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TOO MANY SOCIAL COLLAPSE NEWS STORIES
I was going to post some links to news stories around the country that highlight the importance of preparing for social turmoil, shortages, supply chain disruptions and the like but there were just too many.
I think anyone who has any exposure to the news is fully aware of the growing social disruptions around the U.S. and the fact that the situation is getting worse and not better. Portland, Oregon has just passed 60 days of rioting in the streets with it's accompanying destruction with no action being taken by anyone in a position of power to stop it. As of this morning there is still no indication that anyone is going to do anything about it. Which suggests it's going to continue growing and spreading.
In the post-apocalypse novels and movies the global pandemic is always either a Zombie virus or one that kills the majority of the population. No one ever imagined one that was not ultimately a lot worse than the flu but that led to a hysterical, politically driven shutdown of much of the world's economy, religious activity, business, travel and social activity. Indeed much of the hysteria and panic is driven by the media itself despite the toll the collapse of business is surely taking on their own revenues.
In the U.S. right now we have states that are pretty much back to pre-pandemic life and others that are still in almost complete shutdown mode with governors and other elected leaders exercising rule by fiat with most laws essentially suspended except those they allow and those are selectively enforced.
In one recent event homeowners who defended their home by standing outside with their guns were criminally charged while the armed rioters who threatened them and destroyed the gates to enter their neighborhood were given a pass and, in fact, defended by the city government. That kind of behavior significantly undermines the Rule of Law.
In Las Vegas the Casinos are open but Churches are closed. In other cities "demonstrations" are actively defended by elected officials while businesses and churches remain closed or are punished if the "disobey". Elected officials are mandating what people must wear and under what conditions they may leave their homes. The fact that in many places there is little or no legal basis for their actions is simply contributing further to the collapse of the Rule of Law. More and more people are losing respect for the Rule of Law. The uncontrolled rioting in many cities suggests that the Rule of Law is completely collapsing in some areas.
In other cities the business owners and residents who pay significant taxes to the city, part of which is to provide security and protection, are watching their city officials support and defend the rioters and actively prevent Law Enforcement from protecting the businesses and residents. This not only undermines the Rule of Law but also the belief that their government is even functional.
What we are seeing is, in essence, a social collapse in many areas imposed or abetted by political figures and groups which isn't something most post apocalypse novels ever imagined. That the imposition is, at first glance, almost random from city to city, state to state makes it even more damaging since there seems to be no rhyme or reason to any of it and therefore no rational way to address it. The demands of many of the groups carrying out the rioting are completely irrational and impossible in most cases.
The one thing most people agree about is that it is going to get a lot worse before it gets any better... if it gets better.
So dust off some of your old post-apocalypse novels about social collapse. Looks to your own preparations, self sufficiency, self defense and what you can do to prepare for an weather what's coming down the pike.
GOOD EMP VIDEO
Nice little 17 min video about how prepared the world is for a Carrington Event leave EMP. He points out how, since they take the threat more seriously than the US, Britain has actually been replacing their large transformers with newer ones that are more resistant to electrical surges like those a solar EMP would cause.
While there has been discussion about this in the U.S. I don't believe any action has been taken because the power companies don't see any short term profit in it and therefore put it off for someone in the future to deal with. It's going to take some significant pressure from the Federal level or else a direct mandate before they will act.
I sincerely hope Patrice Lewis is horribly wrong. That if Biden is elected the world will descend into a utopia of Peace and Harmony and Equality. Or that if Trump is elected the Left will accept the will of the American People and choose to continue to pursue their goals peacefully within the political process of the Nation as Conservatives did when Clinton and Obama were elected.
Problem is I don't think she is.
I've been a student of history since I was young, particularly the history of the first half of the 1900s which saw the Russian Revolution, the rise of Fascism in Italy, National Socialism in Germany, Militarism in Japan and Communism in China. And, of course, the aftermath of all of them. I think we are past the tipping point as were all of those examples after a certain date.
The U.S. has passed it's tipping point as well. The movement pushing Socialism have come out in the open and have pushed far enough into open revolt and violence that they can no longer retreat to fight another day. They are building momentum and will have to either succeed or be scattered so far to the winds that it will take them a generation to rebuild.
If The Democrats win they will be emboldened and will grow even more demanding and expect their goals to be implemented immediately. Those who refuse or even hesitate will become "enemies of the People" and mob justice will be meted out by them and by the media. The transition will be rapid, will accelerate and within a year there will be chaos and ruin. Go find some of the blogs from Venezuela to see what is coming.
The other alternative under a Democratic victory is that the mobs will be dealt with violently and harshly just as the Bolsheviks and NAZIs did with their useful idiots after seizing power. The last thing a Revolutionary government wants running around while they consolidate power is rabble rousers and revolutionaries.
If the Democrats fail to win the Presidency and control of Congress then expect a level of outrage and violence the U.S. has not seen in anyone's living memory. If you think it's unsafe to drive into large cities now if the Democrats fail to achieve power in Nov think of major cities as absolute No-Go zones. There will be a constant stream of those able to do so leaving those cities as quickly as they can.
There is no good scenario when you look at the Nov elections. Either is bad. One of probably worse then the other but neither is something to be anticipated.
So think about this past several months, the shortages, the things you most needed and could not find. Stock up. Look to your garden if you have one and to starting one if you don't. Think staples, potatoes, cabbage, beans not fresh salad greens and garnishes like parsley. Think survival garden.
Something is coming folks though I really, really do hope that Patrice and I are both badly wrong.
HOPEFUL TREND OF PEOPLE HEADING OUT OF THE CITIES
Ran across this today and it's a nice story to read.
People are increasingly leaving the cities and relocating to rural or at least suburban areas.
In the event of any kind of catastrophic event like an EMP cities that rely 100% on an advanced infrastructure for water, power, food and sanitation cities will rapidly become uninhabitable wastelands. No place to grow food, no resources to harvest other than scavenging which rapidly runs out. No access to water and a massive population that will quickly descend into violence as starvation, dehydration and disease take hold. The prospects for long term survival in a city without a power grid are pretty grim.
In the event of that kind of event the first priority of people who want to survive will be to escape the city as quickly as possible for more survivable locations. Problem is there will be thousands or perhaps millions doing the same thing.
Add to that the response of people in those survivable areas being inundated by millions of hungry desperate people fleeing the cities and the situation is not a pleasant one to contemplate. The more rural the better the chance of weathering the event itself as well as the influx of refugees from suddenly uninhabitable cities.
So it's gratifying to see more and more people leaving the cities before it is forced upon them. Certainly some of it is people fleeing failing city governments, increased crime and now the social and political disruptions occurring in the cities. Regardless of the reasons it's a good thing to see.
People in those rural and even suburban areas have a much higher chance of surviving any kind of catastrophic event especially if they are part of a rural community.
Ran across another interesting shortage this week.
While out and about on various errands I've stopped by a couple sporting good stores to pick up a couple boxes of shotgun ammo.
Apparently there is a complete absence of 12 gauge 00 buckshot ammo in the Cape Fear area of North Carolina.
I spent some time chatting with one of the gentlemen at the gun section of the local Academy Sports this morning. He said that for several weeks every time they get some in it's gone within an hour after putting it on the shelf. He said the last several days they haven't even received any in their daily deliveries from the regional distribution center.
He pointed out that if I looked at the shelves most of the popular calibers of handgun ammunition were either gone or sparse. He said the same was true for 5.56/.223 (AR) and 7.62x39 (AK) ammunition. People appear to be hunkering down.
GROCERY STOCK LEVELS DROPPING SLOWLY?
I've noticed something recently in the grocery stores. There is a decreasing stock of many products on the shelves. I wouldn't call it a "shortage" in any real sense of the word but there is a noticeable difference now from a few months ago.
It's small things. the canned fruit and vegetables shelves of the store in which I usually shop always had two layers of cans on the taller shelves and a full layer all the way to the back of the shelf on the shorter.
Today I noticed that where there used ot be two complete layers of cans there are now single layers with a few scattered cans on the second layer. The single layer shelves are about a third to a half full. A few rows pushed to he front with the space behind them empty.
A few varieties of items had a smaller variety of brands. There are normally 4-5 brands of a particular type of beans. Today there were only two brands and a couple scattered cans of a third brand. A few brands of other items were simply not present at all.
Walking the aisles I frequently saw all of a particular product was the same brand with no other brand present. There were, of course still noticeable shortages of paper towels and toilet paper. Several stores I was in this week had the same two brands of toilet paper and no others.
I asked a few folks at work (a totally unscientific, non-random survey) and after thinking about it a moment they all said that yes they were seeing the same thing in stores around the area.
I don't know whether this is simply a lingering effects of the supply chain disruptions of the last few months or people stocking up extra out of the continuing scare stories from the media or perhaps supply chain disruptions from the street violence going on around the country. During the peak of the lockdowns last month it was usually specific items like meat and toilet paper. This is becoming more widespread across a much wider variety of items and products though more subtle.
Perhaps it's unique to this area I can't say. But look at your own stores and see if you see any noticeable differences in stock levels.
ONCE AGAIN THE GRID VULNERABILITY
I'm not suggesting the Chinese/NORKSs/Russian/Iranians/etc are about to attack us. I think they would have to be pretty foolish to do so considering at a minimum our submarine launched nuclear deterrence would be unaffected by such an attack. But then starting war is often an irrational act on the face of it so what do I know.
However considering the continuing vulnerability of our power grid it would be remiss of our potential enemies to NOT take advantage of one of our greatest weaknesses and at least plan for using that against us in the event of a conflict. They would be foolish not to and any military leaders who failed to do so should and would be replaced as incompetent for failing to do so.
It still comes back to the same subject. Our national power grid is totally vulnerable to an EMP event whether from a Solar Event, which would also affect the rest of the world, or from a man made nuclear EMP which would only affect the targeted areas.
Regardless of whether you lose power long term from the Sun or from a nuclear EMP you are still in the same situation and should make your plans and contingencies accordingly.
The fact remains that we rely on a power grid and infrastructure that is completely vulnerable to being destroyed without warning from multipel causes.
RENEWABLES AND THE GRID
Interesting article about the power situation in the UK and it's consequences for the People there.
The gist of the problem is that "renewable" energy sources have a pretty much fixed cost especially when you consider the government subsidies that are paid. In normal circumstances the cost of the subsidies can be spread across every one buying power. But with so many businesses and especially industrial users closed due to virus concerns the amount of power being used is a fraction of normal.
Unlike a coal or gas plant you can't just turn a windmill or solar farm off until it's needed again. The maintenance costs remain as well as the contracted subsidies which are paid regardless. As a result a fixed subsidy and maintenance cost is having to be spread across a much smaller group of consumers. Even worse they are not business and industrial consumers who are used to paying large power bills. They are home users, families and small businesses who can least afford a mushrooming power bill.
We have a similar situation in the U.S. but it is more easily masked since power is more easily transferred across grid here and electrical rates are generally much lower than in Europe.
Still i highlights the dangers of playing politics with something as fundamental to Western Civilization as the electrical grid. When ideology trumps engineering everyone loses.
MONDAY 06/08/2020 (Updated)
SELF SUFFICIENCY AND UNREST
(Not going to say anything new, just reiterate what I said below. Nothing fundamental has changed since I wrote this except to possibly become worse. I expect this to continue into the summer and peak towards election season. If Trump is reelected, as is likely right now, I expect the street violence to explode far past what it is now.)
Those who are familiar with the threat of a Solar EMP understand the importance of preparation, accumulating knowledge and information which enhance your ability to become completely self sufficient after such a disaster.
We all probably think of that danger as something hypothetical and somewhat remote since it's not something immanent and could occur any moment or not in our lifetime. So there is a certain distance between such an event and our normal daily lives. It becomes a tad abstract.
Someone once said "90% of life if maintenance." and we often can get so caught up in our daily "maintenance" that we develop a sort of normalcy bias assuming that tomorrow is going to be pretty much like today.
I think the last month or two of externally imposed shutdown of much of the world has been a shock to a lot of people. Shortages of various products driven by media hysteria and quite real shortages in some parts of the food supply driven by hysteria over potential illnesses. Even now large portions of the country's economy are shut down by political mandate while others operate at close to normal.
Civil unrest is occurring, political and social divides are growing to levels not seen since the days just before the Civil War. Our daily "normal" is becoming less so every day.
Self sufficiency is not something to put on the shelf till "the big one". It's something everyone should be moving towards to the extent possible in your individual situation. If nothing else download The Book of the Farm from the Farming Category and have it on hand.
I watched a movie the other day about a disaster in the U.S. in which one of the FEMA folks asked a military officer how long it would take to get emergency supplies and relief to the people cut off after an emergency.
He replied "Two weeks sir."
One of the other FEMA personnel said into the silence "We told everyone to keep 3 days of food an water on hand."
The exchange was followed by a much longer silence.
POSSIBLY INTERESTING GAME
Surviving the Aftermath is a new game for Xbox and PC that is close to release. It's in what's called Early Access which is where the customers get to do the game testing while the game is still in development.
New features are added as it continues to develop. It's a lot less expensive than an in-house testing program and gives customers a chance to try it out ahead of time. It also provides developers a better range of feedback from actual customers that can help develop a better game.
The premise is a group of survivors trying to Rebuild after some unknown catastrophe. Traditionally post-apocalypse games are run and gun games. Lone individuals fighting off hordes of zombies/mutants/bandits/etc. and it's all about the combat.
This one is a different approach since it focuses on rebuilding. I haven't looked into it too closely but thought I'd throw it out for folks to look into. Might have value as a tool to explore what kind of challenges might exist in such a scenario.
From the looks of it the period is just after such a catastrophe and doesn't really focus on the long term stabilization and infrastructure rebuilding but it still seems like it might have some promise.
THE GREAT GEOMAGNETIC STORM OF 1921
Here's one few people know about. The great Geomagnetic Storm of 1921. It lasted 3 days and damaged equipment all over the world.
Here's a review article at AGU (American Geophysical Union).
You can do a search of Geomagnetic Storm 1921 and find a lot of information about it.
Most interesting thing is that there were a lot more instruments to record various measurements of the effects of it, instruyments which did not exist at the time of the Carrington Event in 1859.
SOME GOOD NEWS ABOUT THE GRID
I've been meaning to post this but with one thing and another it just sat in my list until today.
Seems the President has finally issued an Executive Order declaring some of the vulnerabilities of the Power Grid a National Emergency. News about it will be totally lost in the ongoing "situation" related to this years virus outbreak from Asia but nonetheless it is a significant action even if few hear about it.
The Order addresses the fact that almost all bulk power equipment used in the U.S. power grid is made in foreign countries. As I have alluded to many times in the past few of the large power transformers such as those used in major substations are made in the U.S.. Most of them come from Europe and the lead time between ordering and delivery is generally about a year.
The other major focus is on protecting the grid from terrorism and physical attack. While that's laudable the reality is that a terrorist or group of terrorists are not going to take down the grid. They may cause a blackout, perhaps even an extended one. A disciplined and coordinated attack, not something most terrorists are famous for, could conceivably even cause blackouts over a wide spread area.
Fortunately such events would be temporary and the rest of the country would be available to help repair and/or rebuild damaged substations.
In the event of an EMP however, particularly a Solar EMP which effected the entire world, there would be no one with a functional infrastructure to provide aid.
That there would be national companies able to construct large transformers is a major benefit. Power transformers are not particularly advanced technology. While the control systems in the power grid are computerized a transformer is essentially a lot copper wires wound around iron cores suspended in a bath of mineral oil. It's a bit more complex than that but the reality is that is exactly what a transformer is.
And here's kicker... we started building them in the late 1800s.
So having factories in the country which build transformers means a much improved opportunity for survivors of an EMP event to start rebuilding a power grid. Without such factories they would be starting from scratch.
So good news all around. While the order does not address hardening the grid against EMP effects or stockpiling needed transformers it is clearly a step in the right direction which will make rebuilding after an EMP a bit less difficult.
ANOTHER REMINDER OF HOW FRAGILE THE INFRASTRUCTURE IS
I've often written in the past about how after an EMP the entire infrastructure supply, industrial, technological will completely collapse within hours or days. When the power grid goes down everything goes down. No communications, not lights, no machines. You can't pump gas into the trucks to move food. You can power the pumps to pump oil from the ground of the pumps in the refineries to make gasoline or diesel.
I always kind of scratch my head when people argue that no it would not be so bad. The government would step in with assistance and the power company workers would have the lines repaired in a few days maybe a week or two. I don't even try to discuss it with them since they exist in a world where logic and physics and reality are very, very different from that of the world in which I live.
Today there is a stark hint of this. It doesn't even take an EMP or a hutricane or a tornado or some other Act of God to break the supply system. As I mentioned a few days ago all it takes is a Decree from a governor or some other elected official who really, REALLY wants to be king.
Add to the decrees from on high a media which delights is causing controversy and so makes a big a story of the coming shortage of meat thus prompting a run on the stores thus generating even more headlines....
Back in 1918 there was a revolution in Russia. For the next 75+ years the Soviet government tried and failed miserably at having the government control the economy. For 75+ years it was an abject and complete failure. Apparently that lesson has not been learned by the present generation of political leaders. Perhaps it simply wasn't taught to them.
So... sobering thought that it doesn't take something as catastrophic as an EMP to take down part of the infrastructure.
p.s. Also a reminder that perhaps you should look at your own level of self sufficiency and not count on a local grocery store for all your food needs.
SAD YET FUNNY???
I wasn't sure whether to feel sad or to laugh when I ran across this essay/article. In the end I had to laugh a little because it really was a little absurd when you think about it.
Here we live in the most technologically advanced world ever seen by Man. We have virtually instantaneous access any knowledge we desire, entertainment at our fingertips, our physical needs like food and water virtually within our reach or at least no more than a few steps away. Yet most people would indeed starve next to a field full of cows and wheat due to simple lack of knowledge.
