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”.

Redefining Assault Weapons

“Assault Weapons” isn’t actually a class of arms- It’s an entirely political term usually used by the military to describe small arms used by them. Sometimes, it means select-fire, sometimes it means short barreled semi-auto or it can mean any number of things that civilians can’t own. But since it’s not a real class of arms, politicians have decided that they can make it mean whatever they want. This week a ballot initiative took effect in Washington that defined pretty much every semi-automatic rifle as an “assault weapon” and made it illegal for anyone under 21 to buy. Remember the old saying…”First they came for…”? Well, now their coming for yours. Thanks to GG for the link.

Collecting Water From Air

Reader DSV sent in this article on some research being done to further the idea of collecting water from the humidity in the air. There are some small inefficient products on the market already, but further research is being done in this area in the hopes of producing clean water on a large scale. Examples abound of nature using this tactic to keep animals and plants adapted to semi-arid deserts alive and the research is aimed at mimicking these processes. Who knows, maybe one day you won’t have to have a well in these areas.

Amazon and the FBI

The FBI is now piloting Amazon’s facial matching software – Amazon Rekognition – as a means to sift through the mountains of surveillance video that they routinely collect. Apparently, when the FBI investigates a situation, they collect every bit of camera footage that they can, sifting it for possible clues. In the Las Vegas shooting, they collected over a petabye of data from security cameras and cellphones. With so much video footage, they are unable to dedicate the manpower to reviewing every frame so they are looking for ways to examine the footage that requires minimal manpower. The downside, of course, is that the line between government and private is starting to blur. Thanks to G.P. for the link.

Nano-chips in Currency

Australia has been talking about this for a while, but it looks like they are now moving forward with the concept. Authorities are now attempting to track the underground economy and barter by inserting nano-chips in $50 and $100 bills. It should be readily apparent to anyone reading the article that this isn’t really about cracking down on illegal activities, but instead, tracking every singe transaction so that the government can get their drop of blood. They don’t want you to move any money without them getting some of it. If a private individual or company did this, they’d call it racketeering. The government hates competition though.

Leaving NJ

A resident of New Jersey sent us this article on the top five reasons why people are leaving New Jersey. The top four reasons are exactly what I would expect- High property taxes, a failing pension system, regulations, and corruption. The fifth reason was kind of surprising to me. Apparently tolls used to be collected for the building and maintenance of roads. Now tolls are collected specifically for tollbooths. There is nothing quite like being taxed for the privilege of paying taxes.


El Nino has been doing it’s thing for the last couple of months and the usual routine is that things start calming down after the first of the year. Apparently this year is going to be different though. According to this article, there are a number of storms amassing off the west coast getting ready to pummel North America. It has picked up the nickname of “StormFest”. Hang on to your hat. It would appear that there will be plenty of rain, snow and wind this year. The upside is that much of the west is currently under drought conditions and these storms may provide the snowpack necessary to alleviate this.

Projecting Power

Interestingly enough, Iran is starting to project power away from their region. Starting in March, the Iranian navy has announced that they will be deploying warships to the Atlantic Ocean. The suspicion is that they warships are being deployed in support of the many clandestine operatives that Iran has deployed around the globe. While there is nothing inherently wrong about what they are doing (many nations including Russia, China and the U.S. routinely do this), it does show the intent of the terrorist supporting government to extend the reach of its current power, expanding it from a regional power to a global power.

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. There’s been a massive shift in off-grid living technology. These systems are maturing and will allow you to place a viable homestead most anywhere on the planet.

    – Solar has matured

    – Battery technology is about to give us affordable storage, with decades of lifespan (vs. lead-acids) for around $100 per kW in 2020.

    – Water harvesting from air is on the edge of practical technology

    – Gray water recycling with solar heat

    – Communications and Internet connectivity just about anywhere with satellites

      1. Batteries:


        Water harvesting and Gray water recycling – private research at my lab

        Satellite communications – $50/month

        And FedEx delivery to your remote location? In 2025, they will send a drone and drop it off.

