PAST THE TIPPING POINT
I think it is safe to say that the United States has passed the Tipping Point into Collapse.
China, the country with whom we are most likely to go to war in the next few years, is openly bribing the son of our current President. That's a level of corruption and lawlessness I don't think we have ever experienced in this country since it was founded. Sure there has been corruption. But to see it done in the public eye with no attempt to hide it or disguise it in any way is pretty unprecedented.
No one seems to even think about the level of utter contempt with which the Chinese must view us to behave in that fashion in public.
Sprinkle on top of that what appears to be a collapse of Social Order in our major cities which is rapidly spreading across the country where large bands of "teens" simply appear and loot major stores with no Police response. Even more damning is that the response of the local governments appears to be to rush to appease and excuse those responsible.
Neither the "media" (whose role used to be as a watchdog on government) or the Justice System appears to have any interest in either.
In short the Rule of Law has collapsed in the United States and there seems to be no one left who is interested in changing that. There is much wringing of hands and complaining, little in the way of action and there seems to be no one in any position of power to even slow much less stops any of it. Indeed many in the media cheer on the looting to promote a Racial "Equity" Agenda and to demonize Capitalism. The Justice System appears to be more interested in targeting political opponents and Dissenters than in the "Law".
Patrice Lewis asked in a recent article (which I have also linked below) that IF someone were trying to collapse the United states what would they be doing differently from what is currently being done? No one offers any good answers to the question.
Australia, once a free country, is gathering Citizens (predominantly Aborigines) and imprisoning them in remote camps while continuing to keep the entire country under House Arrest. Many people expect something similar here in the near future.
I've gotten an additional field plowed, limed and ready to plant in the spring. A new compost pile is underway. I stocked up on 10-10-10 and 38-0-0 fertilizer while it is still available and have enough for a couple years. Working on a new greenhouse which is proceeding well. I'm hoping to put in a new chicken coop before spring and some new chickens. I'm already preparing some new hives.
In short I've stopped planning for a Collapse and am actively preparing for it's arrival. I strongly suggest you do the same to the extent you can.
IT'S NOT SOLAR FLARES WE NEED TO WORRY ABOUT RIGHT NOW
I'm approaching 70 yrs old and in my entire life I've never seen events in my country and the entire Western World like those going on today.
Organized groups threatening violence in the streets if the Police dare to enforce the Law or if a trial does not produce the verdict they demand.
Police in formerly free countries like Australia and Austria and Canada patrolling the streets checking the papers of people on the street or in stores. Beating and arresting people who leave their homes in violation of government orders. People being denied basic human freedoms like buying food or working for a living because they have not met a constantly changing government mandate to be injected with potentially dangerous, experimental drugs regardless of their religious beliefs or personal medical history. Suppression of any discussion that contradicts government statements.
Governments intentionally driving up the cost of energy and destroying the means of producing that energy to the point that blackouts are becoming common in formerly industrialized nations. Forcing entire countries to spend billions if not trillions on energy producing technology that has repeatedly proven to be unreliable and useless to power an industrial society. Yet rather than admit failure and seek new solutions they simply increase their dedication to failed methods.
So many regulations and restrictions on trucking that supply chains are collapsing and ships are backing up, unloaded, at ports because there is no longer the capacity to transport their contents. At the same time driving up the cost of fuel for those trucks and threatening to fire many of the already short supply of drivers for failure to obey orders for constantly changing government mandated medical treatments.
A growing labor shortage across the country because the government both pays people more than they could make working and because they are being fired for refusing experimental drugs regimens that are constantly changing and have become a moving goal post. Government simply ignoring court orders and ordering businesses to obey government orders and ignore the courts.
Governments legislating a rejection of objective reality by forcing people to pretend that men can become women and women can become men simply by stating that they have done so. And anyone who questions that rejection of verifiable reality being demonized, fired, punished, forced out of society and in some cases arrested. Pornography being more and more widely provided in elementary schools and if a parent attempts to read portions of these books at a school board meeting they are cut off, ejected or even arrested for obscenity. The Federal government aiding in the persecution of parents who object to the treatment of their children.
A complete collapse of national borders not just here in the U.S. but increasingly in all of the industrialized world. The world that generates the wealth that feeds most of the rest of the world and provides the relief and aid and medical care those other countries lack. Yet the massive migration will not provide wealth and benefit to the waves of migrants but simply impoverish and collapse the countries they depend on for assistance. And far from trying to halt the growing waves of people the governments of those very nations are actively aiding and encouraging the migration which they must know will destroy their societies.
The Rule of Law is collapsing. Increasingly cities and states are simply "decriminalizing" behavior like theft to the extent that in some cities businesses are closing because they cannot sustain profitability due to open theft that the legal system will nor prosecute. In some cities violence is no longer policed but simply tolerated to the point that some cities have become simply lawless wastelands where businesses cannot survive and people cannot leave their homes after dark. And even while the government will not protect them the People in those cities are denied the ability to protect or defend themselves.
The Global Supply Chains are collapsing. Intricately connected and intertwined industries are beginning to fail because one or more critical component in the supply chain is no longer available. Food shortages are beginning to occur. Farmers in several industrialized nations are increasingly desperate to place orders for fertilizers for next Springs crops and finding that that no one will take their orders because fertilizer plants are shutting down due to rising energy prices or a shortage of materials. The large food surpluses traditionally produced by the Western countries which go to feed much of the rest of the world are not going to be there next year... which will in turn increase the flood of migrants fleeing their own economically failed countries.
Social Order is increasingly fragmenting into smaller and smaller groups of people with shared interests almost like Tribal societies. Worse these "Tribes" are increasingly battling with one another over competing and often mutually exclusive issues such as education, housing, voting, crime, and a host of issues on which there is less and less (and in some cases no) common ground. Our "leaders" are not only failing to slow this societal fragmentation but actively encouraging and fostering it to the point that different "Tribes" (and often our leaders as well) are demonizing and dehumanizing one another to a degree where open violence and warfare between them is probably close.
This is not an issue of politics or religion or one national consciousness or another. It's not a matter of the precise form of government or which party is in power. This is some kind of universal madness that has gripped the entire world in the last few years. I don't know what the cause is. I certainly don't know the solution.
What I do I know is the consequences of it which are increasingly clear all around us.
Personally I'm moving as quickly as practical towards as much self sufficiency as possible. I tilled another field last weekend and applied lime to get it ready for Spring planting. I'm slowly increasing my stock of fertilizer and seed stock and I'm working on developing winter greenhouse crops. I'm soon going to start more robust and serious composting. I'm increasing my fuel storage for both the generators and the tractor. I'm increasing maintenance of the tractor attachments and other agricultural equipment. The first free afternoon I have I'm pulling the wood stove from where it's stored in the barn and checking it over to be sure it's ready to reassemble and and that I have the materials to install it if needed.
I'm printing out and binding more of the books from the Library that I think will be useful here.
I don't expect this spreading insanity to subside any time soon so all any of us can do is prepare for it the best we can.
EVEN WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT!!!
A new article about the consequences of a severe Solar Storm points out that the consequences are even worse than we ever imagined.
Worse than the worldwide collapse of the power grid.
Worse than the collapse of industrial civilization
Worse than the death of 90%+ of the worlds population.
A severe Solar Storm could cause....... wait for it........ a GLOBAL INTERNET OUTAGE!!!!
No Texts. No Browsers. No Instagram or Facebook. No Twitter. No TikTok. No YouTube
I guess all those other consequences don't matter anyway. Because without the Internet... well life is just not worth living is it?
NEW WARNING ABOUT CYCLE 25
Another article warning about the activity level of the current Cycle 25. One of the current sunspots has already thrown out a G class and an X class flare. Fortunately neither is large enough to cause any serious problems. But definitely something to keep an eye on.
With the current solar observation system we would at least have some warning of a Carrington Event level flare.
X1 CLASS FLARE ON FRIDAY
There's an X1 Class CME which should give the Earth a glancing blow tomorrow (10/29). It's not intense enough to do much damage but if you live in northern latitudes you might get to see some Northern Light son the northern horizon.
The Carrington Event of 1859 is estimated to have been and X15 Class flare. That's the one that set telegraph wires on fire and caused Northern Light as far south as the Southern US.
This same sunspot popped off an M Class flare no to long ago so it's a particularly active one.
We got lucky this time as we have several times in recent years.
SUPPLY CHAINS FRAGILITY
I've spoken frequently over the years about how fragile our supply infrastructure is. These days the catch phrase is "Supply Chains" but that's a misnomer in one significant sense. We generally think of "chains" as something strong and robust like the chains on my tractor that I use to drag trees.
The reality is it's more like a huge pile of Jenga blocks 10 feet high and the end users (us) are at the top. Our supplies, food, electricity, cars, and all other goods are dependent on the layers of blocks beneath us. If you've ever played Jenga you know it doesn't take the removal of too many blocks before the entire edifice crashes down on the table.
That's fun when it's a game. It's not so much fun when it's our food and electricity and gasoline and car parts and clothing and fertilizer. But that's exactly what's happening. More and more blocks are being removed... one after another. The question that confronts us is just how many can be removed.
A good example is the automobile industry which is dependent on Magnesium in order to use Aluminum and 85% of the world's Magnesium comes from China which has drastically reduced Magnesium production.
The result could be a complete shutdown of automobile production before the end of the year. The US Magnesium producers might be able to increase production enough and if that was the only shortage being faced in Detroit it would be great. However they still face labor shortages, chip shortages among others.
The Jenga tower is getting rickety and starting to wobble a bit...
POSSIBLE G2 CME VISITING EARTH TODAY
There's the possibility (about 35%) of a G2 class CME hitting Earth today. While not an X-Class flare comparable to Carrington it could cause some localized power outages in some locations.
Not a major threat by any means but good to know. If you are in the high latitudes, like the upper couple hundred miles of the US, you might get to see some Aurora lights this evening.
GRID DOWN IN LEBANON
Lebanon in the Middle East is in a grid down situation due to the country's two power plants shutting down from lack of fuel. Much of the country is without power and it's not from an accident or attack or systemic failure. At least not a failure of the physical infrastructure.
There are serious problems with worldwide supply chains due to many factors. Much of the world is experiencing fuel problems for energy production as well. The energy fuel supply problem has many fathers as well.
Oh top of that Lebanon's has ongoing economic problems and all those factors together have created a perfect storm for the battered country where they simply cannot buy enough fuel to keep power flowing. Lebanon has faced regular blackouts for some time due to the economic crisis but it's come to a head now with a complete shutdown of power production in much of the country.
This winter you can increasingly expect to see similar situations in major Western countries from lack of fuel and overreliance on "green" energy that has proven itself to be unreliable at best from the vagaries of Nature.
EMP AND "GREEN" ENERGY
And engineer who is a friend of mine pointed out something I should have wigged on long ago. And that is the problems that "Green" Energy creates in relation to a possible EMP event.
If you travel in Europe or some parts of the U.S. you will see parts of the countryside replete with windmills all churning away producing electricity. It's takes a LOT of windmills to produce the same power as a single coal/gas/nuclear power plant.
There are a lot of issues of Wind and Solar power as a viable industrial power source but one issue that has not been raised or discussed is the effect an EMP would have on all of these "green" power sources.
It's a given than a Solar EMP of the scale of the Carrington Event (X15 or in that range) would destroy most transformers on the power grid and the electronics that manage and control the power plants. So recovering from such an even would require replacing those transformers AND replacing the fried electronics in the power plant.
In the case where there are hundreds of windmills providing that power you would have to replace the electronics of hundreds of windmills (almost all made in China).
