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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Petromax Multi Fuel Lanterns and Accessories

In case you have not heard of this fantastic company and their rock-solid products - you need to. More importantly, you should own a couple of these lanterns, you could also do a lot worse for your preps by purchasing their military grade, multi-fuel stove. They are rugged, long-lasting and best of all - you can light, heat and cook using gas, kerosene, alcohol, diesel or even biofuels - not sure but I would not be surprised if it was effective with paint thinner too. 

The Britelyt Petromax may be the prettiest as well as the most durable and versatile lantern on the market today. It is made of solid brass and comes with your choice for polished brass or nickel plating. It is made to withstand even the roughest terrains. It shines with 500 candle power, the equivalent of 400 watts of electric light, which is 4 times brighter then most other pressurized lanterns.

It burns for 8 hours on a qt. of fuel, or 32 hours per qt. if set at a lower pressure. It is capable of using a variety of fuels.... Kerosene, Coleman/white gas, mineral spirits, scented and unscented lamp oils, gasoline, diesel fuel and just about any flammable fuel available. The first lanterns developed named Petromax were used by the German armies before and during World War Two. The military significance of a lantern that would burn all liquid fuels from diesel oil to gasoline made the lantern very useful. If you need to change fuels just pour whatever fuel you have directly into the tank. It doesn't hurt to mix fuels and no special attention is required to do so.

It is well sealed to prevent leaks and enable indoor as well as outdoor use. This is wonderful for power outages and use in remote locations. Can't get much more versatile than this. The Reflector is not included, but available below. 

Make sure you buy a couple of extra parts kits.....

Each lantern comes with the following spare parts at no extra cost!
1 - #68 - Needle
1 - #119 - Key for needle
1 - #11 - Rubber washer for filler gauge
1 - #180 - Cleaning needle for preheater
1 - Factory manual
1 - #50 - Nipple for upper vaporizer
1 - #66 - Spanner Wrench
1 - #165 - Funnel
1 - #67 - Alcohol tray filling bottle
2 - Petromax mantles


BriteLyt Military All Weather and All Terrain Heating/Cooking/Lighting Package

This kit was designed for the Military, but campers, hunters and fishermen alike will appreciate its versatility. It includes all the BriteLyt Petromax items you need for Heating, Cooking, and Lighting, all packed in a metal case that offers you neat storage and protects your lantern from the hazards of the trail. The Lantern is equipped with the SS Nozzle and High Performance Mixing Tube. All the accessories are packed neatly in trays for secure storage and easy access. There is even a bicycle style foot pump included for use with the EZ-Pump Valve. The Multi-Fuel capability of the BriteLyt Petromax lantern, along with the completeness of the kit make it ideal for emergency or survival situations. Approx size and weight of box: L - 15"/ W - 10 1/2" / H - 19" Weight approx full: 26 to 30 pounds.
    Items included in our Emergency/Military package.
  • 1-Lantern Nickel Plate finish.
  • 1-Reflector Nickel plated Finish.
  • 1-EZ Cook Top
  • 1-HP-BHA BriteLyt Heating Adaptor
  • 2-1020-500CP Parts kit
  • 1-74-WM Wire mesh Globe
  • 24-4-500CP Mantles
  • 1-Instruction DVD
  • 1- EZ-Pump
  • 1- Foot pump for EZ pump.

Petromax Military Package
Petromax Military Metal Case Only

BriteLyt Military All Weather/Terrain Metal Case

This case lets you store or transport your 500CP Lantern along with many accessories or other gear you already have. It includes the Britelyt Metal Case, and storage trays, but no lantern or accessories are included. The complete kit is available above. Approx size of box: L - 15"/ W - 10 1/2" / H - 19".

 And because I know you are going to go out and buy this:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Country Living Grain Mill

Our Country Living Grain Mill - Hooked Up To Electricity

(reprinted from 2009) 

So I finally got around to hooking up an electric motor to our "Country Living" grain mill.

It's a Lathe motor (1 HP) I got at a garage sale for $20. It has the advantage of variable speed settings by adjusting the belt. It has plenty of power for this use.

I first noticed that when hooked up to electricity the mill worked so well that it was spitting some wheat and cuttings out the sides making a mess and also throwing some on the floor. I wanted to eliminate the waste and reduce the likelihood of mice - so I built a snug-fitting cover (see pic) that slides into place over the mill end. the cover pretty much eliminates most all of the side spray directing it down to the bin in the bottom.

This thing now works great - we can grind a pound of hard red wheat or corn or whatever, into a fine flour in about 3 minutes. This compares nicely to the 20-25 minutes of hard hand cranking this thing used to require. In a power-off scenario I'll hook it up to my stationary bicycle. I still need to finish that.

Aquaponics and the High Density Vertical Growth Garden

Aquaponics and the High Density Vertical Growth (HDVG) Garden

Many potential homesteaders, and new preppers have big problems when it comes to food production, (notice I did not say storage) problems such as: I live in an apartment, I have a small yard, my soil is terrible, etc...

So with the coming food crises, looming energy shortages, or soon to come hyper-inflation causing food prices to skyrocket, people need effective low-cost solutions to grow their own food. To be food independent. One really great potential is High Density Vertical Growth Aquaponics (HDVG). Sounds like something DirecTV charges extra for - but its not.

The HDVG system is designed to grow vegetables and other foods much more efficiently and with greater food value than in agricultural field conditions. The HDVG system demonstrates the following characteristics:
  • Produces approximately 20 times the normal production volume for field crops
  • Requires 5% of the normal water requirements for field crops
  • Can be built on non-arable lands and close to major city markets
  • Can work in a variety of environments: urban, suburban, countryside, desert etc.
  • Does not use herbicides or pesticides
  • Will have very significant operating and capital cost savings over field agriculture
  • Will drastically reduce transportation costs to market resulting in further savings, higher quality and fresher foods on delivery, and less transportation pollution
  • Will be easily scalable from small to very large food production situations


ZipGrow towers are an efficient and productive way to grow crops. Most aquaponic producers utilize rafts for productions, but rafts are not productive enough per square foot to make production in greenhouses economically feasible.

