That didn’t take long. The Discovery Channel premiered its first episode of Doomsday Bunkers last week (fun fact: Both shows had the word ‘bullets’ in the name of their premieres). I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a lower form of life on this planet than the opportunistic parasite network producer. For that reason I imagine it won’t be long till we get even more granular spin offs in this new doomsday genre: Roadkill Kitchen, Real Housewives of Bartertown, how about MTVCribs: Bunkerz? Needless to say, Doomsday Bunkers has an arguably more practical format with less schlock, but like Preppers, spends more time sensationalizing and less informing. Shocker!
I’ve got to acknowledge that this week’s Preppers episode was probably the best of the bunch, particularly Atlanta’s Mike Mester, who seems to be one of the most intelligent and reasonable folks presented so far on the show. The Mester family seems to have a great balance of prep skills and retention of humanity. Mester doesn’t seem to attract eye-rolling from his family by engaging with hilarious overcommitment like the deer hide-clad stick sharpener Michael Douglas from Episode 4, nor does he foolishly put his loved ones in danger like Tim Ralston and his stubby thumb. Doing little things like having plans for each family member, adding loyal guard dogs, training his family to use firearms at a legit firing range and reuse/recycle of paper goods to create long burning briquettes for heat was pretty cool. The family seems on board with his plans and I thought it was commendable for the ‘experts’ to recommend that he engage his neighbors and community – this is exactly the kind of guy I would love to have living next door, and thats the tip of the iceberg to make a prepared community, which is leaps and bounds more beneficial than a prepared household. Above all, Mike just doesn’t seem to have the same slightly wacko disposition as the others and he commanded my attention and respect, from one human being to another.
Last weeks post created some conversation on Reddit, with some who claimed that it was unfair to label preppers as crazy; the show is produced and edited to exaggerate these eccentric personalities to make the show entertaining. Obvious point is obvious, but I want to reiterate my point: it should be more important to be informative than entertaining. Nothing much is hanging in the balance when we watch Hoarders or Ace of Cakes – the repercussions of false information in the survivalist context is potentially deadly. That being said, It was pretty interesting to go from Mike Mester to Preston White, who is afraid of the bogeyman prospects of Fukushima fallout in America. The former seemed lucid and practical while the latter seemed to be have a closet full of tinfoil hats. So, really — is there a casting director getting fired for allowing average dad Mike Mester into this menagerie of maniacs or is it more likely that theres a predisposition for these characters to be a little crazy, or maybe just more willing to let producers lead them into it?
In the weeks since the show aired, theres been more than a few interviews with show characters who have expressed frustration in the way they were portrayed on the show. Definitely worth checking around for post-airing interviews across the board – one of the most common gripes was producers encouraging preppers to choose ONE EVENT that they were preparing for. I don’t get it, it’s apparently boring for anyone to have a well rounded, prepare-for-the-worst approach to their planning, and instead we’re treated to far too many crackpot doomsday scenarios. Seriously, who at NatGeo has a hard-on for cataclysmic polar shifts? Every episode, there seems to be a wealth of improbable scenarios with absolutely no basis in science or historical precedent.
The other highlights from episode 5 for me was tinfoil hat Preston White’s impressive seed bank (11,000 in reserve!) and portable quick-assemble tent shelter (the image of him playfully spinning around inside the tent like Laura Ingalls, pitching the audience: “Safe for your Family!” will be lulz-worthy for a long, long time). The HHO Generator that a friend brings by was also pretty neat, although the cosmetic rope lights gave it about as much appeal as a neon-pimped 98′ Civic – Flux Capacitor it ain’t. Riley Cook is a metalworker who fabricates bunkers – but the watertight pull cart beast he made was even more impressive to me – crafted from aluminum and weighing a paltry 100lbs, he can actually haul 9 times his body weight by himself and the thing even floats and can act as a mini barge and cross water if necessary. Practical awesomeness.
Finally, we managed to find out who the ‘experts’ were on this show, and i’m not disappointed at all. You can check out their Youtube channels here and here, which are chock full of prep information. In one self interview, Scott Hunt (Engineer775) even laments NatGeo’s decision to name the show Doomsday Preppers, regretting they couldn’t name the show ‘American Preppers’ or something that might engender more regard and respect than shock value. Unfortunately, we also discovered that the Expert Analysis that they provide is done almost as an afterthought – they only work with what the producers give them and never actually meet the characters on location. Now I don’t blame the experts, if I were as serious and established as they were, I’d not trade airtight OpSec for 15 minutes of fame – but I’d still rather see NatGeo find a bullpen of experts that could be far more involved in the shows production and execution.
