Technology

The Economist Magazine Investigates Preppers

“Some Americans find survivalists sinister. After Adam Lanza shot 26 people in a school in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012, the media made much of the fact that his mother was a gun-stockpiling prepper. Yet there is no evidence that preppers in general are more dangerous than their compatriots. On the contrary, when natural disasters strike, it is useful to have neighbours who know how to stormproof a house and have bandages to spare.”

-The Economist website, December 17, 2014

Late this morning, I stumbled on an article on The Economist website about preppers. I just finished reading “Preparing for the apocalypse: I will survive,” and thought I’d blog about it a little. The author (couldn’t find a name attached with the piece for some reason) did a pretty good job writing about preppers/survivalists, not falling victim to the usual stereotypes/generalizing echoed in a comment on the article. From “walrusandthecarpenter”:

Preppers are people who are unhappy with their life and can’t wait for the end of the world to come and the tables to turn. They are excited for it to happen.

Me? I like my smartphone. I have a first aid kit though.

“I like my smartphone.” What a goof.

Like I was saying, the author did a pretty good job (points deducted for trying to link those Westboro folks to preppers) with the material. I found what James Wesley, Rawles of SurvivalBlog.com-fame had to say particularly interesting. From the article:

So how might TEOTWAWKI come about? The biggest threat, says Mr Rawles, is a huge solar flare. The last big one, in 1859, known as the “Carrington Event”, disabled telegraph lines. A similar disaster today would “fry the circuitry” of electronic devices and take out the power grid “from end to end”. It would take years to reactivate. Perhaps 60% of the American population could die, predicts Mr Rawles…

I’ve seen some put that die-off figure at 90 percent.

There was also this about present-day preppers:

Survivalists vary politically—just as they are dispersed geographically—and their views colour their apocalyptic imaginings. Many are conservatives, worried about crime, terrorism and hyperinflation and sure that the state cannot be relied upon to protect ordinary citizens. But a fair number are environmentalists, convinced that the planet can only take so much abuse before it becomes uninhabitable. The movement is broad enough to encompass anyone who suspects that disaster is looming, for any reason. It used to be mostly “Bible-believing Christian conservatives”, says Mr Rawles, “But now we have a lot of alfalfa-munching Birkenstock-wearing leftists.” He adds: “The more the better.”

One more reason for me not to bash specific political ideologies/parties- except when they really ask for it, of course.

(Editor’s note: Any former readers of Boom2Bust.com out there remember when I used to savage “Dubya” and Hank Paulson? Thinking of that reminds me this giant economic mess belongs to both sides of the political aisle.)

Jason Charles, a New York firefighter of Doomsday Preppers-fame (blogged about here), is also featured in the piece.

You can read the well-written article in its entirety on The Economist website here.

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

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Battle House: Chicago-Area Simulated Combat Via ‘Advanced’ Laser Tag

Monday morning I was typing away on my laptop in front of the TV when I heard Ana Belaval of WGN (Chicago) Morning News talk about something called “Battle House” in her “Around Town” segment. Hearing loud combat-like noises, I looked up and saw a number of people running around some artificial city firing assault rifle-like objects at each other. What the hell was going on? From the website of Battle House, “Illinois’s Premier, Multi-dimensional Mission-based Tactical Laser Tag Experience”:

Battle House Mission Based Laser Tag provides an absolutely thrilling, adrenaline pumping, calorie burning experience. Our advanced laser tag facility is located in the Village of Lake Barrington serving northern Illinois including Cary, Crystal Lake, Lake Zurich and many cities in the Lake County area. The facility will be made available for use to public safety and U.S. Military organizations at significantly discounted pricing for training and team building.

We offer a second story mezzanine lounge area serving beverages and snacks, party rooms, conference room facilities and 15,000 + square foot facility designated with the simple purpose of having fun and/or professional training for nearly all ages. Game play is virtually continuous for you and your teammates once you complete the initial pre-registration process and the safety and orientation briefing. For parents, this is a chance for you to “play” with your kids, get off the couch and into a unique and exiting experience that you will talk about for years to come.

