• Blood Moon Science...and Why You Should Still Prepare

    In ancient times, blood moons were looked upon in many different ways, depending on the culture of the people. The ancient Inca, for example, believed that during a lunar eclipse, the moon was being attacked by a jaguar. That’s why the moon appeared to turn a blood-red.

    If something happened that they didn't understand, people would come up with stories to explain these celestial phenomenon. Even natural disasters were explained using stories and were thought to occur because of a displeased god or goddess. Today, we’re pretty sure a jaguar in the sky has nothing to do with the lunar eclipse or the moon turning red. In fact, a lunar eclipse – and the resulting blood moon – can be explained by science. And so can all the other natural disasters we see happening around us.

    Blood moon science via WonderHowTo

    The way a blood moon happens is this. The sun casts her light at the earth, which then in turn gives Earth a shadow that extends far into space. Normally, we would have no idea, because outer space is dark, shadows are dark…we’d just never see it! But when the moon passes behind the earth – and therefore into the earth’s shadow – we can see the moon start to darken. This is a lunar eclipse, and is quite common.

    The red color comes from the earth’s atmosphere. According to space.com, “sunlight is scattered by passing through Earth’s atmosphere, [and] the other colors of the spectrum are removed.” But the moon has to be in the right place at the right time for this effect to happen, which is why it’s rare to have a full, blood-moon eclipse.

    So that pretty much debunks the ghost jaguar in the sky myth (although it’s still a fun story).

    Blood Moon Science - Hurricane Science Inner workings of a hurricane (via NASA)

    A lunar eclipse isn’t the only scientific event we face on Earth. Disasters happen all the time, and each one happens for a reason. The difference between blood moon science and other disasters is that natural disasters are a physical danger. The blood moon, while it is theorized that it will bring about disasters, cannot hurt us in and of itself. Hurricanes come about by warm, moist air, and wind, and progress from there according to laws of nature. Earthquakes occur due to the release of energy in the Earth’s crust, which then creates seismic waves. Floods can take over the land because – among other reasons – the ground is already fully saturated and rain water has nowhere else to go.

    The list goes on, and the scientific reasoning behind it does, too. We live in a world bound by rules, and we know they are. At least, there are people who do (ie. scientists) and they let us know what to watch for. When we talk about preparedness, we do it from a standpoint that we know something is going to happen. The only thing difficult to predict is when.

    PBS recently interviewed Judith Rodin, president of the Rockerfeller Foundation, about what it means to be resilient in the face of disaster. One of the first things she said was that no matter what the emergency – disaster, health scare, cyber-attack, financial crisis, etc. – “communities and institutions bounce back only if they can prepare for the unpredictable.”

    Being prepared for the unpredictable - whether it’s a disaster, economic crisis, or a blood moon - means being prepared now. Rodin spoke about how we focus on disaster relief, which, of course, is a good thing. However, she fears we just aren’t very focused on preparedness and readiness for disasters. According to Rodin, emergency preparedness is an investment, and this investment is something that “pays off whether or not something goes wrong. And that’s the ambition.”

    Blood Moon Science - Be prepared today

    So what does this mean for you? Well, it means that if you are prepared, you won’t need to fear the future. It means that if a hurricane or tornado blows through your neighborhood, you will have the resources to “bounce back.” It means that if the blood moon ushers in devastation and destruction, you’ll be prepared to take the calamities of the earth in stride.

    It also means that if none of those things happen, then you’ll still be ready for the next major event, because one most certainly will come.

    In the end, emergency preparedness is more than just avoiding catastrophe – that will happen no matter what. Instead, being prepared and being resilient “is learning how to fail safely, and not catastrophically, whether you’re a person or a city or a business.”

    We don’t have to be afraid of disasters, celestial events, and other happenings. We know what causes them, and we know how to prepare. It’s hard not to be effected by disaster, but we can at least lessen the damage done when one does come, as well as build back better, faster, and more effectively once it passes.

     

     

    How are you preparing for disaster, the blood moon, and other events? Let us know in the comments below!

