. Experience is the only teacher that quizzes us first and then gives us the answer. Prepping should be an outline that must be revised from time to time to match the present state of conditions.

Response to New State of Conditions

Now let’s discuss your ability to respond to the “new normal” state of conditions. Let’s say you’re well prepared but out of shape. How well will you survive exposed to the elements or the arduous task of just getting by in a world without structure? My operation was followed by a four week recovery at home before starting my seven week regimen of chemotherapy and radiation. Again, this was another unexpected addition to my treatment that I was told I wouldn’t need before my cancer was seen during my operation. You stashed your preps, but they are unobtainable. How well have you practiced your simple survival skills in order to get by with little to no resources? I knew these four weeks were an opportunity to build my strength before the rigorous treatment schedule. I walked to get in shape. My first walk was to the end of my driveway. Every day I doubled my distance until I was walking three miles. Physical fitness was key to my surviving treatment, but it also killed me more than once. During treatment I kept up a pretty rigorous training program, but as chemotherapy coursed through my body and radiation accumulated in dosage my white cell count diminished and I walked myself into infections and stays at the hospital in isolation. Once I came home to recover, I was in isolation due to risk of infection. I refused to adjust to another “new normal” situation and modify my physical activity. Do you know to recognize your body’s signs of distress like dehydration, hyperthermia, and heat exhaustion? My house has more than a few recreational distractions, and the isolation was almost more than I could handle. I wonder how many Preppers will unlock the door to their subterranean bug out bunker too early and walk into the remnants of a plague borne demise due to lack of human contact?

Let’s say that you survived the initial WROL, EMP strike, plague, et cetera, and now you are aware of the “new normal”. Your preps are in place, but you have an accident and now you are disabled. I used to hunt, but my shoulder is so disabled that I cannot climb a tree stand or withstand the recoil of a shotgun. I am revising my weapon of choice and might switch to a crossbow with a cocking winch. I already have a blind, so I will use that instead of the tree stand. In your disabled state, can you fire your weapons one handed and accurately hit a target with your weak hand? I can, but I won’t gamble that I can hunt like that. What if your dominant shooting eye is injured? You survived, you are healthy, or are you? Are you truly functional in this “new normal” condition? How do you know? I suggest you employ SWOT.

SWOT

SWOT is an acronym for Strength, Opportunity, Weakness, and Threat. Months after my surgery and while I was recovering, an unscrupulous tree cutter left my suburban backyard a mountain of brush and full length felled trees and just walked away. I am so bull headed that I took it upon myself to clean up this mess. I bought a small electric chain saw that was too heavy for me to pick up. I sat myself down in the brushpile and threw the saw as high as I could. No matter where it landed, I cut brush. When I was too tired to saw, I stacked brush and burned. I was still suffering a loss of balance and would fall throughout the day, but I kept going. Soon I built up enough strength to use a gas powered 20-inch chain saw. Then, I started milling large 24-inch diameter logs with a beam machine. Does that sound impressive? It was until I fooled myself into thinking I could move 15-foot long logs across my yard and stack four foot logs four high. I now have a bicep tear, collar bone tear, and shoulder tear, and I am going back to a surgeon because ultrasound guided large mass cortisone shots failed. If I had reviewed SWOT, I most definitely would have stopped at clearing brush and brought in a saw mill to finish clearing the logs. My point is that you must not let your expectations determine the outcome. You must constantly revise your plans using SWOT. SWOT is great for comparisons. If you plot a chart with a column for each comparison, you can quickly assess which action to take. Keep it simple and you can review SWOT in your mind.

My ability to function is quite remarkable in spite of what I have experienced. I would not wish my cancer journey on another person. At the same time, I would not want to give up my new understanding of love and life if it meant not having cancer. Once things go bad, I hope you can use your end of the world scenario for a better purpose. Do not waste it. You may find everyday tasks are much harder, but if you adapt you might gain a deeper appreciation for life and those around you. Life might not be as bad as you planned for, and you might see the best in people if you are looking for it. You will develop a new community, based around your hardships and your blessings. There was a saying in WWII that there were no atheists in foxholes. I can tell you from my own experience that God and the power of prayer is alive and strong in the rooms of cancer patients!

Two Letters Re: Differences Between Combustible Gases

HJL,

I read the article on combustible gases. You have to be very careful with the cheap conversion kits to propane for generators; almost every one of the cheap ones do not have a device to cut off the propane if the engine stops. Like loss of spark or low oil, it will keep pouring propane into the Gen set. I have been a mechanic since 1967, and these cheap kits are very dangerous. I have seen several cause explosions. – B.L.

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Sir,

I just finished reading the post about different kinds of gas and saw some information I would like to correct:

Natural gas at your home is in the 4-ounce pressure range not 7 pounds. Propane used in the same way is 7-ounces.

Most propane is produced from the removal of natural gas not crude oil. Butane is also recovered in this same process.

Butane has no vapor pressure below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This is why pure butane is no longer used for home use, as the tanks must be buried and that is not done today.

The BTU of the gases is based on the number of carbon chains in the molecule.

The orifice in the appliance must be matched to the type of gas being used. Today, this would be either natural gas or propane.

One of the uses of butane is in cigarette lighters. If you are in cold weather and it won’t light, hold it in your hand until it warms up and it will. Remember butane has no vapor pressure below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. – R.E.

Economics and Investing:

Economic Growth Requires More Than Low Interest Rates

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Bill Fleckenstein On The Recent Weakness In The Gold, Silver & Mining Share Markets

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WTO Slashes Global Trade Forecast by 39% Since April: “Wake-Up Call” Says WTO Director

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Billionaire Capital Turns Into Ghost Town: “Home Contracts Down 80%”, Trophy-Cars Pile Up In Showrooms

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SurvivalBlog and its editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for details.

Odds ‘n Sods:

Man awarded payout for leaving school illiterate becomes self-confessed crook – A.S.

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Is it possible to make private all of your computers, smartphones, data and communications and still remain digitally connected? Down the rabbit hole, part 1: Making my life private and secure. – D.B.

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Missing Afghans Raise Terrorism Fears – B.B.

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Sheriff David Clarke: ‘Being Scared Is Not Enough,’ Get a Gun to ‘Fight Back’ – P.S.

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Washington Goes After Pre-Crime: Gun Confiscation Proposed For Those “Likely To Commit Violence In The Near Future”