Dancing with viral dangers

A.  Smallpox: Will Human Error Cause the Next Global Pandemic?
11 July 2014, Viral Global News Reader, posted in Health
Pasted from: http://www.viralglobalnews.com/health/smallpox-will-human-error-cause-next-global-pandemic/11790/

Viral danger1

This past week, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), revealed that they have discovered containers of smallpox vials in a cold storage room at the Maryland National Institute of Health. This is big (and scary) news in the health field because this National Institute of Health is unauthorized to carry such an infectious disease. The smallpox disease is so dangerous and deadly that nations around the globe have agreed to a mandate that states that only two labs in the world are allowed to possess it. Will human error cause the next global pandemic?

Authorities are not sure why the smallpox vials were in the Maryland facility, and experts were not sure how the smallpox avoided detection for such a long time. This is coming off the heels of a previous CDC announcement in which they revealed that another protocol breach may have resulted in 75 CDC employees being accidentally exposed to anthrax.

The good news is that neither incident has reported any inadvertent exposures to the infections during both accidental events. The bad news is that both incidents have exposed potential hazards and security holes in even the most safe health facilities and labs across the globe.

Many researchers have reported that Americans are quite lucky that accidental exposures and health “slip-ups” like these did not happen with a virus like the flu, but the discovery of the unchecked smallpox virus in Maryland has many asking: will human error cause the next global pandemic? In 1918, there was a strain of influenza that killed around 50 million people. That 1918 strain of the flu, and some other strains as well, are currently being studied and researched in medical research labs in the United States and in various facilities around the world. If any of those labs make a mistake or have a slip-up, the results could be deadly and disastrous.

Current detractors of this type of research are not saying that researching dangerous pathogens is not important – these types of experiments can often provide valuable insight into combating such diseases – but they are saying that the rationale that is used to replicate these dangerous pathogens does not necessarily justify the risk that is taken by creating them.

They mention how scientists have been able to create the vaccines for these pathogens without having to recreate the viruses themselves, meaning that developing new strains of the pathogen is not necessary for protection; and as a result, people in the United States and around the globe will be able rest with a lot more at ease at night,

One of the biggest concerns amongst detractors of the studies is a form of research called “gain of function” studies. In this type of study, researchers and scientists will take a strain of a deadly pathogen that humans do not have immunity to yet and make them even more contagious in an effort to find a vaccine and to see how it transfers itself to mammals. Currently, “gain of function” studies are going on in the Netherlands and in the state of Wisconsin.

Mistakes and slip-ups in medical labs are not just hypothetical situations; they have happened before. Most recently, it happened in 1977 when the H1N1 virus escaped from a lab in China, and an outbreak in China and Russia ensued.

Basic human error can waltz pass even the most strict of security and safety protocols. Yes, it is very unlikely to happen, but it is not out of the realm of possibility. After the smallpox discovery, many are wondering if human error could cause the next global pandemic. If an outbreak like this does happen, humans will be asking themselves, “Was it worth it?”

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B.  Movie Plagues Not Entirely Claptrap
13  Jul 2014, MedPageToday, by Correspondent, Michael Smith
Pasted from: http://www.medpagetoday.com/InfectiousDisease/GeneralInfectiousDisease/46735

It’s a recurring theme — a plague threatens to kill us all and a few brave souls work tirelessly to prevent doom.
Think, The Andromeda Strain. Think, Contagion and Outbreak. On the small screen this year, there’s, The Last Ship. And the list could go on.
The consensus among MedPage Today staffers in a morning meeting a few weeks ago was that such fictions are just … well, fiction. Tinseltown trash. Hollywood hokum.
So we decided to ask the experts and found a consensus among infectious disease specialists that is considerably more nuanced. Such stories are overblown, yes. Sensationalist, of course. But nonsense? Not entirely.
We asked if it is even possible that a sudden pathogenic scourge could threaten to kill us all.
The scientific consensus: Yes, although it’s unlikely. But it’s likely enough that highly trained specialists spend their working days worrying about it.

Worst Case Scenario (Really)
We also asked: What’s the worst that could happen, assuming a novel pathogen, easily transmitted, with no pre-existing immunity anywhere?
The scientific consensus: It could kill a lot of people, but probably not everybody.
“Theoretically, such a pathogen is possible,” commented Gail Reid, MD, of Loyola University Health System in Chicago. “It does not need 100% mortality, just close.”
viral danger movie“Although in such a case not all humans would die, societal structure would most certainly be negatively affected,” Reid told MedPage Today.
And assuming a novel, easily transmitted pathogen, “a large portion of the population of the planet could be affected rather quickly,” she said. “Just one plane ride from anywhere in an initially asymptomatic individual has the potential to lead to a pandemic.”

“My Infectious Diseases fellows saw the movie, Contagion several years ago and were very scared. Need I say more?”

Such movies are “fictional, sensationalistic, and raise the specter of extinction events,” said Amesh Adalja, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a specialist in pandemic preparedness.
But “they do reflect the continual threat that humans face from emerging pathogens,” Adalja told MedPage Today.
He, like many other experts, cited HIV, SARS, the 1918 pandemic flu, and the recent flu pandemic as examples of novel diseases jumping to humans in recent times. But, as we all know, none has been uniformly fatal.

Lessons From History
“The popular fictional portrayals are not only possible, they have already occurred, “Adalja said, “and preparing, predicting, and attempting to mitigate the effects of this continual onslaught is of paramount importance.”

The 1918 flu pandemic “was a vivid example that a novel respiratory virus from another species can effectively mutate to evolve into a competent human pathogen with high potential for person-to-person transmission and virulence resulting in catastrophic illness affecting millions worldwide,” said Amar Safdar, MD, of New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City.

That’s just the most dramatic example, Safdar told MedPage Today. The “concern for alarm” comes from repeated epidemics and pandemics in the 90 or so years since then.
To fit its movie role, a novel pathogen would need several characteristics — it would have to be easily transmissible and eventually lethal but with a long incubation period in which the victim was asymptomatic but able to infect many people.
Luckily, we have yet to encounter such a bug.

Robert Holzman, MD, of NYU School of Medicine in New York City, told MedPage Today: “There is no question that infections can have a high death rate and major impact on human and nonhuman populations.”
The question, he said, is how likely such an event is.

“Over a lot of years of human existence we have not yet encountered a human pathogen combining the high fatality rate of, say, rabies and the high transmissibility of, say, norovirus or chicken pox or measles,” he said.

Possible, Yes. Probable, No
Such a bug is not impossible, he said, but it’s “very, very, …, very unlikely.”
“Fortunately,” agreed Talia Swartz, MD, PhD, of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, “the notion of a scourge that could instantly wipe out humanity is not a likely event.”

Indeed, “it would take an incredibly virulent and contagious pathogen in another species to jump to humans and still be both virulent and contagious,” argued Matthew Sims, MD, PhD, of the Beaumont Health System in the Detroit area.
“The big fear is we will hit a perfect storm of disease where all of the worst possibilities come true,” Sims said.

“It is very, very uncommon that a disease is so lethal that everyone who catches it dies,” commented Jorge Parada, MD, also of Chicago’s Loyola University Health System.

Parada, who was a medical source for the 2011 movie, Contagion, added that “even the devastating 1918 flu pandemic that killed an estimated 20 to 40 million people had a mortality rate only as high as around 20%.”
Indeed, regardless of the pathogen itself, commented Kevin Morano, PhD, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, some of us would be okay.
“In any population there would almost always be a small percentage of immune individuals, based on chance and genetics,” he told MedPage Today. “With a planet of six billion, a 1% survival rate still leaves 60 million.”
However, as Loyola’s Reid noted, that would still have a devastating effect on human society.

It Really Is a Small World, After All
One thing that worries experts is that we travel a lot more these days. As CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, is fond of saying, any pathogen is just a plane ride away.

Since the 1918 flu, medical science has gotten better at treating disease, but “the advent of air travel presents a new dilemma, as communicable diseases can now be spread across continents within days,” said Glenn Wortmann, MD, of MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.

SARS in 2002-2003 “highlighted this risk,” he said — an initial outbreak in southern China spread to 37 countries, eventually causing more than 8,000 cases and more than 700 deaths.
SARS was highly virulent, but not completely so, Sims noted: “It stormed through the population but not everyone was affected even among those exposed.” But it’s very virulence meant that the outbreak burned out relatively quickly.

Put another way, some pathogens “kill so fast that the virus becomes self-limiting, unable to spread faster than it kills,” Morano said.
For SARS, there is still no established antiviral therapy, commented David Perlin, PhD, of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark — the virus was essentially starved of victims by quarantine measures.
(The same is true of the Middle East coronavirus (MERS), incidentally — there is no specific treatment and control is essentially a matter of good quarantine measures. When they fail, as they did this spring, outbreaks can occur.)

The 2009 pandemic flu, Perlin noted, “was not particularly lethal, but CDC estimated that in approximately one year, there were between 43 (and) 89 million cases.”
But a 10% or 20% fatality rate — like SARS or the 1918 flu — “would have killed many millions.”
Not all diseases burn out, of course. HIV spread for years before it was even recognized and has now killed some 36 million people. Luckily, it’s quite hard to catch.
The same is true of the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu. It has a case-fatality rate of about 60% — still not enough to kill us all off — but only a few hundred cases have been recorded since the bug was first recognized.

“The major worry for scientists,” Wortmann said, “is that a deadly virus, such as Ebola, would mutate to become more contagious, and then spread internationally through air travel.”
“As there are few effective treatments for viral infections, this would represent a global challenge,” he added.
Ebola, now raging in West Africa, is a pathogen with an alarmingly high case-fatality rate but it needs close contact between a victim and another person for infection to take place.
Importantly, it doesn’t spread through droplets in the air, as do the flu and common colds. And in places like the U.S. with a highly developed healthcare system, simple barrier precautions and isolation would prevent a widespread outbreak.

Worst case scenarios involve either an antibiotic-resistant bacterium that kills quickly or a virus that kills more slowly or has a latency period where it can be transmitted but is not debilitating, argued UT Health’s Morano.
In either case, the rate of infection might be fast enough and the rate of death slow enough that the pathogen could spread by common means of transportation, he said.
It would be even worse if the agent was aerosolized and spread by coughing or sneezing so that many people could be infected by a single patient, Morano added.

The White Knight
But what about the heroes of the tale? What about the brave scientists who track down the pathogen and come up with a cure/vaccine/treatment?
Here the experts are more divided.
Loyola’s Reid said: “I think the most fictitious aspect of this is the rapid ‘cure’ that is developed.”
After all, she added, “we still don’t have a vaccine for HIV or hepatitis C or Ebola virus, and our vaccine for influenza has to be updated yearly.”

On the other hand, Beaumont Health System’s Sims said, “technology has come incredibly far in the last decade or so.”
It took years for investigators to identify HIV, come up with a test for it, and develop treatments (although no cure or vaccine so far), Sims noted. But it took only a month or so to realize that SARS was a new disease, and a few weeks more to identify the agent that caused it.

