I spent most of this weekend between assembling an agricultural trailer and cleaning the shop and making bee feeders for the cold weather and making more bee feeders to be able to swap them each day after work.

It’s not really safe to open the hives to refill the internal frame feeders in cold weather so the quart jar front feeders make more sense. You can see when they are being emptied, with a spare set you can simply pull out the empty or partially empty one and swap a full one in. It also lets you record how much is being taken from the feeder which also gives you some measure of the population and activity in the hive without having to open it. Add to that a dozen already filled jars of sugar water ready to swap in as needed and it makes life much more convenient.

Having the shop cleaned up means I’ll have room to make more hive supers, bases and top covers this winter to get ready for doing some splits in the spring to increase the apiary size.

While NOT doing all of that I spent some time pulling more of the missing Scientific Americans (page by page) and compiling them into single PDFs. Still a fair ways to go but that it is so tedious I have not been as diligent as I should be in getting it finished.

But while working on those I ran across a small collection I had gathered together and then forgotten about so I thought I’d put it our for folks to enjoy while I continue working on the Scientific Americans.

So Hemp and Flax has been posted as a new Category.

It’s really a combination Category. Obviously in today’s culture with the Marijuana laws being liberalized there is more attention on Hemp for it cultivation as a drug/medicine. Not even going to get into a discussion about the good/bad regarding it’s use. That’s been debated for decades with no change in most people’s attitudes. I will point out that it was around and used for thousands of years before it was made illegal in the 30s and civilizations rose and fell for reasons other than smoking weed but think what you like either way. Prior to the mid 1900s widespread drug use was not really a major problem in most cultures though there are a couple of notable exceptions. That seems to be a feature of the modern industrialized world and expanding government.

For most of history the use of Hemp as a drug was a minor side benefit of growing the plant. It’s primary use was to produce fibre just like Flax.

Most importantly, from the perspective of people trying to rebuild and industrial society, is that Hemp is the source of fibres that have been used to make twine and rope for a long, long time. Interestingly during most of WWII my Grandfather and many other farmers in North Carolina were paid by the federal government to grow Hemp in place of his normal tobacco crops. Since the Philippines fell to the Japanese at the start of the war and the Philippines was the U.S. Navy’s primary source of rope the growing of Hemp in the U.S. provided the material needed to make rope locally as a replacement.

Flax, of course, was one of the earliest domesticated crops and has been used to make thread, twine, rope and cloth as long as people have been around. It goes without saying that in a world trying to rebuild after any kind of collapse that Flax will be an important crop.

Between Hemp and Flax fibres for rope twine, and cloth, Hemp seed as a nutritional supplement and the drug/medicinal uses both types of plants will likely be high on the list of ancillary crops once food crops have reached the point of providing food security. As food security becomes more ensured the ancillary crops to produce other products will become more common. Once food surpluses and trade grow it will become possible for some folks to specialize and concentrate on those ancillary crops to supply materials for production of string, twine, rope and linen.

So submitted for your approval… Hemp and Flax. How to grow it, cultivate it, harvest it and make stuff from it.

The Librarian


The ARRL (American Radio Relay League) is conducting an exercise of Amateur Radio and the MARS (Military Auxiliary Radio System) to simulate operations after a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection).


A CME or Coronal Mass Ejection is the plasma cloud replete with magnetic fields spewed out by the sun during a flare. It is a CME hitting the Earths magnetic field that would produce the effects such as the Carrington Event which have the potential to damage or destroy the worlds power grids along with most electronic equipment and the systems which rely on them.

In a sense it’s admirable exercise and I’m fully confident that it is the Ham Radio operators who will be the first to restore regional communications after such an event. I suspect that if such an event ever happened it is the Ham Operators who will be the voices providing news and information and allowing widely separated communities to communicate and coordinate.

My Dad was a Ham and I remember a lot of hours in the radio shack listening to far away voices from all over the world while sitting surrounded by all of the equipment, wires, cables and tools that filled the room. Sadly I’m one of those people who, while I do well with digital electronics and even electrical equipment just have never been able to fathom the mysteries of analog electronics.

