One of the site Users pointed me to a wonderful collection of an absolutely delightful publication.

It’s called Work Magazine though it appears to have been more a Newsletter than a true magazine as we think of it today.

There 187 issues so far. Every issue is 16 pages and according to the site doing the scanning it was published on low quality paper and they are having to hand scan the originals. They are publishing each issue on the 123 anniversary of it’s original publication. The originals were published every Saturday starting in March of 1889.

The magazine is titled:

Work-The Illustrated Magazine of Practice and Theory for all Workmen, Professional and Amateur

They cover just an extraordinary range of subject from woodworking through manually powered tools, clocks, wire works, how to repair a circular saw blade, making locks and apparently whatever else struck the fancy of the editor any given week. Once you start looking through them you’ll find them almost addictive in the wealth of simple practical knowledge and the range of subject.

It took me a lot longer to download and process them than I expected because I would open each file to ensure it downloaded properly then get distracted when something in the publication caught my attention and I would spend 10-20 minutes reading the text. They are truly addictive.

So far they have posted the first 187 issues of it and the folks scanning and posting them haven’t mentioned how many there are of them in the collection they are scanning.

At the bottom of the index I’ve included a link to their site in case you want to keep up with the issues as they come out. I’ll be checking the site periodically and adding additional issues as they are made available

Doug thanks for bringing these to my attention.

The Librarian


Space Weather is reporting a 70% chance of M-Class flares and a 25% chance of X-Class flares for Sept 30 from the large sunspot AR2422.

Fortunately it’s in the SE quadrant of the sun’s face so that diminishes the chance of such a flare heading our direction. They aren’t always perpendicular to the source location so we could be affected nonetheless.

It’s somewhat sobering when you read the news of the day with all the international tension and political posturing and rhetoric and realize that that a perfectly natural event on the sun a bit over 90 million miles away could render all of that tension and rhetoric totally moot.

In such an event people would quickly forget about candidates, corrupt politicians, economic worries, international tensions which would all be replaced by concern with survival.

The Middle East could revert to the barbarism to which it seems so determined to return and they could spend the next couple hundred years killing each other and trying to kill or enslave everyone different.

Most of Asia would return to warlords and peasants as it existed for thousands of years.

I would say that Africa would revert to the Tribalism that has kept parts of it pretty much in the Stone Age but except for the brief colonial era it never actually left Tribalism and will simply continue on as it has for the last several thousand thousand years… butchering each other.

Europe will go back to localism with every little group making war on every other little group in a perpetual cycle of recovery_from_war – return_to_war.

The politicians would all die off quickly since most of them have no skills other than corruption and manipulation of people. There are a few who have actually had real jobs and military experience and could walk away from D.C. and become real people again but most of them have been irrevocably tainted and infected with the “power syndrome” and will spend the rest of their lives clamoring after power, approval and money… not a great long term survival trait.

The news is full of the pronouncements of this media figure and that movie actor/actress favoring us ignorant peasants with their opinions of world events and social issues… most of which sound like the pronouncements of not so bright junior high school students. All of which would again become moot in the event of a serious solar flare hitting the Earth.

It makes you wonder just how much value any of those things have in reality when they could be rendered irrelevant by a simple act of nature.

The real values; self reliance, family, faith in God, strength of character, skills and knowledge, hard work… those things would not be rendered moot. They would, in fact, return to the forefront as the values most likely to help you survive and prosper in a world that has discarded the irrelevant.

It also gives a different perspective on the Climate Chance/Global Warming fanatics who pester the world with their religious zeal. They claim that Man has so changed the climate that we’re all going to drown in 2010… no wait… in 2014… no wait… we’ll all drown at some indeterminate time in the future.

They’re not sure just when but they’re 100% positive that we’re all going to die some time real soon now if we don’t do exactly what they tell you to do and give them LOTS of money to continue “studying” the settled science that doesn’t really need to be studied anymore since it’s finished, done and settled… but just in case… give them LOTS more money for research.

