Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cool EDC: Abraham Lincoln's Pocket Content

I always enjoy learning what great people carried in their pockets. Says a lot about them and there’s usually some interesting idea to pick up.
What was Abraham Lincoln's EDC the day he was assassinated?

Objects found in President Lincoln’s pockets: two pairs of spectacles and a lens polisher, a pocket knife, a watch fob, a linen handkerchief, a sleeve button, and a brown leather wallet containing a $5 Confederate note. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Knife, wallet, cash, handkerchief. Looks like good EDC for a President.
If anyone has more information about those watch fobs that would be nice to know, please leave a comment. And one more thing: If there's a watch fob... then where's the watch?

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Cristina Kirchner UN Speech on USA and Iran

Hi Fernando, Thank you for all you do. You’ve helped me several times. Thought you’d appreciate this link.
Thank you again, J

Hi J, thanks for the link. That’s interesting.There’s very few people in this world that I despise as much as this witch ( I usually use another word when talking about her, sounds similar but its less appropriate) but she pretty much nailed it from 18:20 to 25:00. This bloody game of arming and training your so called enemies has reached ridiculous proportions. The main stream media has to work extra hours if they expect the masses to keep believing BS of such titanic proportions.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Survival and Climate Change: Five Strategic Weather Considerations

Before I even get started, let me say that no, this is not some tree-hugging climate change rant but an approach to the topic of weather and survival from an objective, practical point of view. I believe this is just one of those topics of great importance that is rarely addressed, or at least not often addressed from a practical, real-world perspective.
Trying to keep it simple, these are the top considerations I would keep in mind:
1)Accept the fact: Climate Changes, always has always will.
As explained earlier, my intention here is not to discuss the causes for climate change, how much of it depends on human activity (or not) or the different financial interests people on either side of the debate have. From a survival perspective the important part to understand is that climate change is real.
Climate change has happened before, it will happen again, and in fact it does happen naturally all the time. I happen to believe that we do affect the world around us to some extent. The Dust Bowl is actually a good example of how certain natural occurrences (drought), combined with certain… let’s call them unwisely chosen agricultural practices have combined with disastrous results. Either way, on a global level the climate is changing as it always has and that unavoidably impacts people’s lives. Some areas will experience far worse droughts, others become warmer and more tropical, maybe TOO warm for their own good. At the same time some other areas may become far colder than they already are.
Climate simply changes. We have ice ages every 100.000 years, interglacial warmer periods lasting about 10.000 years and then you have events such as The 8.2 kiloyear event or Younger Dryas stadial, think “Day After Tomorrow” movie where temperatures drop very, very fast in a matter of months rather than years. Scientists have different theories as of why these happen, but the important thing to remember is that they have happen before. In case you’re wondering, we’re now in whats called the Holocene geological epoch, an interglacial period that started 11,700 years ago.
While fascinating, other than the Younger Dryas stadial which Hollywood considered worthy of using in a disaster movie, it would seem that periods lasting thousands of years have little relevance in the disaster preparedness world. The thing is, even a couple degrees difference can have drastic consequences to crops, food production, water availability, sea levels and floods. Therefore it is important to approach weather not only as a static factor, but a dynamic one where towns may have to shut down because of lack of water or find themselves under it. Both of these have happen already, many times, in recent years.
2)The Rule of Three
You’re probably familiar with the Rule of Three, which says you can’t survive 3 minutes without air, 3 hours of extreme exposure, 3 days without water or 3 weeks without food. Indeed, its more of a mnemonic device but in very broad terms it does provide a general idea of which are your priorities for staying alive.
Interestingly enough, all of the 3s are mostly location dependant. Where you live will dictate the quality of air (air pollution) the risk of it being compromised (volcano, industrial disaster, wild fire), will dictate the kind of shelter you can or can’t live without based on extreme temperatures, how much water is available and how easy it is to produce and acquire food. Like in Real Estate, a great part of survival is location, location, location.
Of these, the second and third line are of particular important. While of course having fresh clean air is critical, it is temperature and water availability that are often the hardest to balance. Not only proximity to rivers and lakes, as well as availability of wells, but also how much it actually rains each year is of great importance. Without enough rain, streams, lakes and of course wells are nothing but holes in the ground.
If possible, we also want mild to warm temperatures for as much of the year as we can. Personal preferences of course vary, but one thing stays the same: Most humans have a comfort zone between 21 °C and 25 °C with a humidity of about 50%. The further away you move from that the sooner you’ll need to worry about heating or air conditioning.
3)Growing Seasons and food production
Where you live and the kind of weather you have in such a location will determine what you can or cannot produce in terms of food, what plants can grow and which animals can be kept without having to use expensive additional resources.
For many survivalists the ability to grow food is essential, either as part of their planned food supply or because they simply enjoy having fresh home grown food. But even if that’s not you the ability to produce food in your area is of great importance. On one hand, it means that you too can start your own orchard if it ever becomes necessary or if you simply want to give it a go. On the other it means that there’s a greater amount of locally produced food, bringing down the cost, increasing local availability, both of which are important aspects during economic downturns or disasters of great magnitude.
4)The Cost of Cold Weather
Publications dedicated to homesteading often address the topic of heating self-sufficiency. Keeping a supply of firewood, processing it, having stoves, servicing them, having large tanks for fuel, above or underground, and this is just a drop in the bucket. Again, when it comes to personal preferences practically everything goes, but when it comes to practical survival the answer is pretty simple: It’s better not to need any of it in the first place! How bad winters are can make a big difference. In some parts of the world being left without central heating because of a power outage, or being left without firewood during the worst of winter means you’re dead within hours. How long winter lasts and how cold it gets matters greatly. In some areas even if you don’t get covered in snow you still may need heating for most of the winter and autumn. On the other end of the spectrum you have places where summers are unbearable and you need AC. Here it really depends on the kind of building we’re talking about. Poorly designed houses or densely populated apartment buildings are sometimes impossible to live in without air conditioner.
From a survival perspective, you would ideally live in a place where you need neither one and don’t need heating or AC to live comfortably. If forced to choose, survivability is easier to achieve in warmer climates than in colder ones.
5)Temperature, humidity, sun exposure and the overall impact on your health and quality of life.
At the end of the day we end up living where we like doing so indifferently from what’s purely practical. We’re not robots and we just like what we like, sometimes without much of a logical explanation. One thing to keep in mind though, is that we may like certain things, but our bodies may not agree with our heart. By this I mean there’s a simple physiological reality which is that our bodies need a certain temperature, a certain humidity, a certain solar exposure.
There’s a reason why old folks retire to Florida rather than Maine, in spite of Maine being a fantastic State. Our bodies feel better with somewhat warmer temperatures, mid-range humidity and a certain amount of sun exposure.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cold Steel Voyager Tanto: Great Value Utility Knife

