NASA has just released information on another asteroid that is heading for a near-miss with the Earth. This is the 69th such “close approach” within one lunar distance for the year. This may seem like a lot, but there were 84 such occurrences in 2019, so it’s not just because it’s 2020. In fact, if we keep at the current rate, we’ll only have two more such occurrences this year, than last. If you think that number is surprising, a total of 6100 meteors, large enough to make earthfall, rather than burning up in the atmosphere, hit the Earth every year. That’s an average of 17 per day. Of course, most of those are tiny and fall in uninhabited areas. So they really don’t make much difference. Still, the idea of rocks from space hitting the earth at anywhere from 25,000 MPH to 160,000 MPH is a bit scary and hard to comprehend. When I was young, the idea of a large asteroid, along the lines of what is believed to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, was a favorite theme of science fiction writers. The idea of having to save the world from destruction or rescue what few people we could make for great drama and lots of imagination. But what if it was real? With so much junk flying around in space, what if something large enough to cause some serious damage was to hit us? Could we survive? How could we survive? The Chelyabinsk meteor gives us a good idea of what a mid-sized asteroid can do if it enters the Earth’s atmosphere. Roughly the size of a five-story building, this asteroid literally exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk, close to the Ural mountains in Russia. The roughly 11,000 tons of rock hit the atmosphere at about 40,000 MPH, which caused it to break up about 12 to 15 miles above the Earth’s surface. The resulting explosion released the equivalent energy of 470 kilotons of TNT, 30 to 40 times the explosive power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in World War II. Although the Chelyabinsk meteor caused injuries to over 1,000 people, it was considerably smaller than the Tunguska meteor, which is the largest in recorded history. The explosion from that meteor, which exploded 15 miles above Siberia in 1908, was powerful enough that it flattened 830 square miles of forest and broke out roughly a million windows, some of which were hundreds of miles away. Scientists estimate that the explosive force of this asteroid’s destruction was the equivalent of a 550 kiloton explosion. Even though this is the largest asteroid to strike the Earth in recorded history, it isn’t the largest ever. The asteroid which is believed to have ended the reign of the dinosaurs is thought to have been 10 to 15 kilometers in diameter, creating a crater 150 km in diameter on impact. The explosive power of that impact was roughly equivalent to the simultaneous detonation of 60% of the worldwide nuclear arsenal, all exploding at the same time. Effects of a Meteor Strike It doesn’t really matter if you call it an asteroid, meteor, or comet, their effect can be the same. While there is a technical difference in these three words; when they hit the atmosphere and start streaking for the surface, that technical difference doesn’t affect the devastating effects that the larger ones can have. From here on the surface of the Earth, they may as well be the same thing. Most of the thousands of meteors that hit the earth are tiny, having no real impact on life here unless you get hit by one. But since the chances of being hit by a meteor are something like 1 in 250,000, that works out to one person being hit about every 41 years. Considering that there are over 7 billion people on this earth, you’re chances of being hit by one of those small meteors are 1 in every 287 billion years. Not something to worry about. But those marble-sized meteors are not what NASA spends millions of dollars per year tracking. They’re interested in space objects which are large enough to cause serious damage, such as the meteors mentioned above. We’re talking meteors that are at least a meter in diameter. The closest of these up to this point in 2020 has been 2020QG in August, which was 2.9-6.4 meters in diameter and passed 0.02 lunar distance from the Earth. Whether or not a meteor strikes the surface of the Earth and makes a crater or explodes in the atmosphere depends a lot on the composition of the asteroid. Most are a combination of rock and ice. As they pass through the atmosphere, friction heats the meteor up to about 3,000°F, enough to melt all but the hardest and most temperature resilient metals. This causes the meteor to expand rapidly and often to disintegrate. It is the speed at which this process happens, which causes an explosion. The larger the meteor, the more of an effect the explosion has, making for a bigger explosion. Direct damage is caused by a combination of the shock wave and the shrapnel released by that explosion, much like a bomb. But that’s not all that happens. The rapid destruction of that meteor would cause chemicals to be released into the atmosphere, most likely sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide. If