Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Levi's: All-American or Neo-Communism

It seems that everywhere I go recently, I see these massive Levi's billboards along the side of the road. At first, I thought nothing of them. After all, they're just billboards, right? Plus Levi's is an all-American company, right? Visually, these ads are quite striking; mostly black and white, and quite crisp. Stark may be an even better word to describe their look, almost like an homage to depression-era life.
But when I saw the below billboard, I took notice. My opinion changed:
"Everybody's work is equally important"!?
Hmm...does that sound familiar to any of you? It sure sounded familiar to me...and in a sick-to-my-stomach kind of way. This idea is one of Karl Marx's own. In fact, one site even cheerfully refers to these ads as having, "Karl-Marx-approved slogans" [1]. This theme is one that is very much front and center in communism; this idea that we must all be equal, economically. In fact, one way to define communism [2] is as follows:
"Everyone shares everything. No one has more or less money than anyone else. The idea is that everyone deserves to have an equal part of wealth because everyone's work is equally important."
Here are a few snippets from a New York Times article [8] with their take on Levi's ad campaign:
"The “Go forth” campaign is replete with Americana imagery, in keeping with research indicating that teenagers and 20-somethings are patriotic and optimistic about the United States. Those elements include the poetry of Walt Whitman [4], flags, paeans to the pioneering spirit, declarations of independence, salutes to hard work and, in the star-spangled tradition of Madison Avenue, copious amounts of nubile flesh.
"Ads scheduled to run this week in newspapers -- alongside or near reprints of the Declaration of Independence for the Fourth of July -- will echo the style of help-wanted classifieds in seeking “independent minds for a small writing project with long-term publishing possibilities.” “Must have talent for revolutionary thinking,” the ads continue. “Rabble-rousing experience a plus.” On the Levi’s Web site, young computer users will be asked to “take up your pen, you general of the new revolution” and contribute to “the New Declaration of the United States of America.”
"New Declaration of the United States of America"!? Where is this all coming from!?
You may have heard of Walt Whitman -- and maybe you haven't -- but the entire Levi's campaign is based upon his poem, "Pioneers! O, Pioneers!" [3]. Using Whitman as our jumping-off point, here's a brief excerpt about Whitman from the book, "To Walt Whitman, America" [4] by Kenneth M. Price:
"In August, 1938, the Boston Globe reported that a trunk of personal papers belonging to Walt Whitman had been discovered and excitedly urged its readers to master Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" and "Complete Prose" because his "fecundity, breadth of soul, passion for beauty and strength and democracy have made him a symbol of American idealism at its noblest." These claims provoked one outraged reader to lament that Whitman's work was not banned and to assert that he is a "notorious communist."
"Two months later, Ben Shahn elicited similarly heated responses when he planned to quote from a Whitman poem in a federally funded mural, "Resources of America," in the Bronx General Post Office. Shahn's use of an excerpt from "Thou Mother with Thy Equal Brood" in a preliminary sketch was decried as "irreligious," "pagan," expressive of "Asiatic" philosophy, and as "background for two false and fatal pseudo-messianic movements," Bolshevism and Nazism.
"The outraged Globe reader, A. Maurice Farrell of Cambridge, argued that "Walt Whitman is a notorious Communist, and his writings have been for years denounced by respectable and eminent authorities, from both pulpit and press, as vile and unspeakable maunderings. His so-called "poems" were suppressed for years in this very city by the public authorities. It is unfortunate that a lazy and careless public have permitted this well-merited ban to be lifted of recent years."
"Though simplistic, Farrell's labelling of Whitman as a communist was understandable. Whitman had served as an icon for American Leftists for decades: Horace Traubel, Emma Goldman, Newton Arvin, Mike Gold, Langston Hughes -- these were only some of the intellectuals intent on constructing him as a semi-miraculous father figure who, in Gold's words, "rose from the grave to march with us." [4]
And so it would seem that Whitman was, in fact, a communist in philosophy...which, when combined with the imagery and phrases in the Levi's ads, makes these ads a clear-cut case of Communist propaganda. Take, for example, the ad at right: this picture is in-set in the NY Times article. Beneath it, NY Times author Stuart Elliot, has written, "Phrases in the print ads suggest an aesthetic grounded in common sense during tough times."

"Let the average man be divine"!?
Elliot calls that "grounded in common sense"?
No, this is grounded in communist propaganda. And it's urging America's youth to "strike up for the new world" and to "take up your pen, you general of the new revolution."

And with an ignorant youth -- a youth with no sense of our true history; a history littered with the deaths of millions upon millions at the hands of communism -- this is a scary idea. This is when democracy slides toward tyranny. This is when the Liberty to Tyranny cycle [5] becomes complete.
Check out this still shot from the Levi's TV advertisement, below-left, in comparison to Stalin's communist propaganda, below-right:

That hand gesture look familiar? Hitler used it, as did Stalin and's the communist salute, and it's hidden in plain sight within the Levi's TV commercial. 
First, let's take a look at why democracy always slides into communism and tyranny. Factually speaking, the overwhelming majority of people are average: average intelligence, average ambition, average income...just average overall. However, like everything in life, there is a small percentage of the population that excels. They're smarter, they're driven to succeed and they prosper more than the average person. This group, though wealthy and successful, make up but a small percentage of the population.

With that said, you may be wondering why I'm picking on democracy. Why do I believe we can thank our democratic form of governance for our lowly socio-economic reality? Well, quite simply because in a democracy, the majority rules. The group that outnumbers his foes wins. Might equals right. And with average people making up the majority, those who excel are punished in a democracy. With propaganda controlling the minds of the masses, poor decisions are made; decisions that may feel good at the time, but whose promised results (communist utopia) will never come; decisions that lead to communism.

Never will communism achieve equality for all; never will it feed every mouth or clothe every person; never will it create the Utopia promised to its believers by its prophets. It will create a tiny group of rich, powerful oligarchs and a massive population of serfs. History tells the tale.

Free markets and individual liberty have created the most prosperity for the most people the world over. This fact is undeniable, though the powers-that-be wish we'd believe otherwise.

In a Constitutional Republic, if the majority of people say that we must tax the rich more than the average family, this is simply not possible. In such a place -- as we used to be -- there are rules we live by that keep us free from the desires of the majority. Our Constitution, until the 16th amendment, deemed a progressive federal income tax illegal.

But once the 16th amendment was passed, the communistic progressive federal income tax was imposed. It was easy for the powers-that-be to convince the average person -- who, as I said, makes up the majority -- of the need to tax the rich for the benefit of themselves. Legal theft is, after all, quite tempting. Something for nothing always is. Hence the reason government taxes the rich more: everyone agrees it's acceptable; desirable, even. Strange logic considering that by default of making more money, they'd be paying more even at the same tax rate as everyone else. Yet somehow, our twisted sense of self-serving logic deems it morally sound to steal from a person simply because they earn more.

