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31 March, 2010

Swine Flu Season Not Over, U.S. Health Officials Warn

Swine flu season not over, U.S. health officials warn | Reuters: "While swine flu has waned across much of the United States, the southeast is reporting an increase in cases of the H1N1 virus, U.S. health officials said on Monday.

'The flu season is not over yet ... H1N1 has remained persistent in the southeast and now those states are experiencing more local and regional activity,' U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin told reporters in a conference call.

U.S. health officials said it was not clear why there were more swine flu cases in some regions and warned that many people were still vulnerable because they had not been immunized.

Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia have been reporting 'regional disease' -- one step below 'widespread disease,' Dr. Anne Schuchat of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on the call. She said the situation in Georgia was unique.

'Recently, Georgia has seen more laboratory confirmed influenza hospitalizations each week than they've seen at any time since October,' Schuchat said.

'They've had more than 40 hospitalizations in this past week, and for the third week in a row, Georgia had more hospitalizations than any other state in the country from laboratory-confirmed H1N1 influenza...'"


30 March, 2010

Utah Gov. OKs 'Eminent Domain' Use on Federal Land

Utah gov. OKs eminent domain use on federal land - washingtonpost.com: "Fed up with federal ownership of more than half the land in Utah, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert on Saturday authorized the use of eminent domain to take some of the U.S. government's most valuable parcels.

Herbert signed a pair of bills into law that supporters hope will trigger a flood of similar legislation throughout the West, where lawmakers contend that federal ownership restricts economic development in an energy-rich part of the country.

Governments use eminent domain to take private property for public use...

... More than 60 percent of Utah is owned by the U.S. government, and policy makers here have long complained that federal ownership hinders their ability to generate tax revenue and adequately fund public schools.

Utah spends less per student than any other state and has the nation's largest class sizes. Under the measure Herbert has approved, the state will set aside $3 million to defend the law..."


29 March, 2010

Homeland Security Raids In 3 States A Direct Result Of Growing Prevalence Of Hate Groups

Official: Gun charges after FBI raids in Midwest - washingtonpost.com: "The FBI said Sunday that agents conducted weekend raids in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio and arrested at least three people, and a militia leader in Michigan said the target of at least one raid was a Christian militia group.

Federal warrants were sealed, but a federal law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said some of those arrested face gun charges and officials are pursuing other suspects. Some of the suspects were expected in court Monday.

FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold confirmed the FBI had been working in two southeast Michigan counties near the Ohio state line. FBI spokesman Scott Wilson in Cleveland said agents arrested two people Saturday after raids in two Ohio towns.

A third arrest made in northeast Illinois on Sunday stemmed from a raid Saturday just over the border in northwest Indiana, both part of an ongoing investigation led by the FBI in Michigan, according to a statement from agents in Illinois..."


‘Patriot’ hate groups grew by 244% in 2009 | Raw Story: "Hatred is getting a lot of press this week as reports of violent harassment against Congressional Democrats continue to surface. It began last weekend with Tea Party activists shouting racist and bigoted comments at House Democrats during the final push for health care reform.

But new research shows the Tea Party may be the nice guys amid soaring numbers of hate groups.

An 'astonishing' 363 anti-government or 'Patriot' groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups to 512, according to a report released by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

That's a 244 percent increase in one year. Many of the 'Patriot' groups are militias. Before 2009, there were 42. Now, there are 127. Hate groups overall stayed at a record high of nearly 1,000 despite the disintegration of one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in the country..."


British Jets Scrambled After Two Recent Terrorist Alerts Involving American Passenger Airliners

RAF jets scrambled after two passenger plane terrorist alerts | UK Guardian: "RAF jets have been scrambled twice this month in response to terrorist alerts on passenger airliners flying over Britain, defence sources have revealed.

Eurofighter Typhoons took off from the quick reaction alert base at Coningsby in Lincolnshire – one of two such bases in the UK – minutes after warnings of suspected attempts to hijack American airliners.

Procedures were triggered that could ultimately lead to a decision to destroy the aircraft, to avoid mass casualties. That decision would be taken 'at the highest levels of government', officials say. Though a decision would be taken by the prime minister, if he could not be contacted or was incapacitated, it would be taken by two other designated members of the cabinet, believed to be the home secretary and the transport secretary...

... Both incidents were false alarms. However, they show how emergency procedures, set up after the 9/11 attacks on the US, and refined in 2007, are activated..."


28 March, 2010

Washington Considers a Decline of World Oil Production As of 2011

In my opinion, they are dead wrong to dismiss the truth of Peak Oil Theory. But, at least they are still willing to admit that we have obvious troubles right around the corner even if it is tied in with all the BS about further investment.


Washington Considers a Decline of World Oil Production As of 2011: "The U.S. Department of Energy admits that 'a chance exists that we may experience a decline' of world liquid fuels production between 2011 and 2015 'if the investment is not there', according to an exclusive interview with Glen Sweetnam, main official expert on oil market in the Obama administration.

This warning on oil output issued by Obama’s energy administration comes at a time when world demand for oil is on the rise again, and investments in many drilling projects have been frozen in the aftermath of the tumbling of crude prices and of the financial crisis.

