The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog presents another edition of The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods— a collection of news bits and pieces that are relevant to the modern survivalist and prepper from “HJL”. Of particular interest today is the article on radio direction finding.

Genetically Modified Babies

In a disturbing announcement, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in the UK has stated that they agree that changing the DNA of a human embryo could be morally permissible if it is in the best interest of the child. This opens up the ability for parents to alter their children’s DNA if they perceive it would give their baby the best chance at life. The announcement also said that the change could not add to the kinds of inequalities that already divide society. While there may be some good that could be accomplished through such a program, like stopping certain inheritable diseases, it is far more likely that parents will engineer physical or mental traits. For now, British law (as well as law in many countries) forbids tinkering in the DNA of humans, but I fear that time is coming. Thanks to G.P. for the link.

Heighten Your Senses

The Art of Manliness has an article on 10 tests, exercises and games that can be used to heighten your senses and situational awareness. We all know that walking around in Cooper’s “condition white” is a situation that just begs to problems to occur, yet that is generally what the population around is doing. It’s easy to fall into that habit. Rather than spend your time walking around like a sheep, you should focus on what your physical and mental tasks are at hand. If your driving, you shouldn’t be thinking about that argument you had with your spouse. Keep your mind on your driving. I can’t tell you how many times I have driven somewhere only to arrive and not remember anything about the drive because I was preoccupied. This article gives you some simple things you can do to practice keeping your mind focused. You don’t have to be a man to do them either. Ladies and kids can practice these too.


Speaking of the Art of Manliness, JWR has his latest interview up online with the The Art of Manliness. Topics covered include the vulnerability of the U.S. powergrid, sourcing water for your home, sewage, JIT inventory in grocery stores and more. If your a beginner, this is a “must listen too” to get started and even experienced preppers may learn a thing or two.

Radio Direction Finding

AmRRON operators and Hams will immediately see the significance of this article sent in by reader T.Z. KiwiSDR time difference of Arrival (TDoA) direction finding is now freely available for public use. This is experimental work where there are public KiwiSDRs (software defined radios connected to computers available on the Internet). The radios monitor the entire spectrum from 0 to 30MHz all at once and the software compares the signals from the chosen radios and can pinpoint the location of any signal in that frequency band. The KiwiSDRs only cost $299 USD and are specifically designed to allow web-based sharing. Each radio has a GPS in it that allows for very accurate timing. The article is a bit technical, but the information is worth reading.

U.S. Military

Reader H.L. sent in this article on the deployment of the U.S. Special Forces. The program used to be small and consisted of specially trained units inside a larger military, but no more. I remember hearing the military state after 9/11 that the Special Forces was the future of the military. No longer would they see large fixed battles as their primary method of combat. it would appear that that conversion is pretty much complete. While the military still maintains the ability to deal with a large fixed battle, these small, highly trained units are now a mainstay. According to this article, last year alone, U.S. Special Forces deployed to 149 countries (about 75% of existing countries) Already this year, they have carried out missions in 133 countries. I do believe that the military has the mandate to protect the U.S. from foreign threats, but that sure seems like a lot.

Electric Shock

Yet another reason to get your kids out of public schools. According to this article, a Bristol County, Massachusetts court has ruled that electric shock can be used on disabled students as a form of punishment. This method of punishment has been controversial for years since a video surfaced of an 18-year-old receiving multiple shocks for refusing to take of his jacket. Right now, the school in question is the only school that uses this method to punish students, but with this court win, it is a distinct possibility that electric shock will gain acceptance. Get out now while you can! Thanks to DSV for the article.

Off-Grid Heat in Minnesota

Reader MAT wrote in asking for help from SurvivalBlog readers:

I am inquiring about ways to heat my home in the winter (Minnesota), should the electrical grid ever go down for an extended period of time. Gas generators and solar generators do not seem to be the answer for heating a house.

If you have some ideas for him, leave a comment below.

o o o

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


  1. I don’t know your exact location or how your house is constructed, but generations of Minnesotans have heated with wood. If you have to buy your cordage, it might not be worth it, but if you have access to trees that you can use (hard wood is best), it will warm you twice, once when you cut it and twice when you burn it.

