The latest posts from TEOTWAWKI Blog

After a couple snoozer episodes, I really dug this past week's episode of the Walking Dead, titled "Consumed".

Some great post-apocalyptic scenery as Carol and Daryl returned to explore the ruins of Atlanta in search of Beth. And I am certainly a sucker for exploring desolate apocalyptic urban landscapes...for some reason, strangely beautiful and fascinating. Felt a bit like the zombie classic 28 Days Later.

Thumbs up to the show here for some good work here. Excellent cinematography, set design, etc. And cool to revisit some of the iconic places from earlier in the series.

Also enjoyed a few of the urban survival elements that were comparatively well done, if you were paying attention:
  • Struggles with locked doors, chains and other barriers (and having the tools to deal with them)
  • Acquiring transportation when needed
  • Using existing shelter
  • Scavenging water and other supplies
  • Importance of stealth and observing unknown forces from afar
  • Necessity of traveling light
Next week should be action-packed, as Daryl rallies the troops and brings 'em in guns blazing to rescue Beth and Carol.

What did you guys think? Think anyone will catch a bullet or walker bite in next week's jail break episode, "Crossed"/
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 18, 2014, 2:38 am
Continuing from the previous post. Comments generated some good discussion, responses started getting long so I broken them out here.

Contractor-style "Go Bags" - maybe a bad example
I used these as an example of a lighter weight, purpose-driven kit, but may have taken the conversation sideways a bit

For some context, an example from Bubba over at DVM of a go bag (he calls it a red zone bug out bag) he carried as a backup:  http://www.deathvalleymag.com/2010/03/16/civilian-contractors-red-zone-bug-out-bag-part-1/

A man purse with mags and tactical gear isn't something I'd make an across the board recommendation on, especially for a civvy survivalist. In fact, it's tough to make any kind of across the board recommendations. Why?

A really good quote from the DVM article:

It’s all about defining the threat environment you operate in, the problems you will most likely face, and sorting out the tools that are the best fit for you and your mission, as well as what you can reasonably expect to carry.

The contractor go bag is an example of a solution for the problems those guys were facing in Iraq. They were almost exclusively operating out of vehicles in a quasi-urban environment, and were primarily concerned with attacks from heavily armed insurgents, IEDs or a combination of the two. If the bag needed to be employed, it'd need to be grabbed quickly, and would be used to retreat under fire and either get to safety or survive until help showed up.

Your threat environment, the problems you will most likely face, and the problem solving tools that will work for you will likely be different from a contractor in Iraq circa 2009.

Bug out bag or Ruck
These are two terms that are tossed around a lot in the same discussion--I'll define them in terms of capacity and weight and discuss.

Bug out bag (aka patrol pack, go to hell bag, go bag): A typical bug out bag is going to be around assault/3 day pack size. Or similar to the size you'd take on a long day hike or 3-season overnighter.

Less than 3000 cubic inches and 30-ish pounds or less in weight.

Intended to grab and go in an emergency or support short term operations away from a vehicle or base camp. Keep you alive until you can reach safety, get back to camp or help arrives.

Ruck / rucksack: A larger internal or external frame pack intended for heavy loads.

 >3000 cubic inches, 40+ pound loads

I view rucks as more of a special purpose item. These haul the larger quantities of crap you need to set up a comfortable base camp and live longer term in the wilds. These are intentional off-grid operations (e.g., you planned on walking into the woods to spend a week reconning an enemy position) or cold weather ops, where you need a lot of bulky stuff to stay alive.

Due to its size and weight, mobility is hindered while wearing the ruck, more calories are consumed and there's more wear and tear on your body. Thus, a bug out bag is often integrated with the ruck, in case the larger pack needs to be ditched in an emergency or left behind after base camp is established.
Ideally, you would have both a bug out bag and a ruck to work with, or a ruck that can cinched down to a smaller size fairly easily. Options are good. But, they're also costly.

IMO, if you're going to have just one, the bug out bag is the more useful, general purpose of the two.

And, as we've been discussing, you need to consider your environment and the mission at hand--as an example, if you're preparing for the contingency that you might need to walk a hundred miles through the frozen north when it's -40 out, you're going to have a hard time getting away with a smaller, lighter weight pack.