the meteor makes it to the surface of the Earth, the explosive impact will kick hundreds or even thousands of tons of soot debris up into the upper atmosphere, much like a nuclear explosion or volcanic eruption. Between this and the chemicals released into the air, we would experience a period of global cooling, possibly to the point that it greatly affects plant life. This is what is believed to have killed the dinosaurs. The impact of the Chicxulub meteor on the Yukatan Peninsula caused global cooling, which reduced plant growth. That left less food for herbivores, who started dying out, reducing the available food for carnivores, causing their death too. While this all took time, in the great course of history, it was like a blink of an eye. But that’s not all the damage the Chicxulub meteor caused. It caused a huge earthquake. Since the crater is right on the coast, the combination of its impact and the earthquake it caused sent a tsunami across the Gulf of Mexico and out across the Atlantic, disrupting life as far away as Africa. Such a meteor strike today would kill billions of people, but it wouldn’t destroy the world. One meteor a half-mile wide would be the equivalent destructive power of 100 billion tons of TNT, 1,000 times larger than the Soviet Tsar Bomb, the largest nuclear device ever detonated. Some scientists have estimated that it would take a meteor that’s have estimated that it would take a meteor that’s 60 miles in diameter to destroy the Earth. Fortunately, there are no known asteroids that are that large. But that’s not to say that there might be something out there which is as of yet undetected. Of the 69 close approaches this year, 41 of them were not detected until they had passed the Earth. NASA believes that they are currently finding only 10% of the space rocks out there. Stopping an Asteroid NASA is working hard at improving their asteroid detection capability, but it’s no small task. Unlike any other form of defense, which is essentially two-dimensional, even including the threat of aircraft, the threat from asteroids is a full sphere. Both of the major examples I gave earlier happened in Siberia, far to the north, while the Checxulub meteor struck considerably closer to the equator. Once a new asteroid is spotted, it has to be tracked and a projected course track calculated for it. Even then, it is possible for the asteroid’s path to be affected by other forces, such as the gravitational pull of Jupiter. The current plan for dealing with an asteroid is to send a rocket to intercept it and push it off course, through kinetic impact, much like in science fiction movies. An alternative might be to send a nuclear-tipped rocket so that the explosion could push the asteroid even farther off course. But without an atmosphere to transmit the energy, that would have to be a direct hit, off to the side of the asteroid, not an easy target. Future plans under study include modifying the asteroid’s orbit to put it into lunar orbit around the Earth. If anything, that’s an even more ambitious project than our current plans. But then, that’s what scientists do, come up with more ambitious plans and then try to see if they are feasible. Protecting Yourself from a Meteor As a purely theoretical exercise, protecting yourself from a meteor is a challenging scenario to look at. By and large, meteors the size of a car and smaller burn up in the atmosphere and never hit the Earth’s surface. But one the size of a house will produce more force than the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima. This would flatted buildings within 1.5 miles of its point of impact. If that hit close to your home, it doesn’t matter what you do, you won’t make it. Even being in a bunker is unlikely to save you. While much larger than the size of a house, the Checxulub meteor made a crater 20 km or 12 miles deep. Good-bye bunker. But if you’re a bit farther away, that bunker could be quite useful. A 400-meter diameter asteroid is headed on a close approach, slated for 2032. That makes a good example. Should it strike the Earth, rather than explode in an airburst, it will create a crater about 5 miles wide and 1,700 feet deep. Everything within that crater, including more than 100 million cubic meters of rock would be vaporized. It would cause an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale. From 20 miles away, wind speeds would pick up to about 500 MPH within 90 seconds, with dishwasher sized debris flying through it. Pretty much everything within that radius would be flattened. Going farther out, there would be hurricane-force winds at 60 miles, shattering windows. Debris 2 inches in size would pelt everything, killing and injuring people and animals, as well as damaging buildings and cars. So a bunker would be quite useful if you were outside the impact zone. Assuming we had been warned of the meteor’s coming, you’d have time to get in there and ride it out. But that’s quite an assumption, with NASA only detecting 10% of all the rocks out there. Hopefully, our odds will improve. In the meantime, we have to