Here’s How Crooks Steal Your Credit Card At The Gas Pump

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Here’s How Crooks Steal Your Credit Card At The Gas Pump

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Jan. 19, 2017

Crooks can steal your credit or debit card number anywhere you swipe your card. A simple gadget called a skimmer can let bad guys steal numbers from hundreds of people without the card owners even knowing it.

A skimmer is a device placed over a card reader. When you swipe your card, it reads the numbers but lets you complete the transaction normally. Some skimmers collect data for criminals to pick up later, while others transmit it to the bad guys via Bluetooth or a wireless phone call.

Discover How To Become Invisible In Today’s Surveillance State!

The Northport, Ala., Police Department sent out a Tweet Jan. 13 with a short video of a skimmer and the warning, “Always tug on the credit card reader at the gas pumps, you never know when someone has slipped a reader on there.”

Crooks can steal your credit or debit card numbers at:

  • Gas pumps. This is the most common location for skimming, because people are often in a hurry to fill the tank. The Minnesota Commerce Commission found nine skimmers on pumps in the Minneapolis area during a sweep in April 2016, the local CBS affiliate reported.
  • Skimmers have been found on regular and self-service checkout lines at several supermarkets, including Safeway. The Consumerist reported that one looked like a normal card reader and even stole pin numbers. Skimmers also were found at the self-checkout lanes at Walmart stores in Virginia and Kentucky in April 2016, security expert Brian Krebs reported.
  • Train stations. In November 2014, police found skimmers on ticket machines at three Denver-area light rail stations.
  • Skimmers have been popping up on ATMs for several years now, Krebbs reported. Crooks also place false pin readers on ATMs to steal your data.

How To Spot A Skimmer

Here are some tips for spotting a skimmer and protecting your accounts:

  1. Grab the card reader, pull it hard and jiggle it around. If it is loose, it might be a skimmer, the Northport, Ala., Police Department said. Always tug on readers at gas pumps and ticket machines.
  2. Look for hidden cameras and cover the hand that is entering data. Thieves sometimes place cameras in discrete locations to steal PIN numbers. Any pinhole or clear area near the PIN reader might contain one.
  3. Look for signs of damage to the machine. This might include a recently drilled hole or spray paint.
  4. If you have a chip card, use the chip reader when available. It is more secure.
  5. Check your account balance regularly, online. Report any suspicious activity immediately.
  6. Call the police if you think you have found a skimmer.
  7. Use other methods of payment, such as cash or phone payment apps like Apple Pay and Walmart Pay. Payment apps can be more secure than cards.

Thieves want your credit and debit card numbers — and they’ll do anything to get them.

Have you ever spotted a skimmer or had someone steal your credit card data? Share your advice in the section below:

You’re Being Watched: 7 Sneaky Ways The Government Is Tracking Your Every Move. Read More Here.

Here’s How Crooks Steal Your Credit Card At The Gas Pump

Here’s How Crooks Steal Your Credit Card At The Gas Pump

Image source:


Jan. 19, 2017

Crooks can steal your credit or debit card number anywhere you swipe your card. A simple gadget called a skimmer can let bad guys steal numbers from hundreds of people without the card owners even knowing it.

A skimmer is a device placed over a card reader. When you swipe your card, it reads the numbers but lets you complete the transaction normally. Some skimmers collect data for criminals to pick up later, while others transmit it to the bad guys via Bluetooth or a wireless phone call.

Discover How To Become Invisible In Today’s Surveillance State!

The Northport, Ala., Police Department sent out a Tweet Jan. 13 with a short video of a skimmer and the warning, “Always tug on the credit card reader at the gas pumps, you never know when someone has slipped a reader on there.”

Crooks can steal your credit or debit card numbers at:

  • Gas pumps. This is the most common location for skimming, because people are often in a hurry to fill the tank. The Minnesota Commerce Commission found nine skimmers on pumps in the Minneapolis area during a sweep in April 2016, the local CBS affiliate reported.
  • Skimmers have been found on regular and self-service checkout lines at several supermarkets, including Safeway. The Consumerist reported that one looked like a normal card reader and even stole pin numbers. Skimmers also were found at the self-checkout lanes at Walmart stores in Virginia and Kentucky in April 2016, security expert Brian Krebs reported.
  • Train stations. In November 2014, police found skimmers on ticket machines at three Denver-area light rail stations.
  • Skimmers have been popping up on ATMs for several years now, Krebbs reported. Crooks also place false pin readers on ATMs to steal your data.

How To Spot A Skimmer

Here are some tips for spotting a skimmer and protecting your accounts:

  1. Grab the card reader, pull it hard and jiggle it around. If it is loose, it might be a skimmer, the Northport, Ala., Police Department said. Always tug on readers at gas pumps and ticket machines.
  2. Look for hidden cameras and cover the hand that is entering data. Thieves sometimes place cameras in discrete locations to steal PIN numbers. Any pinhole or clear area near the PIN reader might contain one.
  3. Look for signs of damage to the machine. This might include a recently drilled hole or spray paint.
  4. If you have a chip card, use the chip reader when available. It is more secure.
  5. Check your account balance regularly, online. Report any suspicious activity immediately.
  6. Call the police if you think you have found a skimmer.
  7. Use other methods of payment, such as cash or phone payment apps like Apple Pay and Walmart Pay. Payment apps can be more secure than cards.

Thieves want your credit and debit card numbers — and they’ll do anything to get them.

Have you ever spotted a skimmer or had someone steal your credit card data? Share your advice in the section below:

You’re Being Watched: 7 Sneaky Ways The Government Is Tracking Your Every Move. Read More Here.

Who do you use?

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A few weeks ago, our internet service all but stopped working for nearly 2 weeks, I finally figured out it was apparently caused by the solar storms going on, it really made for some quiet days (weeks) since we couldn’t stream anything during that time. Once things got back online for us, it wouldn’t last, last Saturday we enjoyed a rare thunderstorm during January, and I do mean thunderstorm, complete with lots of lightening! We took a direct hit, I was online using my tablet and actually got shocked through my tablet screen, it wasn’t terrible, but it was a surprise, we heard the crackle before the strike and heard the loud boom. We figured we had taken a direct hit but didn’t know for sure until the following day when our friends across the valley told us they saw the lightning hit our place.

Fortunately it didn’t do any damage to us, the SkyCastle is well grounded so most of the energy from the hit went to ground. But the storm did take out our local internet, it was out for the next 3 days, our street was the last one to in the neighborhood to get our internet back up and running.

The first few years we lived off grid, we didn’t have internet ourselves, our neighbor had satellite internet and I went to his house to check my email about once a week. I knew before we moved out here that my internet options would be very limited so I had shut down quite a bit of my internet activities, shutting down several websites and the such. I hadn’t really gotten into buying online yet and streaming anything was not really going strong yet.

When we found out that an internet company was reviving the old internet towers out in my neighborhood, I jumped at the chance to get back online. I asked lots of questions before signing on the dotted line, mainly about data allowances, if they had any caps, I let them know ahead of time that I was a power user and would be using a lot of data. I was told that would be no problem, I could eat all I wanted at their internet buffet, so I signed up and haven’t looked back since.

Before we moved out of the big city, we had just gotten DSL, I think our speed at the time was in the 3MB range, coming from dial up (56K), that seemed really fast. After getting here, my neighbor’s internet was painfully slow, but it was pretty much the only game in town (before the wireless net was reintroduced out here). I learned that I didn’t want satellite for reasons I’ll explain below.

One question I get asked is how do we get our internet. We use a wireless system, there are antenna towers interspersed in the neighborhood, atop strategic mountains, we have to be line of sight in order to get the service. We were one of the first houses to hook up, being right across the valley from the first tower put up, actually the hardware was already in place but had gone defunct long before we moved out here, mainly because it cost too much to maintain at the time.

Our internet speed was 3MBPS (megabyte per second) down and 1MBPS up. That seemed to be screaming fast compared to my neighbor’s satellite. I had checked into possibly getting satellite, but it was expensive, slow and most importantly, this is the thing that was the deal breaker for me, they meter your bandwidth. What that means is they measure how much you download in any certain period (per day or per month depending on the company) and if you go over the amount they deem enough, then they spank you back to dial up speed for a period of time. I knew I would blow through that allotment in a matter of hours, that would not work for me.

I wish we had DSL available, we have been promised DSL for years, but we can’t have it unless we get fiber optic lines installed, they have promised those for years as well… I don’t see it happening, they have a hard enough time maintaining the copper lines, living in a mountainous area, with not that many people per square mile, it’s just not financially feasible for them to invest in fiber optics, at least not in the near future.

We pay quite a lot for internet service out here, when I first signed up, it ran $40 a month for the slowest speed (3MBPS), over the years it has gone up, it topped out at $60 for the slowest tier, I recently upgraded to the next tier, 6MBPS for $80 a month, that’s 6 down and 2 up, yes I know that is expensive and slow, especially compared to what most can get in the city. But I don’t mind really, I wouldn’t trade it for city life.

Those are our options, satellite or wireless. There is one more option, but I don’t find it to be any better than satellite, and that’s using a cell phone service, it’s sort of available, if you invest in a large antenna to capture and amplify the signal, that’s IF you can get a signal at all, honestly cell phones do not work out here for the most part, I have no problem with that either.

Today I am enjoying my 6MBPS connection, it is more than fast enough to stream anything I wish to watch, listen to or download, hopefully it will be a while before our next outage.


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Olight H05S Active Led Headlamp

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We have talked about the need for a headlamp, a quality headlamp in previous articles. The need is still there, and now the quality problem has been solved as well. Olight’s H05S Active solves the quality issue, at a very good price by the way.

One of the outstanding features that I am sure you will come to appreciate is the wave function, (hands-free motion sensor). Imagine you have heavy gloves on or your hands are dirty from cleaning a fish, skinning a rabbit or from working under the hood of your car and daylight is fading quickly. Well, with the wave function, you do not need to worry about getting your headlamp dirty or worry about fumbling for the switch. No, you just have to wave your hand in front of the built-in sensor to active the light and then another wave of the hand to shut the light off.

This function has numerous possibilities, and you won’t know the full extent of them until, well, until you need to use the motion sensor for on/off.

The light has three light settings, starting at 10 lumens, to 30 to 200 lumens. The 10 level on some lights is called “moonlight mode”, which is ideal if you do not want to broadcast your location. Use this setting for signaling to personnel close by if you are moving as a team or for discreet map reading and so on. At 200 lumens, you have plenty of light for any task at hand in virtually any situation. There are also 2 red light modes steady on or blinking which can be used as emergency indicators.

