subjects of personal interest

Monday, May 16, 2011

Jersey Wildflowers- North Plainfield, NJ

Wildflowers I grew up with:

Virginia bluebells
Lily of the valley
spring beauties
trout lily
garlic mustard

butterfly bush (above)
indian pipe
wild geranium
ground ivy (or gill-over-the-ground)
purple dead nettle
joe pyeweed
horse nettle
purple nightshade
wild carrrot
wild strawberry
daisy fleabane
bull thistle
goldenrod (various species)
aster (various species)
shepherd's purse
slender flag iris
pink lady's slipper
butter and eggs
mild mint
wood nettle
stinging nettle
spotted (striped) wintergreen

sheep laurel (above)
day lily
snow bells
star of bethlehem
blue eyed grass
black raspberry
wind ginger
multiflora rose
asiatic dayflower

Many of these plants have been introduced species and are invasive "weeds" to most. However, being an alien species isn't necessarily bad in my mind, since many were introduced by settlers from Europe as food sources.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Go Bag

The point of a go bag is emergency preparedness,
not necessarily long-term survival.
It's something that everyone in the family can grab so that they can get out and get by in the case of a disaster of some kind. Of course, it would only help you if it's ready to go!

There was a great article in the Awake magazine a couple years ago. It encouraged the practicality of assembling a go bag one for each member of the family.

It's been a project on my "back burner" for a while, so I've decided to update my bag with that information. I will share some of my research here. I have most of the items from my wilderness exploration days, but they have become scattered about the house over time.

Internal frame pack with sturdy hip belt
waterproof pack cover
midsize MSR cookpot
butane lighter with duct tape rolled around it
gerber hatchet 
stainless steel soup spoon
(non-down) Sleeping bag
fleece blanket
8x10 brown/ black plastic tarp

basic clothes-
3 pairs comfortable hiking socks
3 pairs underwear
2 set modal long underwear- top & bottom
sturdy canvas jeans- Carhartts are good
Lightweight fleece hoodie
insulated Carhartt hoodie
good leather belt
comfortable fleece/wool hat- pref. a visor beanie
lightweight fleece gloves
   or leather gloves which are great for using around a campfire
copies of important papers-
Passport, driver's license, DPA, etc.

Food (in a stuff sack)
5 cans kippered herring!
-or- a few cans of tuna
box or two of Stoned Wheat thins
sack of organic quick oats
plastic jar of organic peanut butter

small plastic bottle of olive oil
sea salt, pepper, chili, garlic, and cinnamon powders
bunch of healthy fruit & nut type granola bars
small sack each of sweet brown rice and green lentils
small sack of brown sugar
small sack of whole wheat flour
journal, pen, and pencil

small Bible
small songbook
small first aid kit
(a few basic medicines, tape, ace bandage, moleskin, bactroban/neosporin/ tweezers, flexible splint, CPR mask, basic bandages, cloth cravat or two)
any necessary prescription medicines

2 small rolls of parachute cord each about 20ft long
small bottle of unscented bleach- 2 drops per qt to purify water
Small solar charger for the cell phone

Plastic or preferably stainless steel Nalgene bottle with a strainer insert for making tea out of random stuff. They sell these at EMS and REI.
stainless steel MSR fuel bottle - this is a great item for cold weather.  You can boil water in it, stuff it in a sock, and then put it in your sleeping bag by your feet at night. It works great as a radiator!

That's pretty much it. Actually, that's a bit excessive; but still manageable.
I can live out of a backpack pretty comfortably with all that.
Actually, it would kind of be like a vacation!
Anymore stuff just becomes too much weight on the shoulders, would drag me down.
The plans of the diligent one makes for success...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Graphic Depictions of DECLINING ARCTIC SEA ICE - from NASA

As many are now aware,
the Arctic ice cap has been declining rapidly over the past decade.

The top two images below show arctic ice
in the yearly min and max from 1999 to 2000
Now compare them to the two images below them, taken ten years later!
Keep in mind the scale of the images- that's a lot of missing ice!!

 Arctic sea ice plays an important role in global temperature regulation, due to the reflection of light energy by the white ice. As more seawater becomes exposed, and thus absorbing light energy due to the dark color of seawater, the arctic waters warm. This trend has caused the incredibly thick Arctic sea ice to thin significantly in recent years.

How dramatically? Well the long sought-after Northwest Passage for shipping was open for shipping transport by large container ships in 2007. Not an irrelevant development by any means!

The following link displays government statistics graphically for every year since 1999.

Keep in mind that the ice level in September-following the 24 hour summers of the far North is always at its peak decline for the year.
The ice level in March, after the dark, cold Arctic winter,
depicts the greatest amount of sea ice for that year.
follow this link to learn more:

Here is another interesting link
on the same satellite imaging website.
This compares the vegetation changes in a region of the far north over 43 years. Apparently, the climate has warmed sufficiently enough to allow shrubbery to spread significantly onto the tundra.

GeoEye-1 image copyright GeoEye, provided through the NGA Commercial Imagery Program. Gambit satellite image courtesy of the United States Geological Survey. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey, 

 click here for the interactive photo from
NOAA ClimateWatch Magazine.


Monday, May 2, 2011

When you post to FACEBOOK - you are contributing all your info to the US Intelligence network

Here is an interview with Julian Assange, who is currently in a huge legal mess for the publication of classified government documents via his WikiLeaks website. Obviously he's quite perturbed at the lack of truth in human communications and is a very well-spoken man.

His commentary on Facebook and Twitter are worth your attention, as well as his perspective of corporate news media.

Facebook commentary @ 2:00
News media commentary @ 7:25