This CNN poll is the perfect example of this morally-bankrupt logic:

Ever since the 16th amendment was signed into law, the whole thing has been propagated via class warfare. Society's puppet masters create the divisive environment in the media; the one that drives us to clash with one another over who deserves what.

Today, class warfare has been renewed! It's was breathes life into these Levi's ads. Everyone hates Wall Street, which is currently the emotional foundation upon which government makes its case to steal yet more of our liberties. The march toward tyranny continues...

Communism always works its way into a society based on this notion that the rich are evil; that they're holding us all back; that somehow, by getting rid of the rich, we'll all get a piece of that pie.

But how illogical is that!?

Who, then, would be creating? Who, then, would be innovating? What would our motivation for betterment and real progress (not progressivism) be? Who would become the driving force of the economy to create the prosperity promised us by communism? Would it be the government, with their innumerable failed agencies and endeavors? With their failed Social Security, their failed Medicare, their failed Amtrak, their failed USPS and their corrupt, corporatist ways? Would that work for freedom and equality? For fairness?

No. It would lead to true poverty. Then who's left to blame?

Ourselves, in our infinite ignorance.

Why does no one realize that there's a group of oligarchs who run, not just the US, but the world economy? As James Garfield once said, "He who controls the money supply of a nation, controls the nation." Don't forget, one of the two main planks upon which the rest of Communism is built is the progressive income tax. This partially allows for the theft of the masses by the banks and those who enable their power over us within government...but only when paired with the other main plank of communism, which is a central bank. In the US, ours is called the Federal Reserve [6].
With a central bank and a progressive income tax, those in power can loot each and every one of our piggy banks without us having a clue, through a process known as "Inflation." This is the true nature of communism:

Believe it or not, the US actually hits on all ten of the planks in Karl Marx's, "Communist Manifesto" [7]. We're very close to true tyranny, unless we wake up to the truth about government: that they cannot secure us or save us; that they can only oppress us. True salvation and security can only be created through individual liberty and self-determination, and by embracing our desires for personal betterment. Our founders intended for our government to simply protect our individual liberty, not protect or care for us.

Today, powerful men control us. And I'm not talking about the wealthy small business owner or the average wealthy corporate exec. I'm referring to those who seek wealth and power; those who flip-flop back and forth between the public and private sector; those who would gain control if the revolution these Levi's ads call for were to occur. Control would not fall to the would fall to a small group of men. And they would give you a leader, like Mao or Che or Stalin or Mussolini or Hitler.

Is that what we want?

There is a difference between wealthy and powerful. The powerful vilify the wealthy as a means to an end. By pointing at the wealthy people, blaming them for what ails this nation, those truly in charge can convince the average -- the masses -- that it is the wealthy who are at fault. Then, when it all falls down in a bloody revolution, the powerful will be there to seize complete control.

Here's the Levi's TV commercial. See if you can spot even more subversive or blatant communist propaganda in it:

And here's a mash-up of a bunch of Levi's ads, from billboards to magazine ads:


[Source Truth Offering, Matt Gordon]

Supercomputer That Sees Like Humans Could Drive Robotic Vehicles

A new supercomputer that "sees" the world very much like humans do could allow cars to drive themselves someday, researchers say.

The supercomputer, dubbed NeuFlow, is based on the mammalian visual system and mimics its neural network to quickly interpret the surrounding environment.

NeuFlow is embedded on a single chip, making the system much smaller and yet more powerful and efficient than a full-scale computer.

"The complete system is going to be no bigger than a wallet, so it could easily be embedded in cars and other places," said Eugenio Culurciello, an associate professor of electrical engineering Yale University who has helped develop NeuFlow.

In order to be able to recognize various objects encountered on the road – such as other cars, people, stoplights, sidewalks, not to mention the road itself – NeuFlow processes tens of megapixel images in real time.

The system is also extremely efficient. It simultaneously runs more than 100 billion operations per second using only a few watts, or less than the power that a cell phone uses, to accomplish what a bench-top computer with multiple graphic processors needs more than 300 watts to accomplish.

"One of our first prototypes of this system is already capable of outperforming graphic processors on vision tasks," Culurciello said.

Beyond autonomous car navigation, the system could be used to improve robot navigation into dangerous or difficult-to-reach locations, to provide 360-degree synthetic vision for soldiers in combat situations, or in assisted living situations where it could be used to monitor motion and call for help should an elderly person fall, for example.

Culurciello presented the results Sept. 15 at the High Performance Embedded Computing (HPEC) workshop in Boston, Mass.

[Via Tech News Daily]

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

SkyLifter, a Flying Inflatable Saucer, Could Carry Entire Buildings

A new airship that is part flying saucer and part blimp could soon carry entire buildings and offer airgoers a fresh way to travel and explore.

Called the SkyLifter and currently in development by an Australian company  of the same name, the concept airship relies on a lighter-than-air chamber for its buoyancy, just like a blimp or a balloon. But rather than a standard spherical, cigar, or "bomb" profile for its air-filled envelope, or aerostat, the SkyLifter has a flat, disk shape.

This innovative, flying saucer-esque configuration does not catch the wind like a sail as much as some other airship designs, and in effect gives the craft greater directional control even in gusty conditions, its designers said.

As a bonus, its discus shape means the SkyLifter does not have a "front" or "back" and can therefore cruise to a destination or maneuver in tight quarters regardless of its orientation.

The flying saucer-shaped aerostat also doubles as a stabilizing parachute when the SkyLifter is vertically setting down cargo. This payload is suspended well below the hovering aerostat for balance, somewhat like a light weight on the end of a balloon string.

So-called Voith Schneider propellers placed around the aerostat and the flight deck pod above the payload module provide both thrust and steering. Solar panels placed across the top of the aerostat and biodiesel engines power the aircraft.

As drawn up by its engineers, the SkyLifter should have an airspeed of about 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour, giving it a range of about 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) in a day, an expected operational period. The dirigible could be set up for low, ground-swooping or for higher atmospheric flight.

The aerostat itself spans some 492 feet (150 meter) in diameter, or about twice the length of a double-decker, wide-body Airbus A380 airplane. Given this setup, SkyLifter's designers said it can carry more than seven times the payload of today's heavy cargo helicopters.

That rounds out to a payload of 165 tons (150 tonnes), enough to transport good-sized, prefabricated buildings, for example, into a rural area. In this way, the SkyLifter could serve as an airship for disaster relief, floating in tons of supplies, or a mobile hospital capable of airlifting out 1,200 people in a single run.

Regular, non-emergency construction purposes, of course, could also be well-met by such a craft, and recreational possibilities abound. (The company has already hinted at a luxury "SkyPalace" module that could stand in for oceanliners.)

For investor reasons, Skylifter is mum when it comes to costs, but the company plans to offer leasing and licensing for its vehicles similar to standard helicopter business agreements.

SkyLifter continues ramping up toward a full-scale production model. A miniature remote-controlled prototype dubbed Betty with 10 foot- (three meter-) diameter aerostat has carried a payload of a about one pound (500 grams) in the lab. A tethered outdoor version called Vikki with a saucer span of 60 feet (18 meter) is being put through its paces.

