The Federal government has finally taken some actual, concrete action on the threat of an EMP attack on the U.S. which could kill 80%+ of our population and throw the U.S. back to the 1800s.

They reopened Cheyenne Mountain. It gives you a thrill to know that as you and I are picking up the pieces of a shattered world having lost all power and electronics and transportation and communications, water, sewer, food, medical care, etc. …. that the military will be sitting safely inside a mountain in Colorado and calculating where the weapons were launched from to be able to order retaliation.

Of course if you’re dealing with a country like North Korea who clearly could not care less what happens to the people in their country or Iran which seems to be eager to become a martyr to help hasten the return of the 12th Imam then I’m not sure I understand just how much of a deterrent the threat of retaliation is but I’m assured daily in the news media that the government really, truly, honest to God knows what it’s doing… despite several decades of evidence to the contrary.

All of the other bills passed by the House of Representatives to address the issue of EMP vulnerability, to harden the grid, to provide backups for critical infrastructure equipment, etc. have all been killed by the Senate.

But be calm. They know what’s best for us. They are the government and they are here to help us…


The Librarian



Matthew Maury

(An excerpt from an article at The American Minute about Admiral Farragutt [link at the bottom] refers to Matthew Maury and his book The Physical Geography of the Sea which is located in our Meteorology Category. I thought you might find it interesting…)

In 1825, David Farragut served on the USS Brandywine as it escorted General Marquis de Lafayette back to France.

Another sailor on that ship was 19-year-old midshipman Matthew Fontaine Maury.

Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873), became known as the “Pathfinder of the Seas” for having charted sea and wind currents while serving in the U.S. Navy.

Considered the founder of modern hydrography and oceanography, he was Professor of Meteorology at Virginia Military Institute.

Matthew Fontaine Maury wrote in his book Physical Geography of the Sea, 1855:

“I have always found in my scientific studies, that, when I could get the Bible to say anything on the subject it afforded me a firm platform to stand upon, and a round in the ladder by which I could safely ascend.

As our knowledge of nature and her laws has increased, so has our knowledge of many passages of the Bible improved.

The Bible called the earth ‘the round world,’ yet for ages it was the most damnable heresy for Christian men to say that the world is round; and, finally, sailors circumnavigated the globe, and proved the Bible to be right, and saved Christian men of science from the stake.

And as for the general system of circulation which I have been so long endeavoring to describe, the Bible tells it all in a single sentence: ‘The wind goeth toward the South and returneth again to his circuits.'”

Engraved on Matthew Fontaine Maury’s tombstone at the U.S. Naval Academy is the verse from Psalm 8 which had inspired him all his life:

“Whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.”



What started out to just be a small category on Turpentine distillation and production expanded somewhat as I started putting it together.

Turpentine led to solvents which led to vegetable gums which led to glues which led to solvents. I kept breaking it down into smaller groups then finally just accepted that they were all somewhat related and put them together.

Living in North Carolina (the Tar Heel state) on land heavily forested with pines you would think that would have been a no brainer category but as is often the case we most easily miss what is closest to us. There are a lot of stories about where the term “tar heel” originated but the most widely accepted one is that its roots are in the turpentine industry. Since most people worked the pine forests barefoot in the old days and the residue of turpentine distillation is black and tarry the soles of the feet of most turpentine workers bore that tar. Turpentine and related products were once one of the most common products passing through the nearby port of Wilmington.

When you see the pine forests that still surround the area you can understand why.

Turpentine, the natural product has been widely replaced by “mineral spirits” which is a petroleum based products. It replace turpentine not because it was “better” but simply because it was cheaper to produce. Having worked with both extensively I can tell you I’d much rather smell turpentine than mineral spirits any day. It’s probably a subjective evaluation but as a wood worker it’s always been my opinion that turpentine is less harsh on wood than mineral spirits. Since the turpentine derives from wood and mineral spirits derives from petroleum that seems reasonable.

I’ve never been a big believer in the term organic being somehow synonymous with “good” or “healthy” since botulism, typhoid, hemlock and E Coli are all 100 organic and natural too and none of them is generally associated with either “good” or “healthy”. However in this particular case I think I can probably make an exception since a solvent derived from wood would logically be more compatible with wood than a solvent derived from petroleum. Again though that is purely a subjective opinion totally lacking in objective scientific evidence.

In world that has to recover from a collapse such as an EMP or simply an economic and/or social collapse, which seems closer day by day, a lot of products we take for granted such as paints, glues solvents, cleaners, degreasers, etc are going to be scarce or even unavailable. Turpentine is one of those natural products that is easy to produce, made from a common tree and which has a wide range of uses which can’t easily be filled by other products.

If there ever were an EMP event that trashed existing technology Wilmington, NC would very likely become a turpentine exporting port again fairly quickly.