Yet for all of Mankind’s incredible, amazing, earth-shattering power to adversely terraform the Earth and bring about catastrophic global extinction (despite the temperature not increasing for the last 20 years)… Mankind’s entire technology and industrial infrastructure could be eliminated in a matter of seconds by the Sun belching in our direction.

When shown to scale the Earth compared to the Sun is about like a period on this page compared to the size of the monitor in which it is displayed.

In the grand scheme of nature Man is not insignificant. When compared to the Sun the EARTH is insignificant. People aren’t even visible in that picture much less the politics and rhetoric and posturing and international tensions that dominate the news cycle.

Give you a little perspective on the world when you can look up at the Sun and think “Well another day of calm… so far.” then return to the news cycle and see what incredibly important, significant and world shaking events have happened in the last 15 minutes or that actor X has announced that they are now supporting cause Y…

The Librarian

p.s. New File additions coming later this week.




If what the gentleman quoted in this article says then the government actually is making preparations for an EMP or Grid Down situation. Unfortunately if what he says is true then it is the greatest betrayal of the People of a country by a government that has ever occurred.

It is common knowledge that even the government acknowledges that they have emergency shelters to provide for “Continuity of Government” in the event of a national disaster. (I wonder if they bothered to consult the People as to whether Continuity of Government was something the People wanted to spend money on?)

What the gentleman in the article is alleging is that they have done a lot more than provide for Continuity of Government but are actively working to protect government employees and their families at the expense of the People of the country. Were such a thing to be found to be true I would expect a large number of people to be arrested, charged and brought to trial.

Such actions make selling out the country to enemies, importing massive numbers of illegals in order to register them to vote, betraying our allies, doubling the national debt and destroying our economy seem like trivial actions.

What is saddest of all is that when you read those paragraphs there is nothing shocking in them at all. The idea that the government is building shelters for government employees and their families and doing nothing for the rest of the population is not the least bit surprising. It seems perfectly normal in the world in which we now live.

That says more about the state of the world than the threat of EMPs or cyber attacks which could destroy the grid or anything else.

Sort of like the frog dropped in cold water then the temperature being raised until he’s cooked alive. The outrageous becomes so much the norm that we no longer even blink when we read what should be shocking information.

The Librarian





Insighful article in today’s Independent Journal Review. It’s a shot at Liberalism but ignoring that it still captures the essence of why so many TV Survivor shows like Walking Dead, the BBC’s Survivors, Revolution and so many others consist of characters who would not actually survive the first 24 hours of the situation in which they are shown.

The gist of it is that they utterly reject the reality of the situation in which they find themselves and continue to cling to “normalcy” in which their feelings and values have some measure of worth compared to food, water, shelter and self defense.

I remember watching part of a BBC series named Survivors in which a small number of people survive a virulent disease which kills 99% of the human race. In one episode the hero protagonist Greg defeats the bad guys who are all armed with FN FALs (Standard European Military Rifle of that period). His group has already had run ins with other armed groups in the past so what does Greg do?

He throws all the rifles and ammunition into a pond.

Here he has a golden opportunity to arm his group to enable them to defend themselves in the future and he chooses to DISARM not only the armed group he has defeated but his own people. His victoriously leads his people away from the now disarmed and helpless survivors with, no doubt, a righteous, self-satisfied smile on this face. (Considering that the show was produced by BBC the anti-gun bias is understandable but in a “survival” show becomes ludicrous)

Sorry but that is a simple and irretrievably stupid anti-survival action which most in real life would almost certainly doom both groups to death, injury or slavery at the hands of the first armed group they encounter.

I stopped watching the show after a few more absolutely insane actions that in real life would have guaranteed the demise of these people. The brutal reality is that they never would have survived past the situations they encountered in the first or second episode with the attitudes they had. The first individual with a gun that they encountered would have taken everything they had (except most likely the women) and left the rest dead or dying on the road.

It doesn’t take more than a cursory reading of history to establish that from the very beginnings of human history those unable to defend themselves perish. If you, as a society, can’t defend it, it does not really belong to you. It belongs to the first society with the strength to take it way from you and defend it.

That applies to land, wealth, food, buildings, women or anything else which some other group or individual desires.

