While searching through some collections of book on Sailing I’ve run across a lot of books titled “Sailing Directions for…” and then various geographic areas.

Here’s a partial list of some I’ve got:
Sailing Directions for Canadian Shores of Lake Ontario 1921
Sailing Directions for Lake Michigan 1894
Sailing Directions for Nova Scotia 1891
Sailing Directions for the Bristol Channel 1879

Not being a sailor or doing much sailing I have to ask for some input from the Library Patrons who do sail or know something about manual navigation and sea travel especially in littoral areas.

Are such books of any potential value?

I’m sure they make reference to lighthouses and beacons that no longer exist but would the general description of the land, the currents, weather patterns, depths, channels, passages and so be of value to someone having to navigate completely without modern navigational equipment or charts?

Would all of those characteristics of the shorelines have changed so much over the intervening time as to make the information not just useless but potentially worse than no information at all.

Not being able to come up with a conclusion myself that I trust I have to ask for some guidance as to whether these are worth collecting and posting.

Here’s an excerpt from the Sailing Directions for the Bristol Channel 1879 to give you a sense of the kind of information they contain.

Freshwater Bay – From Sheep Island, described on p. 50 in connexion with the entrance to Milford haven, bold cliffs extend for 2 miles in a SE direction, the shore then turning out nearly at right angles 2 1/2 miles for Linney head. Between is Freshwater Bay with its sandy foreshore. Bluck’s pool in the southeast corner has on its northern side a spit of shelving rock named the Pole…

Just not sure what to do with these. Do I ignore them and pass on by them or are they worth collecting and posting?

The Librarian


Ever since I put the 1918 Encyclopedia American online back a year or so ago I have been keeping an eye out for the missing Vol 24.

I never had any luck tracking it down though until one of you found a copy of it online at a small Russian site. Since that volume contains the entries about Russia someone there must have put it up for personal reasons.

Since the site is in Russian and my Russian is quite poor (i.e. virtually nil) I can’t really determine why it was posted.

Nonetheless I have it downloaded. It was a series of over 900 .png files. I converted them all to jpgs, did a little cleanup on them, then combined them into a PDF file which is now online.

The direct link to it is:

The Librarian


I’ve gotten the Potato and Sweet Potato Category uploaded and online.

I think it sort of goes without saying that potatoes and sweet potatoes would be a staple crop in the aftermath of a collapse. They are both foods that are easy to grow, grow most places and are capable of sustaining life however bland it may be.

In the recent movie The Martian the hero survives a long unintended stay on Mars on nothing but potatoes.

In Ireland during the mid 1800s a potato blight led to a massive migration of Irish citizens out of Ireland. The culprit in that case being the monoculture of a single variety of potato that when struck by a single disease threatened an entire country with starvation.

And those of you who are of Irish descent can hold off on the lectures about how it was actually the fault of the English landlords and the British Corn Laws. However true that may be it is a historical and socio-political issue.

The issue here is that 1.) a large percentage of the Irish population survived with potatoes as their primary food source and 2.) that the danger of monoculture in agriculture was demonstrated in the worst possible way.

Potatoes can be grown in a wide variety of soils and while they take more work than sweet potatoes they are not one of the more difficult crops to grow.

In the Southern U.S. the sweet potato has been a staple crop for generations. Unfortunately it is pretty much a Southern crop only and does not grow well in the north and colder climates. In many areas they are grown as food for livestock or deer. Though once spurned as a food fit only for the poor today they often spoken of as one of those super foods that will make you immortal, cure or prevent all diseases and make you appear perpetually young, beautiful and sexy just like Kale or whatever the current super food of the day is.

(I wonder how much of that is retailers discovering they can take really, really cheap foods that used to be fed to the cows and pigs and through clever marketing and an appearance on Doctor Oz turn it into the pet rock of the day? All marketers aspire to equal the marketing success of the man who sold people common rocks to the public as “pets” and made millions doing it.)

In a world trying to survive after a collapse potatoes and sweet potatoes are some of the food staples that will feed the survivors and provide the surpluses needed to start rebuilding. No seeds are required. Growing them is fairly easy. The soil and fertilizer requirements are much less stringent than many other crops and they grow in a wide variety of climates.

While the books in the Library on Farming in general are vital for non-farmers, books specifically on Potato and Sweet Potato growing add some needed depth for a couple particular crops that would be of extreme importance to survivors.

The Librarian


I’m going to post this link and let you read it and or not as you like. It addresses what a lot of people who use the Library instinctively feel. They may not know why they feel it. They may not be able to put it in words as Dreher does but they feel it nonetheless.

And before you start composing a screed to condemn me for posting Christian or Conservative oriented material consider that the feeling he speaks of is not unique to Christians or Conservatives. A lot of Liberals are just as uneasy about the direction the country has been going for a long time before Trump was elected.

This falls neatly into the recent category I added on Monasticism. Perhaps there is a bit of synchronicity involved.