"Civilian" scenarios & loadout

From RH:

Speaking in terms of situations (and I'm hoping somebody will correct me if I'm wrong), I feel like a civilian loadout is going to be much different from a combat one (aside from the obvious). If you're a soldier and SHTF, then doesn't that mean people are shooting at you, or pursuing you? Bottom line, you are in an actively inhospitable environment. Whereas a civilian SHTF scenario is probably not going to be as actively hostile. A car crash, an earthquake, even (the vastly less likely) event of some sort of terror attack--these are all going to be over quickly. Aftermath, yes, absolutely. That's obviously a danger. But I don't see survival gear as being all that important in a civilian bag unless you're in the boondocks. In an urban setting, E&E isn't as important as being able to render aid to yourself or others in the immediate aftermath of an event. Being mobile (as Theother Ryan pointed out, just walking half a mile would take you out of danger) is the second most important factor.

In thinking this through, there's really kind of a split.

In the more common situations you're talking about, a bug out bag isn't really needed. Earthquake...you're going to just bug in. Car crash...more of a personal SHTF, where you'd want some first aid gear, vehicle extraction tools and a cell phone. Bugging out after a large-ish terror attack (say bio attack or chem weapon)...you pretty much just need distance and a bit of time to let authorities clean up the mess. Cash, a CCW, working cell phone and a hotel room 300 miles away get you through most of this stuff.

But in the above situations, you have the luxury of remaining a regular old civilian.

Then, there are collapse scenarios, where there's little/no rule of law, and you may not have the luxury of remaining a regular old civilian. A prepared person might be pressed into a combat/peace keeper role, find themselves specifically targeted by hostile groups, etc.

In my opinion, this is when the bug out bag starts to become more relevant to your immediate survival, the civilian lines start to blur and the contents take on a more tactical lean.

See the crap going on with ISIS right now for an example...a lot of people who were previously 'civilians' have been forced to bug out from their homes and take up the fight against Islamic extremists. Or areas in Mexico, where citizens are taking up arms to secure their towns and fight back against corrupt law enforcement and drug cartels.

Of course, there's blurring of lines and levels in between the two. A slower slide into collapse or quasi-collapse, where there's sort of a rule of law, but crime is rampant. Dudes who bust out the long guns when looting breaks out. That sort of thing.

As before, do your own threat assessments and considerations, though it always pays to have options that you can scale up/down and adjust as necessary.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 16, 2014, 1:42 pm
When plans have gone to hell, when your commandeered short bus is going up in flames...that's when you need a bug out bag.

As popular as bug out bags are, their role in survival/preparedness plans is often misunderstood.

You'll often hear stuff like "Man, bugging out is crazy! I'm going to bug in and stay home!" or "Why would I choose to be a refugee with nothing but a backpack on my back?"

And then on the other hand, you'll have others who for some reason plan to start marching off into the woods with a giant pack to pitch a tent, hang out and start bush crafting.

It's all too common, and unfortunately both are completely missing the point.

I agree - bugging out shouldn't be your primary plan. Or even your secondary. Yep, you'll want to bug in...at least as long as it is safe to do so.

If you're forced to leave your bug in location and retreat to safety, you'll want to load up your truck/SUV with every possible thing that you can for that journey. Gear, food, water, fuel...heck, hook up that bug out trailer, too.

There are of course various things that can go wrong or draw you away from your vehicle. Crash, break downs, getting stuck, running out of fuel, getting hopelessly stuck in traffic, floods, impassable roads, attacks on your vehicle...or, even just heading out on foot for a scout/patrol of an area.

That's when you want your bug out bag.

In the Walking Dead screen grab from above, they crashed their short bus and it burst into flames. Crap - there goes their transportation as well as the majority of food and weaponry they appeared to have brought along for their journey.

In You Took Away Tomorrow, the characters first attempt to bug in at Jack Rourke's home. Then, when their home is compromised, they try to bug out via their vehicles. When the group's makeshift convoy falls under attack from machine gun wielding neo nazi bikers, they resort to a bug out on foot.

