Market Curiosity: Exploring Markets And Systems

July 13, 2009

Preparing for open ended events… “Mastery lends itself toward simplicity.” — Bruce Lee

Filed under: Editorials — Jeff Fitzmyers @ 2:33 am


Pareto’s Law and How I Survived a Real Disaster With a Survival Cache: Learning How to Learn, by David H: … the most important primary ‘how-to’ skill, is how to process information with Pareto’s Law… We must learn how to actively seek out the smallest changes that produce the largest results…

Reasons to make some general preparations:

Desperation and panic grip Japan Survivors of Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami huddled in shelters and hoarded supplies… survivors lined up for drinking water in town centers, filling teapots and plastic containers. … long lines formed outside a damaged supermarket as hundreds waited for medicine, water and other supplies… “All the shops are closed, this is one of the few still open. So I came to buy and stock up on diapers, drinking water and food”… By evening, many gathered in the village’s evacuation center, keeping warm around fires… “People make manuals for earthquakes, but when the earthquake actually happens, can you actually follow the manual?… Everyone runs away when things are shaking, and they ask you to stop the gas and fire in your house, but you do not have enough space for this in your brain.”

Richard Maybury’s US & World Early Warning Report focuses on how closely a group follows the 2 laws: “Do all you have agreed to do. And do not encroach on other persons or their property.” His view is the amount of freedom and prosperity is directly related to how closely these laws are followed. Not following them has very predictable results. He has an excellent track record. Conclusion: the US dollar will fail. Prosperity comes from enhancing value, not printing money and laws.
Dmitry Orlov lived both in the USSR and the USA and has a wonderful compare and contrast summery: Closing the ‘Collapse Gap’: the USSR was better prepared for collapse than the US

Ramification? Activities could become much more localized: If oil producers eschew federal reserve notes, fuel price increases could make transportation of goods very expensive. And large parts of the economy are Just-In-Time systems where one missing part can hobble a whole assembly line. Medicines can have lots of different inputs.

It is prudent to prepare for challenging times.
+ Stuff To Consider When Planning For SHTF Scenarios: 20 lessons
+ Home Reliance Group
+ Quick-Start Guide for Preparedness Newbies
+ A list of lists.
+ C. Crane’s preparation tips for car, house and cache
+ Preparedness ebook

What to prepare for and how the time frame? Earthquakes (a week), pandemics (2-3 months), devaluation (6 months to 2 years)? Research suggested it is safer, easier and more cost effective to plan for the worst — being a despondent refugee with nothing — but expect the best.

One method is to implement the following items one step at a time until you feel comfortable. If you get a bit more concerned, then implement more until comfortable once again.

One of the best things to do is read one of these books:
Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales “Gonzales’s dad taught him, “Plan the flight. Fly the plan, but don’t fall in love with the plan.” Being prepared is only part of the equation; being able to adjust to changing circumstances is what a lot of us forget about.” This book is great for teenagers.
The Survivors Club by Ben Sherwood “The three rules of the Survivors Club, according to author Ben Sherwood, are that everyone is a survivor, one person’s crisis can’t be compared to another’s, and people are stronger than they know. Attitude has a lot to do with it. If you see yourself as a survivor, you’ll likely be one.” & “Panic is the archenemy of survival.”
The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why by Amanda Ripley “The book doesn’t just detail what to do when a tsunami strikes, or when a hurricane warning is issued, but how you will be thinking differently, how you may be confused, what brain-related problems you might have –like paralysis, temporary blindness, an apparent slowing down of time, tunnel vision, etc.”

Many who were rescued in Hurricane Kartina were not allowed to bring almost anything with them. So a small waterproof container that you can put around your neck is very important. Add cash, 3 gold coins, ID, credit cards, and laminated info cards that have important passwords, and others’ contact info. (Email addresses and passwords to access email could be valuable since email is fault tolerant and ubiquitous. Children should know phone numbers AND email addresses. A private blog with a simple password can be set up at Blogger in a few minutes.)

