Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jobs and Businesses after an Economic Crisis

Just what the title says. A few ideas and thoughts here and there that you might want to consider. FerFAL

Review: Kershaw Brawler Speedsafe Knife

The Kershaw Brawler is a 3.25” assisted opening folder. Nice knife, especially for the price and if you have small to small/medium hands.

Kershaw Brawler Speedsafe Knife Price: $28.42
Kershaw Brawler Speedsafe Knife

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

themodernsurvialist.com is under attack

Themodernsurvivalist.com is showing a malware alert. It might take a day or two to get it fixed and on the meantime I`ll continue with www.ferfal.blogspot.com, which thankfully I’ve kept as backup.
Why is this happening I just have no idea, but some people clearly have a problem with survival and preparedness websites.
I havent been able to reply to some emails yet but I wanted to say thank you to all of you for your support.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Home Safe

Hi FerFal.  I’ve been reading your blog for some time and I don’t remember coming across any articles regarding safes for your home.  I have a friend who is seriously considering buying a safe for $2500 to protect his valuables in the event of theft, tornado or fire.  He plans to have it bolted to the wooden sub-floor inside his home.  I asked him why it costs so much and he said that the salesman at the safe store showed him photos of cheaper safes and how poorly they are made.  For example, he was showed cross-sections which show how cheaply the insides are put together on less expensive safes, even ones costing $1000.  He doesn’t want to mess around with an inferior safe that can be easily opened.
My friend is not rich and he has lots of other things he plans to purchase for a potential collapse.  Also, I should add that his house is in disrepair and needs a new roof, doors, etc.  Is it a good idea for someone to spend so much money on a safe, and if so, where would it rank on the priority list of things to purchase before a collapse?
Friend in the USA

SentrySafe 1.23 Cubic Feet Combination Fire-Safe, Medium Grey

Sounds like your friend has other priorities and that he could get by nicely spending much less and putting that money to better use.

I think that as important as it is to have a good safe, a) any safe can be eventually opened with common power tools b) It can be opened within seconds… when a gun is put to your head!
I know of cases where cheap little safes were smashed out of the wall with an axe and just taken and others, most often, people being forced to open the safe at gun point.
A safe has to be big enough and solid enough so that its not easily broken or carried away, yet at the same time you should have plans in case you’re forced to open it.

A possible solution that I’ve recommended often was having a small second safe, very well hidden, where you keep most of your values and the bigger one is just for a smaller amount of jewelry and cash, etc. After being forced to open it few criminals will believe you have a second safe hidden somewhere.

There was this school teacher in Argentina, he was brutally beaten during a home invasion so  he would tell where he was hiding the money. After telling about a couple spots they continue to beat him asking for more. After the criminals left and right before dying, he managed to tell his family about a gold coin hidden in a flower pot and another cash stash.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Movie Review: The Divide (2011)

 Warning! Before you even look this movie up, BIG warning: Its rated R and probably should be NC17, it contains scenes of extreme violence. Clearly not for everyone.

That being said, the movie is about a handful of ordinary people that manage to rush into a fallout shelter just as they see the bombs going off.  Telling any more about the plot would spoil it so I’ll leave it at that. The acting was between very good to average and while the movie has its moments I probably wouldn’t recommend it if not for the psychological aspect of people locked in a bunker under extreme conditions. What happens when food start running low, when the worst of people surfaces, what happens when certain characters gain leadership and how others subordinate to them.
Again, a film with lots of violence of all kinds, but then again that may as well be what happens if you end up locked in a bunker with a group of random people.
Verdict: If you’re interested in survival topics and can put up with some gut wrenching scenes, then yes, watch it.
Join the forum discussion on this post!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Relocating: Preparedness in an Island

Hola my friend. How are you?
I want to keep an eye on my parents who live in Fuerteventura (Islas
Canarias) because of the economic crisis that is coming. I left the
Island 4 years ago when things started getting pretty bad with regards
to employment and i could see the price rises in everyday products.
Now my parents have taken all their savings out of Santander and put
it into Solbank and Bancaja. I try to keep track of things going on
over there but could you give me any advice on what dangers to look
out for please? Just so i can warn my parents,sister and friends
living on the Island....muchas gracias mi amigo

Living in a small, distant island presents the problem of living hundreds of miles away from bigger cities where supplies can be find. Help of any kind is usually too far away, and its simply expensive to get supplies there.
In your case Canaria has a nice amount of infrastructure but you’re still talking about islands that are 30km wide, strongly dependent on outside help for resupply and has little water. The closes mainland you have is Western Sahara desert, 100km to the coast. Basically you need a plane to get out of there or a boat doing 800 km to Cadiz in Spain.

