Technology

Downtown Chicago Could Receive Resilient Electric Grid

Some good news coming out of Chicago concerning the protection of its electric grid. From area electric utility ComEd yesterday:

ComEd to Partner with AMSC on Superconductor-based Resilient Electric Grid System
Homeland Security Project Seeks to Increase the Resiliency and Security of
Chicago’s Electric Grid

Devens, MA, and Chicago, IL – July 16, 2014 – AMSC (NASDAQ: AMSC), a global energy solutions provider serving wind and power grid industry leaders, today announced that ComEd, a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC) and one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, has agreed to develop a deployment plan for AMSC’s high temperature superconductor technology to build a superconducting cable system that will strengthen Chicago’s electric grid. The Resilient Electric Grid (REG) effort is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’s work to secure the nation’s electric power grids and improve resiliency against extreme weather, acts of terrorism, or other catastrophic events.

“Modernizing our region’s electric grid is part of ComEd’s vision to strengthen power reliability and to connect our customers and this region to the 21st century digital economy,” said Anne R. Pramaggiore, President and CEO, ComEd. “We view this project as a natural extension of the infrastructure improvements and technological upgrades that have been under way for the past two years as we develop and deploy the smart grid. Linking our critical urban infrastructure to this superconductor system would provide added reliability, resiliency and security to Chicago’s Central Business District, an essential economic engine for the state and region.”

The current design of the grid infrastructure in many U.S. cities makes restoration of power after a catastrophic event time-consuming, costly, and unpredictable. Led by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, the Resilient Electric Grid is a self-healing solution that provides resiliency in the event that portions of the grid are lost for any reason. The ComEd installation would be the first commercial application of this advanced technology in the United States

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Nice to hear a project protecting downtown Chicago’s grid is in the works, although to be fair, only three miles of superconductor cable is supposed to be laid.

If you’re outside the “Loop” you’ll be lumped together with the rest of us mopes in the Chicago metropolitan area.

The lights are flickering. Gotta run.

You can read the entire press release (.pdf file) on the ComEd website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Latest On Proposed Niles, Triton College Firearm Training Facilities

Last Wednesday I blogged about a proposed gun store and shooting range in the northwest Chicago suburb of Niles hitting a snag. Here’s the latest, courtesy of the Illinois State Rifle Association website on June 30:

URGENT ALERT – YOUR ACTION REQUIRED BLOOMBERG MOMS MAKE NILES, IL “GROUND ZERO” IN NATIONAL EFFORT TO CLOSE GUN SHOPS AND BAN RANGES

THE BIG ANTI-GUNNER LIE: “gun shops and ranges are dangerous launching points for armed attacks on schools, malls and the elderly.”

SITUATION: A team of entrepreneurs is attempting to construct and operate a gun shop and pistol range in Niles, Illinois. The purpose of the range and gun shop would be to better serve law-abiding firearm owners in the northwest suburbs. The shop and range proposal has already passed out of committee by a 6-1 vote. However, the proposal must be passed by the full village council in order for the range to open.

THREAT: A Chicago-based extremist gun control group affiliated with the Bloomberg Moms is attempting to block the construction and operation of the range and gun shop in Niles. Backed by $50 million in Bloomberg’s anti-gun war chest, the Moms are threatening political harm to local officials who support the proposed gun shop and range. This is part of a nationwide effort by the Moms to abolish private firearm ownership by shutting down all ranges and gun shops. If you care about freedom, you must help stop these radical gun-haters here and now.

ACTION REQUIRED: The Niles Village Board will be meeting soon to vote on whether or not the range will be allowed. It’s vitally important that you be there during the vote to show your support for the range. The Bloomberg Moms will certainly be there to attack the 2nd Amendment and demand that your gun rights be taken away from you. You need to be there, in Niles, to stand up and defend your rights along with the rights of millions of other Americans.

Date: Monday, July 7,2014 Time: 7:00 PM (be there by 6:15 to get a good seat) Location: Niles Village Hall, 1000 Civic Center Drive, Niles, IL 60714

PREPAREDNESS: The Bloomberg Moms are determined radicals who will go to great lengths to attack you and the 2nd Amendment. Be prepared vigorously defend your rights. Do not let these people get the upper hand in the meeting – actively challenge any attack on your right to keep and bear arms. There is no compromise. There is no common ground. It’s all or nothing in support of our Constitution!

Remember, only you can stop the antigunners. If you don’t stand up to them now, it may be all over. …

The “Bloomberg Moms.” Too funny.

And here’s something I caught on the Forest Park Review website from earlier this June that might interest local law enforcement and nearby residents seeking concealed-carry training. Jean Lotus reported:

Interest is growing among 23 Triton College feeder communities for a shared police training facility and shooting range hosted at the River Grove campus.

The community college recently sent a survey to police chiefs and village managers in 25 different towns asking about a possible shared facility, and almost all of them responded that they were open to discussing the possibility…

The current proposal is a “tactical training facility” located on the Triton campus with a state-of-the-art 24-position shooting range…

Training on judgment laser shooting and pursuit driving were just some of the requests made by survey respondents. Lotus added:

Sixty-four percent of the departments surveyed also asked for mock streetscape technology. Other suggestions were leadership training, firearms training from a vehicle, felony traffic stop scenarios, water-based courses, tactical room entry, building searches and rapid deployment training.