– Jacket with hood, warm gloves, snow pants (Can sleep in the ground — but make sure to insulate yourself from the ground.)
– Vest with ~15 pockets filled with: knifes, matches, maps, para cord, rain poncho (or big plastic bags), money, precious metals, hand axe, etc.
– Nalgene(R) water bottle and purification method
Mini survival kit

Having many ways to purify and store water is critical. Plan on each person using a minimum of 1/2 gallon of water per day. Working in sunny heat can require 3 gallons per day.
In no particular order:
Katadyn Pocket Filter with Output Hose
And for purifying sea water, the Katadyn Survivor 06 Watermaker
Sawyer makes long lasting water filters that remove viruses. But they seem a bit delicate and can’t be frozen.
Lifesaver Bottle 6000 Ultra Filtration Water Bottle
The Water Bob looks useful. It’s a liner that fits in a bath tub that has a hand pump.
Trash cans can be lined with thick oversize plastic bags.

Bug Out Bag information
Buy a bug out bag ready to go for $999.
More examples
Everything I read emphasized to ***AVIOD BECOMING A REFUGEE***. It is almost never a good idea to leave your home unless you must and the roads to your next destination are clear enough. If you do have to leave, band together with those you trust.

Each person has a backpack and duffle bag. One lesson from a recent China earthquake is that you can only control what you can carry.

Backpack Contents
Unusual Items
– Coconut oil. It has a high calorie content. If you need to walk a long ways, most people will get very chaffed until they get used to it. Put some oil on your inner thighs. Water like Katrina’s will be septic after a day or two. If you have to wade through it, consider smearing oil all over to partially protect your skin.
– Gloves and a come-along for moving stuff. Having some way to deploy mechanical advantage is a BIG DEAL in an earthquake situation.
Sawyer® Complete 4L Water Purifier System (biological and viral) (Needs to be primed.)
Lifesaver Bottle 6000 Ultra Filtration Water Bottle
– filled water bottles – plan on using at least a half gallon of water per day. Refresh the water every 3 months.
– Good footwear, likely including waterproof boots
– 3 rain ponchos. One for you, one for the back pack, one spare
– Tent, 3 person, waterproof, 3 season or better
– Sleeping bag, synthetic (can stay warmish when wet) down to -20 degrees F. There are men’s and women’s versions. (Unless space and weight are critical, consider the bigger square sleeping bags. Slumberjack Big Timber -20)
– sleeping pad — it’s not so much for comfort as to insulate your body heat from going into the ground.
– washable pillow
– what does not easily fit on the back pack, goes in a duffel bag
– small tarp
– dry bags, little bags, plastic bags
Magnesium and flint fire starters. Very fun to play with!
– lots of matches, and a few lighters
– soaps – try Dr Bronners. Biodegradable and works. Also sold at Whole foods and Trader Joe’s.

– Many people say to store what you normally eat so that your guts won’t have to deal with a big change in food.
– Freeze dried food “Just In Case 7 Day Food Unit” expensive but very convenient and just add water. Heating is optional (you don’t need to lug any cooking equipment) and you can use fingers or carve a spoon from wood.
– 3 of each: underware, shirts, socks, etc. Wear one, have one out drying, and one fresh one.
– Toiletries, etc.
– Women: Diva Cups at Whole Foods, Reusable pads
SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea
– a few different kinds of rope

Basically be able to camp for 7 days in comfort. But hopefully you will be at home, or at least in a car while things adjust.

