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30 July, 2012

The Hidden Cost Of Peak Oil

Energy Trade: The Hidden Cost Of Peak Oil | ETF DAILY NEWS: Most of what you’ve heard about “peak oil” is wrong. In fact, there’s a hidden cost to peak oil that’s very real. And it’s coming to a pump near you any day now.

I know you’ve read the same headlines that I have…how we are going to “frack” our way to energy independence by exploiting shale oil and other unconventional sources.

But here’s the thing.

Nobody’s talking about the high cost of getting the new oil out of the ground. But very soon, high extraction costs will kick crude oil prices into high gear...

27 July, 2012

Concealed Weapons Save Lives

Concealed weapons save lives - NY Daily News: ... If one of the hundreds of people at the theater had a concealed handgun, possibly the attack would have ended like the shooting at the mega New Life Church in Colorado Springs in December 2007.
In that assault, the church’s minister had given Jeanne Assam permission to carry her concealed handgun. The gunman killed two people in the parking lot — but when he entered the church, Assam fired 10 shots, severely wounding him. At that point, the gunman committed suicide.

Similar stories are available from across the country. They include shootings at schools that were stopped before police arrived in such places as Pearl, Miss., and Edinboro, Pa., and at colleges like the Appalachian Law School in Virginia. Or attacks in busy downtowns such as Memphis; at a mall in Salt Lake City, or at an apartment building in Oklahoma.

The ban against nonpolice carrying guns usually rests on the false notion that almost anyone can suddenly go crazy and start misusing their weapon or that any crossfire with a killer would be worse than the crime itself. But in state after state, permit holders are extremely law-abiding. They can lose their permits for any type of firearms-related violation.

Nor have I found a single example on record of a multiple-victim public shooting in which a permit holder accidentally shot a bystander...

26 July, 2012

Tea Party Supporters Getting Understandably Irritated at Being Linked to Every New Incidence of Ultra-Violence

Tea Party Supporters Getting Understandably Irritated at Being Linked to Every New Incidence of Ultra-Violence - Hit & Run : Reason.com

Results of Gun Control

The article linked-to and previewed below illustrates what happens to a society that limits and places tight controls on law-abiding citizens owning guns.


Culture of violence: Gun crime goes up by 89% in a decade | Mail Online: Gun crime has almost doubled since Labour came to power as a culture of extreme gang violence has taken hold.

The latest Government figures show that the total number of firearm offences in England and Wales has increased from 5,209 in 1998/99 to 9,865 last year - a rise of 89 per cent.

In some parts of the country, the number of offences has increased more than five-fold.

In eighteen police areas, gun crime at least doubled.

The statistic will fuel fears that the police are struggling to contain gang-related violence, in which the carrying of a firearm has become increasingly common place.

Last week, police in London revealed they had begun carrying out armed patrols on some streets...

25 July, 2012

Valor: Three Men Died Taking Bullets for Girlfriends in Aurora

Valor: Three men died taking bullets for girlfriends in Aurora #theatershooting | Twitchy: While it is unbelievably devastating and painfully heartbreaking, the valor and heroics of these three young men remind us of the good in people.

As Twitchy reported last night, Navy veteran and beloved father of two, Jon Blunk, died in the Aurora theater shooting while shielding his girlfriend from bullets. He wasn’t alone; two other men, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves, also died while saving the lives of their girlfriends...

Gun Confiscation Throughout History

Some food for thought:

Stormy Preview of Electric-Grid Crash

WOOLSEY: Stormy preview of electric-grid crash - Washington Times: Some two weeks after Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta warned of a potential “cyber-Pearl Harbor” involving a possible attack on the electric grid, Mother Nature took the cue and hit the East Coast with a storm that left millions of us for days without electricity from the grid.

