Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.” – John F. Kennedy

Four Letters Re: Asteroid or Comet Impact in 2012? by Rourke


I’d like to add some input to the meteor thread. First, there’s a near complete (based on our knowledge) and growing database at: http://www.unb.ca/passc/ImpactDatabase/ that shows the residual effects of quite a few impacts. Megaton range impacts occur surprisingly frequently–about once a century. Tunguska level events (that killed almost everything in 2000 sq miles) occur about every thousand years.
I don’t like Deep Impact as a scenario, because I cannot for the life of me see 300 million Americans, not to mention the rest of the world, just accepting that a select few will go into a safe cavern, without a global riot that would likely end civilization in the process.
The original and accurate story of this type of impact, involving a comet in this case, was Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s “Lucifer’s Hammer,” which I recommend all survival minded readers check out. It covers panic reaction prior to the event and during, and coping mechanisms for a post-holocaust world, including the problems (in 1976) that many children would have without TV. Add cell phones and computers to that (This is a serious emotional issue for current military recruits denied their cell phones and Internet for a couple of months) and a great many young people who can’t grasp the destruction will still be in psychological shock. Add in food, transport, disease and bandits, and it’s a grim tale without being excessively emotional.
The best way to deal with Earth-grazing asteroids is not to attempt to blow them up, but to use charges to divert them–a subsurface detonation can move enough mass to act as a rocket. This causes the asteroid to divert into another orbit that doesn’t intersect with Earth. Any large enough mass can’t be destroyed, but will gravitationally coalesce back into an effectively solid mass in fairly short order.
Related threats include the potential of Yellowstone every 650,000 years (It’s been about 650,000 years) to erupt and spew 200 cubic MILES of ejecta into the atmosphere. And a sufficient earthquake could trigger multiple Cascade Range eruptions from California’s Mt. Baker all the way up into Alaska. I’ve been threatening to write the SF story of a 50 megaton impact in Yellowstone triggering it, the Cascades, the San Andreas and New Madrid faults…
Speaking of the New Madrid Fault, it’s potentially more dangerous than San Andreas–the soil structure of the eastern US is such that ground waves are possible with a strong tremor. The effects could travel as far as the Carolinas and Pennsylvania. I’ll leave everyone with those cheery thoughts of Mother Nature for now. – Michael Z. Williamson

I had the opportunity to speak to one of the Bible Code team rabbis and this is important for people planning their future to know. Bible code only works on five books of Torah. It doesn’t predict the future only several possible outcomes. Its purpose is to show evidence divine inspiration by being several hundred thousand times more organized and patterned than normal text.  Mayan calendar or any non -Torah based prophecy is derived either from necromancy or astrology. These two methods may appear effective but they are reading from the wrong end of the process and their purpose is to give free will to reject prayer as the real answer. [When you] rejects the Creator and worship the creation and your life will be ruled by the stars, I choose to be in the hands of G-d who moves worlds at his whim.

A comet strike story is well told in [Niven and Pournelle’s novel] Lucifer’s Hammer which covers many survival topics one of my favorites. If such a strike comes to pass it like all of life is just a step toward the final redemption. Happy and Kosher Pesech  (Our big bug out from Egypt) – David in Israel


Rourke needs to check his facts. The Aztec calendar does not end in 2012 or any other date. It is as open ended a calendar as any other. There is a neat astronomical alignment at the end of 13-baktun/21dec2012, but that’s all it is- scientifically speaking anyway.- K


Mr. Rawles:
Good article on asteroid impacts. But as it lead off with the Mayan calendar ending in 2012, I must comment. What no one seems to mention when they talk about the end date is that it might not mean a darn thing. The Mayan civilization ended from resource depletion. Doesn’t it stand to reason maybe the guys that were making the calendar died off before they could finish the job? Sorry, I just had to comment. Take care, Great job, – Jim

Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog reader R.H. forwarded us a link to an accurate summation of the illegal immigration situation in the U.S. by Cinnamon Stillwell.

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I just stumbled across a downloadable version of Mel Tappan’s book, “Tappan on Survival.” It is a “must read” for anyone who is serious about preparedness.

