Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April 4, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

Outdoor survival tips, the political left discovers the virtues of prepping, Susan Rice claims she "dindu nuffin", and more....

This video came out a couple days ago, but I still haven't had time to fully watch it. I raise it, however, not just because it deals with a particular geographic region (mostly the "Golden Horseshoe" encompassing Toronto and other larger cities and towns in Canada), but raises a point that actually forms one of the foundational arguments in The Knowledge, a book exploring how to rebuild civilization after an cataclysmic disaster.  The underlying scenario to this video and the The Knowledge is that some event has happened (e.g., a pandemic) that has killed most of the population, but otherwise left cities largely intact. The argument is that, in such case, cities--whatever there negatives--actually offer substantial resources to the prepper.

  • "How to Properly Pack a Cooler"--Outside. Tips on getting the most from a cooler. A few of the ideas from the article: use blocks of ice rather than cubes; cool items before putting in the cooler; keep items that you frequently access (e.g., drinks) in a separate cooler from other items. Check it out.
  • "Alternative Fire Methods"--Dave Canterbury at Woodland Wisdom. He writes:
To create a sure fire tinder one must combine highly combustible materials like cotton with accelerants like lighter fluid or charcoal lighter, and then ensure they are waterproof by impregnating them in wax. Another thing that must be understood about fire is the creation, control, and manipulation of an ember when sure fire is not available. Embers can be created from natural material found in the woods from shredded barks, dry plant materials, funguses, or can be created by using charred material. To create charred material you must eliminate the oxygen factor within the triangle a fire. The triangle of fire involves three things ignition, oxygen, and fuel. To create charred material we must provide a fuel in the form of combustible material heating within a metal container (char tin) or coal bed, and then starve it of oxygen. Using this method enables you to ignite this highly combustible charred material in many ways to include your Ferrocerium rod, Flint and steel, or a magnifying glass. Understanding and controlling embers is a very important part of your ability to start fire in an emergency situation ... [i]f more modern methods are unavailable.
  • "Did You Make This Common Mistake When Buying Your Backpack?"--Tortuga Backpacks. This article discusses some common mistakes when buying backpacks for travelling versus hiking/camping. Some of the issue for travel, versus something intended for packing into the wild, is easy access to the contents. Thus, you want a front loading (aka panel loading) backpack, and one that can be secured with a lock to prevent thieves from accessing the interior when you are not looking. Some of these tips will, I think, be useful for a bugout or get home bag. You might not be evacuating on foot, but using buses or hitching rides with others.
  • "How to Get in Shape for Hiking"--Backpacker. Building strength and endurance in your legs and core muscles.
  • "How to Tie a Square Lashing—and 5 Survival Uses for This Knot"--Outdoor Life. At last, an article that not only teaches you how to tie a knot, but what to use it for. One of my pet peeves are knot tying guides that never tell you for what the knot is intended.
  • "How To Keep Fuel Warm During Canister Stove Operation"--Backpacking Light. This is particularly a problem with butane, which is popular for the ultra-light stoves. I have a friend that does a lot of backpacking year round. When work and life got to the point that he was only backpacking overnight or over a weekend, he stopped carrying a stove all together. Mostly it was a weight versus need issue, but he also complained of the problems with the butane fuel. In any event, the author notes that there are two issues: warming the canister before use, and keeping it warm during use. He lists several suggestions for warming the canister, the simplest of which is to keep it close to your person while hiking or sleeping (e.g., in an inner pocket or in your sleeping bag). The author doesn't discuss keeping it warm while in use with as much detail, but some ideas are to put a reflector or wind barrier around it, put a chemical handwarmer underneath the canister, or put the canister in a dish or other container allowing you to pour warm water around it (you could even pee into it, if that is all you had).
  • "Backpacking Lyme Disease Prevention"--Section Hiker. This seems a timely find since I found a tick on my arm just the other day. Lyme disease, as you know, is transmitted via tick bites, and has become increasingly a problem, especially in the North East U.S. and the Great Lakes region. Basic tips are to wear long sleeve shirts and pants, use DEET insect repellent, avoid tall grass or areas with thick underbrush, dry outdoor clothes in a dryer for at least 20 to 30 minutes to kill the ticks, and inspect yourself and your loved ones for ticks after being outdoors.
  • I don't know if this is that new; I've always considered the "granola" hippies to be a type of prepper or survivalist: "Liberals joining survivalist ranks in age of Trump"--Japan Times. From the article:
       While Republican survivalists were twitchy under the Obama administration, anxiety is now mounting among liberals.
           Before Trump’s election, survivalists who came to Douglas’s shows were mainly Republican white men. Today among the crowds he draws are men sporting dreadlocks and flip flops along with the more usual military-style outfits.
             “More and more people are signing up from locations that are very heavily Democrat and asking questions that are unusual,” he said.
               “They’re (showing) up saying that this election is the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it,” Douglas said. “They’re asking ‘how do we prepare for nuclear fallout?’ They’re trying to get bunker information.”
                 Facebook pages such as “Liberal Vegan Preppers” are also flourishing.
                   The movement also is attracting the super-wealthy, especially tech moguls from Silicon Valley, some of whom fear that unemployment caused by automation will further stoke social conflict.
            • Related: "Doomsday Prep For Non-Paranoid People"--Life Hacker. Primarily an article to reassure liberals that they, at least, aren't crazy if they feel the urge to stockpile food and other essentials. It also has a pretty good starter list of supplies.
                   Long a calling among conservatives spooked by big government boogymen and calamitous natural disasters, the so-called prepper movement is gaining a decisively liberal following.
                     “We’re tired of being perceived as wusses who won’t survive when shit hits the fan,” said Stacy, a Texas Democrat who recently caught the prepper bug. She spoke with Vocativ on the condition we not publish her last name. “I, for one, don’t like to be thought of as some precious snowflake.” 
                       After years cast as a fringe survival group, preppers entered a kind of golden age during the Obama presidency. A horrific housing crash and the spectacle of Hurricane Sandy helped give rise to reality television shows like Doomsday Preppers and Doomsday Bunker, and fueled a multi-billion dollar survival industry. Branded by some as a foreign-born, gun-grabbing socialist, Obama aroused deep suspicion among the patriot groups, right-wing conservatives, and apocalyptic Christians at the center of the growing movement.
                         Trump’s provocative posturing and unpredictability is now inspiring a fresh wave of panic on the left. Those who spoke with Vocativ have envisioned scenarios that could lead to military coups led by loyalists of the president-elect and internment camps packed with political opponents, bloody social unrest and an all-out civil or nuclear war. Sound bonkers? Perhaps. But, for many, so was the prospect of a President Trump.
                    The BBC story by Brian Wheeler cites the belief of one liberal transgender woman who is a first-time gun buyer: “She foresees a wide-ranging struggle between the Trump administration and the left over issues such as immigration and racial politics.” Given this leftists’ move to arm and train themselves, it seems as though they feel their “struggle” suddenly requires guns.

