Hands

It’s a blade rich environment in the UK.
Knives can be deployed and used in a very short time.
The problem is how can you tell if someone is primed with a blade and ready to attack you?

10 Examples.
Rule out the ‘possibly’ primed to deploy a knife in ambush.
Who do you think is “safe” in terms of blades?
I figured out just two (maybe).
Numbers 9 and 10.
The reason why only those two?
I can see their hands AND their fingers.

4, 5, 7, and 8 ? I can only see one hand, the other is concealed.
As for 2, 3, 6?  I cannot see their fingers so they could be holding a blade but inverted. I have been kind to you and gave you a glimpse of the blade.
Someone with ambush in their mind wouldn’t do that.


What, It’s only a two inch blade?
How deep beneath the skin are your major arteries and veins?
What if it was this?

So what about that wheel chair user?
Rightly or wrongly, I’m happy but even then wouldn’t approach within arms length. Which allows me to add my favorite bit of wisdom!

“Distance is kind in combat” and the further away you are from a blade, the safer you are.

And finally.
Here’s a challenge to you. As you go to work, shopping or whatever, tomorrow.
Scan the people you pass and count just how many you can see with NOTHING in their hands compared to those you can’t say for sure are safe. I KNOW you’ll be surprised at the count.

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Analogue thinking and EWD.

Shall I, should I, could I, am I wrong, not sure, what if, or are you just afraid to commit.

That’s where analogue thinking can end up when everything is shades of grey. Problem is that can lead to indecision and the line between being cautious and becoming indecisive is dangerously thin.

There is another side to this which might interest (or horrify) you.
Computers work using binary. Ones and zeroes, True or false, no maybe’s.
Well sort of because now they have the ability to think in grey.
True, False, and somewhere in between.

That’s got a name, FUZZY LOGIC.
Fuzzy logic comes from the knowledge that things can’t always be solved by simple ones and zeroes, but can also range from ‘almost certain’ to ‘very unlikely’. Sounds remarkably like a human brain doesn’t it. Flawed from the first Um??? that comes out of your mouth.

The problem is that fuzziness is programmed by humans and they are never totally infallible. Where you find this sort of logic a lot is in the newest and most complex of computers.
Some of them are found in the most complex of modern weapons system.

Wanna guess where I’m going here?

The more complex the equipment and it’s tasking, the more things can go wrong.
AND THE MORE EVERYTHING IS INTEGRATED, which I’m coming to, the easier it is to confuse if not defeat.

Consider that in 2014 the USS Donald Cook was rendered deaf, blind, and as much use as a chocolate teapot by a EWP (electronics warfare package).

A Russian ‘Khibiny’ package to be exact. Slung under a Russian SU-24.
The ships state of the art weapons system, the AGEIS package that controlled all its weapons, was disabled to the extent that the jet was able to overfly the ship TWELVE times while ‘practicing’ attack runs.

If it’s intentions had been hostile, it could have been all over in the first pass.

BUT, it doesn’t stop there.
The ultimate failing of the modern world is a headlong rush to computerize and ‘integrate/network’ everything, usually across the Internet or, in the case of critical systems, their own ‘secure’ networks.

Thus everything from public utilities, power, communications, command and control systems, navigation, and finally financial systems are vulnerable to attack and not necessarily by the sophistication of hacking (on which the West is totally target fixated).

Crude EMP generation using a nuclear weapon aka a (HEMP) high-altitude electromagnetic pulse weapon can take out electrically powered equipment over a wide area.

Or, for more a more targeted effect, by using an Electronics warfare package like the Russian ‘Khibiny’ package could render a nations electricity supply useless by causing a super destructive cascade failure.

Best bit about it?
It doesn’t need an aircraft to deliver it just sufficient power to make it squeal!
Just think, all those Patriot systems and nothing to shoot at.

‘Bombing people back into the stone age’ was a WW2 and Cold War ‘descriptor of power’ but now that HEMP and EWP packages have grown in sophistication, it could just be a case of turning off the power for a protracted time will bring a country to its knees while leaving the infra structure intact.

Funny enough I like that idea.
A silent click of an EWP or the flash of instant sunshine around 200 miles up in the sky, and all power goes. Thereafter the only thing that will harm you is your own people and the nine meals to anarchy scenario and NOT the totally toxic and too horrible to contemplate Thermonuclear war.

An A to Z (but not quite) of Dangers in the Home.

Care to add any?

