Preparation is the key to adapting to future events and those without resources will reap a bitter harvest as they struggle to survive.

Signpost "Order vs. Chaos"

Numerous economists and investors are warning of another great financial crisis to come but few people want to listen to them. No crisis is ever exactly like the last one and the next great depression will be different from the last one. In the last depression those who had money were in a good financial position to ride it out but the next depression will see those with fiat money drowning in it as it becomes worthless.

Very few Americans have any significant savings today. Most live on credit and those with savings have it stored in financial instruments that will be wiped out as the bankers collapse the system to hide the theft they have been involved in for decades. Those who think they will retire with their IRA, pensions or social security will suddenly find them all gone never to return leaving them with no means to care for themselves.

The west line has moved to Asia. This means that North America is no longer the shipping center of the world. The consequences of this for Americans will be disastrous. This means our economy in the future will be smaller and slower and will result in a standard of living far below what it currently is.

Those that own very few assets free and clear will become the new homeless as they become jobless and default on all of their credit obligations. All of the social safety nets that exist now to keep people fat and happy will fail leaving mobs of people to roam the streets to seek out what they need to survive. One only has to look at Venezuela today to see where this will all lead.

The basic minimum wage in Venezuela today is $7 dollars a month. Not a day or a week but a month. Those that hold local currency see it devalue on a daily basis making things increasingly worse as time goes on. Had any of these people stored some of their wealth in gold they would have the ability to live a little easier as the economy collapses. One ounce of gold in the hands of a Venezuelan today would last them for years. This is a lesson we all need to heed.

Simply storing some of your wealth in gold and silver is no cure all but it is part of a bigger strategy to insure you do not have to suffer as many will in the coming years due to their blind faith in their belief the government will care for them. Keep in mind that the government is actually controlled by the same people that will destroy your standard of living so why would they care about your suffering.

Understanding what will likely happen and insuring you have a plan to deal with it is the only hope you will have of coming through the coming bad years in tact. Those who trust in government or only live for today will reap what they sow and it will be unpleasant at best if they survive at all. A simple strategy to insure you do not suffer does not have to be expensive or complicated. The best plans are simple and allow you to adapt to the changing times. If you invest in a simple, inexpensive plan and the world somehow goes on as normal, you will not be any worse for the investment but if things takes an unexpected turn and your plan becomes necessary, it will allow you to survive the crisis much better than the bulk of the population.

The strategy I outlined in The American Dream Lost is a basic plan that will work for just about anyone but is mainly designed for those that have only a few thousand dollars to draw on in an emergency. That is to say it is designed for the majority of Americans that have little money. It is important to understand that a plan of this type is an insurance policy against bad times that can do great harm to you and your family and needs to be understood in that light.

One of the worst problems people have is that when something bad begins to happen they attempt to continue living as they always have and ignore the future consequences until it is too late to do anything meaningful about it. If a person loses their job they continue to live as they always have using up their small savings in the hope that things will change for the better before they run out of money. Sometimes they win and sometimes they lose, it depends on how lucky they are. This type of mentality often leads people to the point where they run out of money and only then do they try to come up with a plan. The problem is, by then they have no resources left to enact a plan with. This is what you need to avoid.

When your economic situation suddenly changes for the worse you need to immediately sit down and determine what the future is likely to look like. It is good to be optimistic but if the chances of finding a new job are not very good you need to decide how best to use what resources you have to maintain a decent living standard. You may have to make some very difficult choices but the option of doing nothing could be very harmful in the long run. For those that decide radical steps may be needed to continue caring for their family the following list is a good place to start.

Buy a years supply of basic foods and supplies that store easily
Buy some durable clothing for future use
Buy an older vehicle for cash that can pull a trailer
Buy a good used camper trailer for cash that can house your family
Buy a weapon and ammo for protection and hunting purposes
Buy a few rolls of silver coins to preserve wealth and act as an emergency fund

What this gives you is the ability to continue caring for your family even in the worst of situations if everything is lost to creditors. They will have food, shelter, clothing, transportation, security and the ability to buy critical items that are needed at some future time. Convincing your family they have to move to a camper for a while would not be easy but the alternative of being homeless would make it an easy choice. The fact that thousands of people all across America are at this very moment living in tents near large population centers is proof enough it can happen.

Depending on your shopping skills all of these things can be secured for under $5,000 dollars and much less if you have time to look for bargains. Your plan may be slightly different depending on the resources and skills you have. You may have access to a small piece of land you own somewhere that a cabin can be built on or you may have the skills to retrofit a van body truck or enclosed trailer for living in. In situations like this skills are worth as much as gold coins.