Olight H05S High Mode

One downfall, if you can even call it that is the 2 AAA batteries, which are included, but are not rechargeable. Batteries, of course, do discharge, and how fast depends on the setting and time activated, so it is important that you always carry fresh batteries with you. Triple A’s are easily carried and a pack of six, for example, would not take up any space to speak of in your pockets, pack, or glove box.

Hands-free, of course, means you can use the light for night skiing, bicycling, and hiking at night, and so on while both hands are free. The headlamp has four adjustable angles at 10, 25, 35, and 50 degrees, so even for those awkward positions, you may find yourself in and need a light then the various angles will allow you to shed light on any task.

The light also lets you know when the batteries are low. A red indicator glows intermittently right at your nose so you can’t miss it letting you know it’s time for fresh batteries. Additionally, there is also battery polarity indicators. While removing the cover of the battery compartment, the + sign glows red so you’ll know which way the batteries go in even in complete darkness.

Olight H05S Battery Polarity Indicators

Now For Some Tech Specs on the H05S Active

  • Maximum Run Time is 24 hours On The Low Setting With Fresh Batteries
    • High: 200 Lumens / High Mode Drops Down To 120 Lumens After 10 Minutes
    • Medium: 30 Lumens / 8.5 Hours
    • Low: 10 Lumens / 24 Hours
    • Red light: 100mcd / 40 Hours
  • Beam Distance is 60 Meters or Roughly 196 Feet
  • Water Resistant Rating Is IPX4, Which Means The Light Can Withstand Splashing From Any Angle Up To 5 Minutes
  • Impact Resistant From 1 Meter (39 Inches) Drop Height
  • Weight is 1.6600 Ounces Without The Batteries
  •  Uses Cree XM-L2
  • TIR Lens of High Light Transmission Rate to Deliver a Balanced Beam for Close-Range Illumination
  • Powered by 2 AAA Batteries With an Output Up to 200 Lumens, With Adjustable Brightness Levels at: 200 Lumens, 30 Lumens and 10 Lumens
  • Red LED Lights Served as Indicators for the User’s Location. Steady On or Blinking Modes Available
  • 4 Adjustable Light Angles Available: 10, 25, 35, and 50 Degrees Below the Horizontal
  • Eco-Friendly Fabric Headband with Width of 25mm
  • Built-In Infrared Light Transmitter and Receiver to Allow Motion Sensor Switches to Control the On/Off of the Headlamp
  • When the Battery Voltage is Below 1.8V, The Red Indicator Will be Turned On and Shinning Intermittently On The User’s Nose.
  • Battery Polarity Indicator: While Removing The Cover of the Battery Compartment, The “+” Sign Glows In Red Indicating The Direction of the Polarity of the Batteries.

Anyone can use this light, and if you camp or hike with children make sure they have their own H05S in the event they find themselves out after dark. Make sure everyone in your group has one, and knows how to use the light and to immediately activate it if lost at night. I also found an excellent hard shell case that lets you store the Olight on your belt or in your pack so the light can’t accidentally get turned on by something in your pack bumping the power button.

The uses for a headlamp are endless and who hasn’t found the need for one even during daylight hours. You may need to poke around in the trunk of your car, a closet, or if in the wilds, you may need to explore/search caves and crevices. The H05S Active is ideal for your EDC, so never leave home without it. You can purchase the Olight H05S for around $25 dollars on Amazon

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There’s a War on Truth and We’re Loosing-Eve Gonzales

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Eve Gonzales of Trading Post in the Woods joins me today to discuss the war on truth and the very words we use to communicate to one another.

Watch through the eyes of Noah Parker as the world descends into chaos, a global empire takes shape, ancient writings are fulfilled and the last days fall upon the once great United States of America. The Days of Noah is now available as a complete box set for Kindle.

Ready Made Resources is a trusted name in the prepper community, because they’ve been around for 18 years. They offer great prices on Night Vision, water filtration, long term storage food, solar energy components and provide free technical service. Get ready for an uncertain future at!


Cati Armor offers affordable body armor including level III trauma plates made of AR-500 steel which can endure multiple rounds from pistols and rifles up to 7.62 NATO. There plates are available with Rhino Linings coating to reduce spall.


I use JM Bullion because they have the lowest over-spot price of any dealer I have found for silver and gold bullion. JM Bullion now offers free shipping on every order!

The post There’s a War on Truth and We’re Loosing-Eve Gonzales appeared first on Prepper Recon.

The Ultimate 42 Step Guide On How To Protect Your Privacy

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how to protect your privacy with cyber securityHow To Protect Your Privacy With Cyber Security

You’re careful.

You avoid sharing personal information with strange websites.

You never fill out those random pop-up surveys. You don’t click any suspicious email links. Sure, you occasionally make online purchases, but only with reputable companies you trust.

Maybe you’ve even bought a virus protection package to prevent malware, spyware, and phishing.

But, guess what…it probably doesn’t matter. Sadly complete privacy is a thing of the past.

Here’s an example of why I say that:

Head over to and you’ll see this:

Enter your first name, last name, and the state most associated with you. Don’t worry; you’re not giving up any new data, you’re just checking to see what this single site knows about you.

Now scroll through the results. See if you can find you. Once you find one that looks like you, click on it and see what comes up.

name-age-view-detailsIf you’re like most people (including me), you’ll see many of your relatives names (father, mother, siblings, etc.) and you may also see some close acquaintances names (friends, roommates, business partners, etc.). You’ll probably recognize your past home addresses.

How does that make you feel? Violated? Frustrated?

Welcome to the internet age, where even your offline personal data is being uploaded to the web. Then assembled to reveal YOUR personal data to the entire world.

I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t happy to see my results. I never agree to this. I didn’t approve this. How in the world did my personal information become someone else’s website service? It’s an absolute outrage!

And the worst part is we can’t put the cat back in the bag. This data can never be erased. It’s too late.

So I start asking myself, what’s next? My family, acquaintances, and addresses are bad enough, but when will my internet activity become part of the online universe? On full display for the world see.

If you want to keep some semblance of privacy, you’re going to have to get serious about it. You need a online privacy plan.

word privacy surrounded by computer codeFrightful Examples Of What’s To Come…

In no way do I support or condone the website “Ashely Madison” (a website created so married people can cheat on each other). I only use it as an example of what’s already happening.

The site was hacked in 2015, and 40 million customer emails were revealed. To this day, you can enter in any email address (your own, a spouse, friend, co-worker) and see if they were ever on Ashely Madison’s email list. And if you found them on that list your perception about that person would change, right?

But what if someone else accidently typed in the wrong email address (happens all the time) but this time it was YOUR email address? Or what if someone you who dislikes you signs up using your email address out of spite?

Here’s a quote from the Ashley Madison data breach investigation:

“None of the accounts on the website need email verification for the profile to be created, meaning that people often create profiles with fake email addresses, and sometimes people who have similar names accidentally confuse their email address, setting up accounts for the wrong email address.”

– Source (bold sections by Skilled Survival)


How About NASA And The Government?

Let’s take this one step further. What happens when the government has data on who frequents certain websites?

It’s not hard to image our out of control government wanting to know who’s a conservative and who’s a liberal. They could use this data against you (if you’re not on their side).

How? Maybe they decide that conservatives should become targets for IRS tax audits.

Actually, we don’t have to image this scenario, this stuff is already happening. Remember the 2013 IRS targeting scandal? Here’s a quote to ponder:

“In early May 2013, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released an audit report confirming that the IRS used inappropriate criteria to identify potential political cases, including organizations with Tea Party in their names.”

Source (bold sections by Skilled Survival)

You can’t make this stuff up. We’re quickly approaching an era of no privacy.

And to top it off, every day we hear about new hacks and data breaches from nationwide companies such as Yahoo, Target, Adobe, LinkedIn, Snap Chat, CVS, eBay, Sony, Home Depot, TD Ameritrade, Apple, Facebook, etc., etc., etc. The list is very long and growing almost daily, click here to see the entire list; it’s eye opening.

So What CAN You Do To Protect Your Privacy?

While it’s getting harder to protect your privacy 100%, it’s still possible to safeguard much of it. But you can no longer “just be careful” and avoid doing stupid things, you must become proactive.

Here are the detailed steps to protecting your personal privacy.

Home WiFi Network Protection

Let’s start with the network you have the most control over, your home WiFi network.

You lock your doors at night, right? You’d never let a stranger waltz right into your kitchen to make a sandwich. So why would you allow this for your home’s WiFi network? Don’t you know your WiFi signal doesn’t stop at your front door? It often carries out to the street.

Unbelievably, it’s estimated that 79% of home routers are at risk of attack.

The last thing you want is a creep parking outside your home getting access to your WiFi and personal network information. So if you haven’t done so yet, lock it down.

plugging in an ethernet cable into a routerUpdate Your Router Settings

One of the more susceptible areas of your home’s WiFi network is your router.

Many people don’t take the time to change the default passwords, change their SSID, turn on encryption, or update their firmware.

1 – Grab An Ethernet Cable

The first step to making these critical security improvements is to get your hands on an Ethernet cable.

Yes, Ethernet. It’s old school but it’s the safest way to update your router’s firmware (later step). You want to avoid any connection loss when updating your firmware as this has known to cause some routers to turn into plastic paper weights. For example,

As one person asks in a Netgear forum: “Can I Update Firmware Without Ethernet Cable To My Computer?”

Answer: “it’s not recommended because there is no real way to determine when WiFi will drop during the upgrade process. You could easily brick your router. Purchase an Ethernet dongle for your laptop. It’s handy to have..”

Source (bold section by Skilled Survival)

In case you don’t know what the term “brick your router” means, it’s when your router is fried, “done for,” worthless, destroyed…

2 – Log In To Your Router

So once you’ve got your Ethernet cable, physically connect it from your computer to your router. Log in to your routers backend. For most routers, you can find the backend login screen by typing in the following IP address into your web browser:

However, if this doesn’t work, you’ll need to read your router’s owner’s manual to find your routers IP address. Or you can try going to and locate your router’s model name to find it. Your router’s model name will be located somewhere on the device itself.

3 – Audit Your Username and Password

Once you’ve accessed your router, it’s time to update your username and password. Never leave these at the default settings. Every hacker (and anyone with basic computer knowledge) knows the standard default passwords for a new router is:

  • Username: admin
  • Password: admin

If you leave yours like this, sorry to say it, but you’re asking for it. With passwords, the more complex, the better. That’s why I recommend looking into a password manager (password managers discussed later).

4 – Change The SSID

The next security update is to change your WiFi’s SSID. Before you freak out, SSID is just a fancy acronym. It stands for Service Set Identifier, but honestly, it’s just the name of your WiFi network. When you search for WiFi networks, it’s the name you see. That’s it.

