Australian Police Foil Terror Attack

An Islamic terrorist attack that was planned against the citizens of Melbourne, Australia, has been foiled by Australian Federal Police in conjuction with Australian Intelligence Network ASIO and Victoria Police. Five men from northern and north western suburbs are in police custody after an early morning raid. Continue reading “Australian Police Foil Terror Attack”

Entirety of South Australia without electricity


Lashed by severe storms, the entire state of South Australia’s electric grid went offline last night. Australia may be a first world nation with an enviably high standard of living, but last night 1,670,000 Australians had no access to public electricity at all. Restoration works are underway, but there are still people without electrical power now.

Situations like this one are a reminder that no one is immune to natural disasters. A total reliance on the government and emergency services can strand people when disasters strike. Of course, mainstream society loves a chuckle at preppers who are ready to deal with a lower standard of living. “Ho ho! Look at them, with their outdoor skills and self-reliance! I bet they don’t even know which housewife won real housewives!” But the giggles go quiet when a storm renders the television inoperable, and soon enough they knock on the door of the house that has a petrol electric generator.

It may be silly to dress in casual camo and bring up your knife collection in everyday conversation (and it really is – quit doing this if it’s you), but it’s even sillier to wait for nature to test the strength of your nation’s vital infrastructure with no plan B. You don’t need a bug-out bunker in the mountains, but you do have the responsibility to ensure you prepare yourself and your family for common emergencies.

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Woman Survives A Month Lost In New Zealand

A Czech backpacker has been found after a month lost in New Zealand’s wilderness. Pavlina Pizova and her partner Ondrej Petr were hiking Routeburn Track near Queenstown. An unfortunate string of planning errors and bad weather culminated in the tragic death of Ondrej Petr, who froze to death after falling down a slope and becoming stuck. Pavlina Pizova stayed with him until he had died, after which she happened upon a warden’s cabin. From the cabin she made several abortive attempts to reach the end of the trail, all of which were thwarted by heavy snow and rough terrain. Eventually, concerned relatives reported the pair missing through the Czech embassy in New Zealand, launching a rescue mission that found Pizova alive.

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New Zealand’s beautiful Routeburn Track

I personally find this whole story heartbreaking. The haunting image of sitting by a loved one’s side trapped in the snow, unable to free them, and watching them die. It is a terribly sad story, but one from which we can all take important lessons. The first is that nature doesn’t care about us. It’s not a loving mother – it will devour you if you cross it. We forget this in our urban cocoons, but it took thousands of years of careful development to get to where we are. Outside of the cities, if you break your leg in a quiet part of a rarely traversed forest you can still be in big trouble.

Routeburn Track

The second lesson is to always let people know your hiking plans. You should give your schedule to someone close to you (obviously not someone who is coming on your hike) so that they can alert authorities if you fail to return on time. The fail safe in your planning is a little device called a Personal Locator Beacon. These do what they say on the label, showing search parties your location on GPS when you’re in distress. They don’t cost much and they can literally save your life.


The third lesson is just as important as the preceding ones – always check the weather. A midsummer hike through a lowlands mountain trail is nothing like the same trail in the dead of winter. Snow storms can change everything as well as disorienting hikers and quickly creating deadly conditions. A simple check of the weather report for the area you’re planning to hike could save your weekend, or even your life.

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Source – CBC News Article

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Tiny water purification device

A new development in the field of water purification – a device the size of a postage stamp that can passively purify water 144 times faster than the sun. That means this tiny device doesn’t require any power source. What’s most interesting is that this device can purify water with the materials from which it’s constructed, as well as the layout of the materials. The device is made from glass coated in molybdenium disulphide, a chemical which causes reactions in water that result in the generation of hydrogen peroxide and other disinfectants.

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As much as I hate to keep referring to an unnamed “device”, I’m going to have to. The water purifier is still in its research and development stage, and as such I haven’t come across any name for it at this point. It isn’t ready for the market yet either; rather it seems to be a proof of concept for researcher Chong Liu.

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“Our device looks like a little rectangle of black glass,” explains lead researcher Chong Liu from Stanford University. “We just dropped it into the water and put everything under the Sun, and the Sun did all the work.”

“It’s very exciting to see that by just designing a material you can achieve a good performance,” says Liu. “It really works. Our intention is to solve environmental pollution problems so people can live better.”

I have all the respect and admiration possible for people who work hard with the simple goal of bettering the world. An invention like this could change the lives of many of the world’s poorest people by simplifying and lowering the cost of purifying water. For us survivalists, ultra and otherwise, having a pocket sized water purifier that works passively and for an unlimited number of purifications would mean more independence and possibly less gear to keep in the old bug out bag. God bless Chong Liu and his team of researchers at Stanford.

