Parachute cord, also known as paracord or 550 cord

Parachute cord, also known as paracord or 550 cord, refers to type-III paracord, a lightweight nylon kernmantle rope originally used in the suspension lines of parachutes.

A kernmantle rope is constructed with its interior core protected by a woven exterior sheath designed to optimize strength, durability, and flexibility. Its relatively smooth texture comes from the braided sheath, which has a high number of interwoven strands for its size, making it reasonably elastic.

The US military MIL-C-5040H standard required the material to be nylon. Still, there are products on the market today labeled as paracord that do not correspond to a specific military type and can differ in construction, quality, color, or strength.

The type III 550 cord is commonly found in use. It is nominally rated with a minimum breaking strength of 550 pounds, thus the nickname “550 cord,” and has a minimum elongation of 30%.

Military-specification type III cord may be slightly thicker than commercial grade due to it often requiring three nylon fibers per inner core as opposed to two fibers per core in the retail version.

The military cord will be closer to 4 millimeters (5⁄32 in) thickness, whereas commercial versions are closer to 3 millimeters (1⁄8 in) thickness.

Most people today are familiar with the cord due to the popularity of prepping and its use in survival bracelets that are meant to be unraveled when one needs to use it for a specific purpose.

Crafters also weave it into lanyards, belts, dog leashes, rosaries, key chains, and more.

Paracord can be used in survival situations to make bowstrings for hunting or fire drills. It can also be used to make traps and fishing line. The list of uses for this cord is endless and should be a part of your EDC (Everyday Carry) kit.

Many disaster stories have been passed down through history.

Many disaster stories have been passed down through history. In this post, we look at some Australian Aborigine stories.

The Luritja people, native to the remote deserts of central Australia, once told a story about an impact disaster:

“A fire devil coming down from the Sun, crashing into Earth and killing everything in the vicinity.”

The Gunditjmara people describe a tsunami:

“A gigantic wave coming very far inland and killing everybody except those who were upon the mountaintops.”

In The Legend of The Great Flood, a drought is described in the time before the flood:

“In the dream-time, a terrible drought swept across the land. The leaves of the trees turned brown and fell from the branches, the flowers drooped their heads and died, and the green grass withered as though the spirit from the barren mountain had breathed upon it with a breath of fire. When the hot wind blew, the dead reeds rattled in the river bed, and the burning sands shimmered like a silver lagoon.

All the water had left the rippling creeks, and deep, still water holes. In the clear blue sky, the sun was a mass of molten gold; the clouds no longer drifted across the hills, and the only darkness that fell across the land was the shadow of night and death.”

In a story about Lake Euramoo, an earthquake is described:

“The broken taboo angered the rainbow serpent Yamany, the dominant spirit of the area … As a result, ‘the camping-place began to change, the earth under the camp roaring like thunder. The wind started to blow down as if a cyclone were coming. The camping-place began to twist and crack. While this was happening, there was in the sky a red cloud, of a hue never seen before. The people tried to run from side to side but were swallowed by a crack which opened in the ground’…”

The Gugu Badhun Aboriginal people tell a story of an enormous volcanic eruption.

“Once upon a time, a huge explosion rocked the land, and a massive crater appeared in the ground. A cloud of malicious dust filled the air, and when people wandered into it, they disappeared forever. The air was so hot that along the waterfronts, the ground appeared to be on fire.”

And finally, this Aboriginal story tells of a time when the sea was lower.

“In the beginning, as far back as we remember, our home islands were not islands at all as they are today. They were part of a peninsula that jutted out from the mainland, and we roamed freely throughout the land without having to get in a boat like we do today. Then Garnguur, the seagull woman, took her raft and dragged it back and forth across the neck of the peninsula, letting the sea pour in and making our homes into islands.”

These stories were once thought to be myths, but science is proving them to be true. Humans have been living with disasters since the beginning of time, and we will continue to live with them.

Learn to live with nature, and you will survive; fight it, and you will lose.