Alcohol Illness
Allergies Infections
Boilers / Furnaces (CO) / Explosion Isolation
Bottled Gas heaters (CO) / Damp Knocks and bumps
Burns Dry / Wet Ladders
Choking and suffocation Machinery / appliances
Contaminated Water Mold
Criminal acts / violence Noxious fumes / Chemicals
Cuts and stab/penetration Other occupants
Damp Open Fires (CO)
Dehydration Overexertion / Strains
Despair Pets
Disease / Pests / Vermin Poisoning
DIY Police / Law Enforcement
Black Outs / Grid down Reaction injuries
Domestic violence Repetitive motion injuries
Drowning Starvation
Drugs (legal or not) Storm
Earthquake Strangulation
Electrocution Structural failure
Falling from heights Suicide
Falling objects Toilets / Sewage
Fire Tornado
Firearms Unstable objects
Flood Vehicle accidents
Food poisoning Ventilation
Gas Supply and appliance Violence
Home Maintenance Walking into things injuries
Hypo / Hyper thermia

Wanna guess which are the top three?

Post Apocalyptic Survival

Been relaxing, watching Hollywood (and independents) versions of Post Apocalyptic survival. There are common themes in all of them.

  • You are going to get dirty, stay dirty, and end even up more dirty, BUT you’ll be totally immune from infections of the cut or graze type.
  • You’ll also be able to drink from puddles, ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers without having to filter your water AT ALL!
  • Nobody uses toothpaste but everyone has sparkly white teeth.
  • And as for your clothing, one word, Phew!
    Ripped and dirty is the norm.
  • Nearly forget, everything food still comes in cans but mysteriously whatever happens washes the labels off.
  • As for toileting?
    Apart from the occasional visit behind a bush without any toilet paper, let alone washing afterwards, is purely for the sissies.
  • Nobody even carries a shovel and rubbish (food or otherwise) just disappears.
  • Flies aren’t a problem, gnats, tick, fleas, and maggots have only appeared in couple of  films I watched, but rats are common.

So, if you want to survive! Do it the Hollywood way.

Meanwhile, in the real world.
Personal cleanliness, and looking after your kit / clothing (all layers) is vital.
Socks and boots in particular need special care.
So soap, gaffer tape, needles and threads may just become a sought after barter item.

You also have to remember that a simple graze, blister, or cut, in a world of austere or no conventional medicines could kill you. So Antiseptics and Antibiotics (plus any personal life sustaining medicines) and medical supplies such as sterile EVERYTHING must be considered top priority during any foraging trip.

Meanwhile let’s just leave Hollywood to stew in it’s one unrealistic filthy world.

Like Rats? I don’t.

CAUTION. Long article so stock up on tea and biscuits.

Them damn things are everywhere and we’ve had the black, brown and the weirdest of dappled thing which executed a perfect back flip tucked double somersault as it thought it could run along the fence at the end of the garden with immunity from prosecution but caught a 22 behind its ear.

I loath them but know that for every one you see, the experts guess that there are at least ten watching doesn’t exactly surprise me. Probably the worse thing for me is their ability to survive on stuff that would make a goat puke and that they thrive in disaster, let alone war. That and how easily they grow immune to rat bait (poison), although that is a direct result in not leaving the bait down long enough to kill all comers!

The health dangers they pose are well-known but how many prep for them?
Do you know how to trap them, how to drown them, what to do without poisons?
After all shooting them (although fun and deeply satisfying) is a waste of ammo and even with a 22, that ‘fun’ can led to unwanted attention.

I’m a fan of snare and dangle when it comes to austere trapping rats as it occasionally catches something edible and sort of safe. but what are you facing aka know your enemy.

Teeth that can chew though steel, carriers of disease which demand antibiotic treatments which means, in an austere scenario, exposure to their urine, waste (poo), oil from their fur, ticks and fleas they can carry, or by consuming ‘nibbled’ or contaminated food could be fatal.

An adult can weigh 1 to 2 pounds, and a body that can grow to 10-14 inches long excluding the tail. Having said that they can squeeze through the smallest of holes.
Why work easily in both the day and night.
Add something that is strongly Neophobic (an inbuilt fear of anything new) and trapping them ain’t easy.

This is no push over folks!

So what’s the common things to think about to discourage them?
One of the usual is to keep clean, uncluttered accommodation.
Keep your store rooms secure and contents in glass or steel bins.
Never leave food stuff just lying around.
Clean up and put away when preparing and cooking.
Wash raw or foraged foodstuff before preparation.
Eat then, not later, and clear away before carrying on your day.
Transport waste WAY AWAY from where you are living before going to sleep or when leaving your shelter for ANY length of time.
Difficult as it might seem, protect your water sources and storage.
That also includes washing bottles AND CANS before opening and drinking from them.

