Monday, December 31, 2012

How to Keep Your Brain Working

One of the problems with brainwashing is that when someone is brainwashed, they don't know it. 

People are able to tell fairly easily when someone else is brainwashed. This is especially when the other person has views that are very different from one's own. 

Television is an ideal media for the purpose of brainwashing. We have known for some time that subliminal messages are very effective. They work so well that people will react to the subliminal messages with no idea why they reacted.

I know that many readers probably do not know what subliminal messages are. When they are done visually, a message like, "Drink Brand X", is inserted in between frames in a reel or in a stream of pictures. When the subliminal message is inserted often enough your subconscious mind catches and takes in the message. 

When the subliminal message is inserted often enough for your subconscious mind to take it in, but not often enough for your conscious mind to take it in, you will not be aware the message was there or that your subconscious saw it. 

Here is how it works:

This one is more about the hypnotic effect of television without subliminals.


If you want to preserve your ability to think independently or this ability in your children, you might want to get rid of your TV set or drastically reduce the amount watched.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Your Quality Of Life

When I used to live in California I used to see bumper stickers that said, "The One Who Dies With The Most Toys Wins". That struck me as sad. 

America has a group obsession with the idea that bigger is always better. If you look around a little it isn't hard to notice that that may not always necessarily be true. An example of this was a millionaire and his wife who were building an enormous mansion while they lived in part of it. I believe it was intended to become something like 900,000 square feet when completed. 

They had about eight maids to take care of all that space and their toys they had in there. 

This couple along with their children and maids and pets had a filmmaker who joined them to record their daily life. I suppose this was a reality show on television when it started. I only found it on the internet.

During the filming process, something bad happened to their money and they had to stop building. They also had to let most of their maids go. They didn't seem really happy to me even before their money supply dwindled.

I have been trying to not super-size my life for a while, so I don't go shopping as much as most people do. This gives me sticker shock more, because it is more noticeable when prices go up. It also makes it more noticeable when the televisions in the electronics departments grow. The last time I checked, there were a lot of 60 inch televisions all over the place. In order to have the best toys on the block, you must need a 60 inch television now.

During the times of the Pharaohs who built the pyramids and lavish tombs, people did believe that you could, "take it with you". They put a lot of effort into doing that. It could include executions inside the tombs to make sure there were plenty of slaves in their afterlives.

Most people now do not think we can take it with us. Only a very few try to be buried in their large luxury car and I don't believe anyone has even tried to take their 60 inch television, smart phone, and video gaming equipment.

It seems to me that the people with the most toys get messy divorces as much, if not more than, average people do. 

I read fairly often about people who drop out of some kind of very successful life to go live on an island in a palm leaf hut, or on a mountain with a large dog in a cabin. I have even met and talked to some of those people. They seem happier than the ones who keep on trying to die with the most toys.

Maybe quality is better than quantity. Perhaps you will be happier if you stop trying for the most toys and go for quality of life instead. That might not be an island or cabin, but whatever it is for you probably doesn't involve a 900,000 square foot home, and eight maids to keep it up.

Stress can make you sick. Once you figure out what it is that really makes you happy, your quality of life will go up. Part of that quality will be better health. Happy people are healthier. You can be one of those happy and healthy people.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

What Is A Carbon Footprint And What Can I Do About Mine?

Now that the Holidays are mostly over, people often begin to think about making preparations for next year. Most of us want to do everything we can to make the whole next year as good as possible. That often has us making New Years Resolutions and going into a frenzy of cleaning and organizing activities.

Very few of us refuse to acknowledge that Climate Change is a reality that we have to face up to. The combination of New Year preparations, etc. and Climate Change gives us reason and opportunity to go to work to do our part to do something about the problem of Climate Change. 

I wish to help you with this worthy goal. I believe the place to start is to find out whether we are making it worse right now, and if so, how much. That can be done by finding out what your, " Carbon Footprint" is.

A "Carbon Footprint" is a way of measuring how you affect the earth by the way you live your life. A quick easy way to think of it is how you get from place to place. Someone who walks everywhere they go has a much smaller carbon footprint than someone who drives a large 4 wheel drive truck that uses a lot of gas.