I did email the contact person for the exercise and asked them why they believe that Ham Radio equipment would survive such an EMP event any more than cell phones or other digital electronics. Unless I’ve missed something in my occasional perusals of what’s going on in the Ham world, most modern Ham equipment is just as thoroughly digital as cell phones and home computers.

I can’t imagine Ham equipment (not stored in a Faraday cage) would fare any better than any other electronic equipment during a serious EMP event. By the same token I’m confident it will be the Hams who will manage to rebuild equipment or build replacement equipment from scratch.

During the initial aftermath of such an event no one is going to be setting around building radio equipment. For a significant length of time (and probably a lot longer than any of us can imagine) every erg of energy the survivors can produce and every moment of time will be concentrated on somewhat higher priority tasks such as securing safe water, physical safety, food, shelter, power (whether electrical, motive or physical), coordinating with local neighbors and setting up systems and procedures to ensure a reasonably predictable and reliable supply of all of those. Only after they are relatively confident they can feed themselves, stay alive through the coming winter and are safe from external threats will they have the leisure time to build/repair radios and try to reestablish contact with others in more distant areas.

If I get a reply from the ARRL folks on my questions I’ll post it here.

The Librarian


While I still have a good ways to go on the full Scientific American collection I’ve at least gotten the first 15 volumes of Series 2 completed.

They are posted and available for download.

I decided to go ahead and post them as ZIP files of each Volume since the individual issues are fairly small and with 26 issues per volume that’s a LOT of individual files. I zipped each volume into a separate ZIP file.

They’re roughly in the 200mb-300mb range so they are not too large and they are a lot more convenient to download this way.

I’m also looking for a complete index of the series because searching through 3000+ issues for an article on a specific subject is a bit onerous at best. Hopefully I’ll find a decent one that will make the collection more usable.

The Librarian



South Korea sees the existential threat of an EMP attack and is taking action to mitigate it’s consequences.

The threat comes from the long standing tensions between North and South Korea along with the North’s continued development of Nuclear weapons, and most importantly, it’s increasing belligerence.

North Korea has threatened for decades to “wipe South Korea off the map” to “destroy South Korea” and while that could just be typical North Korean rhetoric and hyperbole they now possess technology they never had before.

They have always had a massive army that get priority over the peasants (excuse me… I mean civilians) for food, clothing and shelter. They have for some time now possessed nuclear weapons. They’ve had missiles capable of delivering those weapons to short range targets.

However they recognize that using their army or conventional nuclear weapons would leave little but a smoking ruin south of the 38th Parallel.

With their development of EMP weapons they now how the capability of destroying the South Korean infrastructure, much of it’s military technology and rendering it utterly helpless to resist the North Korean Army simply driving in and taking power.

Since the technology level of much of North Korea, especially the southern half of the country, is really not much more advanced than late 1800s, early 1900s level an EMP would actually have little effect on much of North Korea.

South Korea which has a fairly advanced technological infrastructure would be devastated in the ways we have often discussed regarding EMPs, no power, no water, no transportation, no communications.

The physical infrastructure would remain intact except for the electronics controlling it. Much of the population would die from lack of access to water and food but somehow I don’t see that as being much of a concern to the leadership of North Korea.

On the bright side though, South Korea’s leadership has recognized the danger of an EMP attack by North Korea and is starting to take action to mitigate the effects of such an attack. Whether they waited to long is anyone’s guess.

Let’s hope their preparations are not put to the test.

The Librarian



Some more lessons learned from Puerto Rico and their application to the threat of an EMP event in the U.S.

A Solar Event like the Carrington Event is becoming less of a threat as the potential for humans to impose such an event through technology.

Unfortunately few of the lessons are ones that individuals can apply other than the kind of preparedness many of us practice anyway. It the lessons that apply to the infrastructure which have the potential to save millions of lives that are not being heeded.

