Asteroid Awareness Day slated for June 30, 2015

A central focus of the event was the release of a 100x Declaration, calling for the hundredfold increase in the detection and monitoring of asteroids. Lord Rees read the declaration, which resolves to “solve humanity’s greatest challenges to safeguard our families and quality of life on Earth in the future.” –

A rumor is emerging from the online doom & gloom community. Apparently, as the story goes, a large asteroid is scheduled to impact the Atlantic Ocean somewhere northeast of Brazil, at about the same time as Asteroid Awareness Day.

Before you go out and build yourself a bunker, remember this story comes to you from the same folks that brought you news of the 2012 doomsday. So until any real evidence is presented there is no need to panic.

But this is not a call to go back to sleep.

What to do?

Change is a constant, and things have been pretty stable for America for the last 50 years. Many people also seem to think that exponential growth is normal. If you’re bad at math, you might even believe that exponential growth can be maintained exponentially.

At some point, some catalyst for change is bound to knock that exponential curve back down and we’ll need to rethink how we live and adjust. The problem is that when you’re atop an exponential curve (think cliff), its a long way back down to normal (think bottom of cliff).

The pressure to seek equilibrium is also so great at the top that the chances of things changing in a snap are greatly increases. So no matter the change event: asteroid impact, economic downturn, energy crisis, war, etc… the chance of change on the horizon is higher the higher we go.

Those of us that are prepared to downsize, live more sustainably and self-sufficiently, will find it easier to traverse the distance between the top of the cliff and the bottom.


Dr. Michael Osterholm from CIDRAP on Uncertainty and Ebola

Dr. Michael Osterholm is one of the few infectious disease experts speaking out and warning that we may not know everything about Ebola. It’s a convincing argument because it’s always a possibility – we may learn something new about Ebola.

What to do?

  • Uncertainty is the norm; don’t fear it. We don’t know what we don’t know and we live with that every day. Our culture tells us to run for cover when uncertainty is nearby so certainty is what the shepherds in Washington D.C. spew when uncertainty is near.
  • Prepare for uncertainty. This is why we put on our seat belts and lock our doors at night. We don’t know what might happen when we drive in our cars or go to sleep at night; but we don’t fear it – we build a hedge against the risk.
  • Remain vigilant. It’s not paranoid to have your head up when the herd has their heads down. It gives you an edge. Running for cover every time something spooks you is paranoid, avoid it.


Day 16 of Ebola in the USA: Mixed Messages

Today is Day 15 of Ebola in the U.S.A. and we’re continuing to get mixed messages from the authorities. One one hand they say we shouldn’t panic (good idea, I agree), then they tell hospitals to “think ebola”, and continue to say this is the worst health emergency of modern times.

From the CDC:

The government is telling the nations hospitals to “think Ebola.”… Every hospital must know how to diagnose Ebola in people who have been in West Africa and be ready to isolate a suspected case, Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.” – Yahoo News

From WHO:

World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan issued a statement Monday at a conference in Manila, calling the outbreak “the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times.”…

She said the outbreak is disrupting economies and societies around the world. She said 90% of economic costs of any outbreak “come from irrational and disorganized efforts of the public to avoid infection.”

Adequately educating the public should allow governments to curb those disruptions, Chan said. Fear, she said, spreads faster than any virus.

The clear message I’m hearing is:

  1. Worst case scenario is on the table; and is aided by open borders and long incubation time of the virus.
  2. Authorities overwhelmed and loosing control of the situation. The example of Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola while on the job, is clear evidence that the authorities don’t really know all there is to know about how Ebola spreads.
  3. Public is beginning to show signs of panic. The market impact on travel & leisure may be a trigger signal that the public’s behavior is changing as a result of the Ebola outbreak.

What to do?

  1. Stay calm. Panic only puts you at risk. Others will panic if Ebola begins to spread, so keeping your wits about you could give you an edge.
  2. Learn how to take care of Ebola patients in case someone in your household is infected. Start by reading the information the CDC publishes on Ebola for healthcare workers.
  3. Obtain the necessary gear. This is PPE (personal protection equipment) as well as plastic sheeting and tape for constructing make-shift isolation/clean rooms & grey rooms (rooms where you can wash down and change clothes.
  4. Know that 30% of the people that get Ebola survive. If you can build-up your immune system now you’ll improve the odds of survival.
  5. Know your own blood type and the blood types of the people in your household. It seems that one of the successful treatments is to receive a blood transfusion from Ebola survivors, so knowing your blood type could speed treatment.