When the next great depression hits it will be unlike anything we have lived through before. Nothing will be as it seems and only those that have the resources to adapt will come through it whole. Preparation is the key to adapting to future events and those without resources will reap a bitter harvest as they struggle to survive. No announcements will be made, no warnings will be given by the establishment, it will just suddenly happen out of the blue and everyone will say it was unpredictable. But those who prepared will know better.

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The 3 US Super Volcanoes has just Become the USA Largest Ticking Bomb

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When one of these 3 volcanoes erupts there will be total chaos. Some experts even say that the US will become a large ash desert with no one left alive.

First – building collapsing from 8-9 magnitude earthquakes, then you hear it on the news: “it’s about to begin”. Millions taking the highway, hundred miles traffic jams, people running to Canada and Mexico, 10 feet hot ash covering cars, blocked streets, people buried alive, communications systems and air transportation completely halted from falling ash.

Second – survival instinct.  Murder, looting, hoarding from any survivors, pillaging, chaos, people fleeing for safety, trying to connect with loved ones.

Third – compete anarchy.  Social breakdown.  At this point it would be every man and woman and child for themselves.

Half a year long night! Survivors? Probably a handful of people!

What are the 3 Super-volcanoes in US that can absolutely wreak havoc if they were to erupt?

The Yellowstone Caldera

Last eruption was 2400 times larger than the eruption of Mount St. Helens.

If Yellowstone were to erupt, it would trigger most of the active volcanoes in the world and a “storm” of earthquakes.

The countdown for an eruption begins when there is evidence of magma moving into the crust. When this happens, scientists will know through instruments detecting precursors like earthquake swarms.

Scientists now believe that the magma in the Yellowstone’s super volcano may be vaster than previously thought.  An eruption under Yellowstone would cover almost the entire U.S. and it will cripple the whole Air travel.

But the worst part is that the world’s food system will collapse. Without out crops the entire planet won’t be able to feed 7 billion people.

The Long Valley Caldera

Last eruption was 1500 times larger than the eruption of Mount St. Helens.

eruption comparison2This Volcano is second only to the previously mentioned Yellowstone and also packs a punch!

It is located in California, south of Mono Lake and close to the state line of California and Nevada.  The last eruption (760,000 year ago) had 1500 times the lava and ash of Mount St. Helens eruption. The eruption left an oval-shaped caldera 10 miles wide and 20 miles long.

In some ways this volcano is more worrying to geologists.  Why?  Because due to a lot of seismic activity and earthquakes in the 80’s in the area, there was an elevation of 10 or so inches of 100 square miles of the Long Valley Caldara floor.  There was also a large amount of CO2 gas that surfaced and killed a large amount of the trees in the area.

These signs tell us that the volcano is in ‘motion’ and that an eruption could be sooner than later. Because of the inside activity, in 2006 they closed the creek for swimming.

Valles Caldera

Last eruption was 1500 times larger than the eruption of Mount St. Helens.

This volcano is approximately 175 square miles and its highest point is 11,253 feet.  It is located in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico and has many grass valleys.  Geologists say that the formation of this Caldera is due to the tectonic plates that are pulling apart in the region.

It erupted 1.2 million and 1.6 million years ago and ejected 150 cubic miles of ash and rock. It’s the smallest super volcano, but capable of erupting enough volcanic ash to make living extremely difficult.

The Only Thing Necessary For The Triumph Of Evil Is For Good Men To Do Nothing

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America wasn’t built by weak people and it most assuredly wouldn’t be the country that it is today if people had the mentality that many do today.

The bottom line is that we’ve become complacent and weak as a country. There’s nothing wrong with compassion as long as it isn’t at the expense of self but we’ve passed the point of being nice and now reside in the land of weakness.

The way that the country comes together in tragedy proves that American people still possess these traits; they’re just buried under deep layers of apathy and laziness.

Here are just a few lost survival traits that made this country what it is today: the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Thinking Independently

From the time of Native Americans, Americans have been independent thinkers.

The problem with today’s society is that a huge majority of the population wakes up in the morning and swallows the spoonfuls of crap-du-jour that news networks and social media are serving up. We’ve moved away from being the high-flying, far-seeing independent eagle and are now grounded sheep that ignorantly and trustingly bleat however our neighbors do.

Believe however you want, but be willing to back those beliefs up with facts and logic. Take the time to research the topics that affect your way of life. You can’t change the direction of the train if you don’t even know that it’s moving.