[Forest Park Mayor Anthony] Calderone pointed out Triton could even do concealed-carry training for civilians

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Stay tuned…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Lotus, Jean. “Proposed Triton cop training facility gains steam.” Forest Park Review. 10 June 2014. (http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/6-10-2014/Proposed-Triton-cop-training-facility-gains-steam/). 2 July 2014.

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Chicago’s Coming Data-Collection Sensors Ripe For Abuse?

Something I read in the Sunday paper yesterday is making me even more glad I moved out of Chicago when I did. David Heinzmann reported in the Chicago Tribune:

The curled metal fixtures set to go up on a handful of Michigan Avenue light poles later this summer may look like delicate pieces of sculpture, but researchers say they’ll provide a big step forward in the way Chicago understands itself by observing the city’s people and surroundings.

The smooth, perforated sheaths of metal are decorative, but their job is to protect and conceal a system of data-collection sensors that will measure air quality, light intensity, sound volume, heat, precipitation and wind. The sensors will also count people by measuring wireless signals on mobile devices.

Some experts caution that efforts like the one launching here to collect data from people and their surroundings pose concerns of a Big Brother intrusion into personal privacy.

In particular, sensors collecting cellphone data make privacy proponents nervous. But computer scientist Charlie Catlett said the planners have taken precautions to design their sensors to observe mobile devices and count contact with the signal rather than record the digital address of each device…

Hill’s Law. If something has the potential to be abused, it probably will be.

That also applies to this so-called “Array of Things” project. Heinzmann noted:

[Gary] King, the Harvard sociologist and data expert, agreed that the Chicago scientists will inevitably scoop up personally identifiable data.

“If they do a good job they’ll collect identifiable data. You can (gather) identifiable data with remarkably little information,” King said. “You have to be careful. Good things can produce bad things.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A must-read for this blog’s Chicago readers, which is located here on the Tribune website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Monday, June 23rd, 2014 Communications, Privacy, Technology No Comments

Project Prepper, Part 28: Buying My Parents Some Emergency Preps

A couple of years ago, my parents in the Chicago suburbs lost electricity for an extended period of time after severe weather pummeled the area. I heard from them the morning after the event, and they weren’t doing so well. Without power on an extremely hot and humid night, the two of them fumbled around in the dark and hardly got any sleep. My Mom informed me that it was especially brutal on my Dad, who is an octogenarian with all sorts of health issues- mobility being one of them. During that conversation, my mother told let me that I should be prepared to evacuate him if the electricity didn’t come back on that evening.

Evacuate meaning carrying him down from their fourth floor condo unit in a building without working elevators.

He’s kind of heavy (225 pounds), so I wasn’t really looking forward to this task. Thankfully, the electric company got the power restored to their building before I had to attempt this.

Shortly after this incident, I asked my parents if they wanted me to help them prepare for the next time this happened. Shockingly, they were actually receptive to this.

Alas, I wasn’t able to assist them right away. So the next time I brought the subject up, Mom and Dad weren’t interested.

I guess this is pretty common according to the emergency management pros. An emergency/disaster strikes, and those affected initially talk about being prepared for the next major crisis. But then they never follow through. And the next emergency/disaster happens.

Seeing that the Chicago area just wrapped up its winter of 2013-14 a couple of weeks ago (there was an unmelted snow pile still on the ground two suburbs over in early May!), and severe weather often rolls through during the transition from winter to summer, I recently purchased some basic emergency preparedness gear from Amazon.com for my parents anyway (I didn’t want them to go through another hellish night like the one they experienced a couple of years ago). This included:

Coleman Twin LED Lantern

This lantern would be their main source of emergency lighting in a blackout. From the Coleman website:

Light the night your way with the Coleman Twin LED Lantern. Extra-bright at up to 390 lumens, this lantern lets you see far and wide while four Cree LEDs, which never need to be replaced, provide effective, efficient, energy-saving light when you need it. The rotating dial offers customizable light settings from low to high. Long runtimes—299 hours on ultra-low and 85 hours on high—will have you back home before you need fresh batteries. Its weather-resistant construction delivers reliable output, even in wet and windy conditions, and its base unscrews for quick access to the battery chamber so you can change them virtually anywhere, anytime. Powered by 8 D-cell batteries, come out of the dark with the Coleman Twin LED Lantern.

The twin LED lantern costs $36.44 on Amazon.com as I type this.

Coleman 4D XPS Classic Personal Size LED Lantern

For when either of my parents go to a different room from where that twin LED lantern is situated. From Amazon.com:

The Coleman 4D XPS Classic Personal Size LED Lantern sheds 190 lumens of light, thanks to the super-bright Cree XLamp XR-E LED. The Lantern is Coleman XPS-compatible; it will run for up to 60 hours on High, 25 hours on Low, on 4 D-cell batteries — or use the optional 6V rechargeable battery pack (both sold separately). A diffuser tube provides a perfect beam pattern. The Lantern is weather-resistant to withstand the elements, so it’s great for camping and other outdoor use.

The personal LED lantern costs $19.98 on Amazon.com as I type this.