Some said silent thanks for that old generator they’d thought to stick in the garage. Though it wasn’t a cyberattack, but Mother Nature gave parts of the grid a good lashing anyway. On my country road south of Annapolis, two transformers were blown down from their perches on telephone poles, and the leaking oil and surging electricity produced 20-foot flames. In the meantime, our driveway was filled for days with 15 Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. trucks and about 25 electrical workers from Arkansas erecting new poles and replacement transformers. And that was just to deal with five days of outage, caused by falling tree branches, for a very small community on one short country road. What would it have taken to deal with damage that was far more extensive across a number of states because it had been planned by a group or nation that wanted, above all, to destroy our society?...

24 July, 2012

The New York Times Admits That Virtually Every Major News Organization Allows The News To Be Censored By Government Officials

The New York Times Admits That Virtually Every Major News Organization Allows The News To Be Censored By Government Officials: In one of the most shocking articles that the New York Times has ever put out, a New York Times reporter has openly admitted that virtually every major mainstream news organization allows government bureaucrats and campaign officials to censor their stories. For example, almost every major news organization in the country has agreed to submit virtually all quotes from anyone involved in the Obama campaign or the Romney campaign to gatekeepers for "quote approval" before they will be published. If the gatekeeper in the Obama campaign does not want a certain quote to get out, the American people will not see it, and the same thing applies to the Romney campaign. The goal is to keep the campaigns as "on message" as possible and to avoid gaffes at all cost. But this kind of thing is not just happening with political campaigns. According to the New York Times, "quote approval" has become "commonplace throughout Washington". In other words, if you see a quote in the newspaper from someone in the federal government then it is safe to say that a gatekeeper has almost certainly reviewed that quote and has approved it. This is another sign that "the free and independent media" in this country is a joke. What we get from the mainstream media is a very highly filtered form of propaganda, and that is one reason why Americans are turning away from the mainstream media in droves. People want the truth, and more Americans than ever realize that they are not getting it from the mainstream media...

19 July, 2012

Shelf Life of Canned and Dry Foods by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E. - Grandpappy

Shelf Life of Canned and Dry Foods by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E. - Grandpappy

Taiwan finds H5N1 virus in birds smuggled from China

Taiwan finds H5N1 virus in birds smuggled from China | Yahoo! Health: Dozens of pet birds smuggled from southern China into Taiwan tested positive for the deadly H5N1 avian flu virus and were destroyed, Taiwanese authorities said Tuesday.

The smuggler bought the 38 birds in the Chinese city of Guangzhou and was caught at the Taoyuan international airport in northern Taiwan when he returned via Macau earlier this month, said the Centers for Disease Control..

18 July, 2012

Preventing a Bird Flu Pandemic

Preventing a bird flu pandemic | Fox News: Culls of hundreds of thousands of chickens, turkeys and ducks to stem bird flu outbreaks rarely make international headlines these days, but they are a worryingly common event as the deadly virus continues its march across the globe.

As scientists delve deeper into H5N1 avian influenza, they have discovered it is only three steps way from mutating into a potentially lethal human pandemic form, adding new urgency to a debate over how to protect humans.

In 2009, during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, vaccines only became available months after the virus had spread around the world - and even then there was only enough for one in five of the world's 7 billion people.

Next time, experts say, we need another approach...

13 July, 2012

Solar Flares Getting Stronger

The sun's solar flares keep on getting stronger - with latest hot spot the size of 15 Earths strung together | Mail Online: The sun is a tempestuous mistress - and her outbursts are becoming more and more violent as the weeks go on.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spotted the summer's first 'X' solar flare on Friday - a huge outburst from the sun right at the top of the scale.

This came on the back of 12 'M' flares in just six days, with a M6.1 flare knocking out radio signals across the planet on Thursday - hinting at the destruction the sun could reign on our technology if Earth takes a full blast across its blow...