Research on possible treatments was underway when the disease had begun to burn itself out.
“Unfortunately, the scenario of an intrepid doc or scientist coming up with a cure or vaccine in the span of a few weeks or months is highly unlikely, especially if the infectious agent is poorly studied,” Morano commented.

“These things take a great deal of research, time and money — exactly what we’re doing now in medical centers across the globe.”

(News & Editorial/ Dancing with viral dangers)

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California drought

A. NASA Signals Crisis: “California Has About One Year of Water Left”
13 Mar 2015, SHTFPlan, by Mac Slavo
Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/commodities/nasa-signals-crisis-california-has-about-one-year-of-water-left_03132015

CA dry map

The California drought has already been alarming enough not only for residents of the state – whose water supply was never secured, and has constantly been the source of heated controversy – but those across the country and globe who depend up on its agriculture for survival.

As SHTF reported back in November, NASA scientists have already warned that California’s groundwater supplies are at critical low points, and threatening the food supply:

A new Nature Climate Change piece, “The global groundwater crisis,” by James Famiglietti, a leading hydrologist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, warns that “most of the major aquifers in the world’s arid and semi-arid zones, that is, in the dry parts of the world that rely most heavily on groundwater, are experiencing rapid rates of groundwater depletion.”

The most worrisome fact: “nearly all of these underlie the word’s great agricultural regions and are primarily responsible for their high productivity.”

Now, Jay Famiglietti – the same NASA hydrologist who led the previous report – is sounding an all-out alarm that California has less than one year of water remaining based on satellite image data:

Data from NASA satellites show that the total amount of water stored in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins — that is, all of the snow, river and reservoir water, water in soils and groundwater combined — was 34 million acre-feet below normal in 2014. That loss is nearly 1.5 times the capacity of Lake Mead, America’s largest reservoir.

Statewide, we’ve been dropping more than 12 million acre-feet of total water yearly since 2011. Roughly two-thirds of these losses are attributable to groundwater pumping for agricultural irrigation in the Central Valley. Farmers have little choice but to pump more groundwater during droughts, especially when their surface water allocations have been slashed 80% to 100%. But these pumping rates are excessive and unsustainable.

As difficult as it may be to face, the simple fact is that California is running out of water — and the problem started before our current drought. NASA data reveal that total water storage in California has been in steady decline since at least 2002, when satellite-based monitoring began, although groundwater depletion has been going on since the early 20th century.

Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain.

Famiglietti makes no hesitation in calling for mandatory water rationing and other measures to cut water uses:

First, immediate mandatory water rationing should be authorized across all of the state’s water sectors, from domestic and municipal through agricultural and industrial. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is already considering water rationing by the summer unless conditions improve. There is no need for the rest of the state to hesitate.

And he further claims that public support, at over 94% in polls, is sufficient to support massive state intervention in residential water usage, and even back mandatory restrictions.

If the claims of California’s water shortage are not overstated for effect, it may be tough times coming for the Golden State.

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 B.  California Is Turning Back Into A Desert And There Are No Contingency Plans

15 March 2015 , The Economic Collapse Blog, By Michael Snyder Pasted from: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/california-is-turning-back-into-a-desert-and-there-are-no-contingency-plans

Once upon a time, much of the state of California was a barren desert.  And now, thanks to the worst drought in modern American history, much of the state is turning back into one.  Scientists tell us that the 20th century was the wettest century that the state of California had seen in 1000 years.  But now weather patterns are reverting back to historical norms, and California is rapidly running out of water.  It is being reported that the state only has approximately a one year supply of water left in the reservoirs, and when the water is all gone there are no contingency plans.  Back in early 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency for the entire state, but since that time water usage has only dropped by 9 percent.  That is not nearly enough.  The state of California has been losing more than 12 million acre-feet of total water a year since 2011, and we are quickly heading toward an extremely painful water crisis unlike anything that any of us have ever seen before.

But don’t take my word for it.  According to the Los Angeles Times, Jay Famiglietti “is the senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech and a professor of Earth system science at UC Irvine”.  What he has to say about the horrific drought in California is extremely sobering…

As our “wet” season draws to a close, it is clear that the paltry rain and snowfall have done almost nothing to alleviate epic drought conditions. January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895. Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows. We’re not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we’re losing the creek too.

Data from NASA satellites show that the total amount of water stored in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins — that is, all of the snow, river and reservoir water, water in soils and groundwater combined — was 34 million acre-feet below normal in 2014. That loss is nearly 1.5 times the capacity of Lake Mead, America’s largest reservoir.

Statewide, we’ve been dropping more than 12 million acre-feet of total water yearly since 2011. Roughly two-thirds of these losses are attributable to groundwater pumping for agricultural irrigation in the Central Valley. Farmers have little choice but to pump more groundwater during droughts, especially when their surface water allocations have been slashed 80% to 100%. But these pumping rates are excessive and unsustainable. Wells are running dry. In some areas of the Central Valley, the land is sinking by one foot or more per year.

Are you starting to understand why so many experts are so alarmed?

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, essentially the entire state is suffering drought conditions right now.  And as you can see from the map below, most of the state is currently experiencing either the highest or the second-highest classification of drought…

Nearly 40 million people live in the state of California at the moment. What are they all going to do when the water is gone? (If the trend continues and no nation wide, population winnowing, EMP attack occurs against the USA, look for terms like “migration” to reenter our vocabulary, as id did during the “dust bowl days”. Mr Larry)

In some rural areas, reservoirs are already nearly bone dry.  And in other areas, the water quality has gone way down.  For example, in one Southern California neighborhood black water is now coming out of the taps…

Residents of a Southern California neighborhood are concerned about the fact that the water flowing out of the taps in their homes is the color black. That’s right; the water coming out of their faucets is indeed black — not gray, not cloudy — but black. Inky, opaque black water that the water company says is okay to drink.

CA drought monitor

Those who live in Gardena, California, are understandably skeptical when asked to consume water that strongly resembles crude oil or something emitted by a squid. The water reportedly also has an “odor of rotten eggs or sewer smell,” according to one resident.

Perhaps you don’t care about what happens to California. Perhaps you believe that they are just getting what they deserve. And you might be right about that. But the truth is that this is a crisis for all of us, because an enormous amount of our fresh produce is grown in the state. As I discussed in a previous article, the rest of the nation is very heavily dependent on the fruits and vegetables grown in California.  The following numbers represent California’s contribution to our overall production…

99 percent of the artichokes

44 percent of asparagus

two-thirds of carrots

half of bell peppers

89 percent of cauliflower

94 percent of broccoli

95 percent of celery

90 percent of the leaf lettuce

83 percent of Romaine lettuce

83 percent of fresh spinach

a third of the fresh tomatoes

86 percent of lemons

90 percent of avocados

84 percent of peaches

88 percent of fresh strawberries

97 percent of fresh plums

Without the agricultural production of the state of California, we are in a massive amount of trouble.

And of course there are other areas all over the globe that are going through similar things.  For instance, taps in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo are running dry as Brazil experiences the worst drought that it has seen in 80 years.

The world simply does not have enough fresh water left at this point, and that is why water is being called “the new oil”.  The following comes from CBS News…

It’s been said that the wars of the 21st century may well be fought over water. The Earth’s population has more than doubled over the last 50 years and the demand for fresh water — to drink and to grow food — has surged along with it. But sources of water like rainfall, rivers, streams, reservoirs, certainly haven’t doubled. So where is all that extra water coming from? More and more, it’s being pumped out of the ground.

Water experts say groundwater is like a savings account — something you draw on in times of need. But savings accounts need to be replenished, and there is new evidence that so much water is being taken out, much of the world is in danger of a groundwater overdraft.

And if scientists are right, what we are experiencing right now may just be the very beginning of our problems.  In fact, one team of researchers has concluded that the Southwestern United States is headed for a “megadrought” that could last for decades…

Scientists had already found that the Southwestern United States were at great risk of experiencing a significant megadrought (in this case meaning drought conditions that last for over 35 years) before the end of the 21st century. But a new study published in Science Advances added some grim context to those predictions.

Columbia University climate scientists Jason Smerdon and Benjamin Cook, and Cornell University’s Toby Ault were co-authors on the study. They took data from tree rings and other environmental records of climate from the Southwest and compared them to the projections of 17 different climate models that look at precipitation and soil moisture. When they made the comparison between past and future, they found that all the models agreed: the next big megadrought is coming, and it will be way worse than anything we’ve seen in over 1,000 years–including droughts that have been credited with wiping out civilizations.

Needless to say, along with any water crisis comes a food crisis. Virtually everything that we eat requires a tremendous amount of water to grow.  And at this point, the world is already eating more food than it produces most years. So what is going to happen to us as this water crisis gets even worse?

CA drought yr by yr

(News & editorial/ California drought)

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With electric power– Without electric power

A. 10 Things People Will Miss Most Without Electricity At Home
22 July 2014, Modern Survival Blog, by Ken Jorgustin
Pasted from: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/preps/10-things-you-will-miss-most-without-electricity-at-home/#more-28882

With electric meter

To go without electricity for a couple of hours is a bad enough experience for most, but imagine the horror if the power grid were to stay down for days, or even weeks!

Can you imagine the unthinkable and challenge yourself to consider life without electricity for 1-year or more (e.g. SHTF after an EMP cluster)?

The resulting shock to today’s modern man (and woman) would not only be an emotional jolt, but could quickly turn into a life threatening reality for those who have not prepared for such an occurrence. It could be life threatening even for those who have prepared!

Without electricity (even for a short time), these ten things will be high on the list for most people; the things that will be missed the most based on the modern lifestyle of today. 

LIGHTS
The most basic of luxury that electricity provides is our light at night, and even during the day. How long will your batteries last in your flashlights? Then what? Do you have a plan for that?

CELL PHONES
Most of today’s communications revolve around our cell phones / smart phones. They are the lifeblood of our social networks and the primary means of communicating with our family and friends. How will you cope without that ability to communicate?

INTERNET AND COMPUTER
This category should almost go without saying… it is probably the most relied upon resource in our modern lives today. It is crucial to our communications, our finances, our economy, and our entertainment. Many people won’t know what to do without it.

TELEVISION
The average adult watches 4 hours of television a day while the typical child watches 6 hours TV per day including their video-games. It will be a shock to the (emotional) system without this distraction.

iPODS, STEREO, MUSIC
I mention this category due to the observation of so many people walking around with ear-buds attached to their iPod (and other) devices while listening to their music. There will be no recharging these little entertainment devices. Like television, music is a major part of the background (and foreground) entertainment for many people.

AIR CONDITIONING, FANS, AND HEAT
Many modern buildings will be completely uninhabitable without it, due to modern day HVAC design into large multi-story buildings. We have lived for many decades with the convenience of air-conditioning, and being without it will be a shock. Not sure how many could survive without it these days. If electricity were to fail in the winter, there will be even more grave consequences!

REFRIGERATOR AND FREEZER
This appliance is in its own category due to the important role it serves in keeping your food fresh longer and the ability to keep you supplied with fresh food for a time. Without electricity your frozen foods will be thawed within 24 hours and will need to be consumed immediately or tossed out. Then what?

