Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Could cyber war cause a "real" war?


QUOTE: "The United States is warning that a cyber attack -- presumably if it is devastating enough -- could result in real-world military retaliation. In the wake of a significant new hacking attempt against Lockheed Martin Corp, experts say it could be extremely difficult to know fast enough with any certainty where an attack came from. Sophisticated hackers can mask their tracks and make it look like a cyber strike came from somewhere else." 
Scary stuff.

More weird weather: Record heat


Do you have a plan for high heat issues in your area?  If the air conditioning goes out?  It's at least worth thinking about.

New Mexico to axe food stamp supplement program?


Two reasons why this seems important: 1. It's a sign that states really are starting to run out of funds.  2. With 44.5 million people on food stamps (according to the article) the economy appears to be much worse than the talking heads are always telling us. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

CNBC: Where's the Recovery? Hopes For Economic Rebound Fade


Quote from the article: "A year that was supposed to mark a turning point both for the US and global economy is rapidly turning into the recovery that wasn't. At a time when things were supposed to be getting better they are instead turning worse: Commodity prices are eating into consumer spending, historically low interest rates haven't done a thing to help housing, and, most worrisome, the job market rebound has been stopped in its tracks. Is it too early, then, to talk about a double dip? Probably."

I don't think we can really call it a "double dip" when most signs indicate that there has been no recovery. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Melon-sized hail falls in Oklahoma


I've been in a couple of hailstorms that did major damage (including totaling a car I owned during one of them) but have never seen hail this size.  Amazing.  I just hope no one was hurt by these monsters.

CNBC: Pending Home Sales Plunge, Reaching Seven-Month Low


Quote from the article: "Pending sales of existing U.S. homes dropped far more than expected in April to touch a seven-month low, a trade group said on Friday, dealing a blow to hopes of a recovery in the housing market."

I think I can answer the questions of why the continued drop off in housing is occurring with a single word: jobs.

Is Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Secretly a Prepper?


A quote from Mr. Zuckerberg drawn from the article: "This year, my personal challenge is around being thankful for the food I have to eat. I think many people forget that a living being has to die for you to eat meat, so my goal revolves around not letting myself forget that and being thankful for what I have. This year I've basically become a vegetarian since the only meat I'm eating is from animals I've killed myself. So far, this has been a good experience. I'm eating a lot healthier foods and I've learned a lot about sustainable farming and raising of animals."

 Interesting.  While I'm not a big fan of Facebook or Zuckerberg I find this to be a compelling development and more or less agree with what he has to say.  Weird.

A picture is worth 1000 words: Joplin Edition


Unbelievable.  The power of nature is the greatest survival/preparedness threat in my mind and the one people should focus on prepping for.  In the case of the above pictures nothing short of an underground shelter would have probably made a difference.  If I lived in that area I would start building one tomorrow regardless of cost.

Global economy reeling from recent events


Quote from the article:  "The world economy is losing strength halfway through the year as high oil prices and fallout from Japan’s natural disaster and Europe’s debt woes take their toll.  Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now expects global economic growth of 4.3 percent in 2011, compared with its 4.8 percent estimate in mid-April, while UBS AG has cut its projection to 3.6 percent from 3.9 percent in January. Downside risks also include a shift to tighter monetary policy in emerging markets. “The world economy has entered a softer patch with the incoming growth data mostly disappointing,” said Andrew Cates, an economist at UBS in Singapore. “We suspect this soft patch will endure for longer.” 

I suppose any person on the street could have told us the same thing.  It's amazing to me that anyone would still listen to the experts who failed to see the economic downturn coming and who have consistently been wrong on their projections for a significant recovery.  Fool me once, you know?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Reuters: New leak feared at stricken Japan nuclear plant


"Radioactive water appears to be leaking from a waste disposal building at Japan's Fukushima nuclear complex, operator Tokyo Electric Power said on Thursday, in a new setback to the battle to contain radiation from the crippled power plant."

 Speaking of reasons to have a healthy distrust of major media sources, why haven't we been hearing much about this in recent weeks?  Is the situation getting so much better that it doesn't warrant coverage?  Has the media just "moved on"?  I wonder why they've for the most part stopped covering the nuclear plant problems in Japan?  Hmmm....

