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28 February, 2009

Loading up on guns and ammo with no "real" preps...

I read a great post over at the West Virginia Prepper's Network on this subject that I agree with wholeheartedly and thought it was an idea worth expanding upon. First, a disclaimer: I will admit to buying a single, fairly inexpensive handgun and a single box of cartridges for it before embarking on my other more sensible preparations. I had myself convinced it might be foolhearty to spend money month-by-month to build a food storage program, acquire a generator and the fuel to run it, install a battery bank and solar/wind power (still on the list for the future), et cetera, with no way to defend any of it if the 'stuff' ever really does 'hit the fan'.

But, the disturbing trend we're seeing now is that people, wary of the almost-assured attacks that are forthcoming against American's 2nd Amendment rights, are spending thousands of dollars on assault rifles and tens of thousands of rounds of ammo, many without setting aside a single can of beans or rice or even spaghetti-o's. Not only is this, in my opinion, a foolish (and probably ultimately doomed) proposition, but it is possible that it might even represent a clear and present danger to those of us who have prepped more responsibly. We are all aware that the veneer of polite society is all-too-easily torn away in times of crisis and that is why the reactionary behavior of these folks makes me very nervous.

How long would it take in a really bad scenario before hunger turned these sheep into wolves?

26 February, 2009

A Cautionary Tale Re: 2009 Kentucky Ice Storm

The following was written by an old guy who lives with his wife in a cabin on a stretch of land between the Cumberland and Ohio Rivers. During the recent ice storm, they were of course without power or telephone service for a few weeks. The following is from a diary he wrote during their ordeal.



23 February, 2009

The light at the end of the tunnel...

According to our little weather station we put in this past Christmas, it's currently about 29 degrees on our front porch here in West Virginia. Last night it got down to 18 or so degrees and they're saying it could drop into the single digits tonight, before *finally* warming up after tomorrow, and we're running both our electric furnace as well as a centrally-situated kerosene heater. So, needless to say, we're a little on the cold side, and it just reminds me even more the importance of getting our preps in order. I've already purchased a high quality wood-burning stove rated to heat up to 2000 sq. feet, but finding someone to install it has been a pain - that's going to have to be a huge priority before next winter as well as adding more insulation.

As miserable as this winter has been at times, I can barely fathom what would've happened had we lost electricity more often and for longer than we did. Quite simply, we might've had to leave and go stay with family. There's just no excuse for anyone to be so dependent on an outside resource, whether you share my belief in the fragility of the system or not, and I'm not going to allow it to continue to be that way - not at my house at least.


22 February, 2009

Letter Re: London Times: "It may already be too late to prevent serious social unrest"

"Well it isn’t so much that you are dooming-and-glooming. The insurance analogy is more appropriate. One of the things you didn’t mention in your post was the whole Y2K thing. Having worked in the computer industry since 1979 I was fully aware of the potential trouble that could have evolved. And boy was there a plethora of doom-and-gloom in the social atmosphere during the last quarter of 1999. I had friends stockpiling goods and ammo and even baby wipes (best invention since sliced bread). You name it. It was Y2K that taught me a lesson. “Prepare for the worst. Work towards, and hope for the best.” So I prepared. I still have a basement chock-full of stuff that is good until 2015! We worked our butts off in the computer industry and Y2K was a non-event. It did have the potential to be a disaster. But we humanoids made it go right. Again. Also, I don’t think oil, or the lack thereof, is as much of an immediate problem as our failing power grid in the US. It is frightening if you know the details of how antiquated it is and how close we really are to some major blackouts and extended periods of primitive living conditions (water plants offline, no electricity, food spoiling in you refrigerator). There are SO many things primed and ready to go wrong in this country. What? Me worry? Prepare for the worst. Hope for the best. And work like hell in the meantime to make things better for all of us." -- Uncle Mikey in WV

My Response: I briefly touched on the subject of the power grid issues in another post I made several days ago, but I'll have to admit most of the knowledge I have of it is secondhand. I should probably look into it further.

As far as the Y2K thing goes, you wouldn't believe how many people cite that specifically as a reason for them not to prep. I'm sure you've heard the "Chicken Little" arguments I'm talking about. Most people think that nothing happened because it was no big deal when, in reality, it was a huge problem that just got fixed in time. Can you imagine how bad it might have gotten had the problem gone unnoticed? Or even if it had been noticed, but not until just a few days before and there hadn't been time to fix it? People just have no clue.

Also, as far as Peak Oil is concerned, I'm not 100% sure it is an immediate issue either but I look for it to be as soon as the average guy realizes what's happening. The truth is that there will still be oil a hundred years from now. It isn't that its just going to run out. The issue is that we have depleted virtually all of the easy oil, the light sweet crude that sits on top. What's left is harder to get, slower to pump, and requires that other resources be expended to get it at all (in many instances they have to pump natural gas in just to create the pressure required to get the oil out and that's another unsustainable resource being wasted). I don't know of even one oil field that is still producing at the levels it was 10 or even 5 years ago, yet our usage increases every year without fail and so does that of China and India. That is a system that cannot sustain itself indefinitely.

If I'm being honest, I think we've already hit the peak and this is the plateau. I expect the sharp and undeniable declining portion of the bell curve to manifest between late next year and mid-2011... and then it's six-to-five-and-pick-'em as to what we can expect. Resource wars, I imagine. Hell, I think that's the real reason why we invaded Iraq in '03 - to get our foot in the door and a seat at the chessboard for when the game begins.