It’s said rats won’t attack you. WRONG!
Cornered, or you stationary for too long, or when asleep, and you are fair game to a rat.

First Aid When Bitten or Scratched.
Control the bleeding and clean the wound with soap and warm water.
Clean inside the wound, being sure to rinse away all the soap.
Cover the wound with a clean, dry dressing.
You can put antibiotic ointment on the wound before covering.
Rat bites often lead to infection.
If the injury is on a finger, remove all rings from the injured finger before it swells.
Watch for these signs of infection: Redness, Swelling, Localized Heat, and Weeping pus.
If infected think Antibiotics.

So what can you catch?

  • Streptobacillary rat bite fever.
    Symptoms usually occur 3-10 days after an infected rat bite.
    Muscle ache, vomiting, joint pain, headache, fever, and rash are common symptoms of .
  • Spirillary rat bite fever.
    Symptoms may occur one to three weeks after an infected rat bite.
    Repetitive fever, an ulcer at the site of the bite, swelling, swollen lymph nodes and rash.
  • Leptospirosis and Hantavirus. The saliva of rats carries these two.
  • Tetanus infections.
    Cause. From a scratch, bite, cut, or graze, and contact from anything dirty, which may be what a rat has been foraging through.
    Symptoms of tetanus appear anytime from a few days to several weeks.
    The average incubation is seven to 10 days
    Common symptoms include:
    Spasms and stiffness in your jaw muscles, Stiff neck and abdominal muscles, Difficulty swallowing, and Random pain.
  • Plague. From what it carries in the form of ticks and fleas.
    Bubonic Plague.
  • Sudden onset of fever and chills, Headache, Fatigue or malaise, Muscle aches. Visually – swollen and tender lymph nodes — called buboes — in the groin, armpits or neck.
    Septicemic plague occurs when plague bacteria multiply in your bloodstream.
    Symptoms: Fever and chills, Extreme weakness, Abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.
    Bleeding from your mouth, nose or rectum, or under your skin. Shock!
    Blackening and death of tissue (gangrene) in your extremities, most common in fingers, toes and nose. BARRIER NURSING.
    Pneumonic plague affects the lungs and it’s airborne (droplet infectious).
    Signs and symptoms can begin within a few hours after infection.
    Difficulty breathing, Nausea and vomiting, High fever, Headache, Weakness, Chest pain, Cough, with bloody mucus (sputum). Respiratory failure and shock within two days of infection. FULL BARRIER, respirators, the works.
    Needs to be treated with antibiotics within a day after signs and symptoms first appear. Or it is likely to be fatal.

You’ll probably notice I haven’t listed treatments.
But you all have a copy of “Where there are no Doctors” to hand or an equivalent. Haven’t you?

So having scared you onto the toilet for a long sit, lets look at what rat ‘sign’ looks like.
They usually run along the same tracks leaving a telltale smear over time.
Their footprint is a four-toed front and five-toed back footprint.

Feet and that loathsome tail marks.
Tracks will have signs of gnawing along those tracks. (DIY Teeth Care)
Not forgetting rat scat and urine scent marking stains (Don’t sniff or touch!).
Scat is skinny pellets, usually about 10 mm long and 3 mm across but the size will vary.
Rounded tips. Fresh dark brown, but they get lighter with age.

PPE for rats.
Whoops, I meant what you should have when dealing with rats.
Gloves and HEAVY DUTY TYPE. Think welders grade, long wrist cuffs.
I also wear a pair of nitrile med.inspection gloves underneath as rat piss can soak through leather. Me, paranoid? You think!
A good quality FFP3 / N95 or N100 OIL RESISTANT mask.
Safety glasses, snug fitting wrap round.
When working in dusty conditions, contaminated material in the eyes is rather like mainlining bacteria into you.
BOOTS, rigger boots preferred. Steels with instep safety.
Why? Stepping on a nail could inject their ‘product’ into your foot.
Overalls, I use disposable hooded type. After all what’s a few dollars over your health.
I also tape the overalls to my boots and gloves. That’s not so much to stop the rats looking for nuts, but dust can reach you in a windy hazardous scenario.
A pair of tongs and a hammer handle.
NEVER pick up a rat, dead or alive with your hands.
They can be stunned by pellets or slugs and awake in your grasp.
They also twitch and can force-ably defecate and urinate in their death throes.
The hammer handle? A secondary wack on their head can save you from a stunned rat.
Lastly (but optional) Get your tetanus booster updated.