Foreclosures 'Astronomically High'


Subheading: "Huge backlog of distressed properties means any housing recovery is a long way away"

Do you remember quite some time back when I posted numerous links to news stories saying that the housing market had hit bottom and was now recovering?  I believe I went all the way back to 2007 with some of the links and up to 2011.  That's four years of mainstream news articles telling us that the housing market was improving.
What does the above story tell us?
They lied.  The market is not improving and in fact has yet to hit bottom.
Not to be negative and pessimistic but I have to ask the question what else are they (the media) lying about then?

US Jobless claims rise "unexpectedly" once again


Unexpectedly?  Sheesh....  All the media has to do is look around and/or talk to people in nearly any community across the country.  I'm telling you, folks, the only recovery seems to be in the mind of those in government who want it to be so (remember last year's "Recovery Summer") and in the media trying to prop up those same people in government.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More carnage in the Midwestern US


I love the Midwest.  I have visited the region on numerous occasions and found the folks living there to be the some of the warmest, most decent people you'll ever meet.  What a dreadful series of tragedies have been hitting them in recent months.  Our prayers are with all of those being impacted by these events.

What happens when Greece defaults? And could this come to America?


Here is a little of what the article projects is coming soon in Greece:

What happens when Greece defaults. Here are a few things:
- Every bank in Greece will instantly go insolvent.
- The Greek government will nationalise every bank in Greece.
- The Greek government will forbid withdrawals from Greek banks.
- To prevent Greek depositors from rioting on the streets, Argentina-2002-style (when the Argentinian president had to flee by helicopter from the roof of the presidential palace to evade a mob of such depositors), the Greek government will declare a curfew, perhaps even general martial law.
- Greece will redenominate all its debts into “New Drachmas” or whatever it calls the new currency (this is a classic ploy of countries defaulting)
- The New Drachma will devalue by some 30-70 per cent (probably around 50 per cent, though perhaps more), effectively defaulting on 50 per cent or more of all Greek euro-denominated debts.

 Now replace "Greece" with other countries (Ireland? Portugal? Spain? The US?) and you'll see why even the hedge fund managers are worried these days. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

QE 2 was a bust.... Now things are worse than before


Here is my key takeaway from the article:
"House prices are lower than before QE2 was launched. Economic growth is slower. Inflation is higher." 
I suppose the question now is was this by design or did these "experts" think it would actually work?

US Supreme Court orders release of tens of thousands of inmates in California


Unbelievable.  I wonder how high firearms sales will climb in California after this decision?  As one of the comments after the article suggests in ten years we won't be discussing how much prisoner suffering was lessened by this act but rather how much carnage was wrought by the felons released under this misguided decision.  If you haven't already relocated from California, this might be your warning to do so.  That is, if the earthquakes, gang activity, etc. haven't already compelled you to do so.

Devastation in the Midwest

89 dead in Joplin, Missouri
Quote from the article:
" A massive tornado that tore a 6-mile path across southwestern Missouri killed at least 89 people as it slammed into the city of Joplin, ripping into a hospital, crushing cars like soda cans and leaving a forest of splintered tree trunks behind where entire neighborhoods once stood. Authorities warned that the death toll could climb as search and rescue workers continued their efforts. Their task was made more miserable as a new thunderstorm with strong winds and heavy rain pelted part of the city with quarter-sized hail."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Job creation at lowest post-recession rate since Great Depression


I doubt you'll hear these stats from the major media sources, but there it is.  This is further evidence of my belief that we are heading into a "Greater Depression".  I sure hope I'm wrong.  Regardless, I thought Comment #7 following the article hit it right on the head:  
"Obama will make recessionary times just the normal economic condition. The media will try their best to make the permanent economic disaster seem acceptable."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chuck Hawks on survival rifles


I enjoy reading the various articles on the above site about various firearms and came across this page about survival rifles.  I have touched briefly on several of these designs over the period of a few different podcast episodes, but this is nice as it gives in-depth information about each of these options along with pictures.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Interesting article about building an inexpensive wind turbine system


Fascinating approach and a quite cheap way to go about it.  I plan to re-read this article very slowly, take notes, and see if I can replicate this (or create something similar) at some point here at the Chip Monk farm.

CDC warns public to prepare for "Zombie Apocalypse"


I think they have a great point.  Whatever it takes to get peoples' attention.... :)

Perhaps I'll do a podcast episode on "Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse" sometime.  (I had one planned for April Fool's Day this year but it didn't work out schedule-wise, unfortunately.)