Next up is a 75 foot (23 meter) aerostat-craft – Nikki – that would leave its moorings for test flights, and in several years, a complete airship nicknamed Lucy might just usher in the era of the SkyLifter.

For more info check out: Sky Lifter

[Via Tech News Daily]

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Stem cell posible cure for HIV?

Three years after receiving a stem cell transplant, one man no longer has HIV. However, scientists caution that this procedure can only be replicated in certain circumstances and merits further study. 
In a new study, German researchers have confirmed that an American man living in Berlin was successfully cured of his HIV infection after having received a blood stem cell transplant in 2007.
"In conclusion, our results strongly suggest that cure of HIV has been achieved in this patient," the researchers write in the abstract to their paper, which was published last week in Blood, a medical journal.

The new paper is a follow-up study by the same German team to one they had published in the New England Journal of Medicine in February 2009. That study found "the patient remained without viral rebound 20 months after transplantation and discontinuation of antiretroviral therapy."

"We weren't able to find HIV in his cells," said Dr. Gero Huetter, a hematologist and professor at the University of Heidelberg, and a co-author of the new paper, in an interview with Deutsche Welle. "The new cells have a natural resistance against HIV."

Three years ago, Timothy Ray Brown had been an HIV-positive leukemia patient. Prior to receiving the stem cell transplant, he underwent intense chemotherapy to completely replace his immune system.
However, the new stem cells that he received had a rare genetic mutation - found naturally in just one percent of Caucasians in northern and western Europe - that causes certain cells to lack a particular receptor, known as the CCR5 receptor, which HIV binds to. At the time Huetter specifically was looking for bone marrow stem cell donors that contained the rare CCR5 deletion.

Since his treatment, the so-called "Berlin patient" has been effectively cured of AIDS and its disease-causing virus, HIV, but also leukemia. This likely makes him the first, and so far, only person ever to have been cured of HIV, out of more than 30 million currently infected people worldwide.
Scientists have previously seen a very small number of cases where the virus does not replicate inside the host and therefore does not cause AIDS. However, these so-called "non-progressives," represent an extremely small percentage of known HIV patients around the world.

An "intriguing" step, AIDS researchers say.
In the wake of the new German paper, AIDS and HIV researchers around the world are starting to take stock of this important finding.
"It's intriguing that this patient does not have a rebound of the HIV replication," said Jens Lundgren, an AIDS researcher and professor at the University of Copenhagen, in an interview with Deutsche Welle. "They have certainly proven the case that there is no apparent residual infection in this person, and the HIV had multiple opportunities to replicate."
Another German AIDS researcher, Dr. Jan Van Lunzen, of the University Hospital Eppendorf in Hamburg, agreed with this assessment.
"It seems that so far, this patient is one that we could call cured from HIV," he said in an interview with Deutsche Welle. "This is the only known case, so far."
But Lundgren cautioned that researchers cannot claim that they have cured AIDS or HIV as this was only one, very particular case.

"We cannot really make statements on cure rates based on a single patient," the researcher, who was not part of the study, added. "This has to be looked at much more comprehensively, and this raises the issue of who wants to undergo a stem cell transplantation? This is not a procedure that you want to do on a whim, if you're otherwise healthy."

Huetter and his colleagues, however, say that the CCR5 technique has a good chance of becoming a new method for treating, or perhaps even curing HIV in the future.
"Probably in five, 10 or 20 years there will be techniques and procedures which can knock down CCR5 in a more complete way and will substitute this current medication of antiretroviral therapy," he said.

[Source: Dw-world]

A more secure smart power grid

The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is on the front lines of securing the emerging smart power grid against potential security threats.

Located in Oak Ridge, Tenn., the laboratory recently won about $7 million in Department of Energy solicitations to develop safeguarding systems against outages caused by nature or manmade threats such as computer hacking.

The smart grid -- a system in which home and municipal utility meters are run through a central hub and monitored and operated over the Internet -- has been a cause of some concern for security experts because of the large scale damage that could arise if it was corrupted.

"A stable electric grid is of huge importance now and will become even more important in the future as we move toward electrification of our transportation system," said Tom King of ORNL's Energy Efficiency and Electricity Technology program.

To that end, ORNL will put its money towards developing several security technologies, including a system for automated software vulnerability detection. Carnegie Mellon University and EnerNext Corp. are partners on that project.

ORNL will also pursue an advanced radio technology called the Next-Generation Secure, Scalable Communications Network. The radio is inherently secure, and will replace the current wireless technology used in smart grids. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Virginia Tech, and Kenexis and Opus Consulting will partner on that research.

[Source: Tech News Daily]

Monday, December 13, 2010

Electric car charging stations coming to select Best Buy stores

Folks looking to get eco-friendly with an electric car—or at least put part of their carbon footprint out of sight over the hills—will soon have one more place they can drive their ultra-quiet vehicles: Ecotality has announced a deal with electronics retailer Best Buy to install Blink EV charging stations at 12 Best Buy locations in Arizona, California, and Washington by March 2011. The pilot program is part of The EV Project, which is seeking to develop an infrastructure for supporting electric-only vehicles. The projects at Best Buy will analyze how EV customers
use the charging stations and develop best practices for creating future EV infrastructure in a variety of locations.

“As the private sector will ultimately drive consumer electric vehicle adoption, our goal has been to establish a charging network
that is conveniently placed in familiar places to meet consumers’ needs,” said Ecotality CEO Jonathan Read, in a statement. “In order for EV infrastructure to be a success, it is essential that private enterprises take an active role. Best Buy has shown true leadership as becoming a launch partner for The EV Project and exemplifies how corporate responsibility initiatives can directly benefit the customer experience, environment and society.”

The EV charging stations will roll out at Best Buy locations in Tuscon, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Seattle. The locations will take into account things like distance from other existing charging stations, proximity to interstates and other major routes, and population density. Electric cars might have their advantages, but one of them is not usually range: for instance, the Nissan Leaf can operate for about 80 to 100 miles between charges, meaning most residential users can’t go much further than 40 or 50 miles from home…unless they know where they can hook up to a charging station along the way. Nissan believes most people will want to charge their electric cars at home overnight, since a complete charge takes several hours, but Blink says its commercial chargers will be able to deliver a “meaningful” charge in as little as 15 minutes.

The commercial Blink Network EV chargers feature color touch screens and connect to a Web-based portal that shows a vehicles’s charge status, history, stats, and billing information, along with a bunch of payment options.

The EV Project, managed by Ecotality, hopes to install some 15,000 commercial and residential charging stations in 16 cities across six states.


[Source: Digital Trends]

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Researchers find mathematical patterns to forecast eathquakes

Researchers from the Universidad Pablo de Olavide (UPO) and the Universidad de Sevilla (US) have found patterns of behavior that occur before an earthquake on the Iberian peninsula. The team used clustering techniques to forecast medium-large seismic movements when certain circumstances coincide.