 

Sources –

Sciencealert.com

Nature.com

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Japanese bear attack! Bears becoming man eaters.

By golly it’s hard to write a headline like that without abusing all caps and more exclamation marks. Apparently, in the far north of Japan’s main island of Honshu, black bears are being reverse conditioned. In Japan it is normal to carry a bear bell when walking in forests and mountains that bears live in. The bell alerts bears to the presence of humans so the bears can scurry away. However, researchers at the Tokyo University of Agriculture fear the bells and other human technologies such as radios may be becoming attractive to hungry bears. The sound of the ringing bell, or songs on a radio, alert bears to the presence of food as well as soft and delicious humans.

Sadly, four hikers’ disappearances have been confirmed to be the result of fatal bear attacks in the area. The local government has authorised drone strikes hunters to shoot the bears that killed hikers.

Japanese bear attack

Normal good advice regarding large, powerful predators is to just stay out of their habitat. Like when Australians complain that sharks kill too many people. I reply by asking why shopping centres are letting sharks in. Invariably, it turns out that the sharks haven’t entered our habitat, but rather we entered theirs. Bears live in forests and mountains. If their usual sustenance is hard to find, as it has been this season, they will look at other easy sources of food. Campers, hikers, or picnickers. People have had some success employing pepper spray in defense against bear attacks, but this means waiting as a 200kg bear walks right up to you. Japanese forests and mountains are beautiful places – I know this from experience. I also know the terror of being hunted by bears in their own territory, and I can assure you that the price is pretty high if it involves being chased by a bear.

Source: Singapore’s Straits Times

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How Not To Go River Tubing

Three ladies from Muskegon County in Michigan are lucky to have survived with no injuries, after going on a tubing trip on the Muskegon River. On what seems to be an impulse decision, the three ladies took a tube ride without a plan, without any preparation, without supplies, and without any idea of how rivers work.

They were apparently told at the start of their fateful journey, that the river ran in a loop and that if they stayed on for a while they would end up back where they’d started. Imagine that – having so little clue as to the nature of the world, and still entrusting your life to the trolling of a total stranger. When darkness fell and they realised they still hadn’t “come back around” to their car, they got off their tube and waited on the riverbank. There they waited all night long with nothing more for warmth than their swimsuits. At midday the next day a passing fisherman heard their cries for help. The three were rescued with no permanent injuries.

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We can all learn from this. When heading out into nature, it does not do to rely on hearsay as to the conditions we will face. Preparation is always essential! Make sure your everyday carry bag is with you, with equipment that will suit the conditions you’re entering. At bare minimum, these ladies should have carried their phones (a simple ziplock sandwich bag could keep a phone dry), a warm change of clothes, some food, water, and some fire starting things. Just carrying a phone would have ensured they didn’t spend a dangerous night huddled on a riverbank. Planning and preparation can both significantly shorten the rescue time and raise your chances of survival in that time. If on the other hand you’re foolish, you might have a long night ahead with only your swimsuit for warmth.
Source – mLive News.

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Xstat – the gunshot wound plugging syringe

*Caution* – potentially graphic images of Xstat gunshot wound treatment. If you’re squeamish, maybe click something else?

xstat syringe

Although I’m about half a year late to the party with this one, I thought this is interesting enough to share. This invention, originally developed for the military, was cleared by the US FDA for civilian use. The Xstat syringe has proven itself on battlefields and so has been made available in the civilian world. At the moment, that doesn’t mean that you or I can stock up on Xstat syringes – they’re required to be administered by first responders or medically qualified personnel.

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What is it though? Essentially it’s a syringe filled with tiny tablet shaped sponges. The syringe is inserted into a gunshot wound, and delivers its payload of sponges which react, absorbing blood and swelling to plug the wound. Everyone understands that a gunshot, if non-fatal, automatically results in massive blood loss. The difficulty is that up until now, any dressings have only been able to go over the top of the wound. The Xstat syringe has proven its effectiveness in basically plugging gunshot wounds, and keeping patients alive until they can reach better help. Given that after a gunshot wound nearly 50% of patients die of blood loss on the way to hospital, I can only think that the Xstat is a great invention that will help save a lot of lives. Being able to quickly stem massive bleeding is an invaluable ability in an emergency. Could it be made available in the future for preppers to stockpile though? There would probably be a lot of people who would want to have a few Xstat syringes tucked away just in case. I don’t know if they’ll be sold to the public though. We can only wait and see.