O2COOL NEW 10″ Battery Operated Fan with Adapter

I bought two of these (one for each parent). From the Chicago, Illinois-based O2COOL website:

Features Include:

• Dual Power sources: Plug-in with the AC adapter (included) or use 8 D-Cell batteries (not included).
• Powerful 2 speed 10-inch blade.
• Convenient built-in handle.
• Stable horseshoe base.
• Tilts for directional air flow.
• Compact folding design makes it great for travel; easy to carry and store.
• Perfect for camping and outdoor activities.
• Up to 40 hours of battery life.

Each portable dual power fan costs $26.85 on Amazon.com as I type this.

Yeah, I know these devices require a bunch of “D” batteries (which I already picked up and installed a couple of weeks ago). But my parents won’t use these lanterns or portable fans if they’re too “complicated” to power and operate.

I also picked up two 3.5-gallon WaterBrick water containers (discussed here) for my parents as well from a different vendor. I figured in addition to helping my parents cope with a blackout, I could help them deal with a boil-water advisory like the one that hit nearby Deerfield, Illinois, last summer.

A single WaterBrick costs $20.02 on Amazon.com as I type this.

Finally, my parents had some existing preps at their condo. Besides a variety of flashlights, I bought them a black Princeton Tec Fuel Headlamp similar to the one I own and use (discussed here, $19.38 on Amazon.com).

And while not an emergency radio, my Mom picked my Dad up a Sony ICF-S10MK2 Pocket AM/FM Radio. It’s handy and I can think of a ton of uses for it- besides getting information in an emergency. Plus, the price is definitely right ($12.97 on Amazon.com).


“Sony ICF-S10MK2 Pocket AM/FM Radio”
YouTube Video

I’ll still be sending them over a “real” emergency radio soon.

So a little bit of a detour in my “Project Prepper” series of posts. But definitely worthwhile.

Once I get back to my parents I’ll take some photos of these preps and share them with readers.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Resource Of The Week: Gold & Silver Vault App By GoldSilver.com

I meant to end last week on a high note- with a “Resource Of The Week” post- but was just too spent being sick and all. I’ve recovered. And before I start getting on a roll with this week’s blog material, I wanted to get that ROTW out to readers.

Now, as I’ve mentioned before on Survival And Prosperity, I’ve been a keen observer of gold and silver for some years now. And people who’ve been following the price action of these precious metals lately will tell you these are very interesting times (gold dropped to a 16-week low, silver to an 11-month low, last week).

Particularly if you hold either of the two as an investment/trading vehicle.

With all that’s been going on lately, more people might desire to keep a close eye on the latest gold and silver news and prices. Perhaps even keep track of the value of their holdings.

Enter the Gold & Silver Vault App by affiliate marketing partner GoldSilver.com. The Santa Monica, California-based gold and silver educator and dealer (reviewed here) now offers a free “app” for the Apple iPhone and Android which lets users track their gold and silver investment value 24/7:


“Gold & Silver Vault Phone App TVC V2”
YouTube Video

Looks very useful and informative. Too bad I don’t own a smartphone (maybe one of these days). But readers might.

Check out the Gold & Silver Vault App on GoldSilver.com via the banner ad below. The app can be found on the “Goldsilver” tab, in the “Knowledge Center” drop-down menu near the top of the page. Please note that by clicking on the ad and purchasing a product from GoldSilver.com, I receive a commission from the sale.


GoldSilver.com - Buy Gold & Silver

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Link added to SP “Resources” page)

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Dangerous Solar Storms Coming As Current Cycle Wanes?

“Though the sun is currently in the peak year of its 11-year solar weather cycle, our closest star has been rather quiet over all, scientists say.

This year’s solar maximum is shaping up to be the weakest in 100 years…”

-SPACE.com, July 12, 2013

“This is the height of the 11-year solar cycle, the so-called solar maximum. The face of the Sun should be pockmarked with sunspots, and cataclysmic explosions of X-rays and particles should be whizzing off every which way.

Instead, the Sun has been tranquil, almost spotless…”

-The New York Times website, September 23, 2013

I have this feeling that many of those concerned about a dangerous solar maximum (normal period of greatest solar activity in an 11-year “solar cycle” of the Sun) and Solar Cycle 24 are ready to call it a day.

I’m not sure we’re out of the woods quite yet though when it comes to threatening space weather.

From the website of Boulder, Colorado-based University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), a consortium of more than 100 member colleges and universities focused on research and training in the atmospheric and related Earth system sciences, earlier today:

ON THE WATCH FOR SOLAR SUPERSTORMS

As the current solar cycle winds down, the risk of big storms goes up

Don’t write off this solar cycle just yet. Even though the current peak in the 11-year cycle of sunspot activity is on the weak side, the Sun might still produce a major storm at any point, spewing plasma that could disrupt power grids and satellite communications. What’s more, the waning part of the solar cycle—which we’ll experience during the latter part of this decade— is actually when the most dangerous storms are most likely.