                    Other Stuff:
                    CCTV images of the suspect have been released, showing him in a red Parka jacket, carrying a rucksack on his back through the Metro while further images shows him walking along the street with both his fists clenched - potentially because he was clutching the trigger for his bomb. Police believe he has close links to radical Islamists.
                           The National Security Council has uncovered computer logs that detail the instances former national security adviser Susan Rice requested and viewed records that included President Trump and his campaign staffers' names in intelligence reports from July through January, according to a report published Monday.
                             Earlier Monday, the Obama-era national security adviser was reported to have asked for the identities of Trump campaign officials to be "unmasked." Those conversations contained "valuable political information on the Trump transition."
                               Rice's requests into Trump-related conversations increased following his winning the presidential election last November, according to Circa.
                                Intelligence agencies track foreign calls with U.S. sources, but "mask" the names of American citizens who were incidentally included.
                          • This will not end well: "California may not require bail for most criminal suspects"--My Palm Beach Post. From a certain perspective it makes sense: someone employed and who doesn't present a flight risk, but who is unable to afford bail, could lose their job if they miss work, which simply sucks them into a vicious cycle of not being able to pay child support, court costs, etc. On the other hand, I could see this used simply as a means of emptying jails to keep incarceration rates or expenses down, resulting in truly violent criminals not being locked up. The critical focus ought not to be income level, but whether they are employed. 
                          • Good: "Computer programmers may no longer be eligible for H-1B visas"--Axios. "U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services quietly over the weekend released new guidance that computer programmers are no longer presumed to be eligible for H-1B visas."
                          • The Religion of Peace: "Syria conflict: 'Chemical attack' in Idlib kills 58"--BBC. The article indicates that locals blame Russia and Syrian government forces for employing chemical weapons, but pro-government sources say that it was the result of a bomb striking what turned out to be an ISIS chemical weapon factory. I don't believe that Russia would stoop to using chemical weapons, and since coalition forces in Mosul have been coming across such factories, it probably was ISIS that is responsible directly or indirectly. 
                          • "First US City Set To See Complete Obamacare Collapse"--The Daily Caller. From the article:
                          Humana, the city’s only remaining insurance provider on its Obamacare exchange, announced it is exiting the market in 2018. If that happens, Knoxville citizens will be in a rough spot. Unless another insurance provider fills Humana’s place, some 40,000 people in the Knoxville area will likely be left without the option to purchase an Obamacare-subsidized insurance policy, CNN reports.

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