We are blessed to live in societies which learned that lesson early on and built strong and effective militaries and law enforcement organizations to provide the ability to defend what we have. Unfortunately many people have totally lost touch with the reality against which those people protect us. They assume that the world beyond the borders defended by those folks operate just like their own small world and that their values and perceptions are shared by the rest of the world.

It’s hard to understand how people can actually think that way unless they intentionally shield themselves from ALL contact with the news and abjure ALL knowledge of what’s going on in the world around them. Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is simply ignorance.

You can ignore reality all you like. Reality will NOT ignore you.

So those of us who see the reality of the world and what could happen in the event of an EMP or other event that could cause a collapse of the existing world we are not the norm.

Just bear in mind that most of the people you encounter in the world these days inhabit the same unreality as the characters in TV survivor shows. They are the ones who would, as described in the article, die… “with a spear through his guts after telling the local warlord that he disapproved “of this patriarchal, phallocentric, cisnormative power structure.”

The one consolation is that those sort of values and attitudes would not be a problem in a world rebuilding after a collapse because the people who aspouse those kind of beliefs and attitudes will not be among the survivors.

The Librarian




I’ve just added a new Journalism Category. I mentioned it some time ago but it took a while to get cleaned up and organized.

Some of them, such as the 7 volume set of the History of Journalism in San Francisco, were from the Depression Era and were the product of writers working for the Works Project Administration which were essentially public service jobs for people, in this case writers, payed for by the government. The format of them was single face typewritten pages. Normally that would be moot but when scanned they scanned the back of every page as well so every other page was blank. That meant every other page had to be deleted from the pdf file in order to reduce the size. Not difficult but tedious even using macros to do most of the work since the macro had to be watched carefully since occasionally there were handwritten titles and such on the back side of pages.

It’s an interesting collection. Journalism might seem an odd addition to a Library dedicated to saving the knowledge of how to live without modern technology but it really isn’t when you think on it a bit.

In such a world television and radio will not likely be available to the majority of people. At the same time there will be a strong need for information and news as a community grow and interacts with other communities. As groups of communities organize and industry again begins to grow the actions of all of these levels of organization become vital information for people.

In a world without electricity and therefore likely with only limited radio and probably no television for some time printed information will once again become the method of spreading information. Printing presses would be one of the early machines rebuilt since they are such an essential tool for preserving and distributing information. Newspapers, even if in limited form at first, will once again become the primary source of news for many people who would otherwise be out of touch with the goings on in the world outside their immediate area.

But newspapers require something which no longer exists to any great extent in the modern industrialized world. That is the lost art and skill of Journalism.

I don’t think there are many people who will argue with me very much that actual journalism disappeared in the U.S. sometime after the 60s when ambush and shock journalism became the norm. Once TV took center stage as the news media of choice it declined even faster. With the advent of 24/7 news channels on cable it was all but abandoned.

The people who call themselves “journalists” today don’t appear to have much in common with what we used to think of as Journalists such as Joseph Pulitzer or Horace Greely.

I find it hard to imagine Joseph Pulitzer sitting down with a crime victim and asking them how they felt when they saw their child or spouse murdered. That is, of course, the first question most modern “journalists” would ask of a crime victim.

The original function of Journalism was to inform. That got lost along the way and today’s “journalists” seem to see their role as being to shape and manufacture information in order to produce a desired political or social outcome. The modern journalism schools teach that a journalist job is to change the world.

In the last century we called that Propaganda.

Now its called News.

At least Joseph Goebbels was honest enough not to pretend to be a journalist.

In a world rebuilding after the current world (including “journalists”) helps bring about it’s demise and we’re forced to start over, there will be a need for the collection, organization and distribution of information. It will be filled at first by word of mouth carried by those trading or travelling. But as communities form and people begin to congregrate in villages and towns it will move to public bulletin boards. Eventually someone will see an business opportunity, build a printing press and start publishing a newspaper. The days of the printed media will return until electronic media again replaces it.

Sadly the actual skills of journalism have all but disappeared and the people rebuilding will have to learn it all over again. These books will, if they survive perhaps, make that learning curve a bit less steep.

