A Note About Online Privacy and Security

Today I wanted to write a different kind of post. It has nothing to do with my usual subjects of drinking water, health and preparedness, but rather I want to talk about one of my recent obsessions; internet privacy and security. I don’t claim to be an expert in this regard, but I have studied this subject like a fanatic lately and I have learned a lot of things. I want to tell you what I have learned, some tools that I have found, and give you resources for learning more about this issue. FIRST, let’s talk about why you need to care about internet privacy and security. Basically, the internet is broken. It’s full of holes, and your information is out there. I just learned that my information was compromised by the recent Equifax hack, and your information was probably stolen too (you can check here). I never gave my information to Equifax. I’ve never worked with them, but they had all of my information, including my social security number. Now someone else has my information. Also, just today Yahoo.com revealed that they were hacked and the thieves got away with information from over 3 BILLION accounts. This happens
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The Real Shocker in August

  I trust that you are doing well after the horrible August we had. In one month, we had two hurricanes wreak havoc through the Caribbean, Texas and Florida, forest fires ravaged the West and Canada, an 8.1 earthquake struck Mexico, the sun launched some of the largest solar flares towards us in years, and North Korea launched a missile over Japan in its most provocative action yet. Quite an eventful month! But there is one event that happened in August that hardly got any attention, and it’s by far the most shocking, “Security firm Symantec is warning that a series of recent hacker attacks not only compromised energy companies in the US and Europe but also resulted in the intruders gaining hands-on access to power grid operations—enough control that they could have induced blackouts on American soil at will.” I have talked many times about Ted Koppel’s book “Light’s Out” because it outlines the single largest vulnerability of the USA; our electric grid. Never before in history has a nation been so completely dependent upon electricity as we are. We live in a fantastic world of automation. Food and safe water are so plentiful that we never have to
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A Personal Note – A Funny Thing Happened to Me on the 4th…

  On July 4th, I decided to go over to a friend’s house to watch their CRAZY fireworks display. It was enjoyable until, during one of the barrages of artillery shells, one of the shells decided to change direction – straight into my forehead. I didn’t see it coming, and it nearly knocked me out (see my picture below). A lot of people have teased me for having a smile on my face, as if I was enjoying it. I was, but quite honestly, I think that is my concussion face. I put some ice on it, and enjoyed the rest of the night. Now, I just have a small mark on my forehead. But here’s the thing, most people were not wearing safety glasses. My 17 year old son was wearing simple sunglasses at the beginning of the night (before my accident), but I told him that they weren’t good enough so I went and bought him the real things. If that would have hit me in the eye, and if I wasn’t wearing safety glasses, my eye would be gone – no ifs, ands or buts. Sun glasses are not good enough! So let’s hear your funny comments
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How To Help Others During an Emergency Without Putting Yourself at Risk

  TODAY I WANT TO address an important concern that many people have; “In an emergency, how do we help other people without putting ourselves at risk? I want to help my neighbors and my friends, but if I give them my stored water or other supplies, which I worked hard to save up, I could blow through my 30-day supply in a matter of a day or two. These are people I know and I care about, so I can’t just turn them away. Even the ones that I don’t know are good people in need. What to do?” I think this is one of the most overlooked aspects of being prepared. Yes, you can prepare yourself and your family, but the vast majority of people have not prepared, nor have they ever even thought about the need for being prepared.  Let’s be honest. You don’t want to turn away your neighbors, your friends, your family, your business associates, and their young children and elderly relatives. We are hard-wired to help each other. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s what makes our society strong. And if helping others is not compelling enough, consider that your family will
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NOVA Documentary: Poisoned Water

There is a great new NOVA documentary called Poisoned Water. I strongly recommend it. It outlines the Flint, MI water crisis, and the real state of water contamination in the USA. You can see it here. I want to point out a few things regarding the documentary… FIRST, years ago when I worked for my father’s company, we spent a lot of time trying to convince school systems of the need to have water distillers to protect their children from lead and other contaminants in the water. A number of schools knew they had high levels of lead in the water, but they really didn’t seem to care. Their solution: have the custodians go to school early and flush out the lines. In other words, just run the water down the drain for a few minutes before letting the kids drink it. Yes, it’s ridiculous. Another disturbing thing was that often the teacher’s lounge had bottled water or a treatment system so they could drink good water, but the kids just had to drink the water from the drinking fountains. SECOND, over the years I’ve noticed the knee-jerk reaction that government officials go to when faced with a problem. Deny.
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Follow Up To My Presentation on The Grow Network