It’s your freedom that’s at stake – you’d think that would be worth at least as much of your time as you invest in finding a witty cartoon to post on Facebook.

Being Willing to Call “Bullshit”

Edmund Burke said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Our forefathers were willing to stand up and fight against tyranny and oppression in order to preserve (or gain) independence from any and all challengers. That sense of patriotism seems to be a dispassionate ghost of its former self in most people today.

Our rights are being slowly stripped and we’re swallowing the “logic” that accompanies the laws.

In some cases, the laws are directly against our constitutional rights yet we still sit back and say nothing.

Fellow Americans, where are your spines? Evil is most certainly prevailing.

The second amendment wasn’t written so that you can hunt; it was written so that you can defend yourself and your country from tyranny.

Work Ethic

We’ve become a people who believe that the world owes us a living. Now I’m not applying this statement to everybody, but it does apply to a large percentage of our population. Our ancestors died to have the right to live here.

The American dream was once attainable by just about anybody who was willing to work hard enough to achieve it and it still is.

The problem is that very few people are willing to stick it out and invest the blood, sweat and tears necessary to prevail. The “I will do it” attitude has been replaced by the “poor pitiful me should get stuff for free” attitude. We are a land full of asses waiting to be kicked.

Responsibility

From top politicians right on down to the bottom of the totem pole, nobody is willing to stand up and lay claim to their mistakes or take responsibility for their actions. Everything is somebody else’s fault. Remember that when you point a finger, there are 3 more pointing back at you!

It’s not always the case, but for the most part we each make the bed that we lie in. When you take responsibility for your actions, you can finally see what’s going wrong and take steps to change your path, improve your life and make yourself a better person and a better citizen. Sometimes you have to apologize and sometimes you have to make retribution, and our ancestors were willing to do that in order to preserve the rights of every citizen.

As a matter of fact, our forefathers took the time to consider their actions BEFORE they took them in order to live in a manner that didn’t encroach on others. They appreciated their rights and knew that they came with limits.

There’s an old saying that goes something along the lines of, “My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins.” If you take a few minutes to think about that statement, it covers everything that our ancestors held near and dear, and that we now take for granted.

Basic Problem Solving

We are a country built on innovation and “making do.” Native Americans lived and thrived for centuries solely off what the land had to offer. They knew how to use what they had on hand for whatever they needed and they knew how to read the environment for signs about food, water and weather.

Immigrants and settlers learned the same skills and also applied skills learned in their native countries to “advance” their new country.

We’ve now become so technologically advanced that we’ve lost the problem solving and the survival skills that made us a strong people in the very beginning. Without our handheld devices we can’t even tell if it’s raining, let alone figure out where to find a source of water. (Googling “nearest 7-11” doesn’t count!)

That’s going to equal a world of hurt for many people when SHTF.

As a country, we’ve gotten away from both the moral and physical survival skills that built this country and made it a force to be reckoned with. For years, other countries have known that to poke us was to risk waking the sleeping giant. However, recent events and the non-action of our citizenry in the face of tyranny and adversity over the last several decades have shown us to be weak.

If we continue on our current path of dependency and apathy, it won’t be long before all of the rights that our forefathers (and foremothers!) fought so hard for are lost.

 

Each SHTF Scenario Will Require Different Actions, And All Those Actions Will Have Different Consequences And Repercussions

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One part of prepping that is sometimes overlooked or not given the consideration it deserves is what you will do when someone comes knocking on your door. I’m not talking about the wondering stranger, I’m talking about close family members that may or may not know you are prepping.

The question we need to ask ourselves and think about very seriously is who you would turn away, and what extended family members would you help out in a disaster or SHTF event.

Unfortunately this is just the first step, now you need to think about how you are going to handle the situation of having extra mouths to feed. This is all dependent on whether you decide to help them or turn them away, and as I said in the last article, (and I am talking about close family, not the entire family) I just couldn’t turn close family members away. If you could, my bet is there are other circumstances that weigh into your decision other than survival.

Missed it by That Much…

How would you decide who could stay and who needed to go away? This is a tough question, but it’s one we really need to put a lot of thought into. Deciding on who would make the cut could be the difference between surviving and thriving, or throwing everything you have down the tubes.

To me there are a few factors that I would have to think about…

1. How Close Are They?

It’s just not feasible to think that you can bring everyone and everyone they bring with them in during an SHTF event, most of us can barely afford to get ourselves prepared. Like it or not, we are going to have to figure out how to say “I just can’t do it”

In the podcast we used my son and his fiancée as an example, I absolutely want him here, and I know he won’t come without her. She has her twin sister that she is very close to and who knows who else she would want to bring along, so how do I handle that situation?