Previously unseen color pictures from the Great Depression


I find these pictures fascinating for a couple of reasons: #1. It shows people are pretty much the same in any generation (ie. You can see parents' love for children, people working hard to get by, the struggles of existing during hard times, etc. in these pictures). #2. It puts a "face" on what life was like during that troubling time and if we ever do descend into something similar it is a reminder that we can come through it and, seeing how humans have always adapted to survive in the past, that we will endure. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Coast Guard closes Mississippi River


"Record flooding has caused authorities to close the Mississippi River at the port in Natchez because barge traffic could put more pressure on the levees. Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Colclough said the port was closed Monday, leaving two vessels waiting to head north and one waiting to go south. The U.S. economy could face a bill running into the hundreds of millions of dollars a day if the lower Mississippi River is closed to shipping for days or weeks, port officials said. It wasn't clear when the river would reopen to traffic."

Any guesses on what impact this will have economically?  Not to mention the growing catastrophe it represents for those living in the affected areas.  Stay safe, folks!

US Official: Growing threat from solar storms


This is definitely an article worth reading from beginning to end.  Then grab a copy of "One Second After" by William R. Forstchen.  When you're done with those two steps follow them up by listening to Episode #151 on EMP Survival.  Then look at your previous prep efforts, identify any holes you might have (Faraday cages for electronics, stocking up on medications, etc.) and then stop worrying about it.  You can only do what you can do, right? ;)

Monday, May 16, 2011

It has begun: US Treasury to tap pension funds


I've been wondering if/when this would happen.  While many of the "experts" seem to think this isn't that big of a deal, I disagree.  How long until the government starts tapping private 401ks and IRAs to fund operations? 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fighting erupts on three of Israel's borders


A while back I had heard or read somewhere that May 15 was going to be a troubling day in Israel.  I don't recall the specifics (I think it might have been related to the so-called "Freedom Flotilla") but it's interesting to me that the timing is indeed today.  Is this for Assad to take pressure off of himself in Syria?  Is this the prelude to something larger?  Obviously this was coordinated, and some in the Middle East are saying that Iran is behind it.  Who knows what will come of it, but how many of the world's current "issues" are due to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?  Definitely worth keeping an eye on if you're concerned about conflict, terrorism, and large-scale problems that could create new and even unforeseen survival/preparedness concerns. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Large, distant quakes can trigger changes in the San Andreas Fault


Can a large quake in one part of the world cause an earthquake in another distant location?  Seems logical, doesn't it?  So is it outside the realm of possibility to consider that the recent quakes in Japan, New Zealand, Chile and Indonesia could have an impact on the Cascadia Subduction Zone I've talked about in the past?  According to the study mentioned above in the article, it sure seems like there could be a connection.  Not that it's a sure thing that there will be events elsewhere triggered by these prior developments, but it's something worth considering if you are a survivalist/prepper in one of the potentially affected regions. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

WSJ: More lean years ahead for the housing market


There is a reason we are leasing our farm instead of buying.  It's my humble opinion that the housing market in many parts of the country may still drop up to another 20% despite all the media assurances (quoting people in the Real Estate field as their experts) that the worst is behind us.  Think about it, if people don't have jobs they can't buy houses.  It's pretty simple.  And thus there is downward pressure on housing prices that were much overinflated at their 2006 highs.  So we don't plan to buy for some time, but that's just our perspective.  If you find what seems to be a good deal and it's a place you plan to live for some time it might be worth it in your situation. 

Do not rely only on GPS systems for land navigation in the Western US


So says the above article.  I've always thought GPS tools were great as a secondary verification of other information (maps, etc.) but not something you should bet your life on.  Recent news stories have provided further verification of that idea.  Perhaps I'll do an upcoming episode on Geocaching so I can discuss the virtues of GPS along with its limitations.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

1931 Document about gardening to feed a family


I love to see when people convert old informational material into a contemporary form so we can all make use of it.  In this case the above link is to a file called "The Home Vegetable Garden" from 1931 and gives a lot of useful ideas about how much food you need to produce to feed a family and thus how large your garden must be.  I haven't read the entire piece but I certainly plan to as we launch into our gardening/small-scale farming efforts here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Few Pictures of the Chip Monk Farm

I posted these over at the main Chip Monk Family Survival Podcast web site but thought I'd share them here as well.  :)

View looking towards the back fields and mountainside.
View looking towards one of the upper fields.
Primary garden area (one of the three fields I hope to plant this summer).
Our bunny Peter Harvey, or as I like to call him "LunchPlanB".