On the plus side you’re also pretty isolated which in some cases can be good (think global pandemic, war) but even in those cases the dependence on exterior supplies to get by and especially being so far away from it is why in most cases, islands are not recommended from a strategic point of view. Granted, I’m in an island myself, but its much bigger, it has a good amount of food production and the largest lake in all UK, lots of rain, and you can literally see England across the Irish sea.

More relevant to what’s going on today, the distance means that most of what you need will have the added cost, and giving the global economic context you’re seeing at transportation costs going up, and those passing on to the products. In Fuerteventura you also have arid climate, and combined with the lack of water and depending on desalination plants, that’s a considerable weakness. Islas Canarias is of volcanic origin and there’s been recent volcanic and sismic activity as well. From a strategic point of view, its really not the best place to be in.

In spite of all this, its a beautiful place to live in. How can you put a price on the natural beauty and peace you gain form living there? When stress, overweight and clinical depression affects such a large percentage of the population the strategic geographic disadvantage becomes almost anecdotal compared to the increase in life quality. If your parents are happy there and have the financial assets to deal with the unavoidable increase in cost of living eventually, then it makes sense to live there. I would still accept the weaknesses and disadvantages mentioned and plan accordingly as best as possible. I´m talking about having plenty of extra water, food and other supplies in case there´s transportation problems, and having plans for a quick evacuation if its ever needed. A well put together Go-Bag with money, documents, food, water, spare set of clothes and survival kit is a must have.

As you mentioned, unemployment and inflation hit places like that hard, mostly because of the isolation and because it depends a lot on tourism (75% of its economy) and tourism is clearly affected during recessions. For a young person, it would be hard to find many reasons to stay there. For someone that is retired or about to do so and has the money to live there, then it’s a different story.
About banks, if they want their money protected from an eventual corralito in Spain, the money has to be out of the country entirely, one bank or another within Spain and its regions makes no difference.
Join the forum discussion on this post!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

SHTF Footware: Shoes from a Modern Survival Perspective

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about survival minded footwear for Survivalcache.com.
Basically its about the importance of adequate shoes, not only for daily use but a bit beyond that, footwear that can perform in more trying situations.
Trying to imagine some possible scenarios, you can see how sometimes you may have to run from danger, step on debris, walk home cross country after your car breaks down, walk yourself out of a collapsed structure or even a disaster stricken city (flood, earthquake, terrorist attack) where the place is littered with debris and sharp objects.
This video I did today covers this and explains the logic I apply in my own footwear selection.

Join the forum discussion on this post!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bank runs: Corralitos coming to Greece and Spain?

Greeks are running to the banks to get their money out and an eventual “corralito”, freezing all accounts is very much unavoidable. € 800 million left Greece last week and most companies already took their money abroad long time ago. The economy in Greece is beyond repair at his point and it will eventually leave the Euro and go back to the Drachma and Spain will probably follow some time later. While this will be a huge blow to the EU, it is the first step towards independence. The problem is that with the Euro to Drachma or Peseta conversions people will lose a significant amount of their purchasing power. Its clearly better to have Euros under the mattress now and change them later for a favorable exchange rate. Eventually it will become a double standard economy, with real estate, importations and cars being priced in Euros but people earning in Drachmas.
This article from The Economist draws the obvious comparisons between Greece and the Argentine economic collapse.
In this video I explain Corralitos a bit, what they are, what’s happening now in Greece and what are some of your options for protecting your savings.


Advice to a Reader in Greece: Video Reply

Friday, May 18, 2012

Advice to a Reader in Greece

Hi ferfal,
My name is George, I am from Greece and I only recently came across your blog. It’s a great blog, and although I haven’t been able to read all of your posts, I like the “simple-yet-effective” way you have of describing things.
As you know, things are really bad here in Greece, and they are getting worse, so I would like your opinion on a few subjects. I have already read a lot of your posts about money, employment, food, supplies and the “right mentality” that you need.
My questions are a bit more “practical”: For example, I would like to buy an alarm system for my apartment, but I have no idea which one to buy, and the ones you advertise on the right-hand side bar of your blog can only be found on amazon.com (which doesn’t ship them to Greece).
I searched amazon.co.uk, which does ship all of its products to Greece, and I came up with this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Milenco-Sleep-Safe-Window-Door-Alarm/dp/B002PIBG1C/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1337336829&sr=8-3
What is your opinion? Is this alarm any good?
I would also like you to suggest a few other sites like amazon.com that ship to Greece/Europe, not just to USA.
Furthermore, I faced a similar problem regarding many others items you suggest (they can only be shipped in USA).
For example, I thought the Solar Radio-Mobile Phone Charger was a great idea, but the products you recommend can only be found in amazon.com (not amazon.co.uk). I searched the English version of the site, and I came up with these two models:
Which one would you suggest?
I am also interested in a generator, like the Black&Decker one you advertise, but this product is not available anymore. So, in order to keep this email short, maybe you could do a post with some up-to-date products that can be found in Europe as well, not just in USA. I know that I’m probably asking you for too much, because this kind of thing requires a lot of time and research, but since things are really bad in Greece (and in all of the other PIIGS countries I suppose), I think that European readers will find this post extremely helpful.
I also have a few more questions for you:
-What about heating for your house? I live in an area where it gets really cold during the winter, so we need heat, but oil is getting really expensive, so what should I use instead of it? Is a fireplace a good idea? What about using pellets? A friend suggested that I should use a couple of inverter air conditioners, which are cheaper that using oil, but not cheap (+ what happens if there is no electricity?)