  2. Off-Grid Heat in Minnesota,

    The usual canned answer is, “Get a wood burner.” I did this for more than 15 years. You fool yourself into thinking that “Wood is free.” What isn’t free are the tools needed and the extensive effort that is required with a wood burner. Cutting, loading, hauling, unloading, stacking, protecting from the elements, un-stacking, and carrying into the house getting dirt everywhere. All of these are VERY labor intensive. My recommendation would be to take a serious look at heating with an older, pot belly style coal burning stove. They can often be found for a few hundred dollars, and if a little rusty, can be refinished for under $100 dollars (provided there are no cracks). If coal is available in your area, it is usually pretty cheap when compared to all the tools you need for wood gathering (chainsaw, ATV, sleds, truck, splitter, maintenance, etc.). Also, coal can be stockpiled forever as it doesn’t degrade over time like firewood. I buy it in bagged form, by the pallet, and 1 to 1 1/2 pallets will get me through a winter in NE Ohio. Also, no matter what type of wood burner you buy or what form of wood you use (split oak, slabs, lighter woods, etc), you’ll be filling it 3-4 times a day, 24/7 (that means at 2am). A coal burning stove can literally burn low and slow with a 100lbs of coal in the base for 4-5 days without refilling, just shake out the ash regularly. I have a US Army Cannon heater that is over 100 years old, and it keeps us warm for much less effort than wood ever did. I’ll never go back. Look on YouTube. There are many contributors that will say the same thing. One channel JWR has mentioned in the past is: TheTradesmanChannel. He has a video titled “Out with wood…In with coal.” It’s very informative. Lastly, find a coal stove with a flat top so you can cook food and heat water for cleaning when the power is out. I sincerely wish someone had told me this when I was starting out and looking for an off-grid heating option for my house like you are now. Good luck!

  3. Heating your home.
    Like all different parts of prepping, its best to do it in layers, you want a fall back to your fall back position. For instance you want stored food, but also you want the ability to grow food for longer term emergencies. So I would look at heating a home in a layered approach from good to getting by.
    1. Wood stove is by far the easiest long term method as long as you have access grid down to a supply of firewood. I don’t see a really long term disaster where wood isn’t used.
    2. Propane (LPG), pellet stoves, or diesel would be the next level, great for shorter term but limited by resupply once they run out. They have a advantage over wood as they give off very little smoke or odors so you gain an opsec advantage.
    That’s your options if you want to maintain your current standard of living and heat your entire house, In an emergency situation you could lower your expectations and go more primitive, that would be far cheaper and would look like this:
    3. Decide not to heat the entire house, choose the rooms you are going to keep warm and winterize and close off the others. This plan would involve draining your pipes and emptying the toilets and pouring antifreeze in the drain traps. Then using portable LPG heaters choosing the rooms to heat, mine would be the utility room with all the canned food and bottled water that I don’t want to freeze.
    4. Have ample warm clothing and bedding to survive with no heat at all and a way to cook your meals. Its not like that’s never been done before.
    This is a pretty basic outline but you get the point, if you don’t have #4 which is the most basic plan work on that. Once you have 4 done then work on #3. It could be that you are renting and can’t get to #2 for a while until you find a different place or your HOA doesn’t allow propane tanks. Everyone’s situation is unique so take this and adapt it to yours.

  4. We live in an area devoid of trees. Sage brush is plentiful however. Heating our home in a grid down senario is a very real concern. Any Ideas?

  5. As to off grid heating in Minnesota, it seems like a logical solution would be to burn wood. This may depend on where in Minnesota we are talking about. Rural locations would be a good place for wood gathering, storage and burning. The middle of Minneapolis may not be.

  6. Genetically Modified Babies
    “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

    satan is liar. he’s is the father of all liars and there is not truth in him. Importantly, it does not say; ‘good from evil’. Cursed is the ground for Adam’s sake.
    U.S. Military
    “While the military still maintains the ability to deal with a large fixed battle…”
    There is no evidence of this. In fact, all experiential evidence is to the contrary. But hey, whatever helps us FEEL GOOD about our country…

  7. The wind is significant there especially during winter. Combining several forms of power generation seems to work best for off grid. Depending on location, etc. corn cob or wood stoves/heating are used in many homes. Have you already rejected these after talking to locals?

  8. Two stories RE: Situational Awareness. On my first elk hunting trip to Northern Arizona I was crossing a dry wash when I smelled a strong odor that I didn’t recognize. Moving upwind, I found a place where a herd of elk had cross the dry wash, their tracks clear in the sand. Only later, after harvesting the first elk, could I positively connect the odor to the critters.
    Two. Many years ago, horseback riding in Maryland with a group of Army Officers and Secret Service agents, I spotted a camouflaged bow hunter in a tree by the trail, and struck up a conversation. Later, one of the Secret Service agents asked me who I was talking to. When I replied that it was a guy in a tree, he went pretty quiet. Apparently they didn’t look up.