This very fact is the reason the Library exists and why most of the people who frequent it do so. To learn how to survive when the technology is not there to do the work for you.
One of the things that I take the greatest pleasure in is when someone emails me and says "I never knew how to [xxxxxxxxxxxxx] until I read some of the books in the library and tried it for myself. It's wonderful to know how to." and I get them frequently.
It's nice to see a fairly well known columnist openly acknowledging what most of you already know.... that most people are woefully lacking in the most basic knowledge of how the world works and how to make use of it to survive and prosper.
One of the richest men in the world is a survivalist. Who would have guessed.
Of course considering that he is responsible for Windows running on so many critical computers in the world perhaps he has a much better understanding of just how fragile and vulnerable our computer and thus technological and industrial infrastructure is.
(hint: Windows is the spawn of SATAN created to drive the human race to madness and despair And no Linux is not much better. I don't have the energy and time to deal with Linux on a daily basis.)
HOW FRAGILE IT IS
Do I expect there to be food shortages soon? No not really.
I'm fairly sure that businesses will start reopening soon since this virus is turning out to be a LOT less scary than the models said and the media trumpeted. When it comes right down to it I don't think it will be too long before people simply start ignoring Governors and Mayors and do what they have to do to survive and prosper. There aren't enough police or jails to put the entire country in jail though I imagine some of the more pompous officials will demand that it be done.
That being said it is something to notice when Congressmen start warning about possible food shortages due to plant closings which will interrupt the supply chains.
Those of us interested in the subject of EMP effects know that something which takes down the power grid would interrupt all supply chains. But it's sobering to have to acknowledge that something as simple an an emergency declaration and a few bureaucrats and elected officials issuing decrees could potentially have that effect on the food supply.
In 1906, Alfred Henry Lewis stated, “There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy.”
That brings to mind the statistic that grocery stores routinely only stock 3 days worth of food.
So... sobering thought that it doesn't take something as catastrophic as an EMP to take down part of the infrastructure.
p.s. Even more concerning is that the very fact of someone in the government making such a public statement will likely drive a lot of people to go out and help CAUSE a food shortage.
A LITTLE HUMOR AMIDST THE INSANITY
A nice laugh on a dreary rainy Monday morning (Here anyway)
Well... except for the Offendee in the last paragraph.
Some days I almost think it would be worth enduring the apocalypse just to be free of the folks who are offended at EVERYTHING in God's creation.
The Librarian .
AGU PUBLISHED STUDY OF EMP EFFECTS ON THE POWER GRID
The AGU is the American Geophysical Union.
This from a couple months ago but I just ran across it this week. For folks who want a more detailed set of data about how an EMP effects the power grid this is a good source of information.
While it is probably a bit technical for most folsk you can skip over the math and examine the maps and conclusions. It also contains a number of links to other good sources of technical information on Magnetic effects.
When they speak in terms of a 100-year Geoelectric Hazard I suspect they are essentially speaking of something like the Carrington Event of 1859.
I think you can probably make a good guess as to the projected effects.
GOVERNMENT SEIZURE OF SUPPLIES
One of the things that will happen after an EMP is a collapse of the supply system and an almost immediate shortage of supplies of all types.
One of the things that people do, who are aware of the potential for a Solar EMP to shut down the power grid, is stockpile essential equipment, material and supplies. Alternately some people pursue a self sufficient lifestyle which minimizes their reliance on a fragile supply infrastructure.
One of the most important lessons that has come out of the current medical emergency is that local and state level governements will not hesitate to seize what they consider to be "essential" supplies from private citizens.
I won't bother to post links to all these stories since they have become so common that you can find several every day of governments seizing supplies from "hoarders" which means anyone who has something the government thinks they should control. Do a Google search for "government seizing medical supplies" and you will find a large number of links to stories from all over the country.
In one case the governor of New York plans to order the state National Guard to seize ventilators from hospitals to distribute to others. i.e. the military is being used to seize "essential" supplies. That is a step further than other government seizures when the military is used.
In some case they offer justifications saying they will pay "fair market value" to the owner at some later time since the U.S. Constitution prohibits government from seizing property for Public Use without compensation. In other cases they simply demonize the property owners as "bad" people who refuse to share their property with others.
Regardless what you think of the morality, legality or ethics of the issue the bare fact remains that governments at all levels WILL seize what they believe to be necessary.
That puts an entirely different perspective on your supplies and emergency stocks and your overall preparedness.
Whatever supplies or materials you stock could, and likely will be, be declared "essential" by whatever remnants of government survive the immediate aftermath of an EMP. Those surviving governments will, based on current behavior, seize your supplies and materials.
Eventually of course, and most likely rather quickly, those governments will cease to function in the absence of power, communications, transportation, food and water but before they do they could easily do enough damage to make it difficult if not impossible for anyone else to survive even those best prepared to do so.
Right now toilet paper and a few other items like soaps and antibacterial supplies are in short supply. When the stores restock them they are bought out again immediately. Most other essentials are readily available and easy to procure. There are no widespread food, power, fuel or water shortages.
The aftermath of a Solar EMP that destroys the grid will be many, many magnitudes worse than the current situation.
After an EMP the stores will be shut down completely within a day or two and there will be no restock at all... of anything.
So accept it as a given, based on their current behavior, that remaining governments WILL seize everything they believe they need, medical supplies, food, ammunition, farming supplies, seed stocks, fuel since ALL supplies will be out of stock and not resupplied. If you have it then YOU are a greedy hoarder and the bad guy. People will inform on you and they will be rewarded for doing so.
How you manage your stockpiles and supplies is a good question. How you will retain them when governments start seizing whatever they deem "essential" is another good question.
Traditionally the rule of thumb is you don't tell anyone about your supplies. Not your neighbors, not your family, not your friends. How realistic that is is questionable.
Even if you do maintain perfect operational security and no one outside your immediate family has any knowledge of your supplies other people will notice, in time, that you are not starving, you are not standing in line for food, you are not desperate and will come to the conclusion that you must be one of those "prepper" people which means you have food.
If people see you outside weeding a garden it will quickly become widespread among others that you have a garden which means you must have supplies which means you must have food...
One of the most disturbing items I've seen in this current situation is the Mayor of a major city rewarding people who snitch on their neighbors who violate the "orders" of the Mayor.
If they will do that for the current emergency they will not hesitate ot do so after an EMP.
So take a new look at your planning. In addition to planning for the direct effects of an EMP (or any emergency) add to that how to plan for government seizing what they classify as "essential" which will likely mean everything you have stored.
And for those whose reflex is to reply that I am fostering "conspiracy" theory please go read the news. The stories are all over the media in both liberal and conservative sites.
Interestingly only a few very conservative sites even see it as any kind of problem. Most folks in the media see it as a perfectly normal, expected and even praiseworthy behavior.
I don't think anyone can make any kind of reasonable argument against the fact that governments (local, state and to some extent federal) can, will and ARE seizing property of individuals and businesses which they deem to be "essential" in an "emergency" situation.
It has long been speculated that governments would do so and it has always been dismissed by many as absurd, fantasy, conspiracy theory, etc. Current events and the current behavior of governments at all levels prove beyond any doubt that it is a reality everyone will have to confront after an EMP.
P.S. As an aside... at some point in the past while discussing the aftermath of an EMP I mentioned that living near a military installation was a mixed blessing. In one sense a good thing since that meant a trained group of people who could maintain security as a community worked to rebuild. In another sense a bad thing since any surviving remnants of government would, inevitably, direct the military to seize "essential" supplies to try to address the immediate needs of survivors without any real regard for the long term.
I was pilloried by those who objected that the U.S. military would never, ever under any circumstances do such a thing. I made that prediction with full respect and admiration for our military and have spent the first 20 yrs of my life living on and growing up on military bases all around the world AND with the knowledge that one of the primary rules of the military is to OBEY THE CIVILIAN LEADERSHIP.
To those those who so roundly condemned my prediction all I can say is... New York, current day.
That story is from several days ago. To my knowledge no one in the New York National Guard has voiced any objection to those orders or voiced any reluctance to carry out those orders.
COMMUNITY SELF DEFENSE
Another story that keeps popping up this week is cities, counties and states closing their borders, stopping "outsiders" and either quarantining them or even turning them back and refusing them entry.
One county in North Carolina is simply blocking traffic from outside their own county. (This is just one of many similar stories.)
I'm not sure it's legal. It's probably overtly unconstitutional but legality doesn't seem to be a big issue right now at any level of government.
I've pointed out a couple times that a "public health emergency" does not nullify the Constitution but no one really seems to care.
The important take away is that even a relatively minor crisis (in the larger scheme of things) brings out reflexive Human Nature which is to protect the tribe/family/community and treat everyone else as an "outsider". That's not new in human history and is not likely to ever change as long as human beings exist.
But is is a verification of a behavior that you will see after something like an EMP event. Communities will protect themselves from "outsiders". Accept that as an inevitable behavior of humans when under threat.
So something of which to be aware and assume will occur. Working together is all well and good as long as it is within the "tribe/family/community. If you're not one them them then you are an "outsider", an outlander, a sassenach, a stranger...i.e. unwelcome.
One of the stories that keeps appearing this last couple of weeks is how essential certain people are; people like Farmers, Truckers, Supermarket Workers, Power Plant workers, Water Treatment Workers, etc. Below is a link to just one of the many stories highlighting that growing awareness.
In other words the people whose skills are actually necessary to provide the goods and services we need to survive day to day; to eat, to keep the lights on, to keep the water running, to find fuel for our vehicles, to make and distribute toilet paper.
Much of the commentary in the news recently is from people who aren't on that list, actors, celebrities, politicians, journalists, economists, and a hundred other "experts".
Hopefully this situation the country is in will bring a heightened awareness of the value of these people which will last more than a single news cycle afterwards.
It brings home the point we often forget which is that some skills actually are essential to life while others are mere luxuries or frivolities or applicable only in certain specific environments.
In the aftermath of an EMP or other large catastrophic event who would you rather have showing up to join your community? A Farmer, a Blacksmith, an Athlete, a Carpenter, an Actor, a Journalist?
Acting or Athletics for instance are highly valued and often highly paid in today's world. In a world rebuilding after an EMP such skills are of very little value.
The farmer that so many people in the modern world either look down on or simply dismiss as a "manual laborer" will be the most sought after individual after an EMP event. The Actor will be weeding the field trying to learn a useful skill.
The man or woman who can take some basic hand tools and some wood and build a bed or a chair or a table will be valued and honored. The Journalist will be an apprentice.
The individual who can take scrap metal and make a plow or a hoe will be a person of importance in their community. The Athlete will be pumping the smith's bellows while aspiring to learn smithing.
So while cooped up at home it might be a good time to do an assessment of our own skills and determine just where our own skillsets fall in the spectrum between Luxury and Essential.
It's never too late to learn new skills, to collect and acquire new knowledge.
Knowledge however is not a substitute for skills. Knowledge is merely the starting point for skills. But is is a necessary starting point.
A Physician spends years acquiring knowledge but it is not until he/she starts practicing medicine that they truly begin developing skills.
A Woodworker can read every book in the world about woodworking but until they start sawing, drilling, sanding, fitting and finishing wood they don't really have any skills to speak of.
You can read a hundred books on botany, biology, gardening and farming but until you get your hands in the soil and start growing plants your skills are non-existent.
Look through the Library Categories. Delve into one that strikes your interest. Perhaps download and page through a few of the books in that category. See if something in there intrigues you or captures your imagination.
Perhaps it's time to start developing some new skills... essential ones.
You don't have to become an Expert in a skill but at least some basic knowledge and hands on experience can give you a good basic working knowledge. At the very least you will have a better idea of what you don't know and what you need to learn.
STRESS BUYING EMERGENCY SUPPLIES
Appears that a lot of people are becoming last minute "preppers".
Chicken hatcheries are running out of chicks due to "stress buying". A lot of people who suddenly have found themselves faced with an actual nationwide emergency and frequent talk of a an economic collapse. Whether there is any truth to such speculation is moot. The talk exists and a lot of people who follow the media believe it to be a possibility.
As Lee Atwater once said "Perception is reality."
To most Americans those people who fall in the category of "preppers" or who live off grid or who try to practice self sufficiency are weirdos and kooks. But when they perceive that there just might be a real threat they immediately buy up all the toilet paper and now all the chickens.
Toilet paper I can see. All you need is a bit of floor space to store that. But chickens (or any livestock) requires housing, feed, protection and at least some basic knowledge of how to care for them. I fear there will be a lot dead an abandoned chickens over the next month or sop as people realize they have no clue how to care for them or even the capability to do so.
I talked with an individual once about the subject of self sufficiency and the subject of it's advantage after a catastrophic event like the hurricane we had here a couple years ago. The subject of chickens came up. She said she'd just buy some when it looked like there might be a need. I asked her if she knew anything about raising or keeping chickens. He response was "Oh I'll just look it up on YouTube."
I changed the subject. I just couldn't find the words to respond to such a perception of reality.
But it does bring home again the point of planning, acquiring knowledge and skills and thinking preparedness. If you already have chickens who knows you might be able to increase your flocks for free if you find neighbors have bought chicks but realize they have no way to care for them.
It also brings home the point that waiting until the last minute to do something that requires planning and preparation beforehand is likely not the best way to approach being prepared.
EMP THOUGHT EXPERIMENT
While stuck at home during Corona you have an opportunity to do what I call an EMP Thought Experiment. Something I do often.
The purpose is to get used to thinking more outside our normalized assumption of an intact infrastructure which quite frankly is hard to do.
One of the primary reasons behind the Library is the fact that most modern books on subjects like gardening, farming, construction, weaving, pottery, etc. assume access to the existing infrastructure for materials, supplies, power and tools.... and infrastructure which would not exist after a Solar EMP destroyed the power grid and most advanced electronic devices.
The EMP Thought Experiment works like this:
Every time you do something during the day at home, every time you use something, every time you consume something... think of each item or material this way:
HOW WILL I REPLACE (OR USE) THIS WITH NO ELECTRICITY, NO STORES, NO COMMUNICATIONS, NO INTERNET, NO TRANSPORTATION?
Obviously you likely have batteries. You have more food on the shelf. You have more clothes in the closet. But when they are gone... where will you get more?
When your shoes wear out how will you acquire more shoes. In a world after an EMP you might be able to find another pair in some other house but eventually all the used shoes will be either gone or dry rotted and useless. So where are you going to get a new pair? Don't just thing short term like today or tomorrow. Think next year, two years, five years, when your young children become adults.
Here's a more current example. There a national toilet paper shortage. Everyone bought up (and is still buying up) every available roll. The stores keep restocking and people keep buying. After an EMP the stores will remain closed. Factories will no longer operate. Trucks will no longer roll.
Toilet paper will NOT be restocked... EVER. Then what?
Seems a trivial example but it is only one of a million with which survivors will be faced. Being home with time on our hands is a good time to ponder those. A good time to work on breaking our thought patterns and perceptions outside of the electrical and electronic box in which we live.
We are so immersed in an Electrical and Electronic Age that it's almost impossible for us to think of a world without that infrastructure that surrounds and binds us.
So take advantage of some time at home and spend a little time thinking of how we will cope with the world after an EMP event changes it in ways that are hard to even conceive.
STILL NOT PANICKING
A friend in the UK sent me a good link this morning which I've posted below. It points out the continuing lack of any progress in or even intention of hardening the U.S. Power grid to survive the inevitable solar EMP. It even details some of the efforts to completely downplay the threat internally within the Federal government. Neither of which surprises me anymore.
At the moment of course the present threat is all around us. And no not the Chinese Corona Virus. We had 80,000 flu deaths in the U.S. last year. Doesn't look like this will even approach that in worldwide deaths, much less in the U.S. alone.
What is a threat is if the hysteria and mass insanity continues too long. Due to the interdependence of our entire infrastructure it is not built to just "shut down" for extended periods. There's a real chance that it will strain and perhaps even break if it goes on too long. The resulting economic collapse will ripple world wide and will take a long time to repair. The worst threat would be government efforts to "help".
There a lot of economists who believe that the Great Depression in the 1920s would have ended much sooner without government intervention. Many of them argue that the government efforts to "help" prolonged the Depression for over a decade when if left alone the economy would have recovered within a couple of years.
Unfortunately we live in a world with much larger and more powerful governments than we had in the 1920s. The political urge to "help" will be much stronger as is their capability to do so.
The virus doesn't scare me. The economic collapse of the economy made worse by government does.
A solar EMP that took down the grid would, of course, be far, far worse than what is happening now. At least now there are stores to go to where you can still buy pretty much everything except toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
After an EMP there would be no stores and pretty quickly no toilet paper either. After a EMP toilet paper will be the least of your worries.
I guess that's how you can differentiate between a temporary emergency and a collapse. In the temporary one you know there WILL be more toilet paper available eventually. In a collapse like an EMP... there WON'T be.
ASSESSING THE CURRENT SITUATION
It's too early to start getting very concerned but it is a good time to start doing daily assessments of changing social and economic conditions.
In novels and movies "collapse" always comes quickly and in a clear unambiguous way. The protagonists can easily see and predict the coming fall of society and the economy and have a chapter or two to get ready for it.
In the conditions we're in today we're in the midst of a "pandemic" but unlike in the fictional world it's not really killing that many people. Compared to past epidemic illnesses like Avian Flu, Swine Flu, Asian Flu, the yearly Flu season, etc. the number of deaths worldwide is actually fairly low.
What is unprecedented is the world, national and regional government responses.
The U.S., as well as other nations have essentially shut down their economies. The market has crashed and shortages are occurring nationwide in stores. So far, fortunately, the shortages have been limited to things like toilet paper, hand sanitizer and in some stores the meat counters contents.
I visited my local supermarket 2 days ago and the meat counter was bare as was the paper product shelves. (I sent a copy to a friend and reminded them that this is what stores look like under Socialism.)