All in all, the latest episode was the tightest so far, so I’m curious to see what they have for the remaining 4 episodes and how they approach next season. The addition of Doomsday Bunkers will at least provide some contrast and motivate better production. We seem to be finding a fair amount of likeminded people who have been putting out similar criticisms: the content is great, we’re all interested, now its time to take responsibility and recognize that prepping as a movement has more value in its information than its entertainment value.
State Representative David Miller, R-Riverton, thinks the end is nigh. That’s why he’s introduced House Bill 85, which appropriates $16,000 for an end times task force. Says Miller of the apocalyptic threat:
“Things happen quickly sometimes — look at Libya, look at Egypt, look at those situations… We wouldn’t have time to meet as a Legislature or even in special session to do anything to respond.”
The bill recommends that the task force focus on the continuity of government in doomsday scenarios ranging from food and energy shortages to the complete breakdown of the Fed. Miller believes that if the country continues to go the direction it’s currently going in — straight down the financial tubes — that “this is the way any society ends up — with a valueless currency.”
It’s too early to tell if this bill will be dismissed as rapture-ready quackery or seriously considered as a civil defense measure. We’ll be watching other states closely to see if they undertake similar legislative action to prepare for the end.
A new microscopic, drug-resistant strain of the Staphylococcus aureus microbe known as CC398 was the subject of of a recent genetic study getting lots of attention. The rapid spread of this frightening infection, which has been shown to be highly communicable on farms between pigs and humans, is the latest in an alarming series of discoveries.
University at Buffalo researchers have raised the alert over mutating and hypervirulent strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae. Say the scientists:
With 7 billion people causing their own infection on Earth, we are entering into a world where pandemic megadeaths are not an if but when. Given all we know of infectious disease, scientists are frankly stunned such a catastrophic health disaster has yet to befall the modern world. Make sure you visit pandemicflu.gov to at least get the basics on being prepared.
Yesterday National Geographic published the results of its end times survey, perhaps the largest such survey done to date. It’s all part of their promotional push for the watershed end times TV series Doomsday Preppers. The venerable media outlet polled over 1,000 American citizens to probe their preparedness for disaster, and their perception of how it may come about.
The expanded query results are beyond interesting, at least to us. In fact, we’re so beside ourselves with excitement poring over these results, we’re going to take a look at every one of the 19 questions asked in the survey. More importantly, we’ll draw conclusions from the answers, which are quite illuminating to the overall sentiment of the U.S. human race as it faces imminent extinction. Honestly, National Geographic is doing the Lord’s work here as far as we’re concerned, and we can’t say enough good things about their spot-on questions and significant sample size. Please note these questions and answers are emphatically paraphrased to be concise and comical — go here for the real deal document.
Q: How will shit hit the fan in the U.S. in the next 25 years?
A: Three-quarters thought a significant earthquake or hurricane was guaranteed, we think the odds are closer to 100%. Terrorism and financial collapse was a 50/50 proposition, which is ridiculous. Odds of a significant terrorist attack are far lower in reality, while financial collapse has already occurred and is ongoing. At the end of the spectrum, only 13% thought a SHTF event was unlikely to occur at all… I guess the world still has optimists.
Q: What Hollywood blockbuster most closely depicts how the human race will bite it in the next 25 years?
A: The biggest majority hovers in the one-third territory for The Day After Tomorrow, Armageddon and 2012. Are you people insane? I guess if only given Hollywood blockbusters as choices, one is a bit limited in depictions of reality. Where is The Road or A Boy and His Dog?
Q: Is there even a grain of truth in the 2012 catastrophe predictions?
A: Three-quarters say unlikely, with half committing to extremely unlikely. OK, so there are still some sane people on the planet. While we believe 2012 could be bad — even one of the worst — we’re not convinced the year necessarily has anything to do with it. On the other hand, a whopping 27% said it was likely, so we take back what we said. You 27% are absolutely right, here comes the end, please buy a 2012 shirt before you go. For the 76 respondents who said a 2012 apocalypse, at least in part, was “extremely likely”… where have you been all our lives?
Q: If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do?
A: We’re honored that National Geographic essentially lifted the lead sentence of the Dead Unicorn band bio for this question. But seriously folks, the results are no surprise. A quarter want to kiss and make nice with loved ones gone astray, and of course bone like there’s no tomorrow. In fact, more people were concerned with getting their freak on than getting their essential life-sustaining resources like food and water on.
