Archive for the 'Survival' Category



The Current Trajectory Of Confirmed Covid-19 Cases In America

BY Herschel Smith
1 day, 15 hours ago

In my ongoing coverage and analysis of Covid-19 in America (updated almost daily), I included a much earlier graph with a curve fit, at the time, exponential and with a very high correlation coefficient.  The graph from 3/23 looked like this.

The doubling time was computed as:

ln(2) / 0.2988 = 2.32 days

The graph has been unsettled lately, until last night and today.  I have received requests to update the curve.  I said I would have to jettison the exponential curve fit and go with a polynomial (see original post), and today I did that.  The exponential model was massively over-predicting cases going forward and the correlation coefficient had begun to degrade.  The revised curve is below.

There is a remarkable difference.  The doubling time depends on where you are on the graph.  It’s a third-order polynomial.  Currently, the doubling time is 4.1 days, versus the value of 2.32 days computed not too many days ago.  The correlation coefficient is very high, and the curve is stable and well-behaved.

Here I am not weighing in on or performing analysis of the reasons for this.  There could be many, or only one, or some combination of causes.  Some readers may posit “social distancing,” others may point out that the testing rate has change because slightly symptomatic patients are not being tested, others may postulate that herd immunity may be playing a factor (i.e., it’s possible that many millions of Americans have already been exposed to and infected with the virus and had little to no problem with it), and still others may postulate that PPEs, hygiene protocol and the reluctance to go to hospitals may be playing a role (my own daughter, a surgical NP and first assist who also has to spend copious time in the ER) observes that numbers of patients entering hospital care is down.

Again, I am making no claim whatsoever as to reasons for this.  I am only mathematically modeling this phenomenon, and I can conclusively say that there is a remarkable difference between doubling time and trajectory today and a week ago.

UPDATE:

Per request, this is a picture of the previous exponential fit versus the polynomial fit.  It’s QAD (quick and dirty), with no bells and whistles.

With more time I could write Macros to make this much better with various data analytics options, but I’m not paid to do this analysis.

Wake County Sheriff Suspends Pistol, Concealed-Carry Permit Applications As Demand Surges

BY Herschel Smith
6 days, 6 hours ago

From a reader, news from North Carolina.

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office will suspend pistol and concealed-carry permit applications until April 30 as demand surges amid the coronavirus outbreak, Sheriff Gerald Baker announced Tuesday.

Applications that have already been submitted will continue to be processed, Baker said during a press briefing.

Pistol permit applications last week averaged 290 per day, or more than three times the roughly 90 applications per day during the same time period a year ago, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Baker said his office needs time to manage the backlog.

“This decision does not limit anyone’s right to purchase a handgun,” he said in a news release.

Of course, that’s a lie and he knows it.

All permitting schemes are an infringement upon God-given rights, including the one in North Carolina.  If the Sheriff had said that he was stopping the processing of concealed handgun permits only, then he might have been correct, but since North Carolina has a permitting scheme for BOTH pistol purchases and concealed handgun carry, that means if someone wanted to go purchase a handgun tomorrow, he would be unable to if he lived in Wake County.

Many other counties are doing the same thing, and unfortunately, the entirety of Pennsylvania is shut down to firearms purchases because the governor issued a shutdown order for all businesses.

Even Hungarians are standing in line for firearms purchases.

About 300,000 people hold licenses for guns in each of the Czech Republic and Hungary, both with about 10 million inhabitants. Licenses are not mandatory for some light arms.

“We are selling five times as much as in a normal March,” said Gabor Vass, who runs three gun shops in the Hungarian capital including the one where Rostas bought his gas pistol.

“We could sell 15 times more if we had any more rubber bullet weapons, but we ran out.”

The shop, little bigger than a phone booth and tucked inside a suburban shopping center on the edge of Budapest, was hardly designed for an onrush of customers. But last week brought a heavy stream, people from all walks of life.

“Prepping” means doing it before, not after.

The United Sheep Of America

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks ago

Ham Radio Crash Course

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks ago

What I know is that I know very little about this topic.  If I get into it very deeply, I’m going to have to get a mentor.

In Prepping Biblical?

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks ago

I could go on for hours on this, but you don’t have hours, so …

COVID-19 Preparations

BY Herschel Smith
4 weeks, 1 day ago

I’m not a medical professional (although I will cite one in particular), but one of my best buddies texted me to ask what I thought, so here it is.