– Ideas: Survival Kit <— very good!
Breakthough Parenting book. You might be a new parent of some stray kids. In general, this is the best parenting (and relationship) book I know.
Slumberjack Big Timber (-20F) square sleeping bag. Mummy bags are no fun for me after a few days.
– 3 months is about how long it takes for an influenza wave to run it’s course.
Freeze dried for 3 months cost about $1,000 / person. These paint can sizes are about 1/3 cheaper than the Just In Case 7 Day Food Unit. Each can holds about 10 servings and can last 30 years. Entrees; breakfast.
Sprouts: Instant veggies even in winter.
Bulk dehydrated foods are much cheaper than freeze dried, but need to be cooked (and sometimes ground up first), and don’t last nearly as long.
Maintain nutrition.
– Now add many more toiletries, toilet paper, and especially shampoo. Nice shampoo is apparently in high demand in disaster areas. People just want to get clean and smell nice.
– Add another water purifying system
– Add a small solar shower
– Some candles
– A lot of coconut or olive oil — good for fatty acids and calories. Probably need 1 ounce per day per person Coconut oil lasts longer, and resists higher temperatures, than olive oil.
Portable solar electricity.
– If you don’t have an iPod or iPhone consider getting one to play games and load up on mp3 courses from The Teaching Company. They have excellent courses — like the 5000 year history of China. (I think signing up for their newsletter provides access to large discount sales.) Never have the time? Well now you do 🙂

Solar cooker from the Solar Oven Society. They really do get hot!
– Kelly Kettles — very cool! A stainless steel Kettle and pot support might come in handy.

Basically be able to camp for 90 days in comfort. But hopefully you will be at home while things adjust.

Simplifying the food area… More soon!

Why 12 months? In the event of a serious event it could conceivably take a year to get things back on track. Some people who have the means, get many more consumables for others and for barter.

Precious Metals
Most old timer money managers recommend keeping 10% of your net worth in physical gold and silver. Some are now recommending 30% in precious metals. Mr. Tulving is highly reputable. DO NOT BUY FROM PEOPLE WHO CAN’T SHIP IMMEDIATELY. It seems that most precious metals should be in the form of “90% junk silver”: pre 1965 dimes, quarters and dollars, 90% silver, legal tender, rarely counterfeited, and are easy to barter with. Buying eggs with gold is likely not a good idea.

Non-Precious Metals
Consider buying nickels. Apparently they have about 4.5 cents worth of metal right now. Most banks won’t sell bulk nickels — I tried 7-8 of them. So find a friend who has a merchant account. They can request a $100 box easily. Just saving change is good! There is little risk — a nickel will still be worth “5 cents”. And who is going to bother stealing nickels right now?? The main thing is, in a pinch, you just want something that: can’t be easily duplicated, is a bit scarce, easily stored, and easily recognized.

Farm Land & Calories
Jim Rogers is going to the trouble to invest in actual farm land. Multiple people suggest an actual shortage of calories during the next few years.
– Buy extra freeze dried foods. In a real situation, you can barter your excess. Hopefully nothing happens and in 25 years you can donate it to a homeless shelter.
– Put some extra bottles of olive oil in the fridge. Olive oil is the best of the oils and oils are dense with healthy calories. People will need this to help maintain health. Coconut oil is good too since it apparently has a longer shelf life.

Rent Income
Have apartments in very distant areas around the globe managed by the better property managers has been noted to be valuable. Supposedly
people in Argentina are very big on this since a little income from this goes a long way for them to make ends meet.

Unless you are a short term expert, being long or short any stock, especially ETF’s, even precious metals stocks, has significant risks. If you must be in the markets, the best way I know of is via Interactive Brokers. Accounts can be based on Canadian dollars (or others) and are easily changed.

The only thing I could imagine doing with bonds is selling them all or being short. Too much debt is the proximate main issue right now. Governments that are in monetary trouble almost universally try to print their way out of the mess they created. It works for a while and then utterly fails. Often in a 3 day period.

Your Skills
Many ‘preppers’ are now taking plant identification classes and acquiring other skills. For instance can you make rope? It is simple enough to do, but most people can’t. You can make a jig, but all you really need are long fibers and your hands.

– Small farm towns with running water and timber at about 500 to 1,000 foot elevation seem to be best. There are places in Tennessee that have abundant natural gas — which can be passed through a fuel cell to produce electricity.
– In the 2008 New England Ice Storm, many people had a challenging time since they had no electricity for weeks. In contrast, the local Amish were out and about doing fine. They brought food and lamps to non Amish neighbors. So a place next to an Amish family would be ideal 🙂
– Make sure you have a back flow prevention device between your house and the sewer. If the power goes out the pump stations might stop.