Snow, Snow, Snow...

I tried to get a few pictures of how heavily it was coming down at the old homestead last night, but the snow was falling so quickly that it played hell with the camera. So, I guess you'll just have to settle for a few shots of the aftermath of our most recent West Virginia storm. It seems to have pretty much finished, but we'll see - they're still saying we might get like two or three more inches before it's all done.



21 February, 2009

New MIT Innovation Converts Pedal-Bicycle To Electric

I can easily see where investing in such a conversion would be beneficial, to one's health, the environment and as an emergency preparedness measure. Health would improve because you might be more likely to ride a bike if you knew it had a little extra ooomph both to go longer distances and to take some of the work off your legs when going up hills. The environment would benefit from fewer fossil-fuel emissions. And, it would fulfill an emergency preparedness function because it is a vehicle you can still use to get around even when fuel is scarce.


Yesterday Was A Mighty Doomer-ific Day

I just finished watching the season premiere of "Real Time with Bill Maher" that I recorded earlier (a DVR is a wonderful thing) and thought I'd blog about a few points while they're fresh in my mind. I'm sure you can tell from reading some of my other posts that my personal views are not exactly in alignment with Maher on a great many subjects, especially his complete disgust with anything even remotely religious. I will say that I do usually enjoy his particular brand of comedy though, and I'm a regular viewer of "Real Time" (I also loved his old show "Politically Incorrect") because I enjoy the panel-debate format. Also, he's a Libertarian like me; he just leans left with his libertarianism whereas I lean right.

Of course, there might also be something in the fact that "Real Time" airs late at night on HBO and so the folks who appear on that program tend to be less inherent on blowing smoke up our collective ass than they are on other political shows. Nah. That's probably not it at all.

First off, about 19 minutes into the show, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) admitted on-air that we, as a nation, are "fragile" right now "more than the people know and more than the citizens understand." She continued, "They know that we are in trouble, that we have an economic crisis and a sub-prime meltdown, but I don't think they know how close we are to collapse." Emphasis mine.

Now please understand, I almost never agree with Maxine Waters (mainly because I think she was knee-deep in the whole crooked-as-a-dog's-ass ACORN stuff); but when a member of the United States Congress says things like this and not a single person on the panel or the host challenges them on it, maybe you ought to remove your head from your anus and take note. Add to that the very doomerish Glenn Beck show yesterday that I blogged about earlier, and it was an interesting day in the news for preppers.

And then they went on to talk about a subject I've been interested in these past few days - Obie sending 17,000 more troops to the poppy fields after he got elected by campaigning as the anti-war candidate. Well, I don't like to say I told you so, but...

I wasn't doing the blog yet back then, but I told everybody who would listen to me rant that if they wanted to vote for him fine but not to do it just because they were against the war. My logic being that when he was making all his promises about getting us out of there, he was not yet privy to the intelligence explaining the real reasons we invaded and why we were still there in the first place. He wasn't lying; he was simply in the dark, I believe, and now he's being faced with the uncomfortable reality.

I'm not going to tear-off on a rant here, but I believe we are seeing the very beginning stages of what this world is going to look like from now on or at least for the foreseeable future. We are enmeshed in a high-stakes game of chess and the Middle East is the chessboard. It may very well have cost John McCain the Presidency when he said that we were going to be over there for a hundred years or whatever, but he was the only one telling us the truth.


20 February, 2009

Disturbing News Regarding Bird Deaths

I'm not sure what this might mean or if it, in fact, means anything at all, but I just read another story about dead birds falling out of the sky. Emphasis on *ANOTHER*. This story comes out of New Zealand (source: http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/5335350), but there were eerily similar articles in the news recently about the same thing happening in both Tennessee (source: http://www.nwtntoday.com/news.php?viewStory=22769) and New Jersey (source: http://www.zootoo.com/petnews/thousandsofdeadbirdsrainoverne-1151).

Could be a coincidence, but I gotta say it piqued my interest. So, I did a little research and the same thing happened a while back in Texas (source: http://sports.espn.go.com/outdoors/general/news/story?id=2724535) and Australia (source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-427997/Dead-birds-rain-towns-half-world-apart.html).

I have no idea if maybe it might just be nothing, but it seems very odd to me and I am leary of coincidences. Further, it seems awfully creepy to me. With all the odd stories about birds failing to migrate the way they're supposed to and Colony Collapse Disorder causing all the chaos with bee populations, one has to ask is this like the canary in the coal mine?


18 February, 2009

Very Low-Cost Solar Water Distiller

This seems to me to be a decent emergency preparedness product and they claim it will be available to purchase as early as this Summer for under $30 U.S. The only problem I see is that you would need to purchase more than one unit, as the rated output of 1.0-1.7 liters per 24 hours is not a lot of water at all. In fact, it's just slightly over a quart, and that at best might be enough to keep one person alive in an extreme emergency with nothing at all left over for cooking, hygiene, et cetera.



17 February, 2009


In many ways, this article may seem a continuation of the last installment in this series because-- like part three-- it will deal quite a bit with the subject of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs for short) as well as other solar phenomena. I would ask, though, that you indulge me as I attempt to present another of the many theories held to by those who believe the year 2012 will spell mankind's doom... and explain why this is one theory perhaps we should all take a long look at before we dismiss it.