Glue, solvents, and other related products are similar. Most of them are natural products that would quickly become common manufactured items since they are some of the basic supplies needed to support industry, manufacturing and even small scale production.

There is a certain degree of overlap between the books in this category as the ones in the Chemistry and Formulas categories however a significant number of the books in this category are oriented more towards production and manufacture of the materials than simply in their makeup and chemical nature.

Enjoy them. Some of them are just plain interesting reading.

The Librarian


I have several dozen books in my personal collection that are Catholic Breviaries from the 1800s-early 1900s including the English 1908 4-volume Roman Breviary and the Latin 1912 Colbertine 2-volume Breviary.

There are other books on the history and use of the Breviary as well as some specialized Breviaries and some written specifically for the Laity. A few of them are collections of hymns, chants and specific lessons, lectures or essays from even older Breviaries of the Church.

I haven’t posted these on the Library since they are specifically Catholic and don’t really fit the overall theme of the Library itself. However if any of our Users are Catholic and interested in the books please leave me a private message. If there is any real interest I’ll make them available in a private page on the site where they can be downloaded by folks who want them.

The Librarian


FlirtationCard1800s Flirtation cards used by a Gentleman  to introduce himself to a Lady in whom he is interested.

When you consider the sexualization of children, the hookup culture we live with these days and the way relationships and women have been turned into a cheap commodity you have to wonder if maybe the folks in the 1800s weren’t a bit smarter than we are today.


The Librarian


I’ve added two books on Locks to the New Additions Category.

Protection from Fire and Thieves Including the Construction of Locks 1875
Rudimentary Treatise on the Construction of Door Locks 1859

I was planning to create an entire Category on Locks and Locksmithing but perhaps not surprisingly found there are few books on the subject from the 1800s through early 1900s.

I suppose those who were involved in making locks and servicing them were not keen to share their knowledge with the general public. Locks in that day and age were not particularly sophisticated. They were fairly easy to make and anyone with even some rudimentary knowledge of them could pick them fairly easily.

If you know of any books on the subject from that period of history please pass it on to me and I’ll get them and post them int he collection.

The Librarian




Paradoxes and conundrums.

I hear “Buy Locally.” everywhere these days. Several times I’ve asked one of the proponents “Who is growing coffee locally?” or “Where are the  local banana plantations?” They either look at me blankly or they sneer because I seem to be questioning orthodox dogma which labels me “HERETIC”.

I also hear it from a lot of self sufficiency proponents and I personally would rather grow my own blueberries and strawberries than buy them in the grocery store. In the event that one day we experience a catastrophe like an EMP event and have to suddenly either become self sufficient or die there is a strong incentive to know at least the rudiments of self sufficiency to the extent that we would have a chance of surviving over the long term.

Yet that also flies in the face of the logic of the article. It undoubtedly is much more efficient to grow coffee in certain parts of the parts just as other crops are more efficiently grown in other parts of the world. Growing crops where they were best environmentally suited and natural is not only efficient in manpower but in fertilizers, environmental impact and the economies of scale that apply to harvesting and processing. Transportation on large capacity ships and trains is quite inexpensive compared to a hundred different farmers loading their own vehicles and transporting small amounts of crops to nearby towns and cities. So there is a strong and compelling argument for industrial scale food production.

Yet that very efficiency contributes to the growing complexity of the world making  the intricate and mutually interdependent infrastructure even more vulnerable to disruption. The more complex it grows the more failure points there are where a single failure can stop the entire system. Some of the interdependencies are so mutually intertwined that if it ever stops it will be difficult if not impossible to restart. We would encounter a chicken and egg bootstrap problem.

Trucks can’t rebuild the fuel distribution system without fuel to run them and without a fuel distribution system there is no fuel for the trucks. It is an organic whole within which neither part can exist without the other. It grew organically and can’t be simply recreated from a standstill.

So on one hand we want to promote efficiency and reduce the environmental damage that farming could do. We want to use the minimum amounts of fertilizer and other chemicals required for both economic and environmental reason. We want to avoid waste of food and resources which could benefit others. We want to be able to feed and clothe and house the largest number of people possible for humanitarian and compassionate reasons.

On the other hand we want to avoid making a complex and increasingly fragile infrastructure even more fragile and more susceptible to breaking. We want to avoid making even more people totally dependent on an infrastructure over which they have no control and without which they have no ability to survive.

In the town where some of my family lives there are houses built back in the early 1900s for workers in the local cotton mill. They are small houses but well made and most are still in use today. More interestingly historically they are each built on what looks like about 1/4 of an acre. They were built on lots of that size because each one had a garden out back which grew a fair percentage of the family’s food. They each had an outhouse on the property which of course had to be resited occasionally. Many of them still have the well heads that were in place originally though few of them are used any longer. But you occasionally see one with a hand pump still on the well pipe and usable.

