I’ve switched to using Lexar Flash Drives for the library.

The PNY drives are good drives but the supply chain for them has been getting very inconsistent recently. That has led to the prices on them fluctuating almost daily sometimes reaching truly absurd levels and on occasion simply being unavailable from anyone.

At work and at home I had already switched over to using Lexar drives because the quality is excellent and the supply has been steady and reliable.

I gave up on the PNYs because anytime I needed a specific size I’d have to hunt through multiple sites to find one at a decent price since the prices were fluctuating so much. A few weeks ago I ordered three of them, each one from a different site because each site only had one in stock.

I have always been able to find Lexars at stable prices and readily available and I started buying those for home and work use a couple months ago.

When I made the last Library copy for someone this week and looked in the drawer to see if I needed to order one or two more I realized that I had a dozen or so Lexars at home, in my bag and at least that many at work and no more PNYs anywhere. So I figured it was time to make the switch for the Library as well.

The Librarian


Knowing as much as I do about the 1800s I would certainly not want to live there.

Having lived my early years without it I truly appreciate air conditioning.

Having spent time dealing with mules when younger I truly appreciate my diesel tractor.

Having read many of the medical books from the 1800s I truly appreciate modern medicine and the advances made there.

Yet I wonder if perhaps some of the practices we left behind in the 1800s are practices we should have kept. Perhaps our lives are a little poorer for having left them behind.

The Librarian


It seems to me that someone out there is missing the point. This story is about some of the Tech m(b)illionaires buying up land in remote locations like New Zealand in order to build expensive and elaborate survival complexes, compounds, bug-out locations or more simply places to which to flee with everything goes down the tubes.

While we’d all enjoy having unlimited funds to pursue prepping along with everything else in life it seems to me that these folks are missing the whole point.

Do you know what the real difference is between them and the rest of the prepper community? Nothing.

They may have a little more ammo stockpiled. Their weapons may be more expensive and more tricked out. They may have larger food stockpiles but ultimately it doesn’t matter.

They will still eventually run out of ammo. They will run out of food and have to start growing and raising their own. The clothes they have will wear out and eventually will have to be replaced.

Even worse for them they are fleeing to remote locations which do not have significant viable communities of which to become part and to rebuild.

Places like New Zealand are beautiful no question. The weather is wonderful. The scenery world class. But it has little in the way of natural resources. It has little industry. It depends on the industrial and technological infrastructure of the rest of the world to maintain it modern lifestyle. On its own, cut off from that modern supply line, it has little chance of rebuilding a modern infrastructure.

The thinking of these folks is like some preppers who imagines that it’s simply a matter of waiting out some temporary instability, some riots, perhaps a civil war here or there, some public unrest but eventually everything will return to normal and their adventure/vacation will end and they can fly back to the U.S. or Europe (First Class or on their private jet) and be driven back to their offices and pick up where they left off but with great stories to tell.

They don’t seem to grasp that if the world economy or social structure collapses, if an EMP event occurs there will be no going back. A totally different world will exist afterwards and being isolated on an island in the South Pacific thousands of miles from any possible rebuilding will be the last place in the world you’d want to strand your children and grandchildren.

Still it’s a nice fantasy to imagine at least in the short term. Standing on your balcony in your 200 acre New Zealand mountain home with your Stoner 63 rifle ($120,000), sipping Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee ($50/lb) waiting for breakfast to be served while waiting for the refugees to die off so you can drive into town…

The worst downside to that fantasy is imagining that the local folks… the ones who issued your building permits, who built your retreat, who delivered and unloaded your supplies, who installed the weapons safe, etc… don’t know that you have many years of food and other supplies in your place and that eventually they or worse the closest government body won’t be dropping by to discuss you “sharing” your bounty with them.

So while these folks all have the luxury of spending as much as they want to create safety for themselves and their families I suspect most of them are being taken for a ride by builders and sellers more interested in their money than in their long term safety.

The Librarian


As I think most folks understand there are real differences in what needs to be done and what skills you need depending on where you live.

Skills developed to survive in Northern Idaho or Northern Minnesota are a bit different from the skills required to survive in Southern Louisiana or even Coastal North Carolina.

