Doomsday Ready? More Americans Becoming 'Preppers'
By Chuck Holton
BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. - When an unexpected summer storm knocked out power across the mid-Atlantic region in July, more than 4 million people went without power for up to two weeks.
Throughout the summer, a severe drought across much of the country also put a serious strain on the nation's infrastructure.
Couple that with the threat of a currency collapse, civil unrest, and other nightmare scenarios - stocking up for the unexpected is looking smarter all the time.
Learn More: Surviving the Unexpected
Now, a small but growing segment of society is asking the question, "What happens when the lights go out for more than just a few days?"
Many of these "preppers" think the recent record-setting blackout could be just a preview of things to come.
Keith Iton is a die hard prepper and has started a business to help others get ready as well.
"The biggest problem we suffer here in North America is complacency," he claimed.
"People figure since nothing has happened in 'x' amount of years, nothing bad will ever happen," Iton continued. "So they get comfortable, and they get lazy and then unpreparedness comes in. Then you have other people who look at history."
From 'Crazy' to Common
Survivalists are sometimes seen as wild eyed, crazy people waiting for the 'zombie apocalypse.' But with the state of the economy in today's world, being prepared is more popular than ever.
Recently, some 2,000 people gathered in North Carolina for the the Carolina Readiness Seminar to discuss the risks and what can be done about them.
"It's very environmental, very green, takes us off of fossil fuels, and [is] very easy to do," prepper Joel Henderson said.
Henderson is co-owner of Green Gold Filters, one of the vendors at the recent convention. His patented filtration system is helping people accomplish something that America has been trying to do for years -- run a vehicle without foreign oil.
"If anybody has a diesel engine, truck, tractor, or generator, you can use used cooking oil as an alternative diesel fuel, or motor oil," Henderson explained.
"If you go to the restaurants, this is a local restaurant here in Nashville, an Indian restaurant, this is their used cooking oil they were throwing away," he continued. "We picked it up, ran it through our filter system, and now we have a nice alternative diesel fuel that I'll put right in my tank."
The prepper movement is being helped along by a new trend in television shows about the subject. The most popular is National Geographic's "Doomsday Preppers."
"'Doomsday Preppers' is the highest rated show right now ever on National Geographic," casting director Brooklyn Bagwell said.
"It's a show about your average American family, unique people who are prepping for any of life's uncertainties, whether that be economic collapse to solar flare in 2012. No matter what it is they're going to be prepared," he added.
One of the challenges for the show is that most preppers aren't eager to advertise their stockpiles of supplies, since if the bottom drops out, looting could be a real problem.
"We do understand it could be a risk, but we do respect privacy on the show. We don't have to say your first name or last name or where you're from," Bagwell said.
"We try to get in the lives of many diverse preppers, and have each prepper give a take away to our viewers so they can learn more about prepping," he said.
Prepare with God
Iton said the first step to being prepared, however, has nothing to do with canned food or bottled water.
"Your first step to preparedness, for me personally, is your relationship with Jesus Christ," he explained. "If you build a solid relationship with Jesus Christ, then you are more prepared than the average Joe."
"Then after that, if you can get a little food, water stored away, a little safe retreat, it'll all fall into place," Iton said. "You want to be able to feed yourself, feed your family, help a neighbor, help a friend."
A hundred years ago, having extra supplies in the house was considered completely normal. But that has changed.
A recent survey found that 55 percent of Americans have less than three days supply of food in their homes. Many people have no emergency supplies, or even a first aid kit.
But with America's infrastructure becoming more fragile every day, preppers say it's a good idea to stock up, just in case.
Experts' advice: Pack supply kits, make family plans in case disaster strikes
By Tracie Simer firstname.lastname@example.org Filed Under Lifestyle Jackson-madison County
Fill an emergency kit with supplies as suggested by the Red Cross and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. / Photo illustration by MICHELLE GACHET/The Jackson
What to know
Natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes can strike at any time and leave people without power, running water and the means to travel. Several experts agree that keeping a number of items packed in an emergency preparations kit can be helpful.
September is National Preparedness Month, an annual campaign designed to make emergency preparedness a priority, according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.
