Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Interesting Popular Science Web Site: Offbeat Uses for Common Household Objects


Although not strictly "survival" I thought that some of the ideas presented were intriguing in the sense of following the old Depression-era idea of "Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do or Do Without".  Finding innovative uses for everyday objects we have lying around could become an important skill in the future and it's worth thinking about.  

Dem Governor calls for next suspension of 2012 elections


QUOTE: "As a way to solve the national debt crisis, North Carolina Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue recommends suspending congressional elections for the next couple of years.“I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover,” Perdue said at a rotary club event in Cary, North Carolina."

I'm really hoping that somehow she just mispoke because this is one of the most concerning things I've ever heard a politician say.  We've had elections during every turbulent time in our history, including the Civil War and World Wars.  It this "meme" starts getting repeated by other members of her party I am very curious what the response will be.  One of the things we discuss on this podcast is different potential triggers for civil/social unrest.  This would seem to possibly qualify.... 

Report: Earth in the crosshairs of a major solar storm


QUOTE: "A sunspot, 62,000 miles across - so big it would dwarf the Earth - is releasing gigantic solar flares that could in theory wreak havoc with electrical communications ranging from handheld electronics such as iPhones to sections of the power grid.  Nasa has detected two X-class solar eruptions from 1302 – the most extreme possible – in the past week. One that occurred on September 24 produced an amazing light show over England last night – but it’s far from over, as the sunspot isn’t yet directly aligned with Earth."

We've talked about the potential effects of a "Coronal Mass Ejection" on occasion, but this seems like a time to especially keep a wary eye out.  And a quick re-read of the story of the Carrington Event of 1859 might be worthwhile as well. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pakistan: The Next War?


QUOTE: The dangers could be enormous if Washington and Pakistan, a largely dysfunctional state teeming with Islamist militants and run by a weak, military-cowed government, fail to arrest the deterioration in relations. At stake are the fight against terrorism, the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and -- as Islamabad plays off its friendship with China against the United States -- regional stability.

It's the "security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal" that concerns me....  Even with 20 years having passed since the end of the Cold War Nuclear Preparedness is still an important concept and something we should all be thinking about on some level.

Sign of the Times?: Hay The Latest Target For Thieves As Prices Skyrocket


QUOTE: Yes, hay, is the new target for thieves.  Round bales that used to sell for $20 are now topping $175.

Good thing there's no inflation, right?

And so it begins....


QUOTE: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday he is adamant about not recognizing Israel as the Jewish state. "They talk to us about the Jewish state, but I respond to them with a final answer: We shall not recognize a Jewish state," Abbas said in a meeting with some 200 senior representatives of the Palestinians community in the US, shortly before taking the podium and delivering a speech at the United Nations General Assembly. 

As the Palestinians begin their push for "statehood", knowing full well that the majority of UN members join them in their hatred of Israel, look at what their actions are showing.   Even something as simple as their logo demonstrates that they are STILL all about the extermination of the nation of Israel.  
As I said on the podcast last week this will only end badly, folks.  Despite what all the talking heads are saying look at the past 60 years of history, not to mention the past couple thousand years, and then extrapolate what a world-wide conflict might look like that is sparked by another war in the Middle East.  Sadly, that is what I fear is coming.   

CNN: Global economy alarm bells ring


QUOTE #1: "There's a global slowdown underway, probably a recession for Europe and we're teetering on the edge of one," said Keith Hembre, chief economist for Nuveen Asset Management. "There's just one global economy, one with varying degrees of global pain."

QUOTE #2:  "Investors are losing their faith in policymakers' ability to right these economies," said Higgins. "Especially in the advanced economies, policymakers are lot more impotent than they were three years ago during that crisis. People are very skeptical there's any silver bullet."

Sounds like the financial people are starting to get a grip on what's really taking place.  Which is kind of worrisome....  Think about it, if everyone starts trying to dump stocks, commodities, etc. the downturn can only accelerate.   And more and more of the "experts" seem to be waking up....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Great Recession's 'Lost Generation'


This was a very sobering read, but it fits with what I've seen around me and the experiences of many from my generation.  There's no way to really know what the long-term impact will be, but it is obvious there will be financial and societal repercussions. 