Q: How soon will a major world catastrophe happen?
A: Results are pretty evenly split here amongst soon (next 4 years) and 20+ years from now, with two thirds convinced the SHTF in two decades or less.
Q: When this SHTF, whose fault will it be?
A: Survey says… 71% Mother Nature, 29% us. Ahem… we think they’re not giving ourselves enough credit for being able to wipe us off the map. Still, nobody fools with Mother Nature.
Q: Compared to the rest of Americans, are you prepared for catastrophe?
A: Half of respondents consider themselves average. One quarter each consider themselves more or less prepared. We think the ‘average’ preparedness people are far underestimating what it takes to actually be prepared.
Q: Is it better to have a 401k or 401 MRE’s?
A: While almost 60% want the perceived financial stability of a 401k, a healthy 41% would prefer storable foods and shelter from disaster as a long-term investment.
Q: How have you prepared for SHTF?
A: Almost half have done the obvious, like stocking food, water, batteries, fuel… one-third have acquired basic survival supplies and skills. Only 10% or less have taken hardcore steps like finding their own water source and keeping livestock, though we expect that number to grow steadily as situations become more untenable.
Q: How long would you survive solo if you had to stay sheltered in place?
A: This question’s a bit useless because we think the only people qualified to answer this are preppers themselves. Thus, anyone who thinks they can stretch it to 60 days (a full 77%) is probably just guesstimating. If you’re a competent prepper stocked with supplies, you know you’ve got 2 months down pat, and more if necessary.
Q: How quick can you bug out with what you need to survive?
A: Half of people think they can get out in 30 minutes? The key phrase here is “what you need to survive” and in that sense I think respondents are grossly underestimating what that is. But of course the question itself is vague so the answers are tough to parse for meaning.
Q: Are all your ducks in a row right now if the SHTF?
A: Pretty much half and half here too, not much to say. Individuals aren’t often the best judges of their own preparedness.
Q: Why aren’t you prepared?
A: Forty percent can’t afford the supplies, while 27% aren’t informed enough. Well, at least there’s 27% we can help! A cocky 24% of survey takers don’t believe a catastrophe will happen. That’s a convenient excuse for being lazy.
Q: You’re buying a new house: Sub-Zero kitchen appliances or bomb shelter?
A: Jesus, 49% want the nuke shelter over the fancy fridge? We’re just as freaked out about this stuff as you are, but the odds of needing a bomb shelter or safe room are so low, and so much more expensive compared to convenience-of-life appliances. Prepare in moderation — today it’s much more likely you’ll be cooking for the next 25 years than be nuked.
Q: Pick one thing you’d want unlimited access to post-apocalypse?
A: As far as we’re concerned, the 45% who didn’t answer “water” deserve their Darwinian fate. Food, electricity, bullets, gas and batteries don’t go that far when you’re critically dehydrated after just days without water, the most essential resource for survival besides oxygen.
Q: Who do you share resources with post-apocalypse?
A: Have a heart, 74% are sharing with immediate family members. All down the answer grid, folks are reaching out to help others in big numbers on this poll. But let’s face it, in times of relative stability it’s easy to make such claims. When it all comes down, there’s no way even half of the respondents make good on their altruistic claims when faced with the brutality of impending death. Human nature has a dark side and these forged answers reflect our dedication toward hiding that fact from ourselves and the world.
Q: How prepared are most Americans?
A: Not surprisingly, 85% think Americans will generally be unprepared. It’s one of those fun studies in statistics when you look at the 85% stat and compare to the 49% who believe they are “as prepared as I think I need to be for a potential catastrophe”. The 36% difference represents a massive crowd of folks overestimating and/or overepresenting their true preparedness levels.
Q: Should we even bother preparing for catastrophe, or are we just fucked?
A: 36% say we’re fucked, there’s nothing you can do to really be ready. We understand the defeatism… in certain scenarios, these folks are unfortunately dead on the money. But there are plenty of other scenarios where we can survive and come out on top, even if that’s the exception tot he rule. We side with the 64% who believe one can do something to prepare for surviving a life-challenging experience.
Q: Would a Republican or Democrat increase the risk of terrorist attack or economic collapse?