Just exactly what a CME is and how they occur was covered fairly well in the previous installment of this series, so it would be pointless to repeat that information here. What you do need to understand, however, is that CMEs are the product of solar flares. A solar flare is a massive, violent explosion that occurs in the atmosphere of a star, heating plasma to temperatures measured in the millions of degrees on the Kelvin scale and accelerating electrons, protons, and ions to velocities approaching the speed of light. Further, they are producers of all different kinds of radiation and mostly occur in the vicinity of sunspots (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_flare).

It is interesting to note that solar physicists are predicting a peak in the sunspot cycle some time around 2011 or 2012 that could produce larger than normal solar flares and CMEs. It has been theorized that some of these may carry with them the capacity to interfere with power grids and satellites in orbit (including military equipment). In fact, it has long been known that solar flares and CMEs were a hazard to not only our technology but to us as well. The radiation risks posed by these phenomena are among the major concerns in discussions of manned missions outside near-earth orbit. These phenomena release a cascade of high energy particles that can pass through the human body, resulting in serious biochemical damage to our cells (source:

Despite the fact that there is a global warning system in place to attempt to mitigate any potential damage that could occur from such phenomena, very strong ejections can cover the distance from the sun to earth in a surprisingly short span; as little as a few minutes. That does not leave much room for error in a situation where the only real way to avoid the powerful surges that can overload transformers and integrated circuits is to shut down the electricity prior to the CME reaching earth.[1]

On March 13, 1989, a flare hit the North American continent and fried electric lines causing the failure of the Hydro-Quebec (Canada) power grid, effectively turning out the lights on more than six million people for several hours (source:
http://www.windows.ucar.edu/spaceweather/blackout.html). As if that weren't bad enough, many experts believe that this outage only remained within provincial borders because it did not occur during what would be considered a peak load time for the grid. Had this happened during the summer or winter's peak usage times, it could have spread across the northeastern United States possibly as far south as the Washington, D.C. area (source: http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/eiskappenman.html).

And then, in the latter part of 2003, a series of powerful flares fell upon northern Europe, resulting in vivid auroras and severely inhibiting both satellite technology and radio transmissions (source: ttp://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/power_outage_031031.html). A second series followed Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005 (source: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/050909_solar_flares.html).

But, neither of those examples even begins to approach the severity of an event that has come to be known as the “Solar Superstorm of 1859.” For several days leading up to September 1st of that year, numerous sunspots and solar flares were observed; the largest of these was witnessed by the British astronomer Richard Carrington and caused a massive CME to be hurled toward our planet. The result was the most powerful solar geomagnetic storm in recorded history that lasted for more than a day and caused telegraph systems all over Europe and North America to short-out, resulting in many fires (source: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/mystery_monday_031027.html). Auroras, typically thought of as being associated with the far north Arctic regions, were seen as far south as Italy and the Caribbean. In fact, the lights that appeared in the skies over the Rocky Mountains were so bright that they awoke gold miners, who began to prepare breakfast because they thought it was morning (source: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=bracing-for-a-solar-superstorm). Scientists today have been able to study the severity of this occurrence due to the fact that it left traces in the ice of Greenland (source: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7142).

The nightmare scenario with regards to all of this is to imagine what would happen if another solar storm with the ferocity of the one in 1859 were to hit us today. At the time that storm hit, the telegraph was a little over a decade old and was a technological marvel that had changed the world. Then this storm came along and brought it to its proverbial knees. Can you even imagine the level at which we-- with virtually every aspect of our daily lives wrapped-up in our tech-nology-- would be affected if a superstorm like the one in 1859 were to occur now? Let me tell you, it would be catastrophic.

Rolling blackouts would begin as they did in 1989, but they would not be limited to just one specific region. Without going into a great deal of technical detail, it is my understanding that the surges created would cause permanent damage to vital components such as transformers and even possibly the power generation apparatuses themselves, causing billions if not trillions of dollars in damages. But the real problem, as I understand it, is that the resources, parts, et cetera, needed to effect repairs on the fried components simply do not yet exist in the quantity required to affect such extensive repairs everywhere and at the same time. Quite simply, the lights would go out and they would stay out for a long, long time. Areas would have to be fixed and brought back online one-at-a-time over a period of not days, weeks, or months but instead years.

Imagine winters with no electric heating; no electrical appliances; running water being un-available in most areas due to no electricity to run the pumps; no way to preserve the food in your refrigerator and/or freezer or at the grocery stores either; no air conditioning in the summers - all of that and having to go to bed every night with the knowledge that it could be years before things are back to normal. The sad truth, I believe, is that the very threads of society would more than likely unravel themselves after just the first few weeks.

In closing, I should say that even though this scenario is by far the most plausible to me, I still struggle with it even being considered as a "Doomsday 2012" theory. The only thing linking the two is the forecast of the time around 2011 and 2012 representing the peak of the current sunspot cycle and even that prediction is not related to a specific date in any way. I suppose that if I had to lend credence to any of these theories, though, it would be this one as I believe it does represent a serious threat, 2012 or no 2012.

Print Reference

[1]Joseph, Lawrence E. (2007). Apocalypse 2012: A Scientific Investigation Into
Civilization's End. Morgan Road Books.