Soldiers and especially contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan have been well known to carry 'go bags' in their armored SUVs - small bags that they can grab during an attack. They pack them with spare mags, medical gear, radios, smoke grenades and other assorted cool guy stuff to help them get back to safety or hold out until rescue arrives.

An example of a 'worst case' for this in action. This was shared by a recent Haley Strategic class participant - think instead of just grabbing long guns, they'd be throwing on bug out bags as well.
Post by Ryan Smith.

In my opinion, a bug out bag should work in this kind of environment and scenario. You should be able to move quickly, even move and shoot while wearing it. It should also be of a size 'works' around a vehicle and can be retrieved and donned quickly if needed...not some giant hiking pack that you can barely lift.

If you had gunfire (or quickly rising flood waters, or fire, or whatever) coming in your direction, how long would you spend screwing around with a pack? Be able to grab and move - that's the point.

Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 14, 2014, 4:09 am
Fruits of my reloading press...

Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 13, 2014, 12:08 am

To those who have served, currently serve or will serve our nation - thank you.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 12, 2014, 12:52 am
Back with another lot of gear to clear out from the bunker...

Prices include US shipping, which will be sent via USPS.  No international shipping...I don't have time/interest in dealing with the customs headaches at this time.

I will mark off gear as it is sold...if the price is there, it's still available.

E-mail me at teotwawki.blog@gmail.com with "Garage Sale" in the e-mail title if you want to buy something. Payment will be via PayPal.

Tactical Nylon Galore
Unless otherwise noted, gear is in excellent shape.

Important: Minimum $50 order on pouches; I don't want to be shipping stuff out onesie-twosies. 

KYWI pouches in Multicam from ESSTAC. These are widely regarded as the best open top mag pouches for AR mags.

Double M4 mag pouch: $30
Single M4 mag pouches (2 available): $16
Double pistol mag pouch: $17.50

Or buy 'em all for $100

Pencott Greenzone pouches from Tactical Tailor. Really well made stuff in a groovy pattern that is perfect for woodlands areas. From Tactical Tailor's Fight Light line. Great chance to get decked out in a new pattern. ALL SOLD

M4 single mag pouches (6 available): $10.50 SOLD
M4 triple mag panel (1 available): $17.50 SOLD
M4 double mag pouches (3 available): $10.75 SOLD
Enhanced Admin Pouch: $31.50 SOLD
Magna Pistol Mag Pouch: $18.50 SOLD
Hydration Pouch - includes 2L Source bladder & Greenzone hose cover: $36 SOLD
Compass Pouch: $13.50 SOLD

Tactical Tailor Rudder RAC chest rig in Pencott Greenzone: $92 SOLD

Buy the Rudder RAC and ALL of the Pencott Greenzone pouches for $280. 

Finally, 3 old school woodlands canteen pouches. Surplus and used, but still functional. $7 each.

Not pictured:
500 pieces of once fired 40 S&W brass. Unprocessed, unpolished, mixed headstamp, hand sorted. Some nickle, mostly brass. From an indoor range that does not allow reloads. Weighs out to closer to 600 pieces, but we'll call it 500. $35 shipped.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 8, 2014, 3:07 pm
After a long while of mostly doom, gloom and attacks on our liberties, some good news for a change...
  • The economy is doing better. Unemployment is at a 6-year low. Markets have reacted well to the elections and are generally doing fairly well--closed at a record today.
    • The drop in PM prices is tied directly to the market performance--gold and silver prices go up when markets are bad (flight to quality), and go down when markets are good.
  • With Republicans in control of Congress, our gun rights are protected for the next 2 years. Public sentiment is swinging away from gun control in recent polls (something like 60% oppose new gun control legislation), and the Dems have suffered for their brainless attacks on the 2nd Amendment.
    • Most of the "revolutionary" talk comes from the legit concern around the .gov trying to forcefully disarm the populace. Simply put, that's not going to happen in the immediate future.
  • We've got ISIS and a bunch of other Islamic extremists to worry about, but the scope of these conflicts is unlikely to escalate to the scale of the Iraq/Afghan wars.
Given the state of the world today, what's your threat level assessment? Lower than in previous years? Have we stabilized, even recovered a bit? Are we entering a period of relative peace and calm, at least relative to the post-9/11 world?