ZipGrow towers typically produce 3-4 times more per square foot than traditional raft production methods. This is due to the light conservation aspects of the tower design as well as the modular aspects of the tower design that can utilize conveyor production techniques to maximize crop yield. By spacing ZipGrow Towers in rows you can not only maximize crop density but also use light more efficiently than any other tower system on the market, guaranteed. 

ZipGrow Tower

When used as recommended ZipGrow tower systems can increase the production per square foot of greenhouse by 300 to 400%. Useful in a variety of different systems, from hydroponics to aquaponics, ZipGrow towers are the best soilless plant production tool on the market, guaranteed. Towers are offered in a variety of sizes and configurations, depending on grower needs.

How it works
Integrating ZipGrow towers ino traditional production systems is relatively simple, requiring only minor changes to greenhouse infrastructure. During this process, local producers negotiate with local markets to use a ZipGrow GreenGrocer for in sore produce sales. Producers then move towers to market, exchanging mature towers with harvested ones, which are cycled back into production. 

ZipGrow Towers

An even cheaper solution would be to purchase 6 foot lengths of 4 inch PVC pipe. Then drill 3/4 to 1 inch holes every 6-8 inches (varies according to plant size). Fix the pipe to a flow-through screened base. The screen should be fine enough to hold in small gravel, but coarse enough to allow free flow of growth medium. Then stand it up, fill it with larger gravel in the bottom 8 inches then a pea gravel the rest of the way up. Make sure you stop at each hole to insert your plant. The problem here would be in cleanup and the weight of the system. Obviously a tube filled with a very lightweight open mesh type foam would be much lighter than a gravel medium. But in a pinch the gravel would probably work with some modifications.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Collectivist Agenda Shows True Colors in Cyprus

The collectivist agenda peaks out in Cyprus.

Well...Well.....This is actually refreshing for a change.  We rarely ever get to see the collectivist's move so openly and nakedly in broad daylight. Normally they operate in the dark like the cockroaches they are.

In order to fund their grandiose schemes of global hegemony and collectivist utopian visions - they have finally taken open steps to keep their lies moving forward - make no mistake - collectivist schemes are ALWAYS destined to devolve to outright thievery and outlaw thuggery.

Socialism, and other forms of collectivism always end up going from soaring rhetorical proclamations about the brotherhood of man, and other bullshit references to how beautiful the world would be if we would all just give them a bit more power....The end result is always, ALWAYS - corruption, mass theft, tyranny, slavery, and genocide. 

If you think your bank accounts in the United States are safe, or even that the US Dollar is really need to examine your premise. The US Government is corrupt as any, and closer to outright (but legal) thuggery than you might think.

Collectivist governments see no problem in stealing, turning its people into slaves both economically and in reality and even brutalizing and murdering its own people - all for "the common good". Don't worry - they will find a way to sell their corruption to the slack-jawed, doe-eyed public. After-all its well-intentioned and meant to help (insert cause here) Kids, the elderly, minorities, civil a wise person once said - beware do-gooders from the government.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"Print" your own AR Lower - using 3d Printing

“Download this gun”: 3D-printed semi-automatic fires over 600 rounds

And the Department of Justice says there's nothing illegal about it, either.

The white portion of this AR-15, known as the "lower," was manufactured using 3D printing.
Cody Wilson, like many Texan gunsmiths, is fast-talkin’ and fast-shootin’—but unlike his predecessors in the Lone Star State, he’s got 3D printing technology to help him with his craft.
Wilson’s nonprofit organization, Defense Distributed, released a video this week showing a gun firing off over 600 rounds—illustrating what is likely to be the first wave of semi-automatic and automatic weapons produced by the additive manufacturing process.

Last year, his group famously demonstrated that it could use a 3D-printed “lower” for an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle—but the gun failed after six rounds. Now, after some re-tooling, Defense Distributed has shown that it has fixed the design flaws and a gun using its lower can seemingly fire for quite a while. (The AR-15 is the civilian version of the military M16 rifle.)

The lower, or "lower receiver" part of a firearm, is the crucial part that contains all of the gun's operating parts, including the trigger group and the magazine port. (Under American law, the lower is what's defined as the firearm itself.) The AR is designed to be modular, meaning it can receive different types of “uppers” (barrels) as well as different-sized magazines.

“This is the first publicly printed AR lower demonstrated to withstand a large volume of .223 without structural degradation or failure,” Wilson wrote on Wednesday. “The actual count was 660+ on day 1 with the SLA lower. The test ended when we ran out of ammunition, but this lower could easily withstand 1,000 rounds.”

Already, he says, over 10,000 people have downloaded the lower CAD file, and more have downloaded it through BitTorrent.

“I just made an AK-47 magazine—I’ve got it printing as we speak”

While it may be easy to paint Wilson as a 2nd Amendment-touting conservative, the 25-year-old second-year law student at the Univeristy of Texas, Austin told Ars on Thursday that he’s actually a “crypto-anarchist.”

“I believe in evading and disintermediating the state,” he said. “It seemed to be something we could build an organization around. Just like Bitcoin can circumvent financial mechanisms. This means you can make something that is contentious and politically important—not just a multicolored cookie cutter—but something important. It’s more about disintermediating some of these control schemes entirely and there’s increasingly little that you can do about it. That’s no longer a valid answer.”
He added, “The message is in what we’re doing—the message is: download this gun.”
And he practices what he preaches. The group’s entire set of design files are made available, for free, on DEFCAD, an online library for everything from grips to lowers to magazines.
“I just made an AK-47 magazine—I’ve got it printing as we speak,” he added. “[I’ve got a] Glock 17, we got a bunch coming, man. We’ve got a library of magazines.”
Wilson’s group was founded last year on similar principles:

The specific purposes for which this corporation is organized are: To defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and affirmed by the United States Supreme Court, through facilitating global access to, and the collaborative production of, information and knowledge related to the 3D printing of arms; and to publish and distribute, at no cost to the public, such information and knowledge in promotion of the public interest.
Here are .223 Remington bullets loaded into a 3D-printed magazine.