If there’s one tool that is strictly associated with survival, that one tool would be the knife. Usually it’s the “Survival Knife” that comes to mind, but in today’s world it is more realistic to expect a folding pocket knife to be the one that actually gets carried every day the most. Now here we are already setting a couple boundaries regarding the blade we will be carrying: a)It will be somewhat of a smaller knife, the plus 6 inch “survival knife” is probably not a realistic option for “true” EDC, as in something you honestly will have with you every single day b) We’re probably looking into either a small fixed blade or maybe more likely, a folding knife.
Now a folding knife has a couple serious limitations compared to fixed blades. They are not as fast to draw and open when needed when compared to a fixed blade in a good sheath, but even more important, it’s not as strong, with the locking mechanism being its weakest point.
Of course with care and experience even an ordinary slipjoint knife such as a Victorinox can be a wonderfully useful tool that lasts a lifetime. Today though, we have more options in terms of folding knives. Here I’d like to differentiate mutitools from exclusive folding knives which have a blade as their only tool. You have certain models such as Leatherman’s Skeletool or even the Wave and Charge which allow for clipped pocket carry and single handed opening making for very handy pocket knives besides de plethora of other tools, but in this case I’m talking specifically about folding knives. My personal preference is to have a dedicated folding knife in my left front pocket and a dedicated multitool in the right one.
From a tactical point of view regarding survival and preparedness, we will want this knife to be as strong and as large as it can realistically be given whatever limitations we are working with due to lifestyle or local laws. This is the point where you go on line and look up strong+sharp+big folding knife, and that’s how most end up finding Cold Steel Voyagers.