NCAR solar physicist Scott McIntosh is raising awareness. He gave a talk at the American Meteorological Society’s 2014 annual meeting on how and why solar storms tend to cluster on either side of the solar activity cycle, with the very biggest tending to occur as the cycle recedes

(Editor’s note: Bold in body text added for emphasis)

This is the first time I’ve heard of such an increased risk in dangerous space storms as a solar cycle wraps up. If I come across more material on this phenomenon, I’ll share it with readers.

In the meantime, you can read that entire piece on the UCAR website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Go-To Gear For When The Lights Go Out

Last Friday night, my girlfriend and I lost power at our place in the Chicago suburbs.

It’s not like there was a storm going on. Not even a breeze from what I could tell. The electricty just went sayonara without any warning.

Rather than freak out- this subdivision sure is dark without any lights (the same holds true even with light )- I did what I usually do when an event like this happens nowadays:

Bust out some emergency gear.

I recently realized that I’ve never really gone into detail about the items I use when the lights go out. So, I’ll talk about them this afternoon, assuming a scenario where I lose power at night.

The first item I grab in such a situation is my Princeton Tec Fuel Headlamp, Black, which I picked up from the local Cabelas a few years back. From the Princeton Tec website:

When applied well, technology should be simple. Such is the case with the innovative Fuel headlamp – designed to meet the widest range of applications while remaining small, lightweight and robust. With all of the touch points of the product being considered, the Fuel’s smart design fulfills technology’s promise of actually making our lives easier.

What could be better than a light that weighs only 78g with 70 lumens of brightness and 146 hours of burn time? A light that also has an asymmetrical single arm bracket that makes directing the light effortless and reliable; a large, easy to find push button switch and a virtually bulletproof, easy access battery door that protects the 3AAAs and its electronics. Yea.. that’s pretty much it.

Simple. Perfect. Fuel.

I never owned a headlamp until I learned how handy it was for Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre during the economic collapse in Argentina. I love it. I even bought one for my Dad and the “super” at my old apartment building before I moved ($20.16 @ Amazon.com as I type this).

As soon as I get my hands on the headlamp, I grab two more “essentials” right away- a battery-powered LED lantern and dual-power (AC/batteries) portable fan.

The Coleman Twin High Power LED Lantern was another Cabelas purchase from a couple of years ago. From the Coleman website:

Enjoy the outdoors in full, bright light with the Coleman® Twin High Performance LED Lantern. Ultra-bright at 580 lumens, this lantern lets you see far and wide while four Cree® LEDs, which never need to be replaced, provide effective, efficient, energy-saving light when you need it. With seven brightness settings that range from high to ultra-low, you’ll have just the right amount of light. A long runtime—100 hours on ultra-low and 10 hours on high—will have you back home before you need fresh batteries. Its water-resistant construction delivers reliable output, even in wet and windy conditions, and its base unscrews for quick access to the battery chamber so you can change them virtually anywhere, anytime. Powered by 8 D-cell batteries, come out of the dark with the Coleman® Twin High Performance LED Lantern.

-Eight brightness settings ranging from high to ultra-low
-580 incredibly bright lumens on high
-52-ft. (15.85 m) beam distance on high
-Up to 10 hours runtime on high setting
-Up to 100 hours runtime on low setting
-Powered by eight D-cell batteries (sold separately)
-Four lifetime Cree® LEDs never needs replacing
-Stays cool while running
-Water resistant against rain and splashing water
-5-year limited warranty

Boy is this thing bright- even on lower settings! I had it lit in the master bedroom Friday and anyone passing by might have easily thought we didn’t lose power. I’ve run this lantern several times since it was purchased for short durations, and the “D” batteries that I installed a couple of years ago are still going strong (had to check for battery leakage as soon as I typed that- I’m good). I like it so much I’m planning on buying one for my parents ($56.99 @ Amazon.com as I type this).

Blackout Gear

“Essential”:O2COOL Portable Fan and Coleman LED Lantern

The other “essential” I grab is a dual-power (AC/batteries) portable fan from Chicago-based O2COOL. The model I picked up from a local Kmart a couple of years ago (#1071) looks to be discontinued. However, its successor, O2COOL NEW 10″ Battery Operated Fan with Adapter (Model# FD10002A), certainly looks just as capable judging by Amazon.com reviews. From the O2COOL website:

Features Include:

Dual Power sources: Plug-in with the AC adapter (included) or use 6 D-Cell batteries (not included)
Powerful 2 speed 10-inch blade.
Convenient built-in handle.
Compact design makes it great for travel; easy to carry and store.
Perfect for office and home.
Up to 40 hours of battery life.

The portable fan does a great job of cooling off an individual and circulating air around a small room for its compact size. The O2COOL comes out every time the lantern does. And like the Coleman, I’ve used it several times for short durations since its purchase, with the original 4 “D” batteries I put in it still working strong. I plan on buying more O2COOL dual-power portable fans, as Chicago summers can be brutal ($20.99 @ Amazon.com as I type this).

I usually bust out other items, like an emergency weather radio or portable DVD player- but not before that other gear.

While my girlfriend and I have managed to get by with the above, I am looking at acquiring more items for when the lights go out, such as additional emergency lighting, an emergency weather radio with more capabilities, and another portable dual-power fan. More about that in a future “Project Prepper” post though.

In the meantime, readers- care to share the “essential” gear you like to use when the lights go out?