Totally legal

So that raises the question: is this legal? For now, it would appear so.
“There are no restrictions on an individual manufacturing a firearm for personal use,” a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) spokesperson told Ars. “However, if the individual is engaged in business as a firearms manufacturer, that person must obtain a manufacturing license.”
Wilson said that he’s applied for a federal firearms license in his own name with the ATF in October, and he expects to hear a response “any day now.” The ATF did not respond to our request for confirmation of Wilson’s claims.

Specifically, Wilson said he's looking to become a Class 2 Special Occupational Taxpayer, as licensed under federal law (PDF), which would allow him to become a dealer under the National Firearms Act.

The law student said that anyone with the same type of 3D printer (“SLA resin and P400 ABS on a used Dimension”) could replicate his efforts with “9 to 12 hours” of print time and “$150 to $200” in parts. "We’ve proven that you can build one for $50,” he said, presuming the builder is using lower quality materials. (Dimensions typically sell in the $30,000 range—but Wilson says his results could be duplicated using the less-expensive Ultimaker ($1,500) or Reprap.”

Assuming Defense Distributed’s AR-15 lower costs around $150 to print, it likely won't end up being price-competitive with other, commercially available polymer AR-15 lowers—a few minutes of Google searching turned up options priced at $135 to $170, depending on the manufacturer.
Of course, lots of 3D printing enthusiasts extol the fact that the price of the technology is rapidly falling—as we reported previously, a California company announced a $600 model last year.
Some experts who have been following the world of 3D printing for a while say that from a policy perspective, not much has changed in terms of firearm production, even if the parts are cheaper to make.

“When you're thinking about it from a policy standpoint [the question is], was this possible before 3D printing? If the answer is yes, what was the existing policy response?” said Michael Weinberg, a staff attorney at Public Knowledge.

“Has this fundamentally changed the dynamic in a way that we need to revisit the response? The answer strikes me as no. It's amazing. You can imagine a world where the 3D printer is accessible to people—I am not convinced that we need a 3D printing-specific solution.”

An earlier model of the 3D-printed AR-15 lower resulted in a crack by the rear takedown pin.

“The guns that will be”

Since December 2012, Wilson and his team have been hard at work on two problems. The first was the fact that the lower’s “buffer tower” (the circular ring part jutting upward that the “upper” fits into) kept breaking—that’s what caused the initial failure that prevented the gun from firing more than six rounds of 5.7x28FN bullets.

To fix that, the group re-engineered the buffer tower so it had increased exterior thickness. “We doubled or tripled the thickness,” Wilson said.

With that fix under their belt, the modern gunsmiths tried firing with .223 Remington bullets (standard in an AR-15), which raised the firing range to about 20 rounds before a failure—but that wasn’t good enough.

By the end of the month, there was a different failure, this time on the “rear takedown pin,” where a metal pin fits between the upper and the lower, connecting them together solidly. There, the 3D-printed plastic was cracking around the pin, making the gun less safe to use.

“There was so much force concentrating around it that that was the failure place,” Wilson said. “At first we started using bigger bosses and using longer pins and realized that it’s still a cross-sectional area. We changed the dimensions of the rear takedown pins.”

He explained that they’ve changed pin design entirely, adding “more surface area around these pins,” as well as an “internal” 90-degree angle, along with various curves and “steps and risers” that take advantage of the fact that the housing is made of plastic, not metal.

“The thing was still built like it would be made out of metal,” he said. “This is about plastic, and everything needs to be curves. It has to act like more of a spring.”

And that, he points out, is the ultimate lesson in gun manufacturing.
“The idea is not to print components for guns that are, but the guns that will be,” he said.
For now, though, Wilson said that Defense Distributed has essentially taken over the bulk of his time, and he’s effectively become a part-time amateur engineer.

“I don’t go to [law school] class, but I do pass the exams—here’s looking at you [American Bar Association]!” he told Ars.

Defense Distributed, Wilson says, receives “around $100” in daily donations, and he has an operating budget of about $2,400 monthly. He says that the next phase will be to publish “primers” teaching people specifically how to make such weapons.

“I don’t consider myself a tech guy, but I do consider myself a crypto-anarchist,” he said.
“I mean the philosophy that Tim May expressed, he predicted WikiLeaks and digital currency. [What I mean is] that the Internet and cryptography are these anarchic tools that can allow for the expanse of citizen action. We like the idea of the market becoming completely black and starving the nation-state from all the money they claim.”

(Thanks to Ars editor Sean Gallagher, a Navy veteran, for helping me with all my gun questions.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Real Debt is Real Bad News

Real Debt is Real Bad News, or
Preparation does not guarantee success, but the lack of preparation guarantees failure.

As a result of the Newtown School shootings, big-government elites have been hammering HARD for their version of gun control- which is really “victim disarmament.”  Indeed, the push has been more aggressive and contentious than anything I’ve ever seen.  The obvious goal of our government (as the NDAA and NDRP amply demonstrate) is complete and total control of the population, and elimination of any possibility of armed resistance to their hidden agenda.  Oh, we know the agenda is power, but we don’t know the details of why, when or where… or do we?

There are plenty of official proclamations as to how much debt the USA has-$16 Trillion.

But the unofficial debt, using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) now stands at $238 Trillion. 

Against an annual GDP of approximately $16 Trillion, that means that every dollar of value created by goods and services for the next 15 years is already spent.  And that number, by the way, is in today’s dollars.

Current estimates place the current “financial weapons of mass destruction,” the derivatives (or bad debts) outstanding, at $1.5 Quadrillion.  How can one comprehend such a mind-boggling number?  To answer that question, I took the measurements of a $1 bill, and calculated that this amount of money would cover the entire Earth with a layer of paper 1.24 inches thick.  This is the amount of phony debt that is outstanding, waiting for the first domino to fall, where a bankrupt country goes to their bankrupt neighbor to collect, and so on.  American banksters own approximately half of those bad bets- another 38 years of GDP gone.

So while the “official” numbers show we’re in deep trouble, the real data clearly shows the USA isn’t merely financially “broke,” which implies we’re out of spending money…  It shows we’re completely bankrupt, without any hope of getting out of the hole we’re in.