"Using mathematical techniques, we have found patterns when medium-large earthquakes happen, that is, earthquakes greater than 4.4 on the Richter scale," said Francisco Martínez Álvarez, co-author of the study and a senior lecturer at the UPO.

The research, which will be published this month by the journal Expert Systems with Applications, is based on the data compiled by the Instituto Geográfico Nacional on 4,017 earthquakes between 3 and 7 on the Richter scale that occurred on the Iberian Peninsula and in the surrounding waters between 1978 and 2007.

The scientists applied clustering techniques to the data, which allowed them to find similarities between them and discover patterns that will help to forecast earthquakes.

The team concentrated on the two seismogenic regions with the most data (The Alboran Sea and the Western Azores-Gibraltar fault region) analysing three attributes: the magnitude of the seismic movement, the time elapsed since the last earthquake and the change in a parameter called the b-value from one earthquake and the other. The b-value reflects the tectonics of the region under analysis.

A high b-value means earthquakes are predominantly small in size and, therefore, the land has a low level of resistance. In contrast, a low value indicates that there are a relatively similar number of large and small seismic movements, which implies the land is more resistant.

Successful Forecast Probability Greater than 80%

"We have discovered the strong relationship between earthquakes and the parameter b-value, recording accuracy rates of more than 80%," Antonio Morales Esteban, another of the co-authors of the study and a senior lecturer at the US highlighted. "After the calculations had been performed, providing the circumstances and sequences we have determined to be forerunners occur, we obtain a significant success probability."

The technique summarises the forecasts in two factors: sensitivity (probability of an earthquake occurring after the patterns detected occur) and specificity (probability of an earthquake not occurring when no patterns have occurred).

The results reflect a sensitivity of 90% and specificity of 82.56% for the Alboran Sea region and 79.31% and 90.38% respectively for the seismogenic region of the Western Azores-Gibraltar Fault.

That is, there is a high probability of an earthquake in these regions immediately after the patterns discovered occur (high sensitivity) and, moreover, on most of such occasions, they only occur after the patterns discovered (high specificity).

At present the team is analyzing the same data using their own algorithms based on "association rules," other mathematical techniques used to discover common events or those which fulfill specific conditions within a set of events.

"The results are promising, although I doubt we will ever be able to say that we are capable of forecasting an earthquake 100% accurately," Martínez Álvarez conceded.

[Source: Science Daily]

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

NASA Tells Us That Life As We Know It, Isn't

Image from Rosemary Bliss on Flickr
This post was written by contributing writer Noel F. Gayle

Above is one of the many pictures of Mono Lake in California that will be popping up across the internet in the next few days. It was here that Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a geomicrobiologist and NASA Astrobiology Research Fellow and colleagues found the organism that would bear out their theories. The previously assumed six essential elements of life are Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus and Sulphur (CHNOPS). Phosphorus and Arsenic are back to back on the periodic table and are so close that Arsenic is able to piggy back on the systems that phosphorus uses, injecting itself into cells and leading to cell death. Wolfe-Simon believed them to be close enough that one should be able to be substituted for the other within the workings of the cell, despite Arsenic's extreme toxicity to living organisms.

Mono Lake is an Endorheic or closed basin, having no outlet or connection to the ocean and being the end of the line for water runoff in its local watershed. Any salts dissolved in the runoff end up there and stay there, leading to the very high levels of salinity present in the lake. All organisms living in and off of the lake are adapted to these conditions. It was here that Wolfe-Simon and colleagues came seeking her organism.

"Wolfe-Simon and her colleagues collected mud from the lake and added the samples to an artificial salt medium lacking phosphate but high in arsenate. They then performed a series of dilutions intended to wash out any phosphate remaining in the solution and replace it with arsenate. They found that one type of microbe in the mix seemed to grow faster than others."

This organism, designated GFAJ-1, apparently flourished despite its isolation from phosphate, an integral ingredient for energy transfer within an cell. Upon closer inspection, the arsenic was found to be present in all the areas they would have expected to see phosphorus, in similar amounts.

This has shaken up the scientific community, who now have to come to terms with the possibility that their belief that CHNOPS, the acronym of the six elements mentioned above, was at the basis of all life. Wolfe-Simon has hailed this development as essential to understanding "the essential flexibility of life." Phosphorus is an essential part of energy transference within a cell, as well as being the primary ingredient of the backbone of our DNA.

Many are skeptical about the announced findings, suggesting a range of theories to explain how arsenic could appear to be substituting itself  for phosphorus without actually doing so. Others suggest that the cells might only be using the Arsenic in specific places, not the widespread integration that the findings might suggest. Whatever the outcome of that debate, Wolfe-Simon herself acknowledges that there is a lot of work still to be done. "We still have 30 years of work ahead to figure out what's going on."

[Sources: ,]

Bloom Laptop - transforms/disassembles down to recycleable materials

A new laptop designed by students may not self-destruct in 30 seconds, but it can be disassembled in about that amount of time, which makes it easier to safely dispose of when it’s time to throw it out.

A group of seven graduate students, from Stanford University and Finland’s Aalto University, created a prototype of a recyclable laptop as a project for a corporate-sponsored mechanical-engineering class.

The invention, called the Bloom laptop, is made mostly of materials that can be recycled alongside ordinary household items, like metal, plastic, and glass. Materials like LCD screens and circuit boards, which need to be sent to specialized recycling facilities, can be easily separated in a few steps.

“I think where the group really nailed it on the head is where they tried to understand how to modify consumer behavior in a way that would promote green thinking,” said John Feland, who leads the Stanford class involved in the project. “If the design of the computer involves the consumer in the process of changing the environment, it becomes easier for people to do the right thing.”

The group was one of 10 teams in the Stanford engineering design class that received a challenge from a corporate sponsor, Autodesk. The company wanted a completely recyclable consumer-electronics product. However, the choice of the product was completely up to the students.

Aaron Engel-Hall, a Stanford mechanical-engineering graduate student and one of the group members, said making that decision took nearly nine months for the group. Through testing, the group discovered that it took them an average of 45 minutes and 120 steps to dismantle an ordinary laptop.

The students were also intrigued by the relatively short life of a laptop, averaging around two years, since that short life span increased the pace that waste entered the environment. These discoveries, Mr. Engel-Hall said, inspired the group to focus their attention on simplifying the laptop deconstruction process by designing pieces that could slide or snap apart, resulting in an end-product that Mr. Feland calls “where origami meets electronic engineering.”

In addition to encouraging recycling of old laptops, Mr. Feland said the Bloom design could also be both a more economical and greener laptop in other ways. The design makes it easier for consumers to replace the parts themselves, rather than scrap it if something goes wrong, he said.

Mr. Feland acknowledged that there are some minor technical hurdles in the design that need to be overcome before it can be produced for a wider market—such as the prototype’s size and weight.

The design has yet to be embraced by any laptop manufacturers, but all of the ideas are openly available through Autodesk’s Web site. Mr. Feland said corporate-sponsored classes have been a part of Stanford for 45 years, because they allow students to work on solutions for real problems companies are facing with the opportunity to experiment and fail—a luxury he said the real world doesn’t provide.