Or, is the guillotine just waiting to drop?

What do you think...and, are you doing anything differently?
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 7, 2014, 11:33 pm
Good job, 'Merica. Gun rights protected for 2 years, at least at a federal level.

Republicans - now it's time to put up or shut up. Let's see the smaller government, sensible spending, lower taxes and pro-2A legislation you have been promising.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 5, 2014, 1:56 pm
Been busy on good stuff lately, as you may have noticed by a dip in posting frequency.

For the few who have been asking, yep, I am working on You Took Away Tomorrow, or what I should probably at this point just call THE BOOK. It's going to be dramatically different from the story you read here...bigger, badder, better. I have time off scheduled this month and I plan to use a good chunk of that to make some really good progress on where I want to take THE BOOK. Thank you for your continued interest on that front.

299 Days
I've been listening to the first of the 299 Days series during my daily commute. I'm sure I'm probably one of the last to the party on this one...honestly, I mostly do audiobooks these days, but had heard enough good things about this series to give it a try. About 3/4 of the way through. It's a very different take on the 'survivalist' novel...essentially, talking through the preparations a country boy turned lawyer is making to prepare for what he envisions as a coming collapse. I'm enjoying it, and largely because I see bits and pieces of myself and my experiences within the main character, Grant. He's an easy character to relate to--family man, professional trying his best to prepare for uncertain times. Looking forward to seeing where the story goes...there are 10 books in the series thus far, so I've obviously got some catching up to do.

Food Storage
Having been making decent progress here. We used up a fair amount of our commonly used items after the baby this summer...almost cleared the deep freezer out. So, have been replenishing those stocks, adding canned goods and staples here and there. I am planning on mylar bagging and boxing up some bulk staples this coming weekend.

Diet & Exercise
Working on shedding some poundage. Eating less and substituting a protein shake for one meal. Walking during breaks at work; 1 to 3 miles a day, usually. Will start weights again this week. Really a top priority for me.

Range & Reloading
Got a membership to a local indoor range last month...I went shooting more in October than in the entire year prior. Feels good to have a regular place to shoot again...a void in my soul has been filled.

In support of my range visits, I've been reloading a bunch of 9mm 124 grain FMJs. I've got the Hornady LNL dialed in well and am comfortable running the press. I took a couple months break from reloading after the new baby, it's good to get back into it. Very rewarding to hear the sound of new ammo clunk into the output bin. And, I've worked up a pretty decent load, too - I prefer it to the factory American Eagle ammo I have put back for practice purposes.

Gear Clean Out
More clean out is underway and Survivalist Garage Sale Mk2 is imminent  I just need to snap some pictures and post it up. Will have a nice rolling PowerFilm solar panel, lots of Pencott Greenzone gear and other stuff up for grabs.

As a reminder, I've got lots of the bomb rider patches and stickers in stock, too. Hit up the T-blog store to buy 'em.

Phewf! That's it for updates from me -- what have you been up to?
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 4, 2014, 5:39 am
Winning entries for the latest contest are:
Please e-mail me (teotwawki.blog@gmail.com) to arrange your prizes.

Thanks everyone for playing!
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 2, 2014, 2:25 pm
Some more brave monster slayers show their wares...reminder that we are accepting entries through end of today (November 1st), giving you time to edit those Halloween shots.

From S.C.-

Tools of the trade for Lady Curtice's Vampire, Werewolf, and Dark Fae Exterminators.

Tools include: Holy water spray bottle with suspended garlic and silver, earth salt, powdered garlic and wolfsbane, naturally holey stone to gain the second sight, Bible, and thorn branch for protection.

From J.A.-

Since the dragon horde came out of the north, any human activity has to happen at night.  This is a quick shot of our mission, to take out a standard green dragon nest sighted NW of what was Austin.  For this type of work I carry a Mosin-Nagant for distance and a tomahawk for melee.  Fine weapons for the small green ones, I just hope we don't run across any red or black dragons tomorrow... 
From A.F. -

Hunting for Olaf the overly friendly snowman from Frozen...a truly terrifying movie if you have a 4 year old that sings "Let it Go! Let it Go!" all day long.....
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 1, 2014, 12:14 pm
We've had a few entries come rolling on in at the last minute, and won't get an opportunity to post 'em up until tomorrow.