Glen Sweetnam, director of the International, Economic and Greenhouse Gas division of the Energy Information Administration at the DoE, does not say that investments will not be 'there'. Yet the answer to the issue of knowing when, where and in which quantities additional sources of oil should be put on-stream remains widely 'unidentified' in the eyes of the most prominent official analyst on energy inside the Obama administration.

The DoE dismisses the 'peak oil' theory, which assumes that world crude oil production should irreversibly decrease in a nearby future, in want of suffisant fresh oil reserves yet to be exploited. The Obama administration of Energy supports the alternative hypothesis of an 'undulating plateau'. Lauren Mayne, responsible for liquid fuel prospects at the DoE, explains : 'Once maximum world oil production is reached, that level will be approximately maintained for several years thereafter, creating an undulating plateau. After this plateau period, production will experience a decline'..."


27 March, 2010

Listen To My Recent Appearance On The Prepper Podcast

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with Matt Jarvis of the Prepper Podcast. You can listen to the show here.


Leaders at Closed-Door UK Summit Admit Peak Oil Only 3-4 Years Away

Just to add my 2 cents, I believe the peak is already here and we're currently experiencing the plateau before the inevitable drop-off in 3-4 years.


Leaders at Closed-Door UK Meeting on “Inevitable” Peak Oil Crisis Weigh Possible Solutions to Energy Scarcity | HeatingOil.com: "... The meeting acknowledged the inevitability of both peak oil and government intervention, but focused on the role of transportation and technology-based solutions.

According to Hopkins’ summary, the presentations included an overview of the 2009 study from the UK Energy Research Centre, which concluded that peak oil was a near-term hazard; an oil industry perspective warning that $150 a barrel prices trigger recessions but also stating that high oil prices are necessary incentives for energy transitions; the Peak Oil Task Force report that inspired the meeting; and a talk by himself and Lipman that shared case histories of “Transition Towns”—communities that have already developed measures to increase their energy efficiency and self-sufficiency in preparation for a world in which outside energy sources are decreasingly reliable.

The discussions that followed explored both national and local-scale implications of an oil price spike or shortage. The group agreed that the exact date of a global peak in oil production was irrelevant compared to its inevitability and associated risks, but the working estimate during the meeting was 3-4 years from now, as the world recovers from its present recession..."


BBC News Piece On The Preparedness Movement

BBC News - Americans get set for disaster day: "If there was ever a major disaster in northern Virginia, Chuck Izzo's house is Greenville is where you would want to be.

Tucked away in his pantry are enough tinned food and water to last for two months.

In the basement an inverter hums quietly, charging batteries that could easily power most of his three-storey home's lights and appliances for nine hours.

And for when that runs out, he has a wood-burning stove with a two-month supply of fuel pellets so he can cook and heat the whole house.

Mr Izzo is a 'prepper', one of a growing number of Americans who are preparing their homes and families to survive a major disaster they believe could arrive at any time..."


Global Cooling: What Happens if the Iceland Volcano Blows

More on last week's volcanic eruption...


Global cooling: What happens if the Iceland volcano blows - USATODAY.com: "The potential eruption of Iceland's volcano Katla would likely send the world, including the USA, into an extended deep freeze.

'When Katla went off in the 1700s, the USA suffered a very cold winter,' says Gary Hufford, a scientist with the Alaska Region of the National Weather Service. 'To the point, the Mississippi River froze just north of New Orleans and the East Coast, especially New England, had an extremely cold winter.

'Depending on a new eruption, Katla could cause some serious weather changes.'

Eyjafjallajokull, the Icelandic volcano that has continued to belch lava, ash and steam since first erupting last weekend, isn't the direct problem. It's Katla, the noisier neighbor, that's the concern. If lava flowing from Eyjafjallajokull melts the glaciers that hold down the top of Katla, then Katla could blow its top, pumping gigantic amounts of ash into the atmosphere..."


26 March, 2010

Many Thanks

I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude for all the kind words and well-wishes received during this difficult time for my family. Your thoughts are much appreciated! I will continue to post as I did this morning, by the way; I am just unsure if I'll be able to hold to any set schedule.


For Sale in Utah: "Die-Hard Survivalist Bunker"

For sale in Utah: "die-hard survivalist bunker" - In my opinion, this appears to be an old telecommunication relay site that has likely become obsolete over the years, been stripped of any salvageable equipment and is now being sold to get it off the books. One interesting plus to owning one of these sites, however, is that many of them were hardened to ensure continuity of communications in a post-war environment, and were therefore shielded against EMPs. Not saying this one has such shielding, but most did.


Police In SoCal Community Being Openly Targeted By Gangs, Wild West-Style

Another example here of how society is coming increasingly unraveled.


Hemet, CA's Shadow War - LATimes.com: "Roadblocks have gone up behind the Hemet Police Department. Sidewalks outside have closed, blast-proof glass is going in, and $155,000 in barricades and fences are being installed. Linger out front too long and expect a visit from an officer monitoring surveillance cameras.

Such is the new reality for police here, where life has increasingly taken on the feel of a war zone.

Over the last few months, police have been stalked and attacked by what investigators believe is a gang eager to avenge the department's aggressive efforts to crack down on it..."


Record Numbers Now Licensed to Pack Heat

Is it just me, or is this not some of the most positive news to come about recently?