So the options is rebuild ONE powerplant or rebuild HUNDREDS of windmills made on the other side of the world whose software you don't possess and whose hardware you do not have the manufacturing capacity for anyway.
A coal or gas power plant is actually pretty simple in it's basics and those basics haven't changed in a hundred years or more. Burn something to produce heat. Heat water to make steam. Use steam to turn turbines. Use turbines to turn generators to make a LOT of power.
I suspect a group of competent engineers could refit a coal or gas power plant to run with mechanical controls. Would be a significant challenge but ultimately I suspect they could do it. A single coal power plant running even at low efficiency could produce enough power to give a small region a significant upper in rebuilding.
The more windmills there are the less likely it is that the power grid could be restored after an EMP.
BONESHAKERS. BICYCLES THROUGH THE AGES
Interesting article on a new book on bicycles with a some fascinating pictures of some of them.
Thought everyone would enjoy this one.
On another note about a totally different subject... Anyone else notice that Mountain House #10 cans are in short supply and frequently either out of stock or backordered?
EVEN WORSE THAN A THE GRID DOWN SCENARIO?
Ran across this and had to laugh a bit at it. It's actually meant quite seriously and the consequences of it would actually be pretty bad for the economy. Though considering what's happening to the economy anyway these days I'm not sure it wouldn't just be another bump in the road.
But the gist is that an EMP not powerful enough to take out the power grid could still take out the internet for weeks, months or longer.
Imagine that... No Internet. To some people I imagine the thought of that is worse than the loss of the power grid, global death and destruction and a multi-generational effort to rebuild civilization. No Tik Tok, No Twitter, No Facebook, No Texting...
To Paraphrase Hamlet...."Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished."
The BOOK OF THE FARM PRINT SET AVAILABLE
I've added the Print Set for The Book of the Farm to the site shop.
Again this morning I had to refund an order for the printed set of the Book since shipping to the country of the buyer was exorbitant and absurd.
This is the same full Print Set I use to print the book when I'm producing copies of it. Read the description in the shop for more details. I simply send them to one of my duplex printers and each resulting volume can be picked up from the printer and set into the binder.
Anyone with some printer expertise can print them using manual duplexing and binding them can be as simple a putting them into a three ring binder. Alternately you can take them to a local copy/print shop and have them bound probably inexpensively.
Since the Print Set files are on a Flash Drive it can be sent inexpensively anywhere in the world.
HUNKER DOWN NOW
It's time to start hunkering down and activating your initial emergency plans. It's about to get real.
Australia has gone full blown totalitarian in every sense of the word. Now the U.S. has imposed Vaccine mandates. If the government has the authority to impose universal personal medical mandates without being successfully challenged then they have the authority to mandate whatever they choose.
The supply chains in the U.S. are already fragile and becoming more so daily. Look in your local grocery store and see how many brands and products are missing from the shelves. See how many items are merely a single row at the edge of the shelf with nothing behind them.
If you have a garden expand it. If you don't have one then make one.. NOW. If you don't have a yard then buy containers and potting soil.
Right now a significant percentage of people are quitting their jobs in many industries rather than submit to vaccine mandates. Many hospitals are understaffed due to medical personnel quitting.
The government is openly talking about vaccine mandates for interstate travel.
WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN WHEN TRUCK DRIVERS QUIT OVER MANDATES? WHAT'S GOIN TO HAPPEN WHEN RAILROAD PERSONNEL DO?
Every grocery store is 3 days away from being empty. The stock rooms in grocery stores are not storage rooms but simply staging areas for items as they come off the trucks and are moved to shelves. The trucking industry is already stretched thin with a severe shortage of drivers. If even a small percentage of drivers quit over vaccine mandates it's questionable whether the trucking industry can cope. All it will take is for just one part of the supply chain to break for that single failure to cascade and cause many others.
There is no relief in sight in the near term. Even if you naively believe that next years mid-term elections will somehow change the situation you have to survive for more than a year before then.
I'm currently planning to expand our garden to a crop field. I'll be liming a good sized area later this month to be ready for spring planting of some serious food crops. We have sufficient supplies for the winter even if things get difficult in the stores. But come Spring I'm going to be putting in food crops.
If you don't have food supplies for the winter then start buying them NOW while they are still available. Beans and rice are cheap and nutritious and store easily. (A 50 lb bag of beans or rice is $15 to $30 depending on the area in which you live.) Instant potato flakes are cheap and can flesh out a simple soup or stew significantly. Canned meats of various kinds are not particularly cheap but a single can of chicken or other meat is enough to make a large pot of soup or season rice and/or beans. Corn meal is inexpensive and is the base for various kinds of breads with few additional ingredients. Powdered milk is actually getting hard to find any more buy if you see any buy it especially if you have children.
And bottles of multivitamins. While survival foods are not great as a long term diet you can live on them quite a while if you are taking a good multiple vitamin. The vitamins will help make up for some missing nutrients and enhance the nutrition that is available.
Do as you think best but personally I'm expecting the situation to get a lot worse before it gets better. So I'm taking actions now that I think will be necessary to survive the coming year.
30 DAYS OR MORE WITHOUT ELECTRICITY
My heart goes out to the people in Louisiana. They are looking at possibly 30 days or more before electricity can be restored. Except for a few very well prepared and supplied individuals and groups pretty much the entire region is going to have be evacuated and it will be a long time before people can return. I suspect a lot of people won't return at all.
Multiple primary power line transmission towers have collapsed and will have to be completely rebuilt before the main feeder lines can be repaired. In the areas of the lower voltage lines beyond the substations there's not electricity to pump gas or water and the few emergency generators available do not have fuel for 30 days or more. These areas are going to have to be evacuated entirely.
In those areas there will be little or no police presence. There will undoubtedly be rampant looting and the safety of the repair crews is a serious question. I suspect most will not want to go into unsecured areas without some security guarantees. It may require a significant National Guard presence to even provide enough security for repairs to be made.
Fortunately for the people who can evacuate the regions outside of the affected area have power and a functioning infrastructure. Were this an EMP event there would be no place to go because the entire country would be like Louisiana is right now.
Please keep the people of Louisiana in your prayers.
We've probably all spoken about "societal collapse" in the context of possible scenarios leading to a failure of Western Society and throwing people back into forced self sufficiency but I don't think any of us really expected to see it in our lifetime or knew what it would look like.
But it's happening. In Portland different groups of political Storm Troopers like Hitler's Brownshirts are clashing in the streets and engaging in gun battles. Antifa and Proud Boys. Doesn't really matter what their ideology is except that they both believe open violence in the streets against their opponents is an acceptable way to foster their agenda.
At the same time the Portland Police, whose job is to maintain order and enforce the Law, states that they will no intervene in the clashes between the groups.
The government is ceding control of the streets to armed violent groups and does not intend to maintain order or enforce the Law.
That is pretty much a textbook definition of "Societal Collapse" to me. And it's clearly not just Portland. The shootings and homicide rates are skyrocketing in most large U.S. cities. 44 shot, 7 killed in Chicago over the weekend. Every weekend it seems to get a little worse.
This is NOT the normal behavior of a civilized and organized nation. This is the behavior of a nation moving into the active phase of a collapse of social order after the abandonment of the Rule of Law.
BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF HISTORY
I've spent a lot of time in my life studying the history of the 1900s, particularly WWI and WWII. The world in which I grew up was largely shaped by those wars since my parent's and grandparent's generations had lived through them, participated in them and it colored the way they perceived and interacted with the world.
But there was always something I did not truly understand or grasp until now. I always wondered how in the spring of 1914 or days of 1938, 1940 and 1941 how people could see what was happening and simply sit back and allow it to happen.
Surely at least some in positions of leadership could see the consequences of what what happening? Surely everyone could see where the insanity, the divisiveness, the anger were leading? Surely everyone could see how the insanity gripping the world was going to lead to devastation, destruction, horror and chaos in a grand scale?
But now I understand.
Because I'm watching the same thing happen to the world today. There is almost nothing going on that you can't find direct parallels for in the lead up to WWI or the collapse of the world order leading to WWII.
The collapse of society and social order. The increasing tensions if not outright hatred between nations. The growing balkanization and tribalism within countries as more and more groups segregate themselves ideologically and see everyone else as their enemy egged on by those who profit from the division either financially or politically. The demonization of specific segments of the population by the governments themselves as Enemies or Threats.
In the U.S. the Unvacinated are a Danger to everyone else and should be punished, restricted, rounded up. Those who believe the election was overthrown by fraud or oppose Covid measures or even celebrate religious holidays are openly labeled as Potential Terrorists by their own government. Sound familiar? Read about 1940 Germany.
While I haven't studied it that extensively I would not be surprised to see the same things in the buildup to the Civil War in the 1800s.
None of this is going to end well. And just like in those two historical periods no one can or will do anything to stop it. It is as if some kind of Great Collective Madness grips the human race periodically and leads it to tear down it's own civilization and run headlong down paths into darkness and destruction. Or perhaps it is a buildup of stress from trying to deal with an increasingly complex world that eventually explodes at everything around.
The difference is that the consequences of such wars today will be very different. Between Nuclear and EMP weapons, Cyber warfare and Biological weapons I don't think the world will come out of the next war retaining the ability to recover as after past wars. There won't be any "winner" left to rebuild the rest of the world in their own image. What remnants are left, if any, will likely be easy picking for folks such as the Taliban who despise modern civilization anyway.
But understanding comes with a price. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Or perhaps not bliss but one sleeps more peacefully sometimes not knowing.
NO NEED TO WAIT FOR EMP
Doesn't appear there is any need to wait for an EMP to cause the collapse of society. We've apparently decided to do it ourselves.
An American University is spending thousands of dollars to move a 70 ton boulder because....
wait for it...
the rock is Racist.
That is the level of insanity gripping the country today.
I used to fear that we were opening the gates to let the barbarians in. I think the barbarians have run away.
The gates were opened. They saw the insanity gripping the people inside the gates and fled in fear.
So I'm just focusing on expanding our garden and becoming more self sufficient. God knows we're all going to have to soon enough.
Meanwhile I'm gathering books for a new Category.. Children's Books. There are a fair number of books in the Library for teaching and educating children but none specifically FOR children like fables and fairy tales and the like. Trying to put together a decent selection of books like that to read to children or for younger children to read themselves.
And thanks for the suggestion Guy. (his name not just a generic).
BAD NEWS, GOOD NEWS
................. THE GOOD NEWS
There is an intriguing recent study out that shows that the Earth's Surface Impedance can significantly mitigate the effects of an EMP. Induced
magnetic fields flow through the ground and can then naturally affect electrical systems through the grounding connection. The study suggests that the effects of that ground induced current may vary dramatically depending on the ground' actual impedance value.
The conclusion that begs is that in the case of an EMP the effects on electrical systems and electronics could be devastating in one area and much less so in another. However they were considering the effects of a nuclear EMP, not a solar EMP caused by a massive Coronal Mass Ejection such as a Carrington Event. Whether the phenomenon described in the paper applies equally to a solar induced EMP is another question entirely. But it does (possibly?) suggest that possibly some regions could be less severely affected.
(Keep in mind the study was done using computer models and as the last few decades and years have shown computer models have a astronomically high less of uncertainty and even basic value.)
The study link is https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1029/2021EA001792 for those who care to dig through the math
................. THE BAD NEWS
Turns out that a recent study suggests that the likelihood of a powerful geomagnetic storm is likely double what we have always believed.
By digging through old records, turning lots of recorded measurements from many sources into digital data which could be processes and analyzed as a whole the conclusion was that extreme solar storm were much more common that previously believed.
The article in Space Weather is at https://spaceweatherarchive.com/2021/04/08/the-chance-of-storms-just-doubled/
A link to the actual study is in the first paragraph and it makes for some chilling reading.