Here is a list of the eight countries that average out to the largest carbon footprints in the world:

United Arab Emirates
United States
New Zealand

This can be a little depressing if you happen to live in one of these countries, as I do. The United States has the second worst carbon footprint in the world. I thought that we must have the worst. I am a little surprised to see that the United Arab Emirates are worse than we are. 

This list comes from this site:

Just because you live in one of the counties on the list of the countries with the largest carbon footprints does not necessarily mean that your personal carbon footprint is as large as the average for your country. Maybe your personal carbon footprint is like someone living in Bangladesh. The way to find out for sure is to use a carbon footprint calculator. 

Here is one for you to try out to get an idea of how you are doing with your carbon footprint:

Once you know what size your carbon footprint is you can begin to work to help slow down climate change. You can do this by lowering the size of your personal carbon footprint.

This will be some help, but it will not even be enough to keep it from getting worse. This is because some of our pollution starts a chain reaction in our atmosphere. Because of this, climate change will continue to get worse even if we stop polluting immediately.

Our society is very dependent on getting things from one side of the earth to the other. Even if you never drive a car, you are still making climate change worse when you buy food at the grocery store that had to be shipped a long way. 

It is not going to be easy to make the changes needed to stop making Climate Change worse. It will only happen if each one of us works at it. Here is a site that tells you some things you can do to start reducing your own carbon footprint:

I hope that you will devote some time and effort to reduce your contribution to climate change by shrinking your personal carbon footprint.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Emergency Preparedness For the First Christmas

Mary and Joseph were savvy preppers. Joseph made sure Mary had a donkey to ride on because of her advanced state of pregnancy. He did not give up when turned away due to crowding at local accommodations. He persisted until adequate, even though unorthodox shelter was found. He adapted to his circumstances, substituting a cattle manger for a baby crib.

Mary, even though she was only an innocent Jewish teenager, came prepared for childbirth. She brought swaddling clothes since she knew she could give birth at any time, and wanted her baby to be warm and comfortable.

Mary very likely made her baby clothes. We know that she was a skilled weaver because when the soldiers at the crucifixion wanted to split up his clothes, they decided to cast lots, instead of cutting up his valuable garments which were woven in one piece.

That means that Mary had spent time staying in the Temple in Jerusalem, which was where they learned how to do such fancy weaving at the time. This time in the Temple in Jerusalem, likely means that Mary had been dedicated as first born for service in the Temple.

Mary would therefore have been unusually well educated in scripture for a woman of her time. We know that Joseph was a carpenter by trade, so he probably was less educated in scripture than Mary was.

It is very likely that Mary passed on her knowledge of scripture to Jesus, as a child. We know that he got lost from Mary and Joseph on a trip and amazed scholars with his knowledge and wisdom. 

We know that Joseph taught Jesus his trade of carpentry, since Jesus was later referred to as a carpenter.

We have a big gap in what we know about the life of Jesus. There is not much in between his childhood whiz kid status, amazing scholars, and his adult life in public.

Since we know that Mary shared the benefits of her scriptural education with Jesus we can surmise that part of his missing years were spent in the Temple in Jerusalem. 

Both Mary and Joseph were devout people whose religion was very important to them. This means that they would have dedicated their first fruits, or their first born, for service in the Temple in Jerusalem. We can be more sure of this because of Mary's experience there.

As soon as I first found out about the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, I was very excited about them. This is because the older an ancient hand written document is, the more accurate it is likely to be. It will have been copied many fewer times. 

Yes, I know that Jewish scribes go through an incredible process to maintain their accuracy. I also know that the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient documents found sealed up in jars were often dud copies. 

Sometimes when you are copying scripture, you just get sort of taken over and your hand goes off and does it's own thing regardless of what your brain is saying to it. My take on that is that one's hand has just been co-opted by another spirit besides one's own. 

It is one way of getting prophecies, but it can be difficult to tell if it is a good one or not. It has been the way of cautious religious scholars to take the safe approach and seal those "ghost written" writings away safely for somebody else to deal with.

Now that Google has put the Dead Sea Scrolls out there for all of us, the somebody else is anybody who wants to be. That is a wonderful opportunity for those who choose to take it. Now is a chance for you to boost your spiritual preparedness and take a look at the Dead Sea Scrolls. 

