Very interesting article from a Colorado paper about folks who are still heating their homes with Coal. Since they have a local coal mine producing what appears to be Anthracite coal they can buy it locally for about $100 a ton. Two tons is enough to heat their homes for the winter.

In most places $200 a MONTH is a more common heating bill especially in areas where electric heat is the only practical options… even if the electricity is generated using coal.

In the aftermath of a collapse or a solar EMP that takes out the power grid survivors in most areas are going to have to produce heat for winter and cold nights somehow. Burning wood is, of course, one option but most folks will discover quickly, as did the society of the 1700-1800s, that as population increases you burn wood faster than it can regrow. Eventually the remaining wood supplies are too far away to make cutting and transporting them practical.

Even today, after mining coal for hundreds of years there are still widely available sources of coal throughout the U.S. that can be mined without industrial equipment or deep shaft mining. When I left Alabama in the first few years of this century ones of the things I passed on the way out of town was a coal mine where they were mining a large vein of coal that was about 20 feet under the surface. There were long trains being filled which routinely delivered the coal to local power plants.

They were using industrial equipment to do the work but it could have been done with much less sophisticated methods as it was just after the Civil War when local Alabama coal was mined extensively to feed the growing steel industry in Birmingham.

Most people don’t think about coal at all anymore since their only exposure to it and knowledge of it is academic discussion about it’s use in power generation and how EVIL it is and how its very existence and continued mining will condemn all of the children of the world to a horrible death, disrupt the space time continuum and make your carbonated probiotic drinks go flat, etc., etc. I recently saw someone giving a presentation on a large screen TV powered by electricity about the evils of coal in a room heated by electricity with lights powered by electricity using a PA system powered by electricity… and all of that electricity was generated by a coal power plant north of town. The next time you watch a television program about the evils of coal you might stop and check whether the electricity you are using in your own home is, in fact, generated by a coal fired power plant. You might be surprised.

In the real world after a collapse people will be looking for heat source to keep themselves and their children from freezing to death in the winter. While wood will likely provide a temporary solution coal, with it’s much higher energy density, will quickly make a comeback in areas where it is easily accessible. It will likely also become one of the the first bulk trade goods as trading networks begin to grow and be reestablished.

Some foods are easy to transport but most have a limited life and will not be easily transportable over long distances. Trade in food will be local at best for a long time except for a few grain commodities and even those are delicate and easily damaged.

Coal on the other hand is a Rock. While it’s heavy it’s pretty robust. Even small amounts of coal could prove quite valuable. It’s use for heating, fueling steam engines, in smelting and metal working will make it one of the higher value commodities.

That value in turn will drive reestablishing rail networks, river traffic and other bulk transportation systems.

If you do live in an area where coal is mined and is relatively easily available it might be worth looking into what kind of coal fired stoves still exist in your area. You might run across an old coal fired stove in a flea market or second hand store out in the countryside. That’s one of those things that you might be able to pick up for a song, stick in a storage shed or garage which would be like a gift from God if the day ever comes when you need it.

The Librarian

p.s. I swear that guy in the lead picture in the article looks just like me.


Supposedly there is a growing number of D.C. personnel from various agencies investing in “Doomsday” Retreats. The fear is of something like an economic collapse or (GASP!) an EMP which could take down the power grids worldwide.

Not that those are new and surprising concerns to most of us but it does beg the question…

If government personnel in D.C. are concerned about the possible catastrophic effects or a large solar storm why won’t they simply harden the grid to avoid the catastrophic consequences in the first place?

The Librarian

p.s. BTW pretty well recovered from the appendectomy now and am working to catch up everything that got put on hold while I was a bit under the weather.

My wife had the same operation a few years ago and I tried to convince her that I MUST have caught it from her since my having the same problem just a few years later was too big of a coincidence.

I figured if successful it would be worth some sympathy for a while. Darned woman was too smart and didn’t fall for it.. sigh……

That will teach me to marry a smart woman.


One of the Library Patrons pointed out that in his country simple possession of some of the Library files such as the ones on explosives or firearms and even some of the Formula books is illegal and can result in charges of terrorism.

Not an Action or a Behavior or expression of Intent to cause harm but simple Possession of Information.

If someone in such a country wants a copy of the library on Flash Drive please look into that issue in your country and if such laws apply let me know what Categories or specific files to remove from the drive before sending it.

I wonder what happens to someone with a photographic memory who reads one of the forbidden texts while in another country and then returns home. Will he be prohibited from returning? Arrested once he enters the country for “possession” of illegal information?

With the existence of the Internet and it’s availability I wonder how such laws can still exist. Does reading them on the screen in a browser count as “possession”? If you read the information on a computer in a Library is the Library guilty of “possession” because a copy now resides in the browser cache?

If you read back in history there have been many attempts around the world to prohibit the possession of information.

They have all failed.

The Librarian.


(Volume 4 of the Encyclopedia of Diet is fixed. That’s why you shouldn’t update files late at night when tired.)

I’ve just added 5 more individual books to the New Additions Category.