KITCHEN APPLIANCES
How will you handle first thing in the morning without a cup of coffee brewed in your electric coffee pot? Think about ALL of your kitchen appliances that run on electricity and how you would manage without them. No dishwasher? No appliances to assist?

STOVE, OVEN AND MICROWAVE
The majority of people rely on an electric stove, oven or microwave for cooking their food. Let that sink in a moment…

CLOTHES WASHER AND DRYER
Keeping our clothes clean is something that we completely take for granted. It would not take long for this situation to become unhealthy.

Observations and considerations…
Entertainment. Some of the categories listed above are really subsets of “Entertainment”. It WILL be a major emotional factor for many people when they lose it because most people rely on it for daily distraction. When things go “quiet”, it will be jarring for most who have become accustomed to the constant ‘noise’. They will be forced to deal with the reality of their own life and circumstances, and may not know what to do. It could even result in a rapid escalation of social chaos, particularly in densely populated areas as tempers flare while people are forced to deal not only with the loss of their distractions, but they will be forced to deal with survival itself.

Communications. My observations of the world we live in today reveal that many people, if not most, always seem to be on a cell phone talking with someone else – everywhere they go. In the car, in the store, at home, on the street, at work… It seems to reflect an insecurity of sorts. The need to be in constant contact with their circle of friends. Without this emotional support structure of constant communication, these people will have a very difficult time coping (with real life). Even if cell towers are up for awhile during a power outage, when your cell phone battery drains, that’s it… Silence.

Kitchen. You better start thinking about how you’ll manage without your electrical appliances – your stove – your microwave – your refrigerator and freezer – even if only for a week. Do you have the ability to put food on the table without them? Do you have food that doesn’t require cooking? Do you have any food at all? Think of a power outage or grid-down scenario in terms of various lengths of time. While it’s pretty easy to survive a few hours or even a day or two, start thinking about a week or more – and what you would do.

Water. While this resource is pretty much #1 for survival, during short term power outages you will not lose your water pressure. This will only become a critical issue if electricity is lost for a significant period of time. All water municipalities have power generators for their pumps, and so long as they can get fuel for their water pumps, they can keep the water flowing. A severe enough disaster however could throw a wrench in the works. This is similar for sewage treatment. A long-term outage will prove disastrous in the water and sewer category.

Hopefully these thoughts have given you something to think about. If you are inclined to become better prepared for such things, spend a day keeping track of everything that you do and see how many of those activities involve the requirement of electricity. Then imagine life without it. Figure out ways to survive without it.

with electric tube vs solid state

 ..

B. Off the Grid – Solar Power, part 1
3 August 2012, Prepping To Survive, by Mike
Pasted from; http://preppingtosurvive.com/2012/08/03/off-the-grid-solar-power-part-1/

The following article has been contributed by a fellow prepper named Mike. It has been published with permission of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of PreppingToSurvive.com.

“So, what happens if and when the grid goes down for an extended period of time? Aside from the aggravation of not being able to determine what is happening through traditional media channels, for the Average Joe, his problems have only just begun. Our dependency to the grid doesn’t just stop at lack of electricity in our homes to power our appliances or an inability to charge our cell phones; it is much broader and affects every aspect of our lives”.

Oh how true that statement is; most people could not survive a day without computers, refrigeration, cell phones and TV. Most people have never had to live off the grid unless they were primitive camping; and even then it was probably only for a weekend. But for some of us people planning to use our yachts as a refuge for when the SHTF, using solar is already being practiced. Some of us have already taken the steps necessary to keep the power flowing; we have built our own power grid. We have tested it in the actual real world environment and have been using it when we are away from the dock for pleasure, so we know the application and technology works.

Solar panels have been successfully used since the mid 1950s, originally used in manned space exploration. They have been dropping in price since about 2004 when their popularity really took off. And now with the Green movement afoot, solar panels are as popular as ever. After evaluating my yacht’s energy consumption, it was obvious that we must make some changes to be able to survive during and after the SHTF. So a couple years ago, I set out to research them and determine how to buy and install one; boy was I was in for a shock.

with electric pv1

You can find many retail suppliers online that will sell you a solar panel but nowhere could I find a detailed description of how to determine what to buy and how to install it; much less aboard a yacht. So these articles were born as I made my way through the process; thus was a truly a learn-as-you-go article. If you are thinking about installing one at your home versus on a boat, the principles are still the same.

 What is a Solar Panel and How Do They Work?
Solar panels are in theory any panel that uses the sun’s thermal energy to produce electricity. A solar panel can be described as a photovoltaic panel, the term used in the industry, for panels designed to produce electricity from the rays of the sun. Despite the category of solar panel being discussed, almost all solar panels are flat. This is because the face of the panel needs to be at a 90 degree angle from the sun’s rays for the most favorable angle to absorb the sun’s rays.

Solar panels are able to take in energy from the sun through an array of solar cells on their surface. Much like how a plant is able to soak up energy from the sun for photosynthesis, solar cells perform in a comparable manner. As the sun’s rays hit the solar cells on a photovoltaic panel, the power is transferred to a silicon semiconductor. The power is then changed into (dc) direct current electricity and then passed through connecting wires to finally enter a storage battery.

with electric a panelTypical 150 watt solar panel

 Types of Solar Panels
Types of panels most normally used in boating applications have either multicrystalline or amorphous thin-film cells. Multicrystalline panels are the oldest technology available and also the most powerful. When sized appropriately and matched to suitable batteries, these are the panels to use for operating large loads such as refrigeration.

Amorphous thin film solar panels are only about 50% as effective as multicrystalline panels, but can be bought in flexible forms so they can roll or fold, or correspond to the shape of a yacht cabin top or bimini. They don’t normally have enough output for significant energy replenishment, but can be used to trickle charge a battery bank.

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 C.  Off the Grid – Solar Power, part 2
7 August 2012, Prepping To Survive, by Mike
Pasted from: http://preppingtosurvive.com/2012/08/07/off-the-grid-solar-power-part-2/

The following article has been contributed by a fellow prepper named Mike. It has been published with permission of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of PreppingToSurvive.com.

This article is the second in a three-part series on off-grid survival using solar power. In the first installment, I talked about how solar power works and the types of solar panels available. In this article, I’ll share with you how to calculate how much energy you’ll need to support your home or boat. In the third and final post, I’ll share how to mount and wire your new panels.

with electric pv2

 How Much Power Do Solar Cells Make?
Generally, we measure solar panels by wattage and that is how we buy them. You can buy solar panels for boats as small as 10 watts to as large as 200 watts or even larger. But it is easier to understand when we convert watts to amperage.

We arrive at these values by multiplying the number of hours the panel spends in full sun (usually defined as 8 per day in Florida) times the panel’s wattage.
For a 195 watt solar panel the output would be 195 x 8 hrs = 1,560 watts/day. Taking it step further, 1,560 watts/12 volts = 130 amps per day.
Keep in mind that solar panels produce DC power which means that you will need a deep cycle battery bank to hold the charge. Batteries are rated by the amp hours they hold.

 So what is Needed in a Solar Panel Setup?
Obviously one or more solar panels are necessary to make the system work. In addition, you will need:

  • a large bank of deep cycle batteries, the bigger the bank the better
  • an inverter, choose between pure sin or modified (to be discussed in another article)
  • a controller and
  • proper wiring and fuses to wire the parts together.

with electric 500 Ahr battery bank

Energy Consumption – A
My guiding principle on how many panels to buy is simple; buy as many panels as your budget and mounting location will allow. You cannot have too many. But you should complete an energy audit to make sure you are buying enough for your needs.

Example, if you have 3 interior lights that draw 2 amps each and you leave them on for 4 hours per day, your consumption would be 3 x 2 x 4 = 24 AH/Day.

You can generally find the amp load for appliances on a label inside a door etc.

 Electrical Loads

Amps Hours AH/Day
House Lighting
Refrigeration
Freezer
Stereo
Other
Total Amp Hours

 

Inverter Loads – B
An inverter is a device that coverts battery DC power to household AC power; without an inverter, unlike on a yacht, your solar panel will have little value if used at a home. But with an inverter you can use your hair dryer.

Inverter loads use DC power but they are powering AC appliances and equipment. If you need to convert watts to amps use (12watts/12 volts = 1amp).

Amps Hours AH/Day
Computer
Microwave
Refrigeration
Freezer
Heater
Hair Dryer
TV
Other
Total Amp Hours
Calculate your total daily energy consumption AH/per day

 Solar Energy Production – C
Alternative sources of power such as solar panels can replace the amp/hrs drawn from the batteries. But like the energy budget that calculated your usage you will also need to calculate your re-supply of amp hours. Remember the formula – (12 watts/12 volts = 1 amp). But keep in mind, the formula is only a gage; absolute accuracy can only be where the panel output is constant and a solar panel may at times operate inefficiently due to shading by clouds.

Watts Amps X – Hours Sun Exposure = – AH/Day
Solar Panel 1
Solar Panel 2
Total Amp Hours Production

 Solar Panel Needs
Compare the daily energy consumption in AH/Day to the solar energy production. Your solar energy production ( C ) should be greater than the consumption ( A, B ). If not, select a larger wattage panel and recalculate. Always purchase more solar panel output than you will think you will need; some planners recommend at least 30% in excess.

We bought our panel from Sun Electronics in Miami, http://www.sunelec.com as they had the best pricing I could find anywhere online. But remember, panels must be shipped via freight as they are heavily packed to reduce the chance of damage so be sure to calculate those costs in your purchase.

(Survival Manual/ prepper Articles/With electric power–Without electric power)

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Instances of Corrupt Leadership?

A.  How The Corrupt Establishment Is Selling Moral Bankruptcy To America
14 Aug 2013, SHTFplan.com, by Brandon Smith
Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/how-the-corrupt-establishment-is-selling-moral-bankruptcy-to-america_08142013
the devil in the worksMorality is a highly misunderstood component of human nature. Some people believe they can create moral guidelines from thin air based on their personal biases and prejudices. Some people believe that morality comes from the force of bureaucracy and government law. Still, others believe that there is no such thing; that morality is a facade created by men in order to better grease the wheels of society.

All of these world views discount the powerful scientific and psychological evidence surrounding Natural Law — the laws that human beings form internally due to inherent conscience regardless of environmental circumstances. When a person finally grasps inborn morality, the whole of the world comes into focus. The reality is that we are not born “good” or “evil.” Rather, we are all born with the capacity for good AND evil, and this internal battle stays with us until the end of our days.

Every waking moment we are given a choice, a test of our free will, to be ruled by desire and fear, or to do what we know at our very core is right. When a man silences his inner voice, the results can be terrible for him and those around him. When an entire culture silences its inner voice, the results can be catastrophic. Such a shift in the moral compass of a society rarely takes place in a vacuum. There is always a false shepherd, a corrupt leadership that seeks to rule. Rulership, though, is difficult in the face of an awake population that respects integrity and honor. Therefore criminals must follow these specific steps in order to take power:

Pretend To Be Righteous: They must first sell the public on the idea that they hold the exact same values of natural law as everyone else. The public must at first believe that the criminal leaders are pure in their motives and have the best interests of the nation at heart, even if they secretly do not.