Is this preparation overkill? Right now, yes, maybe. But if you think this could get out of hand a little bit of education and preparation might be cheap insurance. One thing is for sure, if the government declares an emergency, the store shelves will go bare of PPE gear – so you can choose to sit tight or front-run Ebola by gearing up now.

Video from CNN.

Data Point: Congressman Claims ISIS Militants Caught Trying to Cross Border into Texas

[Duncan] Hunter, a California Republican [Congressman] and former Marine Major, told Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren on Tuesday that Border Patrol agents have captured Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militants trying to get into Texas from Mexico.” – NY Daily News

Political publicity stunt? National security info leak? Who knows if this is true, no evidence was provided by the Congressman in this FOX TV interview.

But we don’t need build plans to hedge the risk of the possibility of terrorism on U.S. soil do we? We know that terrorism happens, and we are at war with a terror group in the Middle East. It seems only logical that they may be coming to America to destabilize their enemy.

What to do?

The best hedge against destabilization is to build self-reliance. While in truly hard times it’s the community that must become resilient, the number one thing you have direct control over is your own life.

  1. Downsize your own areas of responsibility; this can be your whole house or how you live in it. Possessions can be a prison, logistically speaking, so learn to live with as little as possible. Learn to think like an ultralight backpacker, that carriers just the minimal for survival.
  2. Build a buffer for daily consumables. If supply chains are disrupted these items are the first things to go missing. These can be things like electricity, gasoline, medicines, food, and water. You don’t need to build a cache of this stuff, just reduce your need for it – that’s building a hedge – because when any of these items go missing they can have their own destabilizing affect. A buffer, even a plan on living without them, keeps you on firm ground longer.
  3. Reduce your reliance on external systems and services like utilities, police, medical, and fire. This could simply mean building a small solar recharging station, improving the locks on your home, learning a bit of first aid, and reducing your homes exposure to fire.
  4. Monitor for destabilization. Most folks will only recognize a destabilizing event after it has happened. While nobody can predict the future, everyone can see trends and build hedges against risk.

Preparing for uncertainty is not something best done out of fear. Nothing but running from an immediate threat, like a bear, is best done out of fear. Building resilience is like buying insurance but better; unlike insurance you never give your money away. Everything you do to reduce your exposure to risk and build your own self-reliance stays in your pocket – available to use (and replace) when times are good or rely-on when times are bad.

Corporations build business continuity plans for dealing with uncertainties. The best time to build these plans is when everything is running smoothly. These plans are not designed to address every threat, but focus on backup plans for key business units and functions in order to continue doing business during any destabilizing event.

So all I’m suggesting is that you consider building a Life Continuity Plan with the focus on your own personal safety and well-being. Look at the key areas of your life that need to stay operational no matter the external disruption, and build hedges for them.


Day 10: CDC Director Reports Ebola Possibly Airborne

The Ebola virus becoming airborne is a possible but unlikely outcome in the current epidemic, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC Director Tom Frieden said Tuesday. The outbreak involves Ebola Zaire, a strain that is passed through bodily fluids, not the air. But some experts have expressed fear about viral mutations due to the unprecedented — and rising — number of Ebola cases.” – TheHill

…and in a related story:

Federal health officials said that they had not confirmed whether the sergeant, identified as Michael Monnig, had definite contact with Ebola or definite symptoms of the virus, but that he was being assessed. Officials said it could take about 48 hours before they were certain of his condition. He was not one of the 48 people being monitored for the disease.” –

In the wake of news that the first Ebola patient in America, Thomas Duncan has died, we now hear more rumblings from the CDC that Ebola going airborne is on the table.

What to do?

I think it’s also prudent to assume that Ebola could be airborne and prepare for that possibility. In other words, if you’re prepared for the possibility that it can be transmitted as easily as the flu (which has not been proven yet) you’ve covered your bases.

Photo of Michael Monnig, via


ISIS Orders Random Attacks?

The statement concludes by telling ISIS followers, “if you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be.” – via report on Zero Hedge.