Our main export at this point, isn’t jobs.  That’s already gone, given away to the Chinese.  Now, our main export is financial paper- or electronic dollars, to be more precise.  The problem is that the ongoing collapse of the American economy- the basis of value for the American dollar- has made it obvious that the dollar is about to collapse. 

In the past, the dollar was backed by gold.  This ended in 1971, when President Nixon disconnected the dollar from gold, and let it “float.”  That is to say, the value of the dollar after this time, was a reflection of the value of the U.S. economy.  In other words, it was based on faith that the government could repay its debts.  As I’ve already shown, it is now impossible to repay the debts, and there is nothing left to support the dollar as the reserve currency.  We have no gold, no industry, nothing except nearly 50 million people who are broke, out of work and hungry, and roughly half of the electorate believes the other half “owes” them something (i.e., putting your money in their hands).

The Chinese- no fools are they- have merely taken these worthless electronic digits, and used them to purchase real money- gold.  In fact, they’ve imported literally hundreds of tons of it, in the last few years.  At the NY Fed, where they supposedly store some 7000 tons of gold, much of it belonging to foreign countries.  But that was before the Fed became blatant in their manipulation of gold and silver prices, by short-selling precious metals, to suppress gold and silver prices, while making the dollar appear more stable.  Since the prices of gold and silver have gone up, the NY Fed has had to provide the collateral- gold- to cover the shorts,.  As a result, there have been rumors that the gold is long gone- stolen or substituted with “salted” bars filled with tungsten.  

Germany owns 1536 metric tons of gold at the NY Fed, and they want to withdraw ~300 metric tons.  The NY Fed claims it will take seven years to accomplish this.  Of course, in 1965, France repatriated their gold reserves- in one day, by loading it onto a battleship.  Considering how fast the economy is spiraling down the toilet, seven years might as well be 700.  Now the Swiss are lining up a referendum (which will obtain enough support) to demand that all of their gold comes home, too- all 1040 tons of it.  Nobody knows how much of it sits in New York, but I hope you’re getting the picture.  Basically, it appears that a gold run has begun, where everyone who owns gold at the NY Fed wants it back.

That the NY Fed can’t deliver can mean only one of two things: it’s not there, or what is still there has claims of ownership by more than one country, which is legally (and practically) the same thing. 

Going back to the Chinese, they’ve been acquiring gold for years, at artificially low prices.  As well, they’re buying gold mines and physical assets such as land, all over the world.  In other words, they’re getting out of the dollar, buying whatever they can with it, while it still has some value.  Why?  Well, the IMF announced this week that the Yuan is ready to be the worlds’ reserve currency.   When that happens- and it will- the price of imported goods will go through the roof almost overnight, as every country will attempt to get rid of their dollars while they still can, and use some other currency for international trade. 

The dollar will be dumped as the worlds’ reserve currency, in a cascade as other countries holding dollars run for the exits.  When this happens, the price of products that are imported will go up by 4-5 times, almost overnight (my best guess).   This is the logical result of the Cloward-Piven strategy writ large.

The price of oil- when no longer priced in dollars- will have ripple effects that will cause suffering on a scale never before seen in America.  Consider the trucking industry, in a very real way, feeds the country.  The food you eat, the clothes you wear, the furniture in your house…  even the building materials for the house itself, were all delivered by truck.  As the price of fuel skyrockets, trucking companies will attempt to pass on the costs to their customers (stores like Wal-Mart, for example), who will in turn pass it on to the consumer.  Will the consumers pay so much more?

Consider that while those desperate people who live on the dole may still get their checks (or “deposits” on their EBT cards), it will no longer be able to buy anything, because the prices of everything have gone up 500% overnight.  What will happen in the inner cities, when people realize they can’t put food on the table, much less put gas in their cars?  Gerald Celente summarized it best: “when people lose everything, and they have nothing left to lose, they lose it.”  And they will.   It is my opinion, that the downward spiral will far exceed what we’ve already seen in Greece.  The starvation and violence will eclipse Greece by many orders of magnitude.  The key reason is that we’re the most heavily armed country in the world, and when the wool is pulled from peoples’ eyes, they’re not going to be happy with our government “representatives.”

THIS is the reason why the Obama administration is pushing so hard for “gun control.”  The scam is almost over, and when it is, people are first going to be fighting for their survival.  When they realize that the country has been robbed blind by the corrupt politicians in D.C. (and at all more-local levels of government), they’re going to be out for blood.  The DHS, it has been suggested, is the personal army of the Obama administration.  It’s why the DHS has ordered 1.6 billion rounds of hollow-point ammunition, tanks, drones, body armor and thousands of REAL assault rifles.  They know the American citizens are going to come after them, and they truly believe they can intimidate and disarm the public.  They believe they’re more enlightened than the rest of us, and that we don’t matter.

The government has made their choice abundantly clear.  They intend to retain power over the American people, regardless of the cost.  We are all slaves- taxpayers, tax collectors, police, military, people down on their luck, the middle class…  They’re perfectly happy to use 20 dead slave children- and hundreds of thousands more in the Middle East- to maintain that power, and won’t let any “crisis go to waste,” to gain more power.  Their viewpoint- to be blunt- is that we are ALL expendable.  You need to understand that fact. 

It is my firm belief that the financial collapse- intentionally caused- will create a civil war.  Those who think they can escape to Costa Rica (as a fellow traveler told me on an airplane two days ago), Russia, Argentina or some other lovely Caribbean country, are fooling themselves.  Americans have always been inventors, and our biggest invention wasn’t nuclear power, it wasn’t advanced medicine or the harnessing of electricity.  Our biggest invention was the financial virus which now infects the entire world.  There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.   The pain unleashed from this virus, will unleash an ugly side of humanity, not witnessed for hundreds of years.

I beg you, to get prepared, both emotionally and physically.  There are a lot of forums that go into how to prepare for the collapse, if you do web search.   

There is an old Japanese proverb, “Preparation does not guarantee success, but the lack of preparation guarantees failure.”  Do what you can, prepare as best you can.  There’s not much time.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New "Surveillance-Proof" App To Secure Communications Has Governments Nervous

Silent Circle promises to make encryption easy for everyone.

