News for week of 2023-02-06

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  • Comments (34)

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        Reportedly, both these people are already in prison and communicating online.

        “The affidavit reveals the two defendants were in separate prisons for past crimes and communicated online.” (affidavit by Special Agent Patrick W. Straub, of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (“JTTF”) in the FBI Baltimore Division.”

        Baltimore / Florida terror plot

      • 2

        “Reportedly, both these people are already in prison and communicating online.”

        This part is complicated, and I found it difficult to follow. They were both in different prisons when they met online. Then they were both released. Then they got caught trying to sabotage substations and got arrested again.

        All that is complicated enough. But the guy was also communicating online with an FBI source for about a year, and it’s unclear whether that also started while he was in prison. And it sounds like maybe they let him out, delaying arrest, just to collect more information about coconspirators and this neo-nazi accelerationist community.

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      • 3

        Some more on the overall trend from Business Insider.

        The good:

        There are also signs that extremists don’t have detailed technical knowledge of the grid’s weak points. Wellinghoff reviewed several pages on sabotaging electrical equipment from the accelerationist online magazine at Insider’s request. He said he wasn’t concerned.

        Not as good but at least people are working on it:

        One issue that grid-security experts said they felt didn’t get enough attention is the long lead time required to replace bulk power-transmission equipment. Utilities often build their substations according to custom specifications, and replacing a high-voltage transformer that is damaged beyond repair can take five years, said Perry. He said Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s electrical infrastructure were adding to the demand.

        The industry has responded by forming equipment-sharing pools. Richard Mroz, a former New Jersey utilities regulator who now works as a lobbyist and advisor to the group Protect Our Power, said he’d been heartened by the willingness of some state regulators to allow utilities to bill their customers for the cost of membership.

    • 4

      The devastation from the earthquake in Turkey (and the huge aftershocks) is terrible. It’s hard to look at the photos of the destruction and read about the loss of life.

      This post is a good reminder that we can’t use the past as the metric for what we could see in the future.  Weather isn’t the only thing that can happen to a degree not previously seen.

      Screen Shot 2023-02-06 at 1.41.37 PM

      • 2

        Twitter thread about the earthquake:


        Some of my preparedness takeaways:

        1) Faultlines are well known. No one knew a big quake would happen this year, but it was clear a big quake would come eventually.

        2) Construction quality matters. If you’re building is designed for earthquakes, you won’t wake up covered in collapsed building.

        3) Flashlights, flashlights, and more flashlights. There’s no such thing as too many flashlights because everyone around you needs one. And of course batteries.

        4) Heating. When it’s cold and dark and no one can go indoors, staying warm is critical.

        5) Be ready to go at a moment’s notice. People needed to leave their homes immediately to avoid being buried, but needed equipment for surviving outside and helping neighbors. Anything not already in a go bag would need to be left behind.

      • 5

        An earthquake is a unique risk – it hits with zero warning so you may not get out with your kit. It might be a good idea to have a spare 72 hour kit at a friends’ house a bit away.

      • 3

        “you may not get out with your kit”

        Reminds me of some earthquake advice from TP Discord. Wish I could find the details and who said it…

        Basically, keep an earthquake kit near you whose main purpose is to help you get out. These would be kept under your bed and in your workplace. The kit would include flashlight and crowbar.

      • 4

        “Wish I could find the details and who said it…Basically, keep an earthquake kit near you whose main purpose is to help you get out.”

        Found it in a website comment by pnwsarah. Looks like Shaun was the first to mention the value of work gloves in that thread. Great thread to read in detail for anyone in earthquake territory.

        ”Work gloves are one of the four under the bed items often referenced in earthquake preparedness. The others are a pair of old sneakers, a flashlight with batteries, and a crow bar. All four go in a bag and you tie the bag to the leg of the bed.”


      • 2

        Thanks for resurrecting this tip, Eric, and I’m glad it stuck when I mentioned it! The thinking behind the under the bed items is that if your job is to get out of a damaged building in the middle of the night, you need to (1) see (flashlight and batteries), (2) protect your feet from broken glass (shoes), (3) protect your hands as you move debris (gloves), and (4) pry open doors/windows if your home has shifted off its foundation (crowbar). You put them in a bag or box because you don’t want glass shards in the supplies (especially the shoes!).

        Fortunately (and as I’ve argued repeatedly elsewhere on the forums :D), if you’re living in the U.S. (and esp. if you’re in CA, in relatively new construction, and/or in a wood-framed single-family dwelling), your home is very unlikely to collapse on you, but it can’t hurt to throw a whistle in the under the bed box or bag just in case you need to call for help (they’re cheap!). Broken windows and power outages are MUCH more likely, and if you live in an SFD that is not bolted to the foundation, your house may slide right off its footings. That’s very survivable (i.e., the house is still unlikely to collapse), but it will make it very difficult to open doors and windows.