For many years I had hoped, as did many people, that the government once alerted to the potential catastrophic consequences of a Solar EMP on the scale of the Carrington Event would allocate a small and quite measly piece of the Federal budget to mitigate those consequences and ensure a much higher number of people would survive. And as importantly that enough of the infrastructure could be protected to provide those survivors with a much easier task of rebuilding.
And we're talking about people like Newt Gingrich, Dr. Bill Forstchen, White House Scientific Advisors and many other influential and highly respected men and women in the scientific and government worlds.
Alas there are too many political crises, real and manufactured, usurping the political and societal will. And the number of crises appears to be increasing almost daily.
Between the spreading breakdown of order in many cities, accelerating balkanization of the country into smaller and smaller warring, bickering groups, increasing polarization, demonization and dehumanization of opponents and many organizations and businesses trying to suppress any and all speech or discussion with which they disagree... little things like the survival of humanity and the potential for the survivors of humanity to be thrown into another Dark Age by a natural event are too trivial to even merit thought or consideration.
So the bottom line is that none of the instrumentalities we created and fund to address such large scale problems are going to do anything to help.
Each and every one of us is completely reliant on ourselves and our immediate family to prepare to meet such an event. Don't look for help elsewhere. All of the "elsewhere" are too bust vying for power and political advantage in the immediate here and now
Haven't had time to post much recently. Been rebuilding the server to consolidate the hardware and make life simpler. I'm all about life being simpler.
But sometimes it takes a lot of work to simplify.
FIRST X-CLASS FLARE OF SOLAR CYCLE 25
Small one to be sure (just an X 1.5) but an X-Class nonetheless.
Looks like it's going to be an active Cycle.
BOOKS FOR BOYS AND GIRLS CATEGORY ADDED
I just added a new Category in the first column of the Main Library Index.
It's called Books for Boys and Girls. Obviously in the period during which most of these books were written the perception was that Boy's activities were completely different from Girls activities. So the majority of them are titled "Boys Book of ...." Interestingly a few included girls in the titles but that is very much an exception.
The books are mostly primers on a wide range of subjects from science to engineering to agriculture to biology and a lot of just practical skills like hunting. They were designed to introduce young people to science and technology and skills.
A few are more philosophical in nature such as How to Be a Man 1847 or Life Questions of High School Boys 1908. These are the fairly common books from those periods that provided moral guidance and lessons on how to become an upstanding person worthy of Respect. A lot of the terminology and concepts are obsolete and even foreign in today's society such as Honor, Virtue. Morality, Self Reliance but in world trying to rebuild those characteristics of human beings will likely reappear as being necessary to build and maintain successful communities.
While they were written for young people that does not make them any less valuable for adults. Most adults who have grown up in the modern world actually have very exposure to many of the basics of our technology. Things like totally mechanical car engines, discrete electronic circuits, manual farming methods, even hunting and fishing.
For many people these basic books can be quite valuable. Just as an example, someone who has never worked on or even encountered a totally mechanical engine with no electronics would be at a serious disadvantage if they had to try to build such engines from scratch. Some of us who are older remember engines before electronics and having to manually tune and repair or even make parts for totally mechanical engines. Most people under 50, unless they are antique car hobbyists, don't.
In world that has to essentially start from scratch rebuilding after the collapse of our modern infrastructure there are a lot of very fundamental and basic skills that will have to be relearned. For people who grew up in the modern technological world these books can provide a leg up into some of the more advanced technology books in the library.
HANDY FOOD METRICS
I've run across these metrics before as I'm sure some of you have. But they remain good information to have handy for planning.
Just as important or perhaps even more important once past the initial stages of an emergency or collapse or EMP they give you some goals and metrics for farming. In novels and movies the heroes always "plant crops" or "set up a garden" but they are always a bit vague on what was planted and how much.
These metrics are useful for planning food stores ahead of time but just as import they provide the metrics for how much food of various types you need to grow or hunt or harvest or raise to provide for yourself and your family.
Assuming you can farm and successfully store these amounts you would be in good shape. Of course storing food using older techniques is not as certain as many modern methods. Vacuum bags are great... assuming you have access to an unlimited supply of bags and electricity. When depending on farming in a post electrical world the food preservation techniques are different and will likely take some time to master. So assume a lot of spoilage until the techniques are mastered.
Still these metrics provide some hard targets against which any planned farming must be measured. If you do spend any time thinking about how you'd handle a post collapse life then consider how much land is required to grow say 100 lbs of beans along with the other types of crops. What amount of seed stocks would you need? When would the various crops need to be planted? What are the growing requirements and how much of that crop would need to be set aside for the next year's seed stock? How do you harvest and prepare seed for various types of crops? (Trust me. That last one is not as simple as it sounds.)
So some useful metrics to use for emergency preparation and for planning post collapse agriculture.
Going to throw this one out as something perhaps a little off the wall but as something having quite impressive potential
Some of you may already be fully aware of the technology but I just ran across it this week. To me it appears to be a very useful technology to have in a faraday cage for After-Collapse radio capability.
It's called Software Defined Radio or SDR for short. It is essentially a barebones single board radio receiver that does nothing but RECEIVE signals and passes it to a computer which does all of the more sophisticated signal processing functions. The latter is the bulk of what makes up radios and is responsible for their complexity and expense.
The SDR is just a small device that plugs into a USB port on the computer and from which a cable runs to whatever antenna you connect to it. You can buy one for like the RTL-SDR for just over $20 from Amazon and even cheaper from other sources. There are more sophisticated and capable ones that are more expensive but as a starting unit you can't beat the RTL-SDR. Just search for that term on Amazon or Ebay.
Most of the software you use to operate it is free. There is at least one paid software suite which I have not even looked at seriously yet but there are about half a dozen fully functional free ones.
A good place to start looking into the technology is https://www.rtl-sdr.com/about-rtl-sdr/
You can easily find other sites quickly enough and at first they can be somewhat confusing but the basic concepts are the same regardless.
There are several different free software packages so the entry cost of all this is very low. Much of what you can do with it depends on the antenna you use and that is an entire science in itself. But a good all around type called a discone can be bought for well under $100 dollars. Just search that term and you'll quickly find a lot of options.
All that being said this is not what is commonly called "user friendly" technology. It's very much a hobbyist technology at this point.
It assumes a reasonable level of proficiency with computers, installing drivers, configuring software. On the radio side most of the software appears to have been written by hams and radio enthusiasts so they do little handholding and assume at least a basic knowledge of radio technology.
The learning curve can be a bit daunting at first but even one evening spent tinkering with it impressed me no end. What it comes down to is a basic laptop, a $20 usb device and an inexpensive antenna can basically create a radio that can receive pretty much any radio signal that exists and allow you to use a computer to process the signal in ways you could not do with the dials on a radio.
A serious high end radio that could produce the same results is probably pushing the hundreds if not thousands of dollars range.
I have an older portable Zenith Trans Oceanic "Communications Receiver" as they were called. It dates from the days of plug in can transistors and is seriously heavy with a solid steel frame that can make a dent in a car if dropped. But it is one of the best shortwave and general radio receivers of it's time. I used it decades ago before the internet to listen to shortwave radio all over the world. My couple of hours tinkering with the SDR showed me that that $20 SDR appears to be able to do more than my old Zenith and quite a bit more as well.
So an inexpensive advanced technology that could be a useful tools for some time after a Collapse.
Bottom line is an older laptop you've replaced, some free software, a $20 usb SDR and a $50 antenna tucked away in a Faraday cage could provide a viable alternative to a several hundred or thousand dollar radio receiver.
p.s. A good YouTube SDR intro video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWeWALpmtQQ
MIMEOGRAPH CATEGORY ADDED
Thanks goes out to to Wendy who found several of these books which I had not been able to track down as well as other sources of information on the subject.
Most folks over 50 remember the smell of mimeographed sheets in school which was the common way to mak copies before Xerox machines became ubiquitous. Some of you may remember actually running the machines.
Basic procedure as I remember it was type the sheet on a typewriter and perhaps add some drawings by hand. Then mount the stencil in the mimeograph machines, fill up the ink and other mediums in the machines then start turning the crank to crank out copies. The quality of the copies deteriorated fairly quickly but for general purposes they were perfectly adequate though I'm still pissed about getting marked wrong on some arithmetic quizzes because the number 8 looked like a 3 on the copy I was given.
Nonetheless as an alternative to typesetting and mechanical presses they would be a real boon to a community given their ability to quickly reproduce printed material.
The two Rex O Graph books are particularly interesting since one is an instruction manual on how to use it and the other is a catalog of the parts of the machine with at least an illustration of every part making up the machine. While the detailed specs aren't there from looking at it I honestly believe that with some tinkering you could build one of the machines from scratch with that book of pictures.
So a limited amount of material on the subject because for some reason no one wrote much about the subject that I can find and I've been looking for years with little success. But still it might be enough that someone with some serious tinkering skill could recreate the technology.
There are also a few links at the bottom to sites with more information on the subject of mimeographing for anyone who wants to pursue more knowledge on the subject.
THE AWESOMENESS OF STEAM POWER
Ran across this older video which I have seen before but thought I'd share it. While the process of starting the engine and the information about it is interesting what is really awesome is watching it plow a field toward the end of the video and the power it displays.
SOLAR CYCLE 25 GETTING LIVELY
More signs that Solar Cycle 25 which is headed towards its peak in the next several years is going to be a lively one.
Couple of days ago the sun tossed out 12 C and M class flares in a single day.
The CMEs won't hit the Earth until the 25th and don't pose any significant threat. But its becoming apparent this is going to be a very active Cycle. The next several years will be interesting.
It's what some call the "slow collapse". Rather than the sudden, catastrophic, overnight collapse as we saw when the Soviet+ Union went under or like Britain when Rome withdrew it's Legions what we're seeing in the Western World is what's called a slow collapse. Sort of like what Rome went through but in their case it was stretched out over about a century.
Breaking and unraveling supply chains, shortages growing slowly enough that no one panics and just takes each day as normal despite the increasing lack of items on the shelves. When you walk through the aisles of grocery stores they seem at first glance to be full but when you look closer what you'll see if product lined up on the edge of the shelf but little or no product behind that front row. I bought 2 boxes of Cream of Wheat yesterday. Then I saw there were no other boxes behind it at all. A whole section of shelving empty once two boxes were removed. Once I started looking I saw a lot more areas of the store like that. A facade of a few boxes or cans with nothing behind them.
Only a few things completely just stop like the pipeline did last week but those kind of stoppages will be become more and more frequent until they too become the norm. The next one will cause a lot less panic and the one after that. That too will become the norm.
Then one of them will not restart due to damage or it just not being economically practical to do so. And it will only take a few of those before that too become the norm. People will adjust and life will go on.
It comes from lots of causes; societal, political, ideological, religious. But they all contribute their share and there is nothing on the horizon or any trends that appear to be able to change any of them radically.
Now a new one creeping in that few notice. The growing shortages of key components that are needed for parts of the industrial and technological infrastructure to even be built or operate.
There has been a growing shortage of the computer chips that are needed to make cars. Most folks have seen references to that. What they don't realize is that those same chips are need to make farming equipment. Think about it. A shortage of farming equipment equals a shortage of food fairly quickly.
Don't expect the government to fix it. I don't really expect business to fix things like that any more either when so many company have openly said that environmental and ideological issues now take precedence.
EARTH'S WEAKENING MAGNETIC FIELD
I've seen references to this subject for the last couple years but not any definitive data as to WHY. But I guess, as this article discusses, the WHY is not as important as the fact that the Earth's Magnetic field HAS weakened over the last few decades.