The climate is the most obvious difference but there are a lot of other factors such as indigenous wildlife, edible plants, games animals and predators, snakes, insect pests, potential parasites and even things as simple as the type of trees.

Natural materials which are readily available in some areas simply do not exist in others. Flint which is common in some regions is almost impossible to find in Coastal North Carolina to my knowledge. Please correct me if I’m wrong. That’s just one of hundreds of small but potentially meaningful issues.

Growing techniques are very different in the sandy soil here from the loamy soils in other regions.

Drilling a well in this area is as simple as driving a pipe or digging a hole 20-25 feet into the ground. In other areas even on the Western side of the state it requires deep wells of several hundred feet which are not something most individuals will be able to do without rock drilling equipment.

So it’s nice to see regional survival websites which focus on the skills and information needed by folks in a more specific area.

So if you live in the Deep South and scratch your head at those things called Snow Caves or videos on how to make snow shoes this might be a useful site.

The Librarian


Ran across these folks youtube channel the other day. While they center on a period of history a bit earlier than I would prefer to experience it does have a lot of useful and interesting videos showing how to actually do various tasks.

They tend to concentrate on food preservation techniques but there’s nothing wrong with that. Have to be able to feed yourself before you can do most of the other tasks involved in long term planning.

Thought folks would find some interesting information there.

The Librarian


Nice article in the UK Daily Mail about a couple old books from the 1800s providing what are now called “Life Hacks” or in more traditional terminology… practical advice for daily life.

Both of the books mentioned are in the New Additions Category on the Survivor Library site.

There’s a minor error in the article in that the The United States Practical Receipt Book was actually published in 1844 and not 1884. Perhaps there is a later edition than the one one we have but the link they have posted in their article is also to the 1844 edition so I suspect it is a simply typo…. not that I have EVER committed such a typorgaphical error myself.

Always interesting it have such an insight into the lives of our forebears and to realize that their day to day concerns were not really that much different from ours.

The Librarian


A few pictures of the food section of a Walmart stores in the Charlotte, NC area just prior to the winter storm a couple of weeks ago.

That was just a storm… a temporary phenomenon that everyone knew would pass in a few days. Just as everyone knew those shelves would be restocked within in a day or two.

Try to imagine the aftermath of an EMP event that would NOT PASS IN A DAY OR TWO because the recovery time would be measured in years, decades or in the event of a Solar EMP more likely in generations.

Look at those shelves and think about them NOT BEING RESTOCKED because the transportation network is broken and would not be fixed for a long, long time.

Then finally look at your family and ask yourself how you will care for them, feed them and shelter them what those pictures are the reality you face.

The Librarian


The Commission that’s been in existence for 8 years and has repeatedly pointed out the vulnerability of the U.S. to EMP from both Solar and Nuclear sources will be releasing a ruling on standards to protect the grid from an EMP.

But in typical D.C. fashion (i.e. incompetent and purely political at our expense) the ruling will ONLY address Solar EMP protection and will be released on Jan 19… one day before the inauguration of the incoming president.

The Commission has been in existence since 2008 and could have issued the ruling at any point during those 8 years since we’re not talking about rocket science.

The effects of an EMP are well known, much studied and well documented. The steps to protect the grid are also well known, much studied and well documented.

That they would wait until the day before a Presidential inauguration and only do half the job by ignoring Nuclear EMP, which in the current state of the world is becoming more and more possible, is a sad travesty.

Issuing the standards on the last day of an outgoing administration makes the act so blatantly political that it will taint the act in the eyes of the incoming administration and virtually guarantee that it will be simply ignored.

If there ever is an EMP event I hope and pray that the political figures who have played games with the issue survive to face the rest of the survivors and have to explain their negligence.

The Librarian

p.s. Despite the article I don’t actually blame Obama. This type of action has become the norm in D.C. for both parties and all politicians as a breed. It could just as easily have occurred under a Republican as a Democratic administration. Only politics matter. Lives are irrelevant.


Millennials lack even the most basic of survival skills.

The moral here is that if there is going to be an apocalyptic event it better happen while the older generation is still around and healthy or the world is going to be in serious trouble.

Well the Western Industrialized world anyway. The rest of the world will probably do just fine.

Many parts of the world would not notice an EMP event that destroyed the electronics other than perhaps discovering that the community radio (if there is one) stopped working.