Pretend To Be Patriotic: Despots often proclaim an untarnished love of their homeland and the values that it was founded upon. However, what they really seek is to become a living symbol of the homeland. They insist first that they are the embodiment of the national legacy, and then they attempt to change that national legacy entirely. A corrupt government uses the ideals of a society to acquire a foothold, and when they have gained sufficient control, they dictate to that society a new set of ideals that are totally contrary to the original.

Offer To “Fix” The Economy: Tyrants do not like it when the citizens under them are self sufficient or economically independent. They will use whatever methods are at their disposal including subversive legislation, fiat currency creation, corporate monopoly and even engineered financial collapse in order to remove the public’s ability to function autonomously. They will begin this process under the guise that the current less-controlled and less-centralized system is “not safe enough,” and that they have a better way to ensure prosperity.

Offer To Lend A Hand: Once the population has been removed from its own survival imperative and is for the most part helpless, the criminal leadership moves in and offers to “help” using taxation and money creation, slowly siphoning the wealth from the middle class and raising prices through inflation. Eventually, everyone will be “equal”; equally poor that is. In the end, the whole nation will see the rulership as indispensable, for without them, the economy would no longer exist and tragedy would ensue.

Create External Fear: Once in place, the criminal leadership then conjures an enemy for the people, or multiple enemies for the people. The goal here is to create a catalyst for mass fear. When the majority of people are afraid of an external threat, they will embrace the establishment as a vital safeguard. When a society becomes convinced that it cannot take care of itself economically, little coaxing is required to convince them that they are also not competent enough to take care of their own defense. The government not only becomes caregiver and nanny, but also bodyguard.  At this point, the establishment has free reign to dissolve long cherished liberties while the masses are distracted by a mysterious threat hiding somewhere over the horizon.

Create Internal Fear: They move the threat from over the horizon, right to the public’s front door, or even within their own home. The enemy is no longer a foreigner. Now, the enemy is the average looking guy two houses over, or an outspoken friend, or even a dissenting family member. The enemy is all around them, according to the establishment. The public is sold on the idea that the sacrifice needed in order to combat such a pervasive “threat” is necessarily high.

Sell The People On The Virtues Of Moral Relativism: Now that the populace is willing to forgo certain liberties for the sake of security, they have been softened up enough for reprogramming to begin. The establishment will tell the people that the principles they used to hold so dear are actually weaknesses that make them vulnerable to the enemy. In order to defeat an enemy so monstrous, they claim, we must become monstrous ourselves. We must be willing to do ANYTHING, no matter how vile or contrary to natural law, in order to win.

Honesty must be replaced with deceit. Dissent must be replaced with silence. Peace must be replaced with violence. The independent should be treated with suspicion. The outspoken treated with contempt. Women and children are no longer people to be protected, but targets to be eliminated. The innocent dead become collateral damage. The innocent living become informants to be tortured and exploited. Good men are labeled cowards because they refuse to “do what needs to be done,” while evil men are labeled heroes for having the “strength of will” to abandon their conscience.

Thus, the criminal leadership makes once honorable citizens accomplices in the crime. The more disgusting the crime, the more apt the people will be to defend it and the system in general, simply because they have been inducted into the dark ceremony of moral ambiguity.

The actions of the state become the actions of all society. A single minded collectivist culture is born, one in which every person is a small piece of the greater machine. And, that which the machine is guilty of, every man is guilty of. Therefore, it becomes the ultimate and absurd purpose of each person within the system to DENY the crime, deny the guilt, and make certain that the machine continues to function for generations to come.

Though we have already passed though most of the above stages, Americans are still not yet quite indoctrinated into the realm of moral relativism. This, though, is swiftly changing.

The Current Sales Pitch Just take a look at the attitude of the Obama Administration and the mainstream media towards Edward Snowden and his recent asylum approved by Russia.

The White House, rather than admitting wrongdoing in its support for the NSA’s mass surveillance of American citizens without warrant, or even attempting to terrorist3 news mediadeny the existence of the PRISM program, is now instead trying to promote NSA spying as essential to our well being while wagging a finger of shame at Snowden and the Russian government for damaging their domestic spy network. Obama has lamented on Russia’s stance, stating that their thinking is “backwards.”

Did I miss something here? I’m no fan of the Russian oligarchy, but shouldn’t Obama and most of the NSA (let alone every other Federal alphabet agency) be sitting in a dark hole somewhere awaiting trial for violating the Constitution on almost every level? Yet, we are instead supposed to despise Snowden for exposing the crime they committed and distrust any country that happens to give him shelter?

Due to public outcry, Obama has attempted to pacify critics by announcing plans to make NSA mass surveillance “more transparent”. First, I would like to point out that he did NOT offer to end NSA spying on Americans without warrant, which is what a President with any ounce of integrity would have done. Second, Obama’s calls for more transparency have come at the exact same time as the NSA announces its plans to remove 90 percent of its systems administrators to make sure another “Snowden incident” does not occur.

Finally, when the public called for an investigation into the NSA and the Director of National Intelligence in the handling of the Snowden affair and the PRISM program, the White House appointed none other than James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, as part of the team that would “investigate” any wrongdoing.  The Obama Administration insists that Clapper, a documented liar who told Congress that the NSA was not involved in mass domestic spying, was not going to “head” the panel of investigators, even though a White House memo specifically named Clapper as the man who would form the so-called “independent group”.  The White House still admits that Clapper will be involved in the process.

So, just to reiterate, the people who perpetrated the criminal act of warrant-less surveillance on hundreds of millions of Americans, and who were caught red-handed lying about it, are now appointed to investigate their own crime.

Does this sound like a government that plans on becoming “more transparent”?

Ask yourself, would Obama have called for ANY transparency over the NSA whatsoever if Snowden had never come forward? Of course not! The exposure of the crime has led to lies and empty placation, nothing more.

In the meantime, numerous other political miscreants have hit the media trail, campaigning for the NSA as well as other surveillance methods, bellowing to the rafters over the absolute necessity of domestic spy programs. Fifteen years ago, the government would have tried to sweep all of this under the rug. Today, they want to acclimate us to the inevitability of the crime, stating that we had better get used to it.

Their position? That Snowden’s whistle blowing put America at risk. My questions is, how? How did Snowden’s exposure of an unConstitutional and at bottom illegal surveillance program used against hundreds of millions of innocent Americans do our country harm? Is it the position of the White House that the truth is dangerous, and deceit is safety?

I suspect this is the case considering the recent treatment of military whistleblower Bradley Manning, who has been accused by some to have “aided Al Qaeda’s recruiting efforts” through his actions.  How did Manning do this? By releasing information, including battlefield videos, that were hidden from the public containing proof of U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Perhaps I’m just a traditionalist and not hip to modern diplomatic strategy, but I would think that if you don’t want to be blamed for war crimes, then you probably shouldn’t commit war crimes. And, if you don’t want the enemy to gain new recruits, you should probably avoid killing innocent civilians and pissing off their families (there is also ample evidence suggesting that the CIA has done FAR more deliberate recruiting for Al Qaeda than Bradley Manning could have ever accomplished on accident). Just a thought.

So, to keep track – U.S. government funds and trains Al Qaeda, but is the good guy. U.S. government commits war crimes, but is the good guy. U.S. government hides the truth from the American people, but is the good guy. Bradley Manning exposes war crimes, and is the bad guy. Moral relativism at its finest. Moving on…

The shift towards moral bankruptcy is being implemented in the financial world as well. Investors, hedge funds, and major banks now surge into the stock market every time the private Federal Reserve hints that it may continue fiat stimulus. When bad news hits the mainstream feeds, people playing the Dow casino actually cheer with glee exactly because bad economic news means more QE from the Fed. They know that the Fed is artificially propping up the markets. The Fed openly admits that it does this. And, they know that our fiscal system is hanging by a thin thread. And you know what, very few of them care.

The Fed created the collapse with easy money and manipulated interest rates, and now, some people cheer them as the heroes of the U.S. financial structure.

The American narrative is quickly changing. There has long been criminality and degeneracy within our government (Democrat and Republican) and the corporate cartels surrounding it, but I believe what we are witnessing today is the final step in the metamorphosis that is totalitarianism. The last stage accelerates when the average citizen is not just complicit in the deeds of devils, but when he becomes a devil himself. When Americans froth and stomp in excitement for the carnival of death, and treat the truth as poison, then the transformation will be complete.
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B. Top 10 Ways the US is the Most Corrupt Country in the World
3 Dec 2013, juancole.com, By Juan Cole
Pasted from: http://www.juancole.com/2013/12/corrupt-country-world.html

Those ratings that castigate Afghanistan and some other poor countries as hopelessly “corrupt” always imply that the United States is not corrupt.

VOA reports:
While it is true that you don’t typically have to bribe your postman to deliver the mail in the US, in many key ways America’s political and financial practices make it in absolute terms far more corrupt than the usual global South suspects. After all, the US economy is worth over $16 trillion a year, so in our corruption a lot more money changes hands.

  1. Instead of having short, publicly-funded political campaigns with limited and/or free advertising (as a number of Western European countries do), the US has long political campaigns in which candidates are dunned big bucks for advertising. They are therefore forced to spend much of their time fundraising, which is to say, seeking bribes. All American politicians are basically on the take, though many are honorable people. They are forced into it by the system. House Majority leader John Boehner has actually just handed out cash on the floor of the House from the tobacco industry to other representatives.

When French President Nicolas Sarkozy was defeated in 2012, soon thereafter French police actually went into his private residence searching for an alleged $50,000 in illicit campaign contributions from the L’Oreale heiress. I thought to myself, seriously? $50,000 in a presidential campaign? Our presidential campaigns cost a billion dollars each! $50,000 is a rounding error, not a basis for police action. Why, George W. Bush took millions from arms manufacturers and then ginned up a war for them, and the police haven’t been anywhere near his house.

American politicians don’t represent “the people.” With a few honorable exceptions, they represent the the 1%. American democracy is being corrupted out of existence.