-I own a small car, a second-hand Toyota Yaris, which is great for the city traffic. Should I keep it, or should I swap it for something else (like a cheap jeep for example)?
- I recently inherited a farm, but it is a small farm, so there is no way you can live of the land. Furthermore, this farm is located pretty far away (it’s a 30 minute drive by car), so you need to burn a lot of fuel everyday. Should I keep this farm, or should I sell it? If I should sell, should I sell it now, or later? My parents have suggested that I should invest all the money that I have saved all my life in buying an old house that is for sale near by and live there, but I know nothing about farm life and all my friends are living in the city, not in the village. What is your opinion? I am thinking of buying a few gold coins with my savings.
- I am currently working as a web designer and I am studying “business administration” at the university – do you think that this job (business administration) will provide me with enough money in the future? (If not, will I be able to find a job abroad?). What about web designing (Ι don’t have a degree for it, but I am self trained)? Which one is the better option for me? (I think business administration, since that is what I am studying, but you never know).
- My parents live in an old (but good) house by themselves (I rent a house in another city, where my university is). My problem with my parents house is that it is “too big”: It is a two story house, which means that they pay A LOT of taxes for it, but there are only two people living in it. Do you thing they should sell this house and buy a smaller one? Or maybe accommodate some friends/relatives who will become too poor to have a house for themselves in the future?
-I know nothing about gardening, fixing things, etc. Is it easy/worth the effort to learn those type of skills? What is the best way to learn them? My mother recently told me that she is interested in taking up gardening, and since there is a terrace in my parents house, maybe she could plant a few seeds (not as a way to make a living, but maybe as a good way to save a few euros by producing something yourself instead of buying it. It would also be a good way for my mother to pass the time, since she recently retired from work). I would like your opinion on how easy it is to plant seeds on a terrace, how safe it is from thieves, and what kind of seeds would you suggest (easy to plant-eatible seeds).
Thanks for your help ferfal – your blog is really great,

Hi George,
I’ll work up a post with the items I recommend so as to keep for reference. Of the chargers you mention, the second one, Aquabourne,  has the best reviews and is reasonably priced so I would go with that. You might want to take a look at this one, 172 reviews and 4.5 starts is pretty good.
For items that are harder to find try looking on ebay, on advanced options look only for items that ship to Greece. I’ve found several sellers that will not ship to Greece because fraud seems to be on the raise, predictably so, I’m afraid.  For other stuff like generators, etc, look in your local websites where they sell used products like Craiglist. Here in UK for example there’s Gumtree.com, I’ve found several good deals there.

-About heating, you first have to figure out what’s cheapest, if electricity, natural gas, heating oil, pellets or wood. Sometimes because of local production or because of subsidies, one will be cheaper than the other. Add window insulating films and draught excluders so as to make them more energy efficient. You might want to close guest rooms or any other room you don’t use often and turn the heating off there. Reducing the amount of space that needs heating helps a LOT. Right after we moved we had a problem with our boiler in one of the coldest days of winter here in Ireland. I bought two electric oil heaters and we all slept in the master bed room. It was pretty cozy. If you have a fireplace you might want to consider installing a much more effective wood burning stove. You can make it a cooking stove so as to double for cooking and heating. Try lowering your heating thermostat a degree or two and wearing more clothes. Its surprising the amount of money you can save that way. I’d go for a stove that uses wood or wood and pellets rather than just one that uses pellets. One day wood may be all you have available. An electric space heater or two seems to be a good idea if electricity is cheaper, but always try having alternative heating and cooking methods as well. Sometimes wood stoves can be found on the second hand market so keep an eye on it. Without knowing the specifics of your home I can only give you broad general advice but this should give you a few ideas.