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SurvivalBlog reader “Merlin” mentioned that the documentary series “Victory at Sea” has recently been spotted on sale in WalMart DVD “dump bins” for only $5.50 for the entire series. That series is one of my favorite documentaries. (I included it my list of recommend videos in my Bookshelf page.)

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." – Theodore Roosevelt, Address at the Sorbonne, 1910

Note from JWR:

If you have not yet visited the web sites for each of our advertisers, please do so. They have some hard to find products at great prices.

The Silver Bull Gains Speed

Just over a month ago we were marveling at the fact that silver was solidly over $10 per ounce. I just checked the charts at kitco.com, (see: http://www.kitco.com/charts/livesilver.html) and spot silver was at $12.80 per ounce! (As a data point: The New York close was at $12.05 just four days ago–Friday April 7th. Quite a change since then!)  At the current spot price, means that a $1,000 face value bag of pre-1965 circulated (“junk”) silver U.S. coinage worth $9,152 wholesale. (Assuming 715 ounces in a typical bag of well-worn coins.)

The silver market is showing all of the signs of a major long-term bull. Rather than the typical rallies and pull-backs, it is now “stair-stepping” upward. Thus, there is presently no chance to “buy on the dips” unless perhaps you buy on intraday dips.

The word on the street is that if New York spot silver closes at over $12.50 an ounce for three days in a row, then there will likely be a big short covering rally, or perhaps even a full scale “short squeeze.” As the short sellers scramble to cover their positions, we may see silver to zoom up to $16 an ounce, or higher. I’m still predicting $20 silver by next February (’07), and perhaps even $40 silver by the end of Aught Eight.

Asteroid or Comet Impact in 2012?, by Rourke

The abrupt ending of the Mayan calendar in December of 2012 has long been assumed to be an astrological catastrophic event for Earth (http://survive2012.com). More recently, the Bible Code has produced passages/matrixes that seem to announce a comet impact in 2012 (http://www.satansrapture.com/nasa2012.htm). [JWR Adds: Beware! Not Biblically supported doctrine at that site!] There are said to be two conflicting matrixes, once saying the Earth is annihilated, the other that the comet is annihilated. I realize what most people think of prophecy (unreliable, to say the least), so let’s take a more scientific look at this, and consider that if there was such an asteroid or comet coming and our government knew this, what would the government actually do about it?
Before I start, I should make sure that some key words are defined. An asteroid is a celestial body found especially between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter (asteroid belt). It is theorized that a planet, or beginnings of planet once existed between Mars and Jupiter, but that the extreme gravity of mighty and gigantic Jupiter busted it up into pieces. A meteor is a particle of matter in the solar system that are directly observable only by their incandescence from frictional heating on entry into the atmosphere (visible during Earth atmosphere entry as they usually burn up). Once a meteor hits the ground, anything you find of it is a meteorite. A comet is celestial body that consists of a fuzzy head usually surrounding a bright nucleus, and that when its orbit is near the sun develops a long tail which points away from the sun (has a big tail).
The idea or realization of large meteors striking the Earth and doing great damage is largely new to 20th Century thinking. The first proven meteorite creator is in Arizona http://www.meteorcrater.com/, http://www.barringercrater.com/science/ and in the early 1900s the owner went bankrupt searching and drilling for the meteorite as proof, when it is now believed it exploded on impact (sending tiny bits everywhere, thus leaving no large meteorite to be found). The famous and mysterious Tungsuka impact in Siberia of 1908 http://newsfromrussia.com/society/2002/06/29/31473.html is now recognized to be a meteor impact which completely exploded above the ground (thus leaving trees dead center under the blast still standing). Finally of course there is the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, which is believed to have killed 70% of all life on Earth at that time.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/06/0617_020617_fossilleaves.html You may be surprised to learn that this was not the only such mass extinction http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/diapsids/extinction.html, and there have be more. However, it was really the spectacular 1994 impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 into the planet Jupiter which ended the speculation about asteroids or comets impacting into planets. http://www.solarviews.com/eng/impact.htm
As this article points out, one look at our very pock-marked moon should be an indication asteroids we have and will likely continue to be hit both the moon and the Earth (erosion over time, from water, helps hide the Earth’s wounds). http://www.thesahara.net/asteroid_2002_nt7.htm. The results to us of such an impact would of course be disastrous, depending on the size, speed, and make-up of the asteroid or comet. http://www.sandia.gov/media/comethit.htm And also see.. http://www.pibburns.com/catastro/impacts.htm. However, just like with nuclear winter, if you survive the initial blast and any generated tsunamis (serious concern since Earth is 2/3 water of course), and stay underground, out of the potentially abusive weather, and wait for everything to settle out of the atmosphere, you can survive. But let’s focus on the issue of stopping the comet or asteroid in the first place…
In the past 25 years, Hollywood has taken a few takes on this issue of stopped an inbound asteroid or comet, and the work they did is worthy of consideration as a starting point. What I am trying to do is look at the facts, and then employ the “what would I do” method of backward engineering government decisions. In the recent movie remake of Pearl Harbor, Dan Akroyd, playing the role of an intelligence officer, is asked why he thinks Japan would hit Pearl Harbor when he has no hard evidence. He replies, “Well, it’s what I would do”. Such will be my approach here.