London Times: "It may already be too late to prevent serious social unrest"

I've never really been one of the guys to put a lot of faith in scenarios calling for all-out societal collapse and/or social unrest. My prepping has always been more about getting through natural disasters and other short-term emergencies rather than surviving some neo-apocalyptic event. I can trace it back to the blizzard of '93; I wasn't quite 16 years old yet when that one hit and it left an indelible mark on me. Multiple feet of snow so deep my cousin had to go out a window and dig a path around to the front door so we could get it open; no power except what we could squeeze from an old generator; warming up a pan of water on the kerosene heater to clean up with; those are the things I remember and it lasted more than 3 weeks. Then another blizzard (though not as bad) in '96, 9/11 and the floods in Mcdowell County in the early part of this decade, and the debacle that was Hurricane Katrina all over the TV set. And then, there is the steady decline of oil production that I firmly believe is going to drastically change the way we live, even if it's a little bit at a time. Those are the reasons preps are so important to me.

The older I get though and the more articles like the one below that I read, I can definitely see why people believe truly dark times are around the corner. I guess, in the long run, it really is kind of like buying insurance for your house. You never expect or plan on it burning down, but you buy the insurance just in case.



16 February, 2009

A Slippery Slope...

I hope you've enjoyed and been able to learn a thing or two from the Doomsday 2012 Series that I've been writing. Rest assured that the series will continue, but today I wanted to take a break from that and present a few varied items of interest.

One thing that really has my head reeling lately is all the talk about nationalizing the banking industry (source: http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/Government-may-have-nationalize-weakest/story.aspx?guid=%7B0DFB5950%2D747C%2D44BF%2DA8FB%2D3F444F5FEE2A%7D) and that seemingly sensible people are actually talking about this as though it's a good idea. Even senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was quoted recently as saying that he would not remove the option of nationalization from the proverbial table.

I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone can fail to see the inherent danger that comes along with such a drastic move. It isn't bad enough that this act would place your money under the manipulative hand of an incompetent bureaucratic system, which- not coincidentally- is also why I'm leary of nationalized healthcare (do you really want the same sort of people who run the DMV in charge of your hospitals?). But, it's even worse than all that.

My greatest fears with regards to the Patriot Act, for instance, had nothing to do with George Bush. It was a question of what could happen sometime in the future when the precedents set by that legislation could be used for even darker purposes. That is what scares me when I read about such things as nationalization of industry and salary caps for executives - it is, in its bones, a move toward socialism, and once those first steps are taken I fear it could be a slippery slope to that dark place.


15 February, 2009


In part two of this ongoing Doomsday 2012 series, I described to you the "Magnetic Pole-Shift Theory," and explained why I do not believe it is a theory one should concern themselves overly with. I also attempted to make the argument for why I believe it doesn't even really belong as a member of the family of theories revolving around what is going to happen to mankind in the year 2012.

Today I present a third belief held by many 2012 Doomers: Coronal Mass Ejection.

A Coronal Mass Ejection or CME is defined as an ejection of material from the solar corona (source: http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronal_mass_ejection). This material is, in fact, a huge cloud of hot plasma that may accelerate ions and electrons and is often preceded by a shock front. It is when that shock reaches Earth that a magnetic storm can result (source: arc.iki.rssi.ru/mirrors/stern/Education/wgloss.html).

People who believe that this is what we have in store for us in 2012 point to evidence of huge conflagrations caused by some atmospheric event in Earth's distant past (source: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11909). Current scientific theory suggests that the event described in the source article was caused by an exploding comet, but these people assert that the same affect could occur from a very large CME.

Author and researcher Dr. Paul LaViolette points to odd areas on the surface of the moon that have been turned into glass, which is obviously a result of the application of an extreme source of heat. This phenomenon was documented first by other scientists and it is accepted as fact that they do not correspond to meteor strikes[1]. LaViolette believes that when the sun is super-energized and at the peak of its cycle it is capable of producing CMEs that are more intense than any ever witnessed by the modern world. If such a blast was aimed directly at Earth, he theorizes, it could take as little as a few hours to get here and could become trapped magnetically against the atmosphere of the planet[2].

Were this to occur, proponents of this theory claim, it would manifest itself as a massive reddish-orange form with streaks of dark material and swirling eddies of flame or energy and it would lay against the upper atmosphere, while tongues of flame spread downward so far that they actually touch the ground in some areas and scorch the Earth's surface. They point to ancient Hindu scriptures that describe the god Shiva as having multiple appendages and applying to him the titles of "The Destroyer" and "The Transformer" of the world in order to strengthen their case. They also point out the puzzling archeological evidence that has unearthed some mammoths that died so suddenly they still had the unswallowed food in their mouths that they were chewing when they died and theorize that this is due to the fact they suffocated when one of the huge flaming tendrils got too close and sucked all the oxygen out of the surrounding area. And, going even further, they use the Bible to make their case as well: Mal. chapter 4 "the day cometh that shall burn as an oven;" Rev. chapter 8 "there followed hail and fire mingled with blood and they were cast upon the Earth and the third part of trees was burnt up and all green grass was burnt up" and chapter 16 "angel poured out his vial upon the sun and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire and men were scorched with great heat."

The fact is that there are strange things going on in our little corner of the universe these days. It is a fact, though not widely spoken of outside scientific circles, that other planets are experiencing warming, not just Earth (source: http://www.livescience.com/environment/070312_solarsys_warming.html). Now, I'm sure our behavior as a species hasn't done much to help the situation, but you're going to have to work pretty hard to convince me that driving an SUV on Earth is causing Global Warming on other planets. And, as if that weren't enough, apparently the Heliosphere, a sort of egg-shaped bubble that surrounds our solar system and protects us from cosmic radiation is mysteriously disappearing and NASA has launched a probe to try and learn more (source: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/23sep_solarwind.htm). There is interesting research that I believe might explain some of this. It suggests that everything we are seeing is cyclical and that Earth experiences various different affects based on the relative location of the Milky Way Galaxy as it travels through the universe (source: http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/sep252008/714.pdf). In my opinion, this may be an explanation for everything from past ice ages to mass extinctions in the fossil record to the current warming we are experiencing.