As much as it would pain me I would have to have a conversation with my son and tell him that he has a choice to make. If he chooses to stay it will only be him and her, if he chooses to stay with her I would help as much as I could and send them on their way.

2. What is my Family’s Opinion?

In any marriage we are bound to have different opinions about people than our spouse, and this should weigh heavily into your decision. Your husband or wife’s opinion about your favorite cousin might be completely different than yours.

Have a conversation now with your family about who would stay and why, try to put personal feelings aside and come to a rational conclusion about whether they would be an asset or a hindrance to your survival plan. Also, try not to get into an argument when you’re talking about this, a divorce is the last thing you want.

3. How Helpful Have They Been?

During your conversation with your family your past experiences with this person are bound to come up. What is their personality like? And how has our past relationship been?

Some people are helpful, some are all about themselves and some people are know it all’s. We can tolerate these personality traits now, but in an SHTF situation these traits will be magnified.

4. How Helpful Would They Be?

I dig a little deeper into this later, but think about how they would benefit your situation, what skills do they have that would help you in a disaster situation. Even if someone is a “one upper” and it drives you crazy, they might have skills that would be useful to you.

Do they have carpentry, electrical, gardening or welding skills? In situations like these we will need to weigh the good with the bad to figure out if we give them a thumbs up, or a thumbs down.

5. What Challenges Do They Bring?

Just as important as thinking about what they bring to the table is what they will be taking from the table. The truth is that any time you add someone to the equation the situation becomes more complicated, and sometimes the negatives so outweigh the positives you need to make that tough decision.

The Double Edged Sward

As much as it drives me nuts knowing that I shouldn’t have to prepare for someone who doesn’t see why it’s important, I do understand that this is a catch 22 that I might have to deal with.

We can barely prepare for ourselves, let alone for the family members that might end up on our doorstep, but unless you are willing to turn everyone away it is a problem you are bound to face.

One other option that could be another article all by itself is bugging out altogether. We always think about security from marauders and criminals, but what if so many people end up at your door that you have no option other than leave, you might have to.

How Much Extra do you Prepare?

Because we can only do what we can do, and sometimes storage space and money are limited I think more along the lines of “how can they make my situation better?” Maybe saying that you should turn this into a positive is a little optimistic, but at least try to make it a little less negative.

Storing extra beans, rice, flour and dry goods will go a long way and give you the basics you will need, but at some point it will run out. Have plans in place to use them like you would an employee, start thinking like a post collapse CEO.

Set the guidelines and expectations from day one. You need to let them know that if you are going to let them stay there for however long that might be you expect them to help. What is impossible for 2 or 3 people to do in a day might be possible with more people, expanding the garden, foraging, hunting, raising more animals for food and building/repairing will become more possible with more people.

The Come to Jesus Talk

At first we might need to lower our expectations because most unprepared people will try to hold on to their Pollyanna reality as long as possible, they will be like a junkies going through withdraws. This is why it’s important to set your expectations from day one.

You might hear things like “why are you rationing the water? This will be over in a day or two?” or “Look at all this food, were going to eat like kings!” These people might have no idea what we could be in for, and need to be set straight before it becomes a problem.

At some point it might become necessary to have what I call the “come to Jesus talk” people will tell you whatever you want to hear to get your help, but if they are not holding up their end of the bargain you might have to have the tough conversation neither one of you want to have.

You might have to say…

“This is what you told me you would do when you came here, and this is what you are actually doing (or not doing), how are we going to fix this? Does this mean you need to go? Or are you going to get onboard and pull your weight?”

Problems like these are bound to happen, and these are situations we need to be able to face, otherwise disappearing and not letting people know where you are might be the better option.

What Would you Do?

This is a question a friend in our Facebook group posed and we dig into it because it is a situation we might need to think about. Would you turn people away and why? Let us know in the comments below.

Invasion USA: Divide and Conquer Tactics

It has become an almost daily event that Russian troops are seen around America in many different situations. Some are seen in Russian uniforms, some in American uniforms and others in civilian clothing. Some have been seen with military vehicles and aircraft and some with DHS vehicles. They are blending into areas in many different ways. Is there a specific reason why?

There is an old Chuck Norris movie called Invasion USA. As part of the plot mercenaries dressed as cops drive up to a local gathering spot and open fire on the youngsters there killing some before they leave. When the real cops arrive responding to the shooting they are attacked by the people thinking more cops are coming to kill again.