Our advanced laser tag pricing is all-inclusive; there are no hidden or separate fees to access the arena, the equipment, or taxes.

The Battle House staff is trained to provide you an enjoyable experience and provide the highest levels of customer service and safety. As you will find out, many of them are prior military veterans or public safety professionals. You’ll have the opportunity to learn and play with some of the best…


“Battle House Laser Combat”
WGN Video

After watching that WGN Morning News segment, I wondered if any combat training could be gleaned from playing “mission-based, tactical laser tag.” Then I read this on the site:

“Elite Tactics Training” – To improve your tactical laser tag gaming skills, learn close quarters battle tactics from the experts. Bring your group to Battle House and experience first hand training on techniques, communication, team movements, etc. from former U.S. Military Veterans and retired Law Enforcement Professionals.

* Scheduling the “Elite” service requires 2-week advance notice. Pricing is determined based on group size and number of participants…

That Elite Tactics Training sounds promising. As for other combat training- I can’t see why a group of like-minded individuals couldn’t work on “techniques, communication, team movements, etc.” during regular game play at Battle House.

I think it’s great Battle House caters to active/former law enforcement and members of the U.S. armed services, going so far as to giving them discounts:

Active Military and Veterans, Current and former Public Safety Employees receive a 15% discount off our standard pricing by providing proof of current or prior service.

And free use of the facility for public safety training:

Battle House offers its combat mission based laser facility to law enforcement and other public safety organizations at no cost on both Mondays or Tuesdays when we are normally not open to the public. Your training events can also be scheduled on other days of the week, prior to our normal public hours of operation, at no cost.

Alternatively, you may also consider reserving the facility during our normal business hours for a discounted rate.

If you choose to utilize our equipment for training purposes, we will offer those to you at a substantially discounted price based on the number of participants and the type of equipment you request…

I understand Battle House just opened. If you’re interested in more information about the facility, check out their website here.

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

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Hacker ‘Guccifer’: Chicago And Unnamed Pennsylvania City To Be Nuked In 2015

According to the infamous hacker known as “Guccifer,” someone’s got Chicago and an unnamed Pennsylvania city in their crosshairs for a nuclear detonation next year. Andrew Higgins reported on The New York Times website on November 21:

The English-speaking prison psychologist, who attended my meeting with the hacker, rolled his eyes as Mr. Lazar started reading his explanatory text in good but heavily accented English. It was a compendium of wild conspiracy theories involving so-called Illuminati, a secret cabal that he believes runs the world. Most of the conspiracies were old hat, like ones relating to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, by Al Qaeda. But others, such as an alleged plan to set off a nuclear bomb in Chicago and an unnamed city in Pennsylvania next year, were clearly his own work.

The psychologist said he had heard them all before but nonetheless had no doubt about the state of Mr. Lazar’s mental health. “He is not really crazy at all”…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That claim about the Pennsylvania city also being targeted is a new development in the story. I blogged back on November 11:

The recently-apprehended hacker known as “Guccifer” (Marcel-Lehel Lazar, an unemployed 43-year-old Romanian) is in the news today for something he told The New York Times while meeting with them. Andrew Higgins reported on the Times website yesterday:

Before agreeing to answer questions from The New York Times in prison, where he shares a cell with four others, including two convicted murderers, he read out a lengthy handwritten statement that he said explained the purpose of his hacking.

A potpourri of conspiracy theories about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the 1997 death of Princess Diana and alleged plans for a nuclear attack in Chicago in 2015, it said: “This world is run by a group of conspirators called the Council of Illuminati, very rich people, noble families, bankers and industrialists from the 19th and 20th century.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Guccifer is reported to have accessed the private e-mails of numerous top military, political, and intelligence leaders around the world- including e-mails of former U.S. President George W. Bush’s family.