Here’s what we know at the moment about Covid-19 (I won’t supply the copious URLs since you can find them yourself or have already studied them).  Covid-19 is probably a weaponized virus.  There is still speculation that the practice of keeping animals in close proximity that would not otherwise be that way has caused animal to animal to human transmission of mutated viruses, but in my opinion this is a least probable origin.

China sat on the information for too long to allow for containment and isolation of it, so the entire world is now dealing with it.  It shows indications of behaving like HIV, inasmuch as the method of attachment to a cell involves a “hook,” and thus it is extremely hard to get rid of.  Animals appear to be able to test “weak positive” for the virus, even if they are asymptomatic.

There is a risk of recurrence of the virus, so this has led to speculation that the virus isn’t really killed with treatment, lies dormant, and can reappear later (maybe not much later).  Then again, it’s entirely possible these patients were released and declared well without really being well.

Two dozen “first responders” have been quarantined in Washington State.  The problem with this was explained to me by my daughter, a health care provider (in surgery and emergency medicine).  Health care providers see patients with HIV, TB and Hepatitis (and various other blood borne and airborne illnesses) all the time.  One cannot isolate and contain without knowing that the patient has a disease.  Diagnosis must precede isolation.  Otherwise, it’s just the common cold.  Covid-19 can be transmitted asymptomatically.

This particular virus has a transmission vector that makes it very contagious.  It’s difficult to diagnose and contain prior to transmission of the virus to others.  Moreover, my daughter is concerned about the level of understanding and training associated with this virus, as well as hospital procedures and equipment to deal with an epidemic.  The CDC can say what they want – the hospitals in America are unqualified to deal with this, and there may be no way to deal with it without assuming that every patient who comes into the ER has this virus (an expensive, time- and labor-intensive process for which America doesn’t have the resources or personnel).

So there is much bad news.  There is some good news too.  While there won’t be a vaccine for this for a long time, it appears that anti-viral drugs (such as are used for HIV) are effective against this virus.  Of course, that’s expensive.  It would stretch the logistics chain to the breaking point, especially since all of our drugs are made in China.  This is one effect of a global economy.

Here is a real time board (Johns Hopkins) of all Covid-19 cases, along with deaths.  If you examine the plot at the lower right, it seems to be indicating (for cases in China), 1 – exp(-lambda * t) approach to an upper asymptote (saturation and approach to a maxima).  I would like to see better correspondence before saying this, and I certainly don’t go on record with this analysis saying this.  I’m paid for my analysis, and I’m getting nothing for this post.

Seeing approach to an upper asymptote would be a good thing, but it requires intensive, aggressive isolation and containment, including stay-at-home workers, travel restrictions, and absolute border controls.

As to how to prepare for this, it all depends on your perspective.  If you believe this doesn’t even approach the deadliness or risk of the common cold or flu, there would be no preparation necessary except to wash your hands and cover your mouth when coughing.  If you believe this is TEOTWAWKI, you won’t be able to do enough preparations.

Not that I’m some sort of expert, but I said I was posting this for a good friend.  I don’t recommend anything beyond your usual preparations.  Do you have guns and ammunition?  You should anyway.  Do you have freeze dried and canned foods, oatmeal and grits, and other things that are non-perishable?  You should anyway.  Do you have means to filter and purify water?  You should anyway.  Do you have batteries and multiple means of fire starter?  You should anyway.

So if you’re just now beginning to think about being prepared, ask yourself why that’s the case.

I do have one very specific recommendation.  Our buddy Matt Bracken stated that he had purchased “rubber gloves.”  This is a good idea, but we need to be more specific than that.  There is a big difference between Nitrile gloves, Butyl rubber gloves, Polyvinyl chloride gloves, and Latex gloves.

Nitrile gloves protect the skin well against nonpolar solvents.  They offer good cut and abrasion resistance, and are often used in medical applications due to puncture resistance.  They are ineffective against some polar solvents.  Butyl rubber gloves are ineffective against nonpolar solvents but protect well against polar solvents.  Polyvinyl Chloride gloves protect against water solutions, acids, some polar solvents and caustics, but not well against nonpolar solvents.  Latex – natural rubber – is ineffective against nonpolar solvents, but offers good cut and abrasion resistance against water solutions and polar solvents.