In any type of scenario where the government declares open warfare on the American people there is going to be a percentage of cops and troops that will not follow orders and will side with the people. Everyone already knows this especially the government. If these troops and cops are successful in coordinating with the local populations it will make things a great deal harder for the government to pacify the nation.

In this situation it is necessary for the government to prevent this coordination by any means necessary. This might take the form of federals coming into a town or neighborhood and rounding up or shooting locals. Once this happens the locals would see anyone dressed this way as the enemy and shoot first and ask questions later. This would make it difficult if not impossible for those forces loyal to the population to make contact and join forces with them.

By preventing this coordination the federals would be fighting a fractured opposition which would make winning easier. Loyal troops and cops would be taking fire from both sides. This type of plan would make the integration of foreign troops into military units and even local forces like DHS necessary.

If this type of situation did happen it would be necessary for civilians to have some means of identifying loyal troops and police when things began to unravel and the bullets started flying. It would be easier for national guard troops that are already known by the local communities they serve in but for active duty forces that are fractured it would be harder to gain the trust of local communities once things begin to unwind. It is also likely that any national guard unit that is not fully aligned with the federals would find themselves locked out of their armories in the opening hours of any hostilities preventing them from accessing their weapons and equipment.

There are many types of divide and conquer operations in progress at this time. The militarized police forces that are allowed to gun down civilians with no repercussions causing backlash against law enforcement. The protest groups and government backed instigators pushing for a race war to fracture the population. The destruction of good jobs eventually forcing desperate people to turn on each other to survive. The war against Christians, gun owners and veterans to weaken any possible resistance to future government controls. The military attempt to demonize Evangelical Christians, Tea Party groups and organizations like the American Family Association and Family Research Council. All of these actions to foment distrust between the population and military and law enforcement personnel are meant to prevent any cooperation between these groups in the future to the detriment of the federal government.

Everything we are seeing now could very well culminate with attacks on the population by federal forces seeking to maintain chaos until they have the upper hand. Initial actions would likely be to seize control of infrastructure such as power, water, food and communications systems. Then urban and suburban areas would be sealed off to contain the majority of people and prevent dispersion to the countryside where they would be harder to control. The last actions would be to seize control of the farmland to insure control of food supplies to exert further control over the population. It is likely the rural areas are where the most brutal fighting will take place as anti federal supporters fight for their very existence before everything is lost.

The U.S. is being set up to take a hard fall and anyone that fails to see that will suffer horribly for the time they have left alive. The invasion has already begun and most do not see it or believe it. Personnel are being prepositioned and when the time is right they will move in force on an unsuspecting population. Crisis followed by overwhelming force will leave the population reeling from the sudden changing environment and prevent most from doing anything substantial to save themselves. Time is short. If you have not made your peace with God and prepared for the times ahead you have nobody to blame but yourself.

How To Protect Yourself From Nuclear Radiation

 

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How to protect yourself from nuclear radiation.

Keep three things in mind: distance, shielding, and time.

  • Distance — it is important to get as much distance as possible between the yourself and the nuclear fallout particles.
  • Shielding — the heavier and denser the materials (thick walls, concrete, bricks, books and earth) between you and the fallout particles, the better. If possible, go inside a building or home immediately. An underground area such as a home or office building basement offers more protection than the first floor of a building. If there is no basement, seek shelter under a roof near interior walls. Flat roofs collect fallout particles, therefore the top floor is not a good choice, nor is a floor adjacent to a neighboring flat roof.
  • Time — you should stay in your protected shelter for at least 12 to 24 hours after the nuclear blast. Fallout radiation loses its intensity fairly rapidly. In time, you will be able to leave the fallout shelter. Radioactive fallout poses the greatest threat to people during the first two weeks. During those weeks it declines to about 1 percent of its initial radiation level.

If you have been exposed to nuclear radiation.

Until you are able to get to a shower or new clothes, wipe off your clothing every few minutes. Once you have gained access to a shower, take off all of your clothing, including your shoes, and insert them into a sealed bag. Then take a shower with mild water, soap, and shampoo— no conditioner.

Preparing ahead of time for a nuclear disaster.

Even if the chances of a nuclear disaster occurring in your area are low, the risk is worth being prepared for. When the false alarm was sent out to the people of Hawaii, state officials said they had 12 minutes to seek shelter. That is not a lot of time to protect yourself from a nuclear blast, which is why it is so important to be prepared for a nuclear disaster by making a plan for what to do and stocking up with the necessary emergency supplies. We recommend identifying the best shelter locations in all of the areas that you spend a great amount of time in, such as your home, work, or school.  You should also invest in an emergency kit in case you have to shelter in place for 24 hours or longer.