The only thing I haven’t talked about in-depth is trapping.
If you are a fortress type prepper, you’ll probably have traps as part of your inventory.
If you aren’t ‘home based’, you may have to improvise.
I’ll make a few traps up and photograph them. They all work although farm rats can get BIG!
If you cage trap, to kill them, DROWN THEM overnight. Only remember the water will be bio hazardous to you after their long soak.
If they are ‘trap dead’, burn the carcasses. Rats will eat rats.
Think of them like politicians and leave nothing for the next generation to feed off.

1300 words, whoops sorry, but they do present a clear and present danger to the survivor.

Mixing acid and vehicle batteries

Strong Acid to water is the safest way of carrying out this hazardous business wearing THICK nitrile or rubber gloves, wearing full wrap round eye protection, and at the very least a half face mask (mouth and nose) suitable to filter out acidic fumes. It is also wise to have a clean plentiful source of running water to dilute and wash off any acid that comes into contact with you and/or your clothing.

Don’t add water to strong acid. As the first drops of water hit the strong acid they can get so hot they literally boil and instant steam can ‘jet’ droplets of acid up into your face. Not nice.

Car or automotive battery acid is 30-50% sulfuric acid (H 2 SO 4)
Most maintenance free types, aka replace when death, tend to last 4 to 6 years tops.
Shorter life, less than 3 or 4 years, can be related to several different problems, such as:-
Lack of use, corrosion and excessive deep cycling,
Electrolyte evaporation (which is why I’m talking about acids) , damage, or charging problems.
Plus the new age problem of electronic rich cars with lots happening in ‘sleep mode’ quietly draining your battery without any help from yourself.
If you also leave a lead acid well discharged for a long time, lead crystals form which can destroy the battery by creating shorts between the plates.

What’s dead, flat, useless, levels?
There is two ways of telling.
Measuring the specific gravity (how strong the acid is) BUT if your battery is maintenance free only by its voltage.

Charge % Specific Gravity 6V Battery 12V Vehicle Battery
100 1.265 6.32 12.65
75 1.225 6.22 12.45
50 1.19 6.12 12.24
25 1.155 6.03 12.06
0 1.12 5.95 11.89 or less

So is there anything you can do in the field with a dead battery?

  1. Check all the terminals are clean of corrosion and tight, and
  2. It’s coming into spring in the UK so why would I now be talking about frozen batteries?
    Currently the are places in the UK which have seen overnight temperatures of -18 Celsius, 0 ºF. Whilst most fully charged cells are unlikely to freeze, if you add a night of wind chill that could make all the difference.
    My advice is NEVER assume, check, before reaching for the jump leads or a slave starter unit. If it is physically ‘sound’, GENTLY warm the battery up checking periodically for case cracking. ‘The How’ is the difficult thing but, as said, do it slowly as a cracked case caused by heating it too fast cures nothing and will ruin your vehicle .
    Anyway to put it into context, if it’s that cold, battery output shrinks DRAMATICALLY.
    100 percent capacity at 27°C (80°F)
    75 percent at just over 4°C (40°F)
    50 percent at –18°C (0°F)
  3. Once you have checked the battery isn’t frozen, you could Jump start it!, or
  4. Bump start it, or
  5. Make with the Epsom salts. 1 part salts, 3 part warm water and mix well. by volume.
    Use this brew to top up ‘dry cells’ to between ¼” to ½” over the top of the plate, or
  6. Cure it’s headache by dissolving 12 Aspirin tablets, 3-500 mg, in about 6 oz of warm water, and add equal amounts to each dry cell as in item 2. (Salicylic acid )

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Freedom? You’re kidding right?

This year comes the 2019 Counter Terrorism and Border Security Act.
In it is:- “Amend section 58 of the 2000 Act to make it clear that it is an offense to view or otherwise access terrorist material online without a reasonable excuse; it will be a reasonable excuse if the person does not know, or has no reason to believe, that the material is likely to be useful to a person preparing or committing an act of terrorism, or for a person to access such material for the purposes of carrying out work as a journalist or academic research”.

WTH doesn’t that cover!
When a new situation threat or hazard arises, it is SOP for most preppers and survivalists to research it. As such we gather information about that threat, how it might be used and who by. We also learn the design, capability, hazards and flaws in what might be used.

In exactly the same way the armed forces EOD teams learn.

So to stop us doing that, the laws are being changed, BUT ONLY TO PROTECT US.
It’s the same type of unintended mission creep that happens a lot with ill thought out legislation.
There again, was it ever ‘unintended’?
This kinda falls in with the US Gov approach of declaring anyone who wants to lay in emergency supplies, live self-sufficient, and protect themselves and their own from whatever could occur, to be domestic terrorists.

Great isn’t it, and Ronald Regan’s thoughts once again ring clear in my mind.
“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

Or, in our case, our not so wonderful UK government.