14 Incredibly Creepy Surveillance Technologies That Big Brother Will Be Using To Spy On You

14 Incredibly Creepy Surveillance Technologies That Big Brother Will Be Using To Spy On You: Most of us don't think much about it, but the truth is that people are being watched, tracked and monitored more today than at any other time in human history.  The explosive growth of technology in recent years has given governments, spy agencies and big corporations monitoring tools that the despots and dictators of the past could only dream of.  Previous generations never had to deal with "pre-crime" surveillance cameras that use body language to spot criminals or unmanned drones watching them from far above.  Previous generations would have never even dreamed that street lights and refrigerators might be spying on them.  Many of the incredibly creepy surveillance technologies that you are about to read about are likely to absolutely astound you.  We are rapidly heading toward a world where there will be no such thing as privacy anymore.  Big Brother is becoming all-pervasive, and thousands of new technologies are currently being developed that will make it even easier to spy on you.  The world is changing at a breathtaking pace, and a lot of the changes are definitely not for the better...

12 July, 2012

Homeland Security Report Lists ‘Liberty Lovers’ As Terrorists

Homeland Security Report Lists ‘Liberty Lovers’ As Terrorists Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!: A new study funded by the Department of Homeland Security characterizes Americans who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority,” and “reverent of individual liberty” as “extreme right-wing” terrorists...

60 Days In Prison And A $12,180 Fine For Hosting A Home Bible Study In Arizona

60 Days In Prison And A $12,180 Fine For Hosting A Home Bible Study In Arizona: The war on home Bible studies and house churches is heating up again. Down in Phoenix, Arizona a man has been sentenced to 60 days in prison and has been fined $12,180 for hosting a Bible study in his home. Since 2005, Michael Salman and his wife have been hosting gatherings of about 15 or 20 people where they share food, fellowship and discuss the Bible. Unfortunately, that kind of thing is against the law in Phoenix, Arizona apparently. At one point, nearly a dozen armed police officers raided their home and "evidence" of their "crimes" was gathered. Michael Salman was found guilty of 67 "code violations", and now he is going to be ripped away from his family and put in prison for two months. In addition, the assistant city prosecutor is asking the court to "revoke his probation and convert it into a 2 1/2 year jail sentence since he continues to hold worship gatherings on his property despite court orders." This kind of case has the potential to have a huge "chilling effect" on home gatherings of all kinds all over the United States...

Pros and Cons of Freeze-Dried, Dehydrated, MRE, Food Bars, Grains-Beans (Modern Survival Blog)

A very thorough comparison: Pros and Cons of Freeze-Dried, Dehydrated, MRE, Food Bars, Grains-Beans (Modern Survival Blog)

11 July, 2012

Smartphone App That Allows Citizens to Record Their Interactions With Police

I am very pro-law enforcement in most circumstances and leery of the ACLU (it started-off with a great purpose, but has become extremely radicalized since), but there are "bad apples" in every group, police included; so, I think giving citizens the means to keep them honest is probably a good thing.  Even unused, the fact that this is out there and available may serve to discourage some bad behavior.

I do find it a little weird, however, that they'd take the time to make it available for the #2 platform in the smartphone world and not the undisputed dominant #1 -- the iPhone. At least, I couldn't find an iPhone version. Curious.


ACLU-NJ Police Tape - Android Apps on Google Play: Citizens can hold police accountable in the palms of their hands with "Police Tape," a smartphone application from the ACLU of New Jersey that allows people to securely and discreetly record and store interactions with police, as well as provide legal information about citizens' rights when interacting with the police.

10 July, 2012

Cops Shoot Family Dog During Foot Chase

What an utter and despicable disrespect for life. As I've stated previously here on Backwoods Survival Blog, I am usually very pro-law enforcement in my views, but this type of cruelty is both utter nonsense and inexcusable. I can understand a police officer shooting a dog that is a threat, but any moron knows that, if a bunch of people tear-off running past it, *ANY* dog is going to bark at them and chase after them. That's not threatening behavior -- that's called being a damn dog! In my opinion, this is almost as bad as the cretinous shooting of people's pets during the forced Hurricane Katrina evacuation(s) -- not the ones who were left behind or put-out by irresponsible owners and eventually formed dangerous feral packs, but rather those that were gunned-down by laughing law enforcement and National Guard personnel in sick target-practice games right in front of their owners simply because those owners were refusing to evacuate if it meant they couldn't take them with them.