Could be as simple as the wandering poles which occur regularly or could be some deep, dark conspiracy having to do with secret Russian/Chinese/American/Illuminati weapons being used to ... I don't know.. take over the world or something?
"Let's utterly destroy the world and civilization so we can rule the ruins." Hmmm not sure that works...
Personally I'm inclined to believe the former that it's a perfectly natural phenomenon that we simply don't understand as is the case with so many things in the Universe. But the bottom line is that it doesn't matter.
What matters is that it is weakening for some reason or another which makes the world that much more vulnerable to CMEs and other Solar events. If a Carrington Event level X class storm hits the Earth (rather WHEN one does) the damage is going to be even worse than we expect due to that lessening protection.
Considering that we are now on the ramp up to the more active half of Solar Cycle 25 during the next 3-4 years it's something to keep I mind.
Time to panic? No.
Time to maybe place a bit higher priority on those projects and plans to prepare yourself and your family for the possibility of a Grid down situation?
Yep. So that project to do a bit more gardening, to learn that new skill, maybe pick up a few more handtools when you run across them, maybe do a little more research into resources and historic sites in your areas? All of those and more.
The worst feeling in the world is when you look at a situation and think "Darn! If ONLY I had....."
Much nicer to think "Darn! I'm glad I ...."
ADDED FARMING 2 CATEGORY
I just added some new general Farming Books to a new Category named Farming2. They will eventually get merged into the Farming Category but to make them easier to isolate for those who want to grab all of them I put them in a separate category in the Main Index.
There are a number of books in there that I found particularly interesting.
The Tractor Field book is a nice reference if you were trying to build a tractor for scratch using a very basic steam or internal combustion engine. Tractors of course have a totally different configuration from cars and trucks and unless you are very familiar with them it would likely be hard to know where to start. This book shows a lot of various tractor configurations that were produced industrially and would give someone a good set of starting points for basic configuration which would save a lot of trial and error.
There are two new versions of The Book the Farm. The early 1884 Edition and the 1889 6-Division Edition which is the one I have for sale on the site. It's identical to the 1891 Edition except the normal three volumes are each split into 2 Divisions and bound separately. Having done a lot of reading in the large almost 1000 page each normal volumes, the smaller and thinner 6 Divisions books are a lot easier to handle and read.
Catechism of Practical Agriculture is a kind of companion piece to The Book of the Farm. It's a wide ranging list of Questions about farming that are answered in a sentence or short paragraph but which are covered in much more depth by The Book of the Farm itself. Nice way to test yourself on how much you remembered from reading The Book of the Farm.
The Farmer's Encyclopedia is written by D. Magner who wrote The Art of Taming and Educating the Horse. It contains a fair portion of the information in his book on Horses but also covers a wider range of Farm related subjects which makes it of more general use.
Farm Conveniences is an entire book of handy tools and equipment to make life easier on the farm. Most of them are simple energy and time saving devices of one kind or another. None of them are particularly sophisticated or appear difficult to make and in most cases use simple mechanics to make a task easier or faster. Looking through it I ran across several items and devices that I remember my Grandfather using on his tobacco farm. I imagine they were passed on to him by his father or grandfather who would have been contemporaries of the book's author.
So a wide ranging collection on various Farming related subjects for your reading pleasure.
PIPELINE OPERATIONS RESTARTED AND ALL IS ONCE AGAIN WELL WITH THE WORLD
Yesterday there were lines a quarter mile long at the nearby gas station. I'm sure most of you have seen the video of the female Darwin Award Contestant pumping gasoline into a plastic shopping bag. My wife took a picture of a couple loading about a dozen plastic 5 gallon gas cans ON THEIR SIDES in the back of their SUV. I wonder if they've gotten all the leaked gas out yet?
States of Emergency were declared in several states around the region and more panic buying than we normally see when a Cat 5 hurricane is barreling down on us.
But..... Late this afternoon the Colonial Pipeline was brought back into operation so.... all is forgiven and all is once again right with the world. All the problems have disappeared and in 3-4 days it will all be forgotten and put aside in memory.
A few politicians will make passionate speeches about.... well something to do with the pipeline going down. They'll wax eloquent about what terrible people these hackers are. Their fundraising staff have undoubtedly already prepared and mailed out fundraising letters expressing their politician's outrage and sincere dedication to taking all necessary and prudent action to prevent such an emergency from occurring in the the future... not that any of them have the first clue of what to do about it but it makes a nice fundraising issue and great sound bites.
And the country drops right back into the normalcy bias assuming that it was a mere fluke that 50 of the East Coast fuel supply was vulnerable to some computer geek in Ukraine or Russia with a laptop. The Federal government is already reassuring us that they are doing an evaluation of the vulnerability of other sectors of our energy supplies. (i.e. sending out a questionnaire to the power companies). They might even take major action and appoint a Committee to produce a Report within the next 18-24 months.
One of the folks at the Dept of Energy pointed out that if people had done as they were told and bought electric cars then a fuel shortage wouldn't have been a problem. The head of the Dept of Transportation reassured us that they "understood our concerns" which I'm sure made everyone affected feel ever so much better that their betters in D.C. felt their pain... or at least... understood it.
And a week from now everyone will have forgotten about it and all the computer systems in the energy industry will remain just as vulnerable as they were yesterday... waiting for the next geek with a laptop who barely speaks English to bring down another major segment of the U.S. energy network.
Maybe we'll continue to be lucky and it will just be another pipeline or a refinery and not a big chuck of the power grid.
FRAGILITY OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE
Another lesson this weekend in just how fragile the infrastructure is upon which we all depend. A ransomware attack on one company, a pipeline company, has stopped the flow of almost half of the oil based fuels to the East Coast of the U.S. for four days now and counting. In one sense we should be thankful that it was a pipeline company and not part of the power grid of the East Coast.
Think about that for a moment... half the fuel supply to the Easy Coast shut down by someone sitting in Russia or Ukraine or China with a computer and an internet connection.
And that is not a State entity attacking the U.S.. That is some individual looking to make money.
If a single individual can accomplish that try to imagine what a concerted attack by an adversary or some rogue nation bent on destroying the U.S. or simply inflicting as many casualties as possible would accomplish.
There was a TV series called Battlestar Galactica. One of the little aspects of it was either missed or ignored by most people who watched it. They used analog phones like our old time land line phones to communicate between sections of the ship. The computer systems that managed parts of the ship like the Bridge, Engineering, Flight Ops, etc. were not networked and could not communicate. The Bridge crew relied on verbal reports from Officers in the various divisions to know what was going on.
While otherwise technically sophisticated they intentionally did NOT network any of their system or give their systems any communications capability because that made the entire ship vulnerable to their machine enemies the Cylons. So they traded a small amount of efficiency for security robust systems.
Maybe we need to start thinking about that philosophy in the modern world. Maybe giving up a little efficiency to gain a large measure of safety and security would not be a bad tradeoff considering the magnitude of the consequences of not doing so. Remember any computer connected to the Internet is sitting there where anyone, anywhere in the world, with a computer and an internet connection can poke and prod a it 24/7 to try to find a way in.
GOING TO START IGNORING THE INSANITY AROUND US
Since there's nothing most of us can do about the insanity engulfing the world around us today I'm going to just start ignoring it as far as the Library is concerned. If/When a collapse hits us I'll deal with, like you will, the best I can.
So to the extent possible I'm going to just pretend none of it is occurring and focus on the Library, new books and new print sets for books to add.
I have a couple more sets of the Book of the Farm printed and just have to get them bound.
More updates later this week.
p.s. I'm about half way through the new John Birmingham series End of Days. As a fan of Birmingham I have to say I'm surprisingly disappointed.
First his take on the cause of a collapse, a massive cyberattack that crashes the entire electronic infrastructure of the U.S. is at first fairly believable. About the only thing particularly insightful about it though is his identification of the 4-6 companies that control all food distribution. How a Stuxnet variant somehow "destroys" their facilities is a bit vague since we're talking basically about a bunch of large warehouses. The destruction of the power grid, which is what would render the transportation, communications and logistical systems non-functional, never really gets mentioned and the loss of power is just sort of a background noise. Several times the heroes pull into a town which has no power and refuel at the local gas station.
Second he appears to hold Americans in contempt these days. All of his American characters are either uneducated, ignorant rural bigots or twisted caricatures of non-rural folks. I can't really think of a single character that I would classify as "normal". An obnoxious rich Aussie immigrant, a fowl mouthed, butch, Lesbian chef, a whole body tattooed Vietnamese analyst at the NSC, a disbarred lawyer and former felon who runs a racist podcast, an Army veteran with severe PTSD, a disgraced former London Police officer, an obsessive computer nerd who publishes a financial newsletter, two not very bright or educated single mothers who work at a Dollar General store... and those are the "heroes" of the story. It's honestly hard to feel much empathy for most of these folks. Not sure why he has become so anti-American, since I never saw any signs of that in his past books, but he certainly seems to have done so.
Third unlike his other books which were unique takes on some old themes this one is sort of a run of the mill, stereotypical Post-Apocalypse novel. Society collapses, several sets of characters band together and have to travel cross country to some perceived safe haven encountering bandits and refugees while scavenging for food, fuel and supplies. In the town that seals itself off and has to face food shortages in less than one page they allocate a "flat field" at the edge of town and through some sort of undescribed, magical manual labor it is plowed and planted and a wall built around it in a matter of a couple days while also fending off bandits and hordes of refugees from the city. Honestly if the second volume doesn't improve markedly I'm not sure I'll bother with the third one.
Very disappointing series from an otherwise excellent author.
CONTINUING BREAKDOWN OF RULE OF LAW
The collapse of the Rule of Law in the U.S. continues.
In a major U.S. city the local government has apparently instructed Law Enforcement to NOT extend their jurisdiction into parts of the city which have been seized by mobs/Activists.
Keep in mind the PRIMARY function of government is to provide Security and the enforcement of Law in the are which they are elected to govern. Every other function is secondary. Without physical security and the enforcement of Law there is no and can be no Civilization, only barbarism and anarchy.
Yet this government has abrogated that fundamental responsibility.
If you read the news it is hard to miss numerous stories from all across the country of members of governments from Local level through Federal level who are simply choosing which Laws they will or will not enforce. And it doesn't matter whether it's a "Sanctuary" for Abortion or Gun Rights. It's doesn't matter whether it is a Conservative or a Liberal doing it. Regardless of the position on the political spectrum it is still, fundamentally, an abnegation of the Rule of Law by both the Left and the Right.
Rather than pursing the change of Laws through the Legislatures Mayors and Governors are simply declaring "Sanctuary" Cities and States. It is declared that Laws regarding [xxxxxx] do not apply and will not be enforced. These governments are overtly and consciously declaring they are no longer going to support the Rule of Law in the areas which they govern. That they, as individuals, will pick and choose which Laws will be enforced and which will not.
At the same time they are choosing who will be held accountable to the Laws they are going to enforce and who will not. Political opponents and those who dissent will feel the full force of the law. Friends and allies are exempt.
The Rule of Law is what makes civilization responsible. Without it there is nothing but the Rule of the Strong over the Weak. i.e. who ever has the most guns, battalions, sticks, rocks get to give orders to those who have fewer. It's also called Barbarism.
From everything I see around us today we are moving steadily into a Collapse. It's not completely irreversible at this point but I don't think are far from the point at which is becomes so.
Just ran across a new set of novels from John Birmingham one of my favorite newer authors. He's written several provocative and thought provoking novels and series all which would be considered Science Fiction in their way. One was about the sudden disappearance of 99% of the American population and the effect that event has on the world economically, diplomatically and militarily.