The use of radioactive material for energy generation, military purposes and medicine has become internationally prevalent over the past decades. While being inherently dangerous, the destructive potential of radioactive material is realized only when it is taken out of a controlled environment as may occur following an accidental or intentional nuclear reactor meltdown, a radiological ‘dirty’ bomb or even a nuclear detonation. These risks are fueled by the ongoing race of unstable regimes to obtain nuclear arms. Most worrisome is a scenario in which terrorists acquire or fabricate a nuclear weapon. Thus, there is an ever-growing risk of radiological catastrophe and an increasing need for radiation protection in preparation for these scenarios.

Categories of Ionizing Radiation and Potential Impacts

According to a report by the U.S. Government (National Planning Scenarios, March 2006), if terrorists were to ground detonate a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb in downtown Washington D.C., the blast would kill approximately 15,000 people. Even more disturbing though is the resulting gamma radiation (Fig. 1) leading to the death of up to 190,000 civilians. A 10-kiloton nuclear explosion would be roughly 5,000 times more powerful than the truck bomb that destroyed the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

Radiation Protection While Bugging Out - Total radiation exposure by distance downwind following a 10-kiloton nuclear detonation in Washington DC

First we must understand the dangers. Ionizing radiation can be classified into two categories: photons (gamma radiation and x-rays) and particles (alpha and beta particles).  Shielding the human body from gamma rays require large amounts of high-density material, in stark contrast to alpha particles that can be blocked by paper or skin, and beta particles that can be blocked by foil.  Gamma rays are best blocked using materials possessing high atomic numbers and high density. That is why you get a lead apron when doing an X-ray at the dentist’s office.

Radiation Protection While Bugging Out

After the catastrophe occurs, whether it was a city center terror attack or a nuclear facility accident, you might find yourself trying to get out of the irradiated zone as soon as possible. You had everything worked out in advance. You know exactly where to go and what do, you are prepared. While hazmat suits, respirators and potassium-iodide tablets help to protect from internal contamination of radioactive materials, what kind of equipment is available to protect you from the most lethal aspect of the catastrophe, the gamma radiation and its fundamental danger: Acute Radiation Syndrome?

Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS)

Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS), also known as Radiation Sickness, is a serious illness that manifests itself when the human body receives a high dose of ionizing radiation over a short period of time (usually several hours). Many casualties of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb detonations in 1945, and many of the firefighters who first responded to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in 1986, became ill with ARS according to the CDC. In Chernobyl, first-responders wore makeshift lead sheeting for protection. This type of shielding was inadequate for blocking gamma radiation.

The probability of survival of those inflicted with ARS decreases with escalating radiation dose. Most of the people who do not recover from ARS will die within a few weeks to a few months after exposure, with the primary cause of death being the destruction of the person’s bone marrow.

Upon exposure to radiation levels of up to 1000 cGy, most of the damage sustained is to the bone marrow tissue while the median lethal dose of radiation in the human population is around 400 cGy.  Thus, protecting the bone marrow will provide a 2.5-fold increase in median lethal dose. That is why selective bone marrow shielding is now recommended by OECD/Nuclear Energy Agency as a means to protect emergency responders in severe accident management.

Whole Body vs Partial Body Radiation Protection

“While whole body shielding is inherently heavy, partial body shielding is lighter in weight and selectively shields tissues of increased radiosensitivity (i.e. bone marrow) with substantial amounts of shielding material to protect hematopoietic functions; therefore, potentially preventing the acute health effects of exposure to gamma radiation (i.e. Acute Radiation Syndrome -ARS).”

-Occupational Radiation Protection in Severe Accident Management

How can one be protected from gamma radiation while bugging out? StemRad, an Israeli company, claims to provide the answer. Their product, the 360 Gamma (Fig.2), is designed to provide shielding to strategic concentrations of bone marrow without limiting mobility.

StemRad 360 Gamma Belt with radiation monitoring system and fire resistant features

The design is an outcome of the need to protect what’s important. Bone marrow is spread out in the human body, but remarkably it is the hip region that contains 50% of this crucial tissue.  The iliac bones of the hip are very attractive targets for protection. They have a high content of active bone marrow (bone marrow which produces blood cells), relatively small surface area to volume ratio and ideal for weight bearing. StemRad is backed by top scientists including three Nobel Laureates. Amongst their other projects, there is a radiation protection suit for astronauts being developed together with Lockheed Martin, so the scientific aspect of their work is sound.