Another intriguing thing about the CME theory or, more accurately, Dr. LaViolette's theory that it has happened before is that I was able to find very little evidence online of major criticism from other scientists. Now, that could mean that he isn't considered important enough to warrant such criticism or it could be a sign that no one has been able to refute his work.

Either way though, it seems to me that the only thing really tying any of this specifically to the year 2012 is a desire to do so on the part of believers. Yes, the sun will be at the peak of its cycle in 2012, but it was at that same peak in 2001 and 1990 and further, because it happens every 11 years. Yes, there are odd things going on, and we do not yet have any explanation for some of it, but none of it points to 2012 with any specificity whatsoever. This is a doomsday scenario that could possibly happen, but it could possibly happen in 2020, the year 3000, or quite possibly never.


[1]Gold, T. "Apollo II Observations of a Remarkable Glazing Phenomenon on the Lunar Surface." Science 165 (1969):1345.

[2]Excerpt from Paul LaViolette's 1983 Ph.D. dissertation, "Galactic Explosions, Cosmic Dust Invasions, and Climate Change."


14 February, 2009


In the first installment of this series I examined the "Planet X Theory" that dominates a large part of the 2012 Doomer's attentions and tried to show why I believe it is nonsense. Still, this is only one of the many differing ideas that attempt to pinpoint the nature of what form the supposedly approaching apocalypse will take. In today's article, I will delve into another of these ideas, complete with my own research and opinions.

Another theory of the "2012 Apocalypse" asserts that a shifting of Earth's magnetic poles could be triggered as a result of a reduction of Earth's inherent magnetism. And, oddly enough, scientific findings seem to indicate that such a reduction or shrinking is actually occurring and has been for quite some time. In fact, it is accepted that the intensity of our planet's magnetic field has been weakening for the past 2,000 years and has declined better than 10 percent over the last 150 years alone (source: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/earth_magnetic_031212.html).

One part of this theory that can be immediately discarded is the frequent mention on online sites claiming NASA sources have admitted to something of this nature being predicted to occur in 2012. Like most untruths, this one finds its basis in a kernel of fact. The shift to which NASA is referring to is in regards to the sun, which shifts its polarity about every eleven years (this occurred last in 2001 and will occur next in 2012). It is a wholly normal event that very rarely affects our lives at all, mostly being a nuisance for satellites and radio operators. Still, that small bit of debunking only removes a piece of information that proponents of this theory use to try to cement their beliefs; it does not discredit the theory itself, and so we must continue in our examination.

The Earth has an iron core that creates a magnetic effect as it spins, much like any electromagnetic motor. Believers in this theory pose the question: what happens when you switch the polarity on such a motor? The answer being that it results in a reversal of rotation. Armed with that, their theory asserts that the Earth's metallic core would follow this same rule. I must admit that does, at the very least, sound logical to me, but I say that with the caveat that the science involved is way above my head. Next, they remind us of the fact that our planet's iron core is surrounded by a molten liquid layer and then a hot plastic layer that moves easily under pressure. It is for these reasons that they believe that - rather than total destruction of all life - this sudden reversal would create massive coastal tsunamis, huge Earthquakes and other phenomena for a short period as the planet rights itself.

In detail, they theorize that when the inner core reverses directions the liquid mantel will act just like any other liquid in a similar situation and start to swirl, eventually causing tension in the crust and resulting in major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions all over the world. Then, cue the hurricane-like winds caused by the facts that the winds would now be blowing in an opposite direction to the earth's spin. Then come the tsunamis as the crust and the core spin out of sink with each other, causing the oceans to buffet first the leading edge of the continents moving in new directions and then recede back into their basins and wash up over the opposite shore of each continent.

On the surface, this theory sounds not entirely outside the realm of possibility. Unlike many others, it is strengthened by seemingly accurate or at least plausible science, even though the debunking I accomplished above could be argued to remove this theory from the 2012 discussion altogether by destroying the NASA/2012 connection. Still, it seems perhaps to hold water as a generic Doomsday scenario. The problem here is that the people who espouse this theory also often try to strengthen their argument by pointing to the ancient worldwide flood myths, et al. There is where it sort of falls apart for me. Unless science is completely off its rocker and missing this call big time (which I'll admit is possible), the last time Earth experienced a pole-shift was around 780,000 years ago (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geomagnetic_reversal) long before it is commonly-accepted that man has existed upon the earth. The point being that, even if you believe in the possibility of the flood (which I do), it is a bit of a stretch to blame it on a pole-shift. Also, it is interesting that none of the major scientifically-accepted historical extinction events coincides with the times of previous pole-shifts.

In my opinion, the only way you can give credence to this theory is if you also subscribe to at least one of the many "hidden history of mankind" theories that claim previous civilizations existed and were lost to memory long before the blossoming of what we currently believe were the first great societies of man. To my mind, that would be necessary in order to explain how people were here to observe an occurrence as remote as the last pole-shift. It simply isn't logical to believe in one and not the other. You must be willing to accept the one before you even consider the other.