I, for one, would love to hear what your go-to items are.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Resource Of The Week: The Great Northern Prepper’s ‘Prepper Resources’ Page

I recently stumbled on a preparedness blog- The Great Northern Prepper, “Where Preparedness is a state of mind as well as a style of life”- by ex-Marine and security contractor Richard Morgan.

The Alaska native has amassed a large number of prepping resources (in .pdf format) on his aptly-named “Prepper Resouces” page.

“Over 570 and counting!” according to Morgan.

The resources fall under the following categories:

-General Preparedness
-Homesteading
-Wilderness Survival
-Food Preps
-Water
-First Aid/Medical
-NBC- (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical)
-EMP
-Military Field Manuals
-Prepper Tech
-Gardening (lots here)
-Building Plans (tons here)
-Work Magazine
-Natural Disaster Preparedness

I took a look at a few of these .pdf files, and most were teriffic.

Anyone looking to populate a flash drive or other storage device with freely-available prepper resources in an electronic format might want to start here on The Great Northern Prepper blog.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Link added to “Resources” page)

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National Geographic Channel’s ‘Selling Survival’ Web Series

I’m about two weeks away from reintroducing the “In Print” series of posts on Survival And Prosperity. In the meantime, other material will be substituted in its place.

Today, I’ll be blogging about a National Geographic Channel web series that’s related to their highly-rated Doomsday Preppers TV show and which a number of readers may be interested in watching- particularly if they’re curious about prepper/survivalist expos like me and/or the latest innovations.

Enter Selling Survival.

From its web page on the Nat Geo Channel website:

Join Doomsday Preppers casting director Brooklyn Bagwell as she travels to some of the biggest prepper events in the country. Meet preppers, inventors, survivalists, and specialists as they showcase their must-have doomsday products and gear. From martial arts training to firing her first gun (an AR-15!), driving a bonafide bug-out-vehicle, and everything in between, she’s experiencing it all. And each week, she’ll be sharing her journey first-hand for anyone curious enough to wonder what goes on inside the world of prepper expos.


“Meet Brooklyn Bagwell”
YouTube Video

There are 15 short episodes of a couple minutes each uploaded on the National Geographic Channel website. I saw the first 11 episodes shortly after the series debuted- and finished up watching the remaining 4 installments this afternoon.

The content of Selling Survival was interesting, particularly as I’ve never gone to one of these conventions. The innovative gear and products that were introduced blew my mind at times- so much so I’ve jotted down some of them for further research. And Ms. Bagwell was a stellar pick by Nat Geo to host the series. Why? She’s pretty much a “newbie” to all this preparedness stuff, leading to concepts and function being explained more carefully and clearly (to the benefit of series viewers).

Still, there’s only so much you can fit into a couple of a minutes. I really wish episodes were quite a bit longer.

Overall, the web series was interesting (several times I thought to myself “now that is cool”), somewhat brainless viewing (don’t expect to be imparted with any “meaningful” knowledge watching this- although a couple of ideas did pop into my head). Yet fun, which Brooklyn Bagwell brought to the table.

For more information on Selling Survival- and to watch the 15 episodes- go to its area on the National Geographic Channel website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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North Korean EMP Weapon That Can Strike U.S. For Real?

There’s been increased chatter about the North Koreans having the capability of attacking the United States using an electromagnetic pulse weapon that could fry electronics and power grids. From F. Michael Maloof on the independent news website WorldNetDaily (WND.com) yesterday:

A long-suppressed report prepared by the Department of Homeland Security for the Defense Department concludes that North Korea could deliver on its threats to destroy the United States with a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack.

The report remains blocked from release to the American public.

However, a copy obtained by Peter Vincent Pry from sources within DHS finds North Korea could use its Unha-3 space launch vehicle to deliver a nuclear warhead as a satellite over the South Pole to attack the U.S. from the south…

Pry said that an EMP attack on the U.S. would not have to originate from North Korea but could be a missile, such as the SA-2, launched from a freighter off the U.S. East or Gulf Coasts. At that point, there would be no missile defense capable of halting such an event.

With a missile launched from a freighter, it could be difficult to identify who is responsible for an attack.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“EMP Bomb Threat Video”
YouTube Video

Peter Vincent Pry. Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity might remember his name, as I blogged back on March 8, 2013:

Enter Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, Executive Director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and Director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, both congressional advisory boards. Dr. Pry, a former intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, wrote on the Family Security Matters website on February 26:

The West consistently and unwittingly cooperates with North Korea and Iran by underestimating the advancement, sophistication, and strategic implications of their nuclear weapon and missile programs.

Despite North Korea’s successful long-range missile test in December 2012, and now its third successful nuclear test on February 12, 2013, the Obama administration and the press keep reassuring the American people that North Korea is not yet a fully fledged nuclear weapons state – that a North Korean nuclear missile threat to the United States is still years in the future.