So is the Romanian hacker just trying to save his skin somehow with such claims, or did he really uncover such a plot to nuke Chicago and the Pennsylvania city while engaged in criminal activity?

Hopefully, Higgins is able to get more info out of Guccifer going forward- if there’s anything to get.

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

Source:

Higgins, Andrew. “The Man Behind the Hacking: Talking to Guccifer.” The New York Times. 21 Nov. 2014. (http://www.nytimes.com/times-insider/2014/11/21/the-man-behind-the-hacking-talking-to-guccifer/?_r=0). 26 Nov. 2014.

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Largest Sunspot In 24 Years Pointed At Earth

There’s the potential for severe space weather directed at Earth in the coming days. Calla Cofield reported on the Space.com website this morning:

The largest sunspot to appear on Earth’s nearest star in more than two decades is once again pointed at the planet, and it will likely kick-start solar storms, NASA scientists say.

The massive sunspot, previously known as Active Region 12192, was turned toward Earth in October and early November, but rotated out of view. While it was on the Earth-facing side of the sun, the sunspot did not produce any coronal mass ejections — hot bursts of material ejected into space at 4 million mph (6.4 million km/h) — which have the potential to damage satellites and power grids. Now the active region has rotated back around to face Earth again, and although the sunspot has shrunk in size, it will likely be disruptive, NASA scientist Holly Gilbert told Space.com during a video interview about the massive sunspot…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I watched that video interview with Dr. Gilbert about AR 122090 (formerly AR 12192). From the exchange between Gilbert and Cofield:

COFIELD: So why should we pay attention to sunspots?
GILBERT: Sunspots are the regions where space weather is born. Basically, where solar flares originate and these storms called coronal mass ejections, where tons of billions of material is being blown- sometimes towards the Earth- at over 4 million miles an hour. This can affect satellites, our technology. It can cause power grid outages…
COFIELD: Are you able to predict what are the odds of this sunspot having a major solar ejection or coronal mass ejection?
GILBERT: We’re not at the point at predicting when it will happen, but we have a good idea based on the structure of that magnetic field at the sunspot that it’s very possible that it will create some midlevel flares right now. When it was on the side of the Sun facing us a few weeks ago before it rotated around, it actually led to six massive solar flares and multiple smaller flares. So we know that based on the size and the complexity of the magnetic field that there’s potential for these flares to occur.

The chief of the Solar Physics Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center added:

The coronal mass ejections did not occur along with those large solar flares. This time around, it’s more likely to have some coronal mass ejections associated with it even though the flares themselves might be smaller.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Massive Sunspot Returns- What’s the Solar Forecast?”
Space.com Video

Back on July 23, the NASA Science News website discussed the potential damage from a coronal mass ejection as strong as the infamous Carrington Event of 1859. From the article:

A similar storm today could have a catastrophic effect. According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, the total economic impact could exceed $2 trillion or 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina. Multi-ton transformers damaged by such a storm might take years to repair

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

No mention of what that could mean for human life in the affected region of the planet…

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

Sources:

Cofield, Calla. “Monster Sunspot May Unleash Powerful Solar Flares (Video).” Space.com. 25 Nov. 2014. (http://www.space.com/27834-monster-sunspot-solar-flares-video.html). 25 Nov. 2014.

Phillips, Tony. “Near Miss: The Solar Superstorm of July 2012” NASA Science News. 23 July 2014. (http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/23jul_superstorm/). 25 July 2014.

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Huckabee TV Special ‘Threats To America’

Anyone catch the FOX News show Huckabee this past weekend? The one-hour special was entitled “Threats To America,” and the weekly political commentary program that’s hosted by Mike Huckabee pointed out several of them. The former Arkansas governor told viewers Saturday:

Tonight on this Huckabee special- threats to America, and what really ought to scare us. We’re going to be talking with experts around the world to separate the fact from the frivolous. And we’re going to find out if the government is preparing for problems- or if they’re just playing possum. Our purpose is not to present our version of a Freddy Krueger movie. No, it’s to help you understand the real threats that this country faces, and what the country and what you could and should do to be ready.