Feasibility in a SHTF Scenario

The total weight of the 360 Gamma is around 30 pounds. I took it for a two hour hike, carrying some water and a small back pack with some snacks and basic equipment, and I found the weight is well-distributed, making it similar to wearing a good (although heavy when uphill climbing) hiking backpack. It is also compatible with any other personal protective equipment (PPE) you may already own such as hazmat suit or a respirator which I would also recommend (and don’t forget to take potassium-iodide tablets as well). Unfortunately, these are NOT cheap so may be

Aside from protecting bone marrow and reducing risk of radiation sickness, the belt-like design covers other sensitive organs in the vicinity like the colon, small intestine and in the case of females, the ovaries.  Reduction in dose to these extremely radiosensitive tissues is beneficial in preventing radiation induced cancer even at low doses. Even after getting to safety, wearing the 360 Gamma while conducting activities outside of the shelter which result in protracted or intermittent radiation exposures will decrease incidence of cancers over the lifetimes of exposed individuals.

Conclusion

Avoiding going through irradiated areas is the sensible thing to do, both to avoid ARS caused by high dose gamma radiation and to reduce chance of cancer.  However, we cannot know when or where a nuclear catastrophe or attack will occur.  Having a 360 Gamma on-hand for each member of the family at home or in a vehicle along with other radiation counter-measures as part of a bug-out kit is a good, albeit not the most affordable, way to be prepared for these situations and survive. This arms you with the state-of-the-art equipment to safely shelter-in-place or evacuate to a safer location.  In a SHTF scenario you don’t want to be stranded waiting for help that may or may not arrive.

The Greatest Danger of Artificial Intelligence is That People Conclude Too Early That They Understand It

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According to many doomers, the rise of AI (artificial intelligence, as opposed to natural stupidity) will be something along the lines of the scenario in the Terminator 2 movie.

At some point in the future, Skynet will become self conscious and it will decide in a few pico-seconds that we’re useless eaters. You know the rest: AI will trigger a nuclear war, and everything in the world will be turned into rubble. Think along the lines of The Road (the movie starring Viggo Mortensen). But enough with the Hollywood’s neo-Luddite dark obsessions. Those leftists in Hollywood are clueless about everything else, so why would they be right about the rise of the AI?

Despite my sarcastic preamble, today’s article is about the popularly perceived dangers of the AI, or how “IT” could turn against us, leading to War World 3 and the whole nine yards. There’s a guy I know of who pretends he’s already seen the future and it sucks. Joke aside, I am talking about Antonio Garcia Martinez, and this is not your average apple-seed writing dumb op-eds to put the fear of God into innocent people who just want to live their lives quietly and mind their own business. This guy is a former tech industry insider and a high IQ individual, more precisely a former Goldman Sachs strategist, Twitter adviser, product manager for Facebook etc. Basically, Antonio had all his 20 fingers and toes into all the AI-filled pies in the world. Judging from his portfolio, we can safely presume Antonio to be at least a millionaire, yet after he has seen the future, it looked so bad that it made him flee for the woods. Literally.

After years of toiling for world’s biggest corporations and getting obscenely rich in the process, Antonio Garcia Martinez is now living somewhere North of Seattle, hiding in the woods, with a pick-up truck, a dog and a gun. Okay, and maybe a bucket toilet.

Why did this happen, you may ask? The AI/the evil robots are coming to get us, that’s why, and no one will be spared in their path, or at least very few. Or so dixit Antonio.

According to his vision of our brave new future world, within a generation, or thirty years to be exact, half of us will be unemployed, and that’s due to the rise of AI, obviously. With half a population without a job here in the US, things will get ugly fast, and there could even be a revolution, maybe a Butlerian jihad of sorts if we get lucky. But no, we won’t get lucky.

In his view, in ten years or so, we’ll be ran over by self driving trucks, and since America is gun-country, the hundreds of millions of displaced (from the work force) people may revolt against the “system”. Most people don’t realize it, but we’re currently in a race between politics and technology, and the latter is winning. They’re actually way ahead.

I know, for many of my readers, these may sound like the delusional ramblings of a Luddite fanatic, but many others (including Elon Musk and the now-deceased Stephen Hawking) share his fears. Even an AI guru, Jeremy Howard respectively, believes that if anything, we should be more worried about AI working in collusion with those pesky robots for displacing/dislocating/setting adrift America (and the world’s) work-force in the near future.

Professional optimists claim that while AI and robots may “temporarily” replace regular jobs, in the future, technological advancement will inexorably create new ones, like it always happened in the past. However, with robots and AI taking over, the old argument about technological revolutions creating new and amazing jobs doesn’t work, as it’s based on the prior Industrial Revolution, after which we all ended up just fine.