depend on that sort of event only happening once every 100,000 years or so. Looking at the Longer-term Survival Issues After the immediate destruction caused by meteor, the biggest problem will be food. The temporary reduction in sunlight, which could last a couple of years, is going to create worldwide food shortages, as farms won’t be able to produce enough. What food is produced will sell for considerably higher prices, following the law of supply and demand. Your stockpile will make a huge difference in this case, providing your family with food to eat. Even more than that, what you need is the ability to produce your own food, without much sunlight. That means providing artificial light to help your garden grow. With that, you’ll be in better shape than 99% of the population. But that’s not easy to do. Interestingly enough, this is the same thing we’ll need to be able to do if the Yellowstone Caldera ever erupts. Resources  A “lunar distance” is the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, 384,410 km, or 238,860 mi.
Wildfires have been ravaging the West Coast states once again, threatening people’s homes and lives. While leftist activists see this as an opportunity to push their global warming rhetoric, a number of people have been arrested and charged with arson for starting those fires. So unless global warming somehow caused them to light the fires, it doesn’t seem like the political creature is known as global warming is the culprit. These fires remind me of the 2018 Camp Fire, which totally leveled the town of Paradise, California. One thing that stood out to me back then was that any preppers who lived in that town probably lost all their preps, as well as everything else. For some things, being a prepper just doesn’t seem to be enough. The year before, I was struck by roughly the same revelation when Hurricane Harvey flooded Southeast Houston. Thousands upon thousands of people had to be rescued from their homes, each only allowed to take one suitcase with them. So unless they had their own boat to evacuate with, those people’s preps didn’t do much to help them either; although they might not have lost them all. These problems could be taken by some as reasons not to prep. “After all,” they might say, “what good does it to do prepare if you can’t use what you’ve prepared when the disaster comes?” But I see it differently; I see the need to make sure that our preps manage to survive so that they can help make sure that we survive. Just because our preps can be at risk, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare. Rather, it means that we need to do a better job of preparing; one that takes those potential risks into account and finds a way to protect our stockpile from destruction. Packaging is Important All military specifications written for food products contain a section where they talk about the packaging. While that may not seem like something all that important, it is. Imagine, if you will, pallets of food being offloaded in support of a Marine invasion of some island, much like they did in the Pacific Campaign, during World War II. If normal cans of food, intended for restaurants or supermarket shelves are included in those pallets and it’s raining, what’s going to happen to that food? Granted, canning is perhaps the most perfect food preservation method there is, protecting the food inside from just about anything. But that doesn’t mean that the packaging itself is impervious to anything. The first thing that the rain would do is attacking the cardboard cartons that the cans of food were shipped in. Corrugated cardboard isn’t at all waterproof and the glue holding the cartons together isn’t much better. So it wouldn’t take long for those cartons to fall apart, spilling the cans out in a heap. Once the cans were no longer protected by the cartons, the rain would do essentially the same to the labels on the cans, which are nothing more than paper, held on by the same glue. Before long, those labels are going to turn to mush, adding themselves to the soggy cardboard. The stack of boxes will collapse, leaving a bunch of basically unlabeled cans, not being held together by much of anything. Can you imagine the mess sergeant who is issued those cans of now unlabeled food and has to figure out what to do with them, while not wasting any? No thanks. That’s why canned food for military use has the label printed right on the can; it can’t wash off. And while they are still packed in corrugated cardboard cartons, the cartons are stouter, stapled, instead of just glued and banded in case they get wet. Everything that can be done to protect those supplies is done, helping ensure that the food issued to those mess sergeants is clearly identified, as well as not having any opportunity to spoil before they are used. Unfortunately, you and I can’t buy those MILSPEC food supplies. If we could, they’d be ridiculously expensive. But there’s nothing saying that we can’t mark those cans with an indelible marker so that we will know what the cans contain, should the label become destroyed. A simple step like that