The experts consulted were:

• Lieutenant General Daniel Bolger, United States Army (Ret.)
• Pete Hegseth- CEO of Concerned Veterans for America
• KT McFarland- FOX News National Security Analyst and host of FoxNews.com’s DEFCON 3
• Gary Berntsen- Former Central Intelligence Agency officer
• Gordon Chang- Lawyer, author, and TV pundit
• Shawn Henry- Retired executive assistant director at the Federal Bureau of Investigation
• Frank Gaffney- Founder and president of the Center for Security Policy

As for those threats to America? They include (in order presented on TV special):

1. Terrorism


YouTube Video

2. China


YouTube Video

3. Cyberattack


YouTube Video

4. Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)


YouTube Video

5. Misuse Of U.S. Military


YouTube Video

Real interesting stuff- from what I saw. Unfortunately, I can’t find what I believe is the last part of the show anywhere on YouTube.com. Oh well. I think the “meat” of the TV special is above.

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

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Advertiser Spotlight: Paladin Press

“Playboy Magazine recently called Paladin Press publisher Peder Lund the ‘most dangerous publisher in the world'”

-Soldier Of Fortune website, June 2, 2012

Ever hear of Paladin Press? It’s a book publishing firm founded in 1970 by Peder Lund and Robert K. Brown (who began publishing Soldier Of Fortune in 1975). From the Boulder, Colorado-based company’s website:

For more than 42 years, Paladin Press has provided readers and viewers with top-quality books and videos on a variety of fascinating and unusual topics, including reality-based self-defense, survival and self-reliance, weapons, combat shooting, locksmithing, marital arts, and personal freedom. To do this, we seek out authors who are knowledgeable in their fields and encourage them to write books or create videos for our niche market. Our authors include such well-respected experts as Kelly McCann, John Plaster, Michael Janich, Jeff Cooper, Ragnar Benson, M.D. Creekmore, Mark Hatmaker, and Rex Applegate.

Paladin has survived all these years in the volatile publishing industry by adapting to the changing technologies and demands of our audience. We adjust our offerings to make them timely and relevant to today’s realities. From a starting inventory of a half-dozen military manuals, Paladin currently offers more than 800 titles in a variety of formats. Today the publishing industry is racing to take advantage of rapidly changing electronic and digital technologies, and Paladin is no exception. We currently offer 400 of our books for electronic download and over 250 of our video titles for digital download, ensuring instant access to favorite books and videos. Additional titles are being added monthly.

Paladin Press offers products in the following subject areas:

• Action Careers
• Combat Classics
• Combat Shooting
• Espionage & Technology
• Firearms
• Historical Arms & Combat
• Knives & Swords
• Locksmithing
• Martial Arts
• Military & Police Science
• New ID & Financial Freedom
• Revenge & Humor
• Self-Defense & Combatives
• Silencers & Exotic Weapons
• Sniping
• Survival & Self-Reliance

Paladin also carries something called the Paladin Crash Course Series. From their website:

The Paladin Crash Course Series consists of 30 timeless, inexpensive videos on an eclectic variety of topics, including developing one-strike stopping power, throwing and sticking knives, targeting vital points on the body, navigating in the wilderness, using hand-to-hand combat, becoming a modern-day gunfighter, making a ghillie suit, and securing your home against intruders. The videos feature Michael Janich, Jim Cirillo, Louis Awerbuck, Kelly Worden, Loren Christensen, Mark Hatmaker, and many more of your favorite Paladin authors.


“How to Control the Handgun Trigger- Speed Shooting”
YouTube Video

No wonder that “dangerous” label was assigned to Paladin. Yet while dangerous to some, highly-informative and incredibly-interesting material to a number of Survival And Prosperity readers, I’m guessing.

While other vendors on the Internet might offer a lower price for a product found on the Paladin Press website, know that Paladin does price match. From their site:

Price Matching

Lowest Prices Guaranteed

PURCHASE PUBLISHER DIRECT. WE WILL MATCH ANY ONLINE PRICE
ON ANY PALADIN PRESS BOOK OR VIDEO.