I, personally don't feel greatly concerned about the virus going around even though I'm approaching 70.
What I do feel concern about is the effect on the economy of the effective quarantine of people. The company I work for has everyone working from home except a limited number of people in the warehouse packing and shipping orders. We are fortunate in that Amazon is continuing to accept shipments to their warehouse of our products. Many internet retailers are having their products refused by Amazon for the duration if the product is not considered "essential" or high priority.
Many hourly and restaurant employees are essentially unemployed until this situation resolves. The market has crashed and Nancy Pelosi is calling for the government to seize the means of production.
In short there are all the pieces in place for a complete economic and social collapse in the U.S. if the political situation gets out of hand. Considering the hatred, vitriol and division within the country that's not outside the realm of possibility.
So bottom line is, Don't Panic. But DO reassess the situation on a daily basis. Review your plans, perhaps reinventory your stores and supplies.
Fortunately Spring is not far away and it will soon be time for planting. It's actually not too late to start some seedlings in case you do decide you need to plant a significant garden in a month or so. Interestingly while supermarkets are experiencing shortages of many items local hardware and garden centers have plenty of gardening supplies.
If you haven't already done so, take the time to download some of the books from the Farming Section and spend a little time, if you're stuck at home, getting familiar with what is in them
As always stay vigilant, stay safe and don't let your guard down.
NUCLEAR EMP THREAT FROM CHINA
In the midst of a world pandemic of a virus that originated in China the Chinese wanted to add some icing and sprinkles to the cake.
China is not so subtly threatening to use nuclear EMP weapons against U.S. forces in the South China Sea.
Just goes to prove the old maxim that goes "It can ALWAYS get worse."
I'm going to pretty much stay out of the current hysteria about Corona. At this point you can roam the internet and find sites that range from promoting panic and hysteria and "Oh My God! We're all going to die!!!" through "Nothing to worry about." and every gradation in between.
And as everyone knows, if it's on the internet it has to be true.
Death rates are unknown at this point with so many sources of stats and so many different methods used to calculate those stats that those are pretty worthless as well. What we do know is that the world wide death count so far is a little over 5,000.
The CDC says this years flu deaths is 22,000 – 55,000.
The biggest impact I can see is the panic buying and what appears to be hysteria over a little over 5000 deaths worldwide. (38,000 people died last year in traffic accidents.
So my personal response is to take advantage of a dramatic drop in the stock market to flesh out my IRA and to enjoy the time off from work. Like most people who frequent the site I already have a few extra cases of toilet paper tucked away. Already have emergency food supplies and am comfortable spending an extended period of time at home if that is imposed.
I tend to think those who have spent the time and energy to ponder and prepare for potential emergencies are those the least likely to panic over media inspired emergencies.
Good article on two different responses to the 1918 Spanish Flu and how one slowed the spread which allowed medical services to better respond to those who were ill.
In one way I'm happy to see it. It gives scientific support for my own general aversion to having to deal with people at all.
Of course part of that is just being a traditional, grumpy, old man but still pleasing to be able to say there's a scientific basis for not having to put up with other people.
CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE EAST VS WEST
The fear mongering and attempts to sow panic continue unabated in the media and some political circles.
Ran across this article which provides some enlightening perspective on some of the cultural and national differences between China where the Corona illness is so widespread and the U.S. indeed the entire industrialized Western World.
Whatever your political persuasion the cultural differences and their affect on phenomenon such as disease vectors are very real.
Despite the trite aphorism so popular today that "All cultures are equal." the reality is that "No. They aren't" and this is a good example of some of the differences.
Those differences also provide some understanding of why the U.S. and Europe are not likely to undergo the same kind of problems that occurred in China.
CORONAVIRUS PANIC MONGERING
For those folks reading and watching the news this week I want to point out a some salient facts.
First a lot of the warnings and press releases coming out are presenting a picture of the Corona Virus as a pandemic reminiscent of the Zombie Apocalypse. This morning's warning was from CDC about stockpiling 2 weeks of foods and water in preparation. I'm not going to bother posting a link to it. It's replete with "might" and "maybe" and "could" and "possibly" and other weasel words. No real information in it.
While that's good advice in general since everyone should have a stock of food and water on hand, issuing such a warning as a precaution against the dangers of Corona Virus is little more than panic mongering and trying to create a sense of panic in the People of the country.
I won't speculate on whether the motive is political (blame someone for political points), financial (a Federal agency's PRIMARY imperative at all times is growth and a larger budget) or personal (TV face time) or some combination of the three or some other motivation entirely.
But that fact is there are people in government and the media who are making a concerted effort to start a panic in the country for whatever reason. Perhaps it's as simple as ratings and drama.
Second, here are some hard facts from John Hopkins...
The simple reality is that it's not much worse than the yearly Flu. The death rate is actually lower than the flu which we endure every year. Why something not significantly worse than the yearly flu has become the new Zombie Apocalypse is an interesting question for Sociologists to write papers about.
Third, the biggest threat to our lives in this situation is most likely to be overreaction by local governments and business leaders who respond to what they perceive from the media to be rising public panic which itself becomes more grist for the mills of the media dramatically announcing school and business closings pushing the narrative that if the government and business leaders are taking such actions they must know something we don't.... which simply feeds more panic.
Wash you hands frequently, keep your hands away from your face. Use cleaning wipes. Stay away from sick folks and stay home if you're sick.
The societal disruption being promoted by the media and some of the "expert" talking heads in the media are the greatest danger.
I assume most of the visitors to this site already have at least some stocks of food and water and basic medical supplies such as masks and sanitation supplies.
Think of it as a good rehearsal for a real emergency and a chance to review your supplies.
p.s. Someone at work was upset that N95 face masks on Amazon were taking weeks to deliver or were out of stock. Lowes and Home Deport sell N95 masks in the sheet rock section as do most hardware stores.
NEW EMP SURVIVAL MOVIE: RADIOFLASH
I can't really say a lot about the movie since I haven't seen it but the ratings are middling at least. There have been a couple of movies in the last few years about grid failures but all of them were just so abysmally bad that I refuse to even extend them the dignity of mentioning their names.
Suffice it to say your life is improved by NOT seeing them.
This one looks from the trailers and reviews to have decent production quality, actual professional actors and some decent cinematography. Can't speak to the writing but hey it's a survival movie.
I did notice, in the trailer, that a lot of very modern computer controlled cars were still working. Some advanced digital equipment appeared to still be working so I'm not real clear on the EMP effect involved. However we are talking Hollywood where physics and reality are required (by California Law) to submit to the demands of movie makers (and politicians) so some suspension of belief is required.
If any of you folks see it please let me know what you think.
HARD DRIVE OPTION ADDED
As I mentioned some time back I was looking at a Hard Drive option to eventually replace the Flash Drives for distributing copies of the Library. I just added the option today.
It's a simple solution, a 2.5 inch Western Digital 320 GB hard drive, a silicone case for the drive and a SATA to USB 3 connector.
The immediate question I got about it was why not a regular portable drive like a Passport or something of that sort? There's a couple of reasons.
I use a fair number of those plastic cased drives and when they fail, which they do more often than most people think there is virtually zero chance of recovering anything form them. The connectors are fragile and easily broken. Once that connector is damage the drive is useless. If you've ever opened the case on one of them you'll find the drive is hard wired to the USB converter and cannot be separated. The USB connector is the only available interface to the drive.
The older 3.5 inch portables were standard SATA drives plugged into the converter inside the case. If the converter failed or was damaged you could remove the drive, plug it into a SATA cable and use any of several data recovery tools to recover the data from the drive with varying degrees of success.
With the hard wired type of 2.5 inch portable that is not an option. Once the USB converter circuit fails or is damaged the drive is toast. Standard SATA 2.5 inch drives they can be used with the cable, plugged into a standard SATA cable in a PC or into a docking station connected to a computer. They are much more versatile.
As my plastic cased portable drives fail I'm replacing them with this type of combination, a simple bare drive in a sleeve and some of the SATA/USB converter cables. I keep some laying on my desk at the office, at home and in my messenger bag with the drives. I've come to like them much better than the standard portable drives.
Size and Quality:
Second, portable drive manufacturers are constantly pushing to increase drive sizes and these days it's hard to find a small portable in the below 500 GB range. There are a good number of them available but the brand names make it pretty clear they are inexpensive imports from China. There are several on the market that look identical but have lots of different "brand" names on them. There is absolutely no way to even guess at the reliability of any of them or the quality.
By buying buying Western Digital (or Seagate or Toshibas, etc.) drives from the major drive manufacturers there's a much better chance that the drive is decent quality. And there are a LOT of smaller drives available at good prices. Currently the Library is pushing 256 GB and while it will just barely fit on the 256 GB flash drive I'm currently using it won't be much longer before the 256 GB flash drive won't be large enough. 512 GB flash drives are expensive. Don't bother pointing out all of the "inexpensive" 512 GB flash drives on Amazon and Ebay. They are all fake and simply small drives with a phony size signature embedded in them. Please don't waste your money on them you will be disappointed.
I expect that some time this year I'll give up on the Flash Drives or perhaps put the Scientific American files on a separate drive or something like that.
Third, it's easy to scale up drive sizes as needed as the Library grows since there are literally millions of drives from the major manufacturers in a huge variety of sizes. Best of all the smaller sizes are much less expensive than the cutting edge of drive capacity.
That helps keep the cost low.
Fortunately the 2.5 inch drive option is still less than a pound so the mailing cost is the same as the Flash Drives which also helps keep the cost down.
So as of today there is a hard drive option for copies of the Library.
A LESSON IN CONNECTED SYSTEMS
Australia learned a lesson in how vulnerable and fragile the interconnected systems are which maintain our civilization.
I frequently highlight the electronics portion of those system because they are so fragile. In this case is was simply roads being cut off which cascaded into essentially a collapse of the infrastructure.
All of it is due to the fragile nature of our infrastructures, the lack of redundancy and the complete lack of fallbacks and alternatives.
As the article points out more and more business and industry use Just-In-Time inventory systems which eliminate maintaining significant stocks assuming that the transportation industry will maintain stocks as an adequate level. Which means grocery stores have at most 3 days of food at NORMAL CONSUMPTION LEVELS. So when an emergency hits and people try to buy extra the shelves are bare within a day.
This wasn't an EMP. It was a brush fire.
Fortunately it was a localized event and the rest of the country and world were available to provide relief and assistance.
In the case of a solar EMP the entire world would be in the same situation.
THE POOR MAN'S EMP NUKE
Technology marches on and provides us with so many wonderful benefits and empowers people in ways never imagined.
Now there is even the ability to make your own EMP nuke equivalent without having to resort to such cumbersome requirements as building a nuclear device with all the headaches and expense that entails.
This is one of those articles that your read and while you find it interesting you have to wonder about just who else is reading it.
There is one bright side to it however. With such capability now available to pretty much anyone above the age of 6 years old perhaps it will finally serve as the impetus to get the grid and critical services hardened to withstand EMP effects.
That has been discussed for years with virtually no effort made by anyone to take any action. So perhaps this is a good thing in the long run.
LAW CATEGORY POSTED
I finally, FINALLY, after a lot of false starts and aborted attempts, got the Law Category Added. This is an important Category and I needed to be sure it was done correctly.
Problem was that every time I'd sit down to work on it I'd run across some major problem with one of the books that required slow, tedious and laborious reformatting or cleanup. I'd get started and something would interrupt and I'd save the work and it would be days before I could get back to it or simply had the energy to tackle that kind of tedious work.
But it's done.
Why a Category on Law? As anyone who has read a post-apocalypse book or watched the Walking Dead or any kind of post catastrophe movie knows there is not Law. It is chaos and random gratuitous violence (depending on the production and special effects budget) and Law has no place is such a society.
Thing is though that Law is the Human response to chaos and violence. It doesn't take long before a group of people who have survived and gathered together and formed a community get tired of chaos and violence and unpredictability.
Thomas Sowell in one of his books pointed out the counter-intuitive fact that the level of freedom a government provided was NOT a factor in how well individuals and small businesses did. What mattered was consistency and predictability. Even if the laws were harsh the fact that a person could count on the legal environment remaining consistent is what allows one to plan for the future.
It's hard to grow crops when you don't know if someone is going to come steal them or damage your farm or kill everyone. You can't barter and trade with the folks in the next town if the roads are not safe to travel or to transport goods or the people in that town simply seize your goods and chase you out of town.
So one of the first things communities will do once they have weathered the immediate survival crisis of a catastrophic event and start rebuilding is to establish Law. At first that might be as simple as forming a militia or police force then hunting down and eliminating bandits and outlaws. Over time it will grow into coordinating with neighboring communities and patrolling roads to make them safe for travel and commerce. It will grow towards agreements with neighboring communities on how relations will be handled, what rules will be enforced.
At first that will be volunteers taking time from their own work. As food surpluses begin to grow there will emerge full time "Law Enforcement" personnel who's job is like the classic town sheriff of the old Westerns. Keep the town and it's inhabitants safe.
Militia, military, law enforcement... all of those are centered on providing physical security to a community, region, nation state, country and keeping it's infrastructure and inhabitants safe from violence.And all of them were based upon a growing surplus of food and "wealth" which make it possible for an increasing number of people to spend their days doing something other than growing food.
That will emerge naturally as it always has in human history.
But once food, shelter and security from violence is achieved at least to the degree commerce and trade will begin to grow. As it does society starts becoming more complex and the Law begins to broaden and spread to cover trade, contracts and every other area where there are disputes between individuals.
I imagine initially the function of providing justice will be filled by whoever is the elected leader of a community... or just as possibly the person with the most physical power (i.e. the most guns, ammunition and willingness to use them). That's not much different from the older traditions of most regions of the world. The Lord of the Manor dispenses both High and Low Justice whether he/she is elected or takes power by seizing it. Eventually communities will agree on common Laws and there will emerge Judges like the old Circuit Courts of the U.S. and parts of Europe.
This collection contains a wide variety of books of different kinds. Some are more philosophical in nature and address the nature of Law itself. What is it, how did it emerge, how did it develop, what are it's sources and roots. The legal systems of Europe and Asia and other regions all grew out of the history of the areas and have very different fundamental precepts upon which the Law is built. Western Law is very different from the Law of other regions.
Other parts of the collection are Historical. They trace the development of Law from its roots in a country or region to the more modern form that existed when the book was written.
Yet others are books about specific areas of Law such as Maritime Law, Business law, Veterinary Law, Farming Laws and so on. One of the criteria for these books were ones that dated from the pre-electrical age since the issues of those periods are the ones most likely to be the once faced by survivors trying to rebuild.
Other books are collections of Case Law which may or may not be of interest to folks. It's easy to write a Law. Heck if politicians can do it it can't be all that difficult. However Interpreting the written Law as it applies to an individual Case that comes before a Court is where it gets hard.
If a situation is clearly covered by a Law that case probably never makes it to the Courtroom. The Cases that do are where there a lot of ambiguity and confusion and difference of opinion and definition that requires a judge and possibly Jury to decide. So Case law is useful to the extent that it can and does provide some guidance as to how Law are interpreted and applied. But it can be incredibly deadly dull reading unless there is a case that applies to you. As much as we all make fun of Lawyers and Attorneys and Courts that difficult job of figuring out how a specific Law applies to an ambiguous case is what the legal system is really all about.
Most of us instinctively think of Criminal Law since the media is so full of such cases and they generate plenty of ratings and emotions and drama. The real meat of the legal system however is Civil Law, things like contract disputes, land disputes, domestic disputes and so on. Those we seldom hear about but they are the lubricant that keeps much of civilization turning and provides the structure under which commerce takes place.
So this collection is a wide variety of resources reaching from what is the basis of how we create law, where did it come from, how did it evolve, what are the Laws regarding specific areas of human endeavor to how are specific Laws were applied in specific cases.
It's a valuable set of information. Survival Reality shows on TV focus on catching fish and lighting a fire. Post-Apocalypse movies and TV shows focus on violence, lots of explosions and intense emotional sharing moments in the middle of a firefight. (Which simply demonstrates that the writer has never been in a firefight.)
The real survivors of a catastrophic event like a Solar EMP that takes out the power grid will have to deal with the much more complex and difficult problems like how to rebuild a Social Infrastructure and the legal structure upon which it is based.
ELECTRICITY, CASABLANCA AND FOOD
What do those have to do with one another? What do they have to do with Survival and EMP?
A 98 kilometer long Conveyor Belt in in the desert of Morocco a few hundred miles south of Casablanca provides the majority of the worlds phosphates... which are used in fertilizer and animal food. If you eat food purchased in a grocery store you are heavily dependent on that conveyor belt in Africa.
The video below speaks about it in the context of the political situation there and you can see the electric power lines running across the desert to feed it and the phosphate mine where it starts.
Just a glimpse at one tiny piece of the worlds intertwined industrial infrastructure which would be lost in the event of an EMP. The entire worlds primary source of industrial phosphates upon which our agriculture depends...
Quiet time is over. The first sunspots of the new Solar Cycle are appearing. That mean the quiet period we've been in for a while now is coming to an end and we're moving back into the part of the cycle where sunspots start coming more and more frequently over the next 5 years heading towards the peak of this cycle.
This new cycle will increase until around 2024 at which point we'll be in the middle of the cycle as it begins to swing back down towards 2031.
A few years ago in 2012 there was a flare that fortunately missed the Earth. If it had hit us you would likely not be reading this since either you or I (or both) would likely be dead and the world would still be struggling to survive and recover from a collapse of the power grid and most of the industrial and technological infrastructure.
Despite the hopes of those aware of the dangers and the many articles and studies and committees pointing out the risk nothing has been done to harden the power grid or mitigate against the EMP effects of a solar flare.
If anything the vulnerabilities have increased. Compared to 10 years ago computers and fragile technology have spread even further making us even more vulnerable to a disruption of that technology.