Black pepper and Dr. Scott’s old-time medicine show

Black pepper is the world’s most traded spice and is one of the most common spices added to cuisines around the world. Its spiciness comes from the chemical piperine, not to be confused with the capsaicin characteristic of chili peppers.

As of 2016, Vietnam was the world’s largest producer and exporter of black peppercorns, producing 216,000 tonnes or 39% of the world total of 546,000 tonnes.

Peppercorns were a much-prized trade good in the past, often referred to as “black gold” and used as a form of commodity money. It was so valuable that it was often used as collateral.

So what can you do with the amazing black pepper that many considered a luxury item in the Middle Ages?

Well, flavoring food is the number one use for black pepper, but there are other uses for it. So let’s get this old school peddler show started and talk about its AMAZING applications.

Gather round folks cause I’m going to introduce to you the black pepper, cultivated in the far lands of Asia. 

Friends this black substance can cure cancer and other health issues due to piperine, an alkaloid that gives black pepper (Piper nigrum) its pungency. Studies have shown that piperine exerts protective activity against numerous forms.

Got high blood pressure? I got the answer for that as well. Reports have shown that piperine can lower blood pressure in animals, so why not you?

Have you put on a little extra weight? Piperine can take care of that too. Yes, that’s right, studies have shown the very compound that makes you sneeze, also fights the formation of fat cells.

But that’s not all folks, there’s more! The ancient Chinese used pepper to alleviate coughs and congestion. This multipurpose powder stimulates circulation and mucus flow. Combine it with honey, and you got yourself an excellent natural cough suppressant. Simply mix a teaspoon of powdered black pepper with 2 tablespoons of honey in a cup. Then fill with boiling water, cover, and let it steep for about 15 minutes then strain. Do it three times a day, and your congestion and sinuses will be clear.

And I’m not done folks, this show is just getting started so step in a little closer. This product can also help fight infections and has superb antioxidant effects, Antioxidants fight disease-causing free radicals and boost immunity. In Indian, a study showed that rats induced with oxidative stress showed considerable improvement in their condition when administered with black pepper. Yep, I said it, rats.

Another test conducted by the National Institute of Nutrition in India found that black pepper had the highest concentration of antioxidants in all of the foods they had analyzed.

You got to get you some of this stuff folks because it can also improve your oral health too.

Just make yourself a messaging mixture, and relieve from toothache and other oral infections can be had due to piperine’s antibacterial properties. Simply mix equal amounts of salt and pepper in water and rub on your gums. For a toothache, you can mix black pepper with clove oil and apply it to the affected area.

Now, I know you’re saying to yourself, “Dr. Scott, that’s amazing, sell me some right now!” And I will, but I don’t want you to walk away without knowing about all of the uses for my pepper.

Did you know it can enhance your brain health? Who knew, right? And ladies, if you got a man that needs a little help in the fertility department, then pepper can help you out. It is known to increase testosterone levels as it is rich in zinc and magnesium – two minerals critical for male sex hormones. The zinc in pepper also helps in the development and movement of his little troopers. But go easy with it unless you want one of those big farm families.

Want to stop smoking? It will cure that too. Believe it or not, studies have shown that inhaling the vapor from black pepper can reduce smoking withdrawal symptoms. How’s that for a fix, my friends.

Dang! I’m about out of breath talking about all the benefits of pepper, but I can’t stop now because it also fights wrinkles, dandruff, and a lot of other things.

Its essential oils have anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties that work to reduce muscle injuries, tendonitis, and symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism. It may even help ease the discomfort of constipation, diarrhea, and gas. Now, who doesn’t need help with that? I know I do cause I might just be full of myself today.

So I’ll end this show right here and tell you to take a look at the four pages I referenced for this little post so you can make up your own mind as to what will and will not work.

As for me, I like it on my eggs and grits every morning, and that’s about it.

References WikipediaDraxeHerbpathy and Stylecraze

An atmospheric dust veil and the hunger years

An atmospheric dust veil covered the earth in the years 535/536 CE and brought about death and hunger to millions.