In addition, Paladin’s postage and handling rates are very reasonable. At the time I type this, domestic U.S. standard shipping for 1 item is $5.00. Add $1.00 more for each additional item shipped this way on the same order.

Looking for some “dangerous” books/videos that could actually save life and limb one day? Click on the banner ad below and see what Paladin Press might have to offer. Please note that by clicking on the ad and purchasing a product, I receive a commission from the sale.

Survival Titles Save 20%

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

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Hacker ‘Guccifer’: Chicago Targeted For Nuclear Attack In 2015

The recently-apprehended hacker known as “Guccifer” (Marcel-Lehel Lazar, an unemployed 43-year-old Romanian) is in the news today for something he told The New York Times while meeting with them. Andrew Higgins reported on the Times website yesterday:

Before agreeing to answer questions from The New York Times in prison, where he shares a cell with four others, including two convicted murderers, he read out a lengthy handwritten statement that he said explained the purpose of his hacking.

A potpourri of conspiracy theories about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the 1997 death of Princess Diana and alleged plans for a nuclear attack in Chicago in 2015, it said: “This world is run by a group of conspirators called the Council of Illuminati, very rich people, noble families, bankers and industrialists from the 19th and 20th century.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Times article didn’t elaborate on the supposed nuclear strike. And as far as I can tell there’s been no mention of it elsewhere out in cyberspace.

Assuming “Guccifer” isn’t spinning this tale in an attempt to save his hide, some are already jumping to the conclusion that such an attack would be a “false flag” event perpetrated by this Illuminati.

But what if Mr. Lazar discovered the plans within the e-mails of those powerful individuals whose accounts he was known to hack? In other words, they had intelligence about the coming nuke attack in their possession (it’s conceivable having such power/prestige might afford them that privilege) but the event wouldn’t be of their doing.

If not them, then who?

Consider what I blogged back on June 1:

WBBM (Chicago) Political Editor Craig Dellimore recently interviewed Robert Holley, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Chicago, for the WBBM Newsradio show At Issue. From their exchange that was uploaded on the show’s web page today:

DELLIMORE: With all the headlines about street gangs, shootings, and corruption in and around Chicago, I think people can sometimes forget that terrorism is still a threat here, and is a major focus of what the FBI has to do. We haven’t had a major attack here- though there have been some plots thwarted. How real is the threat of terrorism these days?
HOLLEY: I would say, Craig, that the threat that we face now is probably more so than right after 9/11. Al-Qaeda Central has been thwarted in many of the attacks that they have been trying to conduct here in the West and against our allied partners overseas. Through Osama bin Laden being killed, and other leaders within core Al-Qaeda- the core leadership within Al-Qaeda- over the last several years, their ability to plan and conduct operations has been limited. What happened is, it is diffused to other groups. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula- we call them AQAP. Al-Qaeda in Islamic Magreb- AQIM. Al Nusra in Syria. So these are all significant threats- terrorism threats. Although they are headquartered overseas, they have an intent to strike here in the West. And they are actively plotting, recruiting, and training to conduct attacks here in the United States.
DELLIMORE: Is some of this theoretical, or do investigators uncover more concrete signs that Chicago could be a target, at least more so than we average folks might realize?
HOLLEY: I would never describe it as being theoretical. It is an actual threat. And there is no community in the United States that is immune from an attack on their communities. We saw what happened in Boston by two homegrown violent extremists. There have been multiple disruptions through different JTTF (unintelligible word) throughout the FBI in the United States over the last several years. You can look at Lubbock, Texas. Not a large metropolitan area, but had a significant attempt to conduct a terrorist attack there…

“The threat that we face now is probably more so than right after 9/11.”

Something for Chicago-area readers to chew on.