With that being said, and in addition to the facts stated earlier in this article regarding the false NASA information, I don't consider this particular theory as a viable one any more than I did all the Planet X mumbo-jumbo. Honestly, I do have to confess that I've been intrigued by some of the things I've read on the "hidden history" subject, so I won't totally discount the possibility. For me though, any time the likelihood of an idea being proven true is dependent on so many other things also falling into place the odds are not in its favor. My advice would be to file this one away with the many other possible but unlikely doomsday scenarios, such as comet impacts, supernovas, et cetera.


13 February, 2009


With the Y2K non-event well behind us, there are many these days that have effectively zeroed-in on yet another upcoming date as the focus of their fear and fascination - December 21, 2012. In case you are a part of the minority who are unfamiliar with that date, it marks the end of the 13th B'ak'tun cycle in the Long Count of the ancient Mayan calendar and, more ominously, it is the date on which the calendar itself abruptly ends. Coupled with the facts that the Mayans exhibited knowledge of astronomy and mathematics far beyond that which we had previously believed them capable and that some interpreters claim to have deciphered accurate predictions of future events described within the calendar, many believe this abrupt ending is itself a foretelling - that December 21, 2012 is the date of the Apocalypse.

One can only wonder why it is that throughout history mankind has repeatedly chosen this date or that as the coming end, only to see those dates come and go uneventfully time after time. That is a question best left to others more qualified than I to examine the psychology of the phenomenon. Instead, it is my intention through this series of articles to examine a few of the more prevalent and widely-espoused theories of just what it is people expect to happen in 2012.

Perhaps the most widely-known and yet also the strangest theory is the belief in the upcoming return to our solar system of a large planet or perhaps a very small star commonly referred to as Planet X.

Planet X is supposedly in an elongated, elliptical orbit in the earth's own solar system; this is the theory proposed by author Zecharia Sitchin. It is his belief that the human race was visited by a group of aliens in ancient times. He claims to have discovered this through affecting his own retranslations of ancient Sumerian texts (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothetical_astronomical_object_(non-scientific)#Planets_proposed_by_Zecharia_Sitchin), but these claims are universally derided by established professional scientists, historians, and archaeologists.

Sitchin proposed that the Asteroid Belt, our moon, and in fact Earth itself was formed as a result of a catastrophic collision of Nibiru (which, by many accounts, supposedly orbits Planet X as a moon) and a thriving world that once existed between Mars and Jupiter called Tiamat sometime between 65 million and 4 billion years ago. Likewise, he asserts that the body we know as Pluto began its existence as a moon of Saturn known as Gaga before being flung out to its current location by the gravitational disruptions caused by all this. Further, the author attributes the creation of the ancient Sumerian culture to the "Annunaki" (or "Nephilim"), a race of aliens who live on Nibiru.

The bones of the theory is that it is the impending approach of these celestial bodies that is the culprit behind all the weirdness we're seeing in the solar system recently, and that as they get closer things will get even worse before climaxing in some terrible calamity around 2012.

But, like most other outlandish theories, the more independent research you do the less likely they seem. First off, the information I described above is actually a melding of two separate claims by two separate individuals that occurred over time via websites and internet bulletin boards.

Zecharia Sitchin is responsible for the creation of Nibiru, but it was years later that the concept of Planet X was presented. Planet X was "invented" by a woman named Nancy Leider who is a self-proclaimed "contactee" who says she channels messages from extra-terrestrials called Zetas via an implant in her brain. She claims she was chosen to deliver a warning to mankind that Planet X would sweep through the solar system in May 2003, resulting in a magnetic pole shift that would cause great destruction. Her vehicle to deliver this message was through her website ZetaTalk that she started in the mid-1990s (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zetatalk). And then, as I said, the two theories were nitpicked and melded together by the internet community to form this hybrid amalgamation of amateur doomsday drivel. In fact, Sitchin himself vehemently disagreed with Lieder's claims of impending global cataclysm.

In my opinion, Nancy Leider is at best an odd duck and not someone I would personally put any faith in; and, at worst, she may very well be suffering from some form of paranoid schizophrenia complete with delusions of persecution and voices in her head. Her explanation, by the way, for why the end did not come in 2003? The aliens deliberately gave her a false date in order to confuse the "elites." She then claimed they would give her more information after the 2008 election but quickly backtracked on that as well.

What a nut bag!

So, if you've been sitting up on the internet at night worrying about the approach of the dreaded Planet X or Nibiru or whatever it's called, take a deep breath and let the crazy out. They do not exist.

For more information, see http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/planetx/index.html.

We'll be examining our next theory of 2012 doom tomorrow in Part 2 of this series.


12 February, 2009

First-Hand Account from Hurricane Katrina

This piece has been floating around the net in various forms for a while now, but I came across it today while looking through my Favorites for another site and thought it might be a good idea to provide a working link in case you might not have read it before.

It originally took the form of a series of emails from someone heavily involved in the New Orleans disaster of hurricane Katrina and is positively brimming with useful information.



Hirsch Report on Peak Oil

Hirsch Report

The Hirsch Report is a risk mitigation study on Peak Oil released in April 2005, commissioned by the US Department of Energy. Prepared by the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), and titled "Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation and Risk Management", it is known commonly as the Hirsch Report after its primary author Robert L. Hirsch. The executive summary of the report warns that "as peaking is approached, liquid fuel prices and price volatility will increase dramatically, and, without timely mitigation, the economic, social, and political costs will be unprecedented. Viable mitigation options exist on both the supply and demand sides, but to have substantial impact, they must be initiated more than a decade in advance of peaking."