goes a long way towards protecting our food and keeping it usable. If you use cardboard cartons for storing cans or other food in, it’s a good idea to fortify the cartons. While a carton stapler and banding equipment are unnecessary expenses, you can do a lot to make a carton stay together, just by banding it with strapping or packing tape. Use a good quality tape and wrap it around twice, making sure that the layers stick to each other and to the tape crossing in the opposite direction. In this way, even if the cardboard loses all structural integrity, it will hold together and can even be picked up when dried. Of course, food packed in five-gallon plastic buckets is well protected from water, as the buckets themselves are waterproof. You can submerge those buckets or bury them underground and about the worst that will happen to them is the wire handle rusting. Location is Important Where you store your food stockpile is an important factor in it surviving. Most people will recommend storing it in a cool dry place. For this reason, as well as being a good hiding place which is often used for storage anyway, basements are a popular option. But basements aren’t a good place to store things if you’re expecting a flood. Or are they? If you have to get to those items in the middle of the flood, you’re probably going to be out of luck, unless you happen to have scuba gear as part of your survival equipment. Until the water goes down, you’re not going to have access to anything stored in your basement; and even then, you’re probably going to have to pump the basement out. But once you do, that food should be fine, as long as it is stored in cans and sealed buckets. Most plastic storage bins aren’t waterproof, so anything stored in them would be water damaged, unless its own packaging, such as cans, is waterproof. To protect your supplies from flooding, they would have to be stored on the second floor of your home or in the attic. But the attic tends to get hot, which isn’t all that good for the food. So it’s not an ideal location. Another advantage of storing things in the basement is that they are fairly well protected from fire. That’s probably the only place in your home where they will be. Home fires burn hot, somewhere between 1,100°F and 1,600°F. But that same fire will only measure about 100°F at floor level of the living room. Since heat rises, it will be even cooler than that in the basement, so any food that’s stored in the basement will be protected from the fire, as long as the fire doesn’t start in the basement. That includes food stored in plastic buckets. Those buckets are made of HDPE (high-density polyethylene), which has a melting temperature of 248°F to 266°F. Most plastic bins are made of normal polyethylene, which has a melting temperature of 10 to 20 degrees lower. So, while the buckets and bins might get a little warm, they shouldn’t melt and the food inside them should be fine. Of course, you’ve got to decide for yourself what potential risks and prepare for them. That will be different than what others have to prepare for, simply because they live in different areas. After all, people in Kansas don’t see many hurricanes. Ideally, your best bet, if you are faced with multiple threats, is to divide your stockpile up, so that it all isn’t in the same part of your home. That way, should a disaster come, which makes it impossible to access some of your stockpiles, you still have other parts of it available to you. In other words, you could use the food in the attic, while the basement is flooded. What about Other Disasters? While flood and fire cover a lot of ground, those aren’t the only disasters we can face. But if you look at other disasters, they either aren’t going to have a high risk of destroying our homes or the risk is so high, that there is nothing we can do to mitigate the damage. There’s just not that much that can be done to protect anything from earthquakes and tornadoes. Putting supplies in an underground bunker or root cellar might protect them from a tornado, but that won’t help for an earthquake. Some things that nature can do are just bigger than we can handle. In the case of most other man-made disasters (other than fire, that is), there’s little likelihood of anything happening to your stockpile. Since there’s also little likelihood that they will require you to abandon your home, your stockpile in your home will serve you well, to provide for your needs. Don’t Keep it All at Home The other really critical thing to do, in order to protect your stockpile, is to move some of it to an off-site cache. As long as everything is at your home, then it’s all susceptible to anything that happens to your home. In the cases of Hurricane Harvey and the Camp Fire, people who had a survival stockpile weren’t any better off, than those who didn’t. In both cases, they had to abandon their stockpile (assuming it was in their home) when they left. All those preps didn’t do a thing for them. Had those people had a remote cache of supplies, they would have had something to work with, in order to survive until they could