-About the car. Honda and Toyota are generally good solid vehicles that perform well and are easy to repair. Id stick to it, mostly because it’s a good car and low on fuel. Don’t get a Jeep if you don’t need the capability. If you can afford it, then yes, having the AWD option is nice and can help during riots or when evacuating. I got a Honda CRV and I’m happy with it, a Toyota RAV4 is also a good idea and dont use as much fuel as bigger off road vehicles. If you drive around a lot and if you are on a tight budget though, it might not be the best thing to do right now. My Honda does 20-23 MPG (miles per gallon) which isn’t bad but isn’t great either.

-Inheriting a farm is more than just a piece of real state, its family, blood and identity. No, I would not sell it. I would take care of it as well as your time and finances allow. One thing you want to do as soon as possible is plant fruit trees and timber trees. You’ll be thankful in the future. Half an hour commute isn’t that bad and you’re renting right now, you might as well buy a house and fix it up or start building one if the farm you inherited is actually just land and has no appropriate housing. In that case I would have an architect design a minimalist living place with the option of expanding it as more money is available, you get married, have kids and or just need/want more space. I did such a project for a friend of mine that also had a large farm and wanted to live there. A lot of people do it on their own but designing your first house with no professional training is like taking out your own pancreas without medical knowledge… it wont be pretty. Then again the 30 minute drive back and forth isn’t just time, its also money on gas. You have to figure out if its worth living further away given that you are studying in the city. If I were you, id love to stop paying rent and start developing my own place, or if you have the money simply buy instead of renting and work upgrading your place in the country during weekends.

-Business isn’t a bad career but even if you get a job later working for someone else I recommend to keep a private practice of some sort too. Business consulting, or keep doing web design, whatever it is, but have something of your own. That way if one day you have to make your own work you’ve already started to some degree. Yes, going abroad is a possibility. You never know when you may have to do so. In fact, many Greeks are doing just that. You already have very good English so that’s a valuable tool. If you can Id’ try learning a bit of German given their financial relevance in the coming decade and more.

-About your parents. Life is too short, if they are happy with the big house that’s perfect. They probably have grandkids on the way anyway. If they want to move to something smaller then maybe they can get a smaller house and a studio to rent out for extra income after selling the bigger house. Maybe they can buy next to the farm you inherited. You could stay in the city and go there on weekends to do some home improvements of your own.
-Gardening and fixing things. Is not hard and the best way to learn is doing it! Lots of info online. My wife loves plants and has a “green thumb”. As you say,  its about having some fresh produce and not making a living as a farmer, which is MUCH harder than people think, basically suicide to try doing that during the current Greek crisis. Tomatoes and strawberries are easy enough to get started but it depends on your location, what grows well there and what you want to grow. Again, I’d invest my time and money in trees and shrubs such raspberries, use plants and trees to design your landscape.  If your mother likes gardening, then even more so, it might be something for them to look into, buying a smaller house next to the small farm you inherited.
Tomorrow I’ll upload a video in youtube with more advice for my Greek readers.
Take care and good luck!
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sex Trafficking in USA on the Rise

American Sex Trafficking
It appears that sex traffickers are looking for
fresh meat in USA now. I guess it’s only a matter of time before
billboards go up offering “jobs” to young women. Fernando, you haven’t
talked much on the subject of sex slavery after SHTF, so maybe you
should bring it up.

Hi B, sorry for the delay in replying. As the society degrades on all levels you start seeing more of this type of crime. In Argentina it got very bad, and sex trafficking and slavery is extremely common. Here’ are some articles that tell to some degree how bad the situation is already in USA, and I can tell you right now without a doubt, tis going to get worse.
Sex trafficking in the U.S. called ‘epidemic’
Teen Girls’ Stories of Sex Trafficking in U.S.
American Sex Trafficking Is On The Rise
Human trafficking on the rise in border region
Parents should watch over their kids like hawks. Keep track of who your kids talk to, who they are chatting with on line, investigate any unusual behavior. Even when adults, eighteen or older they can become victims.

The victims may be of a very broad background:
1) It used to be that sex trafficking meant mostly girls from Eastern Europe, Mexico, or some other disadvantaged background. Kidnapped or tricked with the promise of work, these women found themselves in a foreign country, not even knowing the language or local laws.

2) Girls from troubled homes as mentioned in some of the stories of the links above. Usually linked to domestic abuse and drugs, these girls fall for the lies of “boyfriends” who are actually pimps and slavers. Forced to use drugs, beaten, raped and themselves and their families threatened to be killed, these girls soon comply to the demands of their kidnappers. There’s often mention of a “breaking” period involving beatings, rape , torture and humiliation so as to break the will of the victim and dissuade them from escaping or asking for help.

3) Girls from “good” homes that are kidnapped from the street, malls, beach or park. What follows is usually similar to 2). In Argentina there’s a growing amount of cases like these, even involving young women, housewives and students that are just snatched out of the street. They are kept locked or chained, drugged and forced into prostitution. These are probably the most concerning cases to people that think “it will never happen to me”, because it goes to prove that it can actually happen to anyone, even if you’re careful and don’t come from a troubled background.