Full text PDF archived by Cornell University:


Abstract: The peaking of world oil production presents the U.S. and the world with an unprecedented risk management problem. As peaking is approached, liquid fuel prices and price volatility will increase dramatically, and, without timely mitigation, the economic, social, and political costs will be unprecedented. Viable mitigation options exist on both the supply and demand sides, but to have substantial impact, they must be initiated more than a decade in advance of peaking. This U.S. Department of Energy funded paper reports the problem of the peaking of world conventional oil production is unlike any yet faced by modern industrial society. The challenges and uncertainties need to be much better understood. Technologies exist to mitigate the problem. Timely, aggressive risk management will be essential.


11 February, 2009

Getting Ready For Spring Gardening

I just made my seed order at http://www.victoryseeds.com/. We will be planting in containers again this year and maybe some improvised tires or something. Planting in the ground isn't really the best option for us right now as we don't yet own any kind of tiller and have been so busy with indoor renovations since we moved to our homestead 3+ years ago that we haven't gotten around to building any sort of greenhouse or raised beds (we have a huge rabbit population here).

Anyway, I ordered all non-hybrid varieties of:

Tomato, Extreme Bush (small but copious fruit)
Tomato, Beefsteak
Cucumber, Bush Crop
Lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson
Watermelon, Klondike Blue Ribbon Stripe
Corn, Golden Bantam
Squash, Dwarf Summer Crookneck
Pole Bean, Blue Lake

In retrospect, I'm not sure how well the watermellon will do in containers, but I guess we're going to find out. The corn, squash, and beans will all be planted together as my first experiment with the "Three Sisters."


Tornadoes in the Mountains?

I thought for a little while this evening that I might have trouble making my blog posts today. We had thunderstorm, high wind, and- believe it or not- a tornado warning (for the 2nd time in the past 4 months) here in southern West Virginia earlier and, as often occurs out here in the boonies, our electricity was sketchy there for a bit. We never actually lost power, but there was a whole lot of lights flickering, et cetera.

On a side note, I've lived here my whole life and these 2 tornado scares are the first ones I can recall us ever having in the mountains. Did someone say something about Global Warming and erratic weather patterns?


08 February, 2009

Outstanding Video Segment - Peter Schiff: Stimulus Bill Will Lead to "Unmitigated Disaster"

For my money, Peter Schiff really seems to know what he's talking about in this segment. Pay close attention to what he says about the dangerous possibilities of hyperinflation in our near future as a result of the current shenanigans they're pulling in Washington.

As you may recall, this was the subject of my post just a few days ago on 4 February. He even echoed the parallel I made to Germany's Weimar Republic in the 1920s.


"The fiscal stimulus bill being debated in Congress not only won't help the economy, it will make the recession much worse, says Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital. Schiff scoffs at the notion the economic decline is starting to level off and concedes no government action means a 'terrible' recession. But the path of increased government intervention will lead to 'unmitigated disaster,' says Schiff, who gained notoriety in 2007-08 for his prescient calls on the housing bubble and U.S. stocks.

The problem, he says, is the government is trying to perpetuate a 'phony economy' based on borrowing and spending. With the U.S. consumer tapped out, the government is 'now taking on the mantle' of consumer of last resort, he continues, predicting the bond bubble will soon burst - if it hasn't already - ultimately leading to a collapse of the dollar and an 'inflationary depression worse than anything any of us have ever seen.'"


A Few Words On Backup Power Generators

One aspect of living out in the sticks that can be a big pain is that power outages seem to be much more prevalent and last much longer than they do when you're a city-dweller. Honestly, where we live the power company does a pretty good job. The biggest problem we seem to have is in late Fall/early Winter when it first starts getting cold - squirrels and other comparable critters seem intent on using the transformer that feeds our property as their own personal warmup room, which always results in an outage and a nasty cleanup job for the guy on the pole. Seriously. It happened twice in like five weeks this past October and November. Anyway, they usually get us back up and effectively juiced within a couple of hours, barring inclement weather. And there's the kicker; inclement weather has the potential to affect roughly every part of your life when you live in the boonies, and this is no exception. As a result, it is my opinion that no one should consider making a life for themselves out here without taking some time to consider their options with regards to a backup source of electricity.

There are several options available to the rural homesteader with varying levels of price and complexity. Some of the more robust, longterm options will, without a doubt, be covered in great detail in later posts. Here I will concentrate on probably the easiest and most widely-used option: a gasoline backup generator.

The first thing I'll say about gasoline backup generators is that I don't like them. Gas may be easy to get your hands on but it's also expensive, hard to stockpile and store, and dangerous. Running out at the first sign of an emergency and filling up a five gallon jerry can full of gas might make you feel prepared, but I assure you it's a false sense of security. That generator is going to suck up that pitiful little bit of fuel you bought for it within the first day or two of your troubles and then leave you and your family right back in the dark again. Sure, buying a greater quantity to stock up ahead of time would solve that particular problem, but it would create others. Gasoline kept for long periods requires periodic treatments be added to it. And, just exactly where do you plan on storing it and in what types of containers? I hope I'm not your neighbor. And all of that isn't even the best part. The real kicker is how often you're going to need to replace the whole rig if you actually get regular to semi-regular use out of it.

It is for these reasons that I would recommend you consider purchasing either of a diesel- or propane-powered backup generator for your home. Both have their upsides. A diesel-engined genset is going to have a much, *MUCH* longer life than your typical gas-powered engine. I've seen estimates rating Low RPM diesels as operating for anywhere between 19,000-23,000 hours versus as little as 2,000-5,000 hours for your average gasoline engine. So, instead of needing a replacement after four or five years of good use, you might get more than twenty years out of a diesel model.