Record numbers now licensed to pack heat - Life- msnbc.com: "Waving a chromed semiautomatic pistol, the robber pushed into the building in the bustling Five Points neighborhood of Columbia, S.C., just before 11 p.m. on April 11, 2009. “Gimme what you got!” he yelled, his gun hand trembling.

Attorney Jim Corley was one of four people in the room, the lounge area of a 12-step recovery group’s meeting hall. “He said, ‘Give me your wallet,’” Corley recalled. “So I reached around to my back pocket and gave him what was there.”

Unfortunately for the gunman, later identified as Kayson Helms, 18, of Edison, N.J., that was Corley’s tiny Kel-Tec .32, hidden in a wallet holster and loaded with a half-dozen hollow points. Corley fired once into the robber’s abdomen. The young man turned. Corley fired twice more, hitting him in the neck and again in the torso. Helms ran into the night and collapsed to die on a railroad embankment 100 feet away.

Reports filed by officers who arrived at the scene a short time later called it an “exceptionally clear” case of justifiable homicide. Following South Carolina’s “Castle Doctrine,” which allows the use of deadly force in self-defense, police did not arrest Corley. They did not interrogate him. Corley was offered the opportunity to make a voluntary statement, which he did.

Helms’ friends and relatives were left to mourn, barred by the same Castle Doctrine from filing a civil lawsuit.

Jim Corley became an unintentional spokesman for a burgeoning movement of millions of Americans who secretly and legally pack pistols in waistbands, under jackets, strapped to ankles, stashed in purses or — like Corley — tucked in hip pockets..."


24 March, 2010


Please bear with me if my posting is erratic over the next few days or weeks. We have suffered a death in the family. Thank you in advance for your patience as I do my best to keep up.


UN: Polluted Water Killing, Sickening Millions - More Than From All Forms of Violence

And the really terrifying thing is that they're only talking here about polluted water; these statistics and projections don't even take into account the looming fresh water shortages with which we will soon be faced.

We have talked about these issues before at length here at Backwoods Survival Blog, but ensuring a safe water supply is literally *THE* most important part of your emergency preparations and, therefore, bears reiterating. Remember, on average we can survive up to three weeks without food, but only *THREE DAYS* without fresh, clean water to drink.

Please check with our loyal advertisers to either side of the screen to see about purchasing a quality water filter for you and your family.

UN: Polluted water killing, sickening millions - Yahoo! News: "More people die from polluted water every year than from all forms of violence, including war, the U.N. said in a report Monday that highlights the need for clean drinking water.

The report, launched Monday to coincide with World Water Day, said an estimated 2 billion tons of waste water — including fertilizer run-off, sewage and industrial waste — is being discharged daily. That waste fuels the spread of disease and damages ecosystems.

'Sick Water' — the report from the U.N. Environment Program — said that 3.7 percent of all deaths are attributed to water-related diseases, translating into millions of deaths. More than half of the world's hospital beds are filled by people suffering from water-related illnesses, it said..."


Major Media Poll: 79% Say U.S. Economy Could Collapse

Are Joe and Betty Sixpack finally wising up?

Fox News Poll: 79% Say U.S. Economy Could Collapse: "Most American voters believe it’s possible the nation’s economy could collapse, and majorities don’t think elected officials in Washington have ideas for fixing it.

The latest Fox News poll finds that 79 percent of voters think it’s possible the economy could collapse, including large majorities of Democrats (72 percent), Republicans (84 percent) and independents (80 percent).

Just 18 percent think the economy is 'so big and strong it could never collapse.'

Moreover, 78 percent of voters believe the federal government is 'larger and more costly' than it has ever been before, and by nearly three-to-one more voters think the national debt (65 percent) is a greater potential threat to the country’s future than terrorism (23 percent)..."


23 March, 2010

Peak Oil Looms Large

Below you will find linked three separate recent news items, quoting reputable scientific sources as to the truth of Peak Oil. What more will it take to get *YOU* to wake up and prepare?

World oil reserves at tipping point: "The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment has today (23rd March 2010) published a paper stating that capacity to meet projected future oil demand is at a tipping point and that we need to accelerate the development of alternative energy fuel resources in order to ensure energy security and reduce emissions.

The Status of Conventional Oil Reserves – Hype or Cause for Concern? published in the journal Energy Policy concludes that the age of cheap oil has now ended as demand starts to outstrip supply as we head towards the middle of the decade. The report also suggests that the current oil reserve estimates should be downgraded from between 1150-1350 billion barrels to between 850-900 billion barrels, based on recent research. But how can potential oil shortages be mitigated?..."


Tipping Point: Near-Term Systemic Implications of a Peak in Global Oil Production - Part 1 - Summary (report excerpt) | Energy Bulletin: "Recently, a 55 page paper called Tipping Point: Near-Term Implications of a Peak in Global Oil Production (PDF warning) was published as the joint effort of two organizations:

Feasta, a leading international think-tank exploring the interactions between human welfare, the structure and operation of human systems, and the ecosystem which supports both, and,

The Risk/Resilience Network, an initiative which was established in order to understand energy induced systemic risk, the scope for risk management, and general and emergency planning.

This paper talks about the likely systemic impacts of peak oil, including the possibility of collapse..."