Personally, I suspect that if the bad guys got their hands on a nuke, New York City and Lower Manhattan in particular (Wall Street, One World Trade Center) would be in their crosshairs because of its economic and symbolic value. Washington, D.C., would be a close second due to its political importance.

As for Chicago? Well, some would argue Muslim extremists can’t do much more damage to the city than “The Machine” hasn’t already done.

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

Source:

Higgins, Andrew. “For Guccifer, Hacking Was Easy. Prison Is Hard.” The New York Times. 10 Nov. 2014. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/11/world/europe/for-guccifer-hacking-was-easy-prison-is-hard-.html?_r=0). 11 Nov. 2014.

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Sunspot Region 2205 Week Away From ‘Perfect Position To Do The Most Damage’ To Earth

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know I blog about severe space weather from time to time. Here’s something I came across on Bloomberg.com today that might interest a number of you. Brian Sullivan reported:

Those Sunspots Approaching Earth Could Bring Blackouts

A new group of sunspots that has come into view of Earth has the attention of the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center.

The area, referred to as 2205, spat out an x-ray flare that produced a moderate radio blackout today, according to the center’s website. Earlier this week, it let loose several coronal mass ejections, explosions of magnetic fields and plasma from the sun’s atmosphere that can knock out power grids and disrupt navigational systems.

Most of the material in today’s flare, along with the earlier eruptions, was pointed away from Earth, thus sparing the planet severe storms…

Here’s what really grabbed my attention though. Sullivan added:

The sunspots that are now becoming visible will take about two weeks to traverse the side of the sun pointed at the Earth, [Forecast Office Lead Robert] Rutledge said. In about a week, the system will be in perfect position to do the most damage, he said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The potential economic costs associated with such solar storms are staggering. Consider this recent estimate from the FOX News website back in March:

“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.”

Check out the entire article on Bloomberg.com here.

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). 6 Nov. 2014.

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Latest On Strong Geomagnetic Storm Possibly Hitting Earth

Last night I blogged about the Sun unleashing an X-class solar flare in the direction of our planet, and the potential for a strong geomagnetic storm due to a “likely” coronal mass ejection (CME) accompanying the flare.

Here’s the latest from the NOAA/NWS Space Weather Prediction Center about the likelihood of severe space weather in the coming days. From their website this morning:

2014-09-11 05:01 UTC A Pair of CMEs

G2 (Moderate) geomagnetic storms remain in the forecast for September 12th as a result of the coronal mass ejection (CME) associated with the R1 (Minor) solar flare observed on the 9th. The latest WSA-Enlil model run has the CME associated with yesterday’s R3 (Strong) solar flare arriving mid to late day on that same day. A G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm Watch has been issued for September 13th due to the combined influence of these two events with G1 (Minor) storming anticipated to continue into September 14th. In addition, the S1 (Minor) solar radiation storm that is in progress as a result of the eruption yesterday is expected to persist for the next few days. Keep in mind that the forecast periods listed are in Universal Time so aurora watchers in the northern U.S. should be looking for possible activity both Thursday and Friday nights. Stay tuned for updates…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Okay, so the SWPC is predicting “G2 (Moderate) geomagnetic storms” for Friday, September 12, and issuing a “G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm Watch” for Saturday, September 13.

According to the “NOAA Space Weather Scales” web page under “NOAA Space Weather Scale for Geomagnetic Storms,” G2 (“Moderate”) storms are characterized by the following:

Power systems: high-latitude power systems may experience voltage alarms, long-duration storms may cause transformer damage.

Spacecraft operations: corrective actions to orientation may be required by ground control; possible changes in drag affect orbit predictions.

Other systems: HF radio propagation can fade at higher latitudes, and aurora has been seen as low as New York and Idaho (typically 55° geomagnetic lat.)**.

As for G3 (“Strong”) geomagnetic storms:

Power systems: voltage corrections may be required, false alarms triggered on some protection devices.

Spacecraft operations: surface charging may occur on satellite components, drag may increase on low-Earth-orbit satellites, and corrections may be needed for orientation problems.