4) Girls tricked by the promise of work. Given the hard economic times, expect this tactic to become more and more common. In many cases young girls are promised modeling or promotional jobs, in some cases its promise of work as bartenders in good paying restaurants or working in boutique stores and it does sound legit. Anything that sounds like a good honest job. It usually involves moving to some other city, state or country and that’s where the nightmare starts, out of the girls family and friend circle where they are more vulnerable.
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Monday, May 14, 2012

Spanish crisis, corralito and protecting your savings

Entre corridas bancarias y más ajuste, el temor a un corralito invade España
Hi Fernando, greetings from Barcelona,
I’m been a long time reader of your blog, it’s funny to write to you in English but I guess it’s more convenient for you.
I’d like to have your opinion on two related subjects,
- first, the chances of a corralito happening in Spain and what “signals” we could watch for in order to see it coming.
Most probably there is a correlation between this and Spain leaving the eurozone.
- second, what measures would you take to secure your money, ie to protect it against a corralito,
1. keeping physical money at home aka “bancolchon”. I mean not only emergency money but actually a good share of your savings.
I think you went through something very similar in Argentina with the dollars. Apart from the obvious disadvantages, like being stolen or
depreciation, if Spain left the euro zone I wonder how you would manage to keep and use this amount of metallic. ie imagine go back
to the peseta and the goverment issues a law to make all citizen convert their euros within a deadline. If you’re not willing to change it,
now you have the triple problem of: keeping it, using it, moving it.
Some people advices collecting euro notes whose serial begins with X (issued by Germany) and getting rid of the rest, those with V are
issued by Spain. The justification for this is that again, if we go back to pesetas, those X-notes could be changed in Germany. I’m not
so sure about this but if you do it it doesn’t hurt your chances either.
2. buying gold, silver, etc.
3. opening a non-resident account in another country.
Countries like Germany or Switzerland seem good choices. ie. swissquote has good references and it seems you can open a deposit
account there from internet, it’s an online bank. Maybe I’m a bit paranoid here, but in the event of EU breakdown, I’m not sure if this account
would be safe from the goverment’s measures – either the Spanish or the Swiss / German / etc.,
(I’m not being very specific here but I hope you know what I mean).
4. stock options, invest funds, bonds, etc.
The advantage here – correct me if I’m wrong – would be that in the case of a corralito you’re assets run much less risk of being seized.
For the moment I only I’ve some emergency money at home, but all the rest is in a Spanish bank account. There’re many different opinions
mixed with some justified paranoia, I want to make a no nonsese assesment of the situation and take preventive measures, I’d really appreciate
your take on this.
Thanks in advance,

Hi! I have family in Barcelona and go there often. Unfortunately its been degrading considerably in the last few years, one of the reasons why I didn’t end up there myself.
As you suspect already, there are chances of a corralito or something similar taking place in Spain, and its not just me saying it, its Economy Nobel Paul Krugman saying it.
What are the chances of this happening first in Greece and then in Spain? Significant enough that you should take action. Spain is already devaluating via reduction of salaries but its just not enough, eventually they will have to do something, and the big players already moved their money out. Once again, it’s the low and medium class which will get hurt the most.  So going to your first question:
first, the chances of a corralito happening in Spain and what “signals” we could watch for in order to see it coming. Most probably there is a correlation between this and Spain leaving the eurozone.
The signals are everything you’ve been seeing for the last few years, the crisis all around you is textbook, almost a copy of what happened in Argentina in 2001. High unemployment, increase of poverty, reduction of the standards of living, increased  taxations, impossible debt and a construction bubble that burst leaving the country in awful financial shape.  Finally, you have a currency such as the Euro, which can easily flee the country. This is a key point because it indicates that when the time comes a corralito must be enforced to keep everyone from running from the sinking ship.  You no longer have to worry about seeing these signs or not, but you should be worried about getting hurt as little as possible when it happens. About the second part of your question, yes I believe its very likely to end up detaching from the Eurozone and only the stronger player remaining within the EU, or maybe turned into an Eurozone Grade A and B, so as to protect the countries that are still afloat from going down with the ones that are sinking. A worst case scenario would be a total disintegration of the EU, but I believe they will try to avoid it as much as possible.
- second, what measures would you take to secure your money, ie to protect it against a corralito,
It will depend mostly on how much money you have. Banks in Spain simply aren’t safe for you, so any money in it is at risk. I would have at least a month worth of expenses in cash at hand, in Euros. This you will need during the first weeks. If Spain goes Argentina December 19th 2001, it will not be pretty, so also stock up on the basics so often mentioned here in my blog, not forgetting about food, water, any medications you may need, some tool for self defense, hopefully a firearm which you can legally own in Spain. I know that what you are looking at today is of concern, and I’m not trying to be a jerk but the worst is yet to come. You will have to learn to fend for yourself in terms of security because the Spain of the future will be more dangerous than the one you know now.
If you have more money then you have to think what to do with it. A percentage of it will be safe in precious metals, if you have more or if you want to diversify your assets and a trip to Switzerland is a good idea. No doubt that’s what many rich did already. Stocks would be safe in theory, but given their volatile nature I don’t feel comfortable with them, especially for economic disaster planning.
The “Bancolchon” (matress bank) is viable but up to a certain amount of cash. Say you have a pile of Euros under the mattress today, and tomorrow they bring back the peseta which you have a limited time to exchange  your Euros for at a disadvantage rate, then your cash isn’t protecting you much. In this case money in precious metals or in a foreign account is safe until the dust settles and you can later exchange for whatever currency or rate becomes standard. You have a point about Swiss banks throwing Spain and Greece citizens under the train if the governments ask for their citizen´s information. You would have to go looking to Panama or Singapore for off shore banking. In spite of this possibility having at least the money outside Spain would protect you from the imminent effects of the corralito.
I´d stop looking for signs, they are all already there, and do what you can to protect your assets right now. The situation in Spain is bad and will keep getting worse. The only question is how bad will it get for the rest of Europe and how long can they keep the EU together.
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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Reply: Tampons for wounds?

