This blog is meant to assist you in preparing for an emergency. It also contains other information that you might find helpful and spiritually up-lifting.

Friday, October 24, 2014

There’s a Clever Way to Charge a Cellphone With a 9-Volt Battery

The infamous dead cellphone battery is the ultimate “first world problem.” But like many of those problems, there’s also a first world fix.
The next time you find yourself wondering how you managed to drain your phone’s battery so quickly, you won’t have to wander around aimlessly while trying to find the nearest electrical outlet (and then stand beside the outlet for who knows how long while your phone charges). All you really need for a quick charge is a 9-volt battery, a car charger, a piece of metal and yes, your phone.
Image source: YouTube/CrazyRussianHack
By simply plugging your phone into the car charger, touching the piece of metal to the other small strip of metal on the side of that charger and then attaching the end of the car charger to to the “+” terminal on the 9-volt battery, you’ll have a makeshift – not to mention potentially lifesaving– concoction.
Take a close look at this video and see for yourself:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Make Your Harvest Last Longer By Building a Root Cellar

P7110182Storing a variety of crops in a root cellar is a superb way to preserve your harvest, not to mention saving a great deal of money. However, if you don’t have one in place, don’t worry. It’s quite easy to create a space in order to store vegetables at the appropriate temperature and humidity levels. Regardless if you’re storing food to sell to customers in the fall, spring, and winter or simply for your family – storing various vegetables in a root cellar is a great idea to save money and maintain adequate food storage.

valentine-021-560x746What Kinds of Crops Store the Best?
Overall, this list shows the most common vegetables that people generally store in a root cellar:
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkins
  • Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Beets
  • Winter squashes
  • Turnips
  • Onions
  • Cabbage
  • Rutabagas
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Apples (Store them separately. They will spoil the other vegetables)
root cellarThe Basement Style Root Cellar
If you have enough space in your basement, you can easily create a working root cellar. Simply wall off a space in the corner and incorporate vents to let cold air flow in and warmer air escape. Close the vents before the temperature gets too cold (freezing), which works to trap the cold air in the cellar and thus protects the produce from freezing.
Select a location that has a window if possible to facilitate an easy installation. Masonry walls work best since they’ll offer adequate cool temperatures. An outside corner in the basement is ideal. High soil height and northern exposure will also work better. Replace the glass in the window with a solid panel in order to hold the pipes for venting. In order for the vent to pull cold air in, attach a pipe that runs to the floor and shifts horizontally away from your vent to the outside. Since cold air hangs low and warm air rises, it naturally produces a siphon effect where the lower vent pulls cold air in and the upper vent pulls warm air out. Use some two by fours to frame the root cellar’s walls and also add a door. It’s also necessary to properly insulate the inside walls of the root cellar from the rest of the basement. Fiberglass batts or rigid foam will both work in this case. Be sure to leave at least one-quarter inch of gap in between the top, and along the wall,  in addition to the structure above, in order to create good airflow.
Root-Cellar-Garbage-CanThe Trash Can Style Root Cellar
A super easy and inexpensive way to adequately store a small amount of vegetables is to simply use a clean trash can as a makeshift root cellar. Purchase a new galvanized trash can and drill a number of holes in the bottom, which will let enough moisture into the can from the surrounding soil. Next, place the can in the soil, with close to 3 – 4 inches left sticking out above the ground. Gently place the vegetables inside and secure the lid (consider using a bungee as well if you have pesky critters like raccoons).
Finally, top with a foot of leaves or straw and a heavy tarp to cover.
imagesThe Outdoor Earthy Style Root Cellar
If you’re a small farmer or an authentic homesteading family, you’ll need a great deal of square footage in order to store your food properly. The general concept is to utilize the earth as shelter for the food from the weather elements including freezing rain and heavy snow. People tend to get really creative in this area – one family even used a bus as their root cellar!
Once you dig a hole big enough for your particular needs, you’ll need a way to keep the soil from falling back in. Choose from a variety of things like wood, logs, rock, or concrete. Also, your earthy cellar will need a roof and maybe a tarp. It’s best if the floor is made of concrete and footings that reach beyond the frost line.
These are the different types of root cellars to create. Pick one to build so you can start eating fresh carrots in February.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Nine real technologies that will soon be inside you

Given the frenzy of interest following the announcement of the Apple Watch, you might think wearables will be the next really important shift in technology. Not so.