Personally, I plan on going with a propane-powered rig. You get the benefit of longer engine-life like with the diesel genset (though maybe not quite as long), and it's hard to find a fuel as stable as propane. You can either buy your own tank or rent one from the fuel-supplier for a very small fee and have them fill it a little at a time month-by-month until full; it can then just sit there until you need it. There are no additives or treatments for you to keep up with and it is nowhere near as dangerous as having a barrel full of gasoline sitting in your toolshed out back. In a pinch, you can even run them off the smaller 20-pound cylinders that you probably already use with your backyard grill.

You can purchase a genset that is already set up for propane or you can convert a regular gasoline rig yourself with a kit purchased from the folks at http://www.propane-generators.com/, which is a company right here in West Virginia.

07 February, 2009

Dehydrated/Freeze-Dried versus Bulk Food Storage

Yesterdays post took the form of videos showing the proper method of packing staple food items such as rice, beans, and wheat for longterm storage. I couldn't possibly stress enough the importance of using such methods as one would be hard-pressed to find a better way to quickly build up a larder of nutritious, life-sustaining food. When dealing in such bulk items as grains, legumes, et cetera, a hardy supply of foodstuffs will quickly accumulate.

Of course, these methods do have their drawbacks. The first is that it is time- and labor-intensive as you can see from watching the videos. Another downside is that food packed in such ways is typically not going to be something you can just jump in and start eating. Raw wheat, for instance, must be ground into flour using a countertop mill and then baked into bread. A 5 gallon bucket full of wheat will make a lot of bread to feed you and your family, but that level of work going into preparing it may not be what you're looking for in an emergency. If your personal preparations tend toward gearing up for a long stretch of bad times, then this method is by-far the best for you due to the many months of food you can quickly and economically accumulate. If, on the other hand, your preps tend toward shorter emergencies (i.e. blizzards and/or ice storms, floods, or even self-quarantine during a bird flu pandemic) you might find it better to simply load up your pantry with canned goods. With few exceptions, virtually any commercially-canned product you buy in the grocery store will last at least 2 years as long as it is not exposed to high temperatures for extended periods and there are no noticeable abnormalities in the packaging (i.e. bulging cans, etc.). In fact, many are still good long past the expiration dates printed on them. Those using this method must be diligent about rotating the stock in the pantry on a regular basis, meaning you must get used to using the oldest items first.

A sort of middle-of-the-road option and the one that I use mostly is to buy commercially-canned dehydrated and freeze-dried foods in #10 cans. The downside to this method is, first off, it's more expensive. Secondly, you'll often find these products are not available locally, and so you must pay for shipping as well. Still, when you factor in the *LONG* shelf lives of these foodstuffs, I believe the added cost is worth it.

For those who may not be familiar with food storage as an emergency prep, dehydrated foods are usually base ingredients such as rice or beans with little or no seasoning added. You typically add them to boiling water, which rehydrates and cooks them at the same time. This can be done on the stove, in a crockpot, or even over a camp fire. Things like pancake and muffin mixes are also typically dehydrated. A personal favorite of mine are dehydrated Potato Flakes, which make mashed potatoes when you fix them. Mmmmm... mashed potatoes. Okay, I think I've recovered now. The bottom line is that these more or less always require cooking. These products, unopened, are good for an amazing 15 years on average.

Freeze dried foods, on the other hand, are typically already a meal that just requires rehydrating. Just pour some odd-looking powdery concoction into a pot of hot water and let it sit for 20 minutes or so and return to find that it has magically soacked-up all the water and turned into a steaming pot of yummy Chili Macaroni or Chicken Teriyaki, all pre-cooked and seasoned and ready to eat. Most freeze dried foods are typically advertised as having an almost unbelievable 25 year shelf-life if left unopened.

As always, it is up to you to decide which is your best option for putting up a larder of storage food. Only you can decide what best suits your individual situation. For me and mine, I have concentrated mostly on dehydrated and freeze-dried so far, but I am planning to put away some bulk beans, rice, rolled oats, and pancake mix in 5 gallon buckets with mylar liners and oxygen absorbers in the next few months.


06 February, 2009

*Excellent* How-To Video Series on Longterm Storage Food

The following is another really great Youtube video series showing the proper method for packing Longterm Storage Food.

And, another set of videos showing them opening food they had packed *YEARS AGO* using the old method before people knew the benefits of packing in mylar with oxygen absorbers. This is so you can see how longterm storage food holds up over time.

01 February, 2009

How-To Purify Water During An Emergency

I was thinking about how long and detailed yesterday's post about water storage was and I worry that it may be a case of giving you too much information, which can sometimes be worse than getting none at all because you get overloaded. And, this is a particular aspect of emergency preparedness and self-sufficient living where you really cannot afford to be lackadaisical.

Above everything else, clean drinking water should be at the very tip-top of your food storage priorities. Afterall, a person could survive for a few weeks without food, but not more than 3 days without water. During an emergency, water is also necessary for washing and hygiene. The following is a much more concise video presentation:

Additionally, FEMA/Red Cross Guidelines can be found here.

Water Storage and Preservation

This video is from a series of emergency preparedness lectures held in Anaheim, CA. The subject is almost assuredly the most important of all preparedness steps - Water storage and preservation.