I'm extending the opening for submitting entries by one day (November 1st), after which we're closed and will wrap this one up.

Details here >
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: November 1, 2014, 1:23 am

The set of grips (sometimes called stocks) on a revolver can really dramatically change its characteristics--from really low profile for greater concealment to big, bulky rubber things to soak up recoil and increase shooting comfort.

Of course, having those choices leads you down the inevitable goldilocks path to find the grips that are just right.

The Smith and Wesson J-frame revolver has a multitude of aftermarket grips, but many suffer from one shortcoming or another. I've tried a several of the best aftermarket grips on the market and did a quick review on them a while back.

Way back then, I wrote about wanting to try out the Hogue Tamers, which are essentially the same grips that come on Ruger's LCR line of pistols. They looked like a pretty good happy middle ground. I put in an order with Hogue, which ended up getting cancelled due to backorder status. Then, the Tamers were out of stock everywhere.

Eventually I forgot about 'em, mildly satisfied with my old school wood and Tyler T-Grip combo. A range trip a few weeks back ended up with a thumb bleeding after getting scraped during recoil...this time around, the Tamers were in stock. I ordered some up, uncertain with how well they'd do.

Part of the challenge with the J's, especially the Airweights, is the amount of recoil they generate, which can make practice painful and ruin follow-up shots. I've found this to be an issue on any grip with an open, bare back strap. The width of the wood grips actually helps a bit versus the thinner 'boot' grips out there, but it's still becomes a bit abusive to shoot after more than a few cylinders of regular .38 special.

On the other hand, the bigger grips with a covered/padded back straps can plain ruin the concealment characteristics of the snubbie.

Some people switch grips around - big rubber grips for range, slimmer grips for carry, or they'll have separate guns. To me, that largely defeats the purpose - the shooting characteristics of the revolver are dramatically different when you swap out the grips. You want to practice with what you carry, not some gimped, 'range'-only version. 

So, there's the tradeoff between concealment and shooting comfort.

On top of that, a large number of grips are not compatible with speed loaders, which is ridiculous.

Surprisingly, there aren't really many options out there that try to strike a happy medium.

I am glad to report that the Hogue Tamers do just that. They're not too big and not too small...for me, they are a very good compromise in terms of concealment and shootability.

Though they do add bulk, the snubbie is still easily pocket carried.

They work with speedloaders, too--very well, as a matter of fact.

The Tamer's standout feature is a specially padded back strap, located right where the J-frame usually jams into the web of your hand during recoil. It's a little bit softer and squishier, really helping to soak up the recoil.

That recoil mitigation dramatically helps with controlling the snubbie under recoil and speeds up follow-up times.

It also makes shooting the J-frame a lot more comfortable. With slimmer grips, I can get maybe 25 rounds in before my hand really starts to feel it. Not a big deal in a defensive situation, but a detriment to practice. With the Tamers, extended shooting sessions are no problemo.

So, if you've got a J-frame that you carry a lot but shoot a little, or one that you've shoved into the back of the save because it's no fun to shoot, drop $21 on a set of Tamers and you'll have what will seem like a whole new gun.

Highly recommended.

Buy 'em on Amazon >
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: October 31, 2014, 2:43 am
The good folks over at Choate are having a big 25% off sale! The sale runs from October 30th through December 13th, and will help save you a good chunk of change if you're in the market for a new stock, shotgun extension or any of Choate's other wide array of products.

Use coupon code HARVEST2014 (all caps) to get the discount.

Choate Machine & Tool have been a looong time sponsor and friend of T-Blog, so go give 'em some love!

Choate Machine & Tool >
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: October 30, 2014, 2:00 pm
Reader D.B. sent this one in:

Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: October 29, 2014, 10:48 pm

EVZombie bringing his A game!

Only a few days left to enter this contest...if you want in, hurry it up! Details here.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: October 29, 2014, 3:46 am
From GT:
​I am a person with a c4/5 spinal cord injury. Here I am with my 12 gauge with adapted bite trigger and my Tenpoint crossbow with adapted crank trigger.  If I can kill pheasants and deer, zombies should be easy, lol. ​

From Alex: Huge props to GT for getting out there and doing what he loves. Awesome example.