  9. Off-Grid Heat in Minnesota,

    The following video mentions a Mr. Heater Buddy Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater, which I know nothing about?

    10 Items Preppers Could add to a Bug – in List
    (YouTube Video)
    Step One survival
    Published on Jul 11, 2018
    Duration 13:29

    Last winter, my heater went out for a few days, so, an off grid backup is on my list.

  10. Radio Direction Finding
    I was wondering why there was the picture of the waterfall display at the top of the posting.
    Thanks for the information. Not sure that any of my MUCH older radios will be able to connect to the internet, I’ll give the article a good read and see what I can do.

  11. First, insure you have enough insulation to keep heat in (like that shrink plastic over windows) in the winter.
    Second, pick one or two rooms to concentrate the heat – wear warm clothing, but in most cases you just don’t want the pipes to freeze, so can leave the rest at 45-50F.
    Third, its complicated and needs sunlight (and clearing snow) but black 55 gallon plastic barrels inside something like a greenhouse will pick up and retain heat. That won’t work if you have a lot of cloudy days, but the construction of the system was an article here a few years ago. Basically solar water heating.
    (you will also have the water itself since that mght be a consideration)
    Note on the barrels – water has a high thermal density, so if you have a lot of even warm water, it will take a lot for it to cool off. And old trick to keep a rootcellar from freezing the vegetables was to simply but a washtub full of water – it takes even more energy to freeze water than to cool it ( and conversely releases more energy by unfreezing – why ice-packs keep coolers cool).

  12. Consider a water stove. All combustion takes place outside the house – in a stove shed, so the mess stays outdoors. The stove can be filled so that re-filling the fire box only takes place every 12 hours(YMMV depending on the severity of weather). The installation should be done by professionals, however, since there are some required modifications to your existing forced air system. There is an option to add a burner for home heating oil.
    The only catch is that the water pumps and inside heat fan still require power. My plan is to add thermo-electric generator(s) and a battery array so that I’m completely off grid.
    This option is considerably more expensive than merely installing a wood burner in your abode, but the system works great.

  13. A wood stove is always a great way to heat any building, if there’s no power. But there are disadvantages to that also, as already pointed out. I agree that we all need to have a second, third, and maybe fourth option, and to have those options available at a moments’ notice.

    The Mr. Heater Big Buddy, already mentioned, is a great back-up option. It runs on portable propane tanks to 40 lbs with no mods, and 100 lb tanks with a regulator. A couple of those can be moved anywhere in the house for heat. Kerosene heaters are another option, and can also be moved all over the house; they are safer to sleep with than the Mr. Heaters are.

    I like to go portable, both with heaters and with the fuel. Having smaller propane tanks filled is easy and cheap, and you can have 5 gal cans filled with K1 kerosene almost anywhere. You need to think about how easily fuel can be bought, as well as the heaters.

  14. Another thought: Kerosene heaters, everyone that I know of that has one loves it. HOWEVER, there is almost NO PLACE to buy bulk Kerosene anymore. Walmart sells it by the 1/2 gallon, but it costs a ridiculous amount of money ($8.00+/Gal). If you could find a place to get JP1 cheap (regional airport?), that might work.

  15. re:
    Heating a building

    Do you need to heat a building? Do you need to heat you?

    Electric vests and gloves used in construction and by motorcyclists / snowmobiles.

    * * * * *

    fUSA fighting fixed battles

    Another way of stating this is ‘we determined the outcome we want, so everybody play by the rules. OK?’

    Another another way to say this is ‘Dog and Pony Show’.

    Capabilities and motivation of individual fighters are obvious.
    Motivations of politicians and other government agents are just as obvious.
    Rarely do these intersect.

  16. This might not be popular here, but I’m all for genetically modified babies (assuming we knew what we were doing). In fact I’m all for genetically modifying myself.

    Smarter and better looking, sign me up.

  17. In WY we have abundant sunlight so building a passive solar collection array is a very good option. In MN, you might only get limited benefit because of the higher number of overcast days. Still, it’s not a solution all by itself but if you do a search on Mother Earth News you can find several examples to consider. If nothing else, it will reduce your needs for wood, coal or propane. And it can be very inexpensive to build initially, and costs nothing to run after that.