The 1979 movie “Meteor” starring Sean Connery introduced the concept of using nuclear warheads to try and destroy an incoming meteor (or asteroid actually, before it hits the Earth’s atmosphere). The movie Armageddon in 1996 took the thinking to the next level, realizing that surface explosions would be insufficient to break up an asteroid, and thus presented the idea of astronauts going to the asteroid and then “drilling” the nukes into the asteroid as the best approach to bust it up, or into two pieces at least. This production, staring Bruce Willis, was certainly exciting, but a little too fantastic. The most realistic of the movies made, IMHO, would be Deep Impact, released in 1998. The primary plan was similar to the Armageddon plot, which of course is simply too fantastic and unnecessary, but it was the government’s contingency plan C which really interested me. This was that if the astronaut mission failed (Plan A), and if a bunch of ICBMs launched when it was near Earth (Plan B) failed, there would be a national lottery for one million people (none over age 50 and 200,000 pre-selected government officials and scientists of course) to survive in a Ark made up of man made caves drilled into Missouri limestone with enough supplies to last 2 years (Plan C – “the rules of 3” right from Ragnar Benson, author of The Survival Retreat and others). Wages and prices were frozen, and people were made to “go to work and pay your bills”. Martial Law was declared and people were to be home at night. “Hoarding” was not allowed (though I still think that is a term not really defined as to where the line is, and the term is used as if people just seem to understand where that line is). There was an optimistic plan A and B which kept people going, and hoping, and in the movie that seemed to work and hold off the riots, though they did show characters putting up bars over their windows, meaning there were some problems. Other countries were left to do as they could.
Now let’s look at the facts, real life. NASA currently operates the Near Earth Object Program, who’s stated purpose is to identify 90% (highest they think they can get to) of the objects in space that may come into contact with the Earth. http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov If you have never seen this site, take a look. Check out Close Approaches and Impact Risk in particular, but you will have to brush up on your math to remember how very large numbers are presented to the powers format with the little number superscript (i.e. thousand = 1000 = 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 = 103). In Close Approaches, note that a Lunar Distance (LD) is the average distance from the Earth to moon (~384,000 km or ~240,000 miles). So if an asteroid was going to pass 16 LDs from Earth, that would be 16 times the distance from the Earth to Moon.
Now before you laugh this off as such an event being less likely than you winning the Powerball lottery, you had better take a look at this link: http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news149.html That one in going to miss the Earth by only 5.7 times the diameter of the Earth in 2029. That asteroid also has a diameter of 320 meters or over 1040 feet. How much damage could that do? Well let’s look back to the damage caused by the Arizona meteorite which was only 150 feet in diameter (<50 meters) http://www.barringercrater.com/effects/. We are probably talking about wiping out the better part of Texas here or worse. Note that the article says this is BELOW the level of geosynchronous Earth satellites. One more thing about the Powerball lottery; Why do people pay money to play something they know they have a less than 1 in hundred million chance of winning? Answer: Because the payoff is so large. Now reverse that logic as to asteroids; Why should you worry about the very very small chance a large asteroid or comet will collide with the Earth? Because the payoff is so large if it does.
Now I want to insert the “what would I do” if I was with NASA. My very first comment is that you don’t need a manned mission to nuke an asteroid or comet headed for Earth. There are two methods to “drill” a nuke into an asteroid. First would be to land a probe and have it land on the asteroid that had such automated capacity to drill a nuke in. I will note that this part was done back in 2001. Remember the landing on Eros? (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1148071.stm and http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/solar_system/59734
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1162463.stm )
The second way makes more sense to me and is actually easier to do IMHO. Here you want to punch a nuke into the asteroid so you can just aim the satellite right into it. Torpedo it. The trick though is developing a nuke that would survive the harsh impact and then blow up at depth inside the steel or rocky asteroid or comet. The military calls these “bunker busting” weapons, originally made from old cannon barrels, and non-nuclear variants are nothing new at all, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_bunker_buster. It is interesting to note that exactly such a nuke has been in the research and development works of the US Pentagon for some time now. It’s called a RNEP for Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/systems/rnep.htm ). This remains an issue of Congressional funding http://www.ananuclear.org/rnep.html Clearly using a penetrating bunker buster type tactical nuclear bomb could work for an asteroid or comet. Rather than going through the difficulties of a landing on an asteroid or comet and drilling, we could merely proceed with the presumably easier task of merely intercepting it (torpedoing it). This was exactly what the 2005 Deep Impact probe did by hitting an asteroid at 23,000 mph, a mere 200 feet off its target on a city-sized asteroid.
It is clear IMHO that scientists are considering this method for dealing with an inbound asteroid or comet. They even call this entire line of thinking deep impact.
Billions have now been spent developing exactly the technologies needed to deal with an incoming asteroid or comet. The question is, was there merely done a precautionary science, or do they have a reason to keep this research moving along. Consider it. What would you do, if you knew?