Oil reserves 'exaggerated by one third' - Telegraph: "... according to Sir David King, the Government's former chief scientist, who has warned of shortages and price spikes within years.

The scientist and researchers from Oxford University argue that official figures are inflated because member countries of the oil cartel, OPEC, over-reported reserves in the 1980s when competing for global market share.

Their new research argues that estimates of conventional reserves should be downgraded from 1,150bn to 1,350bn barrels to between 850bn and 900bn barrels and claims that demand may outstrip supply as early as 2014. The researchers claim it is an open secret that OPEC is likely to have inflated its reserves, but that the International Energy Agency (IEA), BP, the Energy Information Administration and World Oil do not take this into account in their statistics..."


22 March, 2010

Power Grid Disruptions a Real, Growing Concern

Electricity disruptions a growing threat: "... Higher energy costs give good reason for concern.

However, there is something even more worrisome about this industry that few citizens consider. Security vulnerabilities in the national electric power infrastructure threaten all Americans.

Concerns over these vulnerabilities reach back to 1998, when then-President Clinton signed 'Presidential Decision Directive 63, Policy on Critical Infrastructure Protection.'

It described critical infrastructures as '... those physical and cyber-based systems essential to the minimum operations of the economy and government. They include, but are not limited to, telecommunications, energy, banking and finance, transportation, water systems and emergency services, both governmental and private.'

Unless you’re Amish, life without electricity is tough. Ask any Hurricane Katrina survivor. Americans use electricity in almost every facet of life. Losing electricity in a home creates effects ranging from annoying to catastrophic. Many homes depend on electricity for heating or air-conditioning. A few hours without it can make them difficult to live in.

Losing electricity can disrupt water and natural gas services as well.

Commerce is also affected. Many food supplies quickly begin to spoil without electricity. Cash becomes the only means of paying. ATM machines and gasoline pumps stop working.

The list goes on..."


Chinese Academics’ Paper on Cyberwar Sets Off Alarms in U.S. - NYTimes.com: "It came as a surprise this month to Wang Jianwei, a graduate engineering student in Liaoning, China, that he had been described as a potential cyberwarrior before the United States Congress.

Larry M. Wortzel, a military strategist and China specialist, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 10 that it should be concerned because 'Chinese researchers at the Institute of Systems Engineering of Dalian University of Technology published a paper on how to attack a small U.S. power grid sub-network in a way that would cause a cascading failure of the entire U.S.'

When reached by telephone, Mr. Wang said he and his professor had indeed published 'Cascade-Based Attack Vulnerability on the U.S. Power Grid' in an international journal called Safety Science last spring. But Mr. Wang said he had simply been trying to find ways to enhance the stability of power grids by exploring potential vulnerabilities...

... The issue of Mr. Wang’s paper aside, experts in computer security say there are genuine reasons for American officials to be wary of China, and they generally tend to dismiss disclaimers by China that it has neither the expertise nor the intention to carry out the kind of attacks that bombard American government and computer systems by the thousands every week.

The trouble is that it is so easy to mask the true source of a computer network attack that any retaliation is fraught with uncertainty. This is why a war of words, like the high-pitched one going on these past months between the United States and China, holds special peril..."


21 March, 2010

Icelandic Volcano Could Trigger Even Bigger Eruption

Iceland prepares for second, more devastating volcanic eruption - Times Online: "Iceland is preparing for an even more powerful and potentially destructive volcano after a small eruption at the weekend shot red-hot molten lava high into the sky.

About 500 people were safely evacuated from the land close to the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which is around 120 kilometres (75 miles) southeast of the capital, Reykjavik. The country's two airports were closed for most of the day and transatlantic flights re-routed to avoid the risk of ash blocking visibility and destroying engines...

... the danger is that the small volcano is just the beginning and that it will trigger the far more powerful volcano of Katla, which nestles beneath [the glacier]...

... 'This could trigger Katla, which is a vicious volcano that could cause both local and global damage,' Pall Einarsson, from the University of Iceland, said...

... The island's worst eruption in modern times was in 1783, when the Laki volcano blew its top. The lava shot to heights of 1.4 kilometres and more than 120 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide was released into the atmosphere.

A quarter of the island's population died in the resulting famine and it transformed the world, creating Britain's notorious 'sand summer', casting a toxic cloud over Prague, playing havoc with harvests in France — sometimes seen as a contributory factor in the French Revolution — and changing the climate so dramatically that New Jersey recorded its largest snowfall and Egypt one of its most enduring droughts."


20 March, 2010

Man Spends 4 Days Stuck in Car in Snowbank

Another unbelievably lucky guy who would've benefited a great deal from having a well-stocked survival kit in the car. He did a great job melting snow to keep himself hydrated and conserving gas so he could run the heater some at night, but he would've been much more comfortable with a thermal blanket and some sort of survival rations to get food energy into his system.

Man Spends 4 Days Stuck in Car in Snowbank: "A 67-year-old country musician from Montana who spent four days in his car stuck on a remote mountain road was weak and losing hope when an Idaho couple out for a drive in their four-wheel-drive vehicle came upon his car...

... Rogers... decided to take the remote Gold Creek Road across the Bitterroot Mountains, a route he had taken several times before and which he knew could shave more than an hour off the trip.