      • 2

        One of the articles I’ve read was how many of these buildings were newly built and supposedly met similar codes to California’s standards.   It’s questionable how well the codes could be enforced and there are ‘waivers’.  Having said that, I’m not sure Los Angeles would fare that much better with two 7+ quakes and then dozens of 5+ quakes in a week.  They’re still experiencing 4+ quakes there every few hours.  California hasn’t experienced that sort of level with such repeated shocks (fore or aft) – there’s typically none or a couple max – not like the extended event that Turkey is experiencing. The Northridge quake in 1993 taught us that our knowledge is never ‘complete’ given the several highway overpasses that fell were miles from the epicenter.   

      • 1

        Shifting door frames can make life very difficult. Remember how difficult it can be to close an interior door if the door hanger is heavily laden? We have a few of these and it’s difficult to shut the door completely if too much is hanging. If the foundation shifted, it would be many times more difficult. 

        door hangers

        If an earthquake shifted our foundation, we would have to open 4 doors to get out; (2) bedrooms, the front closet with out go bags, and finally, the front or back door. That could take a lot more time than I usually think about exiting quickly. And if there is a gas leak, the need to move quickly is much greater! 

        A crowbar could possibly pop the door out of the misaligned frame, but it is also more likely you will need to break most of the door to open it. If you are not confident you have the upper body strength to get it open, prepare yourself with a longer crowbar. Greater leverage will be your equalizer. 

        crowbar and hammer

        If the door is jammed tight all the way around, it may be easier to simply destroy the door. These will be hollow core doors and easier to destroy than a perimeter (front) door. I would use an engineer’s hammer – get whatever weight you are comfortable with. I have used my 4 lb hammer many times but my wife would want a 2.5 lb hammer. 

        If I have to do it in the dark, I definitely want a headlamp. Heavy work gloves and boots go without saying.

      • 1

        If you simply can’t open the door, or if there is fire or visible arcing, you may need to exit via a window. In our case, that is a straight drop from the 2nd floor to the ground or the driveway. Use a chain ladder.

        rescue ladder

        Then go around the house and use a ladder to the other bedroom window. You would need a ladder outside, possibly chained to something to prevent theft, and the key/combination.

        If this is your situation, keep in mind that you have lost your bug out bags in the front closet, unless you have your keys (!) and the door will open. You may want to drop your crowbar and hammer out the window first so you can try to get your stuff. This is a good reminder to have a second go bag at another location, like friends or family.

      • 1

        I was also thinking that windows are the best option if the house has shifted that much.  They may not open, but may be broken already and are much easier to open than the door.  Either way, you’ll need something to break out glass and consider how to avoid or cover the sill with something to prevent cuts (especially if you’re in pajamas).  

    • 6

      Train derailment in Ohio. Evacuations ordered in a 2 by 1 mile radius. Residents still not able to go home. 


      This is a scenario where it would be nice to have a go/72-hour bag. 

      • 4

        “Officials begged residents for several days to leave the area as fears about air and water quality have mounted.”

        Compromised air and water, plus risk of flooding explosion… This is a situation to leave immediately.

        Even though I have a bug out bag, I have to admit that I’d need an hour to pack for an orderly evacuation. This is something I really need to work on. I want to be able to leave quickly while still having everything I need to work from a hotel for a few days.

      • 4

        It’s making me rethink our bug in plan. For most scenarios, bugging in is our best option. However, in this scenario we wouldn’t have that option. 

      • 4

        Evacuation within a 1-2 mile area? A railroad runs right through my town. That kind of evacuation would mean the whole town; it’s only 1 mile wide.

        I work from home and have backups for all cables necessary for phones, tablets, laptops, printers and monitors. Our bugout/fire bags can go 72 hours easily.

        We could evacuate to a family member 30 miles away. My kids may go there too or friends’ properties north of town.

        Emptying my town presents a unique problem I have not considered; looters. With town empty and very limited police patrols I bet looting would start. Most residential safes can be opened without too much trouble if you have electric power and time. Both would be plentiful. I would need to take valuables – and that would take some space.


      • 1

        Looting is a very real consequence of this sort of issue.  It has occurred in other evacuated areas and buildings (fires, earthquakes, etc).  With fires it can be recommended to leave access for firefighters which basically invites looters.  This is why there’s such much patrol of the perimeter and why having proof of your residency with you is a good EDC/BOB item.  If that patrol is not available, there’s definitely a lure to looters.  

    • 4

      Study: 15 million people live under threat of glacial floods. More than half are in just four countries: India, Pakistan, Peru and China. The second and third highest risk basins are in Peru’s Santa basin, and Bolivia’s Beni basin. Three lake basins in the United States and Canada rank high for threats: Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, northeast Washington, and west central British Columbia. One million people live within just 6 miles (10 km) of potentially unstable glacial-fed lakes.