Some scholars think that Jesus spent time with some of the people responsible for writing the Dead Sea Scrolls. I don't want to go into that now. This post is long enough, especially since it is still supposed to be a special day. 

I hope that this post is a special one for you, regardless of your spirituality and set of beliefs. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Getting Your Feet Wet In Aquaculture

If you want to be self sufficient aquaculture is an efficient way to make sure you have enough to eat. Some fish need very little to eat and can be fed off of scraps and leftovers from other creatures including humans. 

The fish wastes are very good for plants and can require less work to keep the plants thriving and healthy. 

Aquaculture is still mostly a dream for me. I am in the stage where I got my first aquarium so I can learn how not to kill fish. The idea of killing fish while I learn to do this stuff is no good for me, so I don't even have any fish yet. 

The pet store where I bought a few fish items offers free water testing, so I am going to use that to see whether it is safe to risk putting fish in there yet.

The aquarium tank and most of the rest of the equipment were given to me, so that lowers my investment. It is a good thing, because getting going in aquaculture is not going to be cheap to start out. 

I guess if you start very small with a glass bowl and one goldfish it could be.
According to a friend who has raised fish professionally, goldfish are not very demanding for the conditions they need to live in. 

One goldfish is not going to provide enough plant nutrients to get you very far, however.

Thrift stores in different areas vary, but it is likely that a thrift store near you will sell you an aquarium and perhaps air hoses and filters and bubblers to help lower the cost of getting you started towards aquaculture. If you do that, be sure to clean them very well in case the fish that used to be in there had something contagious.

My aquarium has a bunch of plants as the only live non-microscopic thing in it. This aquarium comes from healthy fish and some of their friendly microorganisms are probably already happy in there. I hope this will make things easier for my fish when I get them.

The pet store sold me some aquatic fish tank kinds of plants by the bunch. I haven't taken them apart yet, but there seem to be 5 or 6 of them. The fish guy for the store told me that the plants I got don't require a lot of light. The light that came with the aquarium was an incandescent and had one bulb out. 

Costco (big box store) has 6 packs of daylight compact fluorescent bulbs that fit in the aquarium light holder. That made it even brighter than the store aquariums with only one bulb in there. I was afraid it might hurt the fish or plants with two right off, so now it is only one bulb. The plants seem to like it a lot and are growing at an amazing rate. It is much faster than most dry land plants grow. If my fish like those plants, they are sure to be happy in there.

The motor for the bubbler is loud. I have to turn it off at night to sleep. Articles on the internet say that some brands are especially quiet compared to others. 

They are also supposed to last a long time. They are also quite pricey. They probably work out to inexpensive over several years, but they can cause sticker shock.  I am not going to post about those, until I feel more confident about my knowledge. 

As soon as I learn more and get fish in there, I'll share that with readers. It might save you from making a few mistakes.

I hope all of you have a nice Holiday Season, whatever way you like to celebrate it, or call it.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Once Upon A Time....

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, 
there was a Peaceful Kingdom. The 
people of this peaceful kingdom believed with all their hearts that theirs was the most wonderful kingdom in the whole wide world. 

In many ways the people who lived in the 

Peaceful Kingdom were right. They 

enjoyed a standard of living unmatched in

most of the world. They were able to have

large homes full of 60 inch high density

televisions with integrated media 

players and lavish sound systems that 

put listeners right in the orchestra pit.

There was a car in almost every garage 

and maybe an extra one or two in the 

driveway. Many of the cars were gas 

guzzlers because the peaceful kingdom 

people did not have to worry much about 

numbers on the gas pump.

Everything was pretty wonderful in the 

Peaceful Kingdom until a few bad things 


Some of the people in the other kingdoms 

saw how well the people in the Peaceful 

Kingdom lived and wanted to live the 

same way. Some of them began to sell 

their Stuff to other people besides the 

people of the Peaceful Kingdom because 

they could get more money and have some 

of the good things that the Peaceful 

Kingdom people had.

This made prices go up in the Peaceful 

Kingdom. The Peaceful Kingdom people 

were hit with massive inflation, 

depressions, and their balance of trade 

went down so they wound up with a 

terrible National Debt. The National 

Debt ate up people's homes and caused 


Many fierce Politicians donned shining 

armour and went forth to fight the 

National Debt. Most slunk away into 

obscurity with dents in their armour, 

after terrible battles with the National 

Debt. Some of them committed political 

suicide, or went into Real Estate. 