One final thought: As in the movie Deep Impact would the government build a gigantic underground shelter to house people for this period time as a backup plan? How could they hide such an operation of such scale? Perhaps by building it for a different purpose (cover story, or perhaps real alternative)? Where is the government spending billions hollowing out a mountain right now? Answer: Yucca Mountain NV. Why? For spent nuclear storage, officially. http://www.epa.gov/radiation/yucca/ And what is the proposed completion date before this becomes operational? I’m not joking. They say “2012 or later.” See: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,165203,00.html, http://ocrwm.doe.gov/ymp/index.shtml, and http://www.nsc.org/ehc/yuccamt.HTM

Here are two other sites of interest:
Meteor showers http://home.att.net/~thehessians/asteroidstrike.html
Meteor Impact game http://www.barringercrater.com/game/

– Rourke http://groups.yahoo.com/group/survivalretreat

Letter from David in Israel Re: On Eating Insects, by Maui Mike

In reference to eating bugs: Jews who settled in Yemen after the destruction of the first Temple and stayed there until the 1960s had the tradition of eating and
identifying the kosher locusts. My Temani (Yemeni) friend in Kollel did not know what the identifiers were.

As for kosher and survival, I quote my old Rav from Portland, Oregon “If someone held a gun to my head and said ‘Eat that pork chop!’ my answer would be ‘where’s the
catsup?'” Your Maker and Keeper wants you to live so you can glorify him, the mitzvah of saving a life includes your own.- David

Odds ‘n Sods:

Cathy Buckle’s recent letters from Zimbabwe are “must reads.”  Have you ever considered the prospect of hyperinflation in the future?  Some folks are living through it in Zimbabwe right now. Here are two brief quotes from Cathy’s letters in March: “In March 2005 a loaf of bread was four thousand eight hundred dollars. In March 2006 that same loaf is sixty six thousand dollars. Unless something dramatic happens in the next few weeks and assuming prices continue to rise at their present rate, a loaf of bread in March 2007 will be nine hundred and eight thousand [Zimbabwean] dollars. Imagine, almost a million dollars for a loaf, what shame upon Zimbabwe. It is impossible to believe that just six years ago we were called the ‘Breadbasket of Africa’.” And, “You see a familiar product, put your hand out and then gasp in despair when you realise that just a bottle of shampoo costs 1.2 million [Zimbabwean] dollars. Five years ago I could have bought a prime luxury car for just over a million dollars.”

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Signs of the times: Russian airline passengers will soon face lie detector tests.

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A reader recommend this great blog site for Christian youth: Turning the Tide.