Compare that to people living in an apartment complex in many towns and cities. The people in the apartment have very limited land around their homes if any at all. The sewage system is totally dependent on a city utility company and the water is furnished by a utility company which runs pumps 24/7 to provide water pressure. The apartment building uses perhaps 1/10th of the materials and energy that the houses do to house the same number of people and do it on a small fraction of the land required for separate houses. It’s less expensive overall for the families living in the apartments

Imagine the two groups in the event of a long term grid down situation however. The people in the old mill houses could quickly have the gardens growing, outhouses dug and enclosed and the old well heads opened up and adapted to manual pumps. Their small houses designed and built before air conditioning and central heating could easily be cooled and heated using traditional methods.

The people in the apartment building would last about 3-4 days before they’d be forced to abandon their homes and relocate in hopes of finding survivable accommodations.

The apartment is a much more efficient use of space and energy. The old mill houses are much more survivable in the event of an emergency. Which is “better”?

Conundrums and paradoxes. I don’t have a simple answer and I doubt anyone else does either.

The Librarian


I read the blog article mentioned in the previous post and it got me to thinking this weekend about the politicians in D.C. who refuse to take any action to prevent the kind of catastrophic damage and loss of life that would occur in the event of a solar or manmade EMP event in the U.S.

If such an event were to occur the loss of life would be staggering. Conservatively 80%-90% of the population would be dead within a few months after such an event. If the event were solar in origin then the death toll would be worldwide and not just in the U.S.

The highest ranking members of the government though, both here and abroad, would escape the worst of the consequences, at least initially. They all have protected installations, which we paid for with our tax dollars, into which they could flee and remain sheltered for an extended length of time. Most of these installations have food and fuel supplies to last several years, not to mention weapons, defenses and equipment which would be protected from the effects of an EMP event.

Their plan, I suppose, is to shelter there until the worst of the die-off ends then emerge to once more assume their “rightful” place leading the pitiful survivors who obviously could not cope without their benevolent guidance and leadership.

The more I think about that scenario the more irked I get about it. I think the people on here and preppers in general should think about those government leaders who will flee to nice safe sheltered installations, which we paid for, leaving the rest of us to get by as best we can until we reestablish some calm for them to reemerge into.

We should start talking about just how we are going to deal with these folks after we survive something like an EMP event. Perhaps it’s too much to plan to go to their nice cozy shelters and extract them for a nice, cozy personal discussion about their actions. I mean let’s face it the oh so secret shelters they are planning to flee to are not really that secret. Having spent a fair amount of time in the D.C. machine I can tell you that most of the “secrets” are pretty much open secrets. The people in the towns near where these facilities were built are just as aware of them as most D.C. insiders. You can’t build a massive, hidden, underground structure and stock it without the locals wondering what all the truck and construction traffic is all about.

It reminds me of when CIA built their new headquarters off the beltway and instead of putting up a sign on the exit saying Central Intelligence Agency put up one that had some innocuous Dept of Highways facility name on it. Thing was everyone in D.C. knew what was really there. One of the local tour guides used to drive people by the sign and tell them that it was the exit to the new CIA building. There’s this mindset that if they pretend it’s a secret then everyone else will pretend it’s secret too. Too much of the “secrecy” in Washington is of the 2 year old variety… “If I close my eyes, no one can see me.”

So if we ever experience something like an EMP we should all agree ahead of time that when the political elite emerges from their shelter , which we paid for, they should be greeted by something less than an enthusiastic welcome. They should instead be greeted by people prepared to hold them accountable for the deaths, damages and suffering for which they are directly responsible by refusing to act to prevent them.

They are more than willing to spend our money to build themselves comfortable shelters to ride out the consequences of an EMP event. Too bad they are not willing to spend a fraction of that amount to prevent the suffering, damage and deaths which will accrue from such an event.

Personally I’ll be ready to greet them when they emerge and more than ready to hold them accountable.

Who knows. Maybe if they start to understand that those of us who survive such an event would be fully prepared to hold them accountable for all the suffering, damage and death when they emerge they will decide that perhaps, it would be prudent to actually exercise some “responsibility” and do something to ameliorate the problem. Of course that assumes they have a dictionary handy to look up the meaning of the word “Responsibility”.

The Librarian


A blog post I ran across this weekend.

Well worth reading

It has several interesting and informative video about just what an EMP would do.

The danger is so catastrophic and real that Congress is acting to immediately harden our electric grid…. NOT.

There’s an interesting section in the first video with Bill Fortstchen where his local town reenacts the opening scenes from his novel One Second After about the consequences of a solar EMP on a small town.

The Librarian