Once in a while a particularly fierce 

politician rose to prominence when they 

seemed to be winning against the 

National Debt, but it usually turned out 

that they were secretly feeding the 

National Debt. This discovery generally 

resulted in a political bloodbath.

Then an even worse thing happened in 

the Peaceful Kingdom. There was a 

nasty massacre that hit the media like a

too-ripe tomato. Then there were more 

right afterward. The media were all 

dripping and gooey with little seeds 


The fierce politicians were at each others 

throats. Some of them wanted to take 

everyone's lances away. Some wanted to 

shorten the lances and make everyone do 

extra paperwork to keep them. Some 

wanted to make everyone carry lances. 

Some wanted to put all the lances into the 

National Debt.

The idea of putting all the lances into the

National Debt became very popular with 

the Peaceful Kingdom People, so they 

passed a law to do that. The Peaceful 

Kingdom People thought that this 

solution would make the National Debt 

go away so they would be able to get their 

homes and jobs back.

The National Debt simply ate up all the 

lances and grew even bigger. It engulfed 

fierce politicians and their constituents 

alike. It took office itself and began to 

run the country. It used drones that had 

been used in other kingdoms, in the 

Peaceful Kingdom against the people 

there. It increased taxes and slashed 

budgets right and left and grew anyway.

The people of the Peaceful Kingdom 

groaned in misery. "We have become as 

poor as the worst kingdoms!" They said,

"We are nothing but slaves! The 

National Debt gobbles up our most 

beautiful maidens and handsome young 

men and fierce politicians!" 

There was not much the people of the 

Peaceful Kingdom could do because their 

lances were all gone. They tried 

attacking the National Debt with farm 

implements and rocks and sticks and even 

bags full of poop, but nothing worked.

They all had to become poor but honest 

woodcutters and shovel stuff in the 

political stables and other scatological 

stuff like that.

Friday, December 21, 2012

How Much Longer Can You Live?

Note: If you are looking for apocalyptic stuff please see my post from a couple of days ago and yesterday. They tell you what to do to take advantage of the alignment of the earth with the center of the galaxy tomorrow.

You can take a simple test to get a very good idea of how much longer you are likely to live. The test is used by doctors to try to convince their patients of their need to get in better shape.

I did rather poorly on the test. I believe I have already outlasted the estimate of how many years I have left according to the test. You don't have to give up just because the test says you are going to die in the next year or ten years.You can work at it and raise your score.

The test basically consists of you sitting down on the floor and then getting back up. You lose points for everything you do to give yourself help getting up besides simply standing up. Points go off for pulling up on a chair, table or wall. Points are off for each help from one hand or two hands or knee or knees, etc.

Being able to get up when you fall is part of what the test measures, but it also involves things like general fitness and balance, etc.

Any work you do to improve your general fitness will probably raise your score on the longevity test. This is something you can easily re-test yourself for as you improve your fitness level. That puts you squarely in charge of how long the rest of your life can be.

I particularly like yoga because a good yoga workout alternates between standing and seated or lying down positions. This will have a fairly rapid and direct effect on your longevity test results.

Here is a link to an article about the test for your longevity:

It tells you how to score yourself and how many years usually go with different scores. The article says, "Ultimately the test gives a quick window into a patient’s ability to function from day to day."

"A person’s score matched well with risk of death. People who scored zero to three were 6.5 times as likely to die during the course of the study, compared to people who scored from 8 to 10. Those who had scores of 3.5 to 5.5 were 3.8 times as likely to die as the high scorers -- and those who scored 6 to 7.4 range were 1.8 times more likely to die than those with the highest scores."

"If you get ten points you have very good chances of living for the next six years if you are in the age group of 51 to 80."

Here is how you get the maximum ten points:  Sit down on the floor without touching your knees, legs, hands, or arms on the floor. If you can get back up without cheating either, you get another five points.

You lose a point for each body part that you lean on while getting down or up. 

Touch the floor with just one knee and you score four points. 

If you need to touch a hand and a knee on the floor when you get up, you lose two points for a score of three. 