The theme this year is "Pledge to Prepare." The campaign is designed to "educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and manmade disasters," according to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. The goal of National Preparedness Month is to increase public involvement and increase the level of basic preparedness across the nation.
In the past three years, there have been eight federally declared disasters across Tennessee, according to TEMA.
"National Preparedness Month is an important reminder for us all to prepare and take an active role in the event of an accidental emergency, natural disaster or an act of terrorism," said Commissioner Bill Gibbons of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. "Disasters are typically sudden and unpredictable. Families, businesses and communities should have a minimum level of preparedness to sustain themselves until help arrives."
Jennifer McCraw, of the Jackson-Madison County Red Cross, said the message of preparedness should be shared year-round.
The Red Cross website has a list to encourage people to keep disaster kits handy, McCraw said.
Suggested items include enough water and food for three days, pet food, flashlights and extra batteries.
"We're constantly promoting this idea every day we can," she said. "We go to the mall and pass out information. We go to schools and talk with children. It's an everyday thing for us."
McCraw said it's a good idea to keep separate kits at home and in the car.
"When a storm hits, you may not be at home," she said. "Also, people tend to forget about pets -- don't forget about your pets and supplies for your pets. And keep a pair of good, heavy gloves with you just in case you have to pull yourself out of something."
She suggested stowing a whistle to help rescuers find those hidden by debris, which is especially important after earthquakes, McCraw said.
"You can have one kit per person or one for the whole family; it really depends," she said. "For an elderly person, you might want something light in a backpack for each person. A family might put it all in a giant plastic container."
McCraw learned from personal experience why it's important to keep some cash in an emergency kit.
"If the power goes out, you won't have access to an ATM," she said. "I learned that during Katrina while I was in Mississippi. We were out of power and were two hours from the coast. We were without power for 11 days."
Generators are good to have for power outages, but be safe, McCraw said.
"Keep it outside in a ventilated area," she said. "Don't plug it into your home -- the generator is wired the way it's supposed to be and it's not wired for a house outlet. They come with instructions on how to do that."
The Tennessee Department of Health said it is important for residents to create a family plan for disasters and keep an emergency supply kit prepared at home.
"Don't wait until an emergency occurs to start thinking about how you'll feed your family, where you'll take shelter, how to take care of those with special needs or how you'll locate loved ones," said state Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner. "Take time to make or update a plan now so you'll be ready before a disaster strikes."
The health department also oversees a training program known as the Tennessee Citizen Corps program's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training. The program teaches the basics of emergency response, including fire prevention and suppression, head-to-toe medical assessments, and light search and rescue.
McCraw said being prepared for an emergency is important, particularly in West Tennessee.
"We found out during the 2010 floods that there are places we and rescuers can't get to because of flooded roads," she said. "People need to be prepared to shelter wherever you are. With all this talk of the possibility of an earthquake, we will lose a lot of bridges. People need to shelter in place because rescue workers might not be able to get to you right away."
EGYPT'S CHRISTIANS FACE MASS SLAUGHTER BY ISLAMISTS
Coptic ties to 'anti-Muslim' film used to target minorities
by AARON KLEIN
NEW YORK - The Coptic Christian community in Egypt now is under threat of mass slaughter from Islamists under the pretense of revenge for a movie that depicts the Quranic figure Muhammad in a negative light, a senior Egyptian military official told WND.
The producers of the "Innocence of Muslims" movie reportedly are tied to the Coptic faith. Reports are claiming the movie sparked anti-U.S. attacks in Egypt and Libya, including the killing this week of the U.S. ambassador to Libya. However, some security officials believe the violence to be premeditated.
The Egyptian military official said today that Islamic groups are threatening to slaughter "the whole Christian Coptic community" in the city of Naja Hamadi, located about 60 miles from Cairo. Naja Hamadi contains a large Coptic community.
Two Egyptian immigrants from Southern California reportedly were forces behind the "Innocence of Muslims" movie. Joseph Nassralla Abdelmasih, the president of the Duarte-based charity Media for Christ, reportedly was a producer, while Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a convicted felon, allowed his home to be used in the movie's shooting.