Seriously? That’s quite an ‘activate’ order… but random attacks? So far these guys have seemed much too smart to come up with a bonehead strategy like that. I expect them to be much more coordinated.

What to do?

If any ISIS followers/supporters actually take this seriously, then we should expect random terror attacks in the West. But don’t fear it – just be alert & ready. Some random action items to consider might be:

  • Keep your heads-up, eyes open, and if you hear gunfire – take cover. Then keep moving away from the trouble.
  • Know your alternate commute routes home. Consider pinch points like bridges and tunnels when choosing alternate routes.
  • Pack a get home bag in the car. Just a day pack with the essentials needed for walking home.
  • Avoid public places when possible.
  • If you hear news of random acts of violence anywhere… consider packing it in and heading home. Why? If there are would-be terrorists among us, the initial attacks, even distant ones, may inspire someone near you to join the fight. In other words at the first sign of a catalyst, know that a chain reaction may begin.

We’ve been told loud and clear that this is possible. Avoid being that guy or gal who continues to think that this kind of crap doesn’t happen in the world – and that it can’t happen here.

Harken back to the results of some well known psychology experiments – you may remember these from Psychology 101 in college.

All of these studies showed that people typically avoid standing out in a crowd. People typically feel uncomfortable when they are not conforming to the behavior of the people around them. Don’t do that.

Instead of following the heard and accidentally run off a cliff, choose to be that individual who trusts their instincts that the wolves may be hiding in the tree line – and have an alternate route away from trouble pre-planned.

We can’t stop random acts of violence, but we can limit our risk of being overtaken by them.

Photo credit AFP


See Past The Narratives – Anticipate The Crescendo – Don Your Earplugs

Earlier this year, President Obama likened the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to a junior varsity basketball squad, a group that posed little of the threat once presented by Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

But on Thursday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called ISIS an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” adding, “This is beyond anything that we’ve seen.” –

While many will waste the days away arguing whether this lack of foresight for The Islamic State’s potential is due to incompetence or bad intelligence, the rest of use should look forward to the potential outcome and be ready to respond.

I know I sound like a broken record, but this all seems so simple. Ignore the noise, hear the volume increasing and listen for the crescendo. This is different than the days leading up to 9/11. This time an attack on U.S. soil won’t be a surprise.

All the information we have about The Islamic State tells us they are vicious, capable, and truly hate Americans. Sure they hate our government and military – but they also hate you and me. Maybe its our apparent inability to control the globalists in charge, or maybe its our lack or morals (by their measure, not mine). Whatever the case, it doesn’t matter. These folks are highly motivated and resourceful and have us in their sights.

Sure we could fight them – but isn’t that what the powers-that-be want, another war?

To prepare for a tornado you need to…? To prepare for an earthquake you need to…? To prepare for a blackout you need to…? To prepare for a flood you need to…? To prepare for a home invasion you need to…?

The answer to any questions along these lines is the same. You need to accept that it is possible, learn about the risks, and build hedges against them.

An Attack on America

So what would a wide-spread coordinated attack on America look like? No telling what they’ve got planned but if they are as smart as we think, they are they’d probably want to:

  1. Wear as much black clothing as possible. Bad guys wear black.
  2. Strike as much fear in us as possible with as few resources as possible.
  3. Strike fast, as in a blitzkrieg, but with their typical guerrilla/kamikaze flair.
  4. Damage key infrastructure that’s difficult to repair quickly.
  5. Diversify their resources geographically to prevent their ideology being wiped-out by counter-strikes.
  6. Hold some assets in reserve for striking-back when our defenses are weakened.
  7. Hope that our enemies take advantage of our weakened state.
  8. Turn us on ourselves.

In other words, modern plays from The Art of War.

Examples of Potential Islamic State Strikes

I’m gleaning these from memes established by the main stream media and our government. These are all ideas that have been put forth in the past by others.