Other systems: intermittent satellite navigation and low-frequency radio navigation problems may occur, HF radio may be intermittent, and aurora has been seen as low as Illinois and Oregon (typically 50° geomagnetic lat.)**.

The damage from a G2 or G3 geomagnetic storm doesn’t appear to be too significant. G4 (“Severe”) geomagnetic storm events look like the ones we should be worried about:

Power systems: possible widespread voltage control problems and some protective systems will mistakenly trip out key assets from the grid…

The folks over at the Space Weather Prediction Center seem to think electrical grids aren’t in any real danger from this latest bout of severe space weather. Doyle Rice reported on the USA Today website this morning:

Major disruptions are not expected, even though the flare was classified as an “X-class” flare, which is at the high end of the solar flare scale. Wednesday’s flare followed a weaker flare late Monday.

“We expect geomagnetic storm levels in the G2 (moderate) and G3 (strong) range,” said NOAA space weather forecaster Bill Murtagh.

“G2-G3 geomagnetic storms can cause some problems for the (power) grid but are typically very manageable,” Murtagh said in an e-mail Thursday morning. “We may also see some anomalies with satellites so satellite operators around the world have been notified. And problems with the accuracy of GPS have been observed with this level of storming.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Rice added later:

The worst of the energetic particles streaming from the sun likely will miss Earth this time…

Did the Earth just “dodge a bullet” from the Sun? Guess we’ll know for sure after the weekend.

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

Source:

Rice, Doyle. “Solar storm heading for Earth.” USA Today. 11 Sep. 2014. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2014/09/10/solar-flare-space-weather/15415827/). 11 Sep. 2014.

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Strong Geomagnetic Storm To Hit Earth In Coming Days?

Survival And Prosperity readers across the world- Earth was in the crosshairs of a powerful X-class solar flare earlier today. USA Today’s Doyle Rice reported this evening:

A solar flare that launched off the sun Wednesday afternoon could wreak havoc with communications systems and power systems on the Earth, as well as with satellites in orbit, in coming days.

Forecasters with NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center said the flare already “caused impacts to high-frequency radio communications on Earth today,” according to NOAA. “A coronal mass ejection (CME) associated with this event is likely, but further analysis is necessary to determine whether it will produce geomagnetic storming on Earth.”…

If a CME occurred, Earth’s magnetosphere will likely be disturbed and a geomagnetic storm could result in the next few days, NOAA reports…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Rice added:

Space weather forecaster Bill Murtagh said that scientists will know more about when and where the impacts will be when more data comes in later Wednesday and early Thursday…

I visited the Space Weather Prediction Center website, and here’s their latest on the event:

2014-09-10 23:18 UTC Recent R3 Solar Flare

Active Region 2158, now near center disk, produced a X1 (NOAA Scale R3 – Strong) solar flare today at 10/1745 UTC (Sep 10th at 01:45pm EDT). Impacts to HF radio communications on the daylight side of Earth lasted for a little more than an hour.

Initial information suggests that CME is likely associated with this event, however, further analysis is underway at this time…

Standby for more details.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Now, regular blog readers might remember the TESIS Geomagnetic Activity Forecast I named “Resource Of The Week” back on August 24, 2013. In their “3-day forecast of solar activity,” the Russians are predicting a 1 percent “probability of a strong magnetic storm” Thursday, a 20 percent probability of a strong magnetic storm Friday, and a 5 percent probability Saturday.

Time and time again I’ve blogged about the threat from severe space weather. This latest bout has the potential to be real bad according to what I’ve been reading.

I plan on checking back with the Space Weather Prediction Center (website) later tonight or tomorrow if necessary to find out the results of their “further analysis.”

I suggest you might want to do the same.

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

Source:

Rice, Doyle. “Solar Storm Heading for Earth.” WLTX19.com. 10 Sep. 2014. (http://www.wltx.com/story/tech/science/2014/09/10/solar-storm-heading-for-earth/15418653/). 10 Sep. 2014.

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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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