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Sources – The Verge

Revmedx

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Conflict Metals

Doing some reading that my brother sent me earlier on conflict metals. I had come across the term before and it’s great that people are trying to raise awareness about the origins of the things we own and use. Situations like the ones found in phone factories that produce devices for Apple and Samsung, or the Indonesian sweat shops in which Nike makes its shoes, these are terrible things. These businesses are sources of great suffering and misery for the people who earn a living working in them. Similar but much, much worse are the mines that Congolese gold and other minerals come from. The cruelty and hardship of the workers in these mines shouldn’t be tolerated or ignored, especially not for the sake of convenience or lower priced goods.

As part of making preparations for emergencies or disasters, perhaps you’ve added some precious metals to your inventory. Did you consider where those metals had come from, or who your purchase funded? Once gold has been mined in the Congo, it is exported to external smelters for distribution into the global commodities markets. It is indistinguishable from other gold, because all gold is gold. But whoever buys that Congolese gold is essentially paying a warlord to keep right on torturing his slaves. I don’t know about you, but that’s something I really wouldn’t like to participate in. In order to ensure that you’re not funding a civil war, ethnic cleansing, or genocide, you can look for sources of conflict-free metals. My local mint, the Perth Mint, is part of the Conflict Free Smelter Program. The CFSP is described as a third party valuation of a smelter’s procurement activities. It still doesn’t guarantee that there’s absolutely no conflict metals in the gold you might buy, but it means that the smelter is actively trying not to buy from conflict sources.

In 2012, the United States Securites and Exchange Commission passed some legislation under Section 1502 of the Frank Dodd reforms, which attempt to stem the flow of conflict metals into the US for consumption. I don’t pretend to know what the whole thing says, but I did read the summary of it tonight. I was surprised to see that it states that companies using conflict resources in their products only need to report to the SEC that they are using conflict minerals. It’s not banned, or even limited, to use conflict minerals. That’s not a huge shock though, given that crude oil is one of the most widely available conflict resources.

What about you? Do you think it’s worth trying to buy things from sources that advertise their ethical behaviour? Or does money always win in the end?

Conflict Metals

 

 

Sources –

The Perth Mint Blog

The Gold Industry Group Blog

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BP to pay $20000000000 fine for Deepwater Horizon

British Petroleum, after years in the United States’ Federal courts, has been cleared to pay a twenty billion dollar ($20b / $20000000000) settlement for its 2010 environmental catastrophe at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. It is fascinating that a price can be put on the destruction that resulted from the release of nearly five million barrels of oil into the ocean. Even more interesting is that BP survived the disaster with much of its retail custom intact. I remember when news of the explosion at Deepwater Horizon was breaking, when the fissure in the undersea oil well was uncontrollably breached. I didn’t see any noticeable decline in customers at their BP branded petrol stations. It was as though no one could relate an environmental catastrophe with a suburban service station. I thought it was bizarre.

BP

In April 2010, the markets punished BP with a precipitous sell-off that halved the price of BP stocks. Before the disaster, BP equities traded just shy of US$60. Afterwards they sent to the depths of US$27. Since then, BP’s share price has not yet returned to boom time heights. Besides a painful sell off on the global share markets, the clean up bill, and the settlement announced today, BP have gotten off lightly. It seems the world hardly remembers what they did and the terrible cost that people in the Gulf of Mexico have borne. I have not bought petrol from BP since 2010, and nor will I again. I always hate how preachy and self-righteous the campaigners sound, but wouldn’t we be better off if the whole world were to bear grudges against companies that are suicidally greedy?

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Politician survives 8 days in Arctic wastes.

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Uqqummiut MLA Pauloosie Keyootak and two other travellers had gone missing after they left Iqaluit for Pangnirtung. (CBC)

A local politician, his son, and his nephew were rescued 8 days after losing their way in a blizzard and running out of petrol in the wilds of Canada. Luckily they had some tools that would help preserve their lives, and some survival knowledge. Before nightfall, they were able to build an igloo to keep the wind out. A knife they were carrying came in handy for killing a caribou. They were able to ration the caribou out for the week for food, and using the daytime sunlight to keep their spirits up, made it through to being rescued with no ill-effects.

Caribou
The caribou’s difficulty to kill is proportionate to its deliciousness. This one is a solid 8 1/2.

Their story highlights not only the importance of carrying tools that you can use to your advantage in survival situations, but also having practical knowledge of how to use those tools. If none of these guys knew how to build an igloo to get out of the wind, you can bet they wouldn’t have survived the first night. If they were collectors of pretty knives, they’d never have got the caribou. It’s good that this story had a happy ending though. It would be great if all politicians could be people of such substance instead of the parasites we have running around these days.

Check the full story out at Vice and cbc.

Sources

Vice News

CBC News

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