If you wobble on the way down or up, you lose half a point.

If you are 51 to 80 years old and you want to live for the next six years you now have a very clear idea of what you need to work on. 

It is not much use preparing for emergencies if you are in such bad shape you will die before the emergency or during it. Your choices are very simple if you can't ace that test. You have a very high chance of dying in the next six years if you do nothing. The other choice is to work on your fitness so you pass that test. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Take Notes On Your Most Brilliant And Creative Moments Of Your Life

I doubt that we need to worry about December 21 much more than any other particular date on our calendar. That is because I believe that the alignment of the planets will not have any immediate big effect on us except for very high tides and a few things like that. 

I think this, because it looks as if the idea of the Mayan calendar being meant to start over again at the beginning when you reach the end on December 21 is a good one. The people who say this have good arguments. One of these people is a descendant of the Mayans who made those calendars.

If you live in a very heavily populated area, things could be different for you. That is because some people are ready to panic on December 21. If you live near a lot of those people they could be a problem for you and for others.

People who panic can be unpredictable. If there are a lot of people doing strange unpredictable things all at the same time, they can be dangerous. The simplest example of this is people getting trampled during a rush to get out of a crowded place. 

People who think they are going to die in the end of the world may want to do things that they would not ordinarily do. They could decide to stop obeying the law and rules of common decency and hurt other people or destroy or take property by force.

If you are stuck in a large city area on December 21, it might be a good idea for you to stay away from public areas and crowds. I mean to do this myself.

There is another post on this blog about December 21. It talks about a possible benefit for us on that day. The short version of it is that we will have our minds, spirits and creativity boosted to much better than normal levels during the middle of that time around noon. 

We will be flooded with extraordinary ability to think and be creative, more than we have had in our entire lives. The Mayan man who told us this in his youtube video suggests that we have paper and pen handy to take notes. He said that we could change the rest of our lives for the better if we do this. 

I see no reason not to try this. If he is right, I do not want to take any chance to lose such an opportunity. I have an appointment with a lot of paper and pens to be ready for taking notes. That is backup for me. I prefer to write and take notes on my keyboard. I type much faster than I can write. I plan to have drawing materials handy also so I can make pictures and diagrams as well.

I hope you, dear reader, will do the same. It would be a shame to pass up an opportunity to take notes on the most brilliant and creative moments of your life. It could be not only a loss for yourself, but the world.

Here is a link to the Mayan man:

There are multiple videos about this man, Ac Tah, so if you are interested, be sure to do a search to find as many as you want.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Increase Your Safety In Emergencies With A Go Bag or Bug Out Bag

A lot of survival experts give various time frames about how long you have to be out your door and on the road to be safe from a disaster that requires you to evacuate. None of the time frames are very long. They are definitely not long enough to run around and decide what you need to take with you when you evacuate.

I watched an awful real life video about a family that narrowly escaped death. It was because they not only did not prepare for evacuation, they did not even leave when told they needed to evacuate.

Most people would not be as fortunate as the family in the video. Most people who do things as stupid as the family in the video, would be dead. 

If you plan to survive a disaster, evacuation must be part of your plans. An essential part of you being able to evacuate safely means that you must be ready to do it quickly. That means you need supplies packed and ready to grab on your way out the door.

One of the names for a container of your essential evacuation supplies is a "go bag". It is also referred to as a "bug out bag". I have done numerous posts on the subject of go bags/bug out bags.

It makes me happy when I see Google statistics for my site that tell me people are searching for information about go bags and they land on my site and look at my posts on the subject. This blog has  great links to Red Cross, FEMA, NOAA, and other organizations that handle disasters or work to prevent them. 

I hope that readers will use this information to make their own go bags/bug out bags and be ready to evacuate when necessary so they can survive a disaster.

I have published suggestions for supplies to consider for your go bag and other necessary items. Every person must make their own choices about what is essential to them in a disaster. The possible choices in my lists and the lists of some links that this blog provides, will make it much easier for you to choose what to put in your own go bag.

A map with possible escape routes on it is a necessary part of most go bags. This part of your go bag can cost you nothing.  Important papers with information that you will need to take with you are a part of  most go bags.