– From what I have read, at first things can be quite chaotic, but then settle down and people start to rebuild their lives. Success stories seem to center around Self Organizing Collectives, SOC’s: like minded people forming a group of about 10 to 40 people. That is about how many people it takes to have a bit of specialization to do more than just survive.
– A big lesson in the 2008 ice storms in New England was that “it’s the beggars, not the thieves” that get to people. Those who are not prepared send their poor cute kids to beg for food. Are you prepared to handle that situation? Since it was just an ice storm, people reportedly gave freely. But an incident with unknown duration … One way to handle this situation is to take in the nice and trustworthy people and put them to work in exchange for food. This specific situation is one of the most difficult to handle in the whole area of “preparation”.

– Toys, toys and more toys.
– Drawing paper and colored pencils
– Playing cards for grownup children
– Balloons
– The game Settlers of Catan: “Strategy game where players collect resources and use them to build roads, settlements and cities… The board itself is variable, making each game a little different from the next. Each round is intended to keep three or four players ages 10 and above engaged for up to 90 minutes.” “Settlers was the first German-style board game to achieve popularity outside Europe, and has been called the “killer app” of designer board games. Over 15 million games in the Catan series have been sold, and the game has been translated into thirty languages from the original German. The game has rapidly become popular in part because its mechanics are relatively simple, while its dynamics are quite complex. The game is well suited for family play, since no one gets eliminated, and players who are behind can strive towards goals that are within their reach.”

– Likely the best protector from influenza’s is Vitamin D. Get a lot of vitamin D for Fall and Winter. I like Carlson’s Solar D Gems from Whole Foods. Dr Mercola has some guide lines.
– If you do get a cough, consider using Young Livings’ “RC” to help. Put 10-20 drop on your chest and pull the sheets over your head. In my experience, even nasty coughs will go away for 4 to 5 hours after 5 minutes of inhaling “RC”. This could literally be a life saver.
Massive doses up to bowel tolerance of vitamin C seem to help too.

– Also form Young Living: Get Balance Complete, “a super-food-based meal replacement that is both a powerful nutritive energizer and a cleanser.” Or better yet get the auto ship Core Essential that has Balance Complete, NingXia Red (which is a tasty drink of wolfberry and blueberry nutrients that is the strongest anti oxidant liquid on the market) and Core Supplements (food based vitamins, essential oils, fatty acids and gut flora). The autoship core essentials pack will replace one meal for 30 days for $200.
Supergreens from Living Fuel $80 for one meal replacement for 30 days. But this can be strong and cleansing 🙂
Storing one year’s worth of food is rather standard for the Later Day Saints. You just need a system for rotating your foods. In an emergency you don’t want to be suddenly altering your diet. So stocking up on your normal foods is ideal. If you don’t and choose to rely on the freeze dried foods, have some freeze dried foods at least once or twice a week.

– Home Depot is selling bags of steer compost for just 97 cents each! Stock up! Compost turns into humus, which turns into humic acid which is the very health of a soil. Most of our soils are poor quality. Chemical fertilizer is okay, but compost is by far the best.
– Get a couple of cans of heirloom seeds and store in a cool place or your fridge. Sustainable Seed Company seems to be one of the best. There are cheaper, but less ideal, cans of seeds. If there is an interruption in our growing cycle, heirloom seeds will be very valuable.
Square foot gardening is a classic.
Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
Tumbleweed Composter Keep the compost coming! Ideally you would buy 2. One that is busy composting (for ~4 weeks) while you are filling the other.

– Have shoes under the bed so you can quickly walk around without risking injury to your feet.
– Have light sticks ($2 each) in each bed stand.
– Use duct tape to seal the drain of every sink and bath tube in the house. Fill them all with water.
– Put 2 or 3 plastic liners in garbage cans and fill with water.
– N95 masks.