Due to the Coptic ties of the two men, police in Los Angeles reportedly stepped up patrols around Coptic Christian houses of worship in the city, according to the Los Angeles Times. Similarly, the police presence was reportedly heightened outside Coptic churches in New York City.
Copts in Egypt have reportedly been concerned about the prospects of persecution after the downfall of U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak resulted in the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the country's parliament, presidency and military.
While Copts were targeted by Islamists during Mubarak's regime, such persecution has increased exponentially since Mubarak's ouster.
Just weeks after Mubarak was booted, Muslim villagers in March 2011 reportedly set fire to a Coptic church while attacking Christians on the street.
Since last year, two other churches were set on fire in the Imbaba neighborhood of Cairo and in Edfu in the south of the country. Coptic Christian families were also reportedly evicted from their homes in Alexandria.
Some reports say more than 200,000 Copts already have fled their homes.
When Copts attempted to protest last October, security forces reportedly fired at the protesters, killing 24 and wounding more than 300 people.
The Coptic Church, a major Christian community in Egypt, is said to date back to the origins of Christianity. Christians were the majority in Egypt until several centuries after the Arab conquest of the seventh century. They now make up between 5 and 10 percent of the population.
A World On The Verge Of War?
- September 17, 2012
Here is a summary of where the world stands: -
- Unable to reach a compromise over the weekend, South Africa is now in an all out labor strike, with the police again firing rubber bullets at miners with lethal escalation guaranteed
- Back from vacation, the once again penniless citizens of Spain, Greece, and Portugal have resumed protesting austerity
- US embassies attacked, in many cases with numerous casualties, in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan, Lebanon, India, Balgadesh, Indonesia, and others.
- Japan "appropriating" China-contested islands provoking a firestorm of retaliation including demands for "war with Japan"
- The Japanese ambassador to China dying mysteriously
- Netanyahu telling Meet the Press Iran will have a nuke in six-seven months and must be stopped beforehand
- Warships from more than 25 countries, including the United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, launching a military exercise in the Straits of Hormuz
- A third US aircraft - the CVN-74 Stennis - carrier is en route to Iran with an ETA of about 10 days
- And finally, a potential catalyst to light this whole mess on fire, Iran's Revolutionary Guard announcing that its troops are now on the ground in Syria.
Members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) are providing non-military assistance in Syria and Iran may get involved militarily if its closest ally comes under attack, commander-in-chief Mohammad Ali Jafari said on Sunday.
Jafari's statement is the first official acknowledgement that Iran has a military presence on the ground in Syria where an 18-month-old uprising has left tens of thousands dead.
Western countries and Syrian opposition groups have long suspected Iran has troops in Syria. Iran has denied this.
"A number of members of the Qods force are present in Syria but this does not constitute a military presence," Iranian news agency ISNA quoted Jafari as saying at a news conference.
Qods is an IRGC unit set up to export Iran's ideology. It has been accused of plotting attacks inside Iraq since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
Jafari did not indicate how many IRGC members were in Syria but said they were providing "intellectual and advisory help".
The Islamic Republic has backed Syria's President Bashar al-Assad since the crisis began and regards his rule as a key part of its axis of resistance against Israel and Sunni Arab states.
Jafari also said Iran would change its policy and offer military backing if Syria came under attack.
"I say specifically that if Syria came under military attack, Iran would also give military support but it ... totally depends on the circumstances," he said.
Next up: satellite photos somewhere "confirming" beyond a reasonable doubt that weapons of mass destruction are being prepared for usage, and a preemptive war is the only way to not only preserve peace, but to be awarded the Nobel prize in said activity.
What is perfectly obvious to anyone but the most jaded and biased, is that the West will use any opportunity of conflict escalation which in turn will send crude, and gas, prices soaring, to commence the launch of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve release, arguably at just the right time to push down gas prices, which as we showed on Friday have never been higher on this day in history. "Right time", because any SPR release will have the short-term benefit of boosting Obama's re-election chances even more, even if it means surging gas prices after the election.
The reality of course is that the bulk of upside pressure on commodity (crude and gas included) prices is as a result of the Fed and ECB's recent monetization expansion and liquidity tsunami, which does the usual: soothes the symptoms for a few weeks, crushes volatility and creates the impression that all is well.... if only to lead to yet another far more grave outcome. And since there is now officially no limit much debt the Fed will monetize, there is so no limit on how high commodity prices will go.