After about nine miles and with dusk setting in, the road got too snowy for Rogers' 1996 Cadillac STS, which was loaded with musical equipment, so he decided to turn around -- and got stuck in a snowbank. He checked his cell phone -- no service...

Rogers has health issues, including diabetes, liver troubles and a history of heart problems, so he decided to wait for help. He melted snow to drink and occasionally turned the car on to run the heater at night...

... Worried that he would soon lose his bearings or begin hallucinating, Rogers wrote the letter to say his last goodbyes to his friends and relations...

... But then the Kalis' arrived and drove him to St. Regis, Mont. Rogers did not require hospitalization and felt better after getting something to eat...

... Rogers is grateful to his rescuers, the service that towed his car for free, and for all the people who searched for him...."


Drought Continues in China, 51 Million People Affected

Drought continues in China, 51 million people affected: "Severe drought has affected 51 million Chinese and left more than 16 million people and 11 million livestock with drinking water shortages, China's State Commission of Disaster Relief said Friday.

About 4.348 million hectares of farmland were affected and 940,200 hectares would yield no harvest, the commission said in a statement.

Since autumn last year, southwest China... has received only half its annual average rainfall and water stores are depleted..."


Electricity prices to rise by up to 64% in Australia

This is similar to the kinds of increases we would likely see here in the U.S. under a Cap and Trade carbon reduction scheme.

Electricity prices to rise by up to 64% in Australia: "Electricity bills in NSW will soar by up to a total of 64 percent over the next three years, with the federal government's proposed carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS) and rising network infrastructure costs largely to blame...

... The NSW hikes, which are even higher than those first proposed by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) in December, will see average electricity bills rocketing by between $577 and $918 a year by 2013..."


Ex-Pfizer Worker Cites Genetically Engineered Virus In Lawsuit Over Firing

Ex-Pfizer Worker Cites Genetically Engineered Virus In Lawsuit Over Firing: "Medical experts will be watching closely Monday when a scientist who says she has been intermittently paralyzed by a virus designed at the Pfizer laboratory where she worked in Groton opens a much anticipated trial that could raise questions about safety practices in the dynamic field of genetic engineering.

Organizations involved in workplace safety and responsible genetic research already have seized on the federal lawsuit by molecular biologist Becky McClain as an example of what they claim is evidence that risks caused by cutting-edge genetic manipulation have outstripped more slowly evolving government regulation of laboratories.

McClain, of Deep River, suspects she was inadvertently exposed, through work by a former Pfizer colleague in 2002 or 2003, to an engineered form of the lentivirus, a virus similar to the one that can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS. Medical experts working for McClain believe the virus has affected the way her body channels potassium, leading to a condition that causes complete paralysis as many as 12 times a month..."


19 March, 2010

Britain ‘Four Meals Away from Anarchy’

Britain ‘four meals away from anarchy’ - Times Online: "MODERN civilization may not be quite as safe as we thought. Britain’s security services have been privately warning their staff that western societies are just 48 hours from anarchy.

MI5’s maxim is that society is 'four meals away from anarchy'. In other words, the security agency believes that Britain could be quickly reduced to large-scale disorder, including looting and rioting in the event of a catastrophe that stops the supply of food..."


Drug Resistant Tuberculosis Spreads Across the Globe

Drug resistant tuberculosis spreads across the globe | guardian.co.uk: "... The World Health Organization has produced a report showing the spread of multi and extremely drug-resistant forms of the disease (MDR and XDR-TB) across the globe... [and] over 50 [countries] have acknowledged at least one case.

But where drug resistance is most alarming, in parts of Africa where HIV rates are high and people are extremely vulnerable to infections, we can't yet know what's happening. If the death rates among people with HIV start to climb, though, it's not unlikely that drug-resistant TB will be the reason. Drug-resistant TB costs 50 to 200 times more to treat than the ordinary kind (and it's a two-year course), but frankly that's only an issue in countries that have the right drugs. In most of Africa, they don't, and XDR or MDR-TB is a death sentence..."


More Than a Quarter of Adults Out of Work in the UK

Quarter of adults out of work, official figures show - Telegraph: "... The total number of economically inactive hit 8.16 million, the highest since the ONS started recording this measure in 1971.

The number out of a job, or economically inactive totals 10.6 million, or 28 percent of adults of working age..."


18 March, 2010

Software Turns Your Cell Phone Against You

Scary, scary implications here and it is only going to get worse as we time goes on and we become more and more dependent on technology in our daily lives.

Software Turns Your Cell Phone Against You - ABC News: "Malicious software for cell phones could pose a greater risk for consumer's personal and financial well-being than computer viruses, say scientists from Rutgers University.

The scientists have made a particularly resilient malware, known as a rootkit, that can turn a cell phone's microphone, GPS and battery against the phone's owner. The researchers say their work highlights the need for greater protection of cell phone software and greater awareness of cell phone vulnerabilities from owners...

... the Rutgers scientists could turn on the phone's microphone anytime they wanted, eavesdropping on nearby conversations. The rootkit also sent the phone's location, using the GPS system, back to the scientists, allowing them to track the phone and the person using it anywhere. The researchers also used the rootkit to drain the phone's battery by activating power-hungry hardware like the GPS receiver and the Bluetooth.