     

    Blood moon science - Disaster Page

    Posted In: Planning Tagged With: resilience, science, economic crisis, blood moon, disaster

  • A Little Water Can Go a Long Way

    You'll want more than just a little water here. White Sands National Monument, New Mexico (The Telegraph)

    Dehydration kills, fast. A French couple died this month in hours in White Sands National Monument because they ran out of water. They and their son only took two half-liter water bottles on their hike in the 100-plus degree desert, instead of the four liters per person recommended. Their son survived because his parents gave him two sips for every one they took, according to news reports.

    It just goes to show that a little water can go a long way.

    On average, people need about three quarters of a gallon of fluid daily according to ready.gov. Some need more: children, nursing mothers, sick people, those who are exercising, and people in a warm climate. In very hot temperatures, water needs can double.

    If you keep your head, you can get water in many ways. Here are some of them, from easiest to hardest.

     

    Store water

    The easiest way to have water after an emergency is to store it before an emergency. The Red Cross recommends a gallon per person, per day, for at least three days.

    Commercially bottled water is the safest and most reliable water for storage. It’s easy to obtain, easy to store and lasts longer than home-bottled water. Just don’t open it and be aware of the expiration dates on the bottles.

    More than just a little water! More than just a little water!

    Home-bottled water can be less expensive and perhaps provide a way to recycle old soft drink bottles. We even have food-grade water storage containers, which makes storing water easy. If you want to re-use old bottles, the Red Cross says don’t use milk or fruit juice containers. Milk proteins and fruit sugars can’t be completely removed. Don’t use cardboard or glass containers.

    To bottle water at home, first clean bottles with dish soap and rinse completely. Sanitize soft drink bottles by swishing around a solution of 1 teaspoon of non-scented liquid chlorine bleach to 1 quart of water. After sanitizing the bottles, rinse them completely.

    Second, fill each bottle with tap water. If your water comes from a well or if your utility doesn’t treat it with chlorine, add two drops of non-scented liquid chlorine bleach to each gallon of water. Check the water after a half hour. If it doesn’t have a slight bleach smell, re-treat it and wait 15 minutes.

    Or, you can use water purification tablets, such as the Katadyn Micropur Purification Tablets. They work best when water is at least 68 degrees, so leave very cold water out to warm, according to WikiHow.

    Use the original cap on the container. Close it tightly, and write the date on the outside of the container. Store it in a cool, dry place. Replace home-bottled water every six months.

     

    Use hidden water sources in the home

    If a disaster takes place while you’re at home, you have some hidden safe water sources: melted ice cubes and water drained from pipes and the hot water heater, according to ready.gov.

    Do not drink water from toilet flush tanks or bowls, radiators, water beds or swimming pools.

    First, know how to turn off water mains. Broken water and sewage lines can contaminate water coming into your home.

    To drain pipes, turn on your faucet to the highest level to let air into pipes then get water from the lowest faucet in the home.

    To get water from the water heater, make sure the electricity or gas is off, and open the drain at the bottom of the tank. Turn off the water intake valve in the tank and turn on the hot water faucet. Once clean water is restored, refill the tank before turning the gas or electricity on.

     

    Purify water from impure sources

    A little water to purify and filter

    If you’re out of clean water, the Red Cross says you can treat water from precipitation, streams, or rivers, ponds, lakes, and underground springs. Don’t use untreated water. It can contain deadly germs. Don’t use flood water or water with floating material, an odor, or a dark color. Only use salt water if you distill it first. For those of you on the coast, this could be a good source of water if you have a desalinator.

    First, let suspended particles settle to the bottom of a container or strain water through coffee filters or layers of clean cloth. Then use whatever method you choose: boiling, purification tablets or bleach, filters, UV pens, distiller, or a combination of methods. For a wide range of purification tools, check out our water purification options.

    If you’re concerned about being short of water, follow these rules from survival expert Tom Brown, Jr. in Mother Earth News. Don’t drink carbonated beverages or alcohol. They cause dehydration. So do urine and salt water unless they’ve been distilled. Don’t eat if you don’t have water to drink with it. Limit activity to limit perspiration.

    However, drink what water you have. People have died of thirst with full canteens.

    “Try to store as much water as you can in your stomach,” Brown wrote.

    Because, as we’ve seen from the story about the French family, a little water can still go a long way.

     

    - Melissa

     

    What does your water preparedness look like? Let us know in the comments below!

    Posted In: Water Storage Tagged With: little water, thirst, emergency preparations, Dessert, water

  • Who Needs Blood Moons When There Are Black Swans?