It is believed to have been caused by volcanic eruptions in the tropics or an impact disaster from space; regardless, the devastation had to be overcome by those with the will to survive.

The words from those who wrote about it tell a story we may live someday if another deathly dust veil encircles our world.

The Byzantine historian Procopius recorded of 536, in his report on the wars with the Vandals.

“For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during this whole year, and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear nor such as it is accustomed to shed. And from the time when this thing happened, men were free neither from war nor pestilence nor any other thing leading to death.”

As you can see in his description, the people at that time had resorted to waring with one another as a pestilence (a fatal epidemic disease) fell upon them. Starvation was pushing them to their moral limits just as we would be today.

Michael the Syrian, of Byzantine, also wrote of the veil.

“The sun was eclipsed for 18 months. For only three hours in the morning, it would give light, but a light that resembled neither day nor night.”

In his writings, we see that the sun only gave light for three hours in the morning. Can you imagine the fear most people would have felt not knowing the cause fo their suffering?

A cloud, dust veil, or dry fog that darkened the earth for a year was mention by others, saying that it caused cold, drought, and food shortages.

Michael the Syrian also wrote.

“During that year, fruit did not reach the point of maturity, and all the land became as though transformed into something half-alive, or like someone suffering from a long illness.”

The Gaelic Irish Annals recorded the following:

“A failure of bread in the year 536 AD” – the Annals of Ulster

“A failure of bread from the years 536–539 AD” – the Annals of Inisfallen

It also snowed in August of that year, in China, which ruined crops in Qingzhou and other provinces, and a dense, dry fog entered Eygpt.

The 536 events and ensuing famine may have also been responsible for the deposition of hoards of gold by Scandinavian elites at the end of the Migration Period. Their gold appears to no longer hold value for them as they sacrifice it to appease the gods trying to get the sunlight back.

Nothing was more important to them than the life-giving rays of the sun.

Other various historical sources from the sixth century describe “a sun that hardly cast a shadow.”

Some today believe this event could be the source of the Legend of the Fimbuwinter, the harsh, cold period of three years of winter without a summer that takes place before Ragnarock, the twilight of the gods–the end of the known world and the birth of a new era.

I can certainly believe the people of that time must have felt as if they were reborn into a new era after the veil lifted returning life to the planet.

Will the sun be taken away from us again one day? I don’t know, but there is no need to live in fear because there is nothing we can do about it. What we can do is live a prepared life and strengthen our minds to become the survivors of our time.

A volcanic winter is a reduction in global temperatures caused by volcanic ash and droplets of sulfuric acid and water obscuring the sun and raising earth’s albedo (increasing the reflection of solar radiation) after a massive, particularly explosive volcanic eruption. Long-term cooling effects are primarily dependent upon the injection of sulfur gasses into the stratosphere, where they undergo a series of reactions to create sulfuric acid, which can nucleate and form aerosols. Volcanic stratospheric aerosols cool the surface by reflecting solar radiation and warm the stratosphere by absorbing terrestrial radiation. The variations in atmospheric warming and cooling results in changes in tropospheric and stratospheric circulation. Reference

Honey, the ultimate survival food

Honey is a great long-term storage food that can be collected from wild bee colonies or domesticated beehives. An average hive produces around 65 pounds of honey.

Ripe, freshly collected, high-quality honey at 68 °F should flow from a knife in a straight stream, without breaking into separate drops. When poured, it should form small, temporary layers that disappear quickly, indicating high viscosity. If it does not form temporary layers, it has high water content and will not be suitable for long-term storage. The amount of water absorbed by honey depends on the relative humidity.

The honey has to be stored in sealed containers to prevent fermentation, which usually begins if the honey’s water content rises much above 25%. The average moisture content of floral honey is around 17% and cannot have more than 18.6% water content to qualify for the U.S. Grade A standard.

When buying honey from a beekeeper, you will typically not get a jar with an expiration stamp. However, honey sold in supermarkets will have this stamp because of commercial requirements.