So while in reality any war, supposedly one which is "regional" and "contained" will merely be a smokescreen to the central banks officially taking over ownership of the insolvent developed world, the likelihood is that a war will neither be "regional" nor "contained" as both countries that make up the axis of a future hard-backed currency, China and Russia, have already made it quite clear that any intervention by the US in regions they themselves consider strategic, such as the Senkaku Islands, Syria and/or Iran, will result in retaliation.
And retaliation by one or more rising superpowers to another fading superpower, will inevitably lead to yet another World War.
Needless to say, nobody could possibly foresee war as the outcome to the global depression ver 2.0: certainly not the Princeton historian who will be, more than anyone else, responsible for it.
Libya - 'Death To America'
A Trend Alert
By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
KINGSTON, NY -- Try to imagine more deluded reporting than this by America's Presstitute "free press" For 11 years Washington in pursuit of its rightful hegemony has been sending troops, bombers, jet fighters, helicopter gunships, drones, and assassination teams into seven Muslim countries. Two of the Muslim countries, Iraq and Libya, and perhaps more depending on how you see it, have been overthrown by Washington and left in chaos.
- - Washington's assaults on seven countries have blown up weddings, funerals, kid's soccer games, farm houses, hospitals, aid workers, schools, people walking along the streets, village elders, but the Muslims don't mind! They understand that the well-meaning Americans who love them and are committed to their human rights, are bringing them democracy and women's rights. The million or more dead, maimed, and displaced Muslims are a low price to be paid for liberation by Washington.
- - The Muslims understand that liberation has costs and were content with Washington's liberating violence until some idiot in California produced an anti-Islamic film. This film, and not Washington's predations, set the Muslim world alive with "hate America"
- - On the symbolic date of September 11, the US ambassador to Libya and some other Washington representatives were assassinated in Libya. According to the Presstitute media, the assassins did not kill the Americans because Washington destroyed their country and left them in chaos. The assassins killed the Americans because of an anti-Islamic film for which the murdered American representatives were not responsible.
- - This is the way Washington works and thinks. It is not Washington's slaughter of Muslims and control over their societies and political life that produces blowback. It is independent film-makers in California!
- - Deluded politicians in Washington, both Republicans and Democrats and, of course, the bought-and-paid-for "experts," brought these forceful rejections of America upon us all. Washington has not only attacked Muslim countries on the basis of concocted lies - weapons of mass destruction, al Qaeda connections, brutal dictators - but also destroyed the secular governments who held the Islamists in check, and prevented their attacks on US representatives and institutions.
- - In Egypt, long an American puppet states, the US Embassy was stormed and the US flag was torn apart. If only this was all. Washington could again purchase the Egyptian government, as it has since Anwar Sadat's assassination. But the ongoing news is that Anti-American protests are not only spreading across the Middle East but erupting throughout the world: Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Gaza, Bangladesh, Lebanon, London, and even into Israel.
- - The Obama administration is blaming al Qaeda, an Islamist group that the administration is currently supporting in its efforts to overthrow the secular Assad government in Syria and the group that the Obama administration used to overthrow the Libyan government, thus leaving a power vacuum in its place. Having destroyed the protection from Islamist attacks that secular Arab rulers provided Washington, Obama, in a show of force, has sent drones, aircraft carriers, Marines, and Tomahawk missile ships to Libya, raising the prospect that more schools and children's soccer games will be mistaken for jihadi encampments and blown up.
- - Attempting to politicize the turmoil, Presidential candidate Mitt Romney declared that the US needed him in the White House and as president he would provide "...the leadership that America respects and will keep us admired throughout the world
" - - What admiration is Romney talking about? Who are the admirers? In Egypt Muslims marching to the beat of "death to America," have not been deterred by police after three days of protests. CBS reports that "Police continue to fire tear gas in hopes it will deplete the strength of the demonstrators but they [the demonstrators] are proving relentless."