Another started with the same basic premise as the movie from years ago titled Final Countdown where a modern Nimitz class carrier is transported back to the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. The difference is that he transports an entire carrier based battlegroup from our near future to the time of the Battle of Midway and then spends three books considering what the actual social, diplomatic and military effects of such an event would have had in the succeeding years and decades. The military aspects are interesting but it's the social, political and economic dynamics that truly make the story.
Now he has a new series called End of Days which premises a Cyber Attack which spreads worldwide through initial attack and retaliation which essentially destroys the worlds technological infrastructure and results in an affect comparable to a massive Solar EMP. Unlike many "post apocalypse" writers Birmingham does not dwell on the immediate resourceful hero with his trusty AR-15 who fights off the hoards of raiders and bandits to preserve Truth, Justice and the American Way. and Democracy. As in his other books he delves extensively in the social, societal and political effects of such events. The books in the series are Zero Day Code, Fail State and American Kill Switch.
I haven't even started the series yet but just skimming through it reading bits and pieces here and there I suspect it's going to be a thought provoking read.
On a second note. I haven't been posting much the last couple of weeks because I'm in something of a quandary. The event occurring in the U.S. over the last few weeks and months are so profound and disturbing that it's hard to know where to start. Add to that the world's response to the seeming ongoing (and self imposed) collapse of the American Republic and there's little good news out there. The societal and political implosion of the United States has emboldened some state actors to the point that I fully expect an invasion of Taiwan (a successful one with no effective American intervention) before the end of the year. It will occur certainly before the summer of 2022 and will be followed by further Chinese expansion in the region. Russia's own expansion in the West into territories that used to be part of the old Soviet Union now appears to inevitable as well as there is no one left with the power or will to effectively oppose such expansion.
U.S. cities are rapidly descending into unending chaos and the elected governments of several cities have effectively turned control of their cities over to the mobs. People are fleeing the cities in an accelerating pace seeking refuge in suburbs and rural areas though their safety there will likely be short lived and only temporary. The demographics in the country are changing more rapidly that I have ever seen due to the displacement of various groups from cities and the overwhelming and uncontrolled influx of migrants from all over the world. At this point it's too late to preserve what the U.S. used to be and there is no way of accurately predicting what it's going to become though what it's going to become is not going to be pleasant if even a few of the existing trends continue.
For all it's bumbling around on the world stage and stupid, naive mistakes through the last century and into this one the U.S. since WWII has been a powerful force of stability and relative peace. With the U.S. collapsing into an introverted and isolationist political and social morass there is no one left to contain the pent up ambitions, religious movements and nihilistic ideologies loose in the world. If you thought the wars of the 20th century were bad... you ain't seen nothing yet. The biggest difference is that in the 20th century we didn't quite have the technological capacity to effectively destroy human civilization. We do now and there are certainly people and groups out there who would not hesitate to use that capacity either intentionally or inadvertently.
So there seems like point in commenting on this event or that event occurring in the world today since by the time you think about and assemble a coherent position on some event an even more profoundly disturbing event has occurred.
The one single trend that more than anything else demonstrates the coming demise of the U.S. is the accelerating and spreading behavior of more and more elected officials at all levels of government from the Local Town and City level all the way up to the Federal level who have decided to simply pick and choose, on a personal basis, which Laws they will obey and enforce and which they will simply ignore. When the Rule of Law completely fails in that fashion there is no longer a foundation upon which a civilization can rest. The Rule of Law is all that separates Civilization from Barbarism.
TECHNOLOGICAL INFRASTRUCTURE BOOTSTRAP
This is an example of some of the references I have made in the past about the impossibility of boot strapping a technological infrastructure that has crashed.
The worldwide chip shortage is now making it difficult to get chip making equipment.... which rely on the chips that are in short supply but which are necessary to expand chip making capacity.
While ZeroHedge is not an authoritative source and tends to exaggerate situations what he is reporting does strike to the core of the issue. You can't make chip making machines without those very chips that are in short supply.
With our existing infrastructure that simply creates an extended slowdown that takes some time to catch up and to smooth out the bumps in the supply chains.
In a world trying to rebuild there will be no chip building machines left intact and functional. Without them no one will be making any new chips. Without those no one will be making new computers, control boards and other computer circuitry which would need to be replaced to reboot the technological systems.
So even without a catastrophic event the technological infrastructure is fragile enough that a relatively minor manufacturing problem can wreak havoc on the entire interrelated system and all of the industries dependent on it.
SOLAR EMP MORE LIKELY THAN THOUGHT
Not one of those things I want to hear....
New study shows, once you wade through the verbose verbiage.... that solar storms are twice as probable as we originally thought.
Be nice to get some good news once in a while wouldn't it?
FIRST/SECOND GENERATION BOUNDARY
One of the things that the Library is oriented towards is Long Term (i.e. multi-generational) survival and rebuilding after a collapse that destroys the existing technological and
industrial infrastructure. Whether from a Solar EMP, a manmade one of simply a general economic/social/political collapse.
At one time Rome governed most of the known world and enjoyed a level of sophistication, technological/social/industrial and economic that in many ways rivaled today's world. Yet in a relatively short period of time it collapsed bringing on what has long been referred to as the "Dark Ages" when much of the world fell back into tribalism and anarchy. There's nothing inherent in our existing civilization that prevents something similar. In fact I suspect our current civilization is far more fragile than Rome was considering how dependent we are on the electrical grid and electronic technology.
People who survive that collapse, from whatever cause, will form communities and start to rebuild. That will clearly be a long term, multi-generational undertaking and it will take generations for the world to rebuild to anything comparable to our current world or even the 1800s.
An interesting phenomenon will be that First vs Second generation perspective which will, I suspect, generate some conflict.
The first generation will be those who grew up in our current world. Those who took TV and the internet and automobiles and cable TV and 24/7 shopping for granted. Indoor plumbing and water heaters and unlimited availability of food and clothing and fuel. Physical security provided by professional police and military forces.
They will, by necessity, become accustomed to the new world where you have to grow and preserve your own food or starve. Where clothing is something you make or trade for and is worn for protection not fashion. Where security means protecting your community and family yourself at the very real risk of your own life. Where travel outside the community is something risky and not undertaken lightly without careful preparation and planning. Where caution is mandatory because a severe injury likely means a slow painful death. Where infant mortality again becomes a major issue for families and communities and where a disease outbreak can devastate an entire community.
The Second generation are those who are born or were only very young children at the time of the collapse. These are the people who grow up in the new world and have no conception of the old world except what they hear from the adults around them. As they mature and reach adulthood their perspective on the world is going to be vastly different form those who remember the old.
To them the stories of cars and planes and television and internet and grocery stores and Walmarts are going to be little more than myths, fairy tales and all that silly stuff the "old" people run on about. None of it will matter to them because they have no experience of any of it and to them it will be completely irrelevant and meaningless since there is no possibility of them ever having any of those things themselves.
That radically different perspective and world view between the First and the Second generation is going to widen as the Second generation reaches adulthood and begins to take power and become the majority.
That boundary event, the Second Generation taking power and assuming the leadership of communities and families, is when many of the existing moral and ethical values are going to shift radically.
Values that makes sense in today's society may or may not survive the initial collapse but it's a given that many won't. The education of that Second generation will be more critical than any later generation since it will be the boundary event between today's civilization and what comes after it. Many value that will be maintained by that6 First generation will not be ones that actually contribute to survival but simply values that survived because no one ever questioned them. Those will disappear along with that first generation.
An analogy might help.
Many think that the legends and tales of King Arthur stem from the attempts of ancient Britons to maintain civilization in England after Rome abandoned the island as it began to collapse inward. That the stories recount the attempts to maintain that civilization without the Roman technical, industrial and political infrastructure that suddenly fell apart. Arthur ultimately failed and England fell into a period of barbarism and invasion and turmoil that lasted centuries. Only the stories remained.
A lot of the tales of Arthur embody that falling away from the Roman laws, ideal, morals and social infrastructure.
Whether something similar will occur after a collapse of our civilization is completely in the hands of the First Generation and how they educate the Second generation. Whether that can be avoided I have no idea. Honestly I doubt it based on historical precedent.
Ultimately after the collapse of Rome only the Byzantine Empire maintained anything even remotely resembling the sophistication of Rome. However it fell into a different kind of collapse of internal strife and politics that kept it from restoring the civilization from which it sprung. It turned inward much as modern America has.
A new civilization that grew in Europe ultimately replace the Byzantine Empire as well. I suspect something similar will happen once our civilization falls and the wellspring of it will be that boundary event between the First and Second generation.
WOOD MAGAZINE REMOVED
I've removed the Wood Magazine Category from the Library.
When it was originally added it was polled from, if I remember correctly, archive.org and it was marked as being in the Public Domain. I assumed that they were a public enough and well known enough source that if they had it labelled as Public Domain it was, in fact, in the Public Domain.
I just found out yesterday that it is not and is still in Copyright. So it has been removed and the files deleted from the repository.
On the plus side that frees up a little room on the Flash Drives for the new material I'll be adding shortly.
SUPPLY CHAIN FRAGILITY
Over the years I've pointed out various points at which the world's industrial infrastructure is fragile and why that should concern everyone. This week's Suez Canal problem is just another one.
A single ship seemingly poorly piloted has managed to jam itself in the canal preventing traffic in the canal until it can be freed.
One Twelfth of the world's maritime traffic passes through the canal which is now closed. That means much longer and more dangerous trips around the tip of Africa putting additional strain on the ships, using much more fuel and taking much longer.
There is no redundancy. There is no backup. Yet another Single Point of Failure.
Fortunately it's not rocket science and they will get the ship back afloat and moving relatively soon. In the meantime ships and their captains and owners sit and ponder whether to continue waiting sit or to change course and head south to round Africa. This particular failure is relatively easy to fix. Not all would be.
But just another reminder that we live in a world dependent on massively complex and extremely fragile infrastructure which can be broken by simple negligence.
TUDOR MONASTERY FARM SERIES
Some of you may remember Victorian Farm the BBC series about running a farm for a year using The Book of the Farm as the reference book.
The same 3 historians have done a different series called Tudor Monastery Farm. It was actually made several years ago but it is now available in the US on Amazon Prime for those who have access to that. I think it's available on Apple TV and could be one some other streaming services.
Here's a link to some background information on it.
Or you can just search for it on whatever search engine you use.
There's no real single source for the techniques they use like The Book of the Farm in Victorian Farm. The knowledge seems to be gleaned from a variety of sources from the time period. It's a more primitive level of subsistence farming but there are still some good pieces of information in it for those who have access to the series.
THE ART OF TAMING AND EDUCATING THE HORSE 1884
The 3 volume set of D. Magner's The Art of Taming and Educating the Horse 1884 is posted and available on the site.
BACK TO IMPORTANT STUFF
The 3 volume sets of The Art of Taming and Educating the Horse 1884 will be posted for sale later today for anyone interested.
I had originally planned t make it a 2 volume set but at over 1100 pages even 2 volumes resulted in very thick and unwieldy volumes so I broke it into 3. I edited the original TOC for each volume to reflect the contents of the volume and broke it on Chapter breaks. I added (Volume x of 3) to the Title page and duplicated the entire Index at the end of each volume.
For those who are under some misapprehension... I'm not a nice person. I'm old and grumpy and downright mean some of the time. I have little patience with people and find I have less every year. I'm an ex-cop, ex-mercenary, ex-diesel mechanic, firearms instructor, concealed carry instructor, woodworker, beekeeper, book binder and above all else a Survivor. Been married three times. My father is in his 90s and lives in the mountains of Northern Idaho. Compared to him I'm a sweet, humble, shy submissive sissy man.