A: The results were pretty much equal, as they should be. The end of the world isn’t right- or left-wing. Extinction knows no party. A terrorist attack, however unlikely, is isolated. The worldwide economic collapse is not beginning to be solved, it’s beginning to unravel. A cycle of consolidation and liquidation continues across international banking institutions and world governments, fueling the insatiable growth of a billion individuals. But that’s another blog post…
The 2012 apocalypse meme has picked up some serious steam early on in the year. Here in the real world, catastrophe insurance companies (my new favorite source) reported a spike in disasters in January 2012 though noted nothing “big” had happened yet.
However in the fictional world, especially on TV, we are seeing the end times theme surging in popularity as we stand just months away from one of the longest- and most-prognosticated end times event of civilization’s history.
First and foremost in the trend is the new National Geographic series Doomsday Preppers. Our favorite part about the show is not in the show itself, but rather this awesome Doomdsay Dashboard that mines Twitter for chatter on extinction level events. We’re excited the issue is getting some serious coverage and exposure and will be watching tonight’s season premiere. Here’s the promo:
We’re also have to give a shout out to Chevrolet for having the cajones to fully embrace armageddon with their Ford-bashing Super Bowl commercial:
Our minds were blown when this commercial aired — the panorama of end times special effects were very well done. We were surprised to see a big American brand have no problem being tongue-in-cheek about the destruction of the human race. That the commercial (spoiler alert) ends with a casual reference to the megadeath of billions of humans speaks as much to feeling an extinction level event is inevitable as to our desensitized culture.
Finally, a new sci-fi apocalypse show by J.J. Abrams, the masterful mind behind the game-changing Lost. We’re definitely buying season passes to Revolution. We’ll keep our eyes on the real end times events (and the Disaster Dashboard), but every now and again we all just need to relax with a good, heartwarming apocalyptic TV series.
You could have picked a worse year for prophecies about the end times. Whatever the debunkers say, the Mayans did predict that 2012 would be a time of great transformation. When you throw all the astrological stuff out the window — the silly Planet X/Niburu tin hat theories, you still have an incredibly advanced ancient civilization who understood the true nature of space and time far before any other. They most definitely predicted a major transformation around 2012. Whether this means end times or great revelations or both (or neither) is a healthy and unresolvable matter of debate.
Do we at News for End Times think the world will end in 2012? We firmly believe and can prove that it’s more likely than it’s ever been, which is to say it’s still not incredibly likely. The
The important thing to remember is that all of these grand disasters operate on grand timescales. Due to different interpretations of the Maya calendar, we don’t know for sure if 2012 marks the end of their timeline… over thousands of years, their advanced methods of time tracking were still somewhat primitive and inaccurate when iterated far into the future. All of the disasters mentioned above happen on timescales in which centuries of inaction are punctured by violent extinction level events. Remember, a 2012 apocalypse would not be the first time all life on the planet was almost wiped out.
The actual outcome will probably exist between extremes — the world will not completely ending, but there will be times when it feels like it is. Even at the hyper-accelerated time scale technology has put us on, the end times will likely happen over decades or centuries, not overnight.
We are exposed to a lot of natural radiation during our lives, and our bodies are built to withstand a certain amount. But the growing prevalence of man-made radiation from the nuclear devices that are increasingly common is a constant environmental threat.
We were reminded of our modern half-lives recently with the TSA’s announcement they would test employees for radiation exposure from x-ray body scanners installed as security deivces. Thanks to our friends at After the Press, we saw this TSA radiation concern coming from a mile away. As early as two years ago, experts were pointing out that these poorly tested “backscatter” machines could potentially expose TSA workers to harmful levels of radiation. Passing through the x-ray machine once won’t harm you, and frequent travelers may have some legitimate concern, but certainly those who have to stand nearby the machines all day are in the worst shape.
Since we’re talking about radiation, a quick check-up on Fukishima reveals the situation is still pretty bleak. Yesterday, four families were evicted from a condo after it was found to have been built with radioactive concrete. Imagine being the filling between a radioactive floor and ceiling sandwich — that’s the scene 30 miles from the obliterated plant. The Louve wants to send the embattled city some classic art as a symbol of solidarity, but experts are cautioning against exposing the art to radioactivity that may condemn them to never leaving.
Of course, nuclear is still cleaner than the life-obliterating obscenity that is coal power waste ash (which incidentally is also radioactive). As a form of energy, nuclear power poised to expand in both U.S. and China, so look for more exciting moments like the recent leak at the Indian Point power plant which is just miles from News for End Times headquarters. Note to fleeing survivors: head south, we are armed!