Unless the phone's owner is paying special attention to their device, the user is unlikely to realize anything was amiss


Oil Production Predicted to Peak in 2014

Oil production predicted to peak in 2014 - Oil & energy- msnbc.com: "Predicting the end of oil has proven tricky and often controversial, but Kuwaiti scientists now say that global oil production will peak in 2014.

Their work represents an updated version of the famous Hubbert model, which correctly predicted in 1956 that U.S. oil reserves would peak within 20 years. Many researchers have since tried using the model to predict when worldwide oil production might peak.

Some have said production already peaked. One earlier model by Swedish researchers suggested that oil would peak sometime between 2008 and 2018. And other researchers have argued there are decades to go before oil production goes into irreversible decline. The only thing they all agree on: Oil is a finite and very valuable resource..."


NOAA: Imminent Flood Threat Includes Up To A Third of the Country

NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Imminent Flood Threat in Midwest, South and East Also at Risk: "Major flooding has begun and is forecast to continue through spring in parts of the Midwest according to NOAA’s National Weather Service. The South and East are also more susceptible to flooding as an El Nino influenced winter left the area soggier than usual.

Overall, more than a third of the contiguous United States has an above average flood risk –– with the highest threat in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa, including along the Red River Valley where crests could approach the record levels set just last year.

Supporting the forecast of imminent Midwest flooding is a snowpack more extensive than in 2009 and containing in excess of 10 inches of liquid water in some locations. Until early March, consistently cold temperatures limited snow melt and runoff. These conditions exist on top of: above normal streamflows; December precipitation that was up to four times above average; and the ground which is frozen to a depth as much as three feet below the surface..."


17 March, 2010

"Social Unrest" Feared As U.S., U.K. Move Closer to Losing Rating

U.S., U.K. Move Closer to Losing Rating, Moody’s Says (Update1) - Bloomberg.com: "The U.S. and the U.K. have moved “substantially” closer to losing their AAA credit ratings as the cost of servicing their debt rose, according to Moody’s Investors Service...

... Under the ratings company’s so-called baseline scenario, the U.S. will spend more on debt service as a percentage of revenue this year than any other top-rated country except the U.K., and will be the biggest spender from 2011 to 2013..."


Moody's fears social unrest as AAA states implement austerity plans - Telegraph: "The US rating agency said the US, the UK, Germany, France, and Spain are walking a tightrope as they try to bring public finances under control without nipping recovery in the bud. It warned of 'substantial execution risk' in withdrawal of stimulus..."


16 March, 2010

Electricity Becoming A Luxury Many Cannot Afford

Families in fear of 'fuel poverty' as energy costs soar | News.com.au: "SOARING electricity prices will force more working families into 'fuel poverty' where they simply cannot afford to pay for power.

That is the grim prediction from an energy ombudswoman, who revealed that the number of people fearing they will have their electricity disconnected had surged by a third.

In New South Wales alone more than 18,000 households had their power cut off last financial year and, with about $200 added to the average bill last July, that number is only expected to grow.

But the worst pain is expected from increases of up to 62 per cent over the next three years..."


Rising Food Prices May Start With Seeds

Rising food prices may start with seeds - Los Angeles Times: "... Many experts believe that rising food prices start with seeds.

In recent years, the companies that develop seeds for farmers to sow in their fields have consolidated. Complaints about unfair competitive practices by the few giant firms left have soared. As a result, critics say, the effects of more costly seeds have rippled out to the nation's dining tables.

The farm community -- which produces more than $80 billion annually in soybeans and corn -- has been pressuring lawmakers to investigate why it's costing them so much more to grow their crops. U.S. farmers spent about $17 billion on seeds last year, up 56% from 2006, the USDA said."


New Ghost Towns

New ghost towns: Industrial communities teeter on the edge - USATODAY.com: "... Ravenswood [West Virginia], with 4,000 people and one big factory, is like many towns in the USA where things still are made: caught in a winter between recession and recovery, hoping the latter will arrive before the former kills the last decent blue-collar job.

If the rest of the aluminum works closed, 'would this become a ghost town?' muses Jim Frazier, principal of the Henry J. Kaiser Elementary School.

Whether it's textiles in the Carolinas, paper in New England or steel in the Midwest, most industrial cities and mill towns 'are on pins and needles,' says Donald Schunk, an economist at Coastal Carolina University. 'Day to day, week to week, any manufacturing facility seems vulnerable. People don't know if they'll be there.'

That's true in:

• Georgetown, S.C. (pop. 9,000), where the closing of the local steel mill last year left International Paper as the last major private employer.

• Madawaska, Maine (pop. 4,000), where workers voted last month to take an 8.5% wage cut to keep the financially strapped paper mill going.

• Glenwood, Wash. (pop. 500), where flat lumber prices and rising land prices are crippling the forest products industry..."


15 March, 2010

U.S. Navy Awards $200 Million Contract for Solar PV Power Plants in Southwest

After reading the below-linked and -quoted article, do you think TPTB expect fossil fuels to remain a cheap, viable energy source over the next 30 years or so?

Or do you think you and I ought to take the hint? Watch what they do, not what they say...

U.S. Navy Awards $200 Million Contract for Solar PV Power Plants in Southwest: "The U.S. Navy has awarded a $200 million contract to construct solar photovoltaic power plants producing up to 40 megawatts of electricity at Navy and Marine Corps bases throughout the Southwest.