What does this wonton disregard for life say about us as a culture?

No half-assed apology will bring this faithful family companion back to her people. The offending officer(s) need to be fired, if for no other reason than that anyone that dumb (not to mention unfeeling) shouldn't be walking around with a gun on their hip -- I consider that a threat to public safety.

My pets are like my children. If this was my dog, there's a good chance you'd all be reading about me killing a cop right now.


Cops Shoot Dog During Foot Chase; Petition Started for “Justice for Monkey” - Hit & Run : Reason.com: Police officers in Lake Charles, Louisiana shot and killed a family dog named Monkey while chasing a suspect...

... It happened yesterday at a house on Hodges Street in Lake Charles where the dog named "Monkey" was allegedly shot multiple times.

The shooting reportedly occurred when the dog began barking at police who were chasing some suspects...

If One Storm Can Turn D.C. Dark For Several Days, What Would A Massive EMP Burst Do?

If One Storm Can Turn D.C. Dark For Several Days, What Would A Massive EMP Burst Do?: Sometimes we all get a little reminder of just how completely and totally dependent we are on the power grid. Massive thunderstorms that ripped through Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia left millions without power... The "super derecho" storm that pounded the Washington D.C. area on Friday night with hurricane-force winds is being called unprecedented. But the truth is that there are other events that could happen that would be far more damaging to our power grid. For example, a substantial EMP burst over a major U.S. city would fry virtually all of the electronics in the city and take the power grid in the area down indefinitely. A gigantic EMP burst over the entire country (caused by a massive solar storm or a very large nuclear explosion high in the atmosphere) could theoretically take down the entire national power grid. Just try to imagine a world where nobody has any electricity, nobody can pump gas, nobody can use their credit cards or get any more money, where most vehicles won't start, where nobody has the Internet, where all cell phones are dead and where nobody can heat or cool their homes. That is how serious an EMP burst could potentially be. We are talking about an event that could be millions of times worse than 9/11.

Hopefully this latest storm has reminded Americans about how vulnerable our power grid really is and about how close we really are to being knocked back to the late 1800s...

09 July, 2012

Emergency SHTF Water Filtration & Purification

Emergency SHTF Water Filtration & Purification - YouTube

DIY Aquaponics

How to build a simple DIY Aquaponics system using a Koi Carp pond (for less than $200) - YouTube

Aquaponic basic $70 setup. If you want the full free dvd version email ki4ngz@yahoo.com (part two) - YouTube

Six Things to Do to Prepare for Going Off-Grid

Six Things to Do to Prepare for Going Off-Grid: Anyone who has gone camping overnight knows that there is a certain magic involved when sitting by a campfire or camp stove, sharing fish tales and roasting marshmallows over the flickering flames. The whole idea of being off-grid for a few days is embraced as a big adventure and something to look forward to as way to disconnect from our busy lives and the digital world.

Alas, as fun as a camping trip can be, the adventure could get tiresome if not downright frightening if you were forced to camp due to either a short term power disruption or the longer term side effect of a major disaster of calamitous proportions...

Proud of My People

Fayetteville, W. Va., the small town mentioned in this article is about a 90-minute drive from my homestead. Just wanted to share.

Saturday Diary / Thank you, West-by-God-Virginia - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

08 July, 2012

Hurricane in the Mountains

Reading the title above may make you think I've finally flipped my lid, and it is certainly not technically accurate, but -- for all intents and purposes -- that's what the recent devastating derecho storm amounted to around my parts.  At the very least, one could argue that the effect was similar.  Of course, this storm was widespread and, as such, affected lots more people than just us ol' hillfolk, but I'll leave it to those foreigners (how we think of the rest of you good folks) to tell their own stories in their own ways.  Sadly, deaths resulted numbering in the double-digits.