When you see a list of available WiFi networks, it’s the names you see. That’s it.

But you should change yours from the default. Use something creative so you know it’s yours but not too personal.

Pro Tip – Try using something menacing like “you’ve been hacked” or “this is a virus”. It helps keep strangers (or cheap neighbors) from trying to connect to your network because who has the courage to connect to a WiFi network called “you’ve been hacked”?

Your friends and relatives may raise an eyebrow when they want to connect to your network but tell them why and they’ll think you’re a genius.

5 – Or Hide Your SSID

What’s even better than using scary WiFi network names? Hiding it.

Modern routers let you adjust this setting. Turn it on and your SSID won’t show up at all in WiFi network searches. The good news is, your computers and devices that are already setup and connected will be fine. It’ll only be a hassle when you want to connect a new device (smartphone, smart TV, etc.).

When this happens you can either type in the SSID info manually in the setup step (since you won’t see it) or you can go back into your router, allow the SSID to display, connect and then hide the SSID again.

Is this a pain in the butt? Of course, but if you want to protect your security and privacy that’s what it takes in today’s world. Get used to it.

6 – Double Check Your Encryption Settings

Now it’s time to embrace encryption. Another jargon term but necessary to understand and use. Without getting too technical, you need to switch from WEP to WPA2-AES and disable the PIN method of using WPS.

You want to use WPA2-AES because it’s the newest and strongest form of encryption. That’s all you really need to know. If you can’t enable WPA2-AES encryption because your devices are too old then it means your long overdue for new devices (computers and routers).

7 – Check For Firmware Updates

The next step in your router security adventure is to check and update your firmware.

New security breaches occur almost daily. So to combat these new breaches, router companies periodically push out new firmware updates. These firmware updates patch new security holes. However, if you’ve never updated your firmware there’s a good chance your have security holes.

And this is not a one-and-done task. You should check and update your router’s firmware on a set schedule. Once a year will work for most people.

Normally, in the login screen you’ll see a “check firmware” button. Click it, follow the prompts, and update to the latest version.

8 – More Router Setting Changes

A couple more router security tips to consider: Do you plan to ever change your router settings when you’re far away from home? Probably not.

Do you want someone else to have the ability to change your router settings remotely? Hell no!

So go ahead and turn remote management off. Look for something named Remote Management, Remote Access, or Remote Administration settings.

Now since we’re talking about remote management, why don’t you go ahead and just turn your WiFi off when you’re out of town. Unless you have devices such as a WiFi doorbell or a NEST learning thermostat (that use the internet while you’re away), you might as well turn it off while on vacation.

9 – Time For A New Router?

If your router is too old to make these adjustments, it’s time for a new one. The good news is that a new router can significantly increase your data speeds.

I personally upgraded my router about two years ago and it was money very well spent. Before upgrading I was struggling to stream any video content, now it’s coming in at HD levels no problem. This might not be your issue but it was for me.

If you decide to get a new router skip 802.11b or 802.11g and make sure it follows the newer, faster 802.11ac standard.

You are now no longer a part of the masses with unsecured routers. Congrats!

Computer Setting For Privacy

Once you’ve got your router on lockdown, it’s time to focus on your computer and online settings. I’ll start with one of the most important privacy and security actions: your passwords.

hacking a password with tweezers10 – Use A Password Manger

This one changed my life. Everyone should become a LastPass user. For most

The FREE plan allows you to manage all your desktop passwords. And for only $12 per year for their premium option,such as family sharing and priority support.

Here are the main reasons you need LastPass:

  • Only need to remember 1 password to login to all your sites
  • Start creating high-security super complex passwords
  • Use unique passwords for every site
  • Autofill’s in your email and passwords; if you so choose
  • All password data is encrypted (which means your passwords can only be seen by you)
  • You can add 2 step authentication to drastically increase the security (more details on 2 step authentification later).

If you’re like me and have lots of sites and passwords, you need a password manager in your corner. LastPass is trustworthy, protects you and your data, and improves your online privacy from all the bad actors out there.

If you’re still using simple (easy to crack) passwords like “Steve12” or “Rover1” or even “ihatemyjob” you are at high risk. Instead, use LastPass to create complex (very difficult to crack) passwords that look more like this “fL3&sE$^tW$z#”, and start sleeping better at night.

up close webcam11 – Your Gadgets Are Spying On You

Does your computer or smartphone have a camera built in? Or a desktop webcam? Then you should know it can be used to spy on you. One word comes to mind; creepy. Imagine someone watching through your open laptop. Probably recording what they see.

Malicious actors can turn on your cameras and watch your every move. Here’s a small news snippet about one such creep:

In all, Mijangos unlawfully accessed and could control more than 100 computers.

He read their emails, watched them through webcams without their knowledge and most damaging was his discovery of nude photos they had taken of themselves. Mijangos then threatened to post the images online unless his victims were willing to provide more racy photos or videos to him or if they went to police, according to court documents.

– Source – (bold sections by Skilled Survival)

What’s even worst is most of Mijangos victims were teenage girls.

The archive of voyeurism was staggering: over 15,000 webcam-video captures, 900 audio recordings, 13,000 screen captures. In total, he had infiltrated more than 230 victims, including juveniles.

– Source (bold sections by Skilled Survival)

The only good news it’s an easy problem to solve and you don’t need high-tech software to protect your privacy from this invasion. You just need a sticker.

Place a webcam sticker over the camera when not in use and viola, problem solved.

browsers settings drawingFocus On Your Browsers

Web browsers are in the business of making money. The searcher (you) is the product, the advertisers are the customer. The more people who use a specific browser the more money they make on ads. And advertisers always want to know more about YOU.

So browsers, by default, are not setup with a high-level of privacy security. Which is a shame, so you have to take proactive action to protect your online browsing privacy. Here’s how:

12 – Check Links Before You Click

Don’t be a click-happy-nincompoop. If an online or email link seem sketchy, trust your gut, it’s probably not safe. But if you still want to click it, check it first.

You’ll need to copy the link without clicking the link. Hover your mouse’s pointer over the link and the address will display in the bottom corner of your browser. Now, right click on the link to access the drop down menu. Copy the link address.

Now head over to Paste the copied address into their search bar. Click the scan button and see what comes up.

Is this foolproof? Absolutely not. But it’s better than clicking blind.

13 – Add HTTPS

Websites who use HTTPS means they encrypt the data that travels back and forth between their website and your computer. Unfortunately, this newer standard is difficult to implement and so is not yet widespread.

You can tell if a site is using HTTPS if their web address starts with it, as opposed to starting with the old “HTTP” standard (notice no “S’ at the end – the “S” stand for secure).

While it’s currently impossible to avoid all sites that don’t have the new standard yet, you can do yourself a favor and add an extension to help.

Download the HTTPS Everywhere extension from Electronic Frontier Foundation. This will ensure your connections will be encrypted anytime you connect a website that supports the HTTPS standard. It works with Chrome, Firefox, and

14 – Block Ads

We’ve come-a-long ways from old school billboards and commercials. While most ads suck, the online sort can be more than just annoying. They often snoop on your online activities without your consent.

Consider adding an ad blocking extension such as Adblock Plus, DisconnectPrivacy Badger, or UBlock.

Google It Written On A Chalk Board15 – Make Google Behave or Ditch Them All Together

Google owns search. They dominate the market by a massive margin; over 60% of U.S. searches. And once people develop a habit using Google they keep using it. No matter what the privacy setting are.

So I have 2 suggestions for you.

16 – Meet “Duck Duck Go”

The first and most surefire way to protect your online search history and data is to stop using Google. Instead, use Duck Duck Go.

Weird name for a search engine, but they are the “bee’s knees” when it comes to search privacy.

Think simple, spam-free search results without the sketchy stuff. Minus recording your IP address. Minus tracking cookies. No personal information collected. No personal information shared.

Just glorious search engine privacy. You’re welcome.

17 – Restrict the Big G

Alright for everyone who can get off the Google train cold turkey, then you should still limit their data collection. Honestly, for as big and dominant as Google is they do provide a good amount of privacy control. But not by default. For the most part, it’s up to you to turn it off and restrict it.

So go to My Account to control what data you agree to be collected and how it’s shared. Specifically, go to Personal Info & Privacy to review Location, Search, and YouTube Search History.

Feel free to delete all your history at once or one item at a time. Also, make sure to prevent Google from recording your privacy data going forward.

18 – Ditch Google For Good?

You can delete your Goolge account if you want to go hardcore. This option cannot be undone. So make sure you ready for it.

Go to My Account or Services, find the “cancel my account” option, take a deep breath, and follow the prompts. Again, you will lose all your Google account data (old emails, calendar, history, G+ data, etc.) going this route so don’t do it unless you’re 100% ready.

19 – Wearables (a.k.a. Spyables)

Most wearable fitness based devices (such as a FitBit) use Bluetooth technology to connect to your smartphone. However, Bluetooth is not secure. It’s fairly easy for data access “sniffers” to nab the data being transferred. Data such as a user’s name, password, address, and GPS. Not the sort of information you want tech savvy strangers to know.

So go low tech and turn off your Bluetooth syncing while you’re away from home. Then turn it back on once you get home. Data that’s not being broadcast can’t be snatched out of the air. Problem solved (plus, the battery life of your wearable and phone will improve).

metal padlock laying on a circuit boardProtect Yourself From Ransomware

Ransomware is alive and well. Hackers are making a fantastic living by blackmailing innocent people with their own data.

The way ransomware works is a hacker either steals a person’s data or takes over their computer. Then they contact the victim and demand money to save the data from destruction (or the sharing of personal data).

If it’s data that you would hate to lose or data that you would be ashamed to share, they use this as leverage (i.e. blackmail) to get you to pay up…or else.

Scary stuff. And it’s growing in popularity.

“On average, Ransomware infects 30,000 to 35,000 devices in a month.” – Source

That’s a whole lot of misery for hundreds of thousands of people each year. And the frequency of attacks and number of “dollars” demanded are both rising at incredible rates. It’s only a matter of time that you (or someone you know) is affected.

Notice I used “dollars” in quotes above, that’s because often ransomware hackers demand getting paid in the online cryptocurrency called bitcoin.

On a personal note, I have a friend who’s Dad’s data was held hostage via ransomware. Get ahead of this before you’re a victim too. You need to:

  1. Back Up Your Data
  2. Keep Software Programs Up To Date
  3. Use Data Encryption

20 – Back Up Your Data

Use a storage system that backs up all your important files and data automatically. That way, if you’re ever hit with ransomware, you’ll be able to restore your files without having to succumb to these scums demands.