I operate the Library because I find the material interesting. If you do also that's fine. If you find it offensive that's fine too. I suspect the people who will survive something like an EMP are not very nice people either. The nice people will get eaten early on.
In the aftermath of a collapse if I capture a looter or rapist or raider I won't debate the morality of their actions or what made them like they are. I won't ask them "Why?" The only conversation I might have with them is if I need information from them and I guarantee they will tell me anything and everything I want to know. Then I'll simply kill them and make sure the body is dumped far enough away not to be a disease hazard. And I will feel no remorse whatever nor lose any sleep.
Given that, if I say something that offends you... then... you are offended. It's not a problem for me whatever. If you don't like what I say then put your fingers in your ears and go "LA LA LA" or better yet just go away and hang out with people like you. Life is too short to worry whether other people like what you say or get their feelings hurt because you didn't address them by the pronoun of their choice.
MY preferred pronoun by the way is Most Gracious Lord High Emperor of the Known Universe...(Your Royal Highness is sufficient for friends). Use my preferred pronoun and I might... MIGHT... try to avoid offending you. Actually no. I won't. Anyone who knows what "preferred pronoun" mean is going to be offended by my mere existence. Too bad.
MORE UPDATES (updated with the rest of the conversation)
I got the print sets for The Art of Taming and Educating the Horse 1884 finished finally. It took several tries to get the cover and bindings setting correct for it but after several tries I ended up with a good set. The biggest problem were the large illustrations in the second half of the book since it is replete with detailed drawings of horse anatomy. Some of them were large enough to bleed off the edge of the page when the finished book was trimmed. Those I either shifted or just reduced slightly to eliminate the problem. I have several more sets printed but did not get a chance to bind them over the weekend. Was at the farmhouse up in a hundred year old sycamore with a chain saw trimming large branches threatening power lines, the roof and the road in front of the house. I'll have them bound and posted in the next couple days.
Now for your viewing enjoyment here is a recent exchange with someone via email about what a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Person I am. It's stuff like this that sometimes makes we wonder why I bother running the site and whether or not it actually is a good thing for humanity to survive a Solar EMP in the first place, much less rebuild.
On 3/15/2021 8:36 AM, xxxxx wrote:
Three years hunting and trapping in America... Turner 1888.
I'm not one to judge too harshly the venacular and perspective of English writers when they belittle Americans, especially when the work is non-fiction and there seems to be some truth in their experiences, but the author of this book goes well out of his way to deride most of the American people of which he's in contact and frequently uses the term "ni##er" to describe blacks. That term may have been more commonly used in days gone by as in other old books I've read, however, with greater sensitivity.
You will find Turner's FIRST use of the term on page 3, about line 12 in chapter 2. The author's pompous, self righteous style only reinforces the notion that the term is used not in the course of venacular trend, but rather in a condescending, derogatory spirit. Perhaps Brits were eager then to read negative books about America.
The story is well written grammatically but of minor historical value. The work, I believe, is beneath the goals of your library, which is to support education by ways and means that may seem antiquated but useful; should we be thrown back into the stone age. This book provides nothing usefull in those terms and is likely to disturb some, if not most, contemporary readers; without benefit of gaining important morsals of old world skill or culture.
I recommend this book be dropped from your list soonest.
Unlike most "conteporary" Americans I believe that if you encounter something in a book which you find objectionable then you have the right and privilege of not reading it. I have the same right.
I do not,however, believe that I have the right or the hubris to make that decision for other people and choose what they may or may not read. Taking such action belittles and denigrates the intellect and moral integritystrength of those individuals. It shows a contempt for the people it purports to "protect".
It implies that the person taking such actions believes themselves somehow superior to those who are seen as inferiors who muct be "protected" since they are apparently incapable of protecting themselves. It additionaly implies that the person taking such actions clearly believes that their personal moral and ethical beliefs are superior since they should be enforced on others without bothering to ask those others is they share those moral and ethical beliefs.
I case you don't fully understand my pisition, censoring books or speech is an issue about which I feel very strongly. I reject the modern ideology of peopel who feel themselves superior to others atrtempting to control what others can say or read. I reject that ideology and movement whole heartedly and absolutely without reservations.
On 3/15/2021 10:31 AM, Piers Bridges wrote:
> It's your site, and your right to keep antequated abusive books that veer wildly from your catalog goals, unless, of course, one of your goals is to adopt every page of godless tripe ever published. Btw, I happen to notice that your library contains absolutely no literature which describes visually or textually how to fuck, murder babies, shoot up drugs, make money on the side selling one's body (a profession perfected even before farming), or how to become a eunuch in two easy lessons. You're slipping, or perhaps even great thinkers draw the line somewhere, but I don't see how that might apply in your case.
> You failed to recognize that my letter was merely a recommendation, not a command, and based wholly on reasoning well considered. Yet you took exception with only the thinnest of devices - any censorship is bad censorship... and hashed out every evil, dishonest contrivance abnormal persons think of and slung it where you thought it might stick. Thank god you're not teaching in my child's school... you might have them watching Debbie Does Dallas or reading back issues of Slavery Illustrated.
> Did I ever tell you how repulsed I am by hypocrites?
> In case you dont fully comprehend my position.... you seem arrogant, self absorbed, egotistical, and self righteous today... probably the meds. Perhaps I caught you at a bad time... were you giving your nigger a good whipping, or scratching your naked peanut balls in front of the grandkids again?
> How about publishing our entire conversation on your blog... or would you rather sensor it... AH... I think you'll sensor - just the thing a pretentious,narrow minded hypocrite would do.
> The librarian's sensible librarian.
I'll be happy to publish it. Will do solater today or tomorrow when I'm caught up at work.
Right... that will be the day... and dont give me any opportunity to refute your introduction either.... thats an editors prerogative. Slant the discussion and corrupt the reader. However, I promise to publish this conversation in its entirety as well... my readers will be anxious.
I redacted your name and email address out of courtesy.
I rather you left it in or some lunitic might think I'm in hiding. I have no fear of evil and invite any and all constructive dialog. I am quite sorry we disagree on these points, ive almost always valued your opinions. However, for righteousness sake, I will defend the less able from insideous blathering of which the selection in question holds virtuous, and utterly without a hint of sensitivity. You would think the author took the war of 1812 personally, and perhaps he has, perhaps regretting the emancipation proclamation.
So you feel a duty to defend those "less able". Nothing wrong iwth that.
It does however beg the question of how you determined that those people to whom you are referring are "less able"? Did they tell you they were and ask for your assistance? Did someone else detetmine that they were less able and let you know whch specific individuals they are and hwat actions would benefit them? Did you determine that they were and what criteria did you use in making that determination. In all of those possible determinations did anyone inform those individuals that they have been judged "less able" and explain the ramifications and potential limitations of being "less able"?
Perhaps thos seem like specious questions but they are actually quite serious. I've noticed an increasing and rapidly accelerating movement in our society of labelling people with specific adjectives such as that and then acting ostensibly on their behalf. And all too often the actions which are taken on the behalf of the labeleld persons happens, purely coincidently I'm sure, to somehow benefit those who are acting as benefactors.
I really don't need any responses as to what kind of person I am. I'm quite content with who and what I am and other folks opinions, especially those who do not know me, says more about them than it does about me. So use the Library or don't.
So you feel a duty to defend those "less able". Nothing wrong iwth that.
It does however beg the question of how you determined that those people to whom you are referring are "less able"? Did they tell you they were and ask for your assistance? Did someone else detetmine that they were less able and let you know whch specific individuals they are and hwat actions would benefit them? Did you determine that they were and what criteria did you use in making that determination. In all of those possible determinations did anyone inform those individuals that they have been judged "less able" and explain the ramifications and potential limitations of being "less able"?
Perhaps thos seem like specious questions but they are actually quite serious. I've noticed an increasing and rapidly accelerating movement in our society of labelling people with specific adjectives such as that and then acting ostensibly on their behalf. And all too often the actions which are taken on the behalf of the labeleld persons happens, purely coincidently I'm sure, to somehow benefit those who are acting as benefactors.
Children are less able
The edu system is less able
Social constructs are less able
Government is less able
In a way we are all less able to see truth, light, right from wrong, and evil.
Even churches are less able and seek popularity rather than faithful servants.
There is only one reason for our existance... and one guidepost. Anything that detracts from that guide is evil. There is a fence that separates two sides, and having a foot on both sides is worse than choosing either, for it puts doubts in timid minds as to what's right or wrong.
Do as you will, librarian, you are responsible only for your own salvation. However the evil we do or turn a blind eye to will someday come back to haunt us.
And I assume that concludes the "discussion".
I'm not clear on what the kind of person I am or am not has to do with the books in the Library and whether they are useful or not. But then in today's society if I wore the wrong costume for Halloween when I was 6 or 7 or said the wrong thing online 25 years ago (or yesterday) it somehow magically makes a hundred and fifty year old book on technology invalid and unusable because I'm the one who posted it on the site.
I will, however, continue posting books on the site. If people want to download them and read them that's fine. If people don't that's fine too.
A few Updates on various items...
The new Binding machine arrived. Wasted an entire day and a case of paper testing it. Could not get it to produce a single binding that I considered acceptable. It's back in the box and will ship out this week. But the current one I have is adequate and I'll simply continue using it.
So far none of the book in the teaching Categories have been cancelled. I'm sure many would be if the folks carrying out that insanity noticed them... but then... I would ignore them anyway.
The Art of Training and Educating the Horse 1884:
The book setup is almost complete. I'm building the print sets for it today and will have a test copy printed tomorrow or Wednesday. Might be some touchup work to do or some formatting problems or some page out of order or something but those are easy to correct. With any luck I'll actually have some copies printed and bound by the end of the week.
I broke it into 2 volumes of about 250 pages (sheets) each. Otherwise it would have been 3 inches thick and hard to handle. Slightly edited the TOC to match each volume and kept the full index on each. Virtually then entire second half of the book is highly detailed illustrations of the anatomy of horses. Since I'm not a horse person they don't mean much to me. I'll leave it to the horse folks to comment on it.
New Books to Add:
Several folks have provided links to some good books on the "Boy's Book of ..." theme and some more books of electronics from the early days of radio experimentation and DIY electronics. Once I get the Book on Horses done I'll be working on getting those added.
Flash Drive Capacity:
On the issue of Flash Drives the Library has grown to the point where the Flash Drives only have about 4-5 GB free on them so there's little room to add anything to them. Once I add another category it will no longer fit on a 256 TGB flash drive. 512 GB Flash Drives are still too expensive to be a practical solution so until those drop in price significantly I'm going to just move the Scientific American Series 2 files to a 32gb flash drive which will free up 30 GB on the primary Library Flash Drive. That will solve the problem for the immediate future.
Hard Drive Copies:
I ordered more hard drives week before last and they were scheduled to arrive midweek last week. They never arrived and though they showed "In Transit" a closer look shows they never actually shipped at all. I ordered more from a different vendor and they are "Out for Delivery" so I should have those later today and have some ready to mail out tomorrow. Only ordered a few though since I thought the original order was just delayed and did not want to have too many. But will order more today since the original order is clearly not happening.
While drinking tea and checking through news this morning to see what kind of craziness is going on in the world I ran across several stories and reports that I jotted down to consider posting as links. In the end I decided not to bother. I'm sure all of you see what's going on around us. Grids failing and becoming more and more fragile, social and political chaos, ideological clashes everywhere, massive overreactions to illness that threaten to destroy the very societies they are ostensibly meant to protect.
And there's not a thing most of us can do about it outside of our own immediate family and circumstances. Governments less and less have any accountability to anyone and are determined to tell us what to think, what to say and what to believe. Once government, at least in the U.S., was intended to reflect the beliefs and will of the Citizens. Now government demands that we obey and tell us what to say and not say and what we MUST believe. In the long run it's not a tenable situation. Such contradictions are not sustainable.