I have several posts on this blog about how to choose a go bag to put everything into. My preference is a back pack of some kind. There are posts about different kinds of back packs so you can choose the best one for your needs, if that is the type of go bag you like.

Ways for family members to find each other after a disaster, if separated are covered in posts. This can be much harder than you think, unless you make plans.

I hope that readers will use this information to increase their chance for safety before, during, and after disasters.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Do We Need To Worry About December 21, 2012?

This post is about the panic about the 21st of December this month. I don't think we need to panic. I already posted about this, but it did not get a lot of readers, so here we go again. I will also add new information.

There are a lot of things online about the Mayan Calendar ending on December 21 of 2012. Some people have drawn the conclusion from this that it means the Mayans were predicting the end of the world on that date.

Experts who have studied the Mayans and their calendar system say that their long calendar that covers thousands of years, and ends on the 21st, is meant to be a cyclical calendar. When you get to the end of that Mayan calendar, you go back to the beginning and start over.

One of the experts I checked into was a Mayan descendant who said his knowledge was handed down from his ancestors. 

His knowledge includes the Mayan long count calendar that ends on the 21st. He said, in a video of a talk he gave in California, that calendar was meant to repeat when you get to the end of it. He also said that information about December 21st of 2012 is, a special date, nevertheless.

He said not only do the planets of our solar system align on the 21st, but the earth will also align with the center of our galaxy. He said the alignment with the center of the galaxy is very important to us, not because of bad things that are inevitable, but because of changes that can go either way.

He said that during the exact middle of the alignment of the earth with the center of our galaxy, the thinking of humans here will be affected. The effect on us will cause a change in our minds. 

During a brief window that he mentioned as about half an hour, we will have vastly increased creativity and mental capacity. He said that what goes through our minds during that brief time period could have a good effect on the rest of our lives if we make sure we can retain it.

This Mayan descendant suggested that we should keep paper and pens handy so we can take notes on what goes through our minds during this window of alignment of the earth with the center of the galaxy. He said it will change our lives if we save and use the information about what our minds are doing at this special time of powerful, creative and inspired thinking.

I am not certain that the man who claims to be a Mayan descendant is correct, but it probably won't hurt anything to have paper and pen handy at the right time on the 21st of this month.That will be on Friday, three days before Christmas. 

The most harmful thing likely to come to one who writes feverishly during the alignment of the earth with the center of the galaxy is feeling silly if nothing happens. I think it is worth that risk for the possible benefits if something wonderful happens. 

I am limbering up my writing hand and keeping lots of paper and a pen handy. Maybe it would be worthwhile for you to do the same. It can't hurt much, and it might help a lot. The best way to find out is to try it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Could A Parasite Infection Have Caused The School Massacre?

I am going to start by telling you that I am not saying that being infected by parasites caused Adam Lanza to shoot a lot of people. It is not something that can be ruled out. New information about parasites affecting human behavior means we should start thinking about exactly how bad this problem is. I am going to examine this problem a little in this post.

One thing that crossed my mind right after I heard that we had yet another berserk gunman doing a massacre, was about whether he had parasites. I wondered if he was influenced in this horrible behavior by having parasites.

There were some articles about scientists discovering that wasps making zombies of other insects are not the only parasites that control host behavior. The articles particularly mentioned connections between a specific parasite, Toxoplasmosis gondii, and human behavioral problems and mental illness.

Some of the articles said that Toxoplasmosis gondii is "the most successful parasite in the world", because it infects so many of the living creatures in the world, including humans. In light of human arrogance, that is a pretty sobering thought.

Here is a link to an excellent article on some behavioral effects that are known so far about people who are infected with Toxoplasma gondii:

In case you, like me, are horrified that you might be or become infected with Toxoplasma gondii and do strange or horrible things as a result, I have a list of ways to avoid infection.

1. Don't eat raw or undercooked meat. An article said don't eat animals harboring tissue cysts. This is going to be hard to do since "most species of warm-blooded mammals" have them. I think that means either getting every animal that you intend to eat tested very thoroughly, or cooking the holy stuff out of everything.

2. Don't consume food or water contaminated with cat feces. lol. Who would want to do this anyway?

3. Don't breathe or otherwise ingest contaminated soil or poop.

4. Watch out for contaminated blood transfusions or organ transplants. We thought it was bad enough watching out for AIDS and other STDs. Now we get this.