QUOTE: "Many young adults are essentially postponing adulthood and all of the family responsibilities and extra costs that go along with it," said Mark Mather, an associate vice president at the private Population Reference Bureau. He described a shift toward a new U.S. norm - commonly seen in Europe - in which more people wait until their 30s to leave the parental nest.

The fewer people working the lower the tax revenues will be, meaning that the deficit will continue to outpace all the official projections you see in the media.  It's hard to see a significant improvement in this picture as long as we are repeating the Carter years of the late 1970s.

A Mainstream Look at the 'Bug-Out Bag'


QUOTE: "With this in mind, let’s discuss the value of a Bug Out Bag. This bag (B.O.B. for short) is a collection of goods that you would need to survive if you had to flee your home with no guarantee of shelter, food or water during the emergency. Think of the B.O.B. as your survival insurance policy for any disaster or mayhem."

People spend large sums of money every year on other insurance policies.  Seems like many are waking up to the value of "survival insurance" options, such as "Bug-Out Bags".  

Stocks Fall Off Cliff After Fed Announces New Move


As one of the comments says after this piece, 'Isn't this basically what the Japanese did to foster the "last decade"?' More 'easing', more 'stimulus' is clearly not the answer or it would have worked by now.  What this seems to show is that the Fed is more or less out of bullets and things are going to start to unfold rapidly.

One quote that really caught my attention was the following:

QUOTE: "Costs to protect debt from Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo rose after the downgrades by Moody’s, which said U.S. support is less likely in an emergency. Credit-default swaps tied to Bank of America added about 40 basis points from yesterday to 375 basis points as of 3:41 p.m. in New York, according to broker Phoenix Partners Group. Swaps on Wells Fargo jumped to the highest since July 2009, climbing 17 basis points to 143 basis points, Phoenix prices show. Contracts on Citigroup rose 19 to 250, according to data provider CMA" 

That means they're calculating that there will not be big bailouts for the major banks this time around.  If you have accounts with any of those companies keep that fact in mind. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Living Off of the Bounty of Your Homestead: A Visual Guide


So the takeaway from this is that with about 2 acres of usable land a family of four could "make it".  While it doesn't cover Aquaponics or some of the other options available I did think that this was a nice graphic to capture the general parameters for becoming self-sufficient.  Let's hope this is a trend people are getting interested in.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chip at Appleseed

I mentioned at the end of last week that I would be attending the Appleseed shoot located about 3 hours from my home.  My experiences will be the subject of at least one podcast this week but I thought I would link to a few of the pictures from the even along with some brief description and then go more in depth with the episodes this week (pictures courtesy of George Hacker).

The drive to the range that Appleseed was held at was beautiful.  Up in the boondocks despite not being all that far out of the second most populous city in Oregon.

There were demonstrations of various mechanics/shooting forms which I found to be very helpful.  A couple of times I would have an epiphany about something and then when we went to shoot right after I could see the difference in how I shot. 

Chip looks on as the Shoot Boss demonstrates another shooting form (I'm in the green shirt/hunting cap second from the right).

Listening to more instruction on the second day of shooting (proudly sporting my Oregon Ducks pride).

Doing the flinch/eyes open/trigger squeeze exercise with my partner (a nice young man who also shot very well).

Listening during lunch time on the second day as more accounts of the Revolutionary War were shared.  I found this part of the experience to be extremely valuable.

The targets quake in fear as we Appleseeders sharpen our shooting skills....

Shooting from the sitting position (I found this to be a position where I shot quite well from).

Your good buddy Chip doing the "shooting blind" drill to prove that having a good "Natural Point of Aim" (NPOA) is key to accurate marksmanship (I am the guy shooting closest to the camera).
Overall, an incredibly valuable experience which you'll hear more about on the show this week.  You can find out more about this organization here: http://appleseedinfo.org/

Himalayan earthquake kills dozens as rescue operation continues


To everyone who says that all these earthquakes are normal occurrences I say "Really?"  Seems like we've been having a quite an increase in recent years.  If you want to keep an eye on the "big" earthquakes around the world, I recommend the following site: USGS Latest 5.0+ Earthquakes Around the World .

If Greece is the canary in the coal mine....