True Journalism is a skill like any other and can be learned. Too bad the skill disappeared decades ago.

The Librarian

p.s. For what it’s worth I stopped watching or listening to “journalists” a long time ago. The vast majority of them have become wholly owned subsidiaries of various political parties or social groups. To them information is a tool to be used to influence opinion… nothing more… nothing less.

I turn to the written word for information and even there it’s hard to dig actual fact out of the majority of the tripe published. As the U.S. education system continues to deteriorate it becomes increasingly painful to read most of what is published. Look through the level of writing in some of these Journalism books and compare it with modern “news” writing. You’ll be shocked.



The federal government is finally taking some action that actually changes the vulnerability of nation’s power grid…

Unfortunately it’s a change for the worse. This article below points out something that hadn’t occurred to me but like so many smart ideas appears so obvious that you want to slap yourself for not thinking of it.

The gist of it is that the government efforts to shut down our coal fueled power plants will have the net effect of making the power grid even more susceptible to an EMP attack or a solar EMP event. Added to that the push to increase the spread of the so called “smart grid” makes the power distribution system even more dependent on computer circuitry which would be damaged or destroyed by an EMP event.

Basically the first comes down to that fact that coal fueled plants maintain a stockpile of coal. While not enough to fuel the current level of operations for more than a few days or weeks it does provide a temporary supply of fuel that could be used to restart a plant in order to provide at least minimal power distribution to bootstrap local area operations.

The natural gas powered power plants however depend on a functioning power grid to power the pipelines in order to deliver fuel to the plants.

Once the grid shuts down the natural gas fueled power plants will remain offline until…. the grid comes back up to deliver the fuel… required to bring the grid back up…

The “Smart Grid” expansion which replaces traditional analog power meters (basically not much more than an electric motor attached to a ratcheted dial) with computer controlled meters that can be remotely accessed. Sounds great until you realize that an EMP would in all likelihood fry the vulnerable computer circuits inside the meter. In the event of an EMP a building with a smart meter would be cut off from the power gird regardless of whether the grid stayed active or not. Even if the grid could be brought back up buildings with smart meters would be isolated until the meter was either replaced or bypassed entirely. It massively complicates efforts to restart the power grid after an EMP event damages it.

And BTW the power companies are not keeping the old meters they are taking out and replacing. They are being thrown away, sold overseas or sold as scrap and destroyed.

You can’t make stuff like this up. There are no books with plots this dumb because as a writer once said “The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to be believable.”

Some day historians will look at the events of our current time and scratch their heads trying to figure out how a people who could send men to the moon and bring them back could then descend into such utter ignorance and stupidity.

The Librarian


Several people a week ask about adding books on Solar Panels and similar technology. It’s a common question so if you’re one of the people who asked it don’t feel like I’m singling you out.

When you think about a post-catastrophe world, one where the industrial and technological infrastructure has failed through a collapse of some kind or a catastrophic event such as an EMP attack or event you need to shift your thinking in very radical ways.

Picture a world where the electrical grid has failed, the factories have all shut down from lack of power, parts, supplies and raw materials.

Picture your children living in that world trying to rebuild from scratch not having grown up in the modern world that we take for granted, children to whom a television and computers and cell phones are simply something the old folks talk about.

Now to address the solar panel and solar power issue… right now without leaving your house try to build a solar panel with the materials and supplies you have on hand and without any use of electricity.

The chances quite high that unless you are a solar panel hobbyist who has some unusual materials and chemical supplies at home that you will fail.

Solar panels are NOT a feature of a post industrial society trying to rebuild from a failure of the industrial infrastructure.

Solar panels are, in fact, a product OF an extremely advanced technological and industrial infrastructure and cannot exist outside of that infrastructure. The requirements for making solar panels are quite rigid, require large amounts of electrical power and precision manufacturing processes that even now push the limits of our technology to achieve high (i.e. practical) levels of efficiency.

Every couple of weeks or months you run across a story announcing a new breakthrough in solar panel efficiency which just pushes the envelope of existing technology even further.