Honey jars stamped with the “best before date” suggests a shelf life of 2 to 5 years. This “best before date” on the jar helps in indicating “freshness” of the honey and in a way signals to the customers whether or not the honey jar has been sitting on the shelf for too long; nobody wants to buy honey that is already years old even if it lasts forever.

Down feathers, how birds keep you warm

A bird’s down is a layer of fine feathers located beneath the tough exterior feathers that help keep it warm.

Those down feathers can keep you warm, too, if you buy a sleeping bag or coat that uses them for insulation. The loose structure of the feathers traps air, which helps insulate against heat loss.

In the United States, any product labeled “100% Down” must contain only down feathers. In contrast, products labeled “Down” can contain a mixture of fiber and feathers. Also, products labeled as “Goose Down” must contain at least 90% goose down, 10% goose feathers.

Down insulation is rated by fill power, which is the number of cubic inches displaced by a given ounce of down (in3/oz). Eider-down has the highest fill power, at 1200. However, even down with a fill power as low as 550 still provides reasonably good insulation.

Higher fill-power downs insulate better than lower fill-power downs of the same weight.

Most sleeping bags and coats range from about 400 to 900 fill.

Down rated 500–650 fill is warm enough and light enough for most conditions.

Down rated 800–900 fill is very lightweight and suitable for frigid weather.

Cared for down will retain its loft up to three times longer than most synthetic fill; however, there are downsides:

1 – When down gets wet, the thermal properties are virtually eliminated.

2 – Down forms clumps when wet and will mildew if left damp.

3 – Down will absorb and retain odors.

4 – Most down is collected after the birds are killed for meat, but in a few countries like Poland, Hungary, and China, the live-plucking of birds still takes place. The cruelty of this method should not be tolerated, so buy from companies that do not support this or by a synthetic fill.

Surviving a catastrophic power outage

You may have read other articles about a December report put out by The President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC), which is composed of senior executives from industry, state, and local government who own and operate the critical infrastructure essential to our modern life. In those articles, you may feel they sensationalized the report, so I am going to write this article using only quoted material from the report. If, after reading them, you are still interested, you can read the full report here.

“We found that existing national plans, response resources, and coordination strategies would be outmatched by a catastrophic power outage.”

“Imagin an outage that stretches beyond days and weeks to months or years, and affects large swaths of the country.”

“The scale of the event—stretching across states and regions, affecting tens of millions of people—would exceed and exhaust mutual aid resources and capabilities.”

“A catastrophic power outage may occur with little or no notice and result from myriad types of scenarios: for example, a sophisticated cyber-physical attack resulting in severe physical infrastructure damage; attacks timed to follow and exacerbate a major natural disaster; a large-scale wildfire, earthquake, or geomagnetic event; or a series of attacks or events over a short period of time that compound to create significant physical damage to our nation’s infrastructure.”

“Ultimately, all events, from small to large disasters, are local. This means that those closest to impacted areas are the true first responders during an emergency or disaster—from individuals to families to neighbors and local communities.”

“There remains an ongoing myth that the federal government will be able to provide assistance and resources directly after an event to help with response, and that is not always the case.”

I will stop here, the quotes speak for themselves.

We should all be prepared to live without power, and we should also be ready to deal with those who are not, which, in my opinion, will be the more significant threat.

My wife wanted to know why I bought more salt

My wife asked, “why did you buy more salt?”

And I said smugly, “To cook and preserve food with if the grid goes down. What else would I be buying it for?”

And she said, “Oh, I thought you might be buying it to make industrial chemicals, you know they use salt for that.

It’s used cleaning as well.

De-icing sidewalks, maybe?

How about using it as a poison ivy remedy, or weed killer for that grass in the sidewalk?

You could use it to fix that hole in the laundry room sheetrock if you mix it with a little water and cornstarch.

It’s good for putting out grease fires too.

And since the grids going down, you might want to buy some to put in the water you’ll be using this winter to rinse your clothes with; just a little bit will keep them from freezing on the line,” she said smugly.

And I said… I said nothing because I wanted to live long enough to see doomsday.