Here’s an extensive backup guide to help get you started. As you’ll discover in the guide you have 3 backup options to consider: bootable, external, or cloud. The choice is yours.

21 – Keep your Software Up To Date

Set your computer and phone to update software automatically. This will make certain that you don’t have any unnecessary old security software loopholes. When a new security patch is pushed out, you will get it ASAP.

image of the word encryption in redUse Data Encryption

Encryption is for everyone. Nearly everyone uses encryption every day. But few people even understand what it is.

Encryption is the act of scrambling data from sender to receiver. If someone sees the scrambled encrypted data during transmission, it looks nonsensical to them. Unless they have the encryption key. The key that takes the scrambled information and unscrambles it.

Another example: Let’s image there are 3 people in a room and only 2 of these people know Morse code. The 2 people who know Morse code start tapping back and forth, laughing and pointing, etc. (they know the key) but the third person is clueless. The data being transmitted (long and short taps) is encrypted as far as the third person is concerned.

So encryption scrambles your digital data so it’s unreadable to anyone who doesn’t have permission to access it. Without encryption, online purchases would be impossible since you’d be sharing your credit card information with the entire world.

22 – Encrypt Your Smartphone

Your smartphone knows nearly everything about you. With GPS, it knows where you are all day long (assuming you take it with you). It knows who you called, what websites you visit, who you text with, what you said, etc.

The good news is most smartphones today have an encryption available. You just need to take the time to enable it….

Look in your phone’s settings and find the Security option (it may be called something else on your phone). Then look for the Encryption option. Now follow the prompts.

23 – Encrypt Your Computers

You can encrypt your entire computer’s hard drive or just specific sensitive files. The step to enabling encryption on your computer is different from PC or Mac and it also depends on the OS version.

Here’s an article that will help you get started in figuring out how to encrypt your computer’s hard drive system.

24 – Encrypt Your USB Drives

USB drives get misplaced. So you’d hate to accidently leave it laying around only to have a stranger plug it in and go through your data.

You should get an Apricorn flash drive with built-in encryption. They cost a few dollars more but consider it a single fee insurance policy to protect your data.

25 – Encrypt Your Cloud Data

Some folks are worried about storing their data in the cloud. And I don’t blame them. You are giving up a lot of control of your data for convenience. You’re essentially allowing your data to be stored at a remote server somewhere.

However, for some, the convenience is worth the risk. For example with small businesses or for a long distance families, the cloud makes sharing data and photos much easier. So if you decide you want to use the cloud you must

  1. Avoid uploading your most sensitive information
  2. Make sure it’s encrypted

Dropbox is a popular cloud-based application that provides data encryption. I’m sure there are others but make certain you do your research and turn the encryption option ON, if it’s not ON by default.

You should also only choose a cloud-based Storage Company that supports 2 step authentication.

26 – 2 Step Authentication

Is the cloud convenient? Yes. Does it use data encryption? Maybe.

Does it have 2 step authentication? It better or you shouldn’t use it.

Most cloud-based storage companies tout their data encryption tactics. And as long as you use a strong secure password and 2 step authentication, you’ll significantly lower the risks of an intruder gaining access.

So what’s 2 step authentication? It’s basically a second from of proving you are, who-you-say-you-are.

The first step is your password. But as we all know, passwords can be hacked (especially if they are simple and short). But by adding a second “step” of authentication, you’re dramatically reducing the chances of your accounts being compromised.

With 2 step enabled, not only does a hacker have to brute force cracked your password, but they now must also have your 2nd authentication code as well. This hacker headache alone makes it not worth the time to pursue your accounts.

The most common way 2 Step Authentication works is to either send an SMS text of the code to your phone or through an app that generates unique codes every minute.

The bottom line is when you enable 2 step authentication on your accounts, you’ll start by logging in as normal and instead of gaining immediate access, you’ll have to enter a unique code. Depending on the account, the code may be sent to your phone via text or you might be able to get the code through an app.

You enter the unique, time-limited, code and then you get access to your account.

A bit of a pain? Yes. Worth it? Yes.

Your best privacy option is to either avoid using cloud storage or only use it for data you wouldn’t mind the entire world seeing. Which takes us to the next topic…

gps device on dashboard of carStop Over Sharing

27 – GPS Tracking

Most phone apps (especially popular ones like Facebook) by default track your GPS data. With some apps, you can turn off this function, and you should. And if you can’t turn off the function, then I suggest you remove the app from your phone entirely.

The other option is to turn off your phone GPS and only turn it back on when you are actually using it for navigation purposes. No one needs to know where I’m at, or where I’ve been, period.

28 – Turn On Log In Approvals

“Log In Approvals” is just Facebooks version of 2 step authentication. This means even if someone steals or guesses your password, they would also need a unique code to get in. Making it much less likely.

So turn on “log in approvals” to lock down your Facebook account. You can find the setting in your Facebook account settings area.

29 – Become Elusive

Maybe you’re not interested in having an old high school crush looking you up on Facebook and friending you. So what’s the best way to avoid this awkward fate? Hide.

You have the option to show up in the Facebook search results or not. Go to the “who can look me up?” settings section in Facebook. But like most privacy settings, by default, you will show up in the search.

So you have to be proactive and turn that setting off.

Protection On Public WiFi

Many people enjoy connecting to free public WiFi at places like Starbucks. Just find the network, accept the terms, and start surfing. But did you decide to automatically connect to that network whenever it’s in range for future convenience? Opps.

Because what if a hacker creates a WiFi network that sounds like the Starbuck’s official one. Maybe the real Starbucks connection was named “Google Starbucks” and the hacker created a rogue WiFi called “Starbucks Offical.” You wouldn’t know which one was the safe WiFi, so you connect to wrong one, oops, you’ve just been hacked.

You can combat this by asking the Starbucks staff (or whichever business you’re visiting) which WiFi is legit and never allow your computer to automatically connect to public WiFi.

Also, never conduct sensitive affairs on public WiFi networks such as logging into bank accounts.

30 – Enable Your Computer’s Firewall

A computer firewall acts as a front door for your computer. It won’t automatically let outside computers to link to yours without your permission. Just as you would leave your front door open for anyone to walk in your home.

Go to your computer’s security settings and double check that it’s enabled.

31 – Hide Your Computer

Once your firewall is enabled go a step further and cloak your computer. If the bad guys can’t find you, then they can’t hurt you.

On a PC, it’s normally under Advanced Sharing settings. With a Mac, you can enter stealth mode in your firewall options.

32 – Use The Automatic Options

Whenever you decide you want to join a public network, make sure you classify it as one. You can classify any network you connect to as “home” or “public”. When you classify it as “public” your operating system will forget the network when you log off. These terms and options are for PCs.

For a Mac, use the free to download ControlPlane app.

VPN letter blocks33 – Use A Virtual Private Network

In my opinion, this is the most crucial step to protecting your privacy when browsing online in public or private! “Incognito” windows don’t record your online history in your browser but that’s about it. Your computer’s IP address still shows where you’ve been online.

A Virtual Private Network (or VPN for short) is a simple but effective online privacy tool.

A VPN routes your internet connection through a remote server. So all of your internet activities are not tied back to you or your computer.

Without A VPN: You’re Computer —–> Websites
With A VPN: You’re Computer —–> Virtual Server —–> Websites

All computers have a unique address called an IP address. When you visit a website, you’re essentially leaving your computer’s IP address at the front door. However, if you route your connection through a VPN you don’t leave YOUR IP address at the front door, you leave the VPN’s IP address.

And the VPN’s address is not tied back to your IP address, so it lets you surf the web anonymously. Genius!

Without the VPN anyone with a bit of technical know-how can see which sites you visit and how often. However, with a VPN your information and privacy is protected.

Unfortunately, with VPN’s you get what you pay for. And you can’t trust any old fly-by-night VPN operation.

I recommend Using Hide My Ass

That’s why I recommend HMA. They have been around for decades, they have thousands of remote servers, they encrypt all the data, and I’ve been a satisfied customer since 2012.

They are worth every penny to help protect my online privacy. Never go online without it.

34 – Go Long and Short

Always, always, lock your mobile phone screen.

The FCC estimates that about 1 million smartphones are stolen each year.

And if you’re like most Americans, you keep a boatload of sensitive and personal information on this device.

And often, out of convenience, your apps are set to automatically keep you signed in. So with a single tap, you get full to access your personal accounts (without having to enter an email or password). This is the typical setup for your Facebook app, your twitter app, dropbox app, etc.

Are you OK with a thief having unfettered access to these accounts? I didn’t think so.

The best way to protect your smartphone’s data is to make your pin code or finger swipe code longer and more complex. Don’t get lazy and use a common pin code like 1234, 0000, 1111, 2222, etc.

In a recent pin code data study conducted by they discovered:

The most popular password is 1234…

…it’s staggering how popular this password appears to be. Utterly staggering at the lack of imagination...

…nearly 11% of the 3.4 million passwords are 1234!!!

If any of these easy combinations sound like your pin. Do yourself a favor and change it to something random or even better yet, go with a 6 pin random code for even more security.

Smartphone thieves will attempt all the obvious combinations first and if your pin is one of these they will get in. If it’s not an obvious code they will eventually give up.

Now Go Short

Now, a pin code is utterly useless if you have a super long screen timeout. The good news is you can change this setting. You can choose from “immediate timeout” all the way to “never timeout”. The bottom line is the shorter the better. I recommend having it set to immediate timeout for the highest amount of security.

Sure it’s a bit of a hassle to have your screen lock while in the middle of reading an article, but this will prevent a thief from having hours and hours of access to your smartphone data. If your phone auto locks in under a minute, then chances are a thief will never get easy access to your data from the start.

 Protect Your Mail

fishing hook laying on computer keyboard35 – Avoid The Phishing Nets

You’ve probably heard of the term phishing. It’s those real sounding emails that are sent in an attempt to get you to click a link and share information.

Often times these emails look authentic. They pretend to be from a company you use asking you to “update your password”. But they are really phishing for your password by asking you to change it.

Once they have your password and can get into your account.

The easiest way to stay safe from these sorts of attacks is to use two-factor authentication. This prevents anyone with just your password from accessing your accounts. They would need the 2nd factor as well (see prior section on two-factor authentication).

36 – Be Skeptical Of All Emails

Nowadays, most legit companies don’t ask you to click links in emails to update passwords. But if you’re ever uncertain, you can always open up a new browser window and type in the URL that’s displayed; bypassing having to click the link.

Links can say one thing but do another. Or they can redirect from on location to another. So click all links with a healthy dose of skepticism.