go back home. While I seriously doubt that anyone died of starvation in either of those occasions, that’s not the point. At a minimum, they had to buy food in restaurants, paying money for it, which they were going to need to have in order to put their lives back together again. I’m not talking about a buried cache here, although those are possible. But buried caches are best used for resupply while bugging out on foot. Rather than that, I’m referring to renting a small storage unit and using it for food storage. You can get a small one rather inexpensively and even the smallest are big enough to hold quite a stockpile of supplies. Best of all, it’s a place where it doesn’t look suspicious to be taking boxes of all types in and out. One of the most important things here is to make sure that your cache is far enough away from your home, so as to not be affected by whatever disaster strikes. But distance alone isn’t enough. If one of the things you’re concerned about is hurricanes, then putting your cache in a storage unit 100 miles away, but still along the coast, isn’t going to gain you anything. It needs to be moved away from the potential damage area, in this case, moved inland. A forest fire can be even more challenging to keep your stockpile from. Distance is one protection, but only to a point. Ideally, your cache should be located on the other side of a barren area that the fire can’t cross. Since such areas are rather hard to come by in forested areas, you’ll need to try and figure out how the fire is likely to travel, so that you can put the cache out of that range. No matter what you do, make sure that any cache you create is located someplace you’ll be able to get to, in the event of a disaster. If you live in an area that’s prone to earthquakes, you probably don’t want your cache on the other side of a river, with a bridge that might collapse. While that might protect the cache from a wildfire, it won’t help you, if you can’t get to it.
If you are unfortunate enough to be in a motorcycle accident then it is easy to become flustered and unsure of the next steps to take. This is not an everyday occurrence, so the procedure might not come naturally. In a high-stress environment such as this then plenty of people forget to take important details that will be needed for insurance purposes later. Whether it is ensuring your vehicle is safe to get home or taking evidence such as photos for a motorcycle accident attorney, the six steps discussed in this guide should never be ignored. Motorcycle Accident Statistics In the event of an accident, it is much more likely that you will get injured when riding a motorcycle compared to a passenger vehicle. You are exposed, whereas in a car there are fail-safes and protections such as airbags and seatbelts designed for your safety. Numerous studies have been carried out and there are some frightening statistics. Back in 2006, a major study found that on average 13.10 cars out of 100,000 were involved in fatal crashes, but 72.34 out of 100,000 motorcycles were in fatal incidents on the road. There are precautions you can take, such as regular safety checks and mechanic checks on your motorcycle, and the very basics, such as wearing a helmet. Riders who wear an approved helmet with safety tests can reduce the risk of death by 37 percent according to some studies. Accidents can still happen, and it is important to know the steps. 6 Important Steps You Need to Take Check yourself and others involved for any injuries Fortunately, many accidents do not result in serious injuries, but you should still check everyone involved. Often, the adrenaline can take over when you are in a situation such as a car or a motorcycle accident. This means you may not realize if you are injured, and the same goes for anyone else in the accident. Check that they can breathe normally, stand and walk, and perform a basic visual check for any obvious signs of bleeding. Some injuries that occur might not become apparent instantly, but you should check for anything that may cause immediate risk, and treat it if you can and know-how. Of course, the next step of calling the emergency services is vital for this… Call 911 Any accident at any sort of speed, where people might be injured and where blame might be attached, it is a good idea to call 911 straight away. They can send the necessary help in the form of police, or medically-trained staff if needs be. Even if everyone seems calm to start with, the situation could also escalate into blame and people trying to get you to take the fall for the accident so that you have to claim on your insurance. It is a good idea to have a third party there in all scenarios, especially someone who is well-trained like a police officer. If there are obvious injuries, don’t waste any time in calling 911 and getting emergency services to attend. Whether someone has health insurance to cover this callout or not is irrelevant if they need urgent medical attention. The emergency services available by calling 911 are extremely important. Remember, in the event of an accident or injury; this is exactly what they are there for. Take Pictures Obviously, this shouldn’t be the first thing you do. When everybody’s safety has been ensured, though, take as many pictures as you can of the accident, things that might have caused it, and the location in which it occurred. It is important that you get as much evidence as you can as this will help you to ensure justice. If one person is at fault then it is their insurance policy that should have to pay out, and you might be able to take legal action to pay for any injuries and repairs. 