    Blood moon and black swanThe suspense is building about “The Blood Moons.” In case you’ve not yet been caught up in the furor, this astrological phenomenon is simply a lunar eclipse, like the one occurring next month on September 28th, 2015. September’s eclipse, however, will fall upon a Jewish Feast Day and is the fourth such occurrence within 18 months. For some, the excitement this rouses will rival that of finding a quarter on the sidewalk. But for many others, the Blood Moons are a sign that the end is near–a fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel in the Old Testament, which reads:

    The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. – Joel 2:31

    Granted, this particular pattern of eclipses and Jewish Holidays is rare, happening only 10 times in 2,000 years. But what it all means has yet to be seen. As Yogi Berra astutely observed, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” More easily forecast, perhaps, is the fact that bad things will happen, and often when least expected.

    Like Black Swans. With no signs from heaven, foresight or scientific prediction, random calamities are commonly called “Black Swan Events.” Black Swans are those regularly, yet unexpectedly, occurring events that leave world-changing consequences. The term was coined by noted scholar and author Nassim Nicholas Taleb, referring to the unexpected discovery of Australian Black Swans that forever changed the world of zoology. Blackswanevents.org defines such events as:

    “…an event in human history that was unprecedented and unexpected at the point in time it occurred. However, after evaluating the surrounding context, domain experts (and in some cases even laymen) can usually conclude: “It was bound to happen.”

    Blood moons, black swans, and the Salt Lake City Tornado August 11, 1999 the “impossible” happened: a tornado in Salt Lake City.

    For example, last week marked the 16th anniversary of an absolutely unforeseen and devastating event here in Utah; a rogue tornado dropped out of the clouds and fell upon downtown Salt Lake City. No one in the entire intermountain west could see this coming. In fact, most Utahan’s falsely believed that their beloved mountains geologically protected them from such whirlwinds. But in just a few short minutes, the F2 Black Swan storm came from out of the blue, literally, killing one, injuring over a hundred others, and inflicting $170 million in damage in just a few minutes, all on a summer day no different than a thousand others.

    In hindsight it seems obvious that the Salt Lake City tornado was bound to happen, just like so many other “unexpected” events in recent history: 9/11, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the Fukashima tsunami/nuclear reactor meltdown, the rise of ISIS, the collapse of the Greek economy, the Chinese stock market crash...need I go on?

    Blood Moons...and the flooded earth From Noah’s flood to today, disasters happen, predicted or not.

    Some would argue that Blood Moons and Black Swans are related, that these eclipses are, in fact, the predictors of today’s seemingly random calamities. But if we are honest with ourselves, today’s catastrophes simply remind us of how tough things are for so many people, and always have been. Paraphrasing the once popular bumper sticker, “Stuff Happens,” both predicted and unexpected. From Noah’s flood to Nepal’s earthquake, it has always been so.

    For the record, I agree with Abby Ohlheiser's Blood Moons sentiments when she wrote in the April 3, 2015 Washington Post;

    "The authority on what the blood moon means for those who believe really has more to do with a little cottage industry of blood moon-themed books promoting the theory."

    Whether or not the Blood Moons are in fact the harbinger of bad times is somewhat irrelevant. Surely, we see signs of danger ahead, and always ave. At the same time, as a society, we tend to look optimistically to the future, as well we should. There is so much to look forward to.

    Remember, if Joel's prophecy has any truth to it, he states that the last days will be "the great and the terrible." Whether or not those days are great or terrible is, in large, part up to each of us. We cannot halt the catastrophes that often abound but, to a significant degree, we have power over the trials and consequences of floods and famines, crashes and quakes, tornadoes and tribulations, moons and swans.

    Blood moons...or quartersAs for me, I'm looking forward to next month's eclipse; I marvel at the motions of the cosmos. And while I'm looking up, expecting the best, I'll keep an eye to the ground, as well. Maybe I'll see warnings and take heed. Or maybe I'll just find a quarter on the sidewalk. But I won't worry because, come what may, the old adage is simple and true;

    "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear."

     

    What are some "black swan" events that have happened to you? Are you worried about the blood moons, or are they just another celestial event for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

     

    Blood Moons - All Disasters

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios Tagged With: black swan, blood moon, disaster

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