37 – Pick Up The Phone

Again, one of the best ways to avoid these new aged scams is to not play the game. Pick up a phone and call the company. Ask them about the email you got. This will provide the proof you need to find out if the email was legitimate or not.

38 – Use 10-Minute Email

Occasionally, your willing to trade your email address for access to a website, to sign up for a loyalty card, or to get an email receipt. But what if you only want the one-time service and don’t really want to give up your real email address. Use instead.

This service allows you to create an email address that is only functional for 10 minutes (or 20 if you choose). After that time is up the email address self-destructs and 10minutemail doesn’t retain any personal data.

Just be aware, you won’t have access to any follow emails from the company. So only use the 10-minute email option with company’s you don’t trust. You don’t want to miss out if they’re sending you emails you actually want.

39 – See Who “Sharing” Your Email

Don’t you hate when you get an email from some random spammer! Doesn’t isn’t it frustrating you don’t know which company gave away your data to that spammer? Start using this neat trick to find out who original a$$hole was.

If you have a Gmail account, Type “+” “websitename” before the @ symbol. For example, if your Gmail address was and you signed up with XYZ Company, you’d submit your email address as:

Now all emails from the XYZ company will still go to your email address but will now include some extra info. So if you ever get spam emails from a random company you’ve never heard of, you’ll know who sold your privacy down the river.

row of old rural mailboxes40 – Shred Sensitive Snail Mail Documents

Going through your trash or stealing from your mailbox is an old school way for hackers and thieves to collect personal data.

Way too many companies send unsolicited offers through the mail. And while it’s annoying, they often put sensitive personal info in the offers as well (I’m looking at you Credit Card companies).

You need to shred those documents before they get shoved into your waste bin.

Here are the snail mail documents everyone should shred:

  • Anything with your social security number on it
  • Same goes for Birthdate
  • Credit Card numbers
  • Account numbers
  • Medical Insurance Number

But, shredding everything you intend to throw out is ok too. I use the adage of “when in doubt, shred.” If you don’t already have one, get yourself a quality paper shredder.

41 – Shut Off Unsolicited Credit Card Offers

You won’t miss out, I promise. They don’t send you these offers to “save” you money. They send these unsolicited offers because they make themselves lots and lots of money, at your expense.

Plus, they put your personal privacy at risk. These “offers” can get stolen, filled out by identity thieves, and get the actual Credit Cards sent to their address. Then it’s just a matter of activating them and quickly piling up debt before you notice.

And while you’ll unlikely to be on the hook for such damages, it’s a personal privacy security mess.

You can put a stop to many of these unsolicited offers by going to or calling 888-567-8688.

This service is run by the Consumer Credit Reporting Industry.

If you ever feel like you need more credit, shop around online on your terms, you don’t need these unsolicited offers coming in the mail.

42 – Receive Less Mail Overall

What about all those other unsolicited offers? You can reduce those too by up to 80% using I also recommend you visit their “Learn More” page first to get an idea of how it all works.

Action PlanCyber Security and Privacy Action Plan

Odds are, you got so into reading this cyber security and privacy guide that you forgot to take action. That’s ok because this is your kick-in-the-pants reminder to go back to the top and slowly work your way through all the action items.

Unless of course, you want to kick yourself later for only doing half the work. Information not put to use is…useless.

Your data will thank you.

Remember: Prepare, Adapt, and Overcome,
“Just In Case” Jack

The post The Ultimate 42 Step Guide On How To Protect Your Privacy appeared first on Skilled Survival.

The Cheapest Bug Out Bag: 11 Steps and Less Than $100

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The Cheapest Bug Out Bag: 11 Steps and Less Than $100 Yes, you could throw together a cheap bug out bag for practically free. But will it help you survive when SHTF? You could also spend all your money on a bug out bag and let it sit in a closet and never look at …

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Meat Potting: An Almost Forgotten Skill Worth Rediscovering

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Meat Potting: An Almost Forgotten Skill Worth Rediscovering When I sat down to write this, I remembered my grandmother. She potted meat like this in 10 gallon crocks. The cooler you could keep the crock, the longer the meat will last. (Basement, cellar, etc), but don’t let it hard freeze or the crock will crack. …

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11 International Foods That Are Banned In The U.S.

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11 International Foods That Are Banned In The U.S.

Image source: YouTube

Did you know that there are some foods that are popular in other countries that are banned in the United States? In an effort to keep citizens safe from harm, the government has banned the following food items. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? You decide.

1. Kinder Surprise Chocolate Eggs. Popular in Europe, these eggs contain a non-edible toy hidden inside a plastic capsule.

Since a 1938 federal law prohibits non-edible objects within food products, Kinder Eggs are banned in this country. Each year, U.S. customs officials seize thousands of Kinder Eggs at the border, as travelers attempt to bring these potential choking hazards home.

2. Fugu. If it is not prepared properly, this Japanese puffer fish can kill you. Fugu contains potentially deadly amounts of tetrodotoxin, a neurotoxin that can cause paralysis or asphyxiation.

In the U.S. it is illegal to catch, to harvest, to serve or to eat fugu.

3. Casu Marzu. It may look like a creamy cheese, but Casu Marzu, a delicacy in Sardinia, Italy, is made by placing fly larvae into Pecorino cheese. When the larvae hatch, they speed up the fermentation process and help give the cheese its creamy texture.

That unusual – and unhealthy — means of production has caused it to be banned in the U.S.

4. Haggis. Haggis, a food produced in Scotland, contains sheep lung.

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The USDA has prohibited foods containing lungs since 1971, and haggis is no exception.

11 International Foods That Are Banned In The U.S.

Image source: Wikimedia

5. Ackee. In Jamaica, this fruit is often boiled and cooked with salted cod. However, when it has not ripened properly, ackee can contain dangerously high levels of hypoglycin A and B, which can lead to coma or death upon consumption.

6. Shark fin. Long a delicacy in China, shark fin has been banned in eight states, largely to support conservation efforts of certain shark species.

Shark finning, which has affected global shark populations, includes finning the shark and then throwing it back into the ocean.

7. Horsemeat. Although there is no official ban of horsemeat, federal law prohibits tax dollars being spent on the inspection of horsemeat and of horse slaughterhouses. Since USDA inspections are required for food that is sold here, this law effectively prevents horsemeat from being sold in U.S. restaurants or supermarkets.

8. Beluga caviar. The U.S. government has banned the importing of beluga caviar as a protective measure against overfishing of beluga sturgeon, primarily in the Caspian Sea.

9. Pig’s blood cake. A popular dish in Taiwan, pig’s blood cake includes pork blood and sticky rice. The USDA has banned it here due to sanitary concerns.

10. Sassafras oil. Sassafras has been banned because it has been linked with certain cancers and with liver and kidney damage. Artificial sassafras flavoring is used for making root beer in the U.S.

11. Queen conch. With overfishing threatening its population, the queen conch has been protected since 2003 by a U.S. law making importation of the large sea snail illegal.

Now that you know some of the foods our government banned, it is interesting to note another piece of food banning information. Since 2011, the French government has banned tomato ketchup in its elementary schools. Apparently, the government was concerned that the condiment, which is so omnipresent in the U.S., would overshadow the taste of French food.

Do you think some foods should be banned in the U.S.? Share your thoughts in the section below:  


Tired Of Losing Your Freedoms And Looking For Another Country? Read More Here.

Not Carrying a Knife for Wilderness Survival

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On a recent walkabout, one of the students asked where my knife was. I paused the walk, turned towards the group and said, “I don’t have one”

“You mean you forgot it?” the student asked

“No, I mean I don’t carry one.” I replied while I noticed his riding on his hip. As I looked about, I noticed others had their knives on them as well, not all but some.

“Not even when you’re in the outdoors?” another asked

I guess I must not be following the mold of what an outdoors person is supposed to have or not have when hiking along.

“Actually, no. Outside of teaching classes which involve the use of a knife, like carving, cutting and sharpening, I don’t carry a knife at all.” I responded.

The post Not Carrying a Knife for Wilderness Survival appeared first on outdoor self reliance.

Elephant Ear Plant: Care, Types, and Tips

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The post Elephant Ear Plant: Care, Types, and Tips is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

If you were to Google the words “elephant ear,” you would find a range of images, from the delicious, doughy staple of fried fair fare to those enormous pachyderms in all their gray, wrinkly glory.As a gardener you will zoom in on pictures of large, green leaves that so cleverly resemble those flappy elephant ears […]

The post Elephant Ear Plant: Care, Types, and Tips is by
Kevin and appeared first on Epic Gardening, the best urban gardening, hydroponic gardening, and aquaponic gardening blog.

5 Strange Ways Your Ancestors Saved Fuel During Winter

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5 Strange Ways Your Ancestors Saved Fuel During Winter

Our first home was built in 1907 and boasted drafty windows and a minimal amount of insulation. Before our first winter came to an end, we knew changes had to be made if we were to survive in any amount of comfort. Staying warm at the expense of draining our savings account was not an option. And although we have since moved on to a well-insulated home, we still employ many of the fuel-saving practices we learned many years ago.

Our ancestors knew how to conserve energy. Whether it was using nature’s colder temperatures for food storage or keeping the house warm without turning the thermostat up a single degree, they utilized ordinary objects to conserve fuel.

Below are some time-tested methods to put into practice this winter.

1. Window coverings

Windows are points of entry for cold air, and although new windows are certainly more effective, they still cool the room. Foam tapes, clear films and other products abound at big box home improvement centers, but these are unnecessary and may in fact cause damage to your home. Foam tapes are often difficult to remove completely, damaging the finish of the casement and sill.

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Clear films have been known to cause cracked window panes, particularly on south-facing windows. Years ago, homeowners used quilted window coverings to block drafts, raising the temperature of a room by several degrees. In addition to windows, glass patio doors also can be covered with an insulated curtain to reduce the amount of heat lost.

2. Straw bales

Using straw bales around the foundation of your home may not increase its’ curb appeal, but it will help to keep your fuel costs down by adding an extra layer of protection against cold winter winds. Place bales where they can absorb the greatest impact from winter’s worst weather. The bales also may help to prevent heat loss. Straw bales may later be used as livestock bedding, mulched for compost or used elsewhere on the homestead, provided it is dry, and mold- and mildew-free.

3. Humidifiers

We are not talking about the commercial humidifiers that release moisture in the air, but rather, the strategic use of space on an indoor burner. Cast iron kettles filled with water will release moisture in the air when safely situated on a fuel-burning stove. Even if you do not have an indoor wood burner or corn burner, you can utilize other appliances as humidifiers.