10 or 15 years ago, we didn’t necessarily have the option to take this sort of evidence away from the scene of an accident. Now, we can make use of smartphones to create a bank of evidence ready for insurance companies or even courts of law to use if required. Once you have these pictures, back them up by emailing them to yourself or to someone else to keep safe, just in case something should happen to your phone and you risk losing the photographs. Call Your Insurance Company Onto the formalities of an insurance claim. Unfortunately, you will often need to make a call to your insurance company no matter what blame is attached or how minor the accident is. You must let them know that you have been in an accident if you intend to make a claim. It might be that the insurance company steps in to pay out on the policy and for a repair or replacement vehicle, but it could just be that there are specific benefits of your policy you can take advantage of. Some might be able to organize a replacement vehicle for you to use in the short term, for example. Making a call to the insurance company doesn’t mean that you have somehow admitted you are culpable or were at fault in any way, but insurance companies will be involved in the process once an accident has occurred. It’s a good idea to call yours to get the ball rolling on a potential claim. That’s what the policies are in place for, after all. Exchange Information It is vital that you exchange information with others involved in the accident. This can be something that causes people to get angry, especially if they feel accused, so make sure you approach it in a calm and professional way, and that they know you are happy to give your details as well as them giving theirs, so it doesn’t feel accusatory in any way. This is just one of the formalities of an accident. If the police are there, they might even help with the process of exchanging information and they may want to see specific insurance documents too if they are available. What sort of details and information needs to be exchanged? The car registration is one obvious one, but also names, addresses, and phone numbers. Also, if the registered keeper of the vehicle is different from the person driving it, you may need their details too. One top piece of advice is to get a photo of the car registration to go along with the details they have given you. If for any reason, somebody decides that they are going to give you fake details, you can use the registration of the vehicle to track them down, or at least report it to the police so that they can assist you. You may also exchange insurance details so that if you need to deal directly with one another’s insurance companies you can do so. Hire a Lawyer People would often leave lawyers out of things if they can, but in this scenario, our advice would be to hire yourself a lawyer and arm them with as much information and evidence as you can. The last thing you want is for someone to accuse you of being at fault for an accident. People might try to sue you for the accident but also loss of earnings, medical bills, and more. There is simply no way around hiring a lawyer in the majority of scenarios. A specific motor accident lawyer can help you to pin the blame where it belongs and get what you rightfully deserve. If you don’t want to claim on your insurance and feel you shouldn’t have to, then a lawyer can help to prove the accident was not your fault. Getting the right lawyer can make all the difference, ensuring that you don’t get taken for a ride by the other party. Even if they were clearly at fault, they might well try to claim their innocence. Nobody wants to be in an accident, but as some of the motorcycle statistics in this post suggest, it can’t always be avoided. Motorcyclists are at a higher risk than most when it comes to accidents, and at some point, you might need to deal with the aftermath of an accident. You need to stay calm, and following the steps outlined in this guide will help ensure that you have the best chance of getting everyone the help they need and collecting the details required so that the case is dealt with properly. Naturally, as with any road accident, people’s safety needs to be the number one priority. Ensure that injuries are seen to and professionals are quickly on the scene, especially in a major accident, or if you suspect that someone has been hurt. Our guide to dealing with motorcycle accidents can help you to make sure that you do not miss any critical steps when it comes to dealing with the accident and its aftermath.