In the meantime the world becomes more and more unstable. The hugely complex and interconnected infrastructure that make a technological and industrial civilization possible, as we know it, continues to fray and weaken and become more and more fragile. Some of it is ideological fantasy that denies reality and weaken parts of the system. Some of it is simply incompetence. Some of it is moving funds required to maintain the infrastructure to more politically useful projects.
Back in the 60s and afterwards the U.S. Steel Industry kept putting off modernization and maintenance and upgrades of equipment. There were always more "important" things to spend money on. Meanwhile the Europeans and the Asian countries modernized, improved their technology and quality control and productivity. In the end, almost overnight, the U.S. Steel Industry completely collapsed and most of it went bankrupt and shut down. They simply were no longer able to compete, not even with regulations and tariffs to protect them. They sold out the long term for short term gain.
In Birmingham, Al where I once lived there are huge miles long and wide sections of the city that are barren wastelands of rusting buildings, steel mills foundries, and rotting equipment. The remains of that industry are so massive and heavy and pervasive that they remain there today... simply to expensive to get rid of to make the land useful for anything else. The soil itself is probably so contaminated with the rubbish of a hundred years of steel production that it's probably impractical to ever cleanup.
And that's what's happening to our civilization, our societies and our infrastructures. The people with their hands on the wheels are selling out the long term survival of all of those in exchange for short term political and/or ideological gain. I don't think that's going to change for the better in our lifetimes.
You can continue to drive your car without changing the oil, replacing balding tires or rotting hoses or the failing battery. You can ignore the rust spots in the body and floor...but... eventually the car is going to simply quit leaving you stranded by the side of the road and nothing you do will get it started and running again. You will be reliant on your own two feet to get where you are going and then home again.
So I'm not posting any of those links. I'm not going to try to point out the signs of this continued slow motion collapse. Most of you are already aware of it. If you aren't by now then there's likely nothing I can write that would make you aware.
Instead I'm going to spend the weekend focusing on the site. I'm going to try to finish off The Art of Taming and Educating the Horse to get it ready to print and bind. Work on the new Farming books I've collected to get them ready to post. Someone suggested a new Category which I think was a great idea so I'm looking for more books like The Boy's Book of Crystal Radios. The Boy's Book of Science. The Boys Book of Metals that he sent me.
Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s when we still valued the future of young men there were a LOT of books published to introduce young men (and no doubt a lot of young women as well regardless of what their parents and society thought) to a wide range of topics and teach the rudiments of that subject. I think those would make great additions to the Library. If I get enough I might make it a new Category and if not I'll add them to the Education/Teaching Category.
Rather than lament the continuing decay of our civilization I'll spend my time on those things we will need to rebuild after they destroy it.
THURSDAY 02/18/2021 (Part 2)
Back early last year I posted about the a new Executive Order that mandated that the Federal Government investigate and reconsider our power grid being dependent on foreign (perhaps adversarial) nations for our primary large transformers. That was at least a minor step in the direction of making our national power grid a bit more robust or at least a bit less prone to catastrophic failure.
We are currently dependent on Europe and China for the large and ultra large transformers required to operate our grid. Long distance transmission of power over the power lines requires extremely high voltage to be be efficient or even practical. That voltage must be stepped down several times before it reaches a business or home. Unfortunately those large transformers are primarily made in Europe and Asia and we do not have backups and spares in stock. The lead time on some of the larger ones is several years.
Last year's Executive Order was a small first step in trying to make the U.S. grid less dependent on other countries particularly ones who might end up being enemies at some point in the future.
Unfortunately grid security is no longer a matter of Science or Engineering or National Security. It is now a Political and/or Ideological matter.
According to Transformer Magazine last year's EO has just been suspended because... Climate Change and the Environment.
Apparently making the U.S. grid less dependent on potential enemies is bad for the environment.
Seems slightly ironic that while I'm running a site oriented around rebuilding after a power grid failure due to an EMP or other catastrophic event that large sections of the power grid are failing simply due to bad Weather.
(They like to call it "climate change" or "global warming" since that helps advance specific political agendas and ideologies much more effectively than just calling it what it is which is Weather. But nevertheless it remains Weather and bad Weather took down much of an entire power grid leaving large numbers of people in the middle of winter without power and other needed services like water and food.)
It comes back, as always, to the ever increasing complexity and thus vulnerability of our power grids.
Some people blame it on the frozen windmills, others on the solar panels that don't work that great when covered with snow and in overcast conditions. Others say it's the fault of the coal and gas plants which have been on operation over a hundred years throughout a century of good and bad Weather. Strangely Texas (like every state) has bad Weather occasionally and has always managed to deal with it before.
In the end it doesn't really matter which individual are responsible or what technology failed or whether it's both. What matters is that we are increasingly putting our lives and those of our families in a position where we are totally reliant for survival on technological systems we don't understand, don't fully control and which are vulnerable to a widening variety of failure modes beyond our ability to cope. I understand that the people who "manage" the Texas power grid don't even live in Texas. Some don't even live in the United States.
Who or what is at fault makes great grist for the news media mill and talking heads and "experts" will be pontificating and bloviating 24/7 for weeks. None of that, however, helps the people in the cold who have no water, no food and no heat.
The people responsible for the grid are secure in nice warm houses elsewhere with plenty of food and water as they sit and "discuss" the situation and assure everyone affected that they are "working hard to address the situation". I'm not real sure how that fends off the cold or moves food and water to the people doing without. But in today's world we are told that it's "intentions" that matter most.
California is already experiencing this kind of problem. Now it's spread to Texas. I have absolutely no doubt that it will continue to spread to other states and regional grids as we make our grids increasingly complex, add more and more advanced technology and make the management of it more and more remote. The real Rubicon will be if/when the Federal government takes over the Grid. Think IRS level of efficiency in getting power to your home or business.
In the long term if you want to survive look around you at how many technological systems YOU are totally dependent on and ask yourself "What if...?"
It may not require an EMP to ultimately takes down the national power grid. We appear to be well on the path to accomplishing that ourselves.
My prayers, and I hope yours, are with those enduring this awful situation.
TEXT ALERTS FOR SOLAR FLARES AND CMES
Since I'm subscribed to Spaceweather.com I got an interesting email today. They have created a Text Alert system for Solar Flares and CME's. It's a paid service so that's something of an individual choice as to whether there is value in it or not. Since I receive daily and frequent emails form them and at least glance at the site every morning I'm not planning to make use of it.
But for anyone who doesn't look at their site often it might be useful.
p.s. Making slow but steady progress on The Art of Taming and Educating the Horse 1884
NEW BOOK POSTED
I've added The Square Rigged Cruiser or Lorrain's Sea Sermons 1885 to the shop. Someone on the Site pointed out that it was in the Library. I had read an old original printed copy many, many years ago but had somewhat forgotten about it. That it was in the Library struck me as a hint that I should read it again and since I'm binding selected books from the Library that I should make sure it was one of them.
So it's there and is available. As I said before, even if no one wants a copy of it I feel better knowing I took the time to make it available.
I'm working on Henry Stephens Catechism of Practical Agriculture which is a sort of companion book to The Book of the Farm and should have that ready in a few days.
Several people have insisted that The Art of Taming and Educating the Horse 1884 is the next one to print. I looked REALLY hard to see if there was another Horse book that might be a better choice but reluctantly have to agree that this 1100+ page monster is the logical next one to add. Considering the importance of Horses in a farming environment both for transportation and motive power I could not in good conscience skip it or put it off till later.
So it's currently dumping to image files for cleanup and formatting into a print set. Probably be at least a week or so but it's in the pipeline. It will most likely be broken into a 2 volume set due to the sheer size of it.
WEDNESDAY FRIDAY 02/10/2021
NEW BOOK PLANS
I'm going to see if adding the 3 volume set of The Book of the Farm 1991 Fourth Edition in addition to the 1889 Fourth Edition is practical as an option for those who prefer the 3 volume set. It's the exact same material internally. Only the physical format is different.
The Art of Taming and Educating the Horse (1884)
I had planned to make The Art of Taming and Educating the Horse (1884) the next book to put into print but I forgot that it is about 1200 pages long. It is however something of a definitive book on horses, their nature, training, anatomy and methods of riding and harnessing them. It's mentioned frequently in many books from that period and was apparently considered the Gold standard on books about horses of the 1800s.
I printed and bound it several years ago and have read much of it but it's been a while since I had it down and forgot the sheer heft and bulk of it. I'm probably going to have to look at splitting it into at least 2 volumes, more likely 3. My binding machine will not handle a 1200 page book and I'm not sure Perfect Binding (i.e. thermal glue binding) will work on something that thick. So that's on hold for now till I decide on the best approach.
Catechism of Practical Agriculture (1856)
There's another one I just got hold of recently I'm definitely going to do. It's called Catechism of Practical Agriculture (1856). It's fairly short, only 80 pages and is written by Henry Stephens the author of The Book of the Farm. It's all of the primary points from The Book of the Farm.
If you can imagine a list of Final Exam questions on The Book of the Farm this would be it. If you could answer every one one of these questions without having to read the provided answers you can consider yourself a true "Farmer" as defined by William Stephens. It is packed full of diagrams and pictures and reminders of all of the primary information in The Book of the Farm. I'll hopefully have that one posted within a week since it is fairly short and won't take long to format for printing.
The Square Rigged Cruiser (1885)
There is another book I'm probably going to add purely for selfish reasons. To quote someone's recent comment on it to me:
"The SQUARE RIGGED CRUISER 1855 is one of the best Christian reads I've seen in a long time.
I'm not sure you are aware of this gem in your collection. The sermons are directed towards sailors and I assume their families. Its full of wonderful poetry, sailing vernacular, and sea inspired metaphor and similes.
Now that I've read from it I know I wouldn't wish to go through life without reading it."
It's very easy, especially these days, to get caught up in the crisis of the day, this weeks panic being sown by the media, the political and ideological warfare and insanity going on around us and forget that there is a real world outside of all the national frenzy gripping our country that is indifferent to all of it.
This book, a volume of wisdom from a period 160 years ago, still speaks to the heart that lives in that real world and cuts through a century and a half of Civil Wars, World Wars, political and social upheaval. It reminds and reassures us that people are still people, human nature is unchanged despite all of the ideological efforts to rewrite it and that the human soul remains unchanged despite all efforts to forge it into some new social construct to suit someone's agenda.
Even if no one wants a copy of it I'll feel better knowing I took the time to make it available.
JUST POSTED 6 MORE SETS OF THE THE BOOK OF THE FARM
I put 6 more sets of the The Book of the Farm (1889) Fourth Edition into stock. Getting a bit more efficient with the process. Hopefully soon I'll be able to start looking at other books in the Library that would be good additions to the shelf for a wide variety of folks in printed format.
Usually when I print and bind a book for myself it's one to fill a specific need or address a particular area that's applicable to my geographic and climatic area or is in an area where my own knowledge is woefully inadequate but would be vital to be able to do.
But there are many that apply equally well everywhere just like The Book of the Farm. I just need to identify them and get them formatted for printing and binding. If anyone has any specific suggestions as to good candidates please let me know.
4 MORE SETS OF THE THE BOOK OF THE FARM ARE AVAILABLE.
I posted 4 more sets of The Book of the Farm 1189 Fourth Edition for sale to anyone interested.
This is the same Fourth Edition as the 1891 edition but when it was printed in 1889 they printed it in 6 Divisions as they called them. Basically they split each of the 3 thick volumes in half and added a TOC to each one. The result is 6 much easier to handle volumes about an inch thick. I've added a set to my own shelf. The content pages are completely identical to the 1891 Edition they are just bound in 6 separate slimmer volumes.