While people who have survived a collapse or catastrophic event will undoubtedly salvage whatever solar panel technology they can and use them as long as they can the simple brutal reality is that lacking a modern technologically advanced infrastructure they CANNOT BE REPLACED. Even the relatively low tech lead-acid batteries would be difficult to manufacture.

So what’s my point?

If you are serious about trying to rebuild after something like an EMP then stop thinking short term. If it’s something you cannot manufacture a replacement for then it is Modern Tech and falls under the category of short term survival salvage. When it wears out or breaks it’s gone and you can’t replace it except by more salvage. Eventually the salvage runs out.

So prep all you want. Buy all the solar panels you want and plan to use them as long as you can but also think about when they break, wear out or fail.

What then??

That’s what the Library is for and about… the What Then after the modern equipment breaks and wears out, when there are no more solar panels and tractors and boots and axes and saws and pots and pans to salvage.

What then?

The Librarian


I read a lot of Science Fiction when I was younger. I still read a fair amount but my tastes have broadened into other areas as well.

There was a sub-genre of Sci-Fi that today we would call post-apocalyptic like Alas Babylon, Malevil, A Canticle for Liebowitz and others. They were always about individuals and society learning to cope with a new world where self sufficiency and individual responsibility became the focus.

One of the things I remember about those stories was that “government” was either irrelevant, benign or was helpful. In Alas Babylon government showing up at the end is met with cheers as they bring help and relief. In other books of the period government was either a distant, somewhat minor issue or was helpful in some way. It was rarely the case that government was an obstacle to survival.

In today’s post-apocalypse fiction government is rarely, if ever, a friendly force. It is seldom neutral or irrelevant. In almost every story or book or movie that has appeared in the last couple of decades the government is the Enemy.

In many cases the government itself is the proximate cause of the apocalypse, collapse or event which creates a need for individuals to become self sufficient survivors. In other cases where the collapse or catastrophic event is from natural causes government becomes the largest obstacle to survival.

Dr. William Forstchen just released a sequel to One Second After about a small college town in the northwestern part of my state of North Carolina trying to survive after an EMP attack on the United States. Naturally I got a copy yesterday and am looking forward to reading it in its entirety.

I was a bit saddened and disappointed when it became clear in the reviews and synopsis that, once again, government had become the obstacle to survival.

How did we, the People, allow the country to reach the point where our own government has become the Enemy? Where even in the case of a catastrophic event our biggest survival concern has to be surviving the interference or even aggression of our own government? Isn’t it enough that in the case of an EMP event or attack or whatever Zombie Apocalypse might descend on us we have to put our government at the top of the list of survival problems to overcome?

Aren’t the problems of water, food, shelter and security enough to have to overcome to survive? Why have we allowed a group of Employees, people we select and pay to perform an nasty, messy job in a swamp in Eastern Virginia, to threaten our personal survival and that of our families?

Something is really messed up in the world when the biggest long term threat after a disaster is the government.

When I was young we feared Global Thermonuclear War and having to survive in the radioactive wasteland that remained.

If you’re among the younger generation with kids still at home or one of the generation coming of age in the new millennium you folks need to think long and hard about the world you are creating. You’re creating one where your own government is perceived as a bigger threat than Global Thermonuclear War or an EMP event that destroys the world’s technology. You should think about that.

The Librarian

New Category-Ethics

I’ve just added a new Category entitled Ethics.

It’s one that has kept being shunted to the side over and over in favor or more physical and “practical” technology Categories that always seemed to be a higher priority. I’ve ordered some DVDs of radio and vacuum tube materials from several sources to add to the ones I have already collected and while I’m waiting I thought I’d go ahead and get this one posted.

Why Ethics? What does that have to do with survival and rebuilding.

Our modern world, our industrial world and our very perception of the world from a scientific perspective is very much a product of Ethics and Morality.