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For example, once you’re finished using your kitchen oven, place a dish of water in it while leaving the door ajar. As the oven cools down, it will heat the water enough to release moisture into the air. Indoor air that has the proper level of humidity feels warmer.

4. Cover bare floors

Bare floors keep a room from retaining heat and contribute to an overall chilly feeling. Using area rugs to cover wood or tiled floors will not only keep your feet warmer, but also will raise the ambient temperature by a few degrees. Rugs can, of course, be purchased, but old quilts, toweling, and scraps tied into rag rugs work just as well.

5. Door rolls

From a unique design that matches your interior to the thrift store quilt, a roll of material stopping drafts from entering your home is essential to any fuel-saving plan. Scrap material can be fashioned into a tube that can be filled with numerous things to block cold winter air. Fill the tube with densely packed material. Rice or sand are both common options, but materials such as recycled quilt batting or scraps of denim are also very effective.

Do you know of other time-tested ways to keep the house warm? Share your tips in the section below: 

Need An AR But on a Budget? Build It!

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Many people would love to own an AR style rifle, but most of them simply can’t afford it. Sound like you? Well, James from Plan And Prepared has the solution: build your own! He put together a detailed guide that covers all the basics of building your own AR. I haven’t tried this myself, but […]

The post Need An AR But on a Budget? Build It! appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

An Armed Citizen Just Saved The Life Of A State Trooper

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An Armed Citizen Just Saved The Life Of A State Trooper

PHOENIX — Even veteran cops sometimes need help from armed citizens. Arizona State Trooper Edward Andersson might have been beaten to death if a gun-wielding motorist had not come to his aid.

“My trooper would not be alive without his assistance,” Colonel Frank Milstead, the director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), said of an unidentified California resident.

The man was driving west on Interstate 10 on Jan. 12 when he saw a man slamming Andersson’s head into the pavement. Andersson had just been ambushed and shot by the man, Leonard Pennelas-Escobar.

The driver stopped and asked Andersson if he needed help. He said yes, and the driver then got his gun from the vehicle and shot Pennelas-Escobar. He then used Andersson’s radio to call for help, The Arizona Republic reported. The attacker died on the scene. Andersson was taken to a hospital in Goodyear, Ariz., by helicopter.

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Officials are still trying to determine why the man attacked Andersson.

It all started when Andersson saw a rollover wreck and stopped at around 4 a.m. That wreck resulted in a woman being ejected and dying. He had just put out flares when the suspect shot him and began beating him, The Republic reported.

Before the driver stopped to help, the suspect was “getting the better of” Andersson and slamming his head into the pavement, AP said.

Andersson is a 27-year veteran of the DPS.

“He’s incredibly fortunate to be here with us today,” Milstead said of Andersson.

Andersson has been released from the hospital.

“Thanks for the thoughts and prayers this morning for our Trooper that was shot,” Milstead tweeted, “looks like he will be okay after some recovery.”

The interstate had to be closed for 10 hours and traffic diverted while DPS investigated the shooting, The Republic reported.

Pennelas-Escobar was a former member of the Mexican federal police and was in the U.S. illegally, Milstead said. Pennelas-Escobar also used illegal drugs, he said.

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Defensive Driving, Car Safety And Survival | episode 133

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Defensive Driving, Car Safety And Survival | episode 133
Defensive Driving, Car Safety And Survival | episode 133

Defensive Driving, Car Safety And Survival | episode 133



This week we cover defensive driving. How to stay safe on the roads. 

I got this question in from a listener and knew it would be a great topic. 

I talk about the lesson my Uncle taught me when I was learning to drive. To treat all other drivers like idiots. 

That lesson has served me well over the years. And so far without any accidents. 

To implement the rule I imagine a bubble around my car and try to not let any cars in it.  I don’t tailgate nor allow myself to be tailgated. 

In generally don’t like vehicles on my sides either. 

I talked about using your situational awareness while driving. 

Just like you would know the exits when in a restaurant know your exits while driving. And I don’t mean interstate exits. 

I mean to say how you would avoid collisions, traffic jams etc. 

I go on to cover what to do if your being followed and chased. 




  • Treat other drivers like idiots.
  • Use your situational awareness when driving
  • Cell phones are a hindrance
  • Maintain proper distance
  • Look ahead and around

How to tell if you’re being followed

  • Make 4 left or right turns
  • Get off and back on the interstate 

What to do if you’re being chased. 

  • Call the police
  • Don’t stop and don’t go home
  • Escape
  • Drive to a busy public location
  • Drive to a police station
  • Disabled their car


Krav Maga 


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YELLOW ALERT – 3 possibilities over the next two weeks

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Video Summary

YELLOW ALERT (Heightened Awareness)

3 possibilities over the next two weeks 
Islamic Terrorist Attack
Assassination Attempt
Coup Attempt


  • Pay attention to what’s going on around you
  • Pay attention to the news
  • Make Commonsense Preparations: 

             A) Keep gas tanks topped off
             B) Keep cell phones fully charged
             C) Top off food & water storage
             D) Refill prescription medications 

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Sorry if I come across as “stiff” in the video . I have very little public speaking experience. Hopefully, I’ll get better in future videos! 

Lead — The Most Likely Toxin to Degrade Your Life

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stock here: links below by Hippie Dog

Milwaukee just decided to declare a “War On Lead” and remove all remaining lead lateral piping serving houses.   Well good move, but sheesh, just now?   

Lead in our water supply? Are you drinking it? Yepper…

Eating and breathing lead? You bet…

Is it going away? Nopper, no time soon…

In fact it’s getting worse!

Lead fixtures, galvanized pipes and faucets are a HUGE problem!!!

Mostly in rent style housing today as the law requires (in many places) these problems to be fixed before a loan can be given to purchase a older home.

Why? Lead poising will make you insane!!!

Ya just can’t pay the loan if your’e crazy…


Regardless, period, in every home, without exception, AT THE FAUCET…

It may be too late after the problem has happened to you.

Lead: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

Flint’s water crisis, explained in 3 minutes:

Showering in lead tainted water is as bad for you as drinking it…
…sometimes even worse. This is the most widespread contamination risk most face.

How about lead in our environment now?


And lead in your diet and environment has been proven to make you dumber, more violent and numb to reality…

The Great Dumbing Down:

Lead from leaded car fuel, lead used in pipes, containers and even faucet parts in older homes in years past have us all in a stranglehold…

(2) Two Kevlar Pad Inserts Package- Front and Back

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Conflicts of Interest. Is This Real?

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Conflicts Of Interest

Unsurprisingly, the left’s attacks on President-elect Trump haven’t stopped or even slowed down. In their never-ending search for justice, they have taken upon themselves the burden of finding fault with everything he does and even things he doesn’t do. In that regard, they are glad to assume the worst of our incoming president and accuse him of things, before he has a chance of doing them.

While most of those attacks mean nothing, there is one attack that is of interest and perhaps even concern. That is, the potential of there being a conflict of interest between Trump’s presidency and his many business holdings.

If nothing else, that’s keeping liberals busy, especially liberals in the media. They’re spending so much time slamming Trump for made-up news, that they aren’t able to do anything effective against him.

Perhaps if they keep that up throughout his presidency, the Republican Party can actually get something done. That would be a real change for Washington.

Trump the Businessman vs. Trump the President

Trump’s presidency is unique in this, in that he’s spent his life as a businessman, rather than spending it living a life of high-class welfare, otherwise known as politics.

It seems to be fairly common knowledge that politicians pass out political favors to their donors, most of whom are businessmen of one sort or another. Yet, while that is disgusting to the average American, it’s not considered a conflict of interest.

Apparently it’s not even considered that when it is taken to the extreme that Bill and Hillary Clinton have, using their own non-profit corporation and its overseas subsidiaries as a means of funneling money into their pockets in exchange for political favors. Even so, the same people who willingly turn a blind eye to the immoral activities of the Clintons, are hot on the trail of anything they can find, which they can use to claim a conflict of interest in Trump’s case.

I’ve got to say, with a worldwide corporation, his connections to foreign governments, as well as his connections to various banks, it would seem that there is ample opportunity for there to be such a conflict. Most disturbingly, there could be a conflict of interest between Trump’s relationship with a foreign government and his responsibilities as President of the United States.

The simple solution, of course, is for Trump to either divest himself of his business interests or to keep his hands off of them, perhaps by putting them in some sort of blind trust. He’s working on that, even as we speak; or rather, his lawyers are; but with so much money at stake, that’s not something that can be done overnight.

His family is even taking that a step further, with his daughter and son-in-law quitting the Trump corporation, so that they can work with him in the White House. His son-in-law is going to be working as some sort of an unspecified senior advisor, and his daughter will be working in the office of the First Family, which is the newly renamed Office of the First Lady.

It has to be costing Trump and his family to be making the moves they are. Trump has already stated that he isn’t going to accept his salary as president. But now it’s costing him more than that, just to try and eliminate any potential conflict between his presidency and his business. Yet, he is paying that price as well, in addition to the millions of dollars of his own money which he spent during the campaign.

The Sticky Ball of Wax

In a way, it’s surprising that this is even an issue. The Founding Fathers never intended for the United States to have a permanent ruling class, as we have today. Their vision, which has been passed on to us rather clearly, was for citizen legislators, who would leave their farms and businesses for the business of government, and return to them when their work in Washington was over.

I have to wonder what George Washington or John Adams would think of the stink being made of Trump’s business holdings. I think that rather than being concerned about Trump taking advantage of his position to enrich himself, they’d be glad that a citizen of such outstanding stature would be willing to leave his business interests, in order to serve the country, just as they had done.

None of the founding fathers gave up their plantations or businesses in order to serve in Washington. Perhaps that wasn’t as much of an issue back then, when the federal government was small and didn’t have its tentacles in every pie that it could find. There was no conflict, because the government didn’t meddle with farming or with business. Instead, when they served in office, they limited themselves to the powers that the Constitution gave them.

Yet, even with all that Trump and his family is doing to ensure that they keep everything above board, Democrats are salivating at the opportunity to hit him with a conflict of interest charge. Specifically, they’re planning on saying that he has enriched himself off of foreign governments.

In a strict legal sense, that’s true. Let’s say, if one foreign government employee dines or stays in a Trump owned hotel, he’s technically been enriched by a foreign government. For that matter, a case could be made that he has been enriched by a foreign government if a trail can be shown where an employee of a foreign government did business with a business that rents space from Trump’s corporation. After all, that business would be paying him rent with the money they received from that foreign government.

This merely shows what a sticky ball of wax Trump has fallen into. Current laws weren’t written with the idea of citizen legislators, simply because the country has moved from that into a permanent political class. While that isn’t in line with the intent of the Founding Fathers, it is the situation that we, and most especially Donald Trump, find ourselves in.