  This is a follow up page for my presentation on Marjory’s “The Grow Network”. Recently, I did a presentation on Marjory Wildcraft’s “The Grow Network”. The presentation was called “Drinking Water Purity, Protecting Your Family from Contamination”. If you haven’t seen this presentation, please go here. In the presentation, I promised some follow up items… An Overview of the Water Contamination Crisis. My Recommendations for Protecting Your Family. An Overview of the Water Contamination Crisis: The only water that my family and I consume on a regular basis is distilled water. This is what we have done for 30 years, and it’s what we will do for the rest of our lives because I believe that the quality (purity) of water that you consume can have a significant impact on your health. It comes down to this simple question, “Do you think you have a better chance of living a long, healthy life if you avoid consuming chemicals and toxins?” If your answer is yes, then you too should drink only distilled water. First of all, what is “distilled” water? Actually, there is no such thing as “distilled water”. Water is water. The only difference between different types of
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How Prepared Are We As a Nation?

  This past week I had an opportunity to attend a government conference on emergency preparedness in Atlanta, Georgia. In attendance were many local emergency response planners from across the US, as well as officials from the CDC, FEMA and other government organizations. I talked to many people and got some great insights into how prepared we are as a nation, both good and bad. Here’s what I took away from this event… GREAT PEOPLE. I was very impressed with the people I met. We have to be grateful to the highly qualified, committed people who are working in this field. They take their jobs seriously, are well trained, and are more than willing to support other areas around the country as needed. HUGE AND COMPLICATED. As a small business owner, I sometimes forget how huge our country is. Keeping the country prepared and ready for an emergency is a massively complex job; the number of government departments involved, software programs, product stockpiles, distribution challenges and tens of thousands of people. OUR GREATEST STRENGTH. We have a number of things that contribute to the preparedness of our country, from the great people, to the excellent training programs and even our
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Why Be Prepared?

  Why is it a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected? It’s my belief that, for the sake of your family, you should be prepared for the unexpected. Not out of fear, but out of an awareness that the systems that we all take for granted could fail. We live in an extremely fine-tuned, specialized and interconnected world. This is our strength and our weakness. Here’s what I mean… FINE-TUNED: Businesses have become extremely efficient. It doesn’t make sense for them to keep a lot of inventory. You’ve heard of “just-in-time” inventory? Grocery stores, for example, don’t keep much inventory on hand. For the most part, what you see on the shelves is what they have. The computers simply have the products delivered at the exact time it’s needed. This is great for the grocery store’s profitability, but if there is a problem that prevents the trucks from delivering the food, the shelves will go bare in a day or two. So what could prevent trucks from delivering the food? A cyber-attack on computer systems, a black out, earthquake, hurricane or other natural disaster, interruption to gasoline supplies, civil disruption, war, terrorism, and countless other events. SPECIALIZED: Do
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What You Need To Know About “Boil Notice Alerts”

Today I wanted to discuss a particular type of water emergency; a “boil notice” or “boil alert notification”. These notifications happen quite often around the USA (see a recent one here). But there is a very important point that they never tell you. You need to understand what it is. First, what is a “boil alert notification”? When the water flowing to your tap contains, or is suspected to contain a biological contaminant, such as E. coli, the municipal water company will often (not always) tell you to boil the water before you consume it. Boiling the water will kill biological contaminants, thus eliminating that danger. It’s important to keep in mind that creating an infrastructure that provides us with biologically safe tap water was a HUGE step forward for public safety. And it’s something that we completely take for granted. Sometimes however, something goes wrong and biological contaminants pass through the pipes to our faucets, which puts us at risk. The largest such event to happen in recent times was the cryptosporidium outbreak that hit Milwaukee in 1993. Over 400,000 people became ill and over 100 died as a result. Biological outbreaks can be very dangerous for a few
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Get Your Priorities Straight!

  Every once and a while someone will question one of my recommendations. Let me give you a few examples… “I don’t want to buy bottled water because plastic is bad for you.” “Why do you recommend chlorine for treating water in an emergency? It’s poisonous!” “Why not just use a UV light to purify the water? It’s easier and can do a whole gallon in a few minutes.” This is a crucial point for you to understand, WHEN AN EMERGENCY HAPPENS YOUR PRIORITIES MUST CHANGE, IMMEDIATELY! Face it, you are spoiled. So am I. We have such tremendous infrastructure and it makes our life so easy. We go through life never having to think about the safety of our water. You never have to think about basic survival. You have lived your entire lives this way, so of course you don’t think about it. But if the power goes out for an extended period of time or an earthquake strikes; if the infrastructure fails, and you aren’t able to get safe drinking water, and you’re not able to get medicine or medical assistance, your world has changed. Ready or not, you are now in survival mode, and the first
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