Anonymous recon said...
 I´ve heard conflicting theories about the tampon for wounds, and have no real world experience so take what I´m saying with a grain of salt; but I´ve heard that the traditional idea of stuffing a tampon directly into the wound can cause more harm than good because it soaks up blood, blood that may not necessarily be otherwise leaving your body. but I´m not an emt and have zero training in first aid, so I dont know for sure. but it sounds like it makes sense.
I do a fair amount of research before writing these posts, commenting and making suggestions.
Based on what I’ve read and of course, this is in no way medical advice of any kind:
Yes, as you can expect, a chunk of cotton on a wound that includes clotting blood is generally a bad idea. The blood will clot and the cotton will stick all over the wound.
Still, the tampon does have a place when there’s intense bleeding and the alternatives are either dying then and there, or living and later have to deal with the problem of cotton inside a wound. If the wound bleeding can be controlled with direct pressure, then there´s no need to use a tampon or even clotting agents, but is someone is losing blood fast and it cant be controlled, then using a tampon to stop the bleeding makes more sense.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Survival Kit: 5 awkward but Useful Items!


Oh yes, the condom. Part of every old school survival kit. What can you use it for besides its obvious application?
Storing water. Storing small items, anything you don’t want to lose or you want to keep dry. It has been used on rifle barrels to keep dirt, salted water and other foreign objects away. Filling it up with water it can be used as a lens to start a fire in a sunny day if you have dry tinder. Since its elastic it could be used as a large rubber band. You can even do a mean slingshot with condoms, look it up on youtube. The possible applications are too many. And don’t forget the purpose for which it was intended, not a minor detail. During the war in Bosnia in at least one radio communication people asked for condoms!


These are commonly found in kits as well. Since its basically compacted cotton the applications are in many cases the same. Opening a cotton tampon up and you can use it as tinder, as dressing for a wound, it can be used to filter water before making it potable with a tablet or potassium permanganate crystals. After filtering it leave the water exposed to sunlight UV in the condom so as to kill most of the bugs in it. Tear one or two up and throw it in the gas tank to sabotage an enemy’s vehicle. The fuel pump and filter wont like it one bit. Tampons have been used many times in gun shot wounds with a fair amount of success, expanding and stopping the hemorrhage. They are after all designed to contain bleeding. Even the little piece of string can be used for cordage. A word of caution about gun shot wounds and tampons: God forbid you even have to use one in such a manner, be careful of sucking chest wounds that the tampon doesn’t get sucked into the lung.  Also in the feminine hygiene department, pads are supposed to be good  for dressing wound as well.

Nail Buffer/Emery foam Board

I`ve mentioned these several times in the past. For touching up a knife, even some serious sharpening, I’ve found few sharpening tools to be as practical and light weight as these things. Chopping some wood with a Condor knife I would carelessly chop through the logs and hit the concrete ground, mostly to see how the knife held up when abused rather than just used (did very well). A few minutes with the emery foam board and it was back to razor sharp. If you keep one of these in your kit and touch up your knife after some use you’ll always have your blade ready for duty… and your nails will look fantastic…  :-p


Yes. Pantyhose. They make your manly legs look pretty and you can get them all in a bunch when someone offends you on the internet. Besides that they can be used for a number of purposes such as pre-filtering water, as a more robust water container when used in combination with the condom, as cordage, a tourniquet, improvised vehicle fan belt, pretty good fishing net, cover your scopes lens to avoid reflection, cover your face when you want to avoid detection or freak someone out. Googling about some of the possible uses I found out that many hikers, hunters and athletes actually wear them too because they keep their legs warmer, because they stop ticks, because they like wearing them… Just do me a favor if you ever meet me in person: Don’t ever tell me about it man, I just don’t want to know.