But then, we can say “so what” to those accusations. If Trump makes a profit, it will be because the things he is doing are good for the country as a whole, not just for himself. I’m sure that if he tries to use his office to further his business dealings, the Democrats won’t have to impeach him… the Republicans will do it  for them. So, there will be plenty of eyes on Trump, to make sure that he stays above board.

Besides, how do the Democrats think they’re going to succeed in impeaching Donald Trump? There have been cries of “impeachment” for Obama for the last six years. Yet he made it to the end of his second term, without being impeached. Why? Because the Republicans never held enough seats in the Senate to ensure success. They would have had to have the assistance of about a dozen Democrats, and the Democrats are too good at marching in lockstep to allow the impeachment of “their” president.

Likewise, the Democrats would have to have the help of a similar number of Republicans. I seriously doubt that’s going to happen, even though Trump has plenty of enemies in Congress. Allowing an impeachment of Trump to go forward would be akin to conceding the election to Hillary, even after she lost.

Cooperating with the Democrats on this would be to say that they were right all along. It would also be an admission that their party is out of control and needs to be reigned in, reigned in by the Democrats.

While there are plenty of RINOs in Congress, I think that this is a line that even they won’t cross. Doing so in the current political climate would be political suicide. They could start looking for a house somewhere outside of Washington, because the voters would remove them as quick as they could.

Ultimately, it’s the voters, We the People, who hold power in this country. We proved that in November, voting in a man to be president, who the entire Washington establishment, including the media, opposed. For the first time in living memory, we rose up and took our place as the true owners of this country. As such, we sent a clear message to Washington, that we are fed up with their shenanigans.

Granted, they haven’t all gotten that message yet, but it was sent. The more astute of them have gotten the message, loud and clear. As for the rest, I believe that given enough time, they’ll get it too. If not, we’ll just have to make the message a little more direct and a little more personal.

After all, we’ve learned our lesson too. We know how to send that message.

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia. 


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The Court of Heaven (Part 1): Do You Know You Have Access To It?

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     Perhaps the first question I should ask is Did you know the Court of Heaven even exists?  I would venture to guess that a majority of modern Christians would answer “No” to that question.  Yet the Jews returning to Jerusalem from their Babylonian exile knew well the teachings of the prophet Zechariah, among which was this idea of a Heavenly Court.
     And when we examine Scripture, there are many references to legal terms in God’s relationship with men:  judgment, appeals, law, contract, evidence, witnesses, indictment, jurisdiction, debt and debtors, redemption, punishment, condemn, testimony, and verdict.  Starting to get the idea?  And we must always keep in mind the admonition of our Lord: Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven.  The judicial system of the ancient Israelites, as well as our own court system, are modeled upon the Court in Heaven.  Furthermore, the Court is part of the judicial government of the Kingdom of Heaven, and guess what?  We have access to it as part of His Kingdom here on earth!
     First, I want us to understand that there are really two aspects of the Court of Heaven for Believers:  1) Jesus as our legal defender, and 2) our ability to prepare a case for our own defense.  In both instances, we can be present and have access to God in this heavenly Courtroom.
     Let me see if I can paint a picture for you from Scripture… In Zechariah, Chapter 3, the prophet receives a vision from a guiding angel of the High Priest, Joshua, standing before God, and Satan stands to his right, as his accuser.  The High Priest Joshua represents disobedient and sinful Israel, who has been brought to the Court of Heaven to receive what Satan thinks will be justified punishment for their sins.  (Remember: He is known as the Accuser). But that isn’t what happens!  God rebukes Satan and replaces Joshua’s filthy rags with the clean white robes of forgiveness.
     Then it gets even more exciting!  God counsels Joshua, telling him that if he will be faithful and walk in the ways of the Lord, he will be given greater authority to govern His house and have charge of His earthly courts, and most importantly, Joshua will have free access to the Court in Heaven and to God’s presence.  I want you to read that last comment again … God promised Joshua privileged access into the presence of God. This isn’t a surprising promise for a High Priest, but we have the same promise: Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16).
     NOTE:  I am currently seeking revelation from God about whether the Court of Heaven takes place in the Throne Room of God.  At this time, I am seeing Daniel 7:9-10 as confirming this, but I have asked some notable Bible scholars for their opinion, and I will give you their feedback as I receive it.  But for your own discernment and determination, here is the passage in Daniel:  As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; His clothing was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool; His throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came out from before Him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.  I see both the Throne Room and the Court of Judgment pictured in this Scripture, but as to whether they always coincide together, I am not prepared to say.  And perhaps the Court appears in the Throne Room only when God (The Judge) calls the Court into session.  What do you think?  

     But back to the High Priest Joshua … as Christians, we, too, can appear before God’s Throne and the Court of Heaven.  And I really like the way the noted theologian Charles Spurgeon voices his interpretation of this scenario:  “When Satan accuses, Christ pleads (our case). He does not wait till the case has gone against us and then express His regret, but He is always a very present help in time of trouble. He knows the heart of Satan, (being omniscient God), and long before Satan can accuse He puts in the demurrer, the blessed plea on our behalf, and stays the action till He gives an answer which silences forever, [the Accuser’s] every accusation.”  I found it interesting that the definition of the word demurrer is “[in Law], an objection that an opponent’s point is irrelevant or invalid, while granting the factual basis of the point”.  So, the result is that Satan accuses us, and Jesus never denies our sin, but instead acts as our Mediator. His sacrifice on our behalf makes the case against us invalid, and the case is thrown out of the Court of Heaven.  We are innocent by the Blood of the Lamb!
     But I don’t want us to skip over another very important fact … God’s promise wasn’t just that we can go to the Court of Heaven to petition, making a formal request for a Judicial decision, but if we  will follow God’s commandments and live in obedience, then we can oversee the affairs of the Judge  (God), and make the decisions!! That is a realm of authority in the Kingdom Government on earth that is available to all of us! So it’s not just about us being able to appear in Court to plead our case, (it starts there, of course), but we are given the authority to rule and reign and be part of God’s justice system in His earthly Kingdom. In that particular responsibility, there is a significant aspect of our position in the Kingdom of God that I’m afraid most Christians don’t fully understand… We are Kings and priests of our God, and He intends for us to participate as the government of heaven will increasingly invade the earth.
     There are other obvious views of the Court of Heaven in the Bible.  Perhaps the most familiar one is in the story of Job … One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan who was his designated Accuser came along with him. We also see that the Court in Heaven is where Satan got permission to curse Job and strike him with severe sores and other misfortune.  It is important for us to understand, as in this case with Job, God does allow Satan to attack and harass His people, but He always strictly regulates what Satan is allowed to do.  And whether we realize it or not, Satan has been going to the Heavenly Courtroom, (just like he did with Job), to get permission to steal from all of our lives. And because we Christians haven’t known that we can go into Court and say, “NO, I
want to present my case and oppose what the Accuser is saying”, we have experienced defeat after defeat! How often have Believers perished for lack of this knowledge?!?
     And I don’t want to leave this topic without pointing out one of the strongest visions of the Court of Heaven, which takes place in Revelation 12:10:  Then I heard a strong (loud) voice in heaven, saying, Now it has come—the salvation and the power and the kingdom (the dominion, the reign) of our God, and the power (and the authority) of His Christ (the Messiah); for the Accuser of our brethren, he who keeps bringing before our God charges against them day and night, has been cast out.

     But here’s the good news!  We have an Advocate in the Heavenly Courtroom!  This is a legal term describing someone who has received some legal training which allows him or her to represent another in a courtroom; an Advocate is someone who speaks on behalf of someone else.  So we should see a picture of Jesus as our Advocate in 1 John 2:1, “My little children, I write you these things so that you may not violate God’s law and sin. But if anyone should sin, we have an Advocate (One Who will intercede for us) with the Father—[it is] Jesus Christ [the all] righteous [upright and just, Who conforms to the Father’s will in every purpose, thought, and action].”  We know, from this Scripture, that Jesus is legally trained and knows how to represent us in the Court of Heaven!
     But here’s something we must also consider … in the instance of Job, we know that Satan was allowed to appear before the Court of Heaven, and accuse Job before God, The Judge.  But in the first 12 chapters, Job does nothing to defend himself.  He laments the attacks against him, but does nothing to defend himself — until Chapter 13!  Finally, in this chapter he says, NOW I have prepared my case (verse 18).  So, do you think Job might have saved himself and his family a lot of harm and suffering if he had prepared his case earlier?  Would he have been able to block Satan’s attempt to destroy him and his family in the Court?  No one can say for sure, but Job makes it quite evident that now that he’s prepared his case, he knows he will be vindicated!
     Can we perhaps learn a lesson from Job and be prepared to make our own cases in the Court of Heaven against our Accuser? Stay tuned for the next post as I present how the whole Heavenly Court system is rigged on our behalf, and how we can go to the Court on behalf of ourselves and our families, with the knowledge that Jesus stands with us.  It’s time we begin to prepare our own defense against the lies and accusations of our Adversary!

Thank you to the notes of Steven McKie, David Herzog, and Terry Spencer of New Horizon Community Church for their helpful insight on this topic.  They pointed me to Scripture on the Court of Heaven, which contributed to my understanding of this Biblical concept.

Psalm 35:1   “Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me; Fight against those who fight against me”.


The basics of starting and maintaining a campfire

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You may say that you already know how to build a campfire. In fact, everybody knows how to build a campfire. However, allow me to offer some suggestions that could facilitate things for you when you need to start a campfire in the wilderness. I spend a lot of time in the outdoors and I’ve … Read more…

The post The basics of starting and maintaining a campfire was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Home Defense Bow – Could It Be the Most Effective Self-Defense Weapon?

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This is a guest post, I don’t agree that a bow is anywhere close to being the most effective self defense weapon, but in the spirit that people who don’t/can’t own firearms still need self defense tools I am posting it.  Besides I still get comments on my video discussing why I don’t like the […]

The post Home Defense Bow – Could It Be the Most Effective Self-Defense Weapon? appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

The Open Road: RV Sales Boom

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RV's just got futuristic: The Basecamp Airstream

Add a car. and this is a silver bullet for your lifestyle

The all-American way to go off the grid is of course with a recreational vehicle – an RV.

Buckle up. Open road. Highway 66. Freedom. Yes mam!

Between the 12th-15th of January thousands of Americans gathered at Grand Rapids, Michigan for a celebration of this off-piste culture. ‘The Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show’. On the bill were classic RV’s such as the Basecamp Airstream – a small silver travel trailer of just 16 feet long and weighing less than 3,000 pounds equipped with solar energy, shower and toilet- as well as lifestyle gurus Greg & Cori Young and John Holod.

