Archive | March, 2014

Spiderman Construction Worker Escaping Fire Impresses Me

27 Mar

The latest viral youtube video shows a construction worker trapped on a balcony while the building burns. He hangs from one balcony and swings to another. That’s no easy feat. You can’t just jump straight down or you’d fall to your death.

Survival Lessons From The Video:

1. Are you physically fit? Even those of us in pretty good shape could have trouble with a jump like that! I pride myself on being in better shape than most, but I’m not sure I could have done that hang, swing, jump. The more physically fit you are, the better your chances of survival. No doubt this guy’s adrenaline was through the roof.

2. Can you hold your own body weight with your fingers? From a ledge and not just a bar? How’s your grip strength?

3. If you work up high or live above the second floor, do you have an emergency escape ladder or rope? Have you thought about how you’d escape a fire? Do you have an emergency fire escape hood?

4. Be careful when you weld. Don’t start a fire. The news say welding may have been the cause of the fire.

5. Is your workshop clean? Sawdust and today’s construction materials are very flammable. Get a Shop Vac. Don’t store extra foam insulation. I need to clear out some of that stuff myself. Fireblock, sheetrock, take steps to make your home less flammable.

6. Can you think under pressure? This guy clearly took his time to think through his options and decided he must act to get off the balcony.

7. Do you have the courage to make a risky move when you feel you absolutely must? How many people on the side of a mountain get to a safe place and are afraid to move from it. They hope help comes, even when they know it won’t. They freeze there. The courage to act under stress and risk is what separates great survivors, like this construction worker, from most of us.

I don’t know if he made the right decision or not. Would the ladder have reached him if he didn’t jump? Was it too big a risk? In retrospect, we never know. All we can do is take a survival situation as it comes and make our best decisions as we go or rely on previous training.

Just Sharing Some Miscellaneous Links

23 Mar

The Helmets O’ Truth. Will a Kevlar helmet stop a 357 magnum 158 grain slug? Place your bet and click on the link.

NASA mathematicians calculate (How?) our modern society is destined to collapse in 350-1,000 years.

An excellent article over at ThoughtfullyPrepping about “Guerilla Philosophy”¬† “Guerrilla Philosophy is an unstandardized, unsanctioned, or otherwise unusual philosophy.” I’ll write more about this great concept later.

Is it better to be brainy or useful?

I don’t know, but (hope I don’t lose my prepper card for admitting I watch Survivor!) on Survivor, the Brain team is getting crushed. My opinion is the more you know and the more you can do, the better. The best way to achieve this is to take up some new hobbies. The more varied, the better:

Just saw Estwing is now making a tomahawk. Could be old news. Love Estwing hammers. My favorite is a smaller drilling hammer.

More Prepping Lessons From The Ukraine

19 Mar

In my opinion, America’s response to the invasion of the Ukraine by Russia is a policy disaster. Years ago, Ukraine surrendered all their nuclear weapons for assurances by Russia and America that their country’s borders would be respected. One of the big countries invaded them. The other stood by and did little about the invasion.

The lesson for small countries: Keep your nukes. If you’re a small country without nuclear capability, the lesson: Get nukes fast. This will make international efforts to restrict and ban nuclear weapons more difficult in the future.

As more small countries realize the rule of size and power means more than the international rule of law, the world will become a more dangerous place. A small country would be nuts to give up its nuclear weaponry. Mind you: I’m adamantly opposed to all nuclear weapons and wish they didn’t exist.

The lesson to the individual prepper is the same: Never lose your ability to defend yourself or you’ll be at the mercy of others. A written guarantee of protection is inferior to weapons. Hoping others will follow the law can’t always be counted on.

My belief is that nothing is guaranteed in life. I’ve had preppers say because they have a small farm, they’ll always have food. I hope that’s true. It hasn’t always been in history. The Ukraine provides the best historical example.

Before communism took over and created the former Soviet Union, The Ukraine was largely a rural farming community, where land was owned by individual families. Many families owned twenty acres, a small amount compared to a typical American family farm, which might be 160 acres. The Ukraine was known as the breadbasket of Europe, because of its rich farming.

Stalin invaded the Ukraine and seized family farms. The farms were handed over to the government in a policy known as collectivization. Families were broken up and forced to flee their homes.

Many Ukrainians resisted the new Russian rule. To tamp down the resistance, Stalin initiated a brutal policy of holodomor or man-made starvation.

Stores of foods in homes were confiscated and the government sat on substantial grain reserves and exported massive amounts of grain as seven million Ukrainians starved to death. This happened in one of the richest farming areas in the world.

Even bean counters weren’t spared from Stalin. When census officials reported millions of fewer people existed, the census officials were shot.