Wearables will have their moment in the sun, but they're simply a transition technology.
Technology will move from existing outside our bodies to residing inside us.
That's the next big frontier.
Here are nine signs that implantable tech is here now, growing rapidly, and that it will be part of your life (and your body) in the near future.
1. Implantable smartphones

Sure, we're virtual connected to our phones 24/7 now, but what if we were actually connected to our phones?
That's already starting to happen.
Last year, for instance, artist Anthony Antonellis had an RFID chip embedded in his arm that could store and transfer art to his handheld smartphone.
Researchers are experimenting with embedded sensors that turn human bone into living speakers.
Other scientists are working on eye implants that let an image be captured with a blink and transmitted to any local storage (such as that arm-borne RFID chip).
But what takes the place of the screen if the phone is inside you? Techs at Autodesk are experimenting with a system that can display images through artificial skin.
Or the images may appear in your eye implants.
2. Healing chips

Right now, patients are using cyber-implants that tie directly to smartphone apps to monitor and treat diseases.
A new bionic pancreas being tested at America’s Boston University, for instance, has a tiny sensor on an implantable needle that talks directly to a smartphone app to monitor blood-sugar levels for diabetics.
Scientists in London are developing swallowable capsule-sized circuits that monitor fat levels in obese patients and generate genetic material that makes them feel "full".
It has potential as an alternative to current surgery or other invasive ways to handle gross obesity.
Dozens of other medical issues from heart murmurs to anxiety have implant/phone initiatives under way.
3. Cyber pills that talk to your doctor

Implantables won’t just communicate with your phone; they’ll chat up your doctor, too.
In a project named Proteus, after the eensy body-navigating vessel in the film Fantastic Voyage, a British research team is developing cyber-pills with microprocessors in them that can text doctors directly from inside your body.
The pills can share (literally) inside info to help doctors know if you are taking your medication properly and if it is having the desired effect.
4. Bill Gates' implantable birth control

The Gates Foundation is supporting an MIT project to create an implantable female compu-contraceptive controlled by an external remote control.
The tiny chip generates small amounts of contraceptive hormone from within the woman's body for up to 16 years.
Implantation is no more invasive than a tattoo.
And, "The ability to turn the device on and off provides a certain convenience factor for those who are planning their family.", said Dr Robert Farra of MIT.
Gives losing the remote a whole new meaning.
5. Smart tattoos

Tattoos are hip and seemingly ubiquitous, so why not smart, digital tattoos that not only look cool, but can also perform useful tasks, like unlocking your car or entering mobile phone codes with a finger-point?
Researchers at the University of Illinois have crafted an implantable skin mesh of computer fibers thinner than a human hair that can monitor your body's inner workings from the surface.
A company called Dangerous Things has an NFC chip that can be embedded in a finger through a tattoo-like process, letting you unlock things or enter codes simply by pointing.
A Texas research group has developed microparticles that can be injected just under the skin, like tattoo ink, and can track body processes.
All of these are much wiser choices than the name of a soon-to-be-ex.
6. Brain-computer interface

Having the human brain linked directly to computers is the dream (or nightmare) of sci-fi.
But now, a team at Brown University called BrainGate is at the forefront of the real-world movement to link human brains directly to computers for a host of uses.
As the BrainGate website says, "using a baby aspirin-sized array of electrodes implanted into the brain, early research from the BrainGate team has shown that the neural signals can be ‘decoded' by a computer in real-time and used to operate external devices."
Chip maker Intel predicts practical computer-brain interfaces by 2020.
Intel scientist Dean Pomerleau said in a recent article, "Eventually people may be willing to be more committed to brain implants."
"Imagine being able to surf the Web with the power of your thoughts."
7. Meltable bio-batteries

One of the challenges for implantable tech has been how to get power to devices tethered inside or floating around in human bodies.
You can't plug them in.
You can't easily take them out to replace a battery.
A team at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is working on biodegradable batteries.
They generate power inside the body, transfer it wirelessly where needed, and then simply melt away.
Another project is looking at how to use the body’s own glucose to generate power for implantables.
Think the potato battery of grammar school science, but smaller and much more advanced.
8. Smart dust