.... We're in trouble:


And it's coming to the US too: http://www.cnbc.com/id/44556652

Here's my viewpoint on what's transpiring: It's almost a certainty now that Greece will default.  What's taking place appears to be trying to structure an "orderly" default.  What effect will that default have for the rest of the world economy?  The eventual fallout (my guess only) is that what is going to transpire will make the Lehman Brothers collapse look like a minor historical footnote.  This is "Sovereign Debt" we're talking about, after all, and there are many more countries that have a similar problem. 
Keep prepping....

AP: Farmers flee as world's deadliest volcano rumbles


The reason I bring this story to your attention are the following two quotes:

QUOTE #1: "The April 1815 eruption of Tambora left a crater 11 kilometers (7 miles) wide and 1 kilometer (half a mile) deep, spewing an estimated 400 million tons of sulfuric gases into the atmosphere and leading to "the year without summer" in the U.S. and Europe. It was 10 times more powerful than Indonesia's much better-known Krakatoa blast of 1883 — history's second deadliest. But it doesn't share the same international renown, because the only way news spread across the oceans at the time was by slowboat, said Tambora researcher Indyo Pratomo. In contrast, Krakatoa's eruption occurred just as the telegraph became popular, turning it into the first truly global news event."

QUOTE #2: "Temperatures worldwide plummetted, causing crops to fail and leading to massive starvation. Farmers on the northeastern coast of the U.S. reported snow well into July. In France, grape harvests were decimated. Daniel Lawton of the wine brokerage Tastet-Lawton said a note in his company's files remarks that 1816 was a "detestable year" and yielded only a quarter of the crop planted."

Is it reasonable to assume that this could happen again in the near future? With similar results?  Perhaps so, in which case you could imagine what would happen with the social order of today once food supplies run low.  Yet another reason to both store food AND have a garden.  The food you store can get you through the times when crops won't grow well and the garden can provide food during times of normalcy and after a recover from such an even takes place.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Chip Monk Farm & Homestead

It's been a while since I shared some pictures of our adventures here on the farm, so I thought today would be a good day to do so.

Our little Chicken Hotel.  Just perfect for our three lil' ladies.
"Flopsy", "Mopsy" and "Cottontail".  If you guessed my five-year-old son named them, you'd be right.
Our first potato plot that developed.  We've been getting some amazing potatoes out of this bunch.
The beautiful forest surrounds us on all sides and we love to take time to enjoy it.
The little plank bridge that Chip carries all the firewood across.  Yup, that's all there is. :)
Another day ends on the Chip Monk Homestead.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Some good web sites/books on foraging

I try to occasionally talk on the podcast about foraging for the food that exists in abundance around you, with the idea of guaranteeing oneself the ability to eat regardless of whatever else is going on.  There is a lot of information online about foraging, but sometimes it is difficult to glean the good information from the suspect material.
Below are several links (or links to books that are available) about foraging.  If listeners have other books that they'd like to share feel free to drop me an email at: chipmonksurvivalpodcast AT gmail.com .

http://www.foragingtexas.com/ (for the Southwest US)
http://www.fs.fed.us/ne/newtown_square/publications/research_papers/pdfs/scanned/OCR/ne_rp138A.pdf (Medicinal Plants of the Appalachia Region)

And many more....  (Just do a search online for "foraging" or "foraging for food" and you should come across even more information on this vital topic).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Amazing story of heroism as group of people lift car off of injured motorcyclist


We need occasional reminders of what people are capable of doing in times of difficulty and crisis.  The above video is one of these reminders...  A group of bystanders comes together and performs a more or less superhuman act to save a life.
Remember this lesson as the future grows darker...  In the immortal words of Galaxy Quest, "Never give up! Never surrender!" :)  With people coming together for mutual assistance there's nothing that can not be overcome no matter how overwhelming it seems at times.

Census: US poverty rate swells to nearly 1 in 6


QUOTE: "The ranks of America's poor swelled to almost 1 in 6 people last year, reaching a new high as long-term unemployment left millions of Americans struggling and out of work. The number of uninsured edged up to 49.9 million, the biggest in more than two decades."