If you want to get in on this contest, there's one week left to enter. There are three prize packages up for grabs, and your odds of winning should be pretty good! Full details here.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: October 25, 2014, 3:26 am
Wanted to send a friendly reminder out to the Tribe - in case you missed it, we're running a new contest, looking for your finest in monster hunting gear or garb. Your favorite anti-zombie tool, vampire defense kit, a little monster hunting cosplay at the range...the options are wide open, so let that creativity flow.

Check out the details here, and then get to work for your chance to win. There's not much time!
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: October 24, 2014, 2:09 am
 Some standout dialog from this week's episode:

"I sent you away..." - Rick
"You said I could survive...you were right." - Carol
"I sent you away to this--and now we're joining you. Will you have us?" - Rick

"Now, I need you to hear what I'm about to say, ok? You are not safe. No matter how many people are around, or how clear the area looks, no matter what anyone says, no matter what you think--you are not safe. It only takes one second. One second...and it's over. Never let your guard down. Ever." - Rick to Carl (and his old 'Farmer Rick' self)

"We're strong--we both are. But we're strong enough that we can still help people. And we can handle ourselves if things go wrong. And we're strong enough that we don't have to be afraid...and we don't have to hide." - Carl to Rick (good message here)

"We push ourselves to let things go. And then we let some more go...and some more. Pretty soon there's things we can't get back. Things we couldn't hold onto even if we tried.' - Bob to Rick (referencing his past?)

"Rule number one of scavenging: There's nothin' left in this world that isn't hidden." - Glenn

Some thoughts/spoiler-ness:

The mysterious person watching the group was Morgan.

Not surprised to see the cannies back so soon. Rick was right in wanting to go back and finish them off...you can't let people like that live around you. It's like letting a rabid pack of wolves roam around your neighborhood.

Did Bob have a past with Gareth (cannie leader), that goes back prior to their brief convo in episode one? Seems they singled him out for capture. Bob has had a mysterious past for a while...not sure why he went outside and started sobbing to begin with. I thought he'd secretly been bitten by the bubbling corpse zombie, but apparently not. Guess we'll find out soon, since he may not make it a whole lot further into the season...

Some standout makeup effects for the water logged zombies. Behind the scenes footage showed some cool animatronics at work. The end result was very nasty. You'd want a loooong decontamination shower after swimming around in that muck.

Oh--and who hides suppressors in a fridge?

What'd you think about the episode? Anything I miss? Any speculation for next week
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: October 21, 2014, 3:22 am

From EdWood. For educational purposes only :).

Ventilators available from Vigilant Gear and Amazon.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: October 19, 2014, 8:42 am

With Ebola blowing up in the headlines, WHO projecting 10K infections/week by December and an apparent 70% mortality rate, longtime reader JeepBoy was kind enough to send in some background and info.

Hope this is helpful in answering questions you may have. 

From JeepBoy1991:

I feel I really should post this due to all the half ­truths and outright falsehoods being spread on many websites about Ebola. I am NOT an expert but I am a reasonably knowledgeable individual on the subject. I have a BS as a Medical Technologist (this qualifies me to work in a hospital lab) and a BS in Microbiology. Not a Masters degree, not a PHD, just a Bachelor's of Science degree. I worked 8 years in hospital labs, then 19 years as a chemist with the state department of health. I followed the various Ebola outbreaks since back in the early 1980s.

Ebola is a filo-virus, and is an odd duck even for viruses which are really strange at times. OK this is the c­a­t spells cat version of virology (I'm really just hitting the basics here). Viruses contain a strand of DNA or RNA that they "inject" into a cell after the virus particle invades the body. This strand of DNA or RNA uses the cell's own DNA repair mechanisms to "hijack" the cell and to reproduce more virus particles, consuming the cell's resources until the cell bursts (lyses) and releases the virus particles to continue the process.