My reasoning for comparing it to a hurricane is due to the wind-speeds involved.  A hurricane becomes a hurricane at 74mph.  The derecho sustained winds of that high and much higher throughout, even failing to be slowed significantly by our mountains.  Yeager Airport in Charleston (West Virginia, not South Carolina) clocked it at still blowing at 78mph, and that is one of the lower readings I've seen in a place after the mountains had already slowed it, what little they did.

In the end, West Virginia was arguably the state that was hit the hardest by this storm: 53 out of the state's 55 counties reported damage from the derecho; far in excess of half a million households lost power in the midst of a record heatwave; and, for many people, the juice stayed off for a long time, due to rough, mountainous terrain and scattered, isolated populations.  Entire communities lost water pressure, businesses closed (including gas stations, unable to operate their pumps with no power, and grocery stores).  Our local news featured people from Beckley, WV who had to drive to Princeton, WV (40 minutes or so on the Interstate) and sit in long lines just to buy gasoline.  Generators sold-out to the point where people were driving all the way to North Carolina to buy one.  The American Red Cross, other charities, and government aid folks had to bring in food and water to sustain hundreds of thousands of people; ice had to be trucked-in from as far off as Louisiana.  As I stated in a previous article here on Backwoods Survival Blog, we were very lucky to have lost power here at our little mountain homestead for only one miserable night.  More about that in a bit.  Some less fortunate folks are still without power and water, if you can believe that.  My heart goes out to them.

On a far less dire but inconvenient note, the derecho also forced the evacuation and eventual cancellation (to be rescheduled) of a highly-anticipated local concert when the wind gusts literally moved both the stage and a concrete Jersey Wall weighing in excess of 5,000 pounds!  Needless to say, it was a big deal in these parts.

The first inkling I had that anything unusual was even occurring was a few hours prior when a friend from high-school rattled-off a few quick, cryptic things on Facebook about being stuck with no power in the building where she works in Ohio and it feeling like the building was swaying.  I had it in my head that she was describing an earthquake, but she never responded to my questions (cell towers went down all over the place).  Anyway, I won't bore you by describing the storm itself, other than to say it hit pretty suddenly, was a scary experience, and to report that my pets (2 dogs/4 cats) were sufficiently freaked-out by it as well.

We lost power at around 7pm or so and didn't get it back until the next day; a few hours in the water pressure started to drop and the water itself was murky, so we knew the pumping station and the treatment infrastructure were down.  We're lucky in that there's a clean spring just a short walk up the hill from our homestead (it's runs through our property, but not as close to the house as I'd like), so, other than being a hardship to have to haul it, water is not a huge concern for us.  I've drank from it with no ill effects, but I also keep the means to filter and chemically-treat water if needed in an emergency, so lack of water isn't going to be the death of us.  I've day-dreamed for years about piping water down from the spring into an emergency cistern closer to the house with an overflow that returns the excess right back to the same stream (new water constantly replaces the old, so no stagnating), but I've never gotten around to doing it.  One more thing on the endless list of unfinished future projects.

Another concern that revolves around the need for water is toileting, which I've already been asked about in the Comments section of yesterday's article and subsequently promised to elaborate upon.  Our toilets (and every other drain) are completely gravity-fed and run into the Tug Fork River via terracotta pipes (where the original pipes survive) and PVC (added later during repairs).  I know that probably sounds insane to many of you, but all of these little communities were originally coal camps and that's how it was done.  The bigger towns in the area such as Bluefield, Princeton and (I believe) Welch have modern sewage treatment systems and newer constructions use septic tank systems, but those of us in older rural homes -- quite literally -- still shit in the creek.  Go ahead and laugh.  It's funny.  I forgive you.  ;)

Anyway, the positive thing about having such a FUBAR'd system is that TEOTWAWKI could hit tomorrow and destroy all of civilization and my toilets will still flush as long as we pour water into them, which we can haul fairly easily from our spring... so now who's laughing.  ;)

Needless to say, without electricity, and in a raging storm at 7pm, it got dark rather quickly.  And I mean *DARK*.  As in, no electricity within 20 miles (or further) kind of dark.  Out came the candles, flashlights, and LED rechargeable lanterns (which are always on-charge just in case of such emergencies).  Thank God for giving me the good sense to be a Prepper!