Of course, these days you don’t have to go all the way to Japan or even the airport to get your nuke on — two Illinois Bed, Bath & Beyond stores were selling radioactive tissue containers before they were pulled from the shelves by a swift maneuver by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. This is probably scarier than anything above:
The only reason authorities knew these boxes were radioactive is because a Bed Bath & Beyond truck set off radiation sniffers in California. This begs the question, how much of my stuff was made with a dash of Cobalt-60, actually exposing me to an X-ray’s worth of radiation every hour? I can’t afford a geiger counter, so I’ll probably never know.
This is the flu season of our discontent. Not because it’s been particularly bad — it’s hasn’t even kicked in quite yet. The concern is warranted because this marks a big year for mutating influenza strains, which once again threaten our lead in the medicinal arms race. Evidence is mounting that the virus is spreading via human-to-human contact, having been recently detected in 12 new cases in disparate U.S. locations.
The CDC often is accused of unnecessarily scaring the crap out of people, but folks should keep in mind that pandemics start with patient zero and it only takes a few cases to get really bad. The recent film portrays this deadly progression quite accurately, and is a cautionary tale for our times.
Of course, it’s not just human-to-human contagiousness that’s troubling. New drug-resistant strains of influenza are being discovered all the time. If such a strain were to reach a tipping point in the world’s population, it would be very difficult to stop before millions were infected.
Of course, there are biosecurity issues too, like the recent bird flu studies in which scientists want to publish the recipe for a mutant strain of bird flu that spread from human to human.
Dr. Charles Chiu is head of the viral diagnostics laboratory at University of California, San Francisco, or in other words, a dude who knows what he’s talking about. He and his colleagues are quick to point out a new influenza pandemic is not a question of if but when:
“The 2009 pandemic sort of woke everyone up… It’s pretty clear that we will see another global pandemic. Whether that will be this year or next year or 10 or 20 years from now doesn’t matter. It’s going to happen.”
Though the U.S. denies it, the most recent and third assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist is clearly the work of Western agents to any analyst worth their salt. Witnesses described a scene fit for Hollywood but devastatingly real — two assailants whizzed by on a motorcycle and sped away, though not before attaching a magnetic car bomb to the vehicle that nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was in. The vehicle exploded, killing Roshan and injuring two others.
We are witnessing a new era of warfare where drones and black ops teams wipe enemies off the map outside the boundaries of war zones. Though it has taken some time, the militaries of the world, and in particular the U.S. military-industrial complex (which despite budget cuts will still be the world’s most-funded), are beginning to excel in trumping many of the tactics employed by asynchronous terrorist organizations in the past decade. Yet another recent example is the extension of drones from attack to supply vehicles, as seen target=”_blank”>in the development and eventual deployment of unmanned ‘drone’ helicopters.
It’s almost certain that the Western powers behind these clandestine attacks have taken many precautions to prevent being associated in the slightest. In a world of increasing surveillance and technological savvy, it will be interesting to see if their 21st century war maneuvers can remain untethered to any nationality or will continue to be mysterious and untraceable. For example, if the next assassination is somehow thwarted and the assassins are somehow detained, the foreign relations ramifications would be way worse than a mere drone being captured. Then again, can any intelligent person really doubt Western involvement at this point?
In a very interesting article just released, the Middle East military analysts at DEBKAFile say their sources have revealed Iran is planning a one-kiloton underground nuclear test this year. They claim that while originally Iran was on a timetable to test its first nuclear weapon by 2013, recent aggressive acts by the West have served only to accelerate their nuclear program.
Realizing that a nuclear weapon is necessary to shield Iran from Western hegemony, the Iranian regime is pulling out all the stops on their mini-Manhattan Project. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is currently making the rounds in sympathetic Latin American countries while being eyed by a worrisome U.S.
The folks at DEBKAfile claim Iran identifies the U.S. as a “paper tiger” and believes Israel to be internally considering living with a WMD-equipped Iran. Meanwhile, their Washington sources are quick to remind us that President Obama considers the risk of permitting a nuclear-armed Iran to be greater than the risks of military action.” Analysts have predicted a U.S. strike on Ira that potentially escalates into an all-out war, and DEBKAfile seems to think Obama would not allow this to happen:
Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear bomb and conduct of a nuclear test would hurt [Obama's] chances of a second term. The race is therefore on for an American strike to beat Iran’s nuclear end game before the November 2012 presidential vote.
Of course, all is conjecture at this point as tensions undeniably continue to increase. The rules of the race have been laid clear, however: keep nukes away from Iran until at least Novemeber 2012.