We recently put in a couple surveillance cameras to observe the wildlife in our woods. Thing is they are wireless, they store images on the cloud and you have to access them through a browser on the internet or a phone app. They are 100% dependent on internet connectivity. Without it they are completely useless pieces of plastice glass and metal.
So the new solar cycle is here. Sunspots will be showing back up soon and we return to the visible risks of Solar EMPs.
GOOD WRITE UP ON GRID SECURITY
Happy New Year everyone.
I hope this year is a good one for everyone and that stuff like EMPs and Survival Libraries are completely irrelevant to our lives this year.
That being said, here's a good write up on the problems with Grid Security in the U.S. Well actually it's more like a write up on the complete absence of any grid security in the U.S.
When I drive out to my farmhouse in the county I pass several power substations. Some of them have the large, expensive and difficult to replace transformers that require a year of lead time to buy. The security consists of a chain link fence gate that blocks ONLY THE ROAD INTO IT. There's no fence around the rest of it, just woods. Anyone with any nefarious intent could walk right into the place and do whatever they chose with no interference.
That's fairly common around here.
Here'a little article about the PG&E sniper attack
The answer they suggest is 1/2 inch armor plating on the transformers.
Unless something has changed in the ballistics world a .50 round will quite easily penetrate 1.2 inch armor plate. .50 rifles are actually fairly common these days.
Make a point of glancing at some of the susbstation in your area when you pass them and see what kind of security, if any, they have.
Merry Christmas to one and all.
Chilling article from Newsmax. I missed it but one of the site readers sent the link to me. Thanks by the way.
It's a chilling read.
The gist of it is that despite the President's Executive Order to take measures to minimize or at least lessen the impact of an EMP the Electrical industry and Bureaucrats at DOE (Department of Energy) are actively undermining it by trivializing the potential effects and EMP event.
Despite evidence to the contrary, despite DOD's decades of research, despite the known phenomenon that the Carrington event set telegraph stations on fire.... DOE and the Electrical are playing Pollyanna with the future of the country and our lives.
If and when an EMP event occurs it's not just the politicians who failed to act that will have to hide from the survivors. It's now the folks at DOE and in the Electrical industry itself.
NO EMP NEWS RECENTLY
Merry Christmas to one and all.
I've noticed recently that there has been virtually no EMP related news in most of the media. Normally there are stories every week or so on the threat, actions being recommended or actions being specifically not taken by the government or the power companies. At least the issue has been visible.
Perhaps it's simply the political news that have just buried and swamped all other news. I ended up watching OAN the other night for news because all of the other "news" sources (even internet ones) are 100% impeachment with any other non-impeachment story being presented simply as proof of why impeachment was or was not justified. The media has become completely obsessed with this story to the exclusion of everything else going on in the entire world.
OAN (One America News) may be conservative in it's own bias but they actually reported on events going on in the world that were NOT directly related to impeachment.
It's refreshing to watch news that reports on events around the world.
AMUSING AND INTERESTING TAKE OF THE PROBABILITY OF COLLAPSE
Article with the Mathematical Evidence of the likelihood of a collapse and why "prepping" is an appropriate response.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ONE AND ALL
Take a moment to look around you tomorrow at all the things you have to be thankful for:
a working power grid
heating and cooling
television and radio
and be reminded just how precious they are and how easy to lose.
I'M SHOCKED....SHOCKED TO SEE CORRUPTION
Well... no. Not really. Having worked for some years in D.C. and seen how the system works there I'm not the least bit surprised or shocked.
Politicians are always shortsighted but when the threat is as real as this one is and they will be the victims of it themselves you would think that their survival instinct would kick in. But perhaps they think they will retain their power in the world that results from an EMP and a collapse of the power grid. Boy are they going to be surprised...
Finally got that Mathematics Category reposted which had gone missing at some point. It's been crazy busy the last couple of weeks; death in the family, trying to finish outside farmhouse renovations before cold weather arrives, fixing the tractor, putting up 500+ ft of fence to guard from a seriously vicious dog from a road a ways behind us that attacked my wife, trying to get Home Deport to cough up two cartons of siding that was due in three weeks ago, bunch of major projects at work, reorganizing my office to make better use of space, half sick from some kind of stomach bug, a large stone bruise on my foot from a the previous weekend. Probably more stuff I can't even think of right off the top of my head at the moment.
All in all it's been a pretty tiring couple of weeks. Fixing the category just meant adding it into the main library index. However at some point I lost, deleted or broke the spreadsheet I use to build the html for that index page. Had to rebuild it from scratch. No more than an hours work but I have been doing it in 5-10 mins increments since last week. Finally got it done this morning and put it online.
Been absent a bit. Extremely busy at work and death in the family last week.
1. Couple items... the Mathematics Category which somehow got lost at some point will be back either later today to tomorrow morning. The files are there but the index page with the links got lost.
2. Hopefully the Law Category will be posted within the next few days.
3. Keep an eye on Deutsche Bank in Germany. That is the top bank in the EU and it's in about the shape Lehman Brothers was in a few days before they announced their bankruptcy. A lot of economists expect that if/when Deutsche Bank collapses it will have a domino effect on the rest of the EU banks that have been leaning on Deutsche Bank to keep them afloat.
It has to potential to take the EU down with it economically as almost almost happened in the U.S. in 2008. Fortunately the Federal government stepped in and rescued the rest of Wall Street back in 2008. Was that fair or just? Of course not. Not by any imaginable standard. But it did likely prevent another world wide economic collapse as happened in 1929.
Deutsche Bank is laying off employees at an accelerating rate and rumors are flying around the EU today that it's a matter of weeks, perhaps only days before the collapse occurs. Remember Lehman Brothers was assuring depositors, stockholders and regulators that everything was just fine, no problems, nothing to worry about. A few days later employees were going out the door with their belongings in boxes.
A friend in the UK sent this link to me which I appreciate since I missed it completely. The Gist of it is that the 1921 Solar storm may have been even stronger than the famous Carrington Event. Why is it scary? Because it suggests that solar storms of that magnitude are more common than we thought. IN 1921 of course they are not quite into the electronics age so the effect of the storm on the infrastructure was minimal.
Today it would be quite different. Well aware of that since I'm home today waiting on the AT&T folks to arrive to install my fiber internet connection so I can finally get rid of the miserable DSL line I've lived with for years. With my luck that storm will arrive about the time he finishes the install and I see a real internet connection at home.
And yes I'm still working on the Law Category files. Soon...
ADDING HARD DRIVE OPTION
Since the Library is rapidly approaching 256gb and soon will no longer fit on a 256gb flash drive I've been looking at options. Best option appears to be a 320gb 2.5 inch hard drive. There are a lot in that range inexpensively and they are almost as handy as a flash drive. Most of the lower cost portables are Chinese knockoffs.I don't really have much faith in a Chinese USB 3.0 hard drive with a name I've never seen before.
What I'm testing now is just buying a bare WD or Seagate or Toshiba 320gb 2.5 inch SATA drive, just like you'd install in a laptop, and a case with USB 3.0 interface in it. That's about the same price as the Chinese knockoffs but is a brand name drive and by installing it in a USB 3.0 case you can use it as a portable drive, take it out and put it in a cradle or install it in a PC as a standard SATA drive.
Provides a lot more options and is large enough for continued expansion.
Any comments on the option would be appreciated.
STILL TRYING TO FINISH LAW CATEGORY
Sorry folks. Been a crazy busy week at work. Still working on the Law Category files. It's over 150 books so it's taking me longer than I thought. Few more days.
CARRINGTON EVENT VIDEO
I ran across this video and while it's a couple years old it's a good synopsis of the historical Carrington Event of 1859, what it is, how it occurred, the effects at the time and if it were to occur today.
Thought folks might find it interesting.
And I've finally gotten the Law Category close to completed. Bit more work to do on it since it's well over 175 books but I hope to have it posted sometime next week.
NEWT AND DORIAN
Hurricane Dorian turned into pretty much a non-event. Thursday night I was listening to the news media telling me we were experiencing 65 mph winds and torrential downpours. Took the dogs out for a walk a few mins later in no rain and the normal evening breeze we have here near the coast. I know some people in the area were affected but more by the tornadoes it spawned than the actual hurricane winds. But overall it was a pretty small storm for the Carolinas compared to Florence last year.
Our prayers are with the folks in the Bahamas but here it wasn't significantly worse than some of the thunderstorms we get.
Second item is an article about Newt Gingrich's podcast with Dr. Forstchen, author of One Second After his novel about the immediate aftermath of an EMP on a North Carolina town. Here are links to both the story and the podcast.
Everyone here is hunkering down getting ready for Dorian to drop in for a visit tomorrow. No telling what the effects will be but I'm guessing something like Florence last year.
Maybe we'll be lucky and it will just drizzle some rain on us and pass on by but no way to know before tomorrow and Friday.
Most folks here check the Hurricane Center postings every time there is a new update to see what the newest track and projections are.
Ever wonder how they are constantly changing the details of what an existing hurricane is going to do within the next 12 hours but somehow scientists know with 100% confidence what the Earth's temperature will be 100 years from now within 1/10 of a degree.
Wish they would apply some of that genius to hurricane predictions.
EMP PROTECTION STUDY
You know reading and writing about EMPs and the potential consequences can be a serious downer at times. The more you look at it, the more apparent it becomes that an increasing number of pretty psychotic nation states have the capability of creating them.
The more you look the more you realize that virtually no one with any political power really cares one whit since there are not votes or campaign contributions to be gained.
So it's at least mildly refreshing to see that someone is actually doing something other than simply warning the country of the consequences.
It's an industry funded research group that has been testing grid equipment to see just how vulnerable various pieces of equipment are to EMP effects. What they have found is at least somewhat promising. They are working with various power companies to build at least some ability to jumpstart systems after an EMP event.
How effective that would be in the aftermath of a Carrington Event level EMP is anyone's guess. But it is mildly encouraging and hopeful to see someone making some effort.
I don't think they fully comprehend the wide spread devastation that could occur but it's something. If nothing else perhaps there is some hope that in the aftermath there could actually be some areas where, with some hard work and assuming the right people survive, that electrical power could restored in a local region. Where they would source continued fuel supplies and be able to repair equipment as it ages is another matter entirely.
But even a small region with electrical power would have a major leg up on rebuilding and maintaining a technology base to assist others.
COMING CIVIL AND SOCIAL UNREST
This analysis of the current U.S. political climate is worth reading.
It doesn't really matter whether you are a Liberal or a Conservative. Regardless of your ideology we are rapidly approaching the point of open violence breaking loose. Once that threshold is crossed it will be hard, if not impossible, to step back from it and return to actual political dialogue and legislative compromise.
Members of our political parties and just as importantly, perhaps more importantly, the Media seems to focused on fomenting violence and an end to civil discourse. Perhaps it's as simple as the fact that street violence and anger and riots draw ratings.
I'd actually prefer to think that much of the media is simply not very bright and can't see beyond ratings and their personal tally of face time on camera. The alternative is to believe that they indeed understand the harm they are doing to the political and social systems of the U.S. and that damage is, in fact, their goal.
So unless politicians, celebrities, pundits spewing talking points and the media don't pretty quickly rein in and ratchet back their rhetoric I think we are going to be in for some really terrible times before much longer. Next year and the year after are going to be tense times in the United States.
When the technology fails and the infrastructure breaks it doesn't really matter much whether it's from an EMP, a terrorist attack or widespread street violence and civil unrest.
When the lights go out it really doesn't matter why. It's still dark.
Ran across this over the weekend and was struck by it.
Simple article about things that have become or are becoming obsolete due to technology.
What struck me was that almost every one of these is something that in the absence of a reliable source of electricity and an advanced technology infrastructure would totally and completely useless.
I'm not necessarily disparaging any of them. I work in the technology field. I use my electronic reader every day. I have a GPS system on my tablet I use when driving out of town (though I DO always have paper maps in the car as well). I often listen to audio books on my phone when working outside and read books on it when sitting in waiting rooms.
But the reality is that I don't rely on any of them. If they all stopped working this afternoon I might be inconvenienced but it wouldn't have any serious affect on anything in my life.
At least the plastic bags being replaced by paper bags is a plus since most of the store that no longer using them provide old fashioned paper bags to their customers instead. I covered many a schoolbook with those brown bags once upon a time. They also made excellent fire starters and had many other convenient uses.
NOT AN EMP
New Venezuela article today which originated at AP but has been picked up verbatim by a lot of news outlets.
Another massive blackout but this time it appears to be almost nationwide. The Venezuelan government is calling it an EMP attack.
Of course it also says that part of the grid came back up temporarily but then shut back down so NOT an EMP.
If it had been an EMP no part of the grid would have "come back up" for any length of time until the components destroyed by the EMP were replaced.
REALIZATION OF TECHNOLOGICAL FRAGILITY
This article one caught my eye because long ago I trained at Ft Sill in Artillery Fire Direction Control (FDC). We used paper charts with map pins on large boards, various mechanical implements to measure deflection, devices similar to slide rules to computer elevation and books of tables to determine the correct powder charges to make a 200+ lb, 8 inch shell hit a target almost 15 miles away.
Over time that method got replaced by increasingly more sophisticated electronic devices eventually becoming full blown computer systems capable of much faster and more accurate FDC data.
But even the military has finally come to recognize the fragility of electronic computer systems. A few years ago the U.S. Naval Academy went back to teaching traditional Celestial Navigation using Sextants and Chronometers. Now the Artillery School at Ft Sill has returned to teaching manual plotting to control Artillery Batteries.
In this particular case the fear is centered on enemy electronic warfare such as a localized EMP attack on a military unit but the bottom line is that they have realized that sophisticated electronic equipment is much more fragile than anyone appreciated and that dependence on it can render a unit militarily ineffective.
Step in the right direction at least.
TEARING OUT THE FOUNDATIONS?? (Pure opinion and observation)
We're living in and observing an off phenomenon in History... members of Congress simply refusing to uphold the very laws which THEY WROTE AND PASSED.
They are announciong to the world in general that they do not intend to enforce the Immigration Laws which they wrote and passed, that the U.S. does not have broders and that anyone from anywhere is welcome here. They are condemning American Citizens, whose job it is to represent, for objecting to violations of the law labeling them Racist and Xenophobic and a dozen other perjoratives for even asking WHY the laws are not being enforced. There have been instances of American Citizens being forced out of housing to provide housing for illegal aliens.
They are publically condemning and verbally abusing the employees of an agency which THEY CREATED and for whom THEY APPROPRIATE funding for doing their mandated job of enforcing those laws. They are condemning these agencies for lacking the resources to provide basic sustenance and shelter to illegal aliens while refusing to provide the resources requested.
They are actively encouraging Citizens of foreign countries to violate the laws of the U.S., coaching them in ways to take advantage of loopholes in the laws and as of today directly telling people in the U.S. illegally and with Court Issued Deportation Orders to defy Law Enforcement attempting to enforce the laws and carry out a Court Order.
The same members of Congress who demand that the Law NOT be enforced against non-Citizens call for enforcement of gun laws against U.S. Citizens and, in fact, want to pass more of them.
Some individuals in Congress want to make it a criminal offense to criticize anyone elected to Congress. Other members promote violence in the streets and openly call for assaulting those who disagree with or even question them. Many are openly and blatantly lying to the People in the country and the Media seems to be fine with that. Even the most blatant lies are not challenged.
So what does that have to do with Collapsae?
We always think of Collapse as being something that happens TO us. Some event or series of events that cause the functioning mechanisms of a country or society to collapse despite all efforts by the People and the Government to prevent it.
How do you deal with a Collapse that is being directly caused by the very government which exists to prevent such things?
We're living in a period of History in which the Government of a nation is actively engaged in subverting and destroying the very Rule of Law which allows a nation to exist.
Pay attention to what is going on. Think about it. Ponder it. In a few decades you may be one of the ones trying to explain to your grandchildren how it all broke, how it went wrong.
For decades after WWII German citizens tried to make sense out of what had happened to them, how it happened, why it happened and what they could have done differently to have prevented it. They never found a good answer.
I wonder if we will?
CASHLESS SOCIETY: A TREND OF WHICH TO BE AWARE
The move from a monetary to a cashless society a trend that I saw the beginnings of years ago but honestly did not really expect to spread as fast as it has. I really did think that people would understand that the primary purpose of it is to allow the government to track every single financial transaction that occurs. Ostensibly to "reduce crime" but anyone who believes that is way down on the IQ scale or perhaps simply foolishly naive.
It's spreading in Europe and I'm hearing a lot of talk about it in the U.S. as well. Even if you accept that the purpose of it is benevolent and benign you have to wonder how does one trade when the internet goes down or the electricity goes out and the card machines won't work??
Which brings up the issue of emergency situations. When vendors no longer accept cash and there is a widespread power outage as occurred here after the hurricane last year how do people buy even basic emergency supplies from people who have them to sell??
In my immediate area after the storm we were without power for 7 days. We had generators and fuel and plenty of food and water and other emergency supplies. But towards the end of that I saw people buying bottled water, some food essentials and other items from places that had some to sell. There was no electricity but there was commerce going on.
Many novels about collapse describe people using precious metals for commerce and I suppose that is an option in the long run. But realistically how much gold and silver is actually in circulation in the sense of being in the possession of people who would need to use it? Enough to actually power an emerging economy after a collapse? Doubtful.
So think in terms of barterables; items of high enough value and demand that they would be usable as a "currency" in the event that cash has gone away and the card reading machines aren't working.
MORE FIRST WORLD CITIES COLLAPSING
Those in the prepper community often discuss possible causes for and symptoms of a collapse. More often than not the causes discussed are external in nature; an EMP, an Earthquake, a Pandemic, an Eruption, etc. All of them are fairly sudden events too. Things that take us from civilization to barbarism in a matter of days or weeks or months.
