News to Know

Situational awareness is a key element of survival and today, situational awareness must be global.  Today we present news to know from the past week with a dab of commentary:

News that could be ripped from the pages of an Ian Fleming Novel:

Security Threat News:

Today’s Top 10 Prepping Motivators

September is Preparedness Month.  Here are 10 headlines from the past few days on diverse topics to help keep you focused on your prepping:

  1. Yosemite doubles scope of hantavirus warning to 22,000; third death confirmed:  Many diseases including hantavirus can be prevented through proper pest control and sanitation (personal and environmental).  Stock what you need and know what to do.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) information on preventing hantavirus can be found here.
  2. Drug shortages down overall, but some linger longer:  Stocking the medicines your family needs to stay healthy is important for both mundane ‘drug shortages’ as well as societal upsets that could potentially break down the medical or drug distribution systems.  Make sure you stockpile legally by talking with your doctor or hiring a new one like Dr. Bob Olson.  Until recently Dr. Olson conducted his consultations by telephone to help preppers safely and knowledgeably stockpile critical medications.  The State of Missouri actually changed its law to close down Dr. Olson’s tele-practice.  You can still visit him in person or find a like-minded medical provider in your area.
  3. Rescuers told to keep at it after China quake kills 80:  Nature’s fury can strike anywhere at any time.  Keep on prepping and if you want to see a map showing 2.5 Magnitude or greater quakes for the last week…check out this map at the U.S. Geological Survey (as of this writing the earthquake map looks a lot like the Pacific’s Ring of Fire…it usually does).
  4. Yet another pig flu virus infects peopleZoonotic diseases (capable of cross species transmission) aren’t just creepy…they’re also scary because of their ability to mutate.  We wrote about this particular flu strain earlier this summer in Beware the Fair. (more…)

Nature’s Fury, Natural Disasters Today

A few stories involving Nature’s Fury currently in the news…Earthquakes & Droughts & Hurricanes & Typhoons, oh my!

 Earthquake Swarm

“A swarm” of several hundred earthquakes, the strongest measuring a 5.5 magnitude, were centered east of San Diego near California’s border with Mexico on Sunday afternoon but caused little damage, seismologists said.

Sunday’s shaking in Southern California’s Imperial Valley was the most activity recorded there since the 1970s, according to U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Johnson.

“We are having a swarm,” Johnson said. “We expect thousands of events (like this) over several days.”

via CNN


The insurance industry faces its biggest ever loss in agriculture as the worst drought to hit the US in more than half a century devastates the country’s multibillion-dollar corn and soybean crops, triggering large claims.

…Agricultural economists at the University of Illinois estimate the drought will trigger this year gross indemnities of roughly $30bn, with an underwriting loss of $18bn. Of that, the US government would shoulder around $14bn, while private sector insurers are likely to face a loss of $4bn, they said. Standard & Poor’s, the rating agency, put the losses of the private sector a notch higher at $5bn.

“The US drought is indeed a ‘catastrophic’ event,” Gregory W Locraft, insurance analyst at Morgan Stanley in New York, wrote in a recent note to clients, adding that it “is likely the largest [insurance] crop loss in history.”

via CNN


Why Prep, Part 3 Triggers & Stressors

Note from Andrew: The complete Why Prep Series has now been consolidated HERE.

Today we present the third article in our series on why to prepare for disaster.  In the first article, ‘Why Prep, The Introduction’ we asked and answered the following question:

Question:  Why Prep…why become more self-reliant?

Answer:  Because it’s the only reasonable and logical response to an unknown future and even a cursory study of history.

In the second article, ‘Why Prep, Historical and Current Examples’ we discussed examples of places and periods where preparedness could have made the difference between survival and suffering (or worse) for you and your family.  In this third installment we’ll discuss stressors and triggers for potential The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) situations.

Today we’re going to talk about stressor events and triggers.  A stressor event is an occurrence that has the potential to change a system or society.  Stressor events happen all the time and can vary dramatically in the amount of stress or influence they place on a system.  Some examples of stressor events are election outcomes, legislation, trade wars, disease outbreaks, government spending programs, wars, acts of terror, social movements, development or loss of key infrastructure (like the internet you’re browsing), information releases (like the Watergate scandal) or changes to the physical environment (like drought or natural disasters).  From a societal standpoint, stressors often manifest themselves in multiples and if significant enough disruption occurs…they can create a situation that cascades out of control.  While it’s an overly simplified model think of these stressors from the last century:

  1. Germany loses World War I and a large percentage of its reproductive age males
  2. War damage and reparations create severe economic hardship
  3. Rise of the National Socialism in Germany bringing Adolf Hitler and his Brownshirts to power (were the Brownshirts easier to recruit due to a lack of fatherly guidance?)
  4. Election of 1933 gives Hitler enough power in the Reichstag to pass the Enabling Act and assume dictatorial powers

This example from history led to TEOTWAWKI for much of the world from the mid 1930’s to the mid 1940’s and eventually ushered in the atomic age.