Still, there was the issue of our freezers and refrigerator and of the decreasing water pressure... and the boredom.  OH.  MY.  GOD.  THE.  BOREDOM.  I had a 4kw generator out in the shed, but decided to wait and see how long the juice was out before going through that kind of trouble.  Also, in order to avoid the urge to keep opening the fridge to snack, letting the cold air out; running-down our batteries; as well as the aggravation of hauling water to our toilets in the dark, we went to bed at about 10pm, completely unaware of what was happening in the world outside the little bubble of our homestead.

It was not a pleasant night.

We don't have central air, but I always run a fan to sleep in the summertime, and, without power to run it, it was sweltering.  But, worse than that was the dark.  That also probably sounds crazy, but I found that I had a really hard time relaxing in such complete inky dark.  I spent an inane amount of time opening and closing my eyes, amazed that I literally couldn't tell the difference.  I read somewhere that the fact that our modern world is never truly quiet or completely dark contributes to our poor health, because the human brain uses such signals to know when to release certain neurochemicals, but I had a really hard time adjusting.  I was hypersensitive and hyper-alert all night, set-off by every unusual sound.  I even considered going to get my handgun to sleep with, in case someone tried to take advantage of the blackout.  I didn't sleep a wink until dawn approached and gave a little gloaming light.  It was crazy.

On a hilarious note, my pets did not understand it being so dark either.  They just wandered around the house, growling at each other when they got too close.  One of the cats couldn't see to jump, so she climbed-up onto the bed like it was a tree and fell off twice.  Just walked right off the edge.  I thought cats were supposed to be able to see in the dark, but apparently mine have lived the good life of fat house kitties for too long and have lost their natural instincts or something.

Anyway, as previously-stated, our power returned early the next day, allowing me to loan-out my generator to a cousin and saving us from the indignities of having to haul water or me spending another insane night, lying awake in the pitch black.  Others were not so lucky.  What little time we were without power, though, being a Prepper made it easier to endure; and, had it lasted longer, my preps would have seen us through with the necessities of life indefinitely.

And now, perhaps ironically, another severe thunderstorm is approaching as I finish writing this.  Hopefully, we won't go dark again, but, in the meantime, I'm going to go make sure all the LED lanterns and rechargeable batteries are charging, the candles are easy to locate at need, and fill some jugs and pots with water.  I think I'll be sure my Kindle is charged-up too, to help with the boredom issue.  :)

07 July, 2012

Insane Storms

If you live anywhere other than under a rock, you're already familiar with the insane storms that have battered much of the country recently.  Our little homestead was right in the thick of it, but somehow fared better than many, including -- perhaps ironically -- the unfortunate Director of our state's Department of Homeland Security (whose wrecked home sits minutes from where I now type this).

We just got our internet access back in the last little bit and we're still trying to wade through the considerable backlog of emails, messages, etc., so if you've tried to get in touch with us and couldn't, that's why.  Thanks for the concern of those who tried to reach-out, and apologies to those awaiting responses, their comments to be approved, etc. 

We only lost power for one miserable night, luckily, but the net was out for 8 days -- and, living in a dead signal area, our cell phones are controlled via a little Microcell tower that runs off the high-speed internet... so no net = no cell either.  So, we've been, more or less, completely out of the proverbial loop.

Others are just now getting their lights back on or are still waiting in the dark, so, all-in-all, we were very fortunate.  A few downed trees on our acreage (blissfully, nowhere near the house or outbuildings), a little siding ripped off by the wind's fury, and some minor lifestyle inconveniences were the worst of it for us.  We were even fortunate enough that I was able to loan-out our generator to a family member who was without power and needed it to run his well-pump.

I'll write a more extensive account later RE: how being an emergency preparedness enthusiast (i.e. a Prepper) helped ease our particular experience, but that's the gist of it for now.  Good to be back with you folks!  :)