But more often these days it appears that it may be ideology and politics that bring about a collapse of the Western industrialized world. San Francisco is filled with garbage and rats and diseases once thought eradicated in the Western world, citizens in New York form Rat hunting parties to entertain themselves and their dogs and citizens in cities in Washington State have to wash feces off the sidewalks each morning for customers to enter their stores. Towns and cities where the majority of people are from third world countries are working to morph those places into copies of the barbarism they fled.
And now Rome...
In many ways Rome is the wellspring of Western civilization. The legal and social system of the Western world is very much modeled on Rome. Look at public building built in the last several hundred years and chances are good it has Roman styling in it's columns and appearance. The languages of the Western world derive in large part from Latin. We think of the Dark Ages as the period of our history after Rome fell and before new political entities emerged... most based on Roman principles.
And now Rome is again in a state of semi collapse. Whatever your ideology about "immigration" importing a large number of uneducated people from third world countries who refuse to assimilate and adopt the culture of the host country is not working well anywhere it is being imposed. And Imposed is the term to use. None of the countries where this is happening have a majority of the population in favor of the action. It is being imposed on the countries by political leaders. Rome has had a relatively stable culture for over 2000 years and now people moving there want to radically change it into a mirror of the countries they have fled.
Rome has experienced invasion and collapse in the past... several times. And now it's experiencing it again.
Collapse does not require external events. We're apparently perfectly capable of creating it ourselves.
Regarding the people in power who are responsible for these kind of collapses I'm reminded of the line from Paradise Lost...
"Better to reign in hell than serve in Heaven."
BOOKS LOOKING FOR NEW HOME
Got an email today I wanted to share with everyone. John is looking for a new home for a lot of books. While my instinct was to wave my hand in the air and say "ME! ME!" I'm cognizant of the fact that my wife and I are working on downsizing a lot of stuff with the plan of moving to a smaller easier to maintain place one day and adding books is not the way to do it. So in hopes that someone else might be interested I'm posting the text of his email.
My name is John XXXXXXX, I live in Sheridan Wyoming. I have custody of more than 1500 books that need a good home where they will be read and appreciated. These are high-quality books; they run the gamut from Classical Literature, science, philosophy, social commentary, biography and fiction, all by renowned American and European authors.
These books are free to anyone that can accept them and share the knowledge they hold. I am under pressure to vacate the space they currently occupy, so I am reaching out to anyone that might be inclined to receive this library on short notice. Help with transportation would be greatly appreciated, but my larger concern is to find them a long-term place in a library.
I will be expanding my contacts until I secure them a good home. As it stands, my alternative is the landfill, and that solution would be tantamount to a crime against humanity.
You may contact me by email at xxxxxx@gmail, by text at ###-###-#### or by voice at ###-###-#### You may also call Bob XXXXX at ###-###-####.
Sincerely, ~John XXXXXXXXXX~
CHOLERA-WHATS OLD IS NEW
A good article on Cholera, one of the diseases that has laid waste to humanity frequently. In a world rebuilding from the ground up where food, water, shelter and security will be the top priorities until all of them then are secure and reliable less immediate issues like sanitation will likely be neglected... at least at first.
The consequences will be disease which can be as deadly as the lack of the other priorities. Which again highlights the absolute priority of sanitation once more than a couple people start clustering together to form communities.
Consider that even in a modern State today like California even minimal neglect of sanitation is feeding a resurgence of previously eradicated diseases.
How much more vulnerable would a rebuilding community be without the technological and industrial resources and wealth of a modern city?
INSANITY?? MENTAL ILLNESS?? SOME KIND OF CULT??
Mankind has spent most of it's history seeking sources of safe water. Watch any survival show on TV and the NUMBER ONE priority is safe drinking water which comes before food or shelter.
Yet there is apparently a new trend of people intentionally seeking out sources of unpurified water and drinking directly from ground sources or from bottled water direct from ground sources.
Really am puzzled as to whether this represents some kind of contagious mental illness, perhaps a breakdown of a person's grasp of reality or perhaps some kind of religious or political ideology in which reality is abandoned in favor of ideological belief.
BLU-RAY DISK SETS AVAILABLE AGAIN
It turned out that it was an entire set of bad BDRs causing the problem. I got two more sets of bdrs in and have been testing disks from both batches and they have all burned and verified just fine without a single error. I've been using Verbatim media reliably for so long that a bad batch of media never even entered my mind as a possible cause.
Regardless.. I have a new set of images built and have been testing them and everything is working normally again.
BDR DISK LIBRARY AVAILABILITY
May have found the problem with burning the Blu-Ray copies of the Library. I have used up a couple dozen bdrs, bought a new drive which was tested on 3 different computers and rebuilt the disk images 2-3 times. Every attempt to burn a successful disk image failed.
Finally on a whim I tried one of the cheap offbrand bdrs I use for odds and ends. It worked fine as did another cheap brand of bdrs I had on the shelf.
I suspect the higher quality Verbatims I got was a bad lot since not one of them has successfully burned then verified. I have new bdrs arriving tomorrow which I will test as soon as I have them. If that was, in fact, the problem I should be able to make the blu-ray disks copies of the Library available again.
RAT CONTROL CATEGORY ADDED
I've gotten the Rat Control Category added. Didn't think it would be done until tomorrow but I got some free time and got it completed.
It really is a bit strange to be posting a set of books on Rat Control when the news is replete with stories of the trash and rat plague in cities like San Francisco especially when one of the books is entitled Eradicating Plague from San Francisco and was published in 1909. How does a city end up suffering from a problem that they were able to eradicate over 100 years ago???
Regardless... if a modern city with all the technology and wealth available to them is experiencing an outbreak of previously rare diseases like Typhus it's almost guaranteed that communities trying to rebuild will face... well I was going to say much worse problems.
But I guess it's more accurate to say that they will be facing the same problem that modern cities are facing... too much trash and garbage leading to too many rats leading to the spread of disease.
Let's just say that garbage and rats are a problem that any community of individuals is going to have to deal with if they don't want to deal with the resulting disease and death.
So... here are a collection of books on how to control the rat population. You can see from the book dates that people have been writing about this subject as early as the 1770 and as late as the 1940s. Perhaps no one writes about it now because there is less interest in the subject.
But the stark reality is, as Fan Francisco is demonstrating is that if you have human being and garbage then you have rats. If you have rats you have Disease.
No one as far as I know in human history has managed to completely eradicate the local Rat population. At Eniwitok Atoll in the Pacific even 12 years and 6 nuclear explosions did not eliminate the rat population.
So even nuclear weapons is not sufficient to eradicate rats. Keep that in mind.
ERADICATING PLAGUE FROM SAN FRANCISCO 1909
While building the Rat Control Category I ran across the above titled book from 1909. Apparently San Francisco has had this same problem before; too much garbage and rats and disease.
They apparently successfully dealt with it back in 1909 so I took the time to make a special effort to contact the San Francisco Dept of Health and sent them a link to it.
Considering how bad things have gotten there I'm sure they will be grateful for the information and get right on the problem. They don't even have to send me Thank You.
p.s. I'll have that book along with the others posted before the end of the week.
I've been reading multiple stories recently about the rat population explosions in some of America's largest cities. The most recent one mentioned a police officer contracting typhus on the job and being treated for it.
That struck me as absolutely bizarre.
The Western World advanced technology further in the last 100-150 years than the entire world did in the thousand year before that. It had virtually eradicated the overwhelming majority of diseases that plagued mankind throughout history.
Yet, somehow, we have returned to a reality where people are contracting rat born diseases and the rat populations are growing out of control in some of our major cities.
Whether the cause is political ideology, animal rights or environmental activism or some other non-reality based ideology is really not important. What is important is that we are rapidly devolving back to a more primitive and brutal quality of life that our technology had, for a while, rescued us from.
While thinking about that I realized that something as common as rats would be a major problem for folks trying to rebuild and accumulate food surpluses as well as prevent disease and epidemics.
The more food you store the more rats appear. The more rats, the more disease.
I did some searching and some research and found some books and other publications on Rat Control. I expanded that a bit to include "vermin" in general though predominantly rat control.
I should have those ready to post by the end of the week.
p.s. Maybe I'll send the link to the Health Departments of some of our major cities.
EVEN CRIMINALS SUFFER IN A COLLAPSE
Venezuela has gotten so bad that even the criminals are suffering. They are reluctant to shoot anyone because bullets are too expensive to replace and there's not really much left to steal.
That's pretty sad when the wages of crime aren't enough to replace the bullets you use to steal.
Which is an interesting consideration. In the early stages of a collapse, especially in an unarmed society, the criminals will prey on others. But after a while the criminals are no better off than anyone else. They can no longer afford the weapons they need and there isn't much of anything left to steal anyway.
Something to think about in collapse planning. The communities which husband and conserve their ammunition and firepower could quickly become much better armed and secure than the criminals who would otherwise prey on the weak.
THE SURVIVAL ISSUE EVERYONE AVOIDS
This story brings to mind and issue that a lot of people in the "prepper" community avoid. Here we have a major city in one of the most technologically advanced nations, home to some of most advanced technological industries in the world and they are facing outbreaks of typhus and other rat born diseases because they can't manage to clean up the trash and human waste on their streets.
Why not? Is it some catastrophic event like a hurricane or earth quake? Is it a war? Is it some kind of breakdown in the transportation system?
No. It is none of the above. Quite bluntly it is a breakdown of ethics and morality and political will. Venezuelan and Los Angeles politicians and the people who enable and support them have imposed policies on the people of that country and that city that has resulted in a complete breakdown of the social, economic and political infrastructure. The priorities of these people put various ideological priorities above those of preventing hunger and disease and maintaining functioning economies.
If the people managing this city cannot clean up the trash and the human waste on the streets with all the power and capability of a modern industrial infrastructure what would their city be like using nothing but 1800s technology?
Which raises that issue that few want to talk about. What happens when people who espouse the ideologies of Venezuela and Los Angeles join your community? What happens when THEIR priorities start being pushed in a community trying to avoid starvation and to rebuild even a small working economy and infrastructure?
We don't often speak about ideology and politics and moral philosophy in the context of trying to rebuild a society from scratch. Perhaps we should.
NO ONE WANTS TO LOOK BUT WE SHOULD
No one wants to look at the degradation and suffering that is going on Venezuela today. It's far beyond the headline level sensationalism of a month or two ago. Now it is simple and brutal suffering for the people trapped there.
But we SHOULD be looking. It doesn't matter what your political or economic ideology is. If you're someone who believes that a collapse is possible whether from an EMP, a nuclear attack or simply malfeasance/incompetence by the government it behooves you to look and look hard and as deeply as you can.
Because THAT is what a societal collapse looks like. It's not like the post-apocalypse novels. It's not like television with appropriate mood music in the background from the 100 piece orchestra just off stage and the main characters virtually guaranteed a happy (or at least upbeat) ending within the two hour window of the movie.
Collapse and the hunger, pain and suffering that goes with it is what is occurring in Venezuela right now, tonight when you go to bed and tomorrow morning when you wake up and eat breakfast and on your drive to work and then when you get home. It will still be going on.
THAT is what we would all be living through in the event of a Carrington Event level EMP or a nuclear on or a general societal collapse.
Actually Venezuela is better off than that. They, at least, have the hope that someone will intervene, remove the people who caused it and help get the country back on it's feet. There is, however remote, the possibility of rescue. That's something we would not have after an EMP.
MCGUFFEY READERS STILL THERE
I run across articles like this one fairly often and they always make me think.
How did we get away from educating our children to read and write and do arithmetic and instead use the classroom to teach ideology?
When you look at the higher levels of the McGuffey Readers you realize that less than hundred or so years ago elementary students were reading at a much higher level than even college students of today. (and from what I see in the business world, a higher level than most young professionals today)
The entire set of several editions of the McGuffey Readers are available in the Library in the Teaching-McGuffey Readers Category. For fun download the highest level of the reader and look through it. compare it with the writings of Journalism pretty much any other modern writing you encounter.
I can't really say I'm that enamored of the threat of 5G to our infrastructure. Reality is that China attacking the U.S. in the nearterm is like cutting off your head to spite your nose. The damage to their own interests is so great that, being a fairly rational country, they aren't likely to do so.
Nonetheless what struck me about the article is what is apparently a slowly growing realization across the country just how utterly dependent we are on our technological infrastructure. The author if the piece actually realizes that taking down the grid (power and/or technological) would literally put us in a situation where cooking on a wood stove would be the logical consequence.
I'm not really that concerned about China attacking us through a 5G network since it's simply yet another threat to the fragile network (pun intended) that sustains us.
But that we are so frighteningly dependent on the technological grid and our computer systems to simply maintain daily life should concern everyone.
I'm glad to see that realization starting to spread to the mainstream.
QUICK NOTE ON 2019 EMS CONFERENCE
This is just a quick note to remind folks that the 2019 EMS conference is currently underway at Maxwell AFB in Alabama.
Not really any information to share right now but the Conference report should be out fairly soon afterwards. Since the current administration actually appears to be aware of EMP as a threat perhaps this conference will start to address some of the issues. Not holding my breathe but stranger things have happened.
LAUNDRY FILES POSTED
I got those new Laundry files posted in the New Additions page.
Didn't realize the New Additions page had gotten left out of the last main index but it's restored now.
Ran across this little item and was intrigued by it. A totally manual washing machine.
While it's nothing really new since manual washing machines have been around for hundreds of years I was struck by the idea that now it has become "fashionable" to do your laundry by human power.
I remember how excited and pleased my grandmother was when she got an electric powered wringer for her washing machine which no longer had to hand cranked to wring the water out of the clothes before hanging them on the line.
It's kind of odd in a way to see people preferring more manual labor intensive methods of accomplishing tasks when for several generations people cheered labor SAVING technologies.
Perhaps pushing "tradition" is a marketing strategy these days. I did note however that the modern video of this new machine (just like every washing machine commercial I have ever seen in my life as well as all of the old books) shows the Woman of the house being the one who washes clothes.
Does being "green" now trump "feminism"?
p.s. This link led me to do some more searching for Laundry and Washing machine material and I actually found about a dozen we don't already have. I'll have them added to an index at the top of for New Additions later this week.
MAINTAINING SOCIETY IN VENEZUELA
Interesting article about what's going on in Zenezuela. Not so much in terms of the conditions there which are becoming well known worldwide but in the way the people there are dealing with them.
In most post collapse or apocalyptic novels and movies (which is basically what's playing out in Vezuela) society falls into savagery and barbarism. Yet in Venezuela despite the country's infrastructure collapsing the People simply continue on with their lives. They adapt and despite being thrown from a modern technological society into something resembling the 1700s they simply carry on.
Says something about the resilience of human beings and their ability to adapt to even the most catastrophic conditions. It bodes well for survivors of an EMP event or other kind of large scale collapse.
For the People of Venezuela what's going on outside their country has little or not relevance for their daily lives. Unless someone is extremely rich and routinely travels into and out of Venezuela People there are immersed in a collapsed and decaying world where that is their reality and where simple survival, food and water can no longer be taken for granted.
I have a lot of respect for the People there who get up each morning and walk out the door into what is essentially a medieval world and confront it.
The individuals who imposed this on those brave People have a lot to account for.
EXECUTIVE ORDER ON EMP
Color me impressed...
A hopeful sign from D.C. for a change. Trump has just signed an Executive Order to address the nation's vulnerability to both Solar and Nuclear EMP.
The text of the order is in the linked article and is actually encouraging in the sense that it appears to recognize the seriousness of such an event.
My only real reservation about it is that there are a lot of words like "coordinate", "review", "promulgate", "analyze", etc. which having worked in D.C. is a way of taking action without anything actually happening or anything of consequence being done.. other than generating a lot of reports, analysis documents and committee meeting minutes.
I once watched the U.S. Army spend 5 years and tens of millions of dollars producing, redoing, staffing and repeatedly redoing an Economic Analysis of a replacement computer system which by the time is was finally completed and could be transitioned to the actual design stage had to be restarted from scratch because computer technology had advanced two generations while the analysis was being carried out. Three years later they had to start over again for the same reason. I honestly have no idea if they ever finished the project. Would not be surprised if there are still people working to complete a new Economic Analysis of the project.
Still it is encouraging to see that there is finally someone in the White House who actually sees the serious consequences to the People of the nation of an EMP event.
YET MORE NEWS FROM VENEZUELA
More news from Venezuela. It's reached the point where people are taking water from what is effectively an open sewer as their only source for water.
MORE NEWS FROM VENEZUELA
New posting from Venezuelan writer on the state of the country.
There's no comment I need to make after reading it.
ALREADY INSIDE THE GATE
I've made reference to the growing incidence of disease in places like California but it's continuing and appears to actually be growing worse.
It's not so much the diseases that are important. California, for the most part is in a first world country. It's a major industrialized area in a world superpower. It has, arguably one of the most complete and extensive infrastructures in the world for sanitation, water supply, power, communication, transportation and pretty much every other aspect of infrastructure you can list.
The state and cities in it have constructed what amounts to massive walls to keep out poverty, disease, hunger, violence, in short all of the ravages of barbarism and to create a modern thechnological utopia in which people can live happily and peacefully.
Yet disease has made it inside the gates and is running loose in the streets.
There are plenty of arguments as to the cause, the solution, how it should be addressed. The arguments are social and political and probably religious and in the end don't really matter either.
What matters is the realization that as no matter how advanced our modern civilization is, the brutal, harsh and uncaring world or barbarism is just outside the gates of our modern civilization... waiting patiently.
I remember when I was younger hearing Doctors and public health officials proudly proclaiming that "We have eradicated [disease name] from the world." and we all believed them and felt great about the advances of our modern civilization.