The facts do not support this judgment. North Korea is already a major nuclear threat to the United States–an existential threat.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Dr. Pry went on to say:

North Korea now appears to be armed with a FOBS capability to make a surprise nuclear attack against the United States–or against any and all nations on Earth–with Super-EMP.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

FOBS? Super-EMP? The author of Apocalypse Unknown: The Struggle To Protect America From An Electromagnetic Pulse Catastrophe explained:

A Super-EMP warhead is a nuclear weapon specially designed to produce an enormous burst of gamma rays that generates an extraordinarily powerful electromagnetic pulse, capable of destroying even the best protected electronics, thereby paralyzing military forces and blacking out power grids and collapsing critical infrastructures everywhere–across an entire nation the size of the United States…

During the Cold War, the USSR experimented with a secret weapon, the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS), that used an ICBM like a Space Launch Vehicle to put a nuclear warhead into orbit, like a satellite. Instead of using the ICBM to lob the warhead on a more accurate arcing ballistic trajectory, flying along the shortest range to target, like an artillery shell, the FOBS lofted the warhead into a “fractional” or partial orbit, sacrificing accuracy for limitless range.

FOBS could reach any nation or threaten any target anywhere on Earth.

A Super-EMP warhead does not weigh much, and could probably be delivered by North Korea’s Fractional Orbital Bombardment System, successfully tested in December 2012, against any nation on Earth. Thus, North Korea already possesses an ICBM and poses a mortal nuclear threat to the United States, and to all nations on Earth–right now.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Scary stuff.

By the way, I noticed Maloof, like Pry, also has a book out on the subject, entitled A Nation Forsaken: EMP: The Escalating Threat of an American Catastrophe.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Malood, F. Michael. “DHS study: North Korea capable of EMP attack on U.S.” WorldNetDaily. 9 Apr. 2014. (http://www.wnd.com/2014/04/dhs-study-north-korea-capable-of-emp-attack-on-u-s/?cat_orig=world). 10 Apr. 2014.

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Resource Of The Week: StartPage Private Search Engine

I don’t know about you, but I’m incredibly concerned about privacy going extinct in America.

Not that I engage in any criminal activity. I just tend to be a private person by nature.

And I think anything that can be done to reinforce and strengthen whatever privacy citizens still have left in the United States is a terrific thing.

Now let me take a selflie.

Enter StartPage, billed as “the world’s most private search engine.”

From their “About” page:

StartPage protects your privacy!

StartPage does not collect or share any personal information!

StartPage offers you Web results from Google- the world’s most popular search engine.

When you search with StartPage the Web results are generated by Google. This offers you the search results and search features you may have grown accustomed to.

A Unique Combination

On StartPage the privacy of Ixquick is combined with the Web search results from Google. The combination of these two features is what makes StartPage so special.

You can continue using the Web results from the world’s most popular search engine but now under the privacy protection of Ixquick, the world’s most private search engine…

At the bottom of the search engine’s home page there’s a box proclaiming:

Take a deep breath. You’re safe here.

Click here to learn the top 10 ways StartPage protects your privacy.

The “top 10 ways” include:

1. StartPage doesn’t store your IP address, use tracking cookies, or make a record of your searches…

2. StartPage protects you from NSA surveillance and spying…

3. StartPage gives you 100% real Google results in complete privacy…

4. StartPage is a Dutch company, so it is not under US jurisdiction…

5. StartPage offers a free proxy with every search…

6. StartPage is third-party certified for privacy…

7. StartPage has been doing privacy longer than anyone else – since way before privacy was “cool”…

8. When it comes to security, StartPage runs the tightest ship on the Internet…

9. StartPage breaks you free of the search engine “Filter Bubble”…

10. By using StartPage, you send a powerful pro-privacy message in the marketplace…

I’ve been using StartPage for a while now ever since my girlfriend introduced it to me some time back. It’s very good.

The only issue I have with the search engine is that it doesn’t seem to bring up as many results as Google does.

Still, it’s a lot more private.

Give StartPage a try here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Link added to “Resources” page)

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July 2012, 2013 Solar Superstorms Could Have Resulted In Technological Disasters On Earth

Back on December 11, 2013, I blogged about a solar “superstorm” that almost pummeled the Earth in July 2012. A December 9 press release from University of Colorado-Boulder Professor Daniel Baker, a solar scientist and the director of CU-Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, said:

A massive ejection of material from the sun initially traveling at over 7 million miles per hour that narrowly missed Earth last year is an event solar scientists hope will open the eyes of policymakers regarding the impacts and mitigation of severe space weather, says a University of Colorado Boulder professor.

The coronal mass ejection, or CME, event was likely more powerful than the famous Carrington storm of 1859, when the sun blasted Earth’s atmosphere hard enough twice to light up the sky from the North Pole to Central America and allowed New Englanders to read their newspapers at night by aurora light, said CU-Boulder Professor Daniel Baker. Had it hit Earth, the July 2012 event likely would have created a technological disaster by short-circuiting satellites, power grids, ground communication equipment and even threatening the health of astronauts and aircraft crews, he said

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Well, there’s been more analysis of that July 2012 CME event recently. From the FOX News website yesterday:

Earth dodged one of the most massive magnetic solar bursts ever on July 23, 2012, scientists with the University of California, Berkeley revealed on Wednesday — saving the planet from widespread havoc.

“Had it hit Earth, it probably would have been like the big one in 1859, but the effect today, with our modern technologies, would have been tremendous,” UC Berkeley research physicist Janet G. Luhmann said in a press release.