  1. That politicians can be bribed to reduce regulation of industries like banking (what is called “regulatory capture”) means that they will be so bribed. Billions were spent and 3,000 lobbyists employed by bankers to remove cumbersome rules in the zeroes. Thus, political corruption enabled financial corruption (in some cases legalizing it!) Without regulations and government auditing, the finance sector went wild and engaged in corrupt practices that caused the 2008 crash. Too bad the poor Afghans can’t just legislate their corruption out of existence by regularizing it, the way Wall street did.
  2. That the chief villains of the 2008 meltdown (from which 90% of Americans have not recovered) have not been prosecuted is itself a form of corruption.
  3. The US military budget is bloated and enormous, bigger than the military budgets of the next twelve major states. What isn’t usually realized is that perhaps half of it is spent on outsourced services, not on the military. It is corporate welfare on a cosmic scale. I’ve seen with my own eyes how officers in the military get out and then form companies to sell things to their former colleagues still on the inside.
  4. The US has a vast gulag of 2.2 million prisoners in jail and penitentiary. There is an increasing tendency for prisons to be privatized, and this tendency is corrupting the system. It is wrong for people to profit from putting and keeping human beings behind bars. This troubling trend is made all the more troubling by the move to give extra-long sentences for minor crimes, to deny parole and to imprison people for life for eg., three small thefts.
  5. The rich are well placed to bribe our politicians to reduce taxes on the rich. This and other government policies has produced a situation where 400 American billionaires are worth $2 trillion, as much as the bottom 150 million Americans. That kind of wealth inequality hasn’t been seen in the US since the age of the robber barons in the nineteenth century. Both eras are marked by extreme corruption.
  6. The National Security Agency’s domestic spying is a form of corruption in itself, and lends itself to corruption. With some 4 million government employees and private contractors engaged in this surveillance, it is highly unlikely that various forms of insider trading and other corrupt practices are not being committed. If you knew who Warren Buffett and George Soros were calling every day, that alone could make you a killing. The American political class wouldn’t be defending this indefensible invasion of citizens’ privacy so vigorously if someone somewhere weren’t making money on it.
  7. As for insider trading, it turns out Congress undid much of the law it hastily passed forbidding members, rather belatedly, to engage in insider trading (buying and selling stock based on their privileged knowledge of future government policy). That this practice only became an issue recently is another sign of how corrupt the system is.
  8. Asset forfeiture in the ‘drug war’ is corrupting police departments and the judiciary.
  9. Money and corruption have seeped so far into our media system that people can with a straight face assert that scientists aren’t sure human carbon emissions are causing global warming. Fox Cable News is among the more corrupt institutions in American society, purveying outright lies for the benefit of the billionaire class. The US is so corrupt that it is resisting the obvious urgency to slash carbon production. Even our relatively progressive president talks about exploiting all sources of energy, as though hydrocarbons were just as valuable as green energy and as though hydrocarbons weren’t poisoning the earth.

Even Qatar, its economy based on natural gas, freely admits the challenge of human-induced climate change. American politicians like Jim Inhofe are openly ridiculed when they travel to Europe for their know-nothingism on climate.

So don’t tell the Philippines or the other victims of American corruption how corrupt they are for taking a few petty bribes. Americans are not seen as corrupt because we only deal in the big denominations. Steal $2 trillion and you aren’t corrupt, you’re respectable.

(News & Editorial/ Instances of Corrupt Leadership?)

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Venezuela: Shortages and hyper inflation… How it looks on Main Street

news-desk[1]A. Venezuela Enforces Fingerprint Registry to Buy Groceries: What to Do Before Rationing Starts in America 2 April 2014, SHTFplan.com, by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper, http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/venezuela-enforces-fingerprint-registry-to-buy-groceries-what-to-do-before-rationing-starts-in-america-04022014

Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/venezuela-enforces-fingerprint-registry-to-buy-groceries-what-to-do-before-rationing-starts-in-america_04022014

Editor’s Note: In recent weeks the country of Venezuela has implemented everything from price controls to rationing in an effort to control the hyperinflation that has gripped the nation. All attempts at controlling demand and ‘hoarding’ have thus far failed, prompting government officials to issue directives requiring biometric verification for the purchase of foodstuffs. What’s happening in Venezuela is a clear example of how government first causes the problem, often leading to panic, and then points the blame at everyone but themselves. Officials claim that unscrupulous merchants (who have been forced to sell goods at prices lower than they have acquired them) and the hoarding of food by individuals is to blame for the shortages.

The solution, of course, is more government, and in this case that means registration of fingerprints and other personal data in exchange for permission to purchase food. Be assured that the same plans are in place right here in the USA. In fact, we already have an electronic mechanism of exchange in the form of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. Should the worst happen and the US dollar crashes at some point in the future, those who failed to prepare (or, hoard as the government would suggest) are destined to forced registrations at their local post office or other government entity. Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper explains what’s happening right now in Venezuela, how a similar situation could unfold in the USA, and what you can do to prepare in advance.

For those looking to implement a frugal and highly effective strategy in advance of food shortages or currency crisis we suggest taking a look at Daisy’s book The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months.

Venesuela1(Pictured: Amateur photo: Venezuelans line up for miles in an effort to acquire food during hyperinflationary food shortages – March 2014)

.Venezuela Enforces Fingerprint Registry to Buy Groceries: What to Do Before Rationing Starts in America
By Daisy Luther

What if you were forced to “register” in order to buy groceries?  And what if, through that registration, the food you bought could be tracked and quantities could be limited?

That’s exactly the plan in Venezuela right now.  The AP reports that in an effort to crack down on “hoarding” that ID cards will be issued to families.  These will have to be presented before foodstuffs can be purchased.

President Nicolas Maduro’s administration says the cards to track families’ purchases will foil people who stock up on groceries at subsidized prices and then illegally resell them for several times the amount…

Registration began Tuesday at more than 100 government-run supermarkets across the country. Working-class shoppers who sometimes endure hours-long lines at government-run stores to buy groceries at steeply reduced prices are welcoming the plan.

“The rich people have things all hoarded away, and they pull the strings,” said Juan Rodriguez, who waited two hours to enter the government-run Abastos Bicentenario supermarket near downtown Caracas on Monday, and then waited another three hours to check out.

Checkout workers at Abastos Bicentenario were taking down customers’ cellphone numbers Monday, to ensure they couldn’t return for eight days. Shoppers said employees also banned purchases by minors, to stop parents from using their children to engage in hoarding, which the government calls “nervous buying.”

Rodriguez supports both measures.

“People who go shopping every day hurt us all,” he said, drawing approving nods from the friends he made over the course of his afternoon slowly snaking through the aisles with his oversized cart.

Reflecting Maduro’s increasingly militarized discourse against opponents he accuses of waging “economic war,” the government is calling the new program the “system of secure supply.”

Patrons will register with their fingerprints, and the new ID card will be linked to a computer system that monitors purchases. On Tuesday, Food Minister Felix Osorio said the process was off to a smooth start. He says the system will sound an alarm when it detects suspicious purchasing patterns, barring people from buying the same goods every day. But he also says the cards will be voluntary, with incentives like discounts and entry into raffles for homes and cars.

Expressionless men with rifles patrolled the warehouse-size supermarket Monday as shoppers hurried by, focusing on grabbing meat and pantry items before they were gone.

Last year in Venezuela, it became a crime to “hoard” food, and the country’s Attorney General called upon prosecutors to crack down on “hoarders” by imprisoning them for the “crime”.

Some people may read this and think to themselves, “Why on earth do I care about what happens in Venezuela?” You’d better care, because this is our future.

Already the Obama administration has moved the pieces into place on the board to be able to appropriate supplies from anyone, at any time.  Mac Slavo of SHTFplan warns: It should be clear from the laws that are already in effect that the government has given itself a legal pretext for confiscating anything they so choose in the midst of an emergency.

Should an emergency befall the United States, the military, national guard, and local police operating under orders from the Department of Homeland Security will have carte blanche to do as they please.

In a widespread emergency where supply lines have been threatened and millions of Americans are without essential resources because they failed to prepare, the government will swoop in an attempt to take complete control.

They will enter our homes and search them without a warrant. They will confiscate contraband. And they will take any ‘excessive resources’ that you may have accumulated. This includes food, toiletries, precious metals and anything else emergency planners and officials deem to be a scarce material.

Just think how much easier it would be to do so if every purchase you make is tracked and documented for future reference.

How Much of a Footprint Are You Leaving?
Now, think about those “loyalty cards” that every grocery store in North America promotes when you go through the checkout. Have you noticed how much more those are being pushed lately? Could there be a nefarious purpose to that?  I doubt the person at the cash register thinks twice about it – if these actually are data collection tools, it is something put in place by people far higher up the food chain (pun intended) than the staff of your local supermarket.

I strongly recommend you think twice about collecting “points” – the discounts may not be worth it if it means that your stock-up purchases are in some database, easily accessible to the NSA.  If you feel it is imperative to have one of those cards, consider using a pseudonym and false address.  You really don’t want to provide an inventory of your stockpile to the government. Some cards, like the one from Target, for example, even take it a step further and link to your credit card or debit account.  I can’t even wrap my brain around giving out that type of information to the person who rings up my paper towels and garbage bags.

To take this even further, if you haven’t been convinced yet that you need to begin producing your own food by gardening and raising micro-livestock, this should solidify the importance of not being totally dependent on “the system” for what you eat. Looking at the drought conditions across America’s farmland, is it a stretch of the imagination to think we could soon be facing rationing like that which is currently happening in Venezuela?  As the middle class gasps its last breath here in America, we may soon be faced with a situation where only the wealthy can afford to avoid rationing.  By becoming independent from the purveyors of food, you can assure that your family will not go hungry at the whims of a government who really doesn’t care.

Plan of Action
Here are a few things that you can do to pre-empt feeling the effects of a system like the one in Venezuela before such a change occurs on our own soil. Start now to leave less of a footprint for the government to follow.

  1. Plant a garden.
  2. Grow food indoors in sunny windows.
  3. Consider an aquaponics set-up in a spare room.
  4. Raise chickens and meat rabbits.
  5. Stock up NOW on long-term staples like grains and beans, before limits are instituted.
  6. Buy heirloom seeds – lots and lots of seeds.
  7. Practice careful OPSEC (OPerational SECurity) when making large purchases.
  8. Store long term food supplies in more than one location. That way if you lose some of your supplies to thugs (government or other varieties), you still have supplies to fall back on.
  9. Learn to preserve food.
  10. Stock up of preservation supplies like lids, jars, etc.
  11. Do NOT use so-called “loyalty cards” or memberships to make large purchases.
  12. When ordering large quantities of supplies, consider having them mailed to some place other than your home.
  13. Use cash or prepaid VISA cards purchased with cash to make large purchases.
  14. Don’t tell others about your supplies and purchases.
  15. Teach your children not to discuss things like food pantries and preparedness.
  16. Don’t store your supplies out in the open for anyone who comes into your home to see. Stash your 5 gallon pails away in closets, under beds, or in the basement.
  17. Disengage from the system by purchasing from small local farmers.
  18. Use the barter system whenever possible.  When money was tight and I lived in a place where I couldn’t grow much food, I worked on a farm harvesting vegetables in exchange for produce that I could preserve for my family.
  19. Change the way you eat – go with a local, in-season menu that is far more difficult to track than grocery-store purchased items.
  20. Learn to forage. Even in the city, you might be surprised at how many things can be found growing in your own back yard or falling off of the trees in a local park.  My children and I picked up one small bag of walnuts a day at a little park down the street one year, resulting in almost 15 pounds of shelled nuts by the time we were through.

Whatever your plan, don’t delay. We need only to read the many articles predicting a food shortage this year due to poor weather conditions to see the writing on the wall. You must become responsible for your family’s sustenance if you don’t want to suffer at the hands of those in power. I have no intention of standing in line for hours with my “ID card”, only to be allowed to purchase a small amount of highly inflated food.

[Please feel free to share any information from this article in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to The Organic Prepper and the following bio.

Daisy Luther is the author of The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

  .