    • 6

      Update on H5N1 bird flu and possibility of starting human pandemic:

      H5N1 appears to have killed 585 sea lions and 55,000 wild birds in Peru. (Only 3 of the dead sea lions were tested. All three had H5N1.) This is similar to the seal outbreak in December and shows that was not an isolated event. With confirmation of substantial threat to various other mammals, it is likely that humans are also at risk, but still very few human cases so far.


      • 2

        Some historical perspective from people who have been studying H5N1’s pandemic potential since the 90s.

        Tracking the bird flu, experts see a familiar threat — and a virus whose course is hard to predict

        “For me, that risk hasn’t changed. In ’97 there was a pandemic threat. And that pandemic threat has continued to exist, and we cannot really quantify the threat because we still don’t really understand what it takes.”

        “There will be a new pandemic for sure. Whether it is this one, I don’t know. But I think that the current situation is enough that countries actually [should] review their pandemic preparedness plans again.”

    • 3

      Shortage of ADHD treatments, especially Adderall, started in October and will likely continue through April. Caused by combination of increased ADHD diagnosis rate and delay in DEA approving increased manufacturing rate to match.


    • 2

      Wholesale egg prices have ‘collapsed.’ Why consumers may soon see relief

      The soaring cost of eggs at grocery stores has been a major pain point for consumers. There’s a glimmer of hope that retail egg prices per dozen might have peaked as wholesale prices tumble.

      New data from Urner Barry, a market research firm that tracks wholesale food prices, shows its Urner Barry Egg Index has plunged 57% since peaking at $4.65 per dozen on Dec. 19. Wholesale prices are now at $2.01.

      “Prices have collapsed, “Angel Rubio, senior analyst at Urner Barry, told CNBC. He added:

      “That’s a big, big adjustment downward.”
      The plunge in wholesale prices won’t immediately reflect in retail prices though prices have likely peaked. This is wonderful news for breakfast lovers.

      Recall that the cause of soaring egg prices was the worst avian flu outbreak ever that devastated domestic egg-laying bird populations. Tens of millions of chickens were culled last year to prevent the spreading of the deadly disease.

      Rubio noted that it takes one month for retail prices to reflect wholesale price action, which means consumers might begin seeing some relief in February. He said prices might go back up ahead of Easter, which falls on Apr. 9 this year.

      The plunge in wholesale egg prices is a promising sign that peak food inflation might have already arrived. Tyson Foods, the largest US meat company, reported Monday that falling meat prices and waning demand led to a profit decline.


      • 1

        Article says chickens stopped getting this bird flu on Dec 20. That’s certainly good news. Makes me wonder why, though. We just got news about the same disease killing a bunch of sea lions and wild birds in Peru.

      • 1

        I think the demise of H5N1 is great but it will take 4-6 months to rebuild chicken inventories so prices may come down slowly.

    • 2
      • 4

        “IF Resilience is directly related to our friends and neighbors, we are in trouble… in 1972, about half of Americans believed “most people can be trusted.” Today, that figure has dropped to 30 percent.”“

        My wife and I moved to a new area about a year ago. We talked with future neighbors before choosing a home to confirm that we’d have good neighbors. We made an effort to maintain a relationship with our closest neighbors and attend all HOA meetings. I trust those people, not just because we moved in next to people we could trust, but also because those relationships make them more trustworthy.

        Is trust breaking down more broadly? I don’t know. But I can work to maintain trust where it matters most to my family. I’ll settle for that.

      • 4

        “But I can work to maintain trust where it matters most to my family.”

        That’s all any of us can do.

        We may need to put ‘reaching out to more neighbors’ higher on the Action list. That would benefit us but may benefit them even more so it they have few acquaintances, colleagues and friends.

        It can be more difficult for some rather than others. My wife is sanguine, a ‘life of the party’ kind of person, but I am very much an introvert and prefer to talk to people one-on-one for longer.

        The rising alienation among people under 30 is very bad for them and those around them. IMO, social media is useful, but no replacement for verbal conversations at arms length.

        The HOAs, churches, sports, and volunteering are so important to resiliency.

    • 2

      3.4 million American adults (1.4%) displaced by disasters in 2022, up from an average of 800 thousand per year average between 2008 and 2021. Roughly half of these displacements were due to hurricanes.

      Census: Disasters displaced more than 3M Americans in 2022

      Preparedness takeaway: An annual rate of 1.4% is high enough that almost everyone will experience something like this in a lifetime.

    • 2

      Why do we know that colds are airborne? This study played a big role in my understanding of how respiratory viruses, such as COVID, spread. After learning about this around late 2020, I later couldn’t find the study again. Just happened across it again today.


      ”Aerosol Transmission of Rhinovirus Colds”, Journal of Infectious Diseases”, 1987,Dick, Jennings, Mink,  Wartgow, Inhorn

      Also, here’s the very informative explanation of COVID transmission that I was reading today, which linked to the above.


    • 2

      COVID antiviral treatment cuts hospitalizations in half – pegylated interferon lambda