[Source Chronicle]

Monday, November 29, 2010

Video: Dan Phillips on creative houses from reclaimed stuff

Just found this video of Dan Phillips via TED. Here's a previous post about the Bone House. He has a company that builds homes using recycled and found materials.

Wonder food made of algae used to fight malnutrition

A nutritious blue-green algae, known as spirulina, has been added to school meals in Jordan to combat chronic malnutrition and anemia among children.
Almost one in ten Jordanian children suffer from chronic malnutrition, or long-term protein or energy deficiency, while a third are anaemic, according to a survey by the Jordanian Department of Statistics (DOS) made public in March.

The Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina against Malnutrition (IIMSAM), which has observer status with the UN Economic and Social Council, says spirulina is rich in protein and vitamin B, and contains beta-carotene that can overcome eye problems caused by Vitamin A deficiency. A tablespoon a day can eliminate iron anaemia, the most common mineral deficiency.

According to IIMSAM, a pilot feeding programme in two Kenyan schools from April 2009 to April 2010 helped cure 1,350 pupils suffering from malnutrition. The World Food Programme estimates that 22 per cent  of children under the age of five in Kenya are malnourished, significantly higher than the 15 per cent level which the World Health Organization uses as a threshold to describe an emergency situation.
Naseer S. Homoud, director of IIMSAM's Middle East Office, said spirulina has a role in fighting malnourishment, especially in children, and referred to "its low cost of farming as it can be grown even on infertile land and without a large water supply."

"Climatic changes are affecting our traditional ways of producing food — we had to find unconventional sources of nutrition," Jordan's minister of agriculture Mazen Khasawneh said. But he would not comment on the spirulina trial. "It is still too early to know if it is a successful experiment or not," he said.

First indications are that children at the early stages of primary education don't take to school meals with added spirulina. Pupil Khaled Sarhan said that, at first, he did not like the taste of school biscuits containing spirulina, but "after my teacher told me how useful it is, I got used to the taste after two or three days."
"Spirulina's bitter taste will be the main problem in spreading its use among children," Ahmed Khorshed, professor of food industries at Egypt's Agricultural Research Centre said, "but adding it to other food, like biscuits, could solve the taste problem partially."

The project will report to the minister of agriculture by June 2011. If successful, spirulina meals will be expanded and could be rolled out elsewhere in the Middle East.
"Egypt will be our next stop," IIMSAM director-general, Remigio Maradona, said.

- Hazem Badr
[Source SciDev]

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Earth Berm (Hobbit) House

This post was written by contributing writer Noel. Visit his home on the web at

Simon Dale believes in the concept of living in tandem with nature and the environment at large. So much so in fact, that he, his wife and a few mates that he recruited for heavy lifting from time to time, went ahead and built what is being called the Hobbit House; their unique version of an Earth Berm house.

'The house was built with maximum regard for the environment and by reciprocation gives us a unique opportunity to live close to nature. Being your own (have a go) architect is a lot of fun and allows you to create and enjoy something which is part of yourself and the land rather than, at worst, a mass produced box designed for maximum profit and convenience of the construction industry. Building from natural materials does away with producers profits and the cocktail of carcinogenic poisons that fill most modern buildings.' (from the site)

The tools used were a chainsaw, a hammer and a one inch chisel, as well as good old muscle and human ingenuity. He claims to have little experience with building in general, holding out that anyone can construct this kind of structure. 

Examples of the features of the house are:
 - Solar panels for all their energy needs
 - An air cooled fridge
 - Fixtures and fittings from reclaimed materials
 - Running water from a nearby spring and powered by gravity. 
 - Straw filled walls, covered in lime plaster for ease of building and insulation
 - All the comforts of modern living as well as being close to nature
Below are pictures of Simon and his wife and his two children, as well as a video of him explaining his reasons for choosing to live in this manner. 


Friday, October 29, 2010

Destination Space for Virgin Galactic

UPHAM, N.M. — Virgin Galactic's Sir Richard Branson, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and prospective astronauts gathered in the southern New Mexico desert Friday to celebrate the completion of the runway at the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport.

Spaceport America is the world's first facility designed specifically to launch commercial spacecraft. The celebration of its nearly-two-mile-long runway comes less than two weeks after another major step for Virgin Galactic: the first solo glide flight of its space tourism rocket ship.

"Today is very personal as our dream becomes more real," Branson said. "People are beginning to believe now. I think the drop flight two weeks ago, which went beautifully, I think it made people sit up and realize this is really reality."

The British billionaire said the next is more rocket testing, and getting the vehicle called SpaceShipTwo into space. He said he expects flights for space tourists to begin in nine to 18 months, and he will be among the first passengers.

Stretching across a flat dusty plain 45 miles north of Las Cruces, the runway is designed to support almost every aircraft in the world, day-to-day space tourism and payload launch operations.
Virgin Galactic is the anchor tenant of the taxpayer-funded spaceport and plans to use the facility to take tourists on what will first be short hops into space. State officials want to add companies for other commercial space endeavors, such as research and payload delivery missions.

"Each flight we make, we'll learn more, we'll experience, we'll open up more opportunities that we cannot even conceive of today," Branson said. "This history, we're making it right now."
Virgin Galactic's White Knight Two — the special jet-powered mothership that will carry SpaceShipTwo to launch altitude — also made an appearance Friday, passing over the spaceport several times before landing on the new runway.

Tickets for suborbital space rides aboard SpaceShipTwo cost $200,000. The 2½-hour flights will include about five minutes of weightlessness. Some 380 customers have already made deposits totaling more than $50 million, Virgin Galactic officials said Friday.

Branson, the president of Virgin Group, which counts airlines, entertainment and mobile communications among its businesses, partnered with famed aviation designer Burt Rutan on the venture.

Until now, space travel has been limited to astronauts and a handful of wealthy people who have shelled out millions to ride Russian rockets to the international space station.

Some of the soon-to-be astronauts attended Friday's runway dedication, joined by Buzz Aldrin, who walked on the moon in 1969 as part of NASA's Apollo 11 mission.

While space tourism projects such as Virgin Galactic's venture receive plenty of publicity, the commercial space industry is seeing rapid developments with companies like SpaceX of Hawthorne, Calif., seeking to win NASA work to supply the International Space Station.

SpaceX has successfully placed a dummy payload into orbit and has contracts to lift satellites next. Other firms, including Masten Space Systems of Mojave, Calif., and Armadillo Aerospace of Rockwell, Texas, are testing systems that would carry unmanned payloads to space.

Last month, Congress approved legislation that affirms President Barack Obama's intent to use commercial carriers to lift humans into near-Earth space.


Book a flight directly from Virgin Galactic for $200,000 - deposit of $20,000

[Source Virgin Galactic and AP]

Monday, October 25, 2010

Trigun: The Acts of the $$60 Billion Dollar Man

 Post by Chandra Jenkins

A man of many names, Vash the Stampede serves as the main character for what may be one of the best anime series ever.