On Eating Insects, by Maui Mike

On Eating Insects, by Maui Mike

In an TEOTWAWKI scenario, securing a renewable source of protein and fat is vital. While previous postings have discussed how family chicken farms have kept people alive during the last depression and the viability of rabbits, I’d like to add my two cents in. It started with my learning about hydroponics. Hydroponics is the growing of plants in nutrient enriched water without soil. Then I learned about aquaponics. In this instance fish are raised in tanks (aquaculture) and plants are raised hydroponically and the systems are merged. In this way, the nitrogen rich excrement of the fish feeds the plants and the plants filter the water for the fish. This system now provides both protein and plants, but you still need to feed the fish. My feverishly inventive mind (FIM) thought ‘why not keep the tanks outdoors (I live in Hawaii) and put modified bug zappers over the fish tanks so that rather than collecting the insects, they would drop into the fish tank directly thus feeding my fish for free’. Add solar-powered water pumps and a battery powered bug zapper and viola!
Then I thought that for every pound of fish, I would have to go through many more pounds of insects, and it seemed a waste of protein so I bought some books on entomophagy (insect eating). Man Eating Bugs (best), Creepy Crawly Cuisine and the Eat-A-Bug Cookbook are all good reads.
Here’s some of what I learned. There are 1,417 known edible species of insects. The most popular insects for eating are Beetles, butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, ants, grasshoppers, crickets, termites, locusts, flies, mosquitoes, water boatmen, backswimmers, worms, spiders and stink bugs. Flavors include: nutty, sweet, herring, corn, apples, pumpkin, bread, pine nut, avocado to whatever the insects have been recently eating.
Most edible insects range from 30 to 85% high-quality protein and many are excellent sources of fat (See butterworms and waxworms for fat content. Note, these are not really worms but larvae). As long as you do not have an allergy to seafood (the chitin in the seafood is the same as in the exoskeleton of many insects, eating insects, as long as they are cooked presents little health risk. (Assuming that the insects are not being exposed to insecticides…).
Some notes:
When cleaning and preparing them.
1) Remove any dead insects
2) Do not feed them for four hours before eating them
3) Put them in a bag in the fridge for 15 minutes if they are mobile like grasshoppers to slow them down.
4) Avoid freezing as this reduces flavor, but you can store them for a long time in the fridge and they will stay alive.
5) Remove wings and legs if present
6) Cook at over 410 degrees F to kill any germs

All in all, I think earthworms the best to raise and eat and here’s why:
1) No crunchy exoskeleton to get in your teeth
2) Easy to dehydrate, powder and add to breads or soups
3) Flavor not bad
4) Lumbrokinase enzyme in worms cleans plaque out of the arteries
5) Not picky eaters, no specialized food requirements so they are easy to raise
6) Double in size in 60-90 days
7) Can’t fly away
8) Only one stage (no pupae/larvae) so they can all raised together at any growth stage without eating each other
9) You can get them from the ground, no starter kit required
10) 70% protein

I’ve forgotten my higher math, but I think that you should be able to harvest about 1% a day (under optimal conditions) without losing your ‘worm capital’. Let’s say .5% to be on the safe side. If a person needs a minimum of 40 grams of protein a day, a family of four would need 160 grams a day. That’s 228 grams of worm a day. At .5% you would need about 100 pounds (45,600 grams) growing at any one time (please check my math).
100 pounds could easily be grown (either building up over time or getting 100 pounds to start) in an apartment in the city. There are compost kits you can buy or you can make your own. Most are designed for composting foods and harvesting the worm castings for the garden rather than mass worm production so you’ll have to dig in with your hands to get the worms out and clean them off (no big deal).
I think this the optimal covert city ‘livestock’ farm. You can feed them your leftovers and collect remains from restaurants and grow them silently and vertically in a closet. If someone broke into your apartment seeing how well fed you appeared and searched for your ‘food’ all they would find would be worms…
Another hint. Before eating them, put them in flour for a few hours. This will purge their intestines and fill them with flour (nice for baking).
While I think worms the best for many reasons, if you are outdoors, consider the black light Thai cricket farm: Two fluorescent UV black lights are suspended high above a clear plastic sheet that glows blue from their reflection. Crickets are attracted to the lights, hit the plastic and slide down into a bucket placed below it and drown. You may have to empty the bucket every few hours as this is very effective at catching them. The setup is shown on page 50 of Man Eating Bugs.
Consider insects in your cache of survival knowledge.
Bug Sources:
Grubco 1-800-222-3563
Hatari Invertebrates 520-558-2418
There are scientific supply houses that carry a large variety of insects but they are more expensive so use them only for you initial breeding stock, not for bulk purchases…