The problem with the AI revolution is that wealth and power will be confiscated (in the first phase, stick with me) by a tiny class of society, a technological elite of sorts, while most of us will be rendered useless eaters, leaches to society by any definition, as the working class will not be able to compete with with robots. Humans are to be basically rendered obsolete, as most workers are mentally sluggish and physically weak compared to, well, androids maybe.

Joke aside, these theories are actually unfortunate and unavoidable facts, if we continue on today’s path. Let me give you an example: between 2000 and 2010[1], America lost 5.6 million manufacturing jobs. And no, it wasn’t Mexico’s fault. 85 percent of the jobs were lost due to automation.

Another study[2] predicts that almost half of US jobs will be destroyed by automation in the next 20 years. And these are Oxford economists, not doomsayers. This means entire professions which were previously thought to be the exclusive domain of blue collar Americans will be taken over by machines. And I am talking about restaurant jobs, commercial driving, retail work and so on and so forth. Even white-collar jobs are in danger, the likes of data analysis, translation or journalism. A report[3] via White House claims that 83 percent of US jobs paying less than twenty bucks per hour will disappear due to automation.

The problem with humans getting replaced by machines in the future is not new. Aristotle wrote about technological unemployment, while John Stuart Mill even advocated (if I recall correctly) prohibiting technological advancement which may negatively affect workers.

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I used the term Luddites/neo-Luddites in the first part of the article. Well, these guys are famous for destroying machines back in the 18th century, out of fear the machines will take their jobs. However, the new technological revolution, AI and robots working hand in hand that is, is not a Luddite fallacy as many claim. There is vast empirical evidence already that automation is displacing large segments of the US work force, and not only this is nothing to celebrate, but only the beginning of the AI takeover. I mean, this is not a hypothetical scenario, but something already happening.

Fearing mass unemployment due to automation/AI is one thing, but some theorize that AI robots will some day become so technologically advanced, as in smart and self-conscious maybe, that they’ll be able to dominate and finally eradicate their masters (that would be us). This theory is not propagated by drug addicts nor freaks, but by Elon Musk, a tech titan who’s worth tens of billions of dollars, who recently said he’s terrified of AI, which represents a fundamental risk to the existence of our civilization, or something along these lines. He said this during a gathering of US state governors, and I believe he drew a lot of attention. The recently departed in another dimension famous physician Stephen Hawking, seconded by Bill Gates who I hope needs no introduction, is also terrified of AI, warning about a future when we’ll lose control of our “robots”, and end up exterminated or enslaved by them.

Stephen Hawking summed up the problem with AI very simply: on short term, the impact of AI/robots on society will depend on who controls them. However, on a long enough timeline, the problem is whether AI can be controlled at all. Unlike humans,  AI machines are capable of evolving orders of magnitude faster, and this may present us with unexpected consequences.

Just to give you an example about technology being both a benefit and a hazard, think about atomic fission, which can be used for either good (nuclear power) or evil (atomic bombs).

Artificial intelligence is just the same, and to give you a hint about its potential catastrophic uses, think along the lines of autonomous battlefield robots, also known as autonomous killing machines. Currently, over fifty nations are racing to develop such monstrosities, and the cherry on top will be AI robots capable of making kill decisions on their own, meaning without having a human in the decision chain. You think this is just theoretical? Do your own research.

These weapons may be decades away for now, but billions are poured into research and development by countries like ours, Israel, Russia, China, Germany, India and the UK. Drones and battlefield robots are currently allowed by international law, but even if they weren’t, when countries go to war, I doubt that China, Russia or India have much respect for international/humanitarian law.

The question is, how long will it take for an AI machine to master the art of R&D, i.e. to learn how to program itself, thus becoming smarter and smarter in geometrical progression? This concept is called intelligence explosion and it was theorized by an English mathematician back in the sixties. Half a century ago, I.J. Good was very preoccupied with artificial neural networks, which are now all the rage in Silicon Valley, some fifty years later.

These artificial neural networks try to duplicate the way the human brain functions, which may soon translate into self improving AI. The next logical step is to assume that self improving robots will become exponentially more intelligent than us, and then what? They’ll save us from ourselves becoming our best friends and solving all of our problems? I seriously doubt it.

Another issue is who will control all these lethal and uber-intelligent machines? It’s also worth considering that experts developing AI are not exploring ethics, nor safety in the process. All they’re looking for, at least for now, is economic value, even if such technologies may at some point threaten our survival as a species.