I long ago posted a Morality Category and one reporter accused me of “pushing an agenda” by posting books on Morality and Ethics. I’m not sure how a reporter, who lives by his journalistic Ethics, can fail to understand that a shared Morality and Ethics is the most fundamental structure which defines a Culture or a Civilization. Without a shared concept of Right and Wrong, without a shared understanding of how those concept of Right and Wrong are applied in the world of interpersonal relations and interaction with the world around us there is no Culture or Civilization. There are simply human shaped animals that contend with one another like any other animal; each person an entirely separate entity with nothing in common with the next human shaped animal encountered.

The fact is however that Man separated himself from the animals precisely by creating moral and ethical processes that allowed him to form communities and work together to promote the interest of the group and the individual.

So what does that have to do with Survival and rebuilding?

Answer? Everything. Groups cannot exist without shared values and standards of behavior base don those values. Communities cannot function unless there is a common, shared set of values and a shared definition of how those values are applied to behavior. Call them rules, etiquette, manners, laws… They all amount to the same basic concept. WE as a group agree that these things are Good, that these things are Bad and This is how those values will be applied to our behavior (i.e. morals and ethics).

Anything short of that is anarchy. Short of an agreed upon standard of behavior you quickly encounter conflict and anger which leads to fighting and eventually warfare.

We see that happening in our world today in many places. Immigrants to a country bring their own values with them and rather than assimilate into and adopt the values of the culture into which they have moved they retain their old values which are in conflict with the moral, ethics and often the laws of their host country. You can read stories in the newspapers of most Western countries of immigrants committing acts that are grossly in violation of the moral and legal standards of the country in which they live such as honor killings, abuse and and mutilation of women and rape of minor children.

In our modern world there are people who have forgotten or perhaps never understood that one of the basic definitions of a culture is shared values and shared ethics who try to excuse such behavior by citing the benefits of “Diversity” and the equal value of all cultures.

Diversity has it’s values and I won’t argue with you that my culture is superior to anyone elses culture. The historical results of the values of each culture speak for themselves and those who study history can judge that for themselves. But when you mix and mingle cultures which have conflicting values and conflicting ethics you accomplish little but to destroy both cultures.

Ultimately in a society rebuilding itself people have to be able to meet other people and have some confidence that the actions and behavior of those other people are predictable within the limits of a shared morality and ethics. You cannot negotiate with someone else who doe snot share your values and ethics.

If another person or group does not share your morals or ethics, at least to a significant degree, then behavior that they consider acceptable could easily be what you and your group consider illegal. Without those shared values groups go to war instead of cooperate with one another.

If you believe honesty and speaking truth to be important and the individual with whom you are trading believes honesty only applies to members of his own group and that it is perfectly proper to lie to “outsiders” you won’t trade with them more than once.

Thus ultimately morals and ethics are essential to any attempt to rebuild. They are the foundations upon which all human interaction is based.

I tried to separate the books in the Morality Category and the Ethics Category to those which deal with “HOW” we decide on values and which values to choose vs how we APPLY those values to ourselves and our interactions with others and the world in general. That’s a somewhat subjective decision and you will probably find some of my choices arbitrary. I did the best I could with a complex subject. Feel free to combine or categorize them however you wish.

The Librarian

p.s. Someone almost immediately pointed out to me that any individual or group pushing a specific Morality or set of Ethics is being judgmental and that it’s not nice to be judgmental. All I can do is point out that that very belief, that you should not be judgmental, IS A MORAL AND ETHICAL POSITION that you are trying to convince others to share. When you tell someone else how they should behave you are promulgating your Moral and Ethical values and attempting to build a group of people who share a common set of Moral and Ethical standards… i.e. a Culture.

The problem with that particular belief is that it only attracts those who believe differently from you and see that your belief provides them with some advantage over you which benefits them in some way.

p.p.s. Someone else complained that all of this was pushing a “Christian” bias. Bad news for you bro. If you were brought up in the Western world you have an inherent, built in, inescapable Christian bias since your very perception of the world, your concepts of Science, of the laws of Nature, of the existence of Man as something different from the animal and the way you view reality are all aspects of Christian thinking. The very process of thinking and reasoning which you used to develop your complaint are processes built upon Western Civilization’s adoption of Reason as a consequence of Christian philosophy and thought.