What none of us really understood was that simply meant there hadn't been a case in our country in X years. That it meant the disease had been pushed away and forced outside our gates by massive and extensive efforts of sanitation, vaccination and other medical prophylaxis. Sort of the way you chase away an attacking enemy who runs off into the woods. They haven't given up. They have simply retreated to regroup and attack again.
It's particularly sobering for those who think about how to rebuild after an EMP event, to rebuild the infrastructures of modern technology and industry. Even in the existing modern world of high tech and advanced industry all it takes is the tiniest weakness, the least little letting down of the guard and disease slides back in through the gates to infect the population. And stopping it isn't easy.
If a modern state like California cannot keep out old classic diseases like this how much harder will it be for Survivors trying to rebuild.
Can it be done? Certainly. By the late 1800s and early 1900s many of not all diseases like this had been conquered or at least held at bay. But the struggle is a hard one and never ends.
So a useful illustration of the problems survivors will face when rebuilding.
p.s. I'm not the only one describing Venezuela as being like an EMP and for what it's worth the power is still out in many parts of that poor country. If, as some are suggesting it IS, in fact, intentionally caused by the government then it may be a long time returning.
COUNTRY WIDE POWER OUTAGE
Apparently there is a country wide power outage in Venezuela. No one in the U.S. really knows whether it was done intentionally by the government, by saboteurs opposed to the government or is simply an equipment failure or operator error.
I guess in the end it doesn't really matter to those directly affected.
It's an illustrative and cautionary tale for those of us who are not in Venezuela.
Imagine being at work and the power fails. The business stop operating and after a while it becomes obvious the power is not going to be restored any time soon. Eventually everyone is told to go home.
Hopefully you have a car or other means of transportation since the electric powered trains and streetcars aren't running. Of course the traffic lights aren't operating either so traffic on the streets has become a slow moving parking lot not to mention the delays caused by accidents due to traffic control equipment being non-operational.
Hopefully your car is not in an enclosed parking garage with no lights.
I won't even talk about trying to drive in a city, at night, with no lights, no power, no stoplights and only headlights to illuminate your surroundings.
So you make it home, if you're one of the lucky one. (The folks trapped at work in the city or at train stations or even ON trains when the power failed is another story entirely.)
At home you have no power, refrigerators and freezers are out. No way to cook unless you are lucky enough to have local natural gas available. Likely no water unless you have a backup manual pump on a well since the water company can't run it's pumps... well maybe they have backup generators for their pumps.
You can't buy more food or gas because the stores don't have power. You probably have cell service at least for a while as long as the cell system's emergency generators have fuel. If you don't have a cell phone your land lines don't work. Hopefully there won't be an serious problems; fires, a robberies, a home invasion in your neighborhood since you might not be able to actually call the Police or Firefighters for help. And if you are able to call them they might have a lot of higher priority calls before they can get around to yours.
News is scarce because the TV stations are off the air. Some radio stations have emergency power and if you have a battery powered radio you're in good shape for the moment except that they can't really provide you with any meaningful news because they don't know what's going on either.
If you're really, really lucky this happens in good weather, not in the middle of a cold winter. Hard to imagine the entire country huddled in their home or maybe places of work trying to find a way to stay warm. I wonder how many people will start some kind of fire in their homes to generate heat? I wonder how many will die from carbon monoxide? I wonder how many fire will start and spread? I wonder if there are enough fire trucks and firemen to respond to the fires?
Maybe you're really lucky and have a generator and some stored fuel for it. Of course your neighbors will be there soon after you start it up expecting you to let them charge their phones, listen to your radio, borrow a flashlight or some batteries, provide them with some water... to share your 'fortune" with those less fortunate. Maybe starting the generator up was not such a great idea after all...
Hopefully the power will be restored quickly. Hopefully it was just a single point of failure whether intentional or unintentional and can be corrected. With luck the power will be back on in a few hours or at worst a few days.
What's happening right now in Venezuela is like a snapshot of the first 24-48 hours of an EMP.
The difference is the power will most likely come back on in Venezuela before too long.
In the event of an EMP... It won't.
SEEMS WE"RE DOOMED REGARDLESS
When I first ran across this I checked it several times since I assumed it was the most recent screen from Government "scientists" telling us why we were doomed unless we immediately embrace Socialism, give up our cars, homes and lives to live in government provided housing and do what we are told by those wiser then us who don't have to give up their cars, home or lives.
I'm still not sure that isn't what it actually is since I have not been able to get my hands on the actual study to read for myself. If it is just another of those then my apologies.
However it is interesting that it, in essence, says that due to basic human nature (which is really what they are describing) our civilization is inevitably going to collapse.
In which case we don't really need to worry about Solar/Nuclear EMP events, Global Thermonuclear War (or what we in the War Gaming community used to refer to as the Bounce the Rubble game) or simple Economic collapse or even the Zombie Apocalypse. That it will be simple human greed that dooms the world.
I do have to ask though how NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) developed such expertise in Sociology, Psychology and History. I honestly though they were made up primarily of Engineers, Physicists and others in the hard mathematical based sciences.How that translates into predicting the collapse of Civilization if beyond me. But then I don't work for NASA or the government so what do I know?
Of course Hari Seldon himself WAS a mathematician. (old SciFi reference... look it up)
I still would like to see the actual study to look through it for words like "Collective", "Common Good", "Economic/Social Justice", "Income Equality" and all the other modern code words for Socialism. Just seems odd for NASA, a bunch of engineers and physicists to be producing studies on the collapse of civilization.
GOVERNMENT ADDRESSES SOLAR EMP THREAT
I have to admit I've become a bit confused at some of the stuff coming out of D.C. these days. Am I the only one that finds calls for abandoning automobiles, planes, oil and coal based energy and industrial farming confusing?
I wonder just exactly what they plan to replace all that with? Trains run on diesel fuel and before that on coal. So will trains have to revert to burning wood for power? Of course the rail unions would be happy since that would require returning the job of Fireman to the locomotive crew.
No more air travel. Wonder how that will work?
No more cars? Will that apply to trucks as well? In which case do we tear up the interstates and return them to farm land? With no more trucks does that mean all freight will return to the trains? The ones burning wood for fuel?
With no more coal or "fossil fuel" power plants there won't be any need for most electronics since electronics don't fare well on intermittent power levels such as those from windmills and solar panels. With fewer electric lights will there still be kerosene for lanterns or is that also classified as a fossil fuel and therefore banned?
Of course one of the of the bright sides is that there will no longer be a danger of a solar EMP destroying the power grid since the power grid will not longer exist to any significant degree. To need a power grid you have to generate a significant amounts of power to justify maintaining a power grid to distribute it.
A second benefit is that we would no longer have to fear being forced to revert to an 1800s level of technology since we'd already be living that way.
But then I finally figured it all out.
This is the Federal government's solution to the threat of a solar EMP event!
They will eliminate modern technology, render the power grid superfluous, return us to an 1800s level of technology thus we no longer face any threat from such an event. BRILLIANT!
In many discussions about EMP events and damage to the power grid folks make reference to the difficulty in replacing transformers. Most of us are generally familiar with the small pole transformers we see on power poles in our neighborhood that look like a trashcan sized metal cylinder on the pole.
Fewer people are at least generally familiar with the sight of the larger transformers in substations in their area.
Even fewer are familiar with the large transformers in major substation or at power plants.
I ran across these two links and thought I'd share them. The first is a video of actually transporting a large power transformers. These are generally used near power plants to change current to the voltage best suited for transmission over the large power lines that carry power from the plant to various larger substation for further distribution. Others are used in the large substations to change the power on those lines down to a voltage better suited for local area distribution. These are transformers that would need replacing in addition to the ones on the power poles we all see every day.
This link shows the process of actually moving one of them.
and this link is a paper on the role these transformers play in the U.S. power grid and what is involved in replacing even one of them.
Now imagine all of this occurring in an environment where there is no power, no fuel distribution, no industry, no electronic communication, no road maintenance, no law enforcement and people are spending the majority of their time and energy on subsistence level agriculture.
It will bring home just one of the obstacles to restoring a power grid lost to an EMP event.
FUTURE OF HUMANITY
A friend in the U.K. sent me this link which is thought provoking.
Eurasian Times is a defense oriented Asian centered news source. Well respected in the area. It just strikes me as a profound time when major, respected news sources are openly discussing the elimination of mankind through the use of what is becoming an increasingly common and well known technology. Nuclear weapons development and production are no longer solely within the grasp of large industrial super powers.
All it takes now is just large amounts of cash. Nations like Iran and even North Korea (where they can substitutes slave labor and brutal dictatorial power for cash) are to all appearances grinding out nuclear weapons as fast as they can or at least very close to doing so. No one is actually doing anything to stop them.
Oh a sanction here, a strongly worded diplomatic letter there but the fact that nations that are utterly insane by most of the people's standards are manufacturing technology that can kill millions of people apparently does not rise high enough to compete with campaigning, building windmills and gaining a political edge over one's opponents.
So we are in a time where we can openly discuss the use of nuclear weapons as EMP devices to utterly eradicate modern civilization and throw the world or at least large portions of it back to the pre-industrial age.
Though this does perhaps answer one riddle that we have struggled with for many decades and that is:
"Why have we never found evidence of any other advanced technological civilization in the Universe?"
Perhaps the process we are seeing unfold now of developing the technological capability to eliminate technology itself before developing the moral strength not to has been played out before in other places long, long ago and far away.
WHAT WE ALREADY KNEW
I guess we all already knew this but had always hoped that we were wrong and that someone, somewhere int he government would eventually catch on and push to actually do something to address the fragility of the nation's power grid. The gird's vulnerability to a Solar or Nuclear EMP or even a terrorist attack has been widely known for well over a decade and known much longer in some circles.
Now they are openly admitting that No... they really don't have either a plan or the ability to actually address it or deal with the consequences.
The government is more or less admitting that it's beyond their ability to deal with and are suggesting a "public-private collaboration".
That is government speak for "We'll tell you what to do and you do and pay for it. If it succeeds it's due to our foresight and if it fails then it's due to your refusal to follow orders."
But the bottom line is that we are all essentially on our own. There is no help coming from the government to which pay taxes to "provide for the common defense". The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as so many saw in this area after the recent hurricane doesn't actually do much of anything they just "manage" the disaster.
So just a reminder to everyone that planning for what you do after a major catastrophic event is entirely your responsibility. Don't look elsewhere. If someone else is available to help and provide assistance well and good. But don't relay on that assistance as part of your plan.
A long but in depth and interesting article about how societies collapse or disintegrate into dictatorships.
I tend to focus more on EMP events which destroy the power, industrial and technological infrastructure but collapses caused by internal political and social strife can be just as devastating as a solar flare or an EMP attack. The folks in Venezuela may not have experienced an EMP event but are dealing with the collapse of the country's infrastructure just as much.
The author focuses primarily on the U.S. but his descriptions could just as easily fit any industrialized Western nation.. well ignoring the 2nd amendment issues which really only apply to the U.S.
The people in the rest of the Western nations were disarmed by their governments long ago for better or worse.
EMP: NOT IF BUT WHEN
Hard to believe the EMP commission has been around for 17 years. I remember when it was formed and thought "Finally! Something will be done."
Shows how absurdly optimistic I was. 17 years and it's even more of a threat now than it was then.
If anything we've become even more dependent on complex and highly fragile computer networks. Young people are learning fewer and fewer actual skills and retaining less and less actual knowledge since their cell phones, tablets and computers give them instant access to all knowledge.
Why remember something when you can look it up?
HANSON ON CIVILIZATION
Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas this year. Hope everyone is thankful for all of the wonders and luxuries we have which we all take for granted.
Dr. Victor David Hanson is one of my favorite writers, right up there with Thomas Sowell. They are both voices of wisdom speaking into the vast intellectual emptiness that has become modern policy and political discussion.
Even more sadly they are ignored by the people who should most be listening.
In this article he speaks about Civilization or rather the death of it. What it requires to remain civilized and how our society is increasingly purging and abandoning all of those things.
Once you read it you will perhaps more easily understand why so many people will not survive a collapse or other societal failure.
The attributes or which he speaks are those which are the foundation of any successful and viable culture and are the the characteristics which will be the foundation of any group of people trying to rebuild after a collapse.
I suspect that such attributes are common among the folks who frequent this site. If they weren't then you wouldn't be here in the first place.
DHS is now warning people in the U.S. to keep a 14 day supply of food on hand in case of a terrorist attack on the power grid causing a 6 month power outage.
That is... optimistic at best. Criminally negligent at worst. Perhaps willfully cruel.
If the grid were to go down, whether due to terrorists, rogue nations with EMP devices or a Solar event 6 months of food is not going to cut it.
Think for even a few minutes about the consequences of a grid failure and you'll understand.
No power means:
no fuel distribution
no law enforcement
no water supply
no sewage system
If you are one of the few who does have a 6 months supply of food for your family and a way to purify water but there are 100 neighbors who don't... how is that going to work out?
Do you have 6 months of ammunition to protect that food from hungry neighbors? Are you willing to shoot your neighbors if it comes down to that? Are you going to bury the bodies to prevent disease outbreaks?
When DHS and FEMA have food and water and power are they going to share it with all the people who have none of those? When a LOT of hungry people see the lights of DHS and FEMA and see them eating and drinking what is going to happen?
Lots of novels and conspiracy theorists pontificate about "FEMA Camps" with armed guards but think for a moment about the reality of a few hundred armed guards and FEMA personnel and about 100,000 hungry, dehydrated, desperate people (with their own arms).
How is that going to play out?
You would think that someone in government who read the contents of the seemingly never ending number of reports and warnings about the fragility of the power grid from scientists, engineers, the military, Congressional committees and now DHS would finally get a clue that "Hmmm perhaps there is a problem here that we need to address."
Not holding my breath. Too many higher priorities exist such as impeaching Presidents and Supreme Court Justices, struggling for Committee Chairmanships, acquiring and wielding political power..
p.s. Interestingly the 7 point plan to address the problem don't actually DO anything but it certainly provides a justification for more staff and a larger budget to "Examine", "Clarify", Develop" and "Provide Guidance".
GRASPING THE ENORMITY OF INFRASTRUCTURE
Some of you may already know about this shipping site. It's been around for a long time. I look at it occasionally when I'm waiting for programs to compile or a query to run. Sort of an alternative to playing solitaire while having to sit in front of a computer and wait.
Looked at it today and realized just how well it shows part of the Transportation infrastructure on which we are dependent.
It's really sobering to zoom all the way out and grasp just how many ships are constantly on the move transporting raw materials, fuels, foods and manufactured goods from one part of the world to another.
Look around whatever room you are in.
How many of the items and materials in your sight were at some point on one of the ships on the screen of that link?
How many of them came from other countries on those ships?
And finally. How many of them could you easily live without if those ships were no longer running?
Secondly think about the technological systems that allows you to see the current position of that many ships at this moment in time, to click on them and know where they are heading, what direction they are point, what heading they are on and exactly how fast they are moving.
HO HUM... ANOTHER REPORT WARNING OF EMP
This one from the Military
Just the routine...
90% of the population dying
Complete collapse of the power grid
Social chaos and violence
Decades or generations to recover.
same old same old
I say HO HUM because the alternative is to get really angry when the government is told this over and over and over and simply ignores it every time. Sad thing is even getting angry wouldn't do any good.
UPDATE FROM VENEZUELA
Below is an update from Jose in Venezuela.
It's becoming clear that a fast, catastrophic collapse is preferable to a slow, lingering, seemingly never ending collapse.
Reading what's going on there provides some valuable lessons. We can hypothesize, theorize and conjecture all we want about what are the "Best Practices" in a collapse. Here are some concrete, hands on, on-the-ground lessons...
I make contributions to Jose and his family and I encourage others to do so as well.
If for no other reasons than as small tuition for the lessons he is teaching us all.
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving this week.
(Though in the current world of political correctness I'm sure that's Racist or some other IST or ISM.).
We all have a LOT to be thankful for...
We're not having to pore through The Book of the Farm looking for how to help our livestock survive the winter.
We're not studying Medical texts or books of Formulas to try to treat a sick child because there are no more doctors.
We're not counting the food supply yet again to try to figure out how to eat until the Spring comes without digging into our seed stock for planting next year's crops.
We're not looking at the wood pile hoping we cut enough wood to provide heat through the winter.
We're not sitting in a cold, dark outhouse at night.
Instead we're basking in central heat, cooking the turkeys we bought at the grocery store in our electric or gas ovens, flipping a light switch to turn on the lights when the sun goes down, watching television while sitting on a comfortable chair or couch, grabbing something from the medicine cabinet to relieve the feeling of overeating before opening the frig to put away a huge pile of excess food.
It's amazing just how much we have to be Thankful for that we don't even realize...
THE 1972 X-CLASS SOLAR FLARE
I've heard stories about this I and read a few references to it but I suspect that like a lot of people I didn't really give it much consideration.
In 1972 there was an X-Class flare that caused power disruptions, telegraph line damage and, interestingly, the detonation of magnetic mines in the seas near Vietnam. Apparently the magnetic field created by the flare was strong enough to spoof the mines into detonating.
While the effects of the flares were known within the scientific community the information about the mine detonations was classified and remained so until just recently.
What makes it even more interesting is that a series of earlier flares had, so to speak, plowed the road, so that the effects of the X-Class flare when it occurred were more intense than they would otherwise have been.
In the article there is a link to spaceweather.com which contains the Scientific Journal article about the flare for those more scientifically minded.
Fortunately in 1972 the world power, industrial and technological infrastructure was a lot less susceptible to the effects of such a flare than they are today. Were that flare to occur today the damage would be much more severe.
ANOTHER REMINDER OF JUST HOW CLOSE BARBARISM IS
I posted an article a week or two ago about the resurgence in a major U.S. city of diseases everyone thinks of as eradicated and only existant in 3rd world countries. Well here's another....