The Navy contract is the latest development in the U.S. military's move to dramatically increase the use of solar electricity at its facilities across the country.

Separately, Luke Air Force Base in Arizona has announced that it plans to build what may become the largest solar photovoltaic array in the Air Force by December 2011.

The Navy contract, awarded by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest, based in San Diego, will be divided among five companies that will compete to take on individual solar power projects ranging from 1 to 15 megawatts..."


25% Off Sale on Case Lots of Mountain House Freeze-Dried Foods Ends Today

Today is the final day of the 25% Off Sale on case lots of Mountain House Freeze-Dried Foods at Ready Made Resources, so be sure to get your orders in before midnight! Also, keep in mind that the shipping is also free!


70% of Nation of Chile Darkened by Recent Blackout

Blackout hits quake-hit Chile | Breaking News | Wire Update News | News Wires -: "A major power failure left 70 percent of Chileans without electricity on Sunday night, local media reported.

Greater Santiago, Valparaiso and the quake-devastated Conception were without electricity after a failure in the central interconected system."


States Facing Financial Doomsday as Debts Mount

States Facing Financial Doomsday as Debts Mount - FOXBusiness.com: "Doomsday may be just around the corner.

That’s not some apocalyptic bumper sticker. It’s the learned opinion of numerous financial experts when describing the budget crises facing a number of U.S. states, notably Illinois, California and New Jersey.

“This is an unprecedented crisis,” said Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, an influential Illinois-based tax and fiscal policy research group.

While a General Motors-style bankruptcy is off the table – states are prohibited by law from filing for protection from their debtors – the alternative is no less alarming.

Msall said that in a worst-case scenario, states sliding toward insolvency will simply stop paying their bills, whether they be to public colleges, private vendors or municipalities. And when they do, those entities will either have to eat the losses or make up the difference..."


Fiji Braces for 'Worst Cyclone Ever' to Hit Island Nation

Tomas may be 'worst cyclone ever' | News.com.au: "A TROPICAL cyclone heading for Fiji may be the worst cyclone to ever strike the South Pacific nation.

Fiji Meteorological Service senior forecaster, Matt Boterhoven, said Cyclone Tomas had intensified overnight and was now a category four storm.

Mr Boterhoven said the northern island of Vanua Levu was most at risk, with winds likely to peak at over 200km/h in the next 24 hours.

'There's going to be a whole lot of flooding,' he said late this morning..."


14 March, 2010

If The Sh** Hits The Fan, They Are Ready For It

If the sh** hits the fan, they are ready for it | The Observers: "Global economic meltdown, mass natural disasters, pandemics... Whatever the apocalyptic scenario, 'preppers' are ready for it. Lamps made from potatoes, toilet paper from cloth, toothpaste from glycerin and... lots of Spam.

It's no surprise that the trend, known as 'survivalism', was born in the United States, where the principle of self-reliance is one of the founding values of society. Convinced that disaster could strike when we least expect it, the most prudent of US citizens are preparing for the worst.

One self-described 'prepper' explains the reason for his lifestyle change to emergency 'survivalism' on his website: 'In May of last year, I had an epiphany: bad times lay ahead. I accurately predicted the current financial crisis back then, and with my new-found knowledge, I don't see much hope for recovery any time soon. I've learned that our 'global economy' is nothing more than a great Ponzi/pyramid scheme, and I've come to realise that the only way to insulate one's self from the collapse of that scheme is to prepare for self reliant living.'..."


How Food and Water Are Driving a 21st-century African Land Grab

How food and water are driving a 21st-century African land grab | Environment | The Observer: "... An Observer investigation estimates that up to 50m hectares of land – an area more than double the size of the UK – has been acquired in the last few years or is in the process of being negotiated by governments and wealthy investors working with state subsidies. The data used was collected by Grain, the International Institute for Environment and Development, the International Land Coalition, ActionAid and other non-governmental groups.

The land rush, which is still accelerating, has been triggered by the worldwide food shortages which followed the sharp oil price rises in 2008, growing water shortages and the European Union's insistence that 10% of all transport fuel must come from plant-based biofuels by 2015.

In many areas the deals have led to evictions, civil unrest and complaints of 'land grabbing'..."


Christopher Thornberg: Double Dip Is Coming in 2011

Christopher Thornberg: Double Dip Is Coming in 2011 -- Seeking Alpha: "Thornberg says the economic recovery is mostly government induced and could lead to a double dip as the government steps aside and attempts to hand over the baton to the private sector. In the presentation Thornberg noted the continuing concerns:

* The bad news: we haven’t completely fixed the problems, instead the economy is being driven by government policy

* The worse news: government policy is causing its own set of problems: namely public debt and the potential for inflation

Thornberg says 2010 is likely to be a good year for the economy, but as the stimulus wears off the true colors of the private sector will shine through and result in a double dip..."


13 March, 2010

Wyoming Governor Signs Sovereignty Resolution

Wyoming Governor Signs Sovereignty Resolution: "This week, Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal signed House Joint Resolution 2 (HJ0002), claiming “sovereignty on behalf of the State of Wyoming and for its citizens under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government or reserved to the people by the Constitution of the United States.”