Many people misunderstand what is meant by airborne transmission of a disease causing organism. Medical lingo is like Lawyer lingo, words mean specific things. Airborne transmission means something like a person in office 7C gets "the flu" and three days later a person down the hall, around the corner in office 23F gets the same bug because it is spread throughout the building by the air conditioning system.

This is different from a virus that is spread by body fluid contact. Body fluids can be spread a considerable distance by aerosol (coughing and sneezing) but this is a different medical term than airborne. Too many people are confusing airborne and aerosol, they are different.

Ebola has several known strains, Reston, Marburg, Zaire, Sudan, and a few others I cannot remember off the top of my head. One strain, Ebola Reston IS known to be airborne transmission. This is the strain talked about in the book THE HOT ZONE that took place in Reston, VA in the primate research facility. This strain can infect people but it has NO harmful effects on people. You do not even know you have it. For some reason it is not a species jumper like the other strains.

The other strains ARE species jumpers and do have harmful effects on people (massive understatement, what hemorrhagic fever does to the human body is truly horrible ). Fortunately, the strains that affect people are only spread by body fluid contact. These fluids can contain viable (infectious) particles for a considerable length of time, under perfect conditions for at least several days. Proper sanitation methods as practiced in the western world will do an excellent job of containing an outbreak, simply wiping down surfaces with disinfectant will get most if not all of the virus particles on surfaces. More on this later.

The reason that Ebola gets to epidemic stages in sub-Saharan Africa is due to the near total lack of Western levels of sanitation and hospital care in these areas and the funeral practices in these countries. The family of the deceased cleans and prepares the body for burial. This almost always leads to the family being infected.

Now to getting infected with Ebola and what it does to you. It does not take many virus particles to infect you, in theory only one is needed but usually more than that. A bit of information bandied about on the web is that 10 drops of body fluid contains enough Ebola to infect 10,000 people. True in theory but not in practice.

One mililiter of Botulism toxin can in theory wipe out half of New York city but in reality.... you have to eat Botulism and getting that one mililiter broken down and spread in that much food to affect half of New York is a different story. It makes for great headlines but isn't really accurate.

When you get infected with Ebola, the first thing that happens is the virus enters your cells and begins to reproduce by hijacking the cell processes. During this time, your body is beginning to produce more virus particles and at SOME point, you begin to shed virus particles in body fluids. You DO shed virus particles BEFORE you start to show the first symptoms.

The CDC annoucements that say you are not infectious until you show symptoms are NOT ACCURATE and anyone who has taken a single virology class will know this. Why the CDC is spreading this deliberate falsehood I do not know.

As the virus spreads to different parts of your body and the amount of virus builds up you begin to show symptoms, starting with fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Please note that these symptoms are not unique to Ebola, they are what you will often get with any number of mild diseases including food poisoning and most Influenza (the "flu") infections. Many people with weakened immune systems can die at this stage before reaching the distinct symptoms of Ebola.

As the infection progresses, the virus invades more and more organs of the body and "takes them over" as I described earlier. This causes the organs to begin to fail as they LITERALLY begin to LIQUIFY as the cells burst releasing more virus particles. In some cases the bones even begin to liquify. This is the final stage of infection and many people die before getting to this stage but by this time you are leaking blood through your skin, vomiting blood and pretty much anything your body is excreting is full of virus particles.

Another thing not discussed much recently: different strains of Ebola have different fatality rates. One of the strains has only a 50% fatality rate, half the people who get it survive. Some of the others have 85­%-90% fatality rates. We do not know why they are different.

The same thing occurs in other viruses, the "Spanish flu" of 1918 killed mostly people in the 20­-40 year old range, while most influenza strains tend to kill the very young and the very old. Scientists have never been able to figure out why. Influenza by itself is rarely fatal, it kills by weakening the body and the body's immune system so you are more susceptible to bacterial or fungal infections. This is why when you go to the doctor with influenza (the"flu"), they send you home with antibiotics. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses such as influenza but do help your body fight off the bacterial or fungal infections that you can get while weakened by influenza.

That is what the Dallas hospital did with "patient zero". Admittedly, the hospital really dropped the ball in this case but I can see how it happened (remember I worked 8 years in hospitals). Several mis­steps and errors had to stack up to get this blunder of sending the man home but this was the emergency room of a hospital and no one was really expecting a case of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever to walk into the ER. The symptoms he was showing are not unique to Ebola and are really quite common to a lot of different illnesses.