Don't forget Ready.gov prepping information


I fear sometimes people develop such a distrust of all things government that they neglect to recognize some of the resources available from official channels.  While I might not consider the above link to be a comprehensive list it is a great place to start and to send people who are newbies to the Survival/Prepping/Disaster Readiness field especially due to the fact that it is officially sanctioned and thus less likely to be considered "tinfoil-hatty".

Earthquake hits Spain


At least ten dead at the last count I heard.  The timing is interesting as a prediction nearly 100 years ago said that Italy would be hit by an earthquake on May 11, 2011 and what do you know this one pops up in Spain. 
We are living in interesting times.....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Consumers and Investors Seek Protection with Guns and Gold


Very interesting article.  I thought the author hit the nail right on the head, at least as far as the stats of people purchasing firearms due to an unsettled feeling about the future.  The most important takeaway to me were the final lines of the piece:

"Something serious is going on here. America’s economic recovery may be much weaker than advertised, while her economic vulnerability may be much greater than widely believed.  Confident citizens do not usually buy record amounts of guns and gold."

Welcome to the McJobs Recovery


Seems like a lot of people I talk to have a sense that what this article says is proving to be true.  The "good" jobs have disappeared and all that is left is low-level service-type jobs.  I hope that is not the case, especially long-term, but I have this subdued feeling that it might be. 
The following quotes from the article really jumped out at me:

"Think of it as a parable for these grim economic times. On April 19th, McDonald's launched its first-ever national hiring day, signing up 62,000 new workers at stores throughout the country. For some context, that's more jobs created by one company in a single day than the net job creation of the entire US economy in 2009. And if that boggles the mind, consider how many workers applied to local McDonald's franchises that day and left empty-handed: 938,000 of them. With a 6.2% acceptance rate in its spring hiring blitz, McDonald's was more selective than the Princeton, Stanford, or Yale University admission offices."


"While 23% of the jobs lost in the Great Recession that followed the economic meltdown of 2008 were "low-wage" (those paying $9-$13 an hour), 49% of new jobs added in the sluggish "recovery" are in those same low-wage industries. On the other end of the spectrum, 40% of the jobs lost paid high wages ($19-$31 an hour), while a mere 14% of new jobs pay similarly high wages."
Time to plant a garden, don't you think?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Evidence at bin Laden's home raises nuclear concerns


Here we go.  I've been concerned about Pakistan's nuclear capabilities for a long time so it will be interesting to see what intelligence and counter-terrorism officials say about these new "finds".  My hope is that this won't be the beginning of another round of "give up your freedoms for safety" efforts such as we've seen with the TSA. 

NYT: On small farms hoof power returns


I found this to be an interesting article as it covers some of the things we're hoping to do.  I'd like to get away from using equipment that relies on any sort of fossil fuel, and using "hoof power" is a great way to achieve that end.  I'd be interested in hearing from any listeners that already do something along these lines. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Where to live in the US to avoid a natural disaster


Interesting.  Looks like our neck of the woods (Corvallis, OR/Salem, OR) is considered to be the safest.  Other than the tsunami threat (which is reduced by living further inland) I've long thought that the area we live is a great option as a survival/preparedness retreat.  Not saying that everyone else should move here, however.... ;)

Hezbollah sets up operations on US-Mexico border


However it is you get your news it is likely you're noticing something of a change in the past few days regarding terrorism.  The Bin Laden event combined with constant reminders that "Terrorists could respond by launching attacks" should be alarming especially to those living in major population areas.  Let's hope it's little more than another series of false alarms, but it never hurts to be vigilant especially when seeing groups like Hezbollah (an Iranian proxy) setting up on our shores.

Silver plunges, but Mexico central bank quietly buys 100 tons of gold

After flirting with $50 an ounce, Silver has dropped down to around $36 during trading today:
Does that mean that the economy has rebounded and precious metals should be shunned in favor of stocks or other financial instruments?  Um, no....
If anything (and remember I'm not an expert by any means or even much of a precious metals fan unless it's for long-term financial survival) this is probably a temporary dip and a chance to buy some Silver now that it has come off the recent highs.  The following article about Mexico buying 100 tons of Gold is a reminder that PM's definitely have a value beyond that of paper money. http://www.cnbc.com/id/42909399

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Osama Bin Laden dead


Any chance there are reprisal attacks?  Will he become a martyr?  Regardless, this is a momentous and historical event.  God bless the USA.