Silent Circle logo.
Silent Circle logo.
Courtesy Silent Circle.
Lately, Mike Janke has been getting what he calls the “hairy eyeball” from international government agencies. The 44-year-old former Navy SEAL commando, together with two of the world’s most renowned cryptographers, was always bound to ruffle some high-level feathers with his new project—a surveillance-resistant communications platform that makes complex encryption so simple your grandma can use it.
This week, after more than two years of preparation, the finished product has hit the market. Named Silent Circle, it is in essence a series of applications that can be used on a mobile device to encrypt communications—text messages, plus voice and video calls. Currently, apps for the iPhone and iPad are available, with versions for Windows, Galaxy, Nexus, and Android in the works. An email service is also soon scheduled to launch.
The encryption is peer to peer, which means that Silent Circle doesn’t centrally hold a key that can be used to decrypt people’s messages or phone calls. Each phone generates a unique key every time a call is made, then deletes it straight after the call finishes. When sending text messages or images, there is even a “burn” function, which allows you to set a time limit on anything you send to another Silent Circle user—a bit like how “this tape will self destruct” goes down in Mission: Impossible, but without the smoke or fire.
Silent Circle began as an idea Janke had after spending 12 years working for the U.S. military and later as a security contractor. When traveling overseas, he realized that there was no easy-to-use, trustworthy encrypted communications provider available to keep in touch with family back home. Cellphone calls, text messages, and emails sent over the likes of Hotmail and Gmail can just be “pulled right out of the air,” according to Janke, and he didn’t think the few commercial services offering encryption—like Skype and Hushmail—were secure enough. He was also made uneasy by reports about increased government snooping on communications. “It offended what I thought were my God-given rights—to be able to have a free conversation,” Janke says. “And so I began on this quest to find something to solve it.”
Janke assembled what he calls an “all-star team”: Phil Zimmerman, a recent inductee to the Internet’s Hall of Fame, who in 1991 invented PGP encryption, still considered the standard for email security. Jon Callas, the man behind Apple’s whole-disk encryption (which is used to secure hard drives in Macs across the world), became Silent Circle’s chief technology officer. Other employees were top engineers and ex-special-forces communications experts based in England, Latvia, and Germany. Together, they designed their own software, created a new encryption protocol called SCimp, registered their company offshore and outside U.S. jurisdiction, then built up their own network in Canada. (They eventually plan to expand to Switzerland and Hong Kong.)
Though many encryption options already exist, they are often difficult to use, which is a barrier for those without the skills, patience, or time to learn. Silent Circle helps remove these hurdles. As a result, organizations that have a real need for secure communications but have maybe not understood how to implement them are coming forward and expressing interest in Silent Circle.
Janke says he’s already sold the technology worldwide to nine news outlets, presumably keen to help protect their journalists’ and sources’ safety through encryption. (ProPublica, for one, confirmed it’s had “preliminary discussions” with Silent Circle.) A major multinational company has already ordered 18,000 subscriptions for its staff, and a couple of A-list actors, including one Oscar winner, have been testing the beta version. The basic secure phone service plan will cost $20 a month per person, though Janke says a number of human rights groups and NGOs will be provided with the service for free.
The company has also attracted attention from 23 special operations units, intelligence agencies, and law enforcement departments in nine countries that are interested in using Silent Circle to protect the communications of their own employees—particularly on the personal devices that they use at home or bring to work. Some of these same agencies, perhaps unsurprisingly, have contacted Janke and his team with concerns about how the technology might be used by bad guys. Because Silent Circle is available to just about anyone, Janke accepts there is a real risk that a minority of users could abuse it for criminal purposes. But he argues you could say the same thing about baseball bats and says if the company is ever made aware someone is using the application for “bad illegal things”—he cites an example of a terrorist plotting a bomb attack—it reserves the right to shut off that person’s service and will do so “in seven seconds.”
The very features that make Silent Circle so valuable from a civil liberties and privacy standpoint make law enforcement nervous. Telecom firms in the United States, for instance, have been handing over huge troves of data to authorities under a blanket of secrecy and with very little oversight. Silent Circle is attempting to counter this culture by limiting the data it retains in the first place. It will store only the email address, 10-digit Silent Circle phone number, username, and password of each customer. It won’t retain metadata (such as times and dates calls are made using Silent Circle). Its IP server logs showing who is visiting the Silent Circle website are currently held for seven days, which Janke says the company plans to reduce to just 24 hours once the system is running smoothly.
Almost every base seems to have been covered. Biannually, the company will publish requests it gets from law enforcement in transparency reports, detailing the country of origin and the number of people the request encompassed. And any payment a person makes to Silent Circle will be processed through third-party provider Stripe, so even if authorities could get access to payment records, Janke says, “that in no way gives them access to the data, voice, and video the customer is sending-receiving ... nor does it tie the two together.” If authorities wanted to intercept the communications of a person using Silent Circle, it is likely they’d have to resort to deploying Trojan-style tools—infecting targeted devices with spyware to covertly record communications before they become encrypted.
Among security geeks and privacy advocates, however, there’s still far from consensus how secure Silent Circle actually is. Nadim Kobeissi, a Montreal-based security researcher and developer, took to his blog last week to pre-emptively accuse the company of “damaging the state of the cryptography community.” Kobeissi’s criticism was rooted in an assumption that Silent Circle would not be open source, a cornerstone of encrypted communication tools because it allows people to independently audit coding and make their own assessments of its safety (and to check for secret government backdoors). Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the ACLU's Speech Privacy and Technology Project, said he was excited to see a company like Silent Circle visibly competing on privacy and security but that he was waiting for it to go open source and be audited by independent security experts before he would feel comfortable using it for sensitive communications.
When I asked Janke about this, he said he recognized the importance of the open-source principle. He says the company, contrary to Kobeissi’s assertion, will be using a noncommercial open-source license, which will allow developers to “do their own builds” of Silent Circle. “We will put it all out there for scrutiny, inspection, and audit by anyone and everyone,” he added.
Another factor is that a number of countries are pushing for new surveillance laws that will force many communications providers to build in backdoors for wiretapping. The Silent Circle team has been following these developments closely, and it seems to have played into the decision to register offshore and locate its multimillion-dollar network outside U.S. jurisdiction. Janke says he has consulted with Canada’s privacy commissioners and understands that the new push to upgrade surveillance capabilities in Canada will not affect the company because its technology is encrypted peer-to-peer (making it technically incapable of facilitating a wiretap request even if it receives one).
But what if, one day down the line, things change and Canada or another country where Silent Circle has servers tries to force them to build in a secret backdoor for spying? Janke has already thought about that—and his answer sums up the maverick ethos of his company.
“We won’t be held hostage,” he says, without a quiver of hesitation. “All of us would rather shut Silent Circle down than ever allow a backdoor or be bullied into an ‘or else’ position.”
In an age of ever-increasing surveillance, it’s a gutsy stance to take. Perhaps Big Brother has finally met its match.
This article arises from Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, the New America Foundation, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, visit the Future Tense blog and the Future Tense home page. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Alternative, Easy, and Economical Bugout Shelter Options