Breast milk bag

When you though this article couldn’t get any weirder I drop this on you. You should have seen my wife’s face when I threw a box of breast milk bags into our shopping cart. She said something like “any other woman would be freaked out if her husband did that, but given that last time you bought tampons for yourself …”. After all the guns, ammo, knives, stuff that burns, stuff that explodes, stuff that runs and then explodes, she’s pretty much used to anything.
These breast milk bags are just awesome! They are like ziplock bags but especially made for containing liquids of course. The bags are of thick material, sterilized and have a double ziplock type of seam that holds liquid without any leaking. Maximum capacity is 8 to 18oz or 250 ml.  to half a liter in general, with markings up to 9oz or 250 ml so as to know how much liquid you have in there. Uses for this? How about the best, most compact water bottle I’ve ever found, and they come like 40 units per box. Given that they are sterilized you could even open one up and cover a burn wound, use it to make a valve along with some duct tape on a sucking chest wound. The bag full of water can be left on the sun for disinfecting water with the SODIS method, just leave it exposed to good sunlight for 6 hours. Of course this is a much better water container than a condom, you can easily open it, drink and close it again.
Hope all this gives you some food for thought. Suggestions? Other uses? FerFAL this article is freaking me out? Its all welcomed.
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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New French President: How it affects Europe and US

Elected French President François Hollande

If you’re not concerned about the newly elected president of France, you probably didn’t look that much into the matter. In spite of his harmless appearance and good sense of humor, when you look at the newly elected French president´s  background and political stance you can only be concerned about the future of France and the EU in general.

François Hollande is a pure breed socialist politician, a man of very limited if not none existent actual work experience outside of lobbying for the socialist party in France.  His “job” is being a Socialist. At a time when tough decisions must be made to save France from following Spain and Greece, Mr. Hollande stance is exactly the one you should avoid.
Instead of reducing government spending like Sarkoszy was trying to do, Hollande wants to considerably increase government spending, believing this is the way to get out of the crisis.
Its not that spending money to make money isn’t possible, but it works when your plan is to allow actual profit to be created rather than just planning on taking away from those that know how to make money while at the same time making it hard for them to do business.
You don’t get out of a crisis initiated by debt and wreckless spending by spending even more, not when your debt is close to 90% of your GDP, you get out of it by a)  spending less money and b) actually making more of it. A common illness among politicians in general but apparently more common among socialists because of their stance against capitalism, is that they don’t grasp the notion of what it means to run a company or make profit. They simply don’t know how to make money, yet they are good at spending it. Like anyone spending money that they never should have had in the first place, they spend it unwisely.

The way Holland envisions making money is by taking from those that do know how to make it, and redistributing it, taking from the rich and giving to the poor so to speak. Following this line, Hollande said he would tax the rich out of 75% of their income. Given that any EU citizen can reside in any EU country by simply moving to it and staying there, it is expected that a mass amount of capital will leave France, in many cases along with their owners.
Hollande’s solution to the economic crisis is government sponsored stimulus to revive and heat up the economy. This is along the lines of what Barack Obama does in USA. If this strategy impaired the natural process of a free market economy rather than promote it in USA, the results can be downright disastrous in France were lack of general entrepreneur mindset and acceptance of big nanny state is much more common.

In terms of relationships with other countries, François Hollande started with his left foot with Angela Merkel even before winning the elections, when he said he will renegotiate the Fiscal Compact treaty if he won. While his socialist agenda does go along well with Obama (who already invited him to the White House) the good relationship may not be that long lasting since Hollande will not support USA military or political actions like Sarkozy did.
As any good liberal socialist François Hollande is environmentally conscious, and today that means he strongly opposes nuclear power. He wants to reduce the use of nuclear energy from 75% to 50% and replace it with renewable energy sources. Anyone that knows the first thing about renewable energy knows that its highly inefficient, expensive, and the industrial process needed for creating the renewable energy equipment pollutes more than the pollution its supposed to avoid. One of the main reasons why its so popular in spite of being so inefficient and frankly not that good for the environment anyway, is that anything that says “green” on it is heavily subsidized around the word. Just more senseless government spending.