Venezuela was, until a few years ago, close to a first world country with high literacy rates, a standard of living comparable to the Western industrialized nations, a first rate health care infrastructure, low crimes rates, low unemployment and a strong vibrant economy. It was very much a bright spot in South America and a place where most folks from the Western industrialized nations would feel comfortable, barring the language differences.
But in the aftermath of an economic and social collapse, the causes of which are not really the issue, there has been a resurgence of diseases that were assumed to be things of the past.
Just goes to show that elimi9nating the scourges of barbarism is not an Event but an ongoing and continual process that must be maintained.
The only reason we in the Western World are free of the diseases that have decimated and preyed on the Human race throughout history is that we have built an industrial and technological infrastructure that made it possible to MAINTAIN the continuing fight against these diseases on a 24/7/365 basis. We forget that the struggle is never ending and must be maintained year after year.
So it's not an Event that brings these diseases, and many other ills, out of the darkness to plagues us again (no pun intended).
In the case of Venezuela it is the breakdown of that infrastructure that broke the ability to maintain the process.
So keep in mind that a social collapse, an EMP event, an economic catastrophe, etc... none of those bring barbarism, disease, violence and all of the other consequences we often discuss.
Those events simply Break the systems that exist that fight the daily fight to keep those problems at bay. They are all standing banging on the gates to be let in just waiting for the day when the gates fail and pandemonium can reign supreme again.
THAT is the struggle survivors will face... rebuilding the "gates" that keep all those ills at a distance.
A NEW DARK AGE?
Ran across this today and thought I'd post it for everyone.
We often refer to Solar EMP events such as the Carrington Event or about manmade EMPs created by nuclear weapons. We don't often refer to societal collapses since there is such a wide range of potential causes and as soon as you start talking about this factor or that factor you can quickly slide in to grand Conspiracy Theory and wander into discussions of The Illuminati or mysterious Globalist organizations and so.
So in general I refrain from speaking too much about social collapse.
At the same time among many people there is an almost palpable feeling in the air that something broke sometime int he not too distant past that can't be mended. That some kind of tipping point was reached that no one actually saw but many people feel has been passed.
Whether it's a stock market crash or the bankruptcy of a major power or a trade war of a bank collapse that dominoes around the world or a civil war in the U.S. or open violence on the streets (oops forgot.. that's already going on in much of the Western World) or a Race War or a massive Migration of people from the Third World overwhelming the Industrialized world and an Alinksy inspired collapse of the government structure or....
Well there are dozens if not hundreds of potential scenarios and ten times that many books written about each one both fiction and non-fiction.
Many of you have spoken to me in emails about that feeling. That sense that you get that something is not right, that something is broken and ready to come apart. It's struck me that so many people feel that way, as do I.
I ran across this article/essay (whatever you want to call it) and realized that he had put so succinctly into words what so many people are feeling and thought I's simply share it. It is from a couple months ago but it's prescience hasn't changed.
I recently started listening to and old Radio Drama rendition (from the 1950s or thereabouts) of Asimov's Foundation Trilogy. I thought of that when I ran across this article today.
The coming of a new Dark Age. Just like in the story when Harry Seldon tells others he doesn't know when it will start, we probably won't notice it when it does. We will only know that it has in hindsight. At some point we will realize that we have slipped from Civilization in a Dark Age and that the future is going to be a lot more difficult that we had thought it was going to be.
HO HUM (YAWN) YET ANOTHER EMP WARNING TO THE GOVERNMENT
It's almost becoming a weekly event. The latest report not only details foreign powers working on EMP weapons for use against the U.S. but also points out that another Carrington event is inevitable. So a two for one warning.
Which will also be ignored since there are no votes or campaign funds at stake.
On a different note I ran across an article this morning (link is below). Dennis Prager points out the very common phenomenon of young people saying they don't know something but will look it up. I have noticed the ubiquitous behavior of groups of people seeming to be totally oblivious to one another while sitting in the same room with their noses firmly planted in their phones.
I've also become aware that in the realm of information I myself almost take for granted the availability of almost instantaneous access to any information I want. While I have a fairly wide range of skills I've worked my entire life to acquire I no longer browse used books stores for skill books on subjects I don't know. I used to do that a lot. See a used book store I hadn't been in and make a beeline for it. Wander around in it looking for books on How To..... and if I found books on something with which I was not familiar or of some new aspect of something with which I was familiar it went in my buy pile and that's what I'd be reading for the next few days.
Now I do the same thing on the internet. Frequently browsing through sources like You Tube looking for new skills and then following up on ones that appear interesting.
But what happens if and when there is a collapse and you are on your own with the only knowledge and information available being what you and your family/friends have in your own head? I have a fairly large collection of books on woodworking and gardening. But I honestly could not tell you which box in the attic they are in because that's where they are... in the attic. If I need to know something I look in the Library on the hard drive if it's an older traditional skill or on the internet if it's a more current type of information.
But imagine...No cell phone. No internet. No Wikipedia, No Youtube.
And that reinforces my incentive to get back to work printing and binding some of the books from the Library for my bookshelf. Also makes me want to go up to the attic and find those books. I may not put them on shelves downstairs but I do want to know where they are if and when I might need them.
SOBERING REMINDER OF WHAT IS OUTSIDE THE GATES
This article is what is called a Filler or Throwaway" in journalistic terms. A trivial story used to fill space until something actually newsworthy comes up.
But for people who actively consider and think about the consequences of any kind of collapse or failure of the infrastructure it's a sobering reminder of some of the things we take for granted and simply do not think about on a day to day basis.
We take for granted a level of cleanliness, sanitation and medical care that a hundred and fifty years ago would have been inconceivable and little more than something out of an H.G. Wells novel.
Those who have spent a little time studying "survival" subjects are well aware of procedures such as putting the outhouse downstream from your water source and other 'normal" sanitation and disease prevention measures.
But we seldom think about how we're going to avoid such things as fleas in a world where there are no showers or baths other than in a stream, no easily available soap unless you made it yourself or bartered for it from someone who made it. Anyone who has ever been in the wilderness for an extended length of time is well aware that fleas and other tiny parasites are a fact of life. Field bathing seldom eliminates the problem and we often endure until we can return to civilization and hot showers and soap.
This becomes a significantly more serious matter in a world trying to rebuild from a collapse. Until communities are settled enough to ensure a steady and reliable supply of soap, disinfectants, insecticides and other "take for granted" amenities of modern life, fleas and such will be a fact of life at least among the less fastidious members of society.
So even the best of communities will face the specter of parasite borne diseases appearing unexpectedly and spreading rapidly. With zero or at best minimal medical care and zero or minimal medical supplies such diseases could quickly devastate a community as they commonly did in earlier centuries.
Even if everyone else in town is fanatically fastidious about cleanliness and sanitation and is free of fleas all it takes is a bite by a single flea from an infected individuals on someone in town or a pet or a rat and the disease could spread rapidly.
I don't have any quick or easy answers. Survivors can take all of the the obvious precautions like ensuring the safe siting of wells, water sources, garbage disposal, sewage placement and so on and still be caught off guard by a single individual coming into town with fleas and a disease transmittable by fleas. A community can't build walls and keep out every outsider, every wild animal, have no domestic animals and eliminate every rat and bird in town.
It's yet another of the things we take for granted as a result of a complex advanced infrastructure (medical, sanitation, cleanliness, pest eradication, etc.) that most of us would not think about yet as the Los Angeles story shows is right outside the gates and will come waltzing in even in a major U.S. city the moment it has a chance.
THIS MONTH'S EMP WARNING TO THE GOVERNMENT
It's become almost a routine and tradition or so it seems to me sometimes.
This month's article about someone warning the government that they need to take some action to protect the power grid from an EMP event so that 90% of the population won't die and the country be plunged instantly back into a technology level like the 1800s.
And as is traditional the Federal government responds with... well they don't actually respond at all.
I really shudder to think of the fate of any politicians who survive such an event when the survivors identify him or her and realize that individual bears significant responsibility for the conditions they are currently living in since he or she COULD have taken action and chose not to because... well I assume because there were no significant number of votes, campaign contributions or power to be gained since those seems to be the only meaningful motivations of the overwhelming majority of politicians these days.
FLORENTINE GOODNESS Part 2
The storm came and went. Could have been a lot worse but then it could have been a lot better. The amount of damage was less than expected in the area. Doesn't feel that way to the people whose shingles blew off, the roof leaked and the ceilings collapsed leaving sheetrock and insulation all over everything. But generally speaking the wind damage was much less than we expected.
The rain was pretty heavy and a lot of roads are still flooded. The rivers are still rising from the inland rain and won't crest here until tomorrow sometime so still some flooding to come.
The biggest effect is the widespread power loss. We lost power Thursday morning last week and have been running on generator since then. Fortunately we stocked up on gas several days before the real buying frenzy started the day before the storm was due. So we've been able to keep the freezer and frig running as well as some lights and fans and such. We had also stockpiled a lot of water and are still well supplied.
We had a medium generator but fortunately my smart wife when she was out picking up a few additional odds and ends picked up a small portable generator as a backup which ended up being a good thing since out larger one died the first day even though we had tested it a couple days before. So we have been running on the small backup generator since last Thursday. Not a lot of power but sufficient for basic needs.
Until Monday there was NO gas or food available in town due to the widespread power outages. A few local grocery stores opened Monday and Tuesday and a couple of gas stations. Both had long lines and police guarding them. There have been a few incidents at them as well as some looting in the city of Wilmington.
By yesterday it had started to settle down some. One local hardware store was open and we scored a larger generator that someone had just returned because they hadn't needed it. So we're back to having a fair amount of power. Got an a/c unit running in one room last night and will be wiring in the well pump later today so we'll have running water again just like them city slicker.
We're keeping a list of items that we hadn't thought about that would make life a lot easier. Just minor things like long lighters since it's a lot easier to light a propane burner without being burned with a long one. A wider variety of extension cords for running fans and lights and such. A few more funnels for filling generators and such.
On a personal note...the employees of the EPA who mandated the vile, despicable, foul (and every other negative adjective) "environmentally friendly" nozzles for gas can should be pilloried in downtown D.C. and when not in the stocks should be forced to crawl on their bare knees wiping up the untold gallons of gas spilled, dribbled and splashed all over due their actions. That single action is sufficient grounds to disband the EPA and start over from scratch.
I wonder if they really believed that a small women would be able to balance a 30 lb gas can upright with a little catch on the side of the spout pressing on the edge of a gas tank and hold it there for the time required to empty the can into the tank without dropping it, slipping and jamming the spout into the tank or bending the plastic spout so that gas leaked out and splashed over a hot generator??
The folks who evacuated had been unable to return until yesterday since Rt 40 from Raleigh to Wilmington was flooded as well as Rt 17. A lot of the roads from the West are still flooded since they run through very low swampy areas. Sometime yesterday the Governor announced a working route from Raleigh to here and the trucks started rolling. Saw a lot of trucks yesterday deadheading North out of town after dropping off loads of various supplies. Saw a lot more tanker trucks topping off gas stations, even ones that still didn't have power yet so as power is restored the situation will rapidly improve.
So not near as catastrophic as it could have been if it had hit as a Cat 4 instead of the Cat 1 it turned into but still an unpleasant experience for the entire region.
Still despite the number of years I've been involved in emergency preparation I'm still a bit surprised at the number of people who were completely unprepared and did nothing to prepare despite days of warning. I kept hearing reports of people whose only power source was the outlet in the their car and how many ran out of gas idling their cars to charge their cell phones. So even as a few grocery stores started opening they were unable to go for supplies since their car was in the driveway out of gas from charging their cell phones...
Cell service was out in our area but is finally back up enough to use the phone as a wireless hotspot for a laptop.
Still a lot of recovery work to do and we don't expect to have grid power again until this weekend or even next week sometime. Lot of power lines and power poles down all over the area. A LOT of line trucks from outside the areas already in town working on restoring power but a lot of the primary distribution lines need to repaired or replaced before the neighborhoods and commercial areas can be brought back on line.
Now have to get ready to go check the office at work and pick up some more wiring and cords to try and bring up the well pump
HAPPY, HAPPY, JOY, JOY!! Later this week we get to do a real world test of our Emergency Preparedness through the goodness of Hurricane Florence when drops by for a visit late this week.
All the model projections show it passing directly, and I mean DIRECTLY, over my house here a bit north of Wilmington, NC. It keeps wavering between my house and a community a ways south of Wilmington named Kure Beach.
(I shudder to think of owning a beach house on a barrier Island with a Cat 4 Hurricane approaching, especially if you actually live there year round.)
Fortunately we're in the woods a good 5 miles inland and have nice deep windbreaks on all sides of the house. Couple of fairly large pines which, if they fell just right, could do some damage to the house but only peripheral like corners of porches.
Worse danger is a tree going down on the power lines crossing the field behind the house since we'd likely be way down on their priority list for repairs. But I have the generator prepped and it will provide for essential house functions in the meantime.
Could take some damage to the barn or the tractor shed roofing and always the possibility of damage from wind borne debris but having fairly extensive woods around us higher than the house should mitigate a lot of it.
With some luck it will decide the North Atlantic is nicer to visit than Coastal NC or it might peter out into a heavy rain storm. The one a couple years ago just brushed along the coast and did a bit of a rain dance on us. Wasn't really much different from any other heavy rain storm here and and actually as bad as some.
We've dodged the significant hurricane bullet for the last decade or so but it's looking less and less likely we'll be able dodge this one.
Good pages to get complete and up-to-date information on the incoming storms is Mike's Weather Page at:
Lots of good information there.
EXPLODING POWER GRID
Interesting and a bit chilling to watch...
This is night time apparently in Maracaibo in Venezuela when the transformers and substations start exploding all over the city plunging the city into darkness. Whatever caused it spread and large parts of Venezuela are without power.
One senior figure in the government stated that it was because we are too close to the sun and it's hot there.
I've read various accounts as to what happened but few of them agree. A downed power line, a mistake at a power plant, etc. The Official explanation is foreign sabotage.
Doesn't really matter but I thought the video with sound would be of interest. This is probably what one would experience in the event of an EMP that affected the power grid.
p.s. I've been told by a several people that I should not point out that Venezuela's Socialism might possibly have anything to do with the collapse there since, as everyone knows Socialism is the One True Religion (Oops Sorry) I meant Fair and Equitable Government structure.
Therefore I'll add the disclaimer that "By no means could or does Socialism in Venezuela have any bearing whatsoever on the complete collapse and destruction of the country's economic and social structure."
MAPS IN A GPS WORLD
Ran into an interesting phenomenon today while talking to someone about maps and referring to a Mercator map that I thought was worth highlighting. Probably because my education in maps and map reading predate the advent of GPS satellite systems I take for granted information that is probably no longer common knowledge among people who were born into a GPS oriented world.
One of the eternal problems for mapmakers has always been how to take a globe, like the Earth and convert it into a flat image that can be used to measure angles and distances between Point A and Point B. There have been an incredible number of variations on how to do that and each has some particular advantage over all others.
The Mercator projection (which is what's called a Conformal Projection) is the common rectangular one you see most often which shows Greenland being about the same size as Africa. The common clue on a Mercator map is that the further away from the Equater you look the further apart the lines of latitude are.
Greenland is actually rather tiny compared to Africa but there's a reason that particular map projection has endured for so long. The Mercator projection was originally devised by Gerardus Mercator in 1569. How it works is actually quite interesting but I won't go into it here. And yes that was almost 500 years ago. You would think that someone would have come up with something better in the last 500 years but there's a reason it has remained popular.
The Mercator Projection allows you to draw a line between two points and the angle from Point A to Point B is the Compass Bearing to Point B from Point A.
So who cares?
Before the advent of GPS when you were navigating a ship or a plane or even an oxcart knowing what direction to head when looking at your map and compass meant you have a good chance of arriving at your destination barring sea monsters, UFOs or raging barbarians (per Civilization 5).
That made the Mercator Projection THE projection to use for navigation purposes from the time it came into use back in the 1500s up until the dependence on GPS. Even today with even cars and cell phone having GPS navigation if you look at ship and aircraft charts the maps are still Mercator or Conical Projections for the same reason as has always been the case, angles on the charts equate to actual compass bearings. Point being that even without GPS if you have Mercator Projection maps and a compass you have a good chance of finding your way home.
The key element is that Mercator and Conical are both "Conformal" projections which means they correctly preserve and represent the angles between points on the map. The Mercator and Conical have the key advantage of fitting onto a right angle grid which makes it easy to measure those angles.
The primary difference (for practical purposes) between a Mercator map like a topo map and a Conical map like an aerial chart is that Conical Projection maps are centered on some significant point like an airport or beacon or geographical feature since the purpose of a Conical map is generally navigation in relation to that central point.
I was a little surprised this morning when talking to those two folks (both under 30) that they had no conception of what a Mercator projection map was and more importantly WHY it mattered.
For those folks who have grown up in the modern GPS world and have not studied mapmaking or had some training in map reading, dead reckoning or navigation be aware that if you look at maps or draw maps or want to consult a map for navigational purposes it will most likely be a Mercator or Conical projection.
U.S. Topographic maps use a variation on the Mercator Projection called a Transvese Mercator. The Conical Projection is most commonly used in aerial navigation charts.
Bottom line is that if you believe there is a chance you will ever find yourself in a non-GPS world having to use maps to find your way home it would be a good idea to learn at least the rudiments of Map Projections, what they are and what they mean in a practical sense.
When you look at almost any modern map somewhere on it you will find a reference to the Projection used, Mercator, Conical, Transverse Mercator, etc.
Not knowing at least the basics of what those mean could give an all too literal meaning to the phrase "You can't get there from here."
It's not "technology" in the sense of being a set of skills which can be learned as much as it is a set of "reference" books which I thought worth collecting. They are all related to the World Depression of the 1920s through 1930.