Perhaps the most startling of current implantable innovations is smart dust, arrays of full computers with antennas, each much smaller than a grain of sand, that can organize themselves inside the body into as-needed networks to power a whole range of complex internal processes.
Imagine swarms of these nano-devices, called motes, attacking early cancer or bringing pain relief to a wound or even storing critical personal information in a manner that is deeply encrypted and hard to hack.
With smart dust, doctors will be able to act inside your body without opening you up, and information could be stored inside you, deeply encrypted, until you unlocked it from your very personal nano network.
9. The verified self

Implantables hammer against social norms.
They raise privacy issues and even point to a larger potential dystopia.
This technology could be used to ID every single human being, for example.
Already, the US military has serious programs afoot to equip soldiers with implanted RFID chips, so keeping track of troops becomes automatic and worldwide.
Many social critics believe the expansion of this kind of ID is inevitable.
Some see it as a positive: improved crime fighting, universal secure elections, a positive revolution in medical information and response, and never a lost child again.
Others see the perfect Orwellian society: a Big Brother who, knowing all and seeing all, can control all.
And some see the first big, fatal step toward the Singularity, that moment when humanity turns its future over to software.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Deadly Winter; Be Prepared By Making a Winter Car Kit

Winter is approaching us quickly in 2014. The last few winters have been somewhat mild, but according to the Farmers Almanac it is going to be a very bitter winter this year.
Being prepared for natural disasters is one of the most important things a person can do to ensure the safety of their life and that of their family. Winter is no exception. The risk of hypothermia is high if you do not know the proper clothing to wear or have a winter kit in your vehicle. Having your car break down or slide off the road can be a recipe for death. However, being properly prepared can keep you alive until emergency personnel arrives.
Below are some items to consider for your winter car kit:
(Note: As with any kit, you will want to design it to fit your region. These are *ideas* to help you start your emergency car kit.)
Shelter and Element Protection: 
Tip: If you are stuck in your vehicle it is safe to run your heater for ten minutes every hour. Just make sure your tail pipe is clear of any snow or debris. We keep a tarp and duct tape in our vehicle so we can block off the back seat or the back of the SUV to retain heat to our location in the vehicle.
Food and Water:
  • Filtration water bottle for each family member
  • Several gallons (This depends on the size of your family.) of water for drinking or heating for meals or emergency water pouches
  • Food/energy bars, powdered soups, camping meals, nuts, jerky or any other snack that will not go bad for a while in the trunk. Make sure to change these items out often to make sure. Hot chocolate or instant coffee would be good to keep as well. Not only would it be a comfort drink it will also help keep you warm.
  • Pocket Stove
Communications and Lighting:
  • Flashlight and extra batteries or a solar hand cranked powered light with an all weather radio and USB device charger.
  • Glow sticks ~ If you use glow sticks, one neat trick I have learned is to tie a string or shoelace to the glow stick and swing it around like a lasso when you see a vehicle. It is much more powerful and can be seen from the sky as well. Most emergency personnel know about this trick as well so it would aid in your rescue.
Other items:
  • Emergency whistle
  • Plumber candles – With a little air ventilation these candles last about 8 hours and will also provide heat.
  • Survival Guide/ First Aid book
  • Multipurpose tool/Swiss army knife
  • Duct tape – We use this to tape the tarp down so the warmth stays in the front part of the car.
  • Deck of cards, note pad, pencils/pens, List of phone numbers
  • Signal Mirror
  • Pre-Paid calling phone & card/ emergency cash
  • 3 days of prescribed medication
  • Compass/ local street map and state map
  • Mess kit/utensils or any tin style cup to heat water in.
  • Walking shoes/socks
  • Fold-able shovel
  • Rock Salt
  • Toilet Paper
  • Gallon of Kitty litter to get traction
  • Tow rope
Being prepared can mean the difference between life and death. It is not something to take lightly or put off until tomorrow.  Anything can happen to you in your car. Knowing the proper clothes to pack in your kit is important to.  Many people do not know the dangers of cotton in the winter. Please do your research and do everything you can to keep your family safe.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