  2. I vaguely recollect an article from forty-plus years ago about water collecting in Chile. Fine-mesh nets were placed across mountain passes in desert areas. Condensation at night would then drip down into catch basins.

      1. My thoughts exactly. Makes me think of the “wind traps” in Frank Herbert’s “Dune”. Wind blows across the top, underside is dark and cool, moisture forms and drips in sumps designed to keep moisture from escaping.

  3. Re:currency chips
    I’m very glad to see more post links to Armstrong economics. I have been following Martins blog and reports for a few years and I encourage all of us to do so (blog is free). He gives un-opinionated information that is collected and compiled from decades of his AI type computer system info, with records all the way to antiquity. He has behind closed door knowledge of governments, and that has proven valuable in timing past purchases. The chipping of currency is control, and is a good reason to diversify with cash, “parts”, and “undervalued metals”. Get that debt down 50/50 while doing so though.

    Chipping may not be the only step, I’ve heard unsubstantiated claims that $50 and $100 US bills are slightly irradiated to easily detect large caches…would love if someone could verify this, as it would really impact storage tactics.

  4. In Washington State, I-1639 redefined ALL semiautomatic rifles regardless of features, caliber and capacity as “assault rifles” effective January 1, 2019. This law applies to ALL such rifles in possession and ALL rifles “transferred” in the future. The new law even applies to .22 rimfire semiautomatics with fixed, tubular magazines of any capacity with wooden straight stocks and no features like the Marlin Model 60. The Washington State AG presented to the State Legislative session ending in March 2019 three anti-2A measures. One measure will BAN ALL “assault rifles” as newly defined by I-1639. If the banning of ALL semiautomatics, including .22 rimfire rifles, regardless of capacity and features, doesn’t pass in the 2019 legislature, it will go before a public vote as a direct to ballot measure like I-1639 was passed. I-1639 passed with a little over 60% of residents approving it, mostly made up of voters from Seattle and King County.

    1. Follow the example of the (formerly legal) gun owning citizens (not serfs) of other states that have passed similar laws, the latest being Colorado: DO NOT COMPLY.
      If possible (and able and willing) DO NOT COMPLY: do not Register, seek for a Permission Slip, Sell, Trade, Move out of state, whatever. Stay frosty, keep your head on a swivel, form friendships to watch each others backs, but DO NOT COMPLY.

    2. Hey What about: I have searched and not found info on the above proposals. Could you please post your source describing the three anti-2A measures especially the semiauto BAN?

    3. Welcome to the world of the CT, NY, CA, FL, VT, NJ, DE and MD gun owners? Did I leave anyone out? Many of those who live in free states think this kind of statism won’t ever come to their state until it does. There are those that tell me I should move out of my state to one of the free states. But how long will that state remain free? Would I have to move again? It’s time to dig in ones heels and be prepared to fight. We are not required to comply with unconstitutional law.

  5. WA resident here hoping that the lawsuit filed by NRA and SAF is successful.

    Here are some interesting add-ons concerning I-1639.

    Jan 1st is became illegal for those under the age of 21 to purchase “assault rifles”. But the new definition of “assault rifle” doesn’t take effect until July 1st. Gun shops are still selling to 18-20 year olds. Get em while you can young people.

    After July 1st to buy an “assault rifle” you will have had to have taken a safety class within the last five years. If you want to get around that then just buy receivers separately from the rest of the rifle. A receiver is not a rifle and is marked “other” on the form.

    I’ve got a spare $39 PSA lower coming that I’ll just sit on for now. I’m getting pretty deep in mags and ammo. Kids will soon be learning to shoot with a Ruger 10/22 assault rifle LOL


    These are not cheap, but they are darn good. You can find them used in good condition for about $200 at smaller gun stores.

    Yes, it is still an “assault rifle’ (cough-choke-snort), but no magazines needed at all. And you can feed mixed rimfire ammo end to end: high velocity, subsonic, shorts, LR, snake shot, etc.