In social terms, the future doesn’t look much better. Hollande greatly appealed to a younger segment of French population which is known for its left leaning views and violent outbursts. When Sarkozy dared change the retirement age from 60 to 62 many of these supposed students and youth political activists rioted violently. It´s hard to believe that a twenty year old business student would torch the neighbor´s Renault Clio because of a two year difference in a retirement he´s still forty years away from. Rather than young idealists, these people are well organized troublemakers with a questionable political agenda.

What Hollande will have to do eventually is exactly what Kristina Kirchner did in Argentina: If he wants to stop them from burning the country down with continuous rioting, he will have to negotiate with these supporters of his, these young extreme left activists and allow them to take positions within the government. Surrendering to bullies and criminals and giving them positions of even more power never ends up well. Believe me when I say, I already saw this movie. I estimate this to be the worst legacy of François Hollande government. While his economic stance is clearly misguided, because of the Euro and ties to the rest of EU the damage he is capable of doing will be somewhat limited, but allowing people into the government through social bullying and other illegitimate means will have terrible consequences for the country.

To make the social time bomb building up in France even more concerning you have to add to the equation that Hollande wants to give resident status to illegal immigrants. Given that anyone with French citizenship is also a EU citizen, how will that policy go along with other EU nations that don’t appreciate having illegals just walking across their borders? France already has 5 million Muslims and a growing problem with Islamic fanatics. How safe will it be once Hollande gives green card to what was once illegal immigration? Every EU citizen has a right to bring along his family members as well. The amount of young Islamic fanatics will grow exponentially in EU. After gaining residency thanks to Mr. Hollande´s policies, France will be their door to all of Europe and even US, since you don’t need a US tourist Visa if you have an EU passport. There´s nothing wrong with legal immigration, no matter who you are and what ethnic background you come from, but legalizing illegal immigration invites precisely the kind of people you DON’T want in your country, the kind of people other countries want to get rid of.

France will become yet another rotten apple in the barrel, socioeconomically ruining the rest.
François Hollande looks like a nice enough man, but I’m concerned that he’s one of the worst choices during a time when Europe cannot afford any more of those.
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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Reply: Potassium Permanganate‏ and The Inn of the Sixth Happiness

“Ferfal–Thank you so much for your blog! I was so interested in the video of the potassium permanganate, because at the moment I am halfway through the small book “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness” by Alan Burgess, which tells the true story of a young, single, British woman missionary who was in rural China when the Japanese invaded Manchuria. In 1938 their isolated village was bombed, leaving many casualties. All she had in her first aid kit was a bottle of Lysol, a bottle of Potassium Permanganate, a can of boric acid, and lots of cotton! She mixed up a solution of the P.P. in a kettle of warm water, and irrigated the wounds and bandaged them. Most lived, even the gunshot wounds. I highly recommend the book, as it gives a compelling picture of survival in a variety of disaster situations. ”
 Missouri, USA

Thanks Jean, thats very interesting.
These are the kind of “gems” I’m always looking for in terms of survival knowledge, real events that actually took place somewhere, at some time. Learning from what happened to others and analyzing how they coped, what worked and what didn’t, that to me is priceless information.
The book is the true story of English evangelical Christian missionary Gladys Aylward , who saved orphans and cared for wounded when Japan invaded China in 1938. She successfully used potassium permanganate to treat many wounded while escaping from the Japanese invasion. Its good to know that it has been effectively used in that role.
One of the things that I like the most about potassium permanganate is that the uses it has are so critical in a survival situation. Few things would be more critical during an emergency than purifying water and disinfecting wounds, and a small bottle of potassium permanganate crystals is enough to treat many gallons of water and prepare gallons of disinfectant.
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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Survival Kit: Potassium Permanganate

Potassium Permanganate can be used for:
Water purification (slightest visible purple tin coloration in water is enough)
Desinfecting wounds and fungal infections (add crytals until you have pink colored water)
Yes, fingernail fungus as well ... http://www.tipking.co.uk/tip/5988.html
Emegency Singals in snow or clear water (making a purple solution and spreading it in a distress signal patter such as an X or SOS.

4 Lbs Potassium Permanganate
WARNING:Potassium Permanganate can be very dangerous and fatal, avoid direct contact with skin. It is deadly if you eat the crysals directly or drink large quantities. KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN!!!!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Condor Knives: Kumunga Knife

Condor has been manufacturing tools and knives since 1787. Located in El Salvador, Condor focused on no-nonsense hard use tools such as machetes. Recently they’ve expanded their line to include some very interesting designs. These are pretty good deals because you can get some solid performing blades for a reasonable rice.
In the first video I show the 10 inch blade Kumunga knife.

Condor Tool and Knife Kumunga Camp Knife 10.25 Blade, Polypropylene Handle, Leather Sheath
In the second video I go through the Condor catalog talking about some of their knives.

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