B. Price controls and scarcity force Venezuelans to turn to the black market for milk and toilet paper
16 Apr 2015, by Girish Gupta in Caracas
Pasted from: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/apr/16/venezuela-economy-black-market-milk-and-toilet-paper

From those struggling to meet inflated prices for everyday goods, to lawyers turned pasta smugglers, the street economy flourishes under President Maduro

Venesuela vendorWith supermarket shelves empty, buhoneros (street peddlers) hustling everything from coffee to
shampoo are an increasingly common sight across Venezuela’s slums.  Photograph: Girish Gupta

In Petare, a giant slum overlooking Caracas from the east, hustlers known as buhoneros sell their goods at a busy intersection. “I’ve got milk, toilet paper, coffee, soap…” said 30-year-old Carmen Rodríguez, pointing to her wares by the side of a road busy with honking motorbikes, cars and buses. “Of course they cost more than the government say they should. We have to queue up to get them or buy them from someone who has done. We’re helping people get the basics.”

Yet, many of the poor simply can’t afford Rodríguez’s basics. In a raw and arguably necessary display of capitalism, she sells them for far more than the government’s legally required “fair prices”. It is ironically because of those government-imposed fair prices that the goods often aren’t available at supermarkets at fair prices as it’s simply not profitable to import them. This is thanks to economic policies dating back more than a decade.

Rodríguez sells each of her products for around 100 bolívares. At the black market currency exchange rate, that’s just 30 pence or so. But at that same exchange rate, the minimum wage in Venezuela is around £15 a month.

Venesuela2 queueA queue for a supermarket in Caracas. Photograph: Girish Gupta

“I can’t live like this, earning the minimum wage. It’s not enough at all,” said Araceli Belaez, 40, lining up for groceries at a supermarket in the Caracas slum of Catia.

Johan Elizandre is a fruit-seller in 23 de enero, a slum on the other side of Caracas. It overlooks the presidential palace and its walls are adorned with murals of leftist heroes such as Che Guevara, Karl Marx and former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. “A kilo of meat costs me 600 bolívares” said Elizandre, who earns 7,000 bolívares a month, around £20 when measured at the black market exchange rate – far more than the minimum wage. “I have sons, aged five and seven. I’d rather give them the food and not eat so much myself.”

Of course my goods cost more than the government say they should. We’re helping people get the basics

The scenes at Petare’s intersection, 23 de enero’s streets and Catia’s supermarkets are manifestations of an economy in tatters: one in which people buy milk, toilet paper and shampoo at inflated prices because supermarkets, with long queues outside, are near empty; in which engineers and lawyers smuggle pasta and petrol across borders to earn many times more than they would carrying out their profession; and in which surgeons complain that people are dying on the operating table because they cannot import medicines and equipment.

Venesuela3 queueThere will not be much left in the supermarket for people at the back of this queue Photograph: Girish Gupta

President Nicolás Maduro’s approval ratings are currently in the mid-20s. Annual inflation is at nearly 70% – which doesn’t include goods prices with the hefty premiums charged by the buhoneros like Rodríguez. The currency has fallen some 30% against the US dollar this year on the black market. And the murder rate is one of the world’s worst.

In 2003, Maduro’s predecessor Chávez enacted strict currency controls, pegging the bolívar to the US dollar. The aim was to reduce inflation and curb capital flight though neither has been achieved. Price controls, currency controls and the lack of dollars the government provides mean that importers no longer have the incentive to bring in goods. A thousand bolívares would have bought £30 on the black market when Maduro was elected to power in March 2013; it now buys less than £3. In the meantime, prices have risen rapidly while wages have not kept up.

On the country’s border with Colombia at San Antonio, engineer Jesús Arias, 33, has given up on his profession and smuggles petrol across the border. One of the country’s most costly price controls means that filling an entire tank costs just a couple of cents, converted at black market rates. Over the border, petrol sells for hundreds of times more. “Here petrol is practically a free gift,” Arias said. “A litre of mineral water costs more than a litre of gas.”

Children walk across the bridge to Colombia with Coca-Cola bottles filled with petrolThe subsidy costs the government around $12bn (£8bn) a year and Maduro is very clear that it needs to end – though that would be politically disastrous. Arias fills his 50-litre tank for just a few pence; a few hundred metres across the bridge in Cúcuta, Colombia, he can sell that for around £15. “Doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers we’re all doing it,” he said. “Here on the border, I can earn in three or four days what I earn as a professional in a month.” Children walk across the bridge with Coca-Cola bottles filled with petrol.

Maduro blames the problems on an “economic war” being waged against his government, with help from Washington. He blames smugglers, hoarders and street vendors for causing the problems rather than being a consequence of them.

Venesuela cash- barterPeople are leaving their jobs as they can make more as a black-market vendor. Photograph: Girish Gupta

Last year, the government tried to ban websites which publish the black market exchange rate, leading one blogger to liken the manoeuvre to banning the sale of thermometers to crack down on cold weather.

Yet, the black market, while imperfect, is offering an escape valve for the economy, a means for the poor by whatever means to obtain goods they would otherwise have to do without. “Repressing the black market rate, smuggling or trading is going to deteriorate the economic picture even further,” said Alberto Ramos, a senior analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York. “It will lead to even high inflation and higher levels of goods’ scarcity. The unofficial foreign exchange market and smuggling are to a large extent economic escape valves.”

(News & Editorial/ Venezuela: shortages and hyper inflation. How it looks on Main Street)

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An approaching learning curve for non preppers

A. “I’ll Come To Your Place When SHTF” – No You Won’t
23 Oct 2014, SHTFplan.com,  by Mac Slavo
Pasted from: http://www.thedailysheeple.com/ill-come-to-your-place-when-shtf-no-you-wont_102014

Editor’s Note: This article has been generously contributed by Glen Tate of 299Days.com. Glen is the author of the 10-part series 299 Days, which is inspired by his own life and personal journey. It begins with 299 Days: The Preparation and introduces us to a husband who awakens to the fragility of modern society and embarks on a personal journey that introduces him to a world of self-reliance and liberation. 

non prep1In the following article Glen covers an issue that is very dear to most preppers – what to do when neighbors, friends and family come knocking. With limited resources available we’re all going to have to make tough decisions. Like many of us, Glen plans on helping those truly in need. But what about those who refused to see the warning signs and stuck their head in the sand, perhaps even lambasted you for your extreme ideas and theories? Instead of being frugal and preparing, they focused their efforts on entertainment and good times.

But when the good times end, they will come to you for help. What will you do when they show up at your front door?

 

“I’ll Come To Your Place When SHTF” – No You Won’t By Glen Tate Author of  299 Days
(This post is something you can send to your friends or print out and hand to them when SHTF.)

Dear Friend: I love my friends, but I will shoot you if I have to.  I’m serious.  Here’s why.

I tried to persuade you to prepare for what’s coming and, in the process, revealed that to you that I’m preparing.  You realized that I have food, guns, etc., and ended up saying, half kidding but half serious, “I’ll come to your place when SHTF.”

No you won’t.  I will shoot you.  If you threaten me and my family, I will use force to defend against any threat.  And showing up at my place hungry and unprepared is a threat to me.  You will eat my food and use up my medical supplies, generator, firewood, etc.  That’s less of these life-saving things for me and my family.  That’s a threat.

Is this greed on my part?  No.  I will take care of the truly needy – those who cannot take care of themselves.  But you are different.  Very different.  You had plenty of chances to prepare for yourself.

But what did you do?  You spent the weekends watching football, went on expensive vacations, and never made your spouse mad at you with your “crazy” ideas that something bad was happening.  You didn’t do shit because… you would just come to my place.  Problem solved, right?  You didn’t need to spend time, money, and create domestic strife because I did that all for you.

Not.  Why should I spend my time, money, and stress just so you can waltz into my place and live happily ever after?  I’m a nice guy, but – really? – I’m going to spend my (very limited) free time, disposable income, and domestic tranquility just so you can have a leisurely life and more material comforts pre-Collapse while I don’t?

Why do you think I will sacrifice enormous amounts of my time and money so you can enjoy yourself while I’m slaving away?  Would you assume you could come over and leave your broken car at my house?  That I would just spend thousands of dollars on parts and several weekends fixing it and then hand it over to you with a smile – just because I’m a “good guy”?  Would anyone expect that?

You do, apparently.  You actually expect to waltz over to my cabin and receive – with a smile – thousands of dollars of food and other supplies that took me all my weekends to acquire and store.

So, my grasshopper friend (as in the story of the grasshopper and the ant), here is your official warning: if your “plan” for you and your family’s safety is to come to my place, you’re wrong.  When you show up, I’ll ask you to leave.  When you don’t, I’ll point a gun in your face.  If you refuse to leave, I will shoot you.  You are a threat to me.

You had years of time and very clear warnings to get ready.  But you didn’t.  Hey, I love football but haven’t been able to watch a game in a few years; I’ve been fixing up the cabin, buying supplies, and training with the Team.  I spent a lot of money doing all these things so I haven’t gone on a long vacation in… forever.  I have had several difficult times with my wife because of all the prepping I’m doing; I could have easily done what you did, which is just say “Yes, dear” and not prepare because she didn’t want you to. I hope this message jolted you.  There’s still some time.  Go prep.

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B. When Real Disaster Strikes: These Are The People Who Will Loot, Pillage and Kill You For Your Food
27 Jan 2015, SHTFplan.com, by Mac Slavo
Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/when-real-disaster-strikes-these-are-the-people-who-will-loot-pillage-and-kill-you-for-your-food_01272015

Time and again we are reminded why it is prudent to have a backup plan just in case things go wrong. You’ve already got car insurance, house insurance, medical insurance and life insurance. But what about disaster insurance? And no, we’re not talking about a piece of paper guarantee issued by some behemoth corporation who you’re supposed to call when things go wrong.

Real disaster insurance in this context refers to your own personal and familial emergency reserve supplies and strategies, to be consumed and implemented when all hell breaks loose.

non prep hopeful shoppers(Panic In Northeast: Tens of thousands raid grocery stores in search of food and supplies)

What’s happening in the North Eastern part of the United States right now – “Snowpacolypse” – should convince anyone who hasn’t done so yet to prepare themselves for short- and long-term calamities. They happen quite regularly all over the world. We’ve seen them hit time and again in both, first and third world nations in the form of storms, natural disasters and even economic meltdowns. Yet, despite the repeated media broadcasts of suffering and complete destitution often wrought by these events, millions of people still laugh at the notion that, as even the government recommends, you should have a two week emergency supply of food, water and other disaster gear.

It is these very people – the ones who call preppers crazy and snicker at their idea of prudent preparedness and self sustainability – who will be out in force to loot, pillage and kill for these critical lifesaving supplies when a widespread disaster or emergency strikes their area. And no, we’re not talking about a 3-day scenario like a snow storm, which is limited in scope and comes with warnings ahead of time, with supply lines being restocked soon after the storm passes.

non prep shop lineRather, we’re talking about any number of events that are capable of crippling our entire nation in one fell swoop for an extended period of time lasting two weeks or more. These may include national-scale disasters such as a cyber-attack on our utility infrastructure, a super electro-magnetic pulse weapon that takes down our power grid, or a massive financial collapse that locks credit markets and makes resupply of essentials like food, medicine and gas impossible.