Set in the distant future, on a distant planet, Trigun follows the gun slinging exploits of Vash. He has an extremely large bounty on his head, which makes him the target of every dodgy character and bounty hunter in the world. And he has two very nice insurance agents, Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson, on his trail to hold him accountable for the devastation he leaves behind in every town he stops in.

From the opening, viewers are set to follow the amazing exploits of a gunslinger extraordinaire. And then you meet Vash. He would be the best bet for a team scrambling to grab the final scraps of food in town, and he would make you and everyone else alive cry from laughing. His heart for people becomes obvious as the list of towns rebuilding, but not burying piles of dead, grows longer. As he meets up with another gunslinger, Nicholas D. Wolfwood, we learn that Vash intentionally stops people from being fatally shot. And as the series hits its stride, Knives, Vash’s brother and antithesis, walks into the series.

I have loved this series since my best friends shared their DVD set with me between college assignments. Though laughter creates a large part of the sound track, this series deals with the tough issues humanity would face in the end. The lack of equal access to food and the constant threat of the desert surroundings provide ample situations where the best, and the worst, of humanity shine through. The secondary characters provide the heart, and drive Vash to ultimately face the soul of the world they all inhabit.

The series could have focused solely on the gun fighting ability of Vash, or made him a monster that had to be tamed. Instead, Trigun follows an outcast who follows his heart and tries to make sense of a world devastated by some ancient and almost forgotten disaster. If the world is half as together after we blow ourselves up or suffer some great natural disaster as the world Vash and the others wander through, I think I’d be pretty content.

Trigun has been nearly impossible for those of us on a budget prepped for the worst to find in recent years. But Funimation is releasing the entire series on DVD Oct. 26, 2010. I’m very excited to relive the adventures of Vash and pick up tips on how best to survive in a wasteland. Maybe this time when I watch the series the ending will make sense.

Watch 8 minutes of Episode 1:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kelly Kettle - woodburning portable stove

I scour the net for material for this site - part of it is survival/camping/outdoor gears, I came across this beauty called he Kelly Kettle. It's a woodburning portable kettle/stove. Has a unique design and boils water pretty fast based on some videos I've been watching. This is definitely on my wish list.

Here's a good video of a camp out and using the Kelly Kettle to boil water and cook. Doesn't take much to get the fire started.


Here's another video of a review for Kelly Kettle - he actually times how long it takes to get a rolling boil which doesn't take very long at all and he only had to use a few sticks and twigs he found in the yard to get the fire going. Good demo footage.


Visit the Kelly Kettle site.

Zombie tribute poster

Check out this detailed poster using names of 978 zombie movies, books, and games.

Go here for a larger image.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bug out Bag (BOB)

A bug-out bag is a portable kit that contains the items one would require to survive for seventy two hours when evacuating from a disaster. It is also known as a 72-hour kit, a grab bag,a battle box, and other popular names include GO Bag and GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge)bag. The focus is on evacuation, rather than long-term survival, distinguishing the bug-out bag from a survival kit, a boating or aviation emergency kit, or a fixed-site disaster supplies kit. The kits are also popular in the survivalism subculture. (From Wikipedia - BOB)

The bug-out-bag is probably the most clichéd emergency preparation in the history of survivaldom. Some people focus so much on compiling their BOB that they lose track of much more important survival matters, while others are so biased against the ‘bug out’ concept that they refuse to even consider putting one together. In the world of survival research, preppers sometimes position themselves on the far ends of the opinion spectrum. To be sure, some strategies simply do not work and will never work, and to be uncompromising in those instances is reasonable, especially when you are dealing with such extremes as economic collapse. However, in my endless war against ‘assumption’, I would point out that rigidity in thinking often leads to tragedy for those in the midst of a social breakdown. Adaptability is the key to survival, and because of this, we cannot discount certain options out of hand.

The bug-out-bag should not be a primary concern of the survivalist, but it should be somewhere on their list. First and foremost, those who wish to prepare for a collapse event or other disaster should focus on survival location (where will you be safest? At home, or at a retreat?), food storage (a year’s worth for each person in your family or group is really the bare minimum, though some retreatists have the skill to get by on less), water allocation (if the tap stops running, how will you maintain a water supply? Remember, the average person can die after three days without water), and self defense (how are you going to defend the supplies you have from those wandering looters who did not prepare? How many people do you know that you can actually count on to stand their ground when the situation grows truly frightening?) If you haven’t already addressed these important issues, having a BOB will do you no good.

Have you ever watched a boxing or martial arts match and known immediately which guy was going to lose? That’s how I feel about those people who are obsessed with the bug-out strategy. They have lost before the fight has even begun.

On the other hand, there are those preppers who believe they are so safe in their survival location that they can’t be bothered with secondary retreats or even a bug-out-bag. This is equally foolish. As intuitive and as well researched as survivalists are, we still have no way of knowing what would really happen in the event of a total meltdown. Could your homestead be the future site of a refugee highway? Could your retreat and your independence be considered a threat by “authorities” intent on restoring their brand of order? Could a poorly maintained campfire on one side of your county set a forest fire that sweeps through to the other side, right through your home where you have staked all your survival hopes? There are an infinite number of reasons why you may one day have to leave your primary retreat location, possibly without warning. No one is invincible, and sometimes it’s better to walk away and live to fight another day. This is where the BOB comes in…
The bug-out-bag offers you a CHANCE at survival when all else seems lost. This is its purpose. The more ingenuity invested in the design of your BOB, the better your chance will be. Finding items and tools that streamline efficiency, space, weight, or serve two or more functions at once is crucial in organizing a high performance pack. In this way, building a BOB becomes a sort of art form. In this article, we will go over some great methods for taking your bug-out-bag to the next level.

Bug Out Bag Essentials
Most people who frequent survival sites are well aware of BOB basics. For the sake of those who are new to the concept, I’ll rehash most of these items (we all started somewhere). It’s possible I will forget to include some gear that people find essential. Hey, there’s a lot to remember! By all means, please leave a comment listing the items you believe should be included, but don’t send me emails admonishing me for my negligence (I once left out ‘toilet paper’ in a survival gear article and received dozens of finger-wagging letters in my mailbox).
The items below should adequately cover the Big Four; food, water, shelter, and self defense, as well as the special tools used in their acquisition, and those items required for personal health.