The Librarian


We all know that we live in a world of Technology rather than one of Magic.

Don’t we?

Arthur C. Clarke once said “Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” When you can’t explain a thing by any concepts with which you are familiar or which you can deduce from what you know the only other explanation is… magic.

I grew up as something of a nerd familiar with a slide rule, building and flying model rockets and similar activities. I was not only deeply into technology but, like many nerds, into the fantasy world of D&D and similar pursuits. Perhaps as a nerd you need a break from technology occasionally.

The world of magic such as in D&D and other fantasy worlds is one where the mages, or magic users, possess arcane, occult (which simply means “hidden”) knowledge that gives them the ability to perform wonders. Normal people are limited to the tools of the physical world which they can understand and create for themselves.

The mages of course understand the “normal” world and are subject to it’s rules and limitations but possess a “higher” knowledge that gives them tremendous power beyond that of mere “normals”.

The normal people are at a tremendous disadvantage since so much power is in the hands of the mages. Thus the never ending quest to obtain and possess “magical” artifacts; magic swords, potions, magical shields, crystal balls, staffs of light, etc. Many stories revolve around the quest to obtain such knowledge or a powerful magical artifact or to destroy such an artifact in order to save the world or some part of it.

Which brings us back to whether we live in a world of Technology or Magic.

Growing up in the 50s and 60 we all understood the technology that existed around us like cars and electronics. While some of it was advanced like the race to the moon we still understood the fundamental concepts upon which the technology was based. Pretty much everyone knew the basics of auto mechanics of had a friend or family member who knew even more.

In school we were all taught the basics of how planes flew, how rockets worked, how electricity and radio functioned. So we lived in a world where the technology was familiar, comfortable and always knew that if we really put our mind to it we could learn all about any specific technology.

Which again brings us back to whether we live in a world of Technology or Magic.

Look around your own personal world today. Look at the computers, the TVs, cell phones, GPS in your car, the car itself. How much of it do you actually understand? Do you know the fundamental concepts of how an LCD TV works? Do you know how your computer works? Do you understand how the cable box that brings television to your LCD TV functions or how the DVR works?

If your car stops running do you have any idea what to check before calling the tow truck?

Are you a Mage or a Normal?

It strikes me at times that some of the items I see people using in their daily lives are quite like the “magical” artifacts of fantasy stories. The cell phone that teenagers use to send pictures to strangers all over the world are actually quite a bit more powerful than many of the magical devices in stories.

In Lord of the Rings Saruman the White Wizard had a magic crystal ball that allowed him to see things at a great distance. By comparison today’s webcams and drones make his crystal ball look rather primitive.

Yet they bear striking similarities…

The person using them didn’t make them. They not only didn’t make them but actually have no real idea of how they work. They almost certainly can’t repair them if they stop functioning. They have to take it to a local “mage”, i.e. someone possessing arcane, occult knowledge, to restore the magic in it.

We might as well call it magic because most of us do not understand the technology we use. The schools don’t teach that knowledge. Oh they teach you how to USE the technology, keyboarding (instead of typing), programming instead of woodshop, browsing instead of library science. But the reality is that few people outside of the technical professions really have any idea how most of the technology around them works.

I know people with cars with so many functions built into them that the User’s Manual is an inch think. The owners have given up trying to figure out all of the controls and only use the few functions that they can grasp intuitively. They aren’t stupid people but the level of complexity is such that it’s difficult to retain the complex procedures when the car is not used constantly.

So despite what we call it most people today don’t live in a world of “technology”. They live in a world of “magic” where the mages provide the magical artifacts which they use and which they do not actually understand.

More worrisome is that even many of the “mages” don’t truly understand the technology they use. Few of the people working in the IT world could actually build a computer if they had to. Oh sure they could assemble components, motherboards, power supplies, cpus, ram, graphics cards into a case to build a functioning computer but could they build the cpu or the motherboard themselves? No they couldn’t.

Few of the engineers who actually design the motherboards or the cpus could build one either. They know circuity but they know little or nothing of the materials science required to create the cpu chip.

The world we live in today blurs many of the lines between the terms “technology” and “magic”.

The ability to be self sufficient grows further and further away from us everyday. More importantly our dependence on the “mages” and their magical artifacts grows every day.

The Librarian