8 Tips for Successful, Effective Family Home Evenings

For many years prophets have counseled families to set aside one night a week for time together learning and having fun. Many families around the world are heeding that counsel and making time in their busy schedules for family home evening.
In an effort to strengthen their family and personal testimonies, parents lead their children in lessons, songs, and prayer and share with them what they feel their family needs at that time.
“Raising a family is hard work,” said Darren E. Schmidt during a class at Campus Education Week at BYU. That is why time together as a family is critical to building testimonies and strengthening relationships.
Brother Schmidt, a seminary instructor, shared principles and ideas to enhance family home evenings and scripture study, focusing on simple, practical elements for families to enhance their time together.
1. Be Consistent
“It doesn’t have to be perfect; just be consistent,” he said.
For many parents, the phrase “quality over quantity” applies to family home evening, but there is a danger in that, said Brother Schmidt. It is a combination of quality and quantity that will be the most effective for a family. Although it is important to plan and prepare for family home evenings, consistency is a crucial factor.
“It is a process and not a product,” he said.
As family home evening becomes part of a family’s routine, children will expect their assignments and responsibilities and will look forward to the time together.
2. Be United
“Satan will wiggle his way in, so what we do is prepare for that,” Brother Schmidt said.
One way to deal with distractions and other things that get in the way is through unity. As a husband and wife are united, both spouses will take an active role in family home evening.
Brother Schmidt shared ideas of how to divide and conquer—one spouse is in charge of discipline and the other keeps the evening going. In single-parent homes, older children may be asked to help in a leadership role.
3. Make Family Home Evening Inspired and Purposeful

Family home evening is a place—other than church—where children are able to learn gospel principles. Sometimes the topics to teach are very clear, as parents have certain principles they would like to go over with their children. Other times parents have to “just pick the best thing,” said Brother Schmidt. When the family is prepared, the Spirit is able to teach. In those moments the Lord will often inspire parents to teach something that their child may have questions about or have a desire to learn more about. It is as parents are purposeful in their preparation that the Lord will be able to prepare the hearts of the learners.
4. Plan Ahead
Part of an effective family home evening is planning ahead. Through proper planning, parents are able to involve their children and help them prepare.
Brother Schmidt spoke of the importance of every member having an assignment—no matter their age—every week. As the children are involved, they are able to prepare lessons and learn how to seek inspiration. By assigning the children things to do a few days before family home evening, they are able to work with their parents to prepare.
A simple paper chart is a great way to rotate assignments and keep things organized.
5. Be a Shepherd, Not a Sheepherder
There is a difference between a shepherd and a sheepherder, Brother Schmidt said.
“A shepherd knows his sheep, and the sheep know him,” Brother Schmidt said. “They can hear the voice of the shepherd and are reliant on him. They come when they hear him call.”
A sheepherder may yell for the sheep to follow but have a hard time getting them to listen. Family life is busy, filled with activities—homework, soccer practice, piano lessons and practicing—so families are often rushed. A simple five- or ten-minute warning before family home evening—rather than yelling throughout the house—helps children to finish what they are doing so they are able to come to family home evening and fully participate.
“A five-minute warning shows you are respectful of their time,” he said. “It is less forceful and creates an atmosphere with the Spirit.”
6. Everyone Must Play a Role
With an assignment given to each family member—even the younger children with help from their parents—participation becomes easier. When studying the scriptures, provide some form of scriptures for every person so all have their own something to hold and read.
“For little kids cartoon books are good,” Brother Schmidt said. And when all have something to read, they are expected to participate and follow along.
With that, asking inspired questions allows for deeper discussion and learning. When parents are prepared, they are able to follow the Spirit in extending invitations that encourage their children to act. Just as important as the inspired invitations is the follow-up on discussions and invitations.
“Be purposeful in time and money,” Brother Schmidt taught. Sometimes it is a simple conversation that will make the biggest difference.
Family home evening can be a time for families to set goals together—changing and adapting for each person as they get older—and a great place to reflect and be accountable for their goals.
7. Become Educated
With so many resources available to Church members today, parents have the opportunity to look to those resources for ideas for their lessons as well as answers to questions. Websites such as LDS.org, Church materials including the For the Strength of Youthpamphlet, and Mormon Messages are available to use within teaching and to help parents become educated. Resources for often-discussed topics are available for families to talk about and discuss, approaching sometimes difficult questions in a safe and gospel-centered environment. Children can ask questions and learn in their own homes, rather than through outside sources.
8. Use “the Word” Consistently
Just as important as it is to hold family home evening, it is important to spend time in the scriptures and focusing on Christ. Fun and games are good for families, but teaching children while they are young how to have a relationship with their Heavenly Father is the most important duty a parent has. As parents make a point to study together from the scriptures, they are able to teach and testify as they learn together.