What Dreher is advocating or at least putting forward as an idea for discussion and consideration is that the time to start forming communities separated from the “world” is not after a collapse occurs but before. I don’t believe he is talking about luxury survival compounds in an old missile silos or redoubts in the mountains of Northern Idaho but simply community of like minded individuals.

He does addresses the subject purely from a Christian perspective. The namesake of his idea is St Benedict who is a Christian Saint. Personally though I don’t believe the issues of which he speaks are limited to Christians. They affect people of several different faiths whose morality conflicts with the modern ideas of Moral Relativism and the perspective that belief in God is simply a lifestyle choice like being Vegan.

In any event take a moment and read his article. If nothing else it will provide some food for thought.

The Librarian

P.S. One of the Library’s patrons in Russia found a copy of the missing Encyclopedia Americana Vol 24 1918 on a site in Russia and provided the link. I’ve got it downloaded and it will be added to the Encyclopedia Category as soon as possible. Unfortunately each of the 900+ page is in a separate lower resolution .png file as occasionally occurs with older books. I’m going to reprocess them into a higher resolution jpg files then combine them into a PDF like the rest of the volumes. Once it’s done I’ll add it directly to the Encyclopedia Category to complete the Encyclopedia America 1918 Collection. There are techniques for taking lower resolution images of text and converting them to higher resolution, more easily readable/printable text but they are extremely cpu intensive processes and take a lot of time. Mostly it’s setting up the processing routines then letting them run a day or two. They then have to be checked visually and a fair number of pages tweaked. Good time to listen to music or an audio book.


I’m currently working on a new Category on Potato and Sweet Potato Cultivation.

It’s about a hundred books on the lowly but important potato with a few on the sweet potato, which isn’t really a potato nor a yam but since we think of them as potatoes and often call them yams I’m going with the popular usage.

I’m reminded of the recent movie The Martian in which Matt Damon is stranded on Mars and his sole food source for his stay is of course… potatoes.

It’s taking longer than I expected to get it cataloged and ready since there’s a high proportion of the books which have minor problems.

They’re all PDFs as usual but a number of them have minor corruption issues. The problems don’t prevent them from being read but can cause problems if you try to print them or clean them up for printing. So I’m reprocessing them like I do with most books to clear up the problems.

The basic process involved is to dump every page of the document as a high resolution jpg file then recombine all of the images into a new PDF file. The resulting file is, of course, YUGE so it has to be optimized and otherwise reduced in size while still maintaining as good a quality as possible within the constraints of reasonable size. That last step can take several tries before I’m satisfied with it.

Usually I only run into one or two of these in a collection but this time I’ve already reprocessed 5 of them and still have a dozen or so to go through and check. Irritating thing is that the ones with problems are naturally the largest ones. I’ve got a 600+ page one dumping to jpg format at the moment.

Hopefully it should be up early next week.

The Librarian


Someone sent me this link this morning with a smiley face after it and I understood once I started reading it.

It was really hilarious in a sad sort of way. Nice to have some comic relief on a Thursday morning. You’re well into the week, past the hump but still a full day to go before you get to Friday.

14 Items You Need to Survive the Apocalypse In Style

I’m really not sure whether the author was writing tongue-in-cheek or was serious but it’s still a fun read.

14 items you absolutely need to be self sufficient after an apocalypse.

Problem is about half of them are sophisticated technological systems that are complex, difficult to repair even if you have the requisite knowledge and IF they require repair will need spare parts you are NOT going to find lying around most homes. Not are they likely to be available for barter.

Solar panels are highly sophisticated products of a highly advanced industrial infrastructure. There’s a reason the Romans and the Greeks and Industrial Age Britain and the Civil War era U.S. did not use solar panels. They require materials that simply do not exist in nature but must be manufactured using highly sophisticated machines.

In a world where the infrastructure is broken there are no spares. There are no more solar panels. There are no more golf cart spare parts. There are no more freezer compressors.

While all these things would be a great convenience for few years they might last all they do is put off the inevitable day when you have to actually become self sufficient and learn to make do with what YOU personally can manufacture or can produce to swap with your neighbor who cane manufacture something you can’t.

The way to survive the breakdown of advanced technology is to… buy more advanced technology??

May I humbly suggest the way to survive a breakdown of technology is to spend the time and effort to learn some of the basis of survival WITHOUT advanced technology.

The Librarian


This is the latest of a number of articles on North Korea’s satellites which periodically pass over the U.S. and the potential threat they pose. It’s worth revisiting especially right now when tensions between the U.S. and North Korea are at such a high level.

While my immediate reflex is to dismiss the threat as being all bluster and bluff like the much vaunted Saddam Hussein’s army (fourth largest army in the world at the time) which crumbled like tissue paper on both occasions when we actually met them in battle.

But I’ve long studied WWII history having grown up in a period where the legacy of WWII surrounded me and influenced much of my early years.