JWR Adds: For those readers that feel bound by Levitical law, consider: “All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be detestable to you. There are, however, some winged creatures that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. But all other winged creatures that have four legs you are to detest.” – Leviticus 11


Letter Re: Test Sources for Radiation Meters–The Cesium Source


RE: > I also didn’t buy the use of a smoke detector to test a CDV survey meter so I checked it out. Didn’t show squat since that meter is relatively insensitive.
Oh, I also tried a smoke detector with my Digilert-100 from http://www.seintl.com .
This detector reads Alpha, Beta, Gamma and X-rays. Nada.

BTW, the Digilert has available some neat software that I use to track background radiation on a daily basis.
Normal background here in Colorado is between 20 and 39 counts per minute.
The unit also has an alarm level that can be set to any given level of radiation. I keep mine at 50 Counts per minute. The only time it ever went off was on the interstate while passing one of those semi flatbeds carrying two big concrete cylinders. (Probably a radiation waste transport). needless to say, I made a distinct effort not to pace HIM anymore.
I’ve been using the old yellow CDV radiation detectors and haven’t noticed any deterioration with the chamber.
As a note, the CDV-700 (with the wand, a true geiger counter) also will see background if you cheat. With the probe cover opened (roll it around until the slots are open, but NEVER use it in service with the cover open) , and the adjustment turned up, you will see background radiation. I used the Digilert-100 and adjusted the screw pot on one of the CDV-700’s until it matched the background count on the Digilert-100. Amazingly enough when done, the CDV-700 mostly passed the check using the beta source on the side of the unit. Needle went a little high than it was supposed to, but not much. Maybe I should say it was close enough for Government work.
The German surplus dosimeters from Major Surplus also passed testing at a local metallurgical shop with a source.
All in all, my two cents worth is everybody oughta have some of the above, just like a spare tire in your trunk.
I just hope I never have the occasion to see a reading on the less sensitive survey meters! (Insert wry smile here.)

A thought to keep in mind about battery chargers. I’m sure that a sizeable percentage of readers of this blog have rechargeable batteries and battery chargers. I wonder how many of those battery chargers require AC power (normal house electricity) to work. Keep in mind there are some great DC battery charges out there. Most will power up with 12 Volts DC and charge NiCd, NiMh, Li-ion and Lead Acid batteries from 1.2 volts to 30 volts DC.
Could make the difference sometime. (Hint, keep it in the car and it will even charge your cell phone Li-ion battery with two paper clips and a little ingenuity.

I forgot to mention that I always have that Washington, D.C. status symbol with me–my NukAlert from http://www.ki4u.com
Wouldn’t be without it. Amazing how many “civil servants” (Please note the quote marks) in D. C. have this device. If I was in D.C. very often, I’d probably carry two, just kidding. But seriously, it does provide peace of mind. Best Regards, – The Army Aviator

Odds ‘n Sods:

The Mogambo Guru (Richard Daughty) thinks that the “Two Trillion in Fresh Cash rumor is unfounded.

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From the London Telegraph: British Government Makes Secret Preparations for “Waves” of Asian Avian Flu Pandemic Exceeding Six Months

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I just heard that Gun Parts Guy is having a big clearance sale on some assorted FAL and L1A1 parts. (Carriers, slings, top covers, carry handles, scope mounts, flash hiders, sights, et cetera.) Please mention SurvivalBlog if you place an order. The sale ends on April 17th.

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Bush Administration Contingency Plans for War with Iran?