Most americans think of the Great Depression as an Americna phenomenon fostered probably by so many books and movies about that period like The Grapes of Wrath and The Great Gatsby. What a lot of people don't realize or know but don't really think much about is that there was a worldwide depression in that period. It affected the entire world though the magnitude of that affect varied from country to country. In far less developed and industrialized countries the effecst were less severe since their economies were not as dependant on foreign trade as most industrialized countries.
In Germany that Depression, exacerbated by the terms of the 1918 Armistice which ended WWI, brought about the rise of National Socialism and Hitler.
The inchoate Soviet Union actually benefitted from the Great Depression since it displaced a wide range of skilled workers in the already industrialized West who, desperate for work, were easy for the Soviey Union to hire to assist in building a modern industrial state.
In the West, particularly after the horrors of WWI, the demands for relief and assistance to the growing number of poor and unemployed led to military budgets being slashed far beyond what many saw as reasonable. That ultimatley put the West in a position of weakness relative to the resurgent military power of Germany a decade and a half later. That weakness fed the mood for appeasement which many feel fueled the actual outbreak of war.
Few of those considerations mattered to those directly affected by the Depression however; farmers who lost their farms, industrial workers who lost jobs, etc. In the Grapes of Wrath the story centers around the Oakies, a vast swarm of people who lost their farms due to the double calamity of the Depression and the Dust Bowl drought which wiped out much of the farming in the south central region of the U.S.
Most modern books on the Great Depression focus on either the political/financial factors which caused and lengthened the Depression or else on the direct affect on individuals. So either a Macro or a Micro level.
This collection is a variety of perspectives written at the beginning of and during the Depression itself. They provide a look at what people observed around them while in the midst of or the early stages of the Depression.
Some of them are optimistic not knowing that the Depression would continue for almost 20 years. Some are pessimistic and call for revolution, as occurred in Germany and a bit earlier in Russia. I left the books directly advocating Socialism because during the 1900s and even today the reflex among many to any crisis is to call for Socialism as a solution.
Sadly we have a hundred years of evidence that Socialism is probably one of the worst forms of government ever devised by the minds of man. Everywhere it has been tried it has resulted in at best a totalitarian state where the individual is a mere cog in the government machine and at worst some of the worst horrors of mass murder that surpass anything that went before. Remember that Hitler was a Socialist as was Stalin and Mao. Oddly while we often cite Hitler as one of the worst mass murderers in history, Stalin and Mao far exceeded Hitlers accomplishments and make him look like something of a bumbling amateur. Hitler killed 12 million according to the most commons estimates. Stalin and Mao between them killed something 60-100 million depending on which estimates you accept. Even the loweest estimates make Hitler's efforts seem puny by comparison.
That is not intended in any sense to trivialize what Hitler did. It is to make the point that those who repeatedly cite Hitler as an example of a cruel dictator need to read a litle further into the real world consequences of Socialism.
Today in Venezuela we see a slow motion collapse of a Socialist state. Fortunately that country has not descended in the mass murder of other Socialist regimes perhaps becasue of the visibility provided by the internet. So the books on the false attraction of Socialism during a Depression are worth looking through if for no other reason than to be aware of the arguments used since they have not changed in 100 years.
The other books provide a set of snapshots from various points of view as to what a Depression actually looks like from the inside.
In this day and age with the entire world's financial systems far more intertwined than they were in 1918 a worldwide Depression would have devastating effects far beyond what happened in the 1920s and 1930s. It's worth having some knowledge of what the early stages of wide spread world Depression looks like and how people respond to it.
1. Been crazy busy at work with new top priority projects pushing current top priority projects to the side which had already pushed other top priority projects to the side and so on.
2. and I've been repairing, refurbishing, restocking and reviewing things around home in terms of self sufficiency in case of social and economic turmoil and disruption as well as keeping a a close eye on current national events.
I believe (though I certainly hope and pray I'm wrong) that we have already passed the point beyond which political compromise was still possible and the two "sides" of the political system could draw back and restore the political system.
The two primary ideologies in the U.S. have become so opposed, so extreme and so mutually exclusive that compromise no longer really has any meaning and the political process no longer functions in any effective fashion.
We now see elected officials in the U.S. and many of their supporters openly promoting and inciting violence against people with whom they disagree. These same individuals have defended past violence against other elected officials and appointees blaming the victims for "provoking" the violence directed against them. Many elected officials of both ideologies refuse to speak out and condemn this behavior thus tacitly condoning it.
In essence these individuals, their supporters and those who implicitly condone the behavior have abandoned the political process and decided that if they cannot achieve their goals through the political system they will achieve them through violence and intimidation (which is simply the implied threat of violence).
I really don't care what anyone's ideology is but when you advocate seizing power through violence you abrogate all legitimacy and respectability. Once you venture down that path you have committed yourself to either total victory or ignominious defeat. There is no longer a middle ground.
The last step that legitimizes open violence is when individuals are demonized and labeled in ways that justify violence against them such as calling them and their supporters "Nazis".
After all Nazis are evil and who could be opposed to killing Nazis? Those who protest such behavior are clearly defending Nazis and must therefore be Nazis themselves.
The various media systems in the U.S., with few exceptions, have taken sides and actively defend and promote those whose ideology they support and demonize those they see as enemies. When the media itself repeats, promotes and defends the labeling of ideological opponents in ways that demonize them they have become complicit in the incitement. But then a mob carrying out ideological and political violence in the streets is prime time gold for ratings so it's a win-win for the media.
Add in the demands to not enforce laws which one group or another disapproves and the increasing number of judges at all levels who ignore, dismiss or refuse to enforce laws with which they ideologically disagree and you have an incresing erosion of the very Rule of Law which makes a country a viable and functional entity.
The opposite of the Rule of Law is Anarchy which is Heavenly if You are the top dog but pretty much Hell if you are not.
Within the Federal Government itself there is a sizeable number of people in the Judicial, Legislative, Executive branches and many Federal Agencies who openly obstruct, refuse to enforce or ignore existing laws in direct violation of their oaths of office and Federal Law. Members of the government itself are undermining the Rule of Law with demonstradely zero consequences.
What we're looking at then is the very real possibility, some would say likelihood or inevitability, of an open Civil War breaking out again in the U.S. except this time the boundaries are ideological ones and not state lines.
Anyone unfamiliar with the reality of Civil War should read about Vietnam, the Spanish Civil War, Russia in the years after the Revolution, our own Civil War whose effects we still feel today, the innumerable wars in Africa and the Balkan Wars after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Civil wars are the most brutal, barbaric, cruel and vicious kinds of wars. They make the atrocities of WWII and WWII pale by comparison.
The Survivor Library has always been oriented towards rebuilding after a majopr castrophic event like a Solar EMP but much of the material is just as applicable to developing self sufficiency during a long period of social and economic disruption when the benefits of the industrial and technological infrastructure are not readily available.
So while the U.S. has not actually stepped irretrievably across the boundary into open Civil War it appears to be marching determinedly towards that line with no one seemingly making any real effort to avert it.
So take some time to review your own level of self sufficiency and what it will require to achieve that or as close to it as you can.
Stay safe friends.
p.s. Working on the Machinery's Reference Series Volumes 1-141 and hope to have thgem online within the next week to 10 days as a new Category.
THE IRONY OF MODERN COMMUNICATIONS
Overheard a conversation this morning while working on a PC in the office.
Seems one of the folks working here has had frustrations communicating with a family member since that family member gets all their email on their phone and the ones she sends get buried among all the work emails or even get dumped to a spam folder.
So to get around the problems with modern instant communications she has started writing letters... on paper... and mailing them in an envelope which the family member gets a day or two later.
Letters being a novelty her messages always get read.
NEW CATEGORY ADDED - HYPNOTISM
I've just added the new Hypnotism Category I have been working on. I put in the Medical grouping so the Index name is Medical-Hypnotism.
A lot of the books in the group are related to using Hypnotism in the medical field in place of anesthetic. That makes sense since many of them are dated in the 18040s to 1850s when there were not generally available and widely used anesthetics. Why there was a surge of interest int he subject in the late 1890 and early 1900s (well before the First World War) have no idea since anesthetics had become commonplace by then.
A lot of the books hearken to the early days when the entire subject was referred to as Animal Magnetism or as Mesmerism. Obviously the theoretical basis for the effect in many of the earlier books is silly by today's standards at the time it was heralded as a sensational breakthrough.
I retained a number of the older "theoretical" books not because the theoretical material is of much use but they included at least some material on How-To and so I felt they were worth keeping in the collection.
When I was in the Psychology field many years ago I remember reading a lot of mixed material about Hypnosis. They ranged from the position that Hypnosis was a valuable tool through opinions that it was not much more than a parlor trick and the entire gamut of positions in between those two.
I don't offer any strong opinion either way. Even today there is a wide range of opinions as to it's legitimacy and it's therapeutic use.
There are practitioners using it to treat a variety of conditions though mostly in the behavioral area such as weight loss or smoking cessation. Whether it is still used in the medical field at all I can't say.
There have been a number of requests for the Category. It's one of the more often requested so here it is finally.
Whether it is actually a viable tool in a world rebuilding from a collapse when there is a dearth of medical knowledge and skill I can't say.
But the fact that I can't definitively rule it out and state categorically that it is of no use means I'm including it.
Who knows... hopefully folks trying to rebuild a functional infrastructure will be facing the need for weight loss sooner rather than later.
Hypnosis might help with weight loss. I doubt it will help with lack of food...
A NOTE ON PRIVACY
Considering the insanity going on in much of the Tech world at places like Google and Facebook regarding Privacy, your personal information and so on I thought I'd drop a note on that issue as it relates to the Library.
I don't track who uses the Library and no registration of other information is required in order to use the site or download the files. I don't record any information about anyone except when someone orders a copy of the library. Paypal records your shipping information so I know where to ship it and your email address so that I can send you a tracking number.
The website itself doesn't record any information that I know of though I assume that if you use the contact form it stores the email address though I'm honestly not sure about that.
If you create a Login it stores whatever information you provide during the registration process but no Registration of Login is required to use any part of the site.
However, regardless of what information it DOES store I don't make any use of it or have any plans to make use of it, am honestly not even sure where it's stored (though I assume it's in the MySQL database) and I have no particular interest in finding it.
So for folks who wish to use the Library anonymously and/or through a VPN... feel free.
While I don't have the Hypnotism Category ready to add yet it's coming along and should be ready within the next couple of weeks. But in the meantime I ran across this article this morning and thought I'd go ahead and post it since it is related.
Hypnotism is one of those subjects that periodically appears, is talked about a lot then disappears again for a while. When you see the Category after it's added you'll see that there is a rash of books in the decade or so around 1840 to the 1850. There's another surge of them in the early 1890s and then a bit in the first decade of 1900.
I remember a lot of discussion about the subject when i was young though I couldn't tell you the except period. Now it's possibly reappearing as a "rediscovered" medical tool.
Not being in the medical field I can't really provide an opinion one way or the other on it's usefulness as a medical tool. However the sheer volume of material on it suggests that it has been and apparently continues to be of interest to the medical profession.
IN THE PIPELINE
To give you some idea of the additions coming in the not too distant future, here are some of the Categories I'm working on getting cleaned up and added. Not sure which ones will be first or second or in what order I'll add them.
It depends a lot on the time I have available. Sometimes it depends on the mood I'm in when I sit down to work on a Category then a different Category I saw when I sat down piques my interest or curiosity and I move over and work on that one instead.
Sometimes I start working on cleaning up volumes and end up getting totally immersed in reading one or another of the books. But then if I wasn't actually interested in what's IN many of the these books I wouldn't bother collecting them.
Some Categories I'm still doing searches on to add more to them while others already have more than enough.
But the Current List includes:
- Chambers Encyclopedia (15 Books)
- Falconry (20 books)
- World History (30 books)
- Merchant Marine (28 Books)
- Sculpture (59 books)
- Wheat (46 Books)
- Civics (155 Books)
- Hypnotism (88 Books)
There are a number of others I am still fleshing out and will continue on until I believe there is sufficient coverage of the subject such as Political Science, Beets, Rice, Peanuts Philosophy, Geology and a bunch of others.
But that will give you an idea of what's in the pipeline.
LARGE TRANSFORMER PRODUCTION
It's almost become routine to see articles and stories abut the vulnerability of the U.S. to an EMP. Sometimes I don't even bother posting a link to them because they have become ubiquitous these days.
But.... here's another article about our vulnerability and the various aspects of such an event.
I particularly like the stark facts he points out that:
- We have around 2000 large transformers in our electrical grid
- There are not large transformer manufacturers in the U.S.
- The world's large transformer production capacity is about 200 per year
So bottom line is if the U.S. suffers an EMP that destroys the large transformers in the grid it will take over 10 years of normal production to replace them. Let's be generous and say they double production so that it only takes 5 years.... the majority of the United States without electrical power for 50 years.
Of course that overlooks one salient factor.
That assumes the countries in which large transformers are manufactured survive and EMP and that the supply chains upon which they rely also survive.
That pretty much means that replacement of those transformers would only happen in the case of a Nuclear EMP attack on the U.S. that spares the rest of the world. In the case of a Solar EMP which affects the entire world the countries which manufacture large transformers will be dealing with their own survival... not worrying about the fate of the U.S. power grid.
So it comes back once again to the issue of a low probability/high consequence events and political leadership simply ignoring those dangers which do not directly produce votes and increase election chances.
From one of the Library Patrons:
Here's a Resilio Sync key to the library contents as they were when the site went down! (~170GB in total)
Read only: BLO3TJGGNXRMCRO3ZDPKXLTPRSAGD356P
I set up a sync of these on one of my servers, so they should have share speeds of 20-50 MB/s.
Feel free to post it on the site
FARMING-GRAPES-WINE-RAISINS CATEGORY ADDED
I've added a new Category this morning named Farming-Grapes_Wine_Raisins.
As you might guess it's about growing Grapes, making Wine and Raisins though the section on Raisins is only a couple books.
Raisins aren't really that difficult to make honestly. Take some grapes, dehydrate or dry them out... VOILA... Raisins.
Wine on the other hand is one of those skills that I tried long ago and realized it would take a lot of work, a lot of practice and a lot of time to master. That's one of those things that I'd rather barter for in exchange for woodworking, carpentry or honey.
My experience with grapes is pretty well limited to a few scraggly grapes vines we've planted in the yard. A few of them are doing fairly well this year but time will tell.
Why Grapes and Wine? In a post-Collapse world who has time for luxuries like Wine anyway or grapes for the table or for jam and jelly?
That is a product of our modern sensibilities and isolation from Nature.
In movies you always see the Romans and Greeks and Medieval Europeans drinking wine constantly.
THERE WAS A REASON.
The folks in older times drank Wine and Beer not because they were alcoholics or because they were looking for a good time. They did it because watered down wine was SAFE TO DRINK.
Clean water that won't make you sick or kill you is one of the most precious commodities on Earth and one we in the West take for granted. In most parts of the non-industrialized world clean water is scarce and hard to get.
The Roman Legions carried wine with them when they went to war. Not for pleasure but to add to local water for drinking so they didn't get sick.
While they may not have understood the underlying causes such as parasites and bacteria that we understand today they did understand that drinking water straight from the source was more likely than not to make you ill or kill you, especially when travelling (or invading another country).
So Wine becomes something a lot more important than simply an alcoholic beverage that makes you drunk and silly. When mixed with water from a natural source the alcohol purifies the water making it much safer to drink.
And Raisins? Grapes don't store well unless you convert them into wine, jelly or jam. Raisins however store quite well as long as they are kept dry. Raisins are nutritious just as Grapes are and they concentrate the sugar in the Grapes so that a handful of Raisins contains a lot more sugar than a handful of Grapes. In modern times that's considered BAD but in a post-collapse world that would actually be quite Good.
In a world rebuilding it's infrastructure the survivors Primary goal each day is going to be to consume enough calories to survive, work and maintain their health until a robust and resilient food production, storage and distribution system is built and food becomes easily available to everyone.
In an early post-Collapse world the questions about diet will not be does this have more or less antioxidants or omega-3 fatty acids than that other choice but simply "Does it have enough calories to keep me alive?".
So to paraphrase Rod Serling "Submitted for your approval.... Farming-Grapes, Wine and Raisins.".
p.s. The bad links in Scientific American Series 2 have been fixed.
Okay the Horses Index which contained Home Economics has been fixed and now has plenty of Horse stuff.
Hey!! Cutting and Pasting is hard work....
Should have the Scientific American Series 2 Index updated later today
p.s. The Scientific American Series 2 has been updated
I think I have all the static pages (like About and Faqs) and internal links rebuilt and working now. While for those of you familiar with the Library these are redundant, since you already know all this stuff or don't care, for new folks they can be helpful.
Only other task in the rebuild for now is to get the rest fo the Scientific American Series 2 books put back into it's Category Index since that one got messed up. Should have that restored and tested later today or tomorrow.
Then I can get back to adding some stuff that's been piling up.
I now have all of the old static pages like Storing the Library back online though I haven't set up the links to them. I'll get that done this weekend.
The Library Indexes are up and running again. I've even redirected all of the old index links to the new ones. Did a little bit of cleanup in the order since some of the indexes had gotten a bit out of order.
Renamed a couple in the Main Index but they are cosmetic changes.
Bottom line is that the files are once again accessible and can be downloaded through the Main Index and then the Category indexes.
That is, after all, the whole point of the site.... the Books. Everything else is secondary.
I still have some cleanup to do. Somehow I lost the full list of the Scientific American Series 2 book titles in my spreadsheet. It's not too difficult to recreate it and they should be back in the Index by tomorrow.
I'll have a Contact Form back up shortly which hopefully will work better than the Wordpress one. Never did get that thing working correctly.
There are a few of the Articles from the old site I'll copy over and recreate on here but only a few.
With a little luck everything ill be back online and working fully within a couple days. Once the new site is fully functional I'll start working on some of the enhancements I've been wanting to add.