In the late 30s, continuing right up to December 7, 1941, the West and especially America dismissed the Japanese as backwards, silly, pompous and as posing little or no threat to modern, “civilized” countries like Britain and the U.S.

Japanese aircraft were considered to be little more than toys, bamboo and rice paper contraptions that could barely fly much less actually pose a threat. Japanese soldiers were little buck toothed, slant eyed monkeys that were laughable at best and sad and pathetic imitations of real soldiers.

Everyone assumed that if they were silly enough to start a war our fleet would sail out of Pearl heading West and once it encountered the Japanese fleet, made of scrap metal we had sold them, we’d sink them without even slowing down then go on to the home islands and set things right.

Anyone who has read a bit about the Pacific War knows what actually happened.

1. The Japanese “Zero” and the “Betty” bomber far surpassed anything we had in the air. It took us a several years into the war to field a fighter that could compete with the Japanese aircraft.

2. Japanese soldiers displayed impressive feats of tactical improvisation, discipline and fighting spirit while sweeping through the Western Pacific. None of the military they encountered posed more than a minor nuisance to them.

3. The Japanese Navy not only carried out the Pearl Harbor attack crippling much of the Pacific Fleet but for several years in naval battles proved a serious competitor to the U.S. and British navies. The repeated naval battles around Guadalcanal proved just how good the Japanese Navy was.

Every time I see the threat posed by North Korea dismissed as nothing more than hysteria and bluff Pearl Harbor comes to mind.

American Brewster Buffalo fighters facing Japanese Zeros comes to mind.

The battle of Savo Island comes to mind where in our first major naval surface engagement with the Japanese Navy we lost 4 heavy cruisers and a couple destroyers. The Japanese suffered relatively minor damage to 3 cruisers.

Then you have to add in the fact that the North Koreans have, in fact, orbited 2 satellites which periodically pass over the U.S.

KMS 3-2:
KMS 4:

They are orbiting at an altitude of 300 miles which is an ideal altitude for a maximum effect EMP device but on the low end of normal satellite altitudes.

My inclination is still to dismiss an EMP threat from Korea since the U.S. response to such an attack would be for our nuclear submarine fleet to erase North Korea from the map for all intents and purposes.

But then that rationale only applies if one assumes the leadership of North Korea is making decisions based on rational thinking. The validity of that assumption is a serious question.

Am I stressed about the likelihood of North Korea carrying out an EMP attack on the U.S.?


I’m not losing any sleep over it and can’t think of any specific action I’m taking based on such a belief.

Would I be surprised should such an attack occur and catch the U.S. unprepared?


But then I’ve already done about as much in the way of preparing myself and my family for such an event whether it were to come from the Sun, the North Koreans or any other looney tunes potentate running loose on the world’s stage these days.

We don’t let children play with dangerous weapons like guns and, in fact, have multiple laws requiring that guns be locked up where children can’t access them. So how has it come about that certifiably insane regimes like North Korea, Iran and Pakistan have nuclear weapons and the capability to deliver them?

So I will simply continue on as I have been just noting the potential threat in passing and maybe spend a few more minutes this week cataloging some new additions to the Library.

The Librarian


I don’t know how many times I’ve written “And Yet Another…” about a major news story on the danger of an EMP to the Power Grid and the potential consequences were it to happen.

Perhaps for a politician 80% to 90% of the population dying is not really that much of an issue. Perhaps they simply figure that it will just be that much easier to get the survivors to vote for them by promising relief and help and benefits.

Survivors by definition will be those intelligent enough, resourceful enough and with enough discipline and determination to get through whatever comes.

But most politicians, as evidenced by their behavior once in office, assume that people are too stupid to even make their own decisions. And they do have some justification for that belief after all… look at who they elected to office.

So perhaps the politicians assume that the survivors will be desperate for someone to lead them, tell them what to think and to make decisions for them.

I suspect they will be surprised and even shocked when the survivors put them on trial and then hang them, or worse, for knowing such a thing could happen, knowing the potential consequences and doing nothing to prevent it or at least ameliorate the affects.

The Librarian

p.s. I’m out of Flash Drives. I’ll be ordering some more in as soon as the price drops back to a reasonable level.


I have one Flash Drive copy of the library left on the shelf. I went online last night to order some more flash drives and was shocked that the price on them at the moment had jumped to $80.

I’m going to hold off ordering any more at the moment until the price drops back down to a reasonable level.

The NAND memory market is like a lot of commodity markets which change on a daily basis.

It’s similar to the gasoline market where every time the price of oil goes up the gas prices jump the say day. Of course when the price of oil drops the price of gas does NOT go down in the same way. Funny how that works isn’t it?

It does, however, eventually drop if the price of oil stays low.

Flash drives prices work pretty much the same way.

With luck the prices on NAND memory them will drop again soon and I’ll get some more Flash Drives ordered and put on the shelf.

The Librarian