This is all very complicated.  If you’re not sure which you need, or what the risk is (water solution, acid, caustic, polar or nonpolar solvents), then look it up. If you can’t, double up on gloves to ensure protection against unknown agents.  Nitrile gloves offer good puncture resistance.  They are cheap, they can be found at your local hardware store, and they can be used in concert with other gloves to protect against most agents.  Get some.

Also get breathing air protection.  Be able to filter the air you breath.  Very fine filtration media (HEPA filters would only be available for full face respirators SCBAs and are expensive), combined with charcoal filters is your best bet.  By the way, activated charcoal filter fines are made in Sri Lanka by charcoaling green coconut shells.  Consider logistics and location.

Survival Tags:

Prepper Math

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

Not the kind parents will teach their children in home schooling (not necessarily so, but maybe, I certainly would), but with a different emphasis.

Following the same procedure, we can see that even over an 18-year span we have a 10% chance of violent revolution, which is an interesting thought experiment to entertain before you have kids. It’s also important to note that a violent nation-state transition doesn’t just affect people who live in a floodplain. It affects everyone stuck in the middle. Especially the poor and defenseless.

The authors try to do some PRA (Probabilistic Risk Assessment) with a limited failure data set.  After all, violent revolutions in North America is a limited data set.  A better statement follows.  The tech preppers do not necessarily think a collapse is likely. They consider it a remote event, but one with a very severe downside, so, given how much money they have, spending a fraction of their net worth to hedge against this . . . is a logical thing to do.

This is better because it boils it down to its essential elements.  We’ve discussed this many times before in the context of concealed or open carry.  The minimization of risk means understanding high risk scenarios, and risk = probability X consequences.  So for example, if something is low probability and the consequence of the event is low (for example, a spoon breaking when you eat your morning cereal), you don’t invest in a new set of expensive china.

If on the other hand an event has high probability or high consequence, that can drive the risk high, meaning it’s something you need to plan for.  Preppers see the event for which they are planning to be a high consequence event.  They are right.

It’s just that simple.

Winter Survival In The Bush

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 2 weeks ago

This guy almost didn’t make it.  It’s useful he had the presence of mind to grab a few minutes of film to catalog his misery.  Here is a more detailed account of his experience.

So I have to say that I’m no expert, but neither is Bear Grylls.  Bear Grylls is a fake.  Following his advice nearly got this guy killed.

If I would have been in that predicament it’s obvious I wouldn’t have had fire starter, bedding, or shelter for the night any more than he had.  But I would have been smart enough to stop way before he did.

He was still moving on the first day at 4:45 pm.  Anyone with experience in the bush knows, in the winter it gets dark early.  In the mountains in the winter it gets dark even earlier, and in the mountains in the winter among the trees it gets dark even earlier.  If he had stopped at 3:00 pm to make a good shelter for the night, he might not have gotten his feet wet and might still have the leg that was amputated.

He needed a shelter of evergreen bows, leafs, pine needles and whatever else he could find, or in other words, a debris hut, with separation between him and the ground, as small as he could make it and still have room for himself.  Heating it would have been easier with his body heat than a large shelter, or one made of ice which would remove body heat by radiation.  He needed to go to bed earlier, and he needed to be dry.

He needed to get up the next morning and backtrack his exact footsteps to the place he began this misadventure.  Instead, he lost energy, slept with ice for insulation, and continued to go the wrong way.  He lost his leg for it, and could have died.

Improvised Bush Shelter

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 2 weeks ago

If you have the time, this is a unique solution to the problem of improvising a shelter in the bush.  I do have one comment from an engineering perspective.

For the ropes he used on top for “widow makers,” since he didn’t cut the rope and attach each piece to the trees (he just wrapped it around repeatedly), one falling tree with enough force to break a single strand of the rope would cause the rest to fail since the parts are all connected.  For more protection, cut the rope and attach pieces to trees.  He may as well have just attached a single strand except for the force of friction on the trees for the wraps.

Survival & Backpacking Water Filter Tests

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 3 weeks ago

Via Uncle, this extensive testing from Widener’s.

To help navigate this frontier, we’ve put together all the information you need to find the best portable filter for your needs.

Our intention is that this guide will serve as a resource. Inside, you’ll find a ton of data and research from accredited health and water monitoring agencies. You’ll also find filter testing we commissioned through an independent accredited laboratory.

There is simple no way to summarize their findings.  I intend to print this out for reference later.


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