Prepping Lessons:

1) Store food.

2) Be prepared to hide your stored food or defend it.

3) Be prepared to flee if your stored food and home is taken over. Nothing is every fully guaranteed.

Quadrocopter Ball Juggling
This world is starting to freak me out more and more!

Update On Ukraine Situation & Russian Propaganda

5 Mar

It looks like WWIII is a no go. Russia invaded Ukraine. Europe and America will not respond militarily to Russian aggression. On the one side of the coin: It’s smart to avoid world annihilation. I get it. On the other: A question we must all answer: Do we stand up to bullies regardless of the cost or do we skulk off with our tail between our legs? If we don’t stand up to bullies, will they continue to bully?

John Kerry¬† listed possible repercussions Russia could face as a result of the invasion. Here are John Kerry’s top three responses to the Russian invasion:

1) Organize an American boycott of Borsch.
2) Launch a TV ad campaign to discourage Americans from summer vacationing in Siberia.
3) Release a politically sensitive 1984 video of Ellen Degeneres kicking Valadimir Putin’s ass in a Judo Match.

I know: It should be a top ten list. But I’m not that clever. Russia will face a slap on the wrist for the invasion.

We called Russia’s use of propaganda correctly. It must be tough to be a Russian propagandist today. In my time, kids showed off by teaching us how to record the VCR. Kids today are too damn smart. They make their own videos and forensically analyze videos for signs of fabrication.

The Russian videos showing Ukrainians fleeing into Russia?
It’s actually a regular day at the Polish border. Note to self: Allow extra time if you need to cross the Polish border.

The Ukrainian protesters pleading for Russia’s help and intervention? Russians bussed in to pretend to be Ukrainians. Note to Putin: Next time you’re choosing kids to pretend to be Ukrainians, ask them to delete their Facebook pages showing they live in Moscow.

As far as the “civil war” in Ukraine, military experts showed the “Ukrainian” fighters supporting Russia are actually Russian soldiers. They were armed with GM 94 grenade launchers and AK-100 machine guns. Not weapons the average Ukrainian has laying around at home, but issue to Russian special forces.

In the time of Stalin, ham-fisted propaganda was used to intimidate citizens. If Stalin didn’t like you, they erased your picture from photos and you “disappeared.” I think the term today is air brushing. The intimidation: We’re so powerful we can make people disappear from history. And they can. For a while. But people don’t like bullies and that’s why empires created by force collapse.

Occupation and Guerilla Warfare

4 Mar

How do you respond if your country is invaded and you wish to repel the invaders?

In America, I don’t see us being invaded in my lifetime. Our military is too strong. Take away most of our military, and we can still nuke the crap out of any country that would have sufficient troops to invade us. Invaded, we still have about 150 million armed citizens. That would spoil any plans for domination by a foreign power.

Occupation should be looked at as a severe economic collapse where nothing is working. You need to hunker down and stay home. It’s dangerous to run into foreign troops. You can’t trust them to act in a civilized manner. You must hide your resources or they would be confiscated. Secrecy is the key. Maintain as low a profile as possible. In today’s world, remember, all of your online and cell phone communication could be monitored 100% by an invader.

If you want to oppose an invading army and don’t have an army of your own, you must rely on guerilla tactics. Guerilla tactics are confused by many for basic combat tactics. Everybody moves. Everybody uses concealment. Everybody hits the opponent where they are weak and avoids battles when a loss is likely. Everybody wants great intelligence about their adversary. If you’re playing paintball with your friends, you’re not using guerilla warfare. You’re using basic combat tactics.

Guerilla warfare means you have insufficient force to confront your adversary directly. You’re relegated to hit and run attacks. You need to find what works. The goal is to slowly and steadily drain the resources and will of your adversary.

Renewed respect and interest today focuses on Lawrence of Arabia’s views of guerilla warfare. He said it well: Guerilla warfare is a war of detachment and not engagement. Blowing stuff up and forcing the larger occupier to protect everything saps energy.

In my time, Mao Tse Tung was credited with innovating guerilla warfare. (Link to book in pdf.)

We live in a very different world today than T E Lawrence and Mao Tse Tung. Drones, communications, satellite images, and a whole host of other technology changes traditional guerilla warfare. You can’t move across a desert without getting spotted by drones.

One mistake I personally believe America made in fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan was the use of regular ground forces. We didn’t need them. When we came in with overwhelming power, we made the Taliban flee and resort to terrorist attacks. Much better: Arm and support the Northern Alliance and let them grind down the Taliban for the next 30 years. Use targeted strikes to take out key leaders. Give an enemy the right-sized opponent and they want to fight pitched battles. They destroy themselves by thinking they can win. Same result in the end for much less resources.