For some Preppers a backup or quickly movable bugout shelter is a major concern. For everyone who plans to have a backup or bugout plan it should be a primary consideration. Shelter is rightly located in the top 3 of any critical priority needs list. Considering its important placement on these lists I offer one solution which might fit many needs. It is highly portable fitting in your backpack, lightweight, cheap, very fast to set up and take down, can be easily configured to provide protection from wind, rain, and insects, and is easily concealable. What is this wonder - the simple hammock.

Other configurations make this an ideal all-around, economical shelter solution. Since it is a hanging shelter it can be hung anywhere, and since it keeps you off the ground - you don't need to lose body heat to contact with the ground , or from rocks or roots under your sleeping bag.

No see-um netting keeps the pesky mosquito's off you.

These sources are a good starting place:

Friday, April 27, 2012

With One CO2 System You Can Make Soda and Preserve Your Food -

Okay so recently I bought a couple of old used 20lb CO2 tanks very cheap. Then I got them filled with CO2 for, again – cheap. I then ordered a Regulator online for (you guessed it) …

Then I bought an AIR blower wand, a tire inflater extension, some air hose (food safe), and various fittings and check valves for it.

Now the Plan comes together. I have two things in mind for this system.

1.                  A Preservation System for our Food Stores:
A Way to purge and then replace the Oxygen laden air in my food buckets with CO2. More specifically I plan to put the rice, beans, wheat, corn, and other food stuffs in my 5 gallon buckets into Mylar bags, then purge and replace the air with pure CO2 and then heat seal the bags. This will preserve the food in my buckets for many years.

2.                  An Economical Way to Make Homemade Soda
I have found several very thick and strong plastic soda bottles. I then bought several tire air nipples. Then I drilled a hole in the cap and screwed the nipple into the cap using the rubber washer to ensure it is a airtight fit.
To make homemade soda all we have to do is fill the bottles to about 4/5th full of any liquid we like. Put the air nozzle cap on the bottle, open the CO2 regulator and adjust the pressure to about 60 psi. Then it’s as simple as filling up a tire.

You “air” up the bottle with the CO2 till it feels tight – you can actually feel the bottle getting firmer. Then you shake the bottle which forces the CO2 into solution. You know its working when you feel the sides of the bottle getting easier to squeeze again. Then you can do it again once or twice more to get the level of “fizz” you like.

We like to make soda water, lemonade soda, Orange juice soda, and you can always buy Cola, or root beer, or lemon lime syrup which mixes with water. It is easy and super cheap. We will be able to make soda for pennies per quart from now on.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Long Term Food Storage - Know the Facts

Long Term Food Storage Using Mylar Bags
& Oxygen Absorbers

(Reprinted from Optimum

 CLICK HERE to see all Mylar Bags, Oxygen Absorbers, Desiccant & Heat Sealer

Mylar Bags for Long Term Food Storage
When deciding what kind of food storage arrangements to make for you and your family, you have several good options. You may choose food storage systems that are already pre-packed for long term storage and ready to be opened and eaten when an emergency strikes. That is an easy and commendable way to take care of your food storage needs. Plus the shelf life on these foods is an amazing 10 to 15 to 25 years due to the packaging!

However, there are some other excellent options for customizing how you store your food by doing it yourself. Or you may want to just add some special items to your food storage that aren’t in your ready-made food storage systems. Optimum Preparedness is excited to be offering the materials that use the latest technologies to allow you to do your own emergency long term food storage packaging. It is simple, safe and it lasts a long time.

Please read on to find out more about the great products we offer and how to do it yourself. You can package the food you want the way the professionals do it.

Remember, we are always glad to answer any questions you may have and assist you with recommendations regarding your specific food storage needs.

Do It Yourself Food Storage

Mylar Bags

Many people line the 5 gallon pail with a 20.0" x 30.0" Mylar Foil bag and place dry food products in there for long term storage. Another option would be to consider placing numerous pre-packed smaller pouches inside.

Mylar Bags Inside Pails    Mylar Small Pouches Inside Pail

Not Just For Food Storage

Mylar bags used in conjunction with oxygen absorbers are also a great way to preserve important books and other papers. We also sell a specially sized mylar foil bag that will accommodate rifles and shotguns. The mylar foil oxygen barrier bag is 12" x 60".
See item # H12MGB60 in our How To Hide Anything section.

 Oxygen Absorbers

These packets eliminate the presence of oxygen in foodstuffs such as grain and milk powder, ensuring long-term shelf stability. They are commonly seen in beef jerky where they prevent mold while eliminating the use of chemical preservative and have been used by the US military to extend the shelf-life of bread for combat troops to up to two years.

Note:  For information on how to make your own Oxygen absorbers - see earlier post on this blog

How much oxygen absorbent capacity do you need for standard containers?

We recommend 2000cc’s of oxygen absorbing capacity for 5 and 6 gallon pails. Thus, you could use 5 individual 300cc packets, or 3 individual 500 cc packets or 2 individual 750 cc packets. It is more cost effective (i.e. cheaper for you) to use 2 750cc packets rather than 3 of the 500cc packets per bucket, so we don’t sell the 500cc packets. We are watching out for you!