- - Kings Good, Dictators Bad! Unlike the Washington-supported Saudi royal family that absorbs most of their nation's oil income, Qaddafi allocated the oil money to Libyans. In Cynthia McKinney's excellent book, The Illegal War On Libya, Stephen Lendman writes that Qaddafi "wanted Libyans to share in the country's oil wealth, a notion foreign to America and other Western societies. Under his 1999 Decision No. 111, all Libyans received free healthcare, education, electricity, water, training, rehabilitation, housing assistance, disability, old-age benefits, interest-free state loans, as well as generous subsidies to study abroad, buy a new car, help when they marry, practically free gasoline, and more."
- - Why did such a relatively wealthy and egalitarian country need to be "liberated" by Washington and its NATO war criminal puppet state?
- - What was achieved by overthrowing a government that provided for its people in better ways than do Western governments for the people they govern? - -
The US is the new Rome, and Europe, the UK, Canada, Japan, and Australia are its tributary dominions along with the oil kingdoms.
- - In his book, Rubicon, Tom Holland describes what it is like to be a dominion of a powerful and ruthless military state: - - "
"Prior to the cataclysms of B.C. 146, there had been some confusion as to the precise definition of 'freedom.' When the Romans claimed to be guaranteeing it, what did this mean? ... Roman and Greek interpretations of 'freedom' diverged. To the Romans ... freedom meant an opportunity for the city states to follow rules laid down by Roman commissioners." - -
This is the "freedom" that Washington imposes on the world. Washington is the Ã¼bermensch. The rest of the world is Washington's playground. Ruling as Rome did, Washington installs puppets and relies on their obeisance.
- - In the end, empire destroys itself. Washington's hubris and arrogance is turning the world against America. Thanks to The Clintons, the Bushes, Cheney, Obama and the neoconservatives, America, instead of being loved or even respected, is hated with a rising passion. The widespread attacks on the imperial power's embassies are only the beginning.
- - As Gerald Celente had forecast, "The 1st Great War of the 21st Century" has begun. -
France's most senior Catholic cleric says same-sex marriage will lead to incest
France's most senior Roman Catholic cleric has been accused of "flipping his lid" after the Cardinal warned that plans to legalise same-sex marriage would open the door to polygamy and incest.
Bertrand Delanoe, the Socialist mayor of Paris and one of France's few openly gay politicians, expressed his shock at the comments Photo: AFP
By Bruno Waterfield
17 Sep 2012
Bertrand Delanoe, the Socialist mayor of Paris and one of France's few openly gay politicians, expressed his shock at the comments, made at the weekend, by Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the Archbishop of Lyon and Primate of the Gauls.
"It is very shocking and even surprising coming from him, because he is someone I consider a wise man," he said. "I don't know what came over him, he flipped his lid a little bit and what he said was downright ugly."
The row has erupted as Francois Hollande's Socialist government draws up a bill legalising same-sex marriages and adoptions by homosexual couples, to be tabled on October 24.
Speaking to RCF Christian radio at the weekend, following talks on the legislation with Manuel Valls, the French interior minister, Cardinal Barbarin warned that gay marriage would herald a complete "breakdown in society".
"This could have innumerable consequences. Afterward they will want to create couples with three or four members. And after that, perhaps one day the taboo of incest will fall," he said.
"The first page of the bible, which says that marriage unites a man and a woman, has more force and truth, crossing cultures and centuries, than incidental or transient decisions made by a parliament. This is a choice of the government with which we do not agree."
As mayor of the capital, Mr Delanoe said he was "obviously" ready to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies and had already received several requests to do so.
Bishop Dominique Rey, the Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, has demanded a popular vote on gay marriage as the conflict escalates unto the worst split between church and state for over a decade.
"A referendum must be held to allow a real debate and to make sure the government is not in the grip of the lobbies," he said. "A majority of the population agrees with the traditional view of marriage."
Mars rover discovers mysterious 'blueberries'
September 15, 2012
A Mars rover has discovered strange geological 'blueberries'. Photo: AFP
NASA's Opportunity rover, older brother to the Curiosity rover that landed on Mars last month, has made a discovery that geologists find both puzzling and exciting, the US space agency says.
Opportunity, which has been on the Red Planet since 2004, has come across an outcrop of tiny spheres - up to around three millimetres in diameter - the likes of which scientists have never seen.