    “Parents lead to the purest source of water,” said Brother Schmidt.

    Friday, October 17, 2014

    Medication and Emergency Preparedness

    79:365 - pills
    An important part of any emergency preparedness plan that can easily be overlooked is medication. No matter what type of medication you take, you don’t want to find yourself in a crisis situation without it.
    Ensuring that your medication is covered by your emergency preparedness plan involves these six steps.
    1. Compile your medical information.
    This can be cumbersome but is invaluable in the event of an emergency. Having all of your information organized and ready to go makes it much easier to get help if necessary and keep your medication regimen on track. In your medical file you should include:
    • Emergency contacts, including at least one friend or family member that lives at least 100 miles away.
    • Your doctor(s) and other medical providers.
    • list of the medications you take, making sure to include the dosage, frequency, purpose of medication, and the name and phone number of the doctor who wrote the prescription.
    • A copy of the prescription for every medication that you take. You may also want to leave a copy with a national pharmacy chain. If you wear glasses or contacts, include those prescriptions as well.
    • A notation of any sensitivities or allergies that you have.
    • Your immunization history.
    • Information regarding any medical equipment or support systems that you use. Take care to consider things like hearing aids, hearing aid batteries, oxygen, wheelchair batteries, service animals, and the like.
    • If you have a communication disability, include a note of the best way others can communicate with you.
    You should keep all of these records with you emergency preparedness kit as well as with a trusted friend or relative who lives out of town that can be reached in the event of an emergency.
    If you feel comfortable doing so, you may also want to scan and email copies of your medical information to yourself so that it can be accessed from anywhere. An alternate suggestion is to store this information in the cloud.
    Having copies of your prescriptions is extremely important as that will allow you to refill your medication as soon as you reach a pharmacy.
    2. Determine what type of medication(s) and what type of help you would need in the event of an emergency.
    Medications are to be taken for a reason, though some are more critical than others. Determine the importance of your medications and make sure you plan accordingly so that the medications will be available during an emergency.
    Think seriously about your own capabilities, limitations, and what kind of challenges could be imposed by your surroundings in the event of an emergency. Know what kind of assistance you would need and be ready to communicate your needs in an emergency situation.
    3. Stockpile prescription medication.
    Start stockpiling your prescription medications. Your stockpile should include enough of every essential medication to last at least seven to ten days.
    The best way to stockpile prescription medication is to refill your prescription as soon as the pharmacy will allow. By doing this every time, you will have a few extra days’ worth of medicine that you can set aside as part of your emergency preparedness kit.
    4. Maintain your stockpile responsibly.
    Medications do expire, so rotate the medications that are included in your kit so that you don’t store outdated supplies.
    Get in the habit of replacing the stored medication with every new refill. Also, take care to store your medications in labeled, child-proof containers away from places that experience extreme heat, cold, or humidity. Be particularly cautious with certain medications, especially narcotics, as these are more susceptible to being stolen and abused.
    5. Talk with your doctor about your emergency preparedness plan.
    Anyone who routinely takes prescription medication should consult a physician about preparedness issues. Talk with the doctor who wrote the prescription about what to do in case you run out of medication during an emergency. Understand the shelf life and optimal storage temperature for your medication.
    While it is beneficial to plan ahead, it is sometimes impossible to be prepared for everything. Certain medicines and supplies cannot be properly stored away.
    For example, vitamin injections must be stored away from light and refrigerated. Plus, they only have a two month shelf life. This means stockpiling your vitamin injections is impossible; you must routinely purchase new doses. Talk to your doctor about an alternative form of medication that could temporarily replace your injections if necessary.
    Also, other treatments—like nebulizers and dialysis—might be difficult to come by in the midst of an emergency. Talk to your doctor about the best ways to plan for an emergency and what alternatives might be available.
    6. If you get regular treatments at a clinic, hospital, other healthcare center, or at home, talk with your doctor or nurse about their emergency preparedness plans.
    These treatments are part of your medical needs, so work with your service provider to develop an emergency preparedness plan that will cover your needs. Also be sure to get referrals for other providers that offer the same services and include these providers in your list of emergency contacts.
    By making sure that you have all of your medications and medical information in your emergency kit, you greatly increase your chances of staying healthy and getting what you need during a time of crisis.