Volcanos, Nature’s Fury and the Journey to Self Reliance

Mother Nature has been expressing her fury in a number of ways in recent months especially in and around the “Ring of Fire.”  The Ring of Fire is a particularly active region of tectonic activity running around the Pacific basin.  In addition to the earthquakes and the tsunamis that the earthquakes create there have been a number of volcanic eruptions in recent months including these two reports that caught my eye:

A volcano quiet for more than a century erupted in a New Zealand national park, spreading thick ash for several miles and causing some residents to evacuate their homes. Some domestic flights were canceled Tuesday.

Mount Tongariro spewed ash and rocks for about 30 minutes late Monday night after a few weeks of increased seismic activity. It didn’t cause any injuries or damage in the sparsely populated central North Island region. Tongariro National Park has three active volcanos…

via Volcano erupts with ash cloud in New Zealand park | Fox News.

Volcanic rock found floating in South Pacific near New Zealand

The Royal New Zealand Air Force have spotted a raft of floating volcanic rock in the South Pacific, covering 10,000 sq miles of ocean north of New Zealand. The rock, known as pumice, is created when lava from an underwater volcano comes in contact with seawater. New Zealand researchers say the source of the pumice is a seamount known as Monowai

via Volcanic rock found floating in South Pacific near New Zealand – video | World news |

Can you imagine something powerful enough to emit enough debris to create a 10,000 square mile raft of stones up to two feet thick…

Maybe you’re not concerned about the threat of Volcanic eruption because there isn’t a volcano within 500 miles of your home…but the threat of volcanic activity can affect you anywhere in the world.  Read on to find out why severe Volcanic activity is one of the most important events you should be preparing for… (more…)

What Keeps The Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense Awake At Night?

Ever wonder what perils and threats keeps senior defense officials up at night?  Well you don’t have to guess anymore what keeps the Department of Defense’ Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs (how does that title even fit on a business card?), Paul Stockton up because he told us.


Why Prep, Part 2 Historical & Current Examples

Note from Andrew: The complete Why Prep Series has now been consolidated HERE.

Last week in Why Prep, the Introduction we briefly discussed the fragility of the status quo and clarified that preparedness is not about getting ready for the ‘end of the world’… it’s about building the skills, resources and resilience to endure the transition periods following dramatic financial, environmental, societal or individual life changes.  If you haven’t read the introduction yet, I recommend that you read it before continuing by clicking on the hyperlink near the start of this paragraph..

Today we’re going to take a look at some current and historical situations and events that are/were much more survivable (financial and otherwise) for those that took the time to prepare.  For brevity’s sake I have chosen a small sampling of the historical examples available and have chosen not to include many areas of perpetual warfare (Cyprus, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Palestine/Israel, Northern Ireland, etc.).

Note:  The links included go to articles or preselected internet searches (to make results more timely) in case you’re interested in doing additional reading on that subject.  For convenience, these examples are listed by continent although many of the events/situations spanned multiple continents. (more…)

Earthquakes Hit 22 States in 30 Days

In the past 30 days earthquakes (with a magnitude of 1.0 or greater) have been detected with their epicenters in the following 22 states:  Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming

While the U.S. quakes this past month have not been particularly damaging (only 11 of the quakes in the lower 48 states were 4.0 or greater) the sheer number of quakes is a reminder that the Earth isn’t particularly quiet and as you can see from the list above this isn’t a peril you only have to worry about if you live in California, Alaska or Hawaii.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has a number of tools to allow you to assess the earthquake risk in your backyard or make cool maps like the one below.  This map shows the epicenter of 900 of the 2,066 earthquakes (mostly in California & Baja Mexico) that have occurred in the map area in the last 30 days.  It also shows through color coding (dark blue to light blue to yellow to red) from the least risk to the highest earthquake risk.


Looking at the past 12 years of USGS data (not including 2012) shows us that the U.S. is hit by 2,261 to 8,497 earthquakes per year with an average of 3,823.  Eight of these earthquakes have been 7.0 or greater and there have been 2 deaths.

In case the statistics above have given you a false sense of security take a look at the following Map of magnitude 6 or higher earthquakes the lower 48 states have suffered from 1750 to 1996.  The USGS also has a tool where you can check out the earthquake risk by state. (more…)

114 Years of Earthquake Epicenters

Map Shows Earthquake Activity Since 1898

Earthquakes Since 1898

via Map Shows Earthquake Activity Since 1898 | Video |

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