All of these events and numerous others like them, though unlikely, remain a plausible and serious threat to our way of life because they are capable of literally sending us back into the middle ages overnight. Should such a scenario ever become reality, then guess who’ll be coming over looking to take your supplies? Here’s a hint. They’ve been lining up in droves at local super markets and clearing shelves all over the North East as a massive snowstorm approaches.

Store shelves are cleared within hours of people realizing that a disaster is in progress.

We know what you’re thinking, “it’s just a snow storm.” And you’re right. These short-term events are nothing to really worry about. Even if you got to a grocery store late and couldn’t get food or fresh water you can still go over to a friend’s house or perhaps knock on your neighbor’s door for some food to get you by. But should the disaster facing the population be something more severe, when people have realized that no re-supply is coming because our just-in-time transportation system has shut down, then you can fully expect that frantic knocks on peoples’ doors will be ignored. Then what?

The answer is simple. As The Prepper’s Blueprint author Tess Pennington notes in Anatomy of a Breakdown, you can expect widespread societal breakdown within 72 hours:

Have you ever heard the saying, “We’re three days away from anarchy?” 

In the wake of a disaster, that’s all you have is three days to turn the crazy train around before crime, looting and chaos ensue.

Multiple factors contribute to societal breakdowns including failure of adequate government response, population density, citizens taking advantage of the grid being down and overwhelmed emergency response teams.

non prep empy shelvesFor whatever reason, 3-5 days following a disaster is the bewitching hour. During this short amount of time, the population slowly becomes a powder keg full of angry, desperate citizens. A good example is the chaos that ensued in New Orleans following the absence of action from the local government or a timely effective federal response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In such troubled times, people were forced to fend for themselves and their families, by any means necessary. This timeline of Hurricane Katrina effectively illustrates “the breakdown,” and within three days, the citizens of New Orleans descended into anarchy, looting and murder

The majority of the looting, and certainly the despair, can easily be prevented with basic preparedness strategies that include managing your own food supply and stockpiling key supplies. In her free 52 Weeks to Preparedness web series Pennington outlines scores of essentials that you won’t really know you need until you need them, including food supply lists, medical items, toiletries, alternative power sources, and home defense tools.

At the very least, every American should have a stockpile, even if just a couple of boxes that fit in your closet, containing the following:

  • Meals Ready To Eat – These are full course meals that pack a caloric wallop and will suffice just fine for a period of two weeks or more. They are compact and easy to store, and given their relative low cost, are an excellent investment not just for emergencies in your home, but something to take hiking, camping or leave in your car in case you find yourself broken down in the middle of nowhere. High density emergency food bars are another option to diversify your reserves.
  • Water Reserves – Expect water utility companies to be out of operation as employees stay home to care for their families. This happens in almost every major disaster, meaning that you either better have effective water filtration and treatment supplies, or have reserve water packets.
  • Medicine – Basic first aid kits are an absolute must. A small cut can do serious damage over a two-week period when there is no doctor.
  • Toiletries – You’ll want some reserve toilet paper, for obvious reasons. But also consider sanitation as a key preparedness strategy, because if your toilet doesn’t flush then things will get ugly very quickly.
  • For an extensive list of preparedness considerations, supplies and strategies check out the free 52 Weeks To Preparedness web series.

At last count some 1% of Americans, roughly three million out of our nation’s 300-plus million people, have taken any steps to prepare. It’s a sobering statistic to be sure, especially considering that the Department of Homeland Security has warned people to stockpile at least a two week supply of food and water rations just in case.

Most Americans, it seems, still think the government will be there to provide assistance when the worst happens. The problem, of course, is that despite the millions of meals-ready-to-eat they have stockpiled, they will not have the resources to deal with 300 million desperate people.

The following statement from one San Francisco resident hit by last year’s West Coast storm pretty much sums it all up:

“I couldn’t get my car out of the garage, I have no food, I have no cash, so I’m trying to forage for something.”

After the 72-hour mark this individual and others like him will have no choice but to go out “foraging” for food. They’ll likely be armed, operating in groups and they’ll be going door-to-door.

non prep - watch

Be Prepared

(Survival Manual/Prepper Articles/ An approaching learning curve for non preppers

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Yes, there’s “climate change”, its cooling

A. Sunspots 2015: Year of the decline
4 Jan 2015, Posted by azleader
Pasted from: https://informthepundits.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/sunspots-2015-year-of-the-decline/

Cooling1 sun Giant solar flare on October 27, 2014. Credit/NASA SDO spacecraft

Solar maximum has passed. What climate effects will come next?
Austin, January 4, 2015 – Solar maximum activity peaked in April 2014 at an exceptionally low 81.9 spots/day. Waning solar activity in 2015 will begin the long, inexorably journey towards solar minimum over the next half decade or so.

If solar physicists are correct, solar activity could be very low for several decades to come. How that will affect climate change is anyone’s guess, but low sunspot activity has already been identified by the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as one of the main causes for the 15+ year “hiatus” from atmospheric global warming.

cooling2 progressionSolar max arrived in April 2014. Credit/Steve Davidson-SILSO data, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels

The Royal Observatory of Belgium released December’s official monthly international sunspot numbers on January 1, 2015. Sunspots increased again in December, but the 13-month smoothed sunspot number that defines solar maximum declined for the 2nd month in a row. Given that solar maximum is a 13-month running average, no one knows maximum has been reached until at least seven months after the fact.

What does the downturn in solar activity mean for earth’s long-term climate change? One legitimate comparison of the current situation on the sun is to a cold period on earth called the Dalton Minimum. It happened 200 years ago.

cooling3 daltonCurrent solar activity is similar to the Dalton Minimum. Credit/Steve Davidson using SILSO data

There were three declining solar cycles leading into the Dalton Minimum, just like now. The third exceptionally weak cycle had a rare higher secondary peak than its first when the Dalton was reached, just like now.

That cycle was followed by a decline to zero spots. The period of zero spots lasted nearly two years before another weak cycle occurred. The match to current activity isn’t exact, but it’s eerily similar. There is modern supporting evidence that the sun will have an exceptionally weak cycle next time, just like the Dalton.

cooling umbralSunspots are becoming harder to see and weaker. Credit/Dr. Leif Svalgaard Research Page

Umbral intensity is a measure of how black the center of the average sunspot is compared to its surroundings. An intensity of 1 means the sunspot is invisible. Sunspots have been fading away since the late 1990s. In the last 3-4 years, though, the fading has leveled off.

Umbral magnetic field is a measure of the strength of the average sunspot, measured in Gauss. The lower the number, the weaker the sunspot. Strong magnetic fields are what cause giant solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that dramatically affect earth. Sunspots cannot form with a field strength below 1,500 Gauss. In the last 3-4 years the decline in magnetic field strength has leveled off, too.

When this data was first published in 2011 it caused quite a stir among solar physicists. Some predicted sunspots would totally disappear after the current cycle ended. It doesn’t look like that will be the case after all. It looks like the next cycle, Cycle 25, will be another weak one, just like during the Dalton Minimum.

Reliable global temperature data does not extend further back than about 1850, fifty years after the Dalton. However, anecdotal evidence suggests there were very cold winter temperatures in the northern hemisphere during that time period.

The current sunspot cycle most closely matches Cycle 12, which peaked in 1883. That one is within reliable global temperature records.

cooling monthly smoothedThe current solar cycle is best matched to Cycle 12. Credit/Steve Davidson using SILSO data

Both Cycle 12 and the current cycle have a rare secondary peak higher than the first. That has got to mean something.

According to IPCC data, the period of the 1880s to the early 1900s was characterized by a general decline in earth’s global atmospheric temperature.

 cooling trend1880-1910 cooling trend corresponds to low sunspot activity. Source/IPCC AR5 Report

Cycle 12 and the two cycles following it were exceptionally weak cycles leading into the early 1900s. It corresponded to declining global temperatures. Coincidence? Not likely.

Conclusions
Solar sunspot maximum was reached in April of 2014. That did not become known until recently because solar max is computed as a 13-month running average. You can’t know it has been reached until at least seven months after the fact. There have been two months of decline since then, so it is reasonably certain the maximum was finally reached. As it is, it was over two years later than originally predicted.

If the current cycle follows past solar behavior then 2015 will see a steep decline in solar activity as it progresses toward solar minimum in the next five years or so.
The current cycle (Cycle 24) has strong similarities to both the Dalton Minimum and Cycle 12 that peaked in 1883. Both time periods are associated with cold earth temperatures. Cycle 12 is more meaningful because it is supported by current United Nations IPCC data.
That being the case, it’s time to start thinking about breaking out the cold weather gear.
.

B. New Ice Age to Begin in 2014
23 Feb 2012, IceAgeNow.info, By Robert
Pasted from: http://iceagenow.info/2012/02/ice-age-2014/

“Forecasters predict that a new ice age will begin soon,” says this article on russia-ic.com.

“Habibullo Abdusamatov, a scientist from the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences considers that the sharp drop in temperature will start on the Earth in 2014. “According to the scientist, our planet began to “get cold” in the 1990s. The new ice age will last at least two centuries, with its peak in 2055. “It is interesting, that the same date was chosen by the supporters of the theory of global warming. “The expected decrease in temperature may … become the fifth over the past nine centuries, reports Hydrometeorological Center of Russia. Experts call this phenomenon the “little ice age”, it was observed in the XII, XV, XVII, XIX centuries. This cyclicity makes the theory of upcoming cold weather in XXI century look like truth.” http://russia-ic.com/news/show/13717#.T0Q3Ms7rk9C Thanks to Thomas McHart, Stephanie Relfe for this link

Habibullo Abdussamatov is not just “a scientist.” Dr Habibullo Abdussamatov, astrophysicist, is head of the Russian segment of the International Space Station, and head of Space Research of the Sun Sector at the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences. I
’m inclined to take his forecasts seriously.
I’ve met Dr Abdussamatov, and posted other articles about him here: http://iceagenow.info/2010/05/new-little-ice-age-to-begin-in-2014/
And here: http://iceagenow.info/2011/11/russian-scientists-predict-100-years-cooling/

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C. New Little Ice Age ‘to Begin in 2014′
20 May 2010,IceAgeNow.info, by Bob
Pasted from: http://iceagenow.info/2010/05/new-little-ice-age-to-begin-in-2014/

cooling Habibullo AbdussamatovRussian scientist to alarmists: ‘Sun heats Earth!’ 20 May 10 – CHICAGO – Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in St. Petersburg, Russia, predicts that a new “Little Ice Age” could begin in just four years.
I sat just ten feet away from Abdussamatov as he made this startling assertion at the Heartland Institute’s 4th International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago just two days ago.
Jerome R. Corsi from World Net Daily covered the proceedings exceedingly well, and I am quoting or paraphrasing him extensively here.
In a two-part video recorded at the conference by WND (link below), Abdussamatov explains that average annual sun activity has experienced an accelerated decrease since the 1990s.

Habibullo Abdussamatov Head of the Russian-Ukrainian project “Astrometria” on the Russian segment of the International Space Station, Abdussamatov’s theory is that “long-term variations in the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth are the main and principal reasons driving and defining the whole mechanism of climatic changes from the global warmings to the Little Ice Ages to the big glacial periods.”

