Monday, June 20, 2016

June 20, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around The Web


With delivery trucks under constant attack, the nation’s food is now transported under armed guard. Soldiers stand watch over bakeries. The police fire rubber bullets at desperate mobs storming grocery stores, pharmacies and butcher shops. A 4-year-old girl was shot to death as street gangs fought over food.
    Venezuela is convulsing from hunger.
      Hundreds of people here in the city of Cumaná, home to one of the region’s independence heroes, marched on a supermarket in recent days, screaming for food. They forced open a large metal gate and poured inside. They snatched water, flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, potatoes, anything they could find, leaving behind only broken freezers and overturned shelves.
        And they showed that even in a country with the largest oil reserves in the world, it is possible for people to riot because there is not enough food.
          In the last two weeks alone, more than 50 food riots, protests and mass looting have erupted around the country. Scores of businesses have been stripped bare or destroyed. At least five people have been killed. 
          * * *
            The economic collapse of recent years has left it unable to produce enough food on its own or import what it needs from abroad. Cities have been militarized under an emergency decree from President Nicolás Maduro, the man Mr. Chávez picked to carry on with his revolution before he died three years ago.
              “If there is no food, there will be more riots,” said Raibelis Henriquez, 19, who waited all day for bread in Cumaná, where at least 22 businesses were attacked in a single day last week.
                But while the riots and clashes punctuate the country with alarm, it is the hunger that remains the constant source of unease.
                  A staggering 87 percent of Venezuelans say they do not have money to buy enough food, the most recent assessment of living standards by Simón Bolívar University found.
                    About 72 percent of monthly wages are being spent just to buy food, according to the Center for Documentation and Social Analysis, a research group associated with the Venezuelan Teachers Federation.
                      In April, it found that a family would need the equivalent of 16 minimum-wage salaries to properly feed itself.
                      The article goes on to mention that Pres. Maduro has put control of food distribution in the hands of loyalists, insinuating that there is favoritism in how food is distributed.
                      The first thing Ray saw 3D-printed was a small plastic elephant, which, moments previous, was simply a formulation of pixels on a screen. Translating the technique to the prepping lifestyle, he said, was completely intuitive. Whatever he needs, should disaster strike, would be just a few clicks away.
                        “I can make homemade knives, toys, even tools that don’t exist,” Ray told me. “I can make replacement parts for things that broke. Instead of buying a new drill for $120, I 3D printed some gears. It’s been working for years now.”
                        • "Hunter, Prepper, Survivor"--American Hunter. The author notes that if you are a hunter, you probably have many of the skills, and much of the equipment, needed to weather a disaster. The author writes:
                          For the purpose of this discussion let’s assume you are staying home or have a place where you can retreat. So the shelter part is covered. (Bugging out is another topic entirely.)
                            Store extra gasoline for your vehicles. Even if you elect to stay home you will need the vehicles more often than you might think.
                              Another big concern will be heat if it’s cold. Many of us who live in cold climates have that covered with a supplementary wood stove. If you can install a wood stove in your house it’s a good idea to do so even if you never use it. It doesn’t need to be expensive. It’s easy to make a stove out of a steel 55-gallon drum. There are kits for this, but a clever craftsman can construct one easily.
                                Small propane heaters hunters use in blinds or tents can heat a room, if you follow the directions for safety. The biggest issue will be re-supplying the canisters of fuel. It’s a good idea to keep a few cases of propane canisters in storage.
                                  Other than shelter, the tenets of survival are the three “B’s”: beans, bullets and bandages. You need food and water (beans); a way to protect what you have and perhaps supplement the food supply (bullets); and medical supplies and knowledge (bandages).
                                    There are different levels of disaster. I like to think in terms of threes: three days, three weeks, three months, three years. You should have a plan for each of them. There will be overlap, of course.
                                      Most disasters are over quickly. The lights come back on, the roads are cleared and the stores are stocked again. But you need to be ready in the event that doesn’t happen.
                                      Anyway, read the whole thing.
                                      • Related: "Recommended Medicine for Hunters and Preppers"--American Hunter. Categories of medicines as well as specific recommendations within each category from a pharmacist. He provides a lengthy list, but then adds: "If you needed to pare down the list above for a short trip, my 'essentials' would be: Cipro, Bactrim, Flagyl, ibuprofen and Triple Antibiotic, with SSD [Silver sulfadiazine] cream added if there is still room."
                                      • "He picked the wrong target"--Bayou Renaissance Man. Video of a mugger in Venezuela being shot by an off-duty police officer he had just stolen from. Note how the officer backs away and behind another person standing in line in order to draw his weapon out of view of the perpetrator, before moving back into a position to engage the mugger.
                                      • "Paramilitary groups ready to defend Poland"--Deutsche Welle. According to the article, Poland is home to 50,000 preppers and 35,000 members of organized paramilitary organizations. Rather than treat them with hostility, as here in the U.S., the Polish government views them as a valuable resource in the event of a Russian invasion.
                                      • "Meet the 'Black Rifle': An Introduction to the AR-15"--Nathaniel F. at The Firearms Blog.
                                      • "The NRA convinced America it needs combat rifles for hunting – but now the tide may be turning"--The Telegraph. This article is a perfect example of the duplicity of the left when it comes to gun control. The author first attempts to redefine the Second Amendment by suggesting that its only purpose was to ensure that Americans could defend themselves against an invasion by the British by emphasizing the "militia" preamble. Next, the author attempts to support this position by reference to the 1939 United State v. Miller decision, which upheld a tax and restriction on owning sawed-off shotguns because they were not suitable for military use. (The author does not even mention the much more recent Heller decision). Then the author goes on to use the Miller decision to support an argument that because the AR 15 is suitable for military use, Americans should not be able to possess them--the exact opposite of the reasoning in Miller
                                      • "DNA research suggests large-scale collapse of Native American ancestors"--Christian Science Monitor. I think I linked to a different article on this topic, but this seems to be a clearer explanation:
                                        A new ancient DNA study bolsters accounts that European arrival in the Americas decimated indigenous populations. 
                                          An international team of scientists has sequenced mitochondrial DNA from skeletons and mummies of indigenous Americans ranging from 8,600 to 500 years ago. They compared this new data to the DNA of modern Native American populations and found that the old sequences were mysteriously missing.
                                            This doesn't mean that all indigenous Americans died off, study lead author Bastien Llamas points out. There still are Native Americans alive today across both continents. But of the 92 archaic individuals that the team looked at, none of their mitochondrial sequences survived to the present day.
                                             It also emphasizes the fact that you cannot use the current genetic makeup of a population to discount a different genetic makeup in the past. 

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