The 2012 massive magnetic cloud sped through space at over 1,200 miles per second, four times faster than a typical burst of solar power.

According to researchers, had the quick succession of coronal mass ejections (CMEs)– the most intense kind of solar eruptions — come nine days earlier, they would have hit Earth, potentially disabled satellites and GPS, and even affected the electrical grid.

A study from last year revealed that a solar storm like the one Earth narrowly avoided could have cost up to $2.6 trillion in damages. A similar event in March 1989 caused Canada’s Hydro-Quebec power grid to collapse and left six million people with no electricity for nine hours.

“The cost of an extreme space weather event, if it hits Earth, could reach trillions of dollars with a potential recovery time of 4-10 years,” professor at China’s State Key Laboratory of Space Weather Ying D. Liu warned in a press release. “Therefore, it is paramount to the security and economic interest of the modern society to understand solar superstorms.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Another potential technological disaster was narrowly avoided just a year later in July 2013. I wrote on August 1:

Here’s something you probably won’t hear in the mainstream media:

The Earth just missed being hit by a coronal mass ejection two weeks ago

Paul Bedard reported in the “Washington Secrets” section of the Washington Examiner website last night:

The earth barely missed taking a massive solar punch in the teeth two weeks ago, an “electromagnetic pulse” so big that it could have knocked out power, cars and iPhones throughout the United States.

Two EMP experts told Secrets that the EMP flashed through earth’s typical orbit around the sun about two weeks before the planet got there.

“The world escaped an EMP catastrophe,” said Henry Cooper, who led strategic arms negotiations with the Soviet Union under President Reagan, and who now heads High Frontier, a group pushing for missile defense.

“There had been a near miss about two weeks ago, a Carrington-class coronal mass ejection crossed the orbit of the Earth and basically just missed us,” said Peter Vincent Pry, who served on the Congressional EMP Threat Commission from 2001-2008. He was referring to the 1859 EMP named after astronomer Richard Carrington that melted telegraph lines in Europe and North America.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

I’m guessing solar superstorms don’t really register that much on the radar of most Americans. However, seeing how technologically dependent our society is these days, the potential effects of coronal mass ejections worry me considerably, and have so for some time.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

“The massive solar blast that almost wreaked havoc on Earth.” FOX News. 19 Mar. 2014. (http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/03/19/massive-solar-blast-that-almost-wreaked-havoc-on-earth/?intcmp=features). 20 Mar. 2014.

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Missing ABC7 I-Team Info About Illinois Concealed Carry Security Breach

Earlier tonight, my girlfriend and I were eating dinner in front of the TV when investigative reporter Chuck Goudie appeared with his latest ABC7 I-Team segment about a security breach with the Illinois Concealed Carry License application process. From the website of Chicago ABC affiliate Channel 7 late this evening:

The ABC7 I-Team has learned some people who applied for Illinois concealed carry gun permits are being notified of a computer glitch that may have allowed other applicants to see their personal information.

State police tell the I-Team the problem happened on the first day that people were able to apply using the Illinois concealed carry website. The problem was discovered January 5 and the letters sent out by state police are dated March 4…

A state police spokesperson says the problem lasted only during a short period of time and there’s no evidence any personal information was stolen.

The “investigative report” that my girlfriend and I watched on TV around dinnertime went into more detail about the extent of the “computer glitch,” including:

1. Credit card, debit card, and Social Security numbers could have been viewed

2. At least 2 unauthorized views were detected

Not cool.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

“Some Illinois concealed carry applicants notified of security breach.” ABC7. 10 Mar. 2014. (http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/iteam&id=9461309). 10 Mar. 2014.

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DayZ Standalone: A Survival Video Game For Preppers?

Back in the 1980s, I used to play computer games. A lot. I’m not much of a “gamer” anymore. First, I don’t really have the time these days. Second, if I’m going to play a video game, particularly a simulation-type game, I want it to be related to something I’m interested in and to be as realistic as possible. Even though game development has advanced by leaps and bounds since the days I toiled trying to break the glass backboard on One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird, realism is still a tall order.

Enter DayZ.

From Wikipedia:

DayZ is a multiplayer open world survival horror video game in development by Bohemia Interactive and the stand-alone version of the award-winning mod of the same name. The game was test-released on December 16, 2013 on PC for Microsoft Windows via digital distribution platform Steam, and is currently in early alpha testing.

The game places the player in the fictional post-Soviet state of Chernarus, where an unknown virus has turned most of the population into violent zombies. As a survivor, the player must scavenge the world for food, water, weapons, and medicine, while killing or avoiding zombies, and killing, avoiding or co-opting other players in an effort to survive the zombie apocalypse…


“DayZ Early Access Launch Trailer”
(Warning! Graphic Violence)
YouTube Video

I know what some of you might be thinking.

“Oh great. Another violent, shoot-the-zombies-up time waster.”