Big thanks go out to JeepBoy for the knowledge share! From Alex:
I'd like to add that, while the media is likely to continue to churn out the panic-driven headlines for the foreseeable future, there is not a need to freak out and quarantine yourself up.

Keeping away from sick people, washing your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face/mouth are some sensible daily precautions.

If the outbreak worsens stateside, expect to see a run on stuff like N95 masks, nitrile gloves, hand sanitizer and so on, similar to what happened during the swine flu outbreak back in '09. With Ebola being a lot scarier, expect the reaction to be amped up accordingly.

I wouldn't be surprised to see some quarantining if the outbreak gets bad enough here in the U.S., or at least schools closed, employers telling their people to stay home and so on.

If you're in an a 'hot zone', self-imposing a limited quarantine would be a smart move. If there's a possibility that folks in the general public are stricken with Ebola, avoiding contact with 'em would be a sure ticket to avoiding infection.
Having basic necessities on hand to avoid a trip to the store for a week to a month (which we should all have anyways) would be a wise preparation for such an eventuality.

Got questions? Let us know.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: October 14, 2014, 11:46 pm
Our buddy Glenn wishing he'd practiced restraint escapes...
If the first few minutes of last night's season opener didn't give you good motivation for practicing urban E&E/escaping from restraints, then you're probably in the wrong place. Some hard to watch stuff.

Good improvising of weaponry by Team Rick, too. With a little work, a belt buckle becomes makeshift Wolverine claws.

A standout scene for me was the conversation between with the captured baddie and Tyrese. The scumbag straight up points out how illogical it is that they haven't killed him yet--"Why am I still alive? How can that help you?" It shows TWD is aware, at least at times, of the character's seemingly senseless survival decisions. In the zombocolypse, you don't have the luxury of taking prisoners. Kill all those bad guys and let God sort 'em out.

Overall, solid, tense episode. Several great ass kicking moments from the good guys, and the show continues to have me on the edge of my seat waiting for characters to die at any moment.

What did you think? Did the episode get you thinking about anything? Let us know in the comments.

Also -- don't forget to enter our Monster Hunter photo contest. Check out the details right here.
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: October 14, 2014, 1:43 am

Jerry just has too much fun...
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: October 12, 2014, 11:24 pm
In celebration of the Hallo-ma-ween season, return of the Walking Dead and along the lines of one of my favorite book series, Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International, we're going to have us a little contest.

At first, we were just going to go with a zombie theme, but then I thought--why give those other murderous monster bastards a free pass? Nope, werewolves, vampires...if it's a monster, it's fair game for huntin', right?

So...snap a photo of your vampire hunting weaponry or collection of silver bullets. Bust out the Saiga 12 and channel Owen Zastava Pitt. Throw on your zombie apocalypse gear and slay some walking dead. Heck, put your artistic skills to work and send us a purty drawing or comic panel. Our signature apocalypse weaponry contest from a few years back should give you some inspiration if you need it.

For prizes, we'll pick three winners to receive a grab-bag of TEOTWAWKI Blog merchandise and survival loot, valued at approximately $50 each.

To enter, send in your image (please resize images to a max 1200px width if able) to teotwawki.blog@gmail.com. No text description is required, but feel free to add a brief blurb if you'd like.

The contest is open for new entries through October 31st--winners will be selected in early November.

  • Must be 18 or older to enter
  • International entries are fine -- if you win, it might take a lil' while to get your prizes
  • One entry per person
  • Keep it family friendly...PG-13 max
  • By entering the contest, you agree to have your image shared across T-Blog's social media empire, future blog posts and electronic endeavors
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: October 11, 2014, 8:43 pm

Found this cruisin' for gun safes. Pretty tricksy.

Not sure how I feel about all that leopard print...
Author: TEOTWAWKI Blog / Alexander Wolf
Posted: October 2, 2014, 3:24 am

Rating 1 star lowest, 5 stars highest
Click stars to vote for TEOTWAWKI Blog

Comments are closed.