In his speech, Abdussamatov took on advocates of the theory of man-caused warming who want to curtail our use of hydrocarbon fuels. He contended, instead, that a reasonable way to combat coming cooling trends would be “to maintain economic growth in order to adapt to the upcoming new Little Ice Age in the middle of the 21st century.”

Sun’s activity determines temperatures
Abdussamatov argues that total sun irradiance, or TSI, is the primary factor responsible for causing climate variations on Earth, not carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is “not guilty,” says Abdussamatov. “As for what lies ahead in the coming decades, it is not catastrophic warming, but a global, and very prolonged temperature drop.”

Abdussamatov pointed to the English astronomer Walter Maunder, who noticed that sunspots had been generally absent from 1645 to 1715. That period coincided with the middle and coldest part of the Little Ice Age (see article D, below), which began around 1650 and extended through 1850.

“There is now an unavoidable advance toward a global decrease, a deep temperature drop comparable to the Maunder minimum,” he wrote. “Already there are signs of the future deep temperature drop.”

“The observed global warming of the climate of the Earth is not caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gasses, but by extraordinarily high solar intensity that extended over virtually the entire past century.” “Future decrease in global temperature will occur even if anthropogenic ejection of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere rises to record levels.

“The implementation of the Kyoto Protocol aimed to rescue the planet from the greenhouse effect should be put off at least 150 years.”

I have the utmost respect for the courageous scientists who presented at this convention.

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D. The Little Ice Age in Europe
Scott A. Mandia, Professor – Physical Sciences, S.C.C.C., Selden, NY
Excerpts pasted from: http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/lia/little_ice_age.html

Western Europe experienced a general cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850 that brought dire consequences to its peoples. The colder weather impacted agriculture, health, economics, social strife, emigration, and even art and literature. Increased glaciation and storms also had a devastating effect on those that lived near glaciers and the sea.

Impact on Agriculture
Lamb (1966) points out that the growing season changed by 15 to 20 percent between the warmest and coldest times of the millennium. That is enough to affect almost any type of food production, especially crops highly adapted to use the full-season warm climatic periods. During the coldest times of the LIA, England’s growing season was shortened by one to two months compared to present day values. The availability of varieties of seed today that can withstand extreme cold or warmth, wetness or dryness, was not available in the past. Therefore, climate changes had a much greater impact on agricultural output in the past.

Fig. 16 and 17 show the price of wheat and rye, respectively, in various European countries during the LIA.

cooling wheat pricesFigure 16: Prices of wheat expressed in Dutch guilders per 100 kg. in various countries vs. time. (Source: Lamb, 1995)

Western Europe experienced a general cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850 that brought dire consequences to its peoples. The colder weather impacted agriculture, health, economics, social strife, emigration, and even art and literature. Increased glaciation and storms also had a devastating affect on those that lived near glaciers and the sea.

Impact on Health
The cooler climate during the LIA had a huge impact on the health of Europeans. As mentioned earlier, dearth and famine killed millions and poor nutrition decreased the stature of the Vikings in Greenland and Iceland.

Cool, wet summers led to outbreaks of an illness called St. Anthony’s Fire. Whole villages would suffer convulsions, hallucinations, gangrenous rotting of the extremities, and even death. Grain, if stored in cool, damp conditions, may develop a fungus known as ergot blight and also may ferment just enough to produce a drug similar to LSD. (In fact, some historians claim that the Salem, Massachusetts witch hysteria was the result of ergot blight.)

Malnutrition led to a weakened immunity to a variety of illnesses. In England, malnutrition aggravated an influenza epidemic of 1557-8 in which whole families died. In fact, during most of the 1550’s deaths outnumbered births (Lamb, 1995.) The Black Death (Bubonic Plague) was hastened by malnutrition all over Europe.

One might not expect a typically tropical disease such as malaria to be found during the LIA, but Reiter (2000) has shown that it was an important cause of illness and death in several parts of England. The English word for malaria was ague, a term that remained in common usage until the nineteenth century. Geoffrey Chaucer (1342-1400) wrote in the Nun’s Priest Tale:

You are so very choleric of complexion. Beware the mounting sun and all dejection, Nor get yourself with sudden humours hot; For if you do, I dare well lay a groat That you shall have the tertian fever’s pain, Or some ague that may well be your bane.

In sixteenth century England, many marshlands were notorious for their ague-stricken populations. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) mentioned ague in eight of his plays. Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) died of ague in September 1658, which was one of the coldest years of the LIA.

Five indigenous species of mosquito are capable of transmitting malaria in England where they prefer the brackish water along river estuaries. The anaerobic bacterial flora of saline mud produces a strong sulfur odor that was widely believed to be the cause of agues in salt marsh areas (i.e. Shakespeare’s “unwholesome fens.”) The term malaria comes from the Italian term “mala aria” meaning “bad air.”

Impact on Economics
In addition to increasing grain prices and lower wine production, there were many examples of economic impact by the dramatic cooling of the climate. Due to famine, storms, and growth of glaciers ,many farmsteads were destroyed, which resulted in less tax revenues collected due to decreased value of the properties (Lamb, 1995.)

Cod fishing greatly decreased, especially for the Scottish fisherman, as the cod moved farther south. The cod fishery at the Faeroe Islands began to fail around 1615 and failed altogether for thirty years between 1675 and 1704 (Lamb, 1995.) In the Hohe Tauern mountains of the Austrian Alps, advancing glaciers closed the gold mines of the Archbishop of Salzburg who was one of the wealthiest dukes in the empire. The succession of two or three bad summers where the miners could not rely on work in the mines caused them to find employment elsewhere, which resulted in an abrupt end to the mining operations (Bryson, 1977.)

Not all of the economic impact was bad. The fertile fishing grounds of the present day Newfoundland Banks were thought to have been found by fisherman in the late 1400’s who were looking for the fish stocks that had deserted their former grounds as the result of the movement of colder waters from the north (Lamb, 1995.)

English fisherman benefited by the southern movement of herring normally found in the waters off Norway. This increase in deep-sea fishing helped to build the maritime population and strength of the country (Lamb, 1995.) The failure of crops in Norway between 1680 and 1720 was a prime reason for the great growth of merchant shipping there. Coastal farmers whose crops failed turned to selling their timber and to constructing ships in order to transport these timbers themselves (Lamb, 1995.)

Social Unrest
Conditions during the LIA led to many cases of social unrest. The winter of 1709 killed many people in France. Conditions were so bad, a priest in Angers, in west-central France, wrote: “The cold began on January 6, 1709, and lasted in all its rigor until the twenty-fourth. The crops that had been sewn were all completely destroyed…. Most of the hens had died of cold, as had the beasts in the stables. When any poultry did survive the cold, their combs were seen to freeze and fall off. Many birds, ducks, partidges, woodcock, and blackbirds died and were found on the roads and on the thick ice and frequent snow. Oaks, ashes, and other valley trees split with cold. Two thirds of the vines died…. No grape harvest was gathered at all in Anjou…. I myself did not get enough wine from my vineyard to fill a nutshell.” (Ladurie, 1971) In March the poor rioted in several cities to keep the merchants from selling what little wheat they had left.

The winter of 1739-40 was also a bad one. After that there was no spring and only a damp, cool summer which spoiled the wheat harvest. The poor rebelled and the governor of Liège told the rich to “fire into the middle of them. That’s the only way to disperse this riffraff, who want nothing but bread and loot.” (Ladurie, 1971)

Lamb (1995) reports the occurrence of cattle raids on the Lowlanders by Highlanders who were stressed by the deteriorating climate. In 1436, King James I of Scotland was murdered while hunting on the edge of the Highland region near Perth. The clan warfare grew so bad that it was decided that no place north of Edinburgh Castle was safe for the king so Edinburgh became the capital of the country.

In England, the effect of starvation and the poor condition of the country encouraged men to enlist during the War of the Roses (1455-1485.) As tillable land was converted to other uses such as sheep rearing, the landlords who organized the conversions became the focus of many hostilities.

One group in particular suffered from the poor conditions – people thought to be witches (Behringer, 1999.) Weather-making was thought to be among the traditional abilities of witches and during the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries many saw a great witch conspiracy. Extensive witch hunts took place during the most severe years of the LIA, as people looked for scapegoats to blame for their suffering.

One of history’s most notorious quotes might have been due in part to a rare extremely warm period during the LIA. In northern France in 1788, after an unusually bad winter, May, June, and July were excessively hot, which caused the grain to shrivel. On July 13, just at harvest time, a severe hailstorm (which typically occurs when there is very cold air aloft) destroyed what little crops were left. From that bad harvest of 1788 came the bread riots of 1789 which led to Marie Antoinette’s alleged remark “Let them eat cake,” and the storming of the Bastille.

Art and Literature
Writers and artists were also influenced by the great change in climate. In 1816, “the year without a summer,” many Europeans spent their summers around the fire. Mary Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein, and Polidori, The Vampire. Both authors, together with Byron and Percy Shelley, were in Switzerland, near Lake Geneva where Byron said “We will each write a ghost story.” Percy Shelley also referred to a glacier in his poem “Mont Blanc” when he wrote “…and wall impregnable of beaming ice. The race of man flies far in dread; his work and dwelling vanish…”

Neuberger (1970) studied more than 12,000 paintings in 41 art museums in the United States and eight European countries to test his hypothesis that paintings would accurately reveal the climate record. These paintings covered the period from 1400 to 1967. He categorized the blueness of the sky into a three-step scale consisting of pale blue, medium blue, and deep blue. Cloudiness was estimated according to the U.S. airways code: clear (less than 10 percent coverage), scattered (10 to 50 percent), broken (60 to 90 percent), and overcast (more than 90 percent cloud coverage.) In addition, the types of clouds were observed according to four families: high, middle, low, and convective (vertically-developed) clouds. Neuberger separated his data into three epochs. According to the data in Fig. 19 below, during the second epoch when the LIA was at its peak, cloudiness and darkness prevailed.

cooling sky paintingsFigure 19: Epochal changes in various painting features. (Source: Neuberger, 1970)

Neuberger suggests that the similarities between the second and third epochs have more to do with a stylistic change in the third epoch to impressionism which produced hazy atmospheres and also to an increase in industrial pollution.

Frequency of Storms
Fig. 20 shows the number of reported severe sea floods per century in the North Sea region.

cooling severe sea floodsFigure 20: Number of reported sea floods per century in the North Sea region. (Source: Lamb, 1995)

During the LIA, there was a high frequency of storms. As the cooler air began to move southward, the polar jet stream strengthened and followed, which directed a higher number of storms into the region. At least four sea floods of the Dutch and German coasts in the thirteenth century were reported to have caused the loss of around 100,000 lives. Sea level was likely increased by the long-term ice melt during the MWP which compounded the flooding. Storms that caused greater than 100,000 deaths were also reported in 1421, 1446, and 1570. Additionally, large hailstorms that wiped out farmland and killed great numbers of livestock occurred over much of Europe due to the very cold air aloft during the warmer months. Due to severe erosion of coastline and high winds, great sand storms developed which destroyed farmlands and reshaped coastal land regions.

(News & Editorial/ Yes there’s “climate change”, it cooling)

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