Bug-Out Backpack: A lot of people forget to include research on the ‘bag’ part of the “bug-out-bag”. Your choice of pack is probably the most important of all, and will affect your comfort and efficiency throughout any survival situation. Things to consider include size, durability, as well as how much you can honestly carry over long distances.
Most hiking packs are categorized by size, which measures their carrying capacity in liters. Smaller packs, or ‘daypacks’ are usually between 15 and 35 liters, multi-day packs range between 40 to 75 liters. For your purposes, a multi-day pack is the best choice.
Some packs are set on a frame which helps your body in supporting the weight of your gear over long distances. I have found though that a frame is not absolutely necessary and tends to be a matter of preference. Military ‘molle’ wear also offers the ability to easily strap compatible pouches onto your existing bag
There seems to be quite an ongoing debate among survivalists as to the “appearance” of the BOB pack. On one side, people hold that military grade bags in camo should be standard. On the other, people scoff at the idea of hiking across the countryside in military gear, possibly scaring the bejeezus out of everyone you come across. My personal take; go for the military style gear, or at least look for very subdued and earthy colors. I find that the anti-military gear argument is rather faulty. In a collapse scenario that is so disastrous it calls for a survivalist to “bug out”, it seems rather unlikely that the average person you run into will be in a position to care about what you are wearing, let alone be able to do anything about it. If a prepper was to run around in combat duds and a camo combat pack today, I would call him crazy. In a social breakdown tomorrow, I would call him smart.
Camo makes you less visible. I’m not sure what the problem is here. Unless you enjoy being chased relentlessly by thugs and maniacs, I suggest choosing a military surplus pack over that nifty new bright red JanSport.

Bug-Out Food: Food acquisition is probably the most difficult obstacle in a bug-out scenario. Weight and space are at a premium. You could load up enough food in your pack to last you a week or more, but that would leave little space for anything else. This is where you have to apply the art of efficiency.
What you are looking for are food items that cover a wide range of health requirements, contain a high amount of calories, and take up very little space. I have found that protein and energy bars, trail mixes, chocolates, and jerky, are all perfect for the BOB. Peanuts and other legumes are very high in calories (some trail mixes contain over 1000 calories in a single cup). Protein bars usually hold around 250 to 300 calories in a very small package, not to mention, they are a good source of necessary vitamins and minerals. Jerky is not very high in calories, but it does give you protein and that satisfying feeling of “fullness”, which is sometimes just as important. Chocolate is high in calories, fats, and sugars. In our regular environment where active people are rare, we are taught to avoid these things, but in a survival situation, you want as much calories, sugar, and fat as you can get!
Despite these space saving foods, your supplies will run out quickly, likely far faster than you had hoped. Prepare for this eventuality carefully. Memorize the wild edible plants common to your region of the country, and carry a small edible plant guide for good measure (never forget, dandelions are your friend). Be sure to carry snare wire for catching small game, and a small fishing kit with extra hooks, sinkers, and strong line.
Survival fishing is not a leisure activity. You will not need a rod and you will not be sitting around waiting for a bite. Staking a line across a river with several baited hooks for the day is your best chance of catching at least one if not several fish, all while your out making better use of your time. Gill Nets are also an option, though illegal for sport fishing in most states today, it is doubtful you will care much during a collapse.
Hunting will be difficult. Carrying more than one standard firearm when bugging out is not recommended, and if you have to choose only one, take your primary defense weapon. There are options, though. A combat rifle in .308 can also be loaded with hunting ammo for large game, serving two purposes at once. Another option, for smaller game, is the Henry AR-7 .22 rifle, which weighs less than a full canteen, collapses down into its waterproof floating stock, and is acceptably accurate out to 50 yards:

While perhaps a little too bulky to fit inside your pack, it could still be easily strapped to the side of your pack and the extra weight is negligible. 200 rounds of .22 LR ammo weighs virtually nothing and can be nestled into your BOB without trouble.

Bug-Out Water: Water is a weight killer. Don’t expect to carry much. Plan your bug-out route to intersect natural water sources, and carry at least one thick plastic sheet, garbage bag, or poncho for rain collection in conjunction with your canteen. Water purifying tablets are great in the short term, but a portable water filtration unit is a must for longer term situations, especially when dealing with very dirty water sources. The Katadyn Hiker Pro is one of the most common units used today and the filters are widely available in sporting goods stores:

There are many other brands available, but I would stress using filters that are common, mainly because you are more likely to find replacement filters for trade in a post-collapse environment. Be sure to stock at least one extra filter cartridge to avoid having to make this trade too soon.

Bug-Out Shelter: Hopefully, if you have to bug out, you already have a pre-planned destination. There is nothing more dangerous than wandering around aimlessly during a collapse hoping to stumble across a good situation. As you travel, you will need temporary shelters to get you to that designated primary shelter.
Hiking anywhere takes a lot of energy, and you will probably need to set camp at some point along the way. In a group, you can sleep in shifts while others stand watch. If you are alone, the safety hazards are considerable. Sleeping at all will take effort due to the pressing uncertainty in the back of your mind, especially when a single moment of unconsciousness could leave you vulnerable.
Carrying a tent, even a top of the line lightweight all-season tent, is not realistic during a bug-out trek. The extra weight could be used for more important items, such as food, and one can easily build a makeshift shelter from available materials. 550 paracord is extremely useful in shelter construction. Plastic zip ties also work well. Dead wood from the forest floor supplies the rest. Choosing the right location is the number one priority. On high ground, in treacherous terrain, away from water sources, is actually ideal. The harder it is for you to get to your temporary shelter, the harder it will be for other people to get there as well. Terrain alone can deter most would be attackers. Generally, looters and other undesirables look for easy prey on easy ground.

Using existing rock formations, fallen trees, caves, etc. helps to obscure your presence, and covering your shelter with live mosses and fauna blends its shape in with the surroundings. A heavy duty thermal blanket can be used to insulate your shelter during cold nights. Light and fire discipline cannot be overstated, which is another reason why eating foods that require no preparation is important, at least a majority of the time. The goal is to avoid altercation, to go as unnoticed as possible until you reach your primary retreat.

Bug-Out Health: Without your health, you aren’t worth much to anyone, especially yourself. A bug-out event favors those who are energetic, athletic, and immune system conscious. Before an event even occurs, you should already be focusing on improving the mechanics of your body to the utmost precision. You should be a fine tuned and flexible machine (or at least as close as you can get). This includes the old guys out there who are grumbling at me as they read this. I’m not old, but I’m not so young anymore either. If you are serious about survival preparation, exercise a little everyday, and I mean EVERYDAY, especially jogging for endurance.