Now, I’ve been following the development of DayZ into its current stand-alone version for several months now, and I don’t think those who’ve played the game would classify it simply as a zombie-killing production. It’s the somewhat realistic survival aspect of it that keeps gamers coming back for more. Again from Wikipedia:

The goal of DayZ is to stay alive during the conditions of the zombie apocalypse that has befallen the in-game world. The player begins on the coast of the map equipped with only simple clothes and a flashlight, and must begin exploring the large 225 km landscape to investigate locations such as houses, barns, and apartments to scavenge supplies. These supplies include food and water, which are basic keys to prolonging the players life. Beyond the bare bones of survival, players can find various forms of clothing, which not only allows the player to customise their character, but can bring the benefit of extra storage space for supplies. Also scattered around the map are a variety of weapons, allowing players to protect themselves from zombies or other players if necessary. Currently these are largely focused on a range of melee weapons, but a small number of firearms (more are to be implemented with future updates) are present, as well as various attachments such as bipods and telescopic sights.

Whilst travelling around the game players can also find various medical supplies, as the environment poses a range of threats to their character. This includes diseases such as cholera, dysentery and hepatitis, which can be caught by ingesting dirty water or rotten food and must be cured with the appropriate medicine. If a player is shot or otherwise hurt, items on their person may be damaged. The player may also start bleeding and must be bandaged quickly to minimise blood loss; excessive damage or blood loss will result in serious deterioration of vision for the player and can render them unconscious…

Planned features include being able to build bases in the world in which players can keep their items safe, with the possibility of security systems and programmable computers having been considered. The standalone game will build on the text and close range voice chat of the mod version by including a new whisper channel, which will allow players to communicate over a very short distance without players nearby hearing, as well as radios (based off the “ACRE” mod for ARMA 2), which will allow longer range communication, including the possibility of encrypted two-way radios and player run radio stations. A number of features which are not currently available but will be added in a patch some time during the alpha have been confirmed including vehicles, more zombies, animals and hunting, and cooking.

I’ve been watching a variety of YouTube videos made of people playing DayZ Stand-Alone, and I have to say I’m real impressed with what I’ve seen:


“DayZ Standalone – I Saved Someone’s Life!”
(Warning! Graphic Violence, Language)
YouTube Video

I can envision myself trying out DayZ. As to it’s worth as a survival simulator? Let’s be honest, folks. No computer game at this point in time could possibly hope to replicate the real thing. But consider what “Selco” over at the SHTF School blog wrote about an earlier version of the project:

So overall I can say it is nice try to give people feeling of how survival like this feels. You often feel desperate and have to be careful all the time. It is far from perfect but creates clearer picture of what survival is about than any movie I saw in the past…

Selco would know, being a survivor of the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.

For more information on DayZ and how to buy it, head over to the game’s website here. As I type this, it’s €23.99- or $32.66 in U.S. dollars- to join in on the fun.

Just remember DayZ is still in “alpha testing”- where the bugs are in the process of being worked out.

Even though that’s the case, over 1 million copies have already been sold since its December release.

Not bad. And as word gets out about this latest version, I wonder if preppers won’t be tempted to get their gaming on?

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Selco. “Dayz – the first real survival game?” SHTF School. 4 Aug. 2012. (http://shtfschool.com/general/dayz-the-first-real-survival-game/). 16 Jan. 2014.

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Can 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol Be Filtered From Contaminated West Virginia Water?

After seeing some post-ban photos of tap water that had been contaminated by 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM) in that big West Virginia chemical spill last week, I started wondering- is this a scenario where a water filtration system- like the ones used by backpackers, campers, and preppers/survivalists- can be employed to make the water safe to drink again?

The performance of such water filter systems these days is supposed to be outstanding, so it’s a legitimate question. Anyone remember the following YouTube video for the PocketPure water filter that was used in an August 9, 2013, post?


“Man Drinks Horse Crap To Test Pocketpure Water Filtration System”
YouTube Video

Why, how could I forget, Chris?

And I keep coming across rave reviews for the Berkey water filter systems, which are used by relief organizations such as UNICEF, the Peace Corps, the Red Cross, and even the British royal family.

So will these types of filters work on 4-methylcyclohexane methanol-tainted water?

The quick answer is- no one’s really sure. At least right now. A search of the Internet this afternoon didn’t turn up any manufacturer or vendor who would confirm their product can effectively filter MCHM from contaminated water. One Berkey vendor did discuss the situation, however. From the blog of BigBerkeyWaterFilters.com on January 10:

The chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol that was leaked in West Virginia is an organic chemical. This is a relatively unknown chemical that is not on the EPA’s organic chemical list to test for and for this reason we have not specifically tested this organic chemical compound. Therefore, we are unable to positively state that the Berkey system will remove 4-methylcyclohexane methanol.

What we do know is that the EPA organic compounds that Berkey has tested for show the lowest removal rate was 86% removal, and that the majority tested greater than 99% removal. However, we reiterate that without specific testing we cannot make any claim of removal of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol. We can only state that the data suggests that the black berkey filters would likely be very efficient at removing the chemical, given that it is an organic chemical/compound…

If I hear of anyone attempting to use a water filtration system like a Berkey to remove MCHM, I’ll update this post with that information.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

“West Virginia Chemical Spill And Chemical Removal.” BigBerkeyWaterFilters.com. 10 Jan. 2014. (http://www.bigberkeywaterfilters.com/blog/chemical-spill/west-virginia-chemical-spill-and-berkey-removal). 15 Jan. 2014.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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