– A simple thing to do is order Thyrosafe to prevent Thyroid cancer from fallout. FAQ’s: 2 boxes per person. 1 box per child.
Plan “A” and “B” for anyone caught without KI or KIO3 tablets in a nuclear emergency…
– Get some rolls of 3.5 mil plastic and duct tape from Home Depot. Keep fallout outside while the half life of many of the radioactive atoms does it’s job to reduce risk. FAQ
I like this air purifier. I have no idea about how well they work with regards to radioactive particles. But I imagine it will help.

– Apparently in cities, the main issue in social disorder is initially fire bombings. ~”I guess the lesson from the 1992 Los Angeles riot is this: If a community or neighborhood, beset by a civil riot, where both the fire department and law enforcement has dissolved into ineffectiveness, hopes to get the upper hand, citizens need to be extremely risk tolerant. Be ready to personally take the initiative to control fires as priority in the very earliest stages. Accept that this is done with likely high risk of great personal injury, unthinkable and totally foolish under any other circumstance. This could be an unanticipated, instant, life-changing and hugely hazardous decision in many ways.”
– If possible, help organize your neighborhood to be a cohesive unit.
– Mobs can be dangerous and seemingly spontaneously manifest. Try to avoid large groups.

Almost anything that needs other stuff to work, is complicated, or is high maintenance. Self sufficiency RULES the day.

The Incident Command System (ICS) is standardized, flexible and scalable system for efficiently organizing unrelated people and resources.
– People fill roles
– Each individual reports to only 1 supervisor
– Management by ranked objectives
– System expands and contracts so that each supervisor manages 3 to 7 people

95% of everyone will likely not be prepared. Many might want your stuff. Seems to me that being kind is very important. Also seems to me that unless you have good boundaries, you can end up victimized. What to do?
– Keep a very, very low profile.
– Let the dust settle for a week, then see who you want to take in.
– Keep a few separate caches in case your stuff gets taken.
– Spread out your stuff out to trusted friends.
– If people come asking for a handout, give them a task to accomplish in return first. This is helping model the barter system.
– In fact, if people are too poor to use silver for transactions, set up a barter system. Here is a successful solution: Argentina: Surviving without money Summary of the “Global Exchange Network” 1) All participants start out on equal terms by receiving ~50 “credits” that have an expiration date. The expiration date prevents hoarding and inflation/deflation issues 2) The barter area is open for about 2 to 3 hours 1 day per week 3) Everyone bring in goods and or services. More info here, and here.
– No shows of wealth — get skinny like everyone else. (Or wear clothes that are too big 🙂

I went through the chaotic times that hit the Middle East. Some things I learned:
– Chaos has its own dynamics that you are not able to foresee in advance: do not prepare yourselves as if you where going to an exam or to a job interview or presentation. If you “practice” to much before the happening you will end up being “off course”. You would blur your instincts. My advice to you: sharpen your adaptability faculty and develop your improvisational skills.
– Being prepared: that means having enough to survive, both mentally and physically. Do not burden yourself with too much food and supplies, chaos brings with it a lot of opportunities. Be ready to accept whatever you may encounter and be as flexible as a palm tree for your sake and for the sake of those around you. You may need to move fast and displace so keep in a bag all official documents that you may have including money.
– Do not rush into taking sides: wait before starting to point fingers, stay calm enough to know how to navigate through the first wave. Don’t think you know what is happening as if it was the ultimate reality. Stay low and don’t talk to much without knowing what you are saying, you don’t necessarily know more than those around.
– Chaos comes in waves, know when the wave is over and it is time to act and act quickly and decisively with no hesitation, you had enough time while dunking to reflect on the the events around you. Other waves will follow so have patience and don’t waste every thing you have in the first wave.
– Don’t stay alone: know where every one you care about is and stay in touch, and always keep a low profile during the ascending part of each wave.
– No need to have an open gun policy during these times, bad people will first turn against each other to assert their authority, they play the game of survival of the fittest, my advise to you if you are not “bad” enough do not venture into this game, not every ones needs to be a Rambo.
– Do not play mind games, it is no time to “play”.
– Remember you don’t have anything to prove to anyone, not even to yourself.

Listening to Katrina
100 Items to Disappear First
Survival Blog
Survivalist Boards

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