  1. Strikes on bridges. After 9/11 the public openly learned about this Achilles’ heel. Our reliance on movement and a supply chain that relies on just-in-time delivery drives our economy.
  2. Strikes on our power grid. We rely heavily on our grid, and it has key pinch points. Without power we can loose communication, home security, air conditioning, heating, health services, emergency services, commerce, convenience, and comfort.
  3. Strikes on oil refineries and pipelines. A reduction in supply causes cost to rise. Anything that relies on fossil fuels would be disrupted.
  4. Contamination of water supplies. Nuf sed.
  5. Strikes on dams. We’ve already seen that this terrorist group knows all about dams, as they’ve already tried to destroy one in Iraq. Dams pose a short-term threat to the people living downstream and a long-term threat to the people who rely on the dam for electricity and water.
  6. Bombings, shootings, and general chaos. I put this second-to-last because it does the least physical damage with more psychological damage in the short-term. It also uses more resources/terrorists for the level of impact.
  7. A nuclear blast or dirty bomb. I leave this last on the list due to barriers of cost and transportation associated with nuclear material (both fissionable and low-grade).  These tools have been with us for a very long time, and nuclear material has proliferated around the globe, so this is on the table. As a tool of terror and destruction, it’s the most effective – especially for the American public that mistakenly thinks nuclear war is unsurvivable.

I don’t think we can rely on our government to do anything more than they already are to protect the status quo. So I think we must assume that the status quo may change, and when it does it may change rapidly.

Avoid Giving into Fear

The fear the government is selling looks motivated by a desire to go back to war in the Middle East. Ironically its our military actions in the Middle East, and the guns & money we’ve poured in there, that directly or indirectly gave birth to The Islamic State.

No matter the case, its looking more and more like no matter what we do, the bloody part of World War III is about to kick-off. Some say it already has begun with the currency & proxy wars. I tend to agree. But I’m also as optimistic as I am practical.

If the American public were to wake-up now, like many apparently have by watching the militarized police state of Missouri in action on TV, we may be able to make enough noise to avert a war. There are a few truths I think we’d need to accept:

  1. The value of the dollar is at significant risk. As the BRICS rise and OPEC considers moving away from the Petrodollar, we move closer to a day that the dollar will need another basis of measure. During that transition America would experience hard financial times. This also indirectly means that the western power structures of the world would need to accept this reality and embrace a changing world that includes the east.
  2. Fossil fuels are nearing an end of cost effectiveness. Fracking has given the USA a lease on life – in terms of energy independence, albeit with a potentially dangerous cost legacy. We would need to seize the moment and make the hard transition from oil to renewables now, before we really run out of gas.
  3. Remove ourselves from the business of other nations. Until we do this we will be a direct threat to their existence. If we lead by example, others will follow. If we wage war, so will others. If we evolve, people will follow.

No politician wants to take the fall for these hard decisions. Some think it’s impossible – hence the likely reason we live in a world of artificial stimulus and market manipulation. A few key people clearly think war is the only way out of this mess.

So what we need is a real leader that has the yarbles to face the truth and bring the American public through these hard changes.  Since that’s the hard reality the last thing we can do is hope for the best while preparing for that possible outcome.

Don’t wait to hear the D-word

I saw this CBS video the other day that focused on Obama and the economy. One of the things he said strait-out was that he’s working to avoid total economic collapse and a depression. This is not news of course but to hear him dance around the d-word was a bit of an eye opener. It’s one thing to hear our media talk about it and another to hear him say it.

I hope the work he’s are doing today will actually help us avoid more trouble. But I’d argue that we the people shouldn’t wait for the official announcement of a full-blown depression or our own personal financial demise. We should change our lifestyles today, live frugally, and prepare ourselves for the possibility of harder times. Here are some things you can do right now to prepare:

  • Always work to improve your personal health.
  • Buy bulk dry food (beans, rice, grains) and always have a reserve.
  • Learn to cook creatively with beans and rice.
  • Learn to bake from scratch.
  • Switch from coffee to tea, it’s so much cheaper.
  • Plant a victory garden.
  • Raise chickens, if your community permits them.
  • Downsize everything you can.
  • Sell possession you don’t use or need via craigslist, garage sales, and ebay.
  • Create additional revenue streams by monetizing hobbies, blogging, etc.
  • Prepare a worse case scenario plan (job loss, homelessness, etc).
  • Build a tiny house on wheels.

For optimism’s sake lets say we’re not headed for the second great depression. In any event this advice is good advice. By preparing for the possibility of a depression today the worst result is that you’ll be better positioned for the future.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change that survives.” – Charles Darwin