  18. We live in the arctic interior of Alaska; we heat with only well dried birch wood, a Blaze King “King” wood stove catalytic type. Its our primary heat, we also cook on it and it has never failed us in the 8 years since we bought it. We are in the process of replacing our roof and when I took the flu down for the job there was NO creosote accumulation in the flu from this last winter use. The only creosote was in the cap itself and it was not enough to block airflow.

    I must reiterate; use only well dried (2 years) split wood, never any paper or other non wood items. I prefer birch since it is the best for long term heat and ease of lighting use.
    If this type of wood is easy to obtain focus only on that; if not then use your hardest wood for overnight heat use, and softer woods for daytime use.

  19. While in a grid down position it would be nice to have a warm home we all may very well have to return to the practice of generations before us and keep ourselves warm while keeping our surroundings (home, cabin, teepee, tent) from freezing. Think layers of clothing while inside your home and perhaps wearing long underwear and a warm hat. Keeping our homes at 65 or 70 won’t always be an option. Both of my parents in the 30’s and 40’s lived in “cool” houses with mom and her sisters taking warmed bricks wrapped in some kind of cloth to bed and dad and his siblings using hot water bottles for night time warmth. Just like in camping we will learn to use energy to keep only essential things warm.

  20. I’m with Mike from Ohio. I lived in Minnesota for 40 some years and through a cold spell in which it never got above 0 for over a month in the 1970’s. The following year it never got above 32 for about 90 days. Even with 6 inch insulated walls and triple pane windows there is still a lot of BTU’s that need to be generated to stay warm. I use coal as it is a compact fuel that burns for a longer time than wood and like propane it does not decay with age. Just keep it relatively dry in storage. My wood/coal burning furnace operates with or without the electric blower running. I could add a small solar array but have not done so as yet. It isn’t hard to keep a couple year supply of coal on hand and still supplement with wood if you must.

  21. For many of us that live in the Plains states, wood burning is not a viable option, especially in a long term crisis. Even though we have lots of wind and solar potential, there’s no way to use it to run electric heaters. In my case, I decided to go with a corn burning stove. Although it does require electricity to run, I can hook it up to a UPS or battery inverter to allow it to continue to provide heat in a grid down situation. I can also buy corn by the truck full in the country for much cheaper than what propane costs to heat as a cost savings in the good times.

  22. Coal is great ,but you need to know how to us it in your stove. Be sure and get a stove that is for burning coal.Also bu sure and keep your ash dump “CLEANED OUT”. If you don’t your are taking a chance of burning it out. When I was young and lived in Alaska we had wod burning stoves in our home and barrel stoves in the shop. At that time we could still find military barrel’s from WW11. They are much heaver than today’s barrel’s.
    If you make a barrel stove here are some tips. Buy a barrel stove kit as it’s much easier to build with. Go to A commercial insulation co. and buy a bag of refractory cement. after you get ready to cut out the door make sure you have enough room to put 3 to 4 inches of cement in the bottom. Then cut your door 3 0r 4 inches above your refractory cement. you may want to also being cold air of the floor into the stove below your door . Go to a muffler shop and get a piece of 1 1/2 tubing bent 90′ and make a butter fly shut off for the end/with a handle attached to regulate the air flow.
    To keep the back of the stove cool find a piece of K-wool and set it in the back and get a barrel metal lid and cover the K-wool and tack weld it around the barrel edge.

  23. Re: US Military

    Today’s US soldier fights not for himself or his country, he fights for his government’s supremacy and the brotherhood.

    Bill Buppert retired career Army officer was absolutely correct when he said, “The only just war is one fought on your soil to defend your own soil from invasion.”

    The last just war fought by Americans on their own soil was by Americans of the sovereign Confederate States of America.

  24. I’m a bit confused about why no one mentions geothermal heating and cooling. It’s a bit labor intensive to set up, but even in Minnesota in winter you can be bring in 55 degree plus air into your home. That alone is enough to keep your pipes from freezing. It also means the air inside your home need only be heated 15 degrees or so to keep the house comfortably warm. That makes it much more energy efficient to heat your home no matter which heating system you use. As an aside, in Michigan i see a lot of dual fuel systems in use, Being propane or oil or even wood forced air systems and combination forced air and wood fired hot water systems with the boiler outside the home.

    Geothermal should also be able to completely replace your air conditioning system, saving massive amounts of electricity usage in the summer. It’s a lot cheaper to run a fan to pull cool air into your home than to use the A/C unit.

    As for our much used and abused military, I completely agree that the last just war was the Confederacy fighting against Northern aggression. The great Libertarian thinker Murray Rothbard agrees.

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