I may still print some of the 1892 3-Volume sets but I haven't tried binding them in the new machine yet. I'll have to see how well they do.
I changed the cover stock I was using as well. I had been using a semigloss card stock but being somewhat shiny it took a good 24 hours for ink to dry on them enough that a clear coat could be applied to prevent them from smearing. It was taking as long to make the covers as it was to bind the book itself. So I tested and then switched to a somewhat lighter matte card stock that prints like normal paper. MUCH more pleasant to work with and make a perfectly fine cover.
As I expected it's taken me some time to adjust to using a binding machine rather than binding by hand as I have always done. It is much faster, or rather WILL be much faster, but I'm doing a lot of tuning and adjusting of the machine to get it to perform to my expectations.
THE BOOK OF THE FARM SETS ARE ALL GONE TEMPORARILY
The 6 sets I posted Saturday are all gone now. I'm leaving the item in the Store section but showing out of stock until I get some more ready.
The new binding machine is supposed to be here this week. I already have the new cover stock, the paper and the glue chips for the new machine. Also have a heavy duty guillotine cutter to trim books so they have nice smooth edges. My old one gave up the ghost some time ago and I never bothered to replace it since pretty neat edges aren't really much concern to me in books I bind for my own bookshelf.
I'm also getting the 1889 Fourth Edition set ready for print as well. The actual content is identical to the 1891 Fourth Edition that I just printed. The only difference is it physically broken in 6 separate books they called "Divisions". So instead of 3 thick heavy volumes it's 6 much thinner volumes. It's so identical that the last page of text in Div 1 is numbered 256 and the first page of text in Div 2 is numbered 257. One of the pages in Div2 had a blotch on the scanned page and I was able to just grab the same page from the 1891 edition. I checked it line by line and it was 100% identical... but without the blotch.
At the end of Div 6 it even includes additional TOCs from Volumes 1,2 and 3 and instructions on how to rebind it into the traditional 3 Volumes. I just think the 6 book set will be much more User friendly than the 3 1/2 lb, 8.5 x 11 volumes.
But I will probably have both sets available so you can choose whichever. Identical, just the format
Definitely looking forward to the new Binding machine.
At the same time if you know of any other books in the Library that that you think would be good candidates for printed editions please let me know which ones. I personally have printed out and bound ones that are applicable to us here in SE North Carolina and for our own level of knowledge and skills. But our location and backgrounds are very different from that of other folks I'm clearly open to suggestions.
In addition if there are any that you personally want, let me know. I can pretty quickly tell you whether it's a practical one to print or not.
THE BOOK OF THE FARM AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE
I have the 6 sets that are ready posted for sale on the site.
I have it set to show the number left in stock. Once the new binding machine is in I'll make them available again since they can be printed and bound on demand. The current binding process is just too slow to do that right now. But in a week or two it will be practical.
BOOK BINDING UPDATE
Okay the current status of the Book Binding project is as follows:
I'll have the first 6 sets of the 1891 The Book of the Farm ready and posted for sale this weekend. Pictures of the current set are below. I also have a new Perfect Binding machine on order and it should be here late next week or the following week. Perfect Binding is a particular type of binding. If you go to a bookstore and look at any of the larger paperback books they all use Perfect Binding. It's an adhesive type of binding that use a hot glue, similar to a the kind in a glue gun, to bind the pages together, form a spine and attach a wrap around cover. Even a fair proportion of hard backs use the same method.
That being said, binding these 500-600 page volumes together is something of a pain and it's pretty labor intensive. Fortunately the 1889 4th Edition of The Book of the Farm was published in 6 smaller volumes. What they did was split each of the existing volumes in half and called them Division 1 through Division 6. So Div 1 and 2 are Volume 1, Div 2 and 3 are Volume 2 and so on. Div 1 ends the content pages with page 256 and Div 2 (after the TOC and title pages) starts with page 257.
So between now and when the new binding machine arrives I'm going to be building the print sets for the 6 Division 1889 4th Edition. They will be much quicker and easier to print and bind and actually easier to handle and read since they will not be so heavy and bulky. The current 3 volumes each weight about 3 lbs per volume and are about 1.5 inches thick. Volume 3 is slightly thicker.
CIVIAL AND NATIONAL UNREST
I don't care if you're Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Socialist, Pastafarian or utterly non-political. The country is in the early stages of major national unrest. Some cities are still enduring continuing riots, demonstrations, attacks on people and buildings, blocking of streets and other sorts of Civil unrest.
Regardless of your political or ideological affiliation you're likely to be affected. Blocked traffic does not have special lanes for various political affiliations. Burning buildings don't ask what Party you belong to. Looting of stores does not check to see the how the owner voted. And if you are unfortunate enough to still be a member of Law Enforcement you are a target every time you go to work. I thank God every day that I'm no longer in that job.
Social media and banks and credit card companies are acting swiftly to nullify particular political groups or cut off service to organizations, businesses and individuals who hold unapproved political or ideological beliefs. Doesn't matter which group you favor or whether you support such actions or not. Actions have consequences and the consequences of such actions can and will affect everyone.
So now is a good time to check your planning and stay aware of the civil situation in your immediate and surrounding areas. Maybe do some additional preparations suited towards the short term. Be thinking about the long term significance of civil unrest and how it will affect you and your family today, next week and next month. As fast as events are occurring that evaluation needs to be redone almost daily.
If you live in a rural area then you are less likely to be affected directly by the civil unrest but could be affected by the actions of various businesses and groups towards people with incorrect political views. In the cities of course the direct affects of civil unrest are likely to be more direct.
Regardless please take care and take a few extra minutes now and then to consider your safety and adapt your emergency plans as necessary to quickly changes conditions.
Based on historical events in many other countries throughout history it's going to get worse before it gets better.
CME VS SOLAR FLARE
Some recently asked me about the Solar Flare called the Carrington Event. I had to start off by explaining that it wasn't a Solar Flare but a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) which of course led to a discussion about those terms.
We often use the terms interchangeably in casual conversation or discussions even when we know the difference. I know I do it myself because virtually everyone has some concept of what a "solar flare" is but if you use the term CME you almost always have to stop and explain what that is an how it's different from a solar flare.
So I thought I'd throw that out here just to clarify. Here's a good explanation from NASA on the difference.
One of the fundamental differences for those of us concerned with the consequences of a Solar Event (CME) destroying the power grid is one that you often see described totally incorrectly in novels.
A Solar Flare travels at the speed of light so takes less than ten minutes to get to Earth from the Sun. There is no warning. By the time you see it, it's already here.
CMEs however travel significantly slower and take some time to arrive. If you look at Spaceweather.com you'll see a report of a couple CMEs that occurred on Jan 2. They are travelling at different speeds but both will arrive about Jan 6. So a 4 day warning between the event and it's arrival here. (For those interested SpaceWeather has an alert system that will notify you of any significant solar events.)
In many EMP novels the grid collapses and electronics are fried with no warning leaving the protagonists stranded and being required to travel cross country, always on foot and with no supplies. In the case of a Solar Flare that would be acceptable scenario except that a Solar Flare would not have an effect comparable to a CME. The worst case in a Solar Flare would be radio wave reception becoming really terrible, perhaps even affecting cell phones but ONLY for the duration of the event.
In the case of CMEs however NASA has a good number of solar observation satellites which are also accessible to many civilian organizations like SpaceWeather. In the event of a really significant CME comparable to or larger than the Carrington Event we would have at least a couple days warning that it was coming just as with the two CMEs on Jan 2 which won't arrive for 20 more days.
For the nation or the world a few days notice would do little good. The changes to the grid and other parts of the infrastructure that would be required to survive such an event could not even be started in the time remaining.
The best that could be done is some minor mitigation of the effects by perhaps shutting down the grid and physically isolating some components such as the ultralarge transformers. Shutting down the entire grid without warning and without the ability to explain since the grid would be down is somewhat problematical however.
The consequences of the collapse of the grid worldwide would be of such a magnitude however that a government's last minute efforts but be essentially meaningless.
The good news is that those of us who have taken the effects of a CME into account in our emergency planning will have a couple days warning and for us personally that warning could be of major benefit. The last minute preparations could be topping up our food supplies, stocking batteries and other technological disposables and many other last minute preparations that could improve our prospects for survival.
I have even seen suggestions that if a Carrington Event Level CME is on it's way you might as well max out every credit card you have, buy whatever you need and "finance" it anyplace that offers immediate financing. Since after all in the aftermath of a Carrington Event level CME there wouldn't be any financial records left to worry about. Of course neither I nor anyone else could actually recommend such a thing since that would clearly be Fraud and you might have to deal with State or Federal law Enforcement at some point in the future.
So Solar Flares and CMEs... not the same thing at all. The first makes for lousy shortwave reception. The second... well as in many things in life size DOES matter. But at least for the latter we will have some warning.
WHAT"S OLD IS NEW IN FARMING
I've been getting the 1891 3 volume set of Stephens The Book of the Farm ready for publication on the site as a printed and bound version. In that process I've been reading many pages of it while checking layouts and such.
One of the things that struck me is how so much of the modern "sustainability" and "organic" farming movement is little more than a regression to mid 1800s farming technology. It's not some dramatic, new, complex technology that sophisticated scientists developed. It's not some profound wisdom revealed to the loyal acolytes of environmentalism. It's not a new profound understanding of the universe which will save us all and bring peace and harmony to the world.
It's actually just the basic farming technology of the 1800s. The farmers of that time did not have a lot of engineered materials with which to enrich the soil and dramatically increase crop yields. They didn't have pesticides with which to save their crops from being decimated by pests. They didn't have machine technology to plant seeds more consistently and perform many functions with far less labor. They didn't have hybrid seeds that produced better yields while being more resistant to diseases and pests. They didn't have herbicides which suppressed weeds so crops could be grown with far less manual labor. And perhaps the biggest factor they did not have machinery which could plow and till and harvest more fields in a day than manual labor could do in several weeks.
What they had was lime for the fields made from limestone to modify the ph of the soil. They had animal manure kept in manure/compost piles to fertilize the crops. They had crop rotation to help maintain the nutrient levels of their fields and what's called "green manure" which meant planting crops that were simply tilled back into the soil rather than being harvested.
They carefully "recycled" the materials, crops, waste and other farm by products which they reused year after year to maintain their farm and it's productivity. They also had a lot more manual labor available (by necessity) in the form of farm hands and large families. Communities often organized to assist in harvests of each other's farms since in many cases even a large family could not provide enough labor for a large harvest and only community effort could harvest all of the crops.
What is overlooked is the fact that yields per acre were far lower than modern farming. The labor requirements per bushel were much higher not to mention the loss of yields from pests and diseases. The modern movements to try to impose those methods of farming on the modern world ignore the fact that the result would be massive starvation in the parts of the world dependent on Western agriculture due to such methods being unable to match modern farm productivity.
What is important for our concerns is that these methods can produce yields sufficient to not only provide subsistence levels farming but generate surpluses large enough to barter and trade for other needed goods and services. Even in the modern world they could produce self sufficient production for a family and likely a decent surplus as well.
Just as importantly these methods require little or no technology that would not be available to individuals or small communities. What strikes me frequently while working through these books is the understanding by the author that the reader probably knows little or nothing about farming and that he needs to provide every single piece of information the reader needs to know.
It reinforces my conviction that anyone who believes the day may possibly come when we are on our own and totally self reliant with no power grid or infrastructure upon which to depend should have a copy of The Book of the Farm on their shelf right along side their extra food, weapons and ammunition.
I certainly do.
(I've decided to archive last years postings to a separate page available below. )