Cold Steel Voyager Large Tanto

Cold Steel Voyager series has been around for many years. My first Tanto Voyager is about 15 years. Today, if you want one of the strongest and biggest folding knives in the market you end up looking at Cold Steel Knives. The Voyager models have evolved since first introduced. They are no longer made in Japan and steel although good (AUS8) isn’t the VG-1 they once used. But other than that, ergonomics are much better, it has adjustable screws rather than rivets, and it allows for both left and right pocket clip placement. Even more important, the knife now has one of the strongest locking mechanisms in the market, the Triad Lock, which combined with the 6061 heat treated aluminum liners makes for an extremely solid knife.
In the case of the Tanto model specifically, what I like is the added strength to the blade thanks to the saber grind. This combined with the already strong Tanto tip makes for an extremely solid Utility knife. What do I mean by Utility? A knife that can be used for numerous tasks and will be adequate for various ordinary jobs from opening boxes to preparing sandwiches. Specifically, it’s a strong blade with a strong tip that will do very well if ever used as a chisel or for prying tasks which thinner blades may not be able to handle. A utility knife is more a “sharpened prybar” tool. The combo edge provides serrations in the lower section of the edge. Serrations are known to be useful for that kind of utility tasks, such as cutting thicker ropes and cordage but also stronger material such as plastic, carpet, etc. I’m not much of a fan of serrations, but for this kind of blade I can live with a combo configuration.
Test cutting different material the Cold Steel Voyager handled the different tasks very well. It would cut and shred through pretty much anything. The plain edge section is razor sharp and easily shaves hair off my arm. If ever needed to be used as a defensive weapon, the strong, sharp blade and mean tanto tip combined with the solid mechanism and great handle ergonomics means the Voyager is more than up to the task.

I’ll do another article comparing the different Voyager models but so far I can say the Tanto model, in either Large or Extra Large configuration are some of the best utility folding knives in the market, and without a doubt your best option when you consider the reasonable price. I’d probably go for the plain edge version though unless you plan on using it mostly for cutting strong cordage. Having said that, the Combo edge version is selling right now for $31.05 which is a freaking steal. Get yourself one!
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Refugees are also People

Anonymous said…
Thank you for showing these people are human beings. Are some of them terrorist? Maybe, just like some people born here are terrorists. Are some of them criminals? Maybe, just like some born here are criminals.
Fernando, you are putting a human face on these refugees. Many preppers are right wing and will disagree with you. Thanks for your effort.

Thanks. Your messages gives me hope. Lately I’ve been bombarded by some pretty hateful comments about refugees and immigrants in general. It seems that many of those commenting don’t understand that I’m also an immigrant and I have exactly zero tolerance for those displaying any degree of racism and xenophobia. Plenty of other websites where that poorly veiled racism is accepted and even encouraged but this would not be one of them.
Not sure how many immigrants and refugees people that call for their extermination have actually met, but I’ve met several these last few days. It was just yesterday that I was waiting in line with my wife for her ID here at a local police station in Spain. Syrian people were waiting in line there as well among other immigrants from all over, everywhere from Germany to Africa and Ukraine. Everyone was waiting patiently, very polite. One Syrian man was right next to us, pretty cheerful guy. I was there holding an umbrella for my wife and I. We had been waiting in line for several hours and I had the idea of bringing the umbrella for shade given that well, costa Del Sol can be pretty sunny. Sure enough a few hours after waiting everyone was desperate for a bit of shade. So I bring out my umbrella and my wife and I take to the shade under it. I look back and to my surprise see that the Syrian guy was smiling right back at me: a bit of shade got to him as well, which he was obviously thankful for. I just wish some of the people out there full of hate could have seen that moment. I couldn’t help but to smile and the guy said out loud with his so/so Spanish “thank you, brother!”. I’m not kidding it sent shivers down my spine. This guy was truly thankful for nothing but a bit of shade that by chance fell on him.
Refugees are people, some better educated, some with more money than others. Are some of them bad? Probably a small minority are, just like with any other group of people but the majority are good people escaping an awful reality. As for the comment I’ve seen a few times about many of them being young, fighting are men that should stay and fight, well , its easy enough to say that while sitting in your la-Z-boy sipping a cold beer or can of coke. First, whenever you have widespread war and destruction, you will always have millions of refugees from that given country. Happened in Syria, happens in Ukraine and happens in any other war torn country. If these men could have their families in some safe location while they go off to train, get well armed and organized and later shipped overseas to fight they probably would. But its different when all of a sudden your house is blown up and you have to run for your lives along with whatever family you still have alive, all while having no way of effectively fighting back at that moment.
You have two kinds of people.

And these:

No, I’m not some “bleeding heart liberal”. I’ve simply been on the other side of the fence enough time to know better than many folks out there on the interwebs that have answers for everything, talk pretty big, and probably would bring ISIS down all by themselves if they weren’t so busy posting online.