But then, there are not votes in it so I doubt anyone is surprised.

The Librarian



Interesting article by someone who thought they were prepared for disaster when the storm hit Puerto Rico and what they experienced in the aftermath.

The observations of the behavior of others and their own experiences are useful information to folks who themselves want to be prepared for emergencies.

Four items struck me as of particular interest:

1. Communications Infrastructure Vulnerability
The high tech system like cell phone and internet were apparently the first to fail. Those are the system most people rely on today for information and the ability to communicate with others. I think he errs in believing that the older wired phone systems would be much better. While at one time they were very physically robust the old mechanical switches and electrical parts of the phone system have been replaced with computerized digital hardware which is, itself, just as vulnerable as cell phone and the internet.

Perhaps more attention needs to be paid to have older, more traditional means of gathering information such as short wave radios and a way to power them. For those who have the knowledge perhaps ham radio equipment? But at least a short wave that can be powered by a crank or batteries and some general familiarity with actually using a shortwave to gather information.

Many years ago before the internet I was an avid shortwave listener and found it fascinating to listen to news sources all around the world. Even today I still spend an hour or so in the evening every month or two just working through the dial, adjusting an antenna to see what is out there on the shortwave bands. Might be a fun and entertaining family activity on occasion… Shortwave Night. Radio Havana has some great Cuban music. Shortwave stations are free… well except for the price of hearing the propaganda of whatever country is hosting the station.

2. The Author WAS Prepared and Fared Well Compared to Most.
He points out that compared to most others he and his immediate group fared pretty well. They had power, water, food, shelter and, with some work, at least some communications.

3. Water Was Key
They had access to water and a way to purify it. He made note of the way that many other were stopping to collect spring water since the normal sources of safe water were gone. As it is often said “You can go 3 weeks without food but only 3 days without water.”

4.The End Game
He and his immediate group seem to have finally been able to escape the situation there and flee to a part of the world which had not endured such devastation. Which immediately brings to mind, to me at least, what if they hadn’t?

I imagine decisions were made at the time based on the knowledge that soon they would be able to escape the situation in which they were in. I wonder how those decisions would have been affected if they knew they would NOT be able to escape the situation or that there was no where to which TO escape.

What if, as in the case of a solar EMP there was NOT A PLACE to which to flee and the situation they were in was the situation everywhere and for the indefinite future?

The Librarian


Well age and senility and perhaps just general stupidity strikes again.

Turns out that when I tried to copy the Scientific American files I was most recently working on to the Flash Drive I was preparing to send out I made a small error.

I had already copied them on a few days before into the Directory I put on outgoing drives to hold files in progress… and completely forgot I did so.

Normally that would not be an issue except that the Scientific American files are in the neighborhood of 30gb. So not without those files the Flash Drives still had about 50gb of free space. Plenty to hold a copy of the Scientific American files with a good bit of space left over.

Once I deleted the duplicate directories there is plenty of space for the foreseeable future expansion.

So an unnecessary exercise. Still nice to have the feedback so that when it DOES become an issue in the future I have some idea where to head.

The Librarian


FEMA Director Urges Americans to Develop “a true culture of preparedness” But No One Is Listening

Have to admit I’m stunned and impressed at the same time…

A Federal government employee, of FEMA no less, who openly states that the Federal Government can’t take care of and rescue everyone and that people need to look out for themselves…

Of course that’s something many of us have known for a long, long time and have pretty much given up hoping the government would figure it out.

It’s refreshing but I do have to wonder how long he will keep his job after saying something like that in public.

I’ve mad a note of the date of this story and I’ll be checking back with the FEMA site periodically to see just how long he remains in place. The entrenched bureaucracy in D.C. has a vested interest in Americans NOT believing they can take care of themselves and should rely on government to take care of them.

Someone in government openly stating the converse just seems to much like the protruding nail that someone will take a hammer to as quickly as possible lest his ideas spread.

I’ll be watching to see how long he remains or possibly recants his heretical statements.

The Librarian