Jim’s Quote of the Day:

Timon: This looks like a good spot to rustle up some grub.
Young Simba: What’s that?
Timon: A grub. What’s it look like?
[Timon eats the grub]
Young Simba: Ewwwww, gross.
Timon: Tastes like chicken.  – The Lion King

Two Letters Re: Test Sources for Radiation Meters–The Cesium Source Already in Your Home

Mr. Rawles,
I’m very suspicious of the information from “Ole Rad” that you could test a Civil Defense field survey meter with the radiation that comes from a smoke
detector. Several things in his post don’t add up:
1) Smoke detectors use Americium-241 as their source and the radiation at 1 meter distance is “less than 1/1000th of that from background radiation” (source: http://www.arpansa.gov.au/is_smkdt.htm).
2) The CDV-777-2 is the radiation detection kit which contains a field survey meter, dosimeters, and a dosimeter charger. The kit might also contain a CDV-700 geiger counter, but that has it’s own beta check source on the side. Also, the CDV-700 uses 4 D cells, while a CDV-715 or 717 uses 1 D cell. The CDV-720 uses 2 D cells.
3) It takes a minimum of 0.1 R/h (or 100 mR/h) to defect the needle to the “1” position on the meter for a CDV-715, 717, or 720 field survey meter set
to the lowest range (meter reading x 0.1 R/h). A 1 microCurie Cesium-137 source emits about 2 milli-R/h at the surface. Thus, it would take 50 of these sources together to produce 0.1 R/h. A low-level source can be used with a field survey meter, but it requires a special pancake probe instead of the ion chamber. Regards, – A.C.

JWR Replies: In my estimation, Ole Rad’s advice only applies to Geiger counters with a low (highly sensitive) range.

Jim: There has been some confusion lately about the surplus civil defense radiation gear. Here is a quick rundown on what you might find.
Survey Meters
CDV-715, CDV-717, CDV-720 – These are what’s known as a “high range” meter. They use a device called an ion chamber to measure life- threatening levels of radiation. They were intended to be distributed to fallout shelters in the event of a nuclear war, so that radiation levels outside could be monitored and reported. This type of unit WILL NOT detect low levels of radiation, such as that from a “dirty” bomb, a radium-dial clock, smoke detector or tritium gun sight. About the only way to make the needle move much on one of these is to expose it to a large gamma source (such as in a calibration lab or cancer treatment facility). You may be able to test one of these by exposing it to a doctor or dentist’s X-ray machine. Set the meter on the lowest range and see what happens.
Most of these have a self-check circuit that can let you know if the basic electronics are functional. If you are serious about keeping one or more of these around for a real emergency, you should definitely get it calibrated and serviced. The KI4U folks can get this done, and there are several other facilities that will calibrate these meters. Expect to pay $20-75 for a meter in good shape, and possibly another $100+ for calibration.
CDV-700 – This is a true Geiger counter. You can easily spot these by the “hot dog” shaped probe attached to it via a cable. These are pretty sensitive, and will pick up small radioactive items, such as radium-dial watches. Tritium gun sights are just too weak to be detected by any common detector. Also, these have small test source affixed to the side that you can use to instantly test if the meter is working. These usually sell for $100+, and would be much more appropriate for detecting fallout from a dirty bomb, nuke plant accident, etc. These were designed for checking people, food, etc for small amounts of contamination.
Along with the Civil Defense surplus, there are a number of newly made Geiger counters, usually from Russian companies. Harbor Freight sometimes has one called the Quartex, and there is another one called the RKSB-104. You can often find these on eBay.
These are small, yellow sticks that look like a big crayon. Unlike a survey meter or geiger counter, these do not instantly show you how much radiation they are being exposed to at the moment. Rather, you wear them around, and they let you know how much total dosage you received over a day, month, etc. Like the survey meters, these come in high and low-range models. The good ones are made by Bendix. Avoid the other brands, unless they are of new commercial manufacture (such as Dosimeter Corp).
CDV-741,742 – High range (0-100 or 0-200 RADS). Useful after a nuclear war, not useful for much else.
CDV-138 – Low range (0-200 Millirads). Useful for working around an X- ray machine, checking if you got exposed from a small source or accidental leak. Much more rare than the other type.
The dosimeters must be charged before they are useful. Look for a CDV-750 or similar charger. You can test dosimeters by charging them up (this sets the needle to zero) and then leaving them sitting for a couple of weeks. If some of them rapidly leak down to zero, they are bad. Otherwise, these items have a very long useful life. They have no batteries, and only need the charger to put a static electricity charge into a small piece of fiber. The static charge leaks off it when exposed to radiation.
Here are links to more than you ever wanted to know about Civil Defense gear:
Thanks, – JN