5. The last one most of us don't need to worry about personally. Either the deed is already done long before we could read this, or we can get pregnant and infect a baby inside us, or not. It is transferred transplacentally from the mother to the fetus.

There have also been studies that link schizophrenia to having Toxoplasmosis gondii. 

They have barely begun to study this kind of stuff, so no telling what we will eventually find out. It is clearly a good thing for us to know. Meanwhile, don't do anything to get infected, in case you don't already have it. 22.5% of Americans are infected already. 15% of pregnant women have it.

France and Central America have higher incidences. This is because French people eat more raw meat than most. Central America has more stray cats and the spores from Toxoplasma infections stay in the soil under ideal growing conditions for it.

I am going to conclude this wonderful news with more links in case people want to find out more.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Getting Started With Herbs For Everyday And Emergencies

With herbs as well as with other things there are different ways of working with them. Some Eastern ways of using herbs use principles of hot or cold herbs or yin and yang for treatment thinking.

Homeopathic use of herbs compares properties of a specific illness to the properties of herbs that can be used for a cure. 

Western herbal traditions tend to require memorization of symptoms along with herbs to be used for those symptoms. None of these methods is more right or more wrong than another one. It is simply of investigating them enough to find what you are comfortable with.

No matter what herbal philosophy you like, you have to begin somewhere. One place to consider for starting, is what kind of health problems you and the people you will be using your herbs for, have very often. 

Examples of this could be someone who has frequent headaches or someone who has respiratory problems. You will want the herbs to use for these frequent health problems available in adequate amounts.

I like to begin looking at the herbs that grow naturally in my area. When I move, I start with the herbs in the new area. You need to know what herbs there are growing around your area and when they are available. It is a good idea to find the best time to gather them for storage or making into oils or drying etc.

I also like to find out which local herbs are most versatile for multiple health problems. You can usually find several herbs that are versatile enough to reduce you need for a large variety of herbs to keep on hand. Professional herbalists often use only about ten main herbs for most health problems.

My next criteria are what herbs I can grow, either inside or out. It is much easier to use your herbs if you can grow them in a greenhouse so you have fresh ones whenever they are needed. 

Many herbs used for cooking also have medicinal uses. I like to consider this when picking herbs to grow.

I also like to think about how easy or difficult it is to grow the herbs that I choose, in my local growing conditions. Gardeners use zones to describe how plants will grow in a certain area. Rainfall, air temperature and soil temperature are some of the criteria for zones and the plants that do well in different zones.

It can be helpful to have information on herbs available for when you need it. There are many good books available for growing and using herbs. 

Good herbal books are even available for whatever philosophy of herbs you choose to follow. Which ones you choose is a matter of individual taste and you may need to look around for a while to find the right ones for you.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Keeping Warm In Cold Weather Emergencies Without Killing Yourself

The most basic way to keep warm in a cold weather emergency is with body heat. You can do this even in below zero temperatures.

I am assuming that you want to do this inside your home during a cold weather emergency in order to shelter in place.

If you have multiple people and pets, you should huddle together to keep each other warm with your body heat.

Here are the five ways you lose body heat:
convection, conduction, radiation, evaporation and respiration. You need to know these to be able to avoid them.

Convection is "wind chill factor". The wind speeds up evaporation when it blows against wet skin or clothing. You will have to avoid being wet or getting wet to avoid convection. Staying out of wind also helps prevent this.

Conduction is touching something cold. If you have a cement floor or walls, don't be against them when you want to stay warm. You need something to insulate you from cold surfaces. 

Radiation is your warm body sending heat out into the cold. You want to trap your body heat around you to help you stay warm.

Evaporation is part of wind chill factor. Stay dry and it helps stop this. This includes sweating. You do not want to exert yourself and build up a sweat.

Respiration is your breathing. This another reason to avoid working too hard when you want to stay warm. If you breathe hard, you lose more heat. Whatever work you do, do it slowly and steadily and take breaks a lot to avoid breathing hard and sweating.

You will need to build a shelter inside your home to trap body heat and stay warm. I have read that you need at least 15 to 18 inches of insulating material to adequately trap body heat for warmth. This needs to be materials that will not conduct cold into the shelter. No metal for example.