Hungry for travel and adventure,the Young’s sold all their possessions, bought an RV and now live life on the road.To support themselves they found ways to work with their travel and now advise other campers on how to install and utilise solar energy.

John Holod is a documentary maker about all things RV and is best known for work such as ‘Alaska: RV Adventure of a Lifetime’ and ‘The Great Rocky Mountain RV Adventure’.He has travelled over 600,000 miles in various RV’s and was awarded the “Distinguished Achievement in RV Journalism Award” by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association.

What both Holod and the Young’s prove is that a life full of movement and travel is entirely possible, and is not exclusively reserved for the rebellious likes of Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper.

The General Manager of the American RV, Chad Neff, said that due to low interest rates, low fuel prices and high customer confidence RV’s are experiencing a boom in sales (he took over 50 campers to the Grand Rapids show and expects to sell them all).The demographics of his customers range from millennials all the way to retiring baby boomers, all sharing one thing in common- a passion and drive for adventure and a world outside a TV screen.

If the ‘Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show’ shows one thing it’s that living off grid and on the road is becoming increasingly common- (in American accent) I sure know what I’ll be doing next summer!


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Natural Medicine: How to Make and Apply an Herbal Poultice

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“The fruit of it shall be for eating and leaf of it for healing…” (Ezekiel 47:12)

5 years ago, I came down with a bad upper respiratory infection. I was taking over the counter medicines, but none seemed to work and I was worried about secondary infections. My wife grandmother suggested I make a mustard plaster (poultice) for my chest. She told me that was what her mother did when she was a child. If it would help me with my chest congestion, I’d try anything. You know what? After a few applications, it worked!

We live in an amazing world where everything is provided for, all that is needed is to learn and understand how to use it. In our pursuit to live a more simplistic lifestyle, it is paramount to understand the vast world of herbs. Some of our favorite herbs can be lifesaving and easily grown in our backyard.

One of the easiest and fastest ways to use herbal medicine is by making a poultice. Poultices are one of the safest ways to use herbal remedies directly on the skin. The overall benefit of using this herbal remedy is the direct contact the body will receive from the herb or plant. While poultices are not as concentrated as essential oils or tinctures but they are an effective way of treating insect bites, burns, sore muscles, and sprains. They also assist is in drawing out infections and are great to help with blood poisoning, swollen glands, cysts, boils, pimples, internal injuries and even tumors. As well, poultices can be used to loosen chest congestion, aiding in expectoration of phlegm.

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What is Needed to Make an Herbal Poultice


How To Make a Poultice

Familiarize yourself with natural herbs that grow nearby so that you can later forage for these when needed. For instance, plantain is a common green weed that is often found in lawns. If you know how to recognize it, you can use its extensive medicinal qualities. If you are foraging for herbs, make sure the area hasn’t been sprayed with any type of chemical. The most basic poultice applies the herbs to the skin, either directly or folded into a piece of cotton fabric.

In that same vein, this website states that herbal teas and extracts can also be used. “Compresses can be made using teas or extracts. A cloth dipped in arnica can be applied to unbroken skin to relieve bruising and sprains. Hot castor oils packs are unparalleled for rheumatic joints or congested muscles. Cool sage tea soothes abrasions and vinegar compresses are healing for sprains, sore throat, swollen glands, and aching muscles. Lastly, witch hazel is known to reduce the inflammation in varicose veins and hemorrhoids.”

Some popular herbs to have on hand are:

  • Aloe vera
  • Chamomile
  • Calendula
  • Comfrey 
  • Echinacea
  • Elderberry
  • Golden Seal
  • Lavender
  • Marsh mallow
  • Mullein
  • Nettle
  • Oats
  • Plantain
  • St. Johns Wort
  • Thyme
  • Yarrow

Applying a Poultice

*If you are using fresh herbs or vegetables, mash or grate them and mix with boiling water to form a paste. If you plan on using dried herbs or clay, just add enough boiling water to form a thick paste.

Using both hot and cold poultices will create different reactions from the skin:

Applying a hot herbal poultice relax spasms and relieve pain. They also draw blood to the skin’s surface and increase circulation. The heat also pull impurities to the surface and relieves congestion (like my grandmother’s mustard plaster) to affected areas. To prolong the heat of the poultice, cover with a towel to keep. You can also apply a hot water bottle or heating pad over the poultice. Replace the poultice as it cools down and repeat as needed (for up to an hour at a time). As well, herbs can be added into a large muslin bag and added to the bath.

Applying a cold poultice or compress reduces inflammation and swelling and soothes excess heat that occurs from sunburns, bruises, strains, sprains, swollen glands and mastitis.

Fomentation is an external application of alternating hot and cold poultices to help capillaries dilate and constrict. This manipulation of the blood flow is one of the best and safest mechanisms for removing congestion and obstruction out the system. Apply a cold (kept cold using ice cubes) compress and leave on for 2-3 minutes. Next, apply a hot compress for 2-3 minutes. Alternate between hot and cold for at least 20 minutes. Alternating hot and cold compresses are also particularly useful for sprains to speed healing and repair. Herbs such as elder leaf, ginger, comfrey or horsetail could be of use here.

Note: A good rule with compresses and poultices is that if it feels uncomfortable then remove it immediately. Anything that is too hot or causing irritation or itching is best removed and allowed to cool or discarded. You can also make compresses with a few drops of essential oil dispersed in warm or cold water in place of teas or tinctures.

Best Types of Herbal Poultices

  1. Wound Healing Poultice – This combination of herbs help to reduce inflammation, sooth irritation, disinfect wounds, stop bleeding and heal tissue. Adding a tablespoon each of dried plantain leaf, Calendula flowers, thyme leaf and yarrow and adding to an empty tea bag will help soothe and heal. This poultice can be made ahead of time and even used on hiking or camping trips. Simply, place the herbs into the tea bag and seal the bag by stapling the ends together. Add tea bags to a plastic container and store in a cool dark place or in first aid kit. To use as a poultice place the bag in hot or warm water and soak for 1- 2 minutes and then apply to the affected area. You can then wrap the area with either a bandage or clear plastic to keep it moist and in place. Healing Antiseptic Wash: The same herbs mentioned above can be used to make a strong antiseptic wash as well. Place the bag in boiling water  and steep for 20 – 30 minutes.  Allow the liquid to sit until it is cool enough to apply to the skin. Remove the bag and reserve the liquid. Once the liquid is cool enough to apply to the skin it can be used to wash and disinfect the affected area.
  2.  Grandma’s Mustard Plaster – Break up congestion in the sinuses or chest. Use 4 tablespoons of flour, 1 tablespoon dry mustard, lukewarm water and a hand towel to make this poultice. Make a paste with ingredients and add to one half of a hand towel. Fold in half and apply to chest area for 20 minutes. Thoroughly wash off after you are finished applying. Repeat steps to back of chest for 20 minutes and wash off when finished. Take note: mustard can burn the skin. Before using, cover the skin with olive oil and then make sure to remove and check frequently and move the compress around to prevent burning.
  3. Poultice for Muscle Strains or Broken Bones – Comfrey reduces swelling and heal wounds and is an excellent herb to use in speeding the healing process of sprains, strains and broken bones. St. John’s wort relieves nerve and muscle pain. To make poultice: crush a handful of comfrey leaves and pour enough boiling water in small bowl to cover leaves. Using a mortar and pestle, mash into a pulp and allow to cool off. Once cool, with a spoon spread the pulp directly on the affected area. Cover with gauze and bandage to hold poultice in place. Leave on for several hours.
  4. Poultice for Insect Bites – Powdered clay including red, green or white clay is an essential component of a natural first aid kit and can help draw out toxins to the surface of the skin from spider bites, mosquito bites, or bee stings. It also relieves swelling from bites. Simply fill a 2-4 ounce container of dry clay, and then moisten with small amounts of water until a paste like consistency is achieved. The paste can be applied to bites, stings, boils, or acne. This poultice can also be used to remove stubborn splinters. Chickweed and lemon balm are also good herbs to use as a poultice for insect bites.
  5. Poultice for Boils  Onions possess antiseptic properties that act as an antimicrobial and irritant to draw blood and “heat” to the boil. Cut a thick slice of onion and place it over the boil. Wrap the area with a cloth. Change the poultice every three to four hours until the boil comes to a head and drains. You can also use a slippery elm and thyme poultice to draw out boils and heal the skin. Here’s what to do: Mash a handful of thyme leaves and cover with boiling water and allow to cool. Pour off excess water and mix in 2 tablespoons of slippery elm powder. Apply directly to the boil or enclose the pulp in gauze. Leave in place for several hours.

The old ways of doing things should not be disregarded. There is a reason our ancestors used these herbs and why the herbal ingredients continue to be shared. In a time when we are becoming resistant to modern medicines due to overuse, it would be advantageous to start turning back to these old remedies.

We’d love to hear what your favorite poultices are! Share them with the Ready Nutrition Community below.

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Basic Cold Weather Manual

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Basic Cold Weather Manual  This is just awesome, I found the full Basic Cold Weather Manual on a website for FREE. It is laid out in chapters and easily navigable. This knowledge is great to have on hand now winter is coming up, you just never know when you may need to know this stuff. Here …

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Article – Liberal Preppers Stock Up On Guns, Food As Trumpocalypse Looms

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Oh merciful Crom, the irony is so hard….

Colin Waugh bought a shotgun four weeks before November’s election.

An unapologetic liberal, he was no fan of firearms. He had never owned one before. But Waugh, a 31-year-old from Independence, Missouri, couldn’t shake his fears of a Donald Trump presidency — and all of the chaos it could bring. He imagined hate crimes and violence waged by extremists emboldened by the Republican nominee’s brash, divisive rhetoric. He pictured state-sanctioned roundups of Muslims, gays, and outspoken critics.

“I kept asking myself, ‘Do I want to live under tyranny?’” said Waugh, who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and later backed Hillary Clinton. “The answer was absolutely not.”

With Trump now days away from assuming the White House, Waugh’s preparing for the worst. He’s made “bug-out bags” stuffed with ammo, energy bars, and assorted survival gear for his wife and their three cats. He’s begun stowing water and browsing real estate listings in Gunnison County, Colorado, which he’s determined to be a “liberal safe-haven.” Last month, Waugh added a 9mm handgun to his arsenal.

Ok, help me out here….a guy gets elected president, and a percentage of the population reacts by buying guns, food, and cabins in the woods. If they’re conservatives they are deplorable bitter clingers, but if they’re lefties they’re just sensible? Is that how that works?