This is one of the most extraordinary pictures from the whole mission.
Steve Squyres, Cornell University
"This is one of the most extraordinary pictures from the whole mission," said Opportunity's principal investigator, Steve Squyres of Cornell University in Ithaca.
Mars rover Curiosity. Photo: NASA
"We never have seen such a dense accumulation of spherules in a rock outcrop on Mars."
At first glance, the researchers thought the objects resembled iron-rich spheres, nicknamed "blueberries", discovered near the Opportunity landing site.
The so-called Martian blueberries are formed when minerals separate from water and become hard masses inside sedimentary blocks - they're part of the evidence Mars used to be wet.
But closer investigation revealed the new discoveries are "different in concentration. They are different in structure. They are different in composition. They are different in distribution," Squyres said.
"It's going to take a while to work this out, so the thing to do now is keep an open mind and let the rocks do the talking."
Opportunity found the spheres at an outcrop called Kirkwood, in the Cape York segment of Endeavour Crater's western rim.
Although Opportunity's main mission was completed more than eight years ago, the rover has continued on "bonus" missions since then.
Fellow Mars rover Spirit, also launched in the summer of 2003, continued working until March 2010.
The most recent Mars lander, Curiosity, is on a two-year quest to explore Mars geology. The $2.5 billion robot is currently in the Gale crater, trundling towards Mount Sharp.
Off The Grid News
Products Made to Fail and Break
Sep 7th, 2012 | By Carmen
They just don't make things like they used to - intentionally! If products lasted for years, then we wouldn't have to replace them and manufacturers wouldn't make as much money. Thus, starting in the 1950s and 1960s, manufacturers consciously decided to make products that were designed to fail and break.
If you haven't heard of this conspiracy to rip your hard-earned dollars out of your pocket over and over again, that may be because business gave it a fancy name. The term "Planned Obsolescence" refers to the practice of intentionally designing goods to fail and break after a set time period of "acceptable life" once purchased.
Instead of being dismissed as a lousy idea and a way to cheat consumers, is it any surprise that it was embraced by businesses everywhere? You'll see it most often in the following products:
Printer Inks: The amount of ink left in your printer is measured by a microchip, which shuts off printing when levels are below a certain amount. Not when the ink is gone - just when it's below where manufacturers want it. And God help you if you want to print black and white when the cyan or yellow are low - it's not allowed! Manufacturers make more money from ink purchases than from the printers themselves, so they installed the microchips to keep the revenues flowing.
Cars: The new model year is barely different from the previous year, but every year car makers rush something new to the market. As a result, it is increasingly difficult to find older car parts. Manufacturers don't want to provide spare parts - they want you to buy a new car. Thank goodness the Internet helps you fight back by letting you source parts from all over the country and even the world - otherwise your local dealer would have you right where he wants you when your current car breaks down.
Consumer Electronics: Apple once got sued for designing its batteries to fail just after the warranty expired. They don't do that anymore, but the market as a whole seems intent on making your computer, laptop, cell phone, and mp3 player obsolete as soon as possible. Batteries die, operating systems won't support new programs, and replacement parts for "vintage" electronics stop being manufactured. But "new and improved" often isn't any better - the new smart phones are notoriously bad at actually making phone calls, just to give one example. It's better to try and patch your old system for as long as you can!
Clothes: Clothing doesn't hold together like it once did thanks to the rise of "fast fashion" retailing. Basically, the idea is to find the new hot look and get it into stores as fast as possible using the cheapest materials and labor available. The item is made to last as long as the fad - and no longer. Ripped seams, pulled threads, disappearing buttons, and worn-through fibers are all hallmarks of this trend. Being handy with a needle is one way to fight back, and so is buying vintage clothing - the old stuff was made with care and designed to last a lot longer!
Nylons: The original nylon was used for parachutes by the military in WWII. Try to imagine jumping out of a plane armed only with a few pairs of LEGGS or Hanes hosiery sewn together. The original pantyhose and nylon makers quickly figured out that hose that lasted forever wasn't profitable - so they made it weaker and more easily torn to keep the sales flowing.