Freudenthal, a long-time Democrat, was previously a US attorney for the Clinton administration, and is currently serving his 2nd term as Governor of Wyoming. He endorsed Barack Obama for president and is commonly referred to as one of the most popular governors in the country..."


Why the U.S. Can't Inflate Its Way Out of Debt

Why the U.S. can't inflate its way out of debt - Mar. 11, 2010: "It's dawning on people that getting a handle on burgeoning U.S. debt will be a long and hard process.

So if lawmakers can't agree on a credible plan, some have suggested that the country could just 'inflate its way' out of its fiscal ditch.

The idea: Pursue policies that boost prices and wages and erode the value of the currency.

The United States would owe the same amount of actual dollars to its creditors -- but the debt becomes easier to pay off because the dollar becomes less valuable.

That's hardly a good plan, say a bevy of debt experts and economists..."


12 March, 2010

Strike Paralyzes Greece; Protests Turn Violent

Strike Paralyzes Greece; Protests Turn Violent - CNBC: "Greek public and private sector workers went on strike on Thursday, grounding flights, shutting schools and halting public transport in the second nationwide walkout in two weeks in protest against austerity plans.

Athens' streets echoed with loud-speakers blaring slogans calling for the rich to pay for a severe debt crisis, as thousands marched against cuts in civil servants' income, tax hikes, a pension freeze and increase in the retirement age.

'No sacrifice for the rich!' protesters chanted, beating drums and holding banners reading: 'Where did the money go?'

Greek police fired teargas at groups of stone-throwing youths in central Athens...

... soon after, clashes erupted at the march with some 30 youths hurling sticks and stones at police, who returned with several rounds of tear gas. Threre were no reports of injuries.

An official at the Citizen Protection Ministry said some 200 youths, whom he described as anarchists, were participating in the the march.

'Let parliament burn,' chanted dozens of youths wearing black hoods and waving leftist and anarchist flags..."


Economic Stimulus Was a Waste of Time

Road to Recovery - Economic Stimulus Was a Waste of Time: Analyst - CNBC: "... the economists at UK research company Independent Strategy have waded into the debate and come to the conclusion that stimulus spending by President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and others has been a complete waste of time and simply saddled future generations with a big bill that will crowd out the private sector for years..."


43% Have Less Than $10k for Retirement

Most Americans still unprepared for retirement - survey - Mar. 9, 2010: "The percentage of American workers with virtually no retirement savings grew for the third straight year, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The percentage of workers who said they have less than $10,000 in savings grew to 43% in 2010, from 39% in 2009, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute's annual Retirement Confidence Survey..."


11 March, 2010

For Pennies, a Disposable Toilet That Could Help Grow Crops

Perhaps a useful addition to a well-stocked bug out bag?

For Pennies, a Disposable Toilet That Could Help Grow Crops - NYTimes.com: "A Swedish entrepreneur is trying to market and sell a biodegradable plastic bag that acts as a single-use toilet for urban slums in the developing world.

Once used, the bag can be knotted and buried, and a layer of urea crystals breaks down the waste into fertilizer, killing off disease-producing pathogens found in feces.

The bag, called the Peepoo, is the brainchild of Anders Wilhelmson, an architect and professor in Stockholm...

... In his research, he found that urban slums in Kenya, despite being densely populated, had open spaces where waste could be buried.

He also found that slum dwellers there collected their excrement in a plastic bag and disposed of it by flinging it, calling it a 'flyaway toilet' or a 'helicopter toilet.'

This inspired Mr. Wilhelmson to design the Peepoo, an environmentally friendly alternative that he is confident will turn a profit.

'People will say, ‘It’s valuable to me, but well priced,’ ' he said.

He plans to sell it for about 2 or 3 cents — comparable to the cost of an ordinary plastic bag.

In the developing world, an estimated 2.6 billion people, or about 40 percent of the earth’s population, do not have access to a toilet, according to United Nations figures..."


Kansas City to Close Nearly Half It's Schools

District Closes Half its Schools - WSJ.com: "The Kansas City Missouri School Board voted Wednesday night to shutter nearly half of its schools in an effort to avoid going broke.

The action closes 28 of 58 campuses and eliminates about 700 of the district's 3,300 jobs, including 285 teachers.

'None of us like doing this but it was necessary, it had to be done,' said board member Arthur Benson after a tense five to four vote that was interrupted several times by upset parents.

The plan comes as school districts around the country, battered by the recession and budget cutbacks, are closing facilities to save money..."


10 March, 2010

Returning A Major American City To Nature

Detroit Looks at Downsizing to Save City: "Detroit, the very symbol of American industrial might for most of the 20th century, is drawing up a radical renewal plan that calls for turning large swaths of this now-blighted, rusted-out city back into the fields and farmland that existed before the automobile.

Operating on a scale never before attempted in this country, the city would demolish houses in some of the most desolate sections of Detroit and move residents into stronger neighborhoods. Roughly a quarter of the 139-square-mile city could go from urban to semi-rural.

Near downtown, fruit trees and vegetable farms would replace neighborhoods that are an eerie landscape of empty buildings and vacant lots. Suburban commuters heading into the city center might pass through what looks like the countryside to get there. Surviving neighborhoods in the birthplace of the auto industry would become pockets in expanses of green..."