How many people do you know who are struggling to get by?  How many new jobs do you see becoming available around you?  Using those two benchmarks it is my belief (as I've said before) that all signs point to us being in the early stages of a Second Great Depression.  If the issues in Europe really hit the fan (which could happen very soon) things could get interesting very quickly. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

DOW has biggest loss in three weeks


And I'm guessing this is the reason: http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/09/markets/markets_newyork/

QUOTE (from that CNN article): "There's a lot of nervousness that Greece could default this weekend, and Greek bonds yields keep rising," said Joe Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading. Reports said Germany is preparing to shore up its banks to protect them against a Greek default. If Greece's bonds become worthless, that can trigger capital-requirement problems, and a lot of major banks could go under, Saluzzi said. "The financial contagion could be pretty bad, so investors are getting out now and waiting to see how all of this will shake out," he added."

Keep an eye out this weekend, whether on the foreign financials or the 9/11 anniversary.... 

Earthquake hits off of coast of Vancouver, BC


QUOTE: The quake with a preliminary 6.7 magnitude created a slight rattling in nearby Seattle, Washington, but police in the U.S. city said there were no reports of damage.

6.7?  That's a pretty strong one.  Here's hoping it's not a preliminary for something greater.  

IMF Chief: World Entering 'Dangerous New Phase'


QUOTE: "She warned that both advanced and emerging economies faced key economic challenges, and that governments must "act now" to stop further contagion. "Policymakers should stand ready, as needed, to take more action to support the recovery, including through unconventional measures," Lagarde said. 

"Unconventional measures"?  Oh boy....

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Photos of the Great San Diego Blackout


I love San Diego, and can just imagine how this could have gone....  Or might turn out in the future if things had gone on for longer...

9/11 Anniversary attacks? Or just more "Be Very Afraid..."?


I can't remember a 9/11 date over the past decade that there hasn't been talk of "chatter" and "possible attacks" in the media.  While I'm extremely thankful we haven't seen additional attacks on the scale of 9/11/01 part of me wonders if the "powers that be" want to appear to be diligent and on top of things so they occasionally create the perception of imminent threats which then fade away after the anniversary passes. 
Regardless, if there was going to be a time for another attack a significant date like this weekend could be it so be careful, especially if you live in any population center (or are visiting one like the opening weekend of NFL games...)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sign of the Times?: Entire truckload of meat stolen


42,000 lbs. of meat?  That's a lot of burgers.  But seriously, when I see things like this story (or the one about trucks with tomatoes being hijacked from a few months ago) it causes me to really consider the times we're living in. 

More flood worries for the Eastern US


As the old saying goes "When it rains, it pours"...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

67 Shot in Weekend NYC Violence


Of course Mayor Bloomberg immediately blamed "guns on the streets", but for some reason places with much higher per-capita firearms ownership than NYC had no problems of this type over the weekend. 

Hmmm...  Makes you wonder if there could be other reasons we see these problems in big cities?  However, regardless of the reasons, it is a stark reminder of how bad things could get in a real disaster when you see these events during times of peace and calm. 

Labor leader forgets the "New Civility"


If you really think about his words, this is truly troubling.  What a time we live in....

Friday, September 2, 2011

US Economy gains NO jobs in August (first time since World War II)


QUOTE: "The US economy created no jobs and the unemployment rate held steadily higher at 9.1 percent in August, fueling concerns that the US is heading for another recession.  It was the first time since World War II that the economy had precisely net zero jobs created for a month. Economists had been expecting the report to show a net of 75,000 jobs created, an unusually low number considering the US is technically more than two years removed from the end of the last recession."

"Another recession?"  For many people I hear from we never left the first one.  And there are many of us who believe we are actually in a 'Greater Depression'.  I'll be discussing more strategies for dealing with economic hardship in an upcoming episode on the podcast. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

AP: Gasoline close to record high before Labor Day


QUOTE: "Gasoline is near the highest it's ever been for this time of year, just ahead of the Labor Day weekend. The run-up in oil prices this year, combined with a rash of refining problems throughout the U.S., has boosted pump prices. The national average on Thursday is $3.629 per gallon. Drivers will pay more for gasoline this Sept. 1 than in any other year except 2008, when pump prices hit an average of $3.686. Retail gasoline prices are rising in the U.S. even though motorists are buying less. Analysts say they have been pushed higher by a steady rise in international gasoline demand. Americans may be using less, but drivers in developing nations are using more."

Anyone remember what else happened back in 2008?  (Hint: It had to do with the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression...)