Your shelter needs to be above you so you will need something to hold it up. I have seen chairs suggested for this. You will need a way to get air inside your shelter without letting too much warm air out. 

Remember warm air rises and cold air drops. In a snow cave the entrance must be lower than the surface that the occupants are resting on to trap warm air inside the snow cave. This idea could work for a shelter inside your home also.

You also need to allow moisture to stay off of you and your clothing and not collect and drip on you. Your body will be producing moisture and so will your breathing. You need air holes in your shelter.

Drink hot beverages, but not alcoholic ones. Take off wet clothing.

If you have a stove use it outside (avoid carbon monoxide poisoning - see yesterday's post) to heat bricks or rocks. You can bring them inside your shelter to warm it up more. Wrap them to avoid burns. If you are very cold already when you bring in your hot rocks or bricks, be careful that numbness does not cause you to touch the hot objects too much and burn yourself.

If you already have a shelter around your bed, you will need to lower the top of it to trap more heat near your body during a cold weather emergency. It would be a good idea to plan for this if you want to use it for cold weather emergencies.

There are some high tech lightweight things like sleeping bags that hikers use. Some offer insulation and even breathe so your perspiration will evaporate from them without getting you cold. They are very expensive and run $50 and up. 

They are intended for use with a foam pad to increase insulation to avoid conduction heat loss. REI has some. I assume other sporting goods stores also have them. This might be good to use for sheltering in place, but I don't believe it would be adequate by itself. You could use it inside a shelter inside your home when sheltering in place. They seem to be intended for use when waiting for rescue outdoors.

I have read that some people have used a tent pitched inside their homes as their cold weather emergency shelter. If temperatures are very low, a double walled tent is probably better to use this way. A single walled tent or one with only a rain fly would not work very well if it is very cold. 

Tents are often rated for how cold a temperature they are intended for. The same is true for sleeping bags and other equipment. It might help to compare temperature ratings of equipment with maximum low temperatures for your area and allow quite a bit extra for climate change weirdness.

Microfiber cloth will allow moisture and air to pass through it while keeping in heat. This is a good kind of fabric to watch for when looking for materials to use for a cold weather shelter in your home and for clothing to wear inside said shelter.

Many of the things I read while doing research for this article mentioned that old methods for cold weather shelters are not effective enough. Check several sources when you get information to use for cold weather shelter. I would prefer you do the same even for this blog post.

It is very difficult to find information to use for sheltering in place for cold weather emergencies. Many articles tell you to go to an emergency shelter or seek help and don't say much else. Others only address outdoors emergencies. It was necessary to piece together bits of information from many sources for this post, and I am not an expert on this subject. It is good to get other sources as well as mine.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning After An Emergency

"Every year, more than 400 people die in the U. S. from accidental CO poisoning." This is a quote from the US Center for Disease Control. Many of these deaths happen after an emergency from people who are trying to keep warm or cook.

There are a few things you need to know to safely get heat for warmth, cooking, or running a generator. All of these activities can make carbon dioxide. This is an invisible gas that you can not smell.  It can get you without any warning that you are in danger.

Here are some important tips from the CDC to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning:

Important CO Poisoning Prevention Tips

1)  Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home.
 2)   Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage.
 3)   Never run a motor vehicle, generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine outside an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can vent into an enclosed area.
 4)   Never run a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open, unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented. 
5) Keep vents and flues free of debris, especially if winds are high. Flying debris can block ventilation lines.
 6)   Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper. 
 7)   If conditions are too hot or too cold, seek shelter with friends or at a community shelter.
 8)   If CO poisoning is suspected, consult a health care professional right away.

These tips come from the CDC. They also provide the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. If a person is asleep or drinking, none of these symptoms may exist before the person is dead. Don't drink or go to sleep if there is the slightest chance of carbon monoxide poisoning, in other words.

Here are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. 

People have gotten carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes even with the heat source in their doorway or window. 
Forget about running a camp stove or heater inside. 

I will tell you tomorrow about ways to keep warm safely, if you must shelter in place during a cold weather emergency. Operating a generator inside your home, or an unvented heater are not at all safe.