There are so many more products out there designed to wear out and break down. With effort, you can avoid them or work around their flaws, but it's no joke that manufacturers are after your wallet. What tricks have you found to outsmart them and their made-to-break goods?
Dog stands guard over deceased owner's grave for six years
By Eric Pfeiffer, Yahoo! News
Capitan keeps watch over Miguel Guzman's grave (La Voz)
An extremely dedicated dog has continued to show its loyalty, keeping watch on its owner's grave six years after he passed away.
Capitan, a German shepherd, reportedly ran away from home after its owner, Miguel Guzman, died in 2006. A week later, the Guzman family found the dog sitting by his grave in central Argentina.
Miguel Guzman adopted Capitan in 2005 as a gift for his teenage son, Damian. And for the past six years, Capitan has continued to stand guard at Miguel's grave. The family says the dog rarely leaves the site.
"We searched for him, but he had vanished," widow Veronica Guzman told LaVoz.com. "We thought he must have got run over and died.
'The following Sunday we went to the cemetery, and Damian recognized his pet. Capitan came up to us, barking and wailing as if he were crying."
Adding to the unusual circumstances, Veronica says the family never brought Capitan to the cemetery before he was discovered there.
"It is a mystery how he managed to find the place," she said.
- Cemetery director Hector Baccega says he and his staff have begun feeding and taking care of Capitan.
"He turned up here one day, all on his own, and started wandering all around the cemetery until he eventually found the tomb of his master," Baccega said.
"During the day he sometimes has a walk around the cemetery, but always rushes back to the grave. And every day, at six o'clock sharp, he lies down on top of the grave, stays there all night."
But the Guzman family hasn't abandoned Capitan. Damian says the family has tried to bring Capitan home several times but that he always returns to the cemetery on his own.
"I think he's going to be there until he dies, too. He's looking after my dad," he said.
Did this grandfather, 78, really beat 'incurable' cancer just by changing his diet? Extraordinary story of the man who got 'all-clear' after swapping red meat and dairy products for 10 fruit and veg a day
Doctors told Allan Taylor, 78, in April that his cancer couldn't be treated and had spread from his colon to his small intestine
In August the retired oil rig engineer from Middlesbrough got another letter - to say he was cancer-free
He puts the change down to his new diet, which he adopted after looking up 'colon cancer cures' on the internet
By ROB PREECE
PUBLISHED: 16 September 2012
A grandfather, who was told by doctors that his cancer was 'incurable', has been given the all-clear less than four months later - after trying a different diet.
Allan Taylor could have been forgiven for fearing the worst when doctors told him they could do nothing to treat his condition.
But the 78-year-old would not give up, and instead searched the internet for an alternative method to fight his cancer.
Given the all-clear: Allan Taylor, 78, beat cancer by changing his diet and taking herbal remedies
After studying websites, he decided to radically change his diet - and found his condition improved dramatically.
Mr Taylor, a retired oil rig engineer from Middlesbrough, replaced red meat and dairy products with 10 portions of raw fruit and veg each day.
His diet included powdered grass, curry spices, apricot seeds and selenium tablets.
Mr Taylor made the changes after he received a letter on April 30, telling them were was no point having any more chemotherapy as it would not cure him and neither would an operation.
'They said if they cut out the cancer it would just pop up somewhere else,' he told the Sunday Mirror.
'But I was determined to stay positive and decided to find my own cure.
'I was determined to stay positive and decided to find my own cure'
'On August 6 I got a letter from North Tees hospital to say a scan had shown my cancer had gone and "the abnormality is no longer visible". I'm all clear.'
Mr Taylor's ordeal began in February last year when he noticed a two-inch lump in his abdomen. He was sent for a scan and told he had colon cancer.
Last September he underwent an operation, during which a surgeon removed a nine-inch section of his colon, and he began a three-month course of chemotherapy.
But in April this year he was told the cancer had spread to small intestine.
Mr Taylor responded by tapping the words 'colon cancer cures' into an internet search engine.
He used the information, together with advice from his local health food store, to devise his new diet.
He believes that having a teaspoon of powdered barley grass in hot water every morning and night was particularly crucial.
'There is no question in my mind that my diet saved my life,' he said. 'And all it cost was £30 a week.'