    I learned with tube-fed and didn’t get any 10/22 until I started having grandkids. They’ll inherit both.

    Best wishes

  7. I investigated water-from-air machines and they are not cheap and use copious amounts of electricity. If off-grid, you’ll spend thousands more accommodating these power-thirsty contraptions. Since they are machines, with moving parts, they WILL break. It’s a cool idea, though.
    Are you replacing your lead-acid solar batteries too often? You’re buying the wrong batteries. Try industrial forklift batteries…they last for 30 to 40 years and cost far less per kilowatt hour than solar batteries. Check out Giant Industrial Battery, out of Chicago. My 24 volt battery weighs just a few pounds under a ton. 1500 amp/hour capacity at the 20 hour discharge rating. Buy enough of them to run in the top 15% of their state-of-charge and they’ll probably outlast YOU.

    1. Edison batteries work well for power backup when commercial power is also present.

      There are a few issues, however. Battery efficiency is around 65% to 70% – which translates into a much larger solar array. Self-discharge is also an issue, at around 1% per day.

      Next generation lithiums will have efficiencies in the 90% range and self discharge of a few percent per month.

      After that, we may see fluoride based chemistries that could boost power/weight to over 400 watts/lb. What does that mean? Electric vehicles with over a thousand mile range per charge.

      Until I get electric vehicle ranges equivalent to a full tank of gas, and the ability to outrun a bad guy, I’m not hot on electric vehicles.

      1. For Hugh,
        So glad you mentioned nickel iron batteries. They ARE very nice in that they can lay discharged for a long, long time and still come back, and they can last for many decades….a factor to consider if the battery store will likely be closed for decades after a grid-down. That’s what got me into the industrial lift truck batteries. When I started work at Raytheon in 1980, my department had a 1960s-era electric forklift. It was badly neglected the whole 30 years I worked there, and I was one of the few who eventually took it under my wing and made sure it had water, and got charged- when I could. After I left the company in 2010, the forklift went to a company near my shop and I still use it today occasionally. Same, OEM battery!
        I used gels in the our own NBC shelters, and the production shelters we ship to clients because they last a long time and do not off-gas. Self-discharge is about 1% per month. Mine are 16 years old and still kicking.
        When looking for batteries for my above-ground building, I consulted a neighbor who has 20,000 watts in solar panels….figured THIS guy is SERIOUS! We got around to batteries and he said he used ten forklift batteries (I do fine on one). He runs central air conditioning in our hot summers and runs several 5 hp irrigation pumps on his ranch, and a business out back. He can go five days without sun or running a generator (which he has never run!). His batteries are also 15 years old and still running strong.
        On his AC usage, the PVs carry most of the AC load after about 9am to 5pm, during the peak demand hours. My steel building is well-insulated and I get by with just ceiling fans…lots less demand on my little 3.5kw PV set up.
        I looked at cost and life span for the industrial batteries vs the nickel iron and Lith-Ion Tesla battery and the industrial still competes quite well. And, they won’t burn your house down. : )
        My forklift battery has 12 cells, with permanent connections between them. With a bank of smaller solar batteries, you have over a hundred cells and many cables to maintain, any of which can go south on you. Much higher chance of a problem with so many cells. Forklift batteries are also available with removable cells, each one weighing 135 lbs at a modest increase in cost. If one goes bad (highly unlikely), it can be replaced with a spare. Automatic watering systems (about $400) are also available from Giant Industrial Battery.
        Industrial lead-acid batteries are still a tried-and-true energy source and they sell them as fast as they can be made. They have a long history, something that can’t be said of cutting-edge technologies. Ten years into a crisis is a crummy time to discover a design flaw.
        Cost for a 1960 lb, 24 volt forklift battery is around $4200…..but the equivalent solar battery bank will run you over $11,000.00. While I’m not a math major, even I can make a decision on that one.
        Nickel-irons may work for you, but the important thing is that you HAVE an alternative energy system! Thanks for sharing!

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