For a one gallon pail, jar or Mylar bag we recommend using one 300 cc oxygen absorber.

Concerned about humidity? Use a desiccant

If you are concerned about humidity affecting your food product (rice, wheat, beans and other dry grains.....) we have a clearly established protocol and procedure for providing a solution for this problem.

One to two individual 1 oz. packets of desiccant should be placed in the bottom of your Mylar Foil™ bag prior to filling with product. The oxygen absorber is then placed on top of the grain or beans for sealing. Note: This is the recommended procedure for the 20.0" x 30.0" bag (P/N: # F20MFS30) that is designed for 5 and 6 gallon pails. For some products that are already extremely dry and for which concern is minimal, you may use one packet.

For the smaller barrier bags (10" x 14" and 10" x 16") we recommend two of the 5.5 gram packets. Each packet is marked "1/6" on the outside.

IMPORTANT: The desiccant packets must be placed at the bottom of the pail or barrier bag or in the middle of the food products. The desiccant bags must not be close to the oxygen absorbers. Desiccants will negatively affect the performance of the oxygen absorber when close by. We supply desiccant bags made from Tyvek. Tyvek is a material acceptable for food product contact.

Sealing the Mylar Bags Properly

The mylar bags must be sealed properly for the whole thing to work as expected. You’ve got the food, the mylar bag that is more air-proof than a bucket, the oxygen absorber (or the CO2 gas purge and replacement) that will remove all the air so your food won’t go bad, but if you don’t seal that bag properly all your effort goes down the drain. Because the mylar bag is made out of a multi-layer material you CANNOT use a regular Food Saver or Seal A Meal unit to seal these bags. Those units just don’t reach a high enough temperature to do the job.

We have used, and found them to be EASY and quite effective - clothes irons. They get very hot and seal with ease leaving an air-proof sealed bag. Make sure you use the Linen or Cotton setting (cordless irons won’t work because they can’t sustain the high heat long enough – you need to be up at 400 degrees Farenheit or 204 degrees Celsius) For most irons, Linen is the highest setting, so that will be your best choice with an iron.  (Instructions for using an iron are just below the info on the heat sealer.)

Note: using the home iron works quite well, we were able to get great results using this method our first time. It produced a thick, airtight seal.

Options for Food Storage

Storage for Grains, Rice, Beans etc....

Mylar Bags Inside Pails

1. Food storage in a 5-6 Gallon Pail:

The Bag

Mylar Foil bag 20" x 30" – this bag fits inside a 5 or 6 gallon pail and needs to be used with oxygen absorbers and then heat sealed. Most companies selling pre–packaged grains use this bag when packing grains and other foods.

4.3 mil thickness Food Grade FDA approved mylar foil oxygen barrier bag
(order item # F20MFS30)

The Oxygen Absorbers

2 750cc oxygen absorbers for items like wheat, rice, whole oats and other grains and beans that pack fairly tight in a bucket will be sufficient for a minimum TWO YEAR shelf life. You could also use 5 of the 300cc oxygen absorbers (5 x 300cc = 1500cc). For food such as pasta, pet food and items that have a higher amount of residual air use the 2000cc oxygen absorbers. It is OK to use the 2000cc oxygen absorber in a bucket of wheat, rice and other items that use 2 750cc absorbers.

750 cc oxygen absorbers, 25 per bag, use 2 per pail (order item # FOAP750/25)
2000 cc oxygen absorbers, 10 per bag, use 1 per pail (order item # FOAP2000/10)

The Desiccant

One to two individual 1 oz. packets of desiccant should be placed in the bottom of your Mylar Foil™ bag prior to filling with product. The oxygen absorber is then placed on top of the grain or beans for sealing. For some products that are already extremely dry and for which concern is minimal, you may use one packet per pail

Desiccant 1 oz each - Pak of 50 (order item # F205050PK01)

The Optimum Hi-Temp Heat Sealer

Heat sealers are critical to provide a proper barrier to oxygen for barrier bags. We recommend the 6-inch "constant heat" Clam type hot jaw heat sealer. The jaws are sufficient to close any type of heat sealable multi-layer structure. They can be used to seal the standard 20" x 30" barrier bag used in the five-gallon pails as well as the smaller bags.

The Optimum Hi-Temp Hot Jaw Heat Sealer (order item # FIPKHS606T)

2. Food storage in a bag only in lieu of using a 5-6 Gallon Pail

The Bag

If you have a space or storage limitations, you can use this bag all by itself with no bucket or pail! The 20" x 30" PAKDRY7500 bag is made from Ultra high oxygen barrier Mylar Foil that is 7.5 mil and an FDA approved structure. This bag holds the same amount as a 5 or 6 gallon pail.

7.5 mil thickness Food Grade FDA approved mylar foil oxygen barrier bag
order item # FP75C2030)

The Oxygen Absorbers

Use the 2000cc oxygen absorber when using this bag without a pail whether you are storing grains, beans, etc or things like pastas.

2000 cc oxygen absorbers, 10 per bag, use 1 per pail (order item # FOAP2000/10)

IMPORTANT: Without the additional barrier of the plastic pail, it is important to use a 2000cc absorber to insure long term product quality.

The Desiccant

One to two individual 1 oz. packets of desiccant should be placed in the bottom of your Mylar Foil™ bag prior to filling with product. The oxygen absorber is then placed on top of the grain or beans for sealing. For some products that are already extremely dry and for which concern is minimal, you may use one packet.

Desiccant 1 oz each - Pak of 50 (order item # F205050PK01)

The Optimum Hi-Temp Heat Sealer

Heat sealers are critical to provide a proper barrier to oxygen for barrier bags. We recommend the 6-inch "constant heat" Clam type hot jaw heat sealer. The jaws are sufficient to close any type of heat sealable multi-layer structure. They can be used to seal the standard 20" x 30" barrier bag used in the five-gallon pails as well as the smaller bags.