Get off the garbage prepackaged foods filled with poisonous chemicals and preservatives. Go organic if you can afford it. Quit smoking, quit drinking (at least cut down. No one can resist a good beer every once in a while, not even me), quit heavy drug use (this includes illegal and legal psychotropic substances), and get in shape for heaven’s sake! I know, it sounds like I’m telling you to have no fun. I’m not. I’m telling you to have a little less fun for the sake of your own survival. It’s worth it, trust me.
Pack wool socks. If you damage your feet due to cold, and lose your mobility, you will not survive. Frostbite is a notorious problem in survival situations.
Include a ‘snivel kit’ in your pack for minor illness and injury, with bandages, aspirin, pepto chewables, etc. I hate to say it, but diarrhea will probably be a more formidable enemy than any looters you might come across in a bug-out scenario. Normally, it’s just a minor irritation, but during a collapse, it could easily dehydrate and kill you. Packing preventative medications and choosing your water sources carefully could save you from a most excruciating experience.
Use herbal supplements or teas, like Echinacea and Elderberry, to maintain a resilient immune system. I have not used any antibiotics or vaccinations in a decade and I am rarely ill. Your immune system can handle almost anything if you take care of it properly.
Pack a camper towel and biodegradable liquid camper soap. Stay clean as often as possible. Take good care of your teeth! Imagine a tooth problem during a bug-out! Carry non-fluoride baking soda toothpaste and a brush. Use a dab of peroxide to kill germs. Not only does this save you from tooth loss, it also keeps your smile pretty, which seems irrelevant, but during a collapse, you need every advantage. Flash a rotted gnarly grin at someone who could help you, and they will instinctively want to walk the other way, no matter how nice you act. That’s just how people are. Keeping teeth white during a collapse? Try eating wild strawberries or strawberries from a garden if you can. Strawberries are filled with malic acid, which removes plaque.
Rest when you are sick, even if it takes a few days. Do not try to push on until you have battled your cold or flu back. Otherwise, it will stick with you for weeks, and even cause serious damage.

Bug-Out Tools: Here is a broad list of items every bug-out-bag should have, in no particular order…
Magnesium Striker
Waterproof Matches
Snare Wire
Fishing Kit
2 Compasses
Compact Binoculars
Topographical Map (know the terrain you are heading towards)
Camper Knife/Fork/Spoon Combo
Camp Knife (for work)
Combat Knife (for defense)
Leatherman Multi-tool
Wire Saw (get one with leather straps, not metal rings)
Folding Camper Saw (for bigger jobs)
550 Paracord
Plastic Zip Ties
Carabiners (numerous uses)
Small Sewing Kit (pack extra needles)
Snivel Kit (don’t forget Quick-Clot and poison oak/ivy soap)
Folding Shovel
Small Knife Sharpening Stone
Compact Mess Kit (get steel for durability and stay away from aluminum)
TOILET PAPER!!! (get a thick roll, cut out the cardboard center, and smash it down)
2 Thick Emergency Thermal Blankets
Small Camp Stove (I recommend the Bushbuddy Stove)
Water Purification Tablets
Katadyn Water Filter
LED Flashlight (cover light with small piece of clear red plastic to reduce visibility)
Rechargeable Batteries
2 Pairs of Wool Socks (even if you bug-out in the Summer)
Solid Leather Boots (wear these, and make sure they’re worn in before an event occurs)
Small Survival Guide (helps you to remember possible strategies)
Wild Edible Plant Guide
This seems like an incredible amount of items to carry around on your back, but all of it should fit quite easily into your BOB if you use the space wisely, and the weight should not be an issue. Pack contents will also vary depending on personal survival strategies, but most of these tools should be present in your bag regardless of conditions.

Advanced Bug-Out Gear

So now that you have all your essentials organized, and have found that you actually still have room in your pack for more goodies, you’re wondering what items could give you that extra edge, that advantage that tips the odds in your favor. Let’s go over a few special pieces of gear that could make bugging out much easier.

Brunton 26 Folding Solar Panels: The Brunton 26 is just the right size for your bug-out-bag; not too big, but not so small that it has trouble charging your electronic items. I have this system myself and have no complaints. A small intermediary battery pack may be necessary though when connecting to such items as 15 minute battery chargers, so that current is properly regulated. I can think of numerous electronics that are useful during a collapse, and these durable solar panels ensure they will always be operational.

Two Way Radios: If you travel by yourself, these aren’t very practical to carry, but if you are working in a group, they are a must. There are many models to choose from, but finding a set with security and private channel options is a priority, ensuring that other people will not be listening in on your conversations. They often advertise a range of 15 miles or more, but their real range when not in perfectly flat terrain usually ends up being around 2-3 miles, which should still be adequate for your purposes.

Night Vision, IR Flashlight: I’ve written quite a bit about night vision for the survivalist, and I think the advantages are obvious. I suggest buying a decent but cheaper model, and then finding a powerful IR Flashlight. Night vision uses IR rays like an invisible spotlight, and adding another IR flashlight could increase your range greatly.

Mini-Digital Video Camera: This serves several purposes. It can be used for surveillance and for mapping dangerous areas. Instead of sitting in a hazardous place drawing a site picture, you can walk up, take a minute of video, and then walk away for later viewing. Another use; video diary. If you are alone in a survival situation, you might find yourself losing your mental composure. Talking to the camera and recording your thoughts might take the edge off the tension and help you get through alive. Finally, you never know what you might see on your trek. Perhaps things no one would believe if you told them. Video evidence might be important, even during a collapse.

Shotgun Signal Alarm: A cheap trip wire device that sets off a blank 12 gauge shell, or sometimes a flare. Gives you a heads up and a head start on anyone moving towards your camp. Also can deter those who now know that you know that they are coming.

Smoke Grenade: These are perfectly legal to own and not too difficult to find on the web for purchase. Especially useful during an ambush in which you are at a severe disadvantage. Gives you an opportunity to make a clean getaway, or at least buys you time to find a better tactical position.

NukAlert Key Chain: You never know what you might run into during a collapse, especially if international tensions are involved. A meter which is always running and alerts you when approaching dangerous radioactivity could save your life. Though most highly volatile gamma radiation falls to safe levels after two weeks of initial exposure, you should still be concerned about consumption of affected substances. Irradiated water sources, for instance, are undetectable to the eye, and without a device like the NukAlert, you would never know what you were drinking. The device is very small, and is also designed to be immune against an Electromagnetic Pulse.

The Most Important Bug-Out Tool Of All
I could probably go on for another several pages about gear options and items, but that would be overlooking the most important tools of all; your brain, and your spirit.
Smart survivalists, with a solid knowledge base and a powerful intuition, are the most likely to succeed under the worst of conditions. Intelligent, logical, and precise action can turn a catastrophe into any other day, and this is no exaggeration. Most catastrophes befall those who are unprepared, those who lack knowledge. For the smart survivalist, a catastrophe is simply an obstacle he has already trained to remove, and nothing to be overly frightened of.

The spirited survivalist draws on an inexhaustible well of determination. He is like a human avalanche, bursting through any barrier no matter how impassable it might seem. He never stops. He never gives up. He knows there is ALWAYS a way, an answer to any problem. He understands that most people who die in survival situations die on the inside first. They give in to the elements psychologically, and the rest follows from there.
A bug-out event is definitely one of the worst scenarios I can think of, mainly because it involves so many unknowns. But, with a well planned BOB, a level head, and a defiant heart, nothing is impossible. You can live through it. Never forget it. It can be done!

[Source NeitherCorp Press]

Sidenote: This is just one variation of a BOB. It'll vary based on your situation/needs/location. I'm currently putting together a couple of emergency backpacks (1 to leave in truck, 1 for home). Will post it here when fully assembled. If you have one at home, even a very basic one - feel free to send me photos and a list of what you have, Would be more than happy to post it here.