The Optimum Hi-Temp Hot Jaw Heat Sealer (order item # FIPKHS606T)

3. Storage for 1 gallon volume (approximately equivalent to a #10 can)

The Bag

You can use either one of these 2 bags, which each hold the same volume as a #10 can which is equivalent in volume to a 1 gallon jar. This will be approximately 7.5 pounds of grains or beans.

Mylar Foil® bag 10" x 16" - 5.0 mil FDA Approved Material and equivalent in volume to a #10 can. (order item # F10VF4C16)
Mylar Foil® bag 10" x 14" - 3.5 mil FDA Approved Material and equivalent in volume to a one gallon container (order item # F35M1014)

The Oxygen Absorbers

For 10x16 or 10x14 bags (equivalent to #10 cans or a 1 gallon container), use 1 300cc oxygen absorber.

300 cc Oxygen Absorbers for #10 Cans & Gal Jars, 50 per bag (order item # FOAP300/50)

The Optimum Hi-Temp Heat Sealer

Heat sealers are critical to provide a proper barrier to oxygen for barrier bags. We recommend the 6-inch "constant heat" Clam type hot jaw heat sealer. The jaws are sufficient to close any type of heat sealable multi-layer structure. They can be used to seal the standard 20" x 30" barrier bag used in the five-gallon pails as well as the smaller bags.

The Optimum Hi-Temp Hot Jaw Heat Sealer (order item # FIPKHS606T)

      Mylar Small Pouches Inside 1 Gallon Pail    More Mylar Small Pouches Inside Pail


Date Your Food Storage Mylar Bags

Hi Temp Heat Sealers

Heat Sealer
Heat sealers are critical to provide a proper barrier to oxygen for barrier bags. We recommend the 6-inch "constant heat" Clam type hot jaw heat sealer. There are heat sealers out there that are fancier and that cost double the price, but this one does the job that needs to be done, and is designed to be used with the mylar foil oxygen barrier bags that you use for Long Term Food Storage. The jaws are sufficient to close any type of heat sealable multi-layer structure. They can be used to seal the standard 20" x 30" barrier bag used in the five-gallon pails as well as the smaller bags.

Hot Jaw Heat Sealer (order item # FIPKHS606T)

Note: FoodSaver and Seal-A-Meal vacuum sealers do NOT reach a high enough temperature to seal the mylar foil bags. You will not get a seal that will hold. Those vacuum sealers are designed specifically for the clear plastic bags sold to be used with them. They do make vacuum sealers that would work but a low end one is $1500 and they jump immediately into the $3500-$4500 range.

An alternative but not as easy way to seal the bags is to use your steam iron (with steam off) on the Linen or Cotton setting (cordless irons won’t work because they can’t sustain the high heat long enough – you need to up at 400 degrees Farenheit or 204 degrees Celsius) For most irons, Linen is the highest setting, so that will be your best choice with an iron. (For instructions on how to use your iron to seal the mylar bags CLICK HERE)

The Heat Sealing Process Illustrated

Opened Mylar Bag Inside 5 Gallon Pail Mylar Bag Opened with Dry Food Inside 5 Gallon Pail
Oxygen Absorber being Placed Inside 5 Gallon Pail Additional Oxygen Absorber being Placed Inside 5 Gallon Pail
Preparing Mylar Bag For Heat Sealing Heat Sealing Mylar Bag
Folding Heat Sealed Mylar Bag Preparing Corners of Folded Heat Sealed Mylar Bag
Heat Sealing Corners of Folded Mylar Bag Showing Sealed Corner of Folded Mylar Bag

CLICK HERE to see all Mylar Bags, Oxygen Absorbers, Desiccant & Heat Sealer

Mylar Foil® Oxygen Barrier Bags

In the food processing area, these bags are known as oxygen barrier bags. Many people refer to them as Mylar® Foil bags because the outer layer of the bag is Mylar® Foil, which is a brand name for the DuPont Corporation's polyester film.

OXYGEN BARRIER BAGS (Mylar®FOIL BAGS) will greatly increase the shelf stability of your food products. Polyethylene pails are not a true oxygen barrier by themselves. The oxygen transmission rate (OTR) is critical. For example, our bags have a transmission rate of 0.001 cc's of oxygen per square meter per 24 hours. A clear Mylar®/poly bag is 0.5 cc's/ square meter/ 24 hours. This means the Mylar/poly bag is 500 (FIVE HUNDRED!) times greater.

WARNING: Some companies and people will try to tell you that clear "FOODSAVER" bags are good for long term storage. THEY ARE NOT. For long term food storage you should use the mylar foil oxygen barrier bags.

How do I know if I have the right type of Mylar Foil™ bags?

This is an extremely good question. The Mylar® foil bags that are used for long-term food storage were originally designed for exporting Macadamia nuts in bulk. This bag is 4.3 mils thick and appears to look like aluminum foil. Although the Mylar® foil layer is transparent, long-term food storage bags are NEVER transparent. Here at Optimum Preparedness we sell only FDA approved food grade mylar foil oxygen barrier bags made for long term food storage.

Another type of Mylar® Foil with which many consumers are familiar is the "Mylar® Foil balloon" that is often sold at supermarkets for birthdays and other occasions. The industrial name for the Mylar® Foil balloon material (NOT the same as the bags we sell!!) is metalized polyester. This is product mostly cosmetic and has minimal oxygen barrier properties.

Any concerned individual should be very wary of an organization trying to promote "transparent" barrier bags as a food storage bag. Long-term food storage should never be one of them. (One good example to watch for is the US Military MRE products. The packaging material used to produce the MREs has a very high oxygen barrier.)

What is the worst that can happen if I do not use a Mylar Foil™ bag inside my pail?

First the plastic pail is not an oxygen barrier (like a #10 can is) so there is a slow transmission of oxygen through the polyethylene walls of the container over time. According to grain processors, the most common problem is insect infestation. Nothing will eliminate this as certainly as an oxygen barrier bag and an oxygen absorber. (Gas flushing will always leave 2-5% oxygen minimum.)

Also, since the oxygen absorber will actually remove 20.5 % of the air that is within the container, it is possible for the absorber to pull in the wall of the container (the vacuum effect) to such a degree that the lid separates from the pail.