They are the 5 volume set of the Encyclopedia of Diet from 1917. This was published towards the end of WWI and a lot had been learned about nutrition from the experience of the war just as medicine, especially in the field of surgery, had advanced tremendously.

Much of the understanding of diet in the early 1900s was based on observation of the effects of various foods and differing diets. Since there were a lot fewer magical medicines available over the counter compared to today and by prescription to treat everything from a stuffy nose to indegestion people took diet more seriously as a way to maintain their health as well as to feed their hunger.

We’ve returned to some of that today where people eat for health as much as enjoyment unfortunately today we are so inundated with quacks and the magical superfood of the week that trying to find any actual valid information among the hours of television pitchmen, popup ads on the internet and this weeks magic diet and nutrition book that it often reminds me of the scene in the original Jurassic Park where Laura Dern is seacrhing through a massive pile of dinosaur dung with rubber gloves up to her shoulders.

Perhaps as bad the government guidelines which were rammed down people throats, no pun intended, for most of my lifetime until this past year when they discovered (or perhaps simply finally admitted) that they were completely wrong about pretty much everything they had been telling us for decades so to just forget all of it.. but now they have new improved “correct” advice which they will proceed to shove down our throats. Of course 50 years of government supervised nutrition has produced an entire nation of overweight, out of shape people. But I’m SURE they’ll get it right this time…

When you think of it though it makes perfect sense. The government manages hundreds of agencies and programs and pretty much every one of them is massively bloated and oversized so it makes sense that they would accomplish the same thing with nutrition

There are a lot of modern nutrition boosk available and I’m sure some folks will prefer those since food selection is not really a “technology” issue like building engines or boats or generating electricity. Much of modern nutritional advice does assume access to a range of foods that would likely be unavailable in a world rebuilding from scratch.

Gluten free, fermented Kale grown in the Swiss Alps and fertilized only with the dung of Norwegian freerange Raindeer will likely be in relatively short supply in a world where the primary food issue with which most people will be dealing is simply having enough of ANY kind of food to avoid starvation.

Though some ambitious entrepreneur might become the first of the rebuilding world’s millionaires by building a ship and importing some for the more discriminating palettes that survive.
So whatever you dietary pleasure or persuasion these are available for your perusal and enjoyment.

The Librarian


I’ve added 11 new files in the New and Individual Additions page at the top of the Category Index.

They are thoughtfully sent by Richard in Montana. I’ve scanned them in and indexed them. They are bulletins from the Montana Agricultural College Experimental Station and are short essays on various farming issues that are Montana related.

For those who live in that general region they might be of interest depending on the type of farming you are interested in.

The Librarian

p.s. Adding the 1917 5-Volume Encyclopedia of Diet later this week.


A lot of folks, heck most folks, who think of themselves as “Preppers” (or “Survivalists” to use the old term) focus of the physical aspects of preparing for crises, natural disasters or a societal collapse whatever the cause.

We focus on food, materials, supplies, shelters, alternate locations, vehicles and other means of transportation, weapons and ammunition and training.

I personally tend to focus on skills and knowledge and reference material into skillsets that have disappeared for the most part.

What most do not focus on and realistically cannot focus on because there is really no way to do so, is the Emotional side of such events. What good does it do to have tools and supplies if you become too depressed to make effective use of them?

I ran across this article by someone dealing with exactly that as a consequence of the Venezuela collapse.

I thought it was worth posting as something we all need to consider and perhaps spend sometime considering and pondering. No matter how good your preparations are in the material sense how will we each respond to the emotional side of a crises that puts us in Survival mode? Is there a way to address it effectively? Are there steps that individuals and families can take to try to address that burden when it occurs?

The Librarian


Here’s a story from Venezuela where the government policies have created an increasingly severe food shortage.

The political system there has failed in the country where the government has demonized food producers, distributors and sellers. It ultimately forced sellers to lower prices below the cost to procure them. The end result being that there was not enough money to replace the stocks they had to sell off. That quickly resulted in a collapse of the food distribution network.

I’m posting the link to it not as a description of the failures of Socialism because anyone familiar with history is fully aware of the repeated and universal failures of Socialism starting with it’s denial of the existence of the science of economic.

I’m posting it primarily for the first few paragraphs which describe the lengths that people are going to in Venezuela (which still has some semblance of a functioning system of Law and Order) in order to simply procure enough food to ward off starvation.

If this is what goes on when people become hungry and no longer have access to a reliable source of food, try to imagine what it would be like if the transportation and monetary system failed due to a long term loss of the power grid and electronics infrastructure.

The Librarian


I ran across this article a little while after the one I posted earlier today. Had to post a link to it.

Only quibble I have with his article is that he equates extinction of a “civilization” with it’s disappearance. In fact it won’t disappear anymore than Japan or Germany did after WWII. It will simply rebuild and reinvent itself as human beings have done throughout history.

Just as in war a lot of individuals will perish in the process but the survivors WILL rebuild. It will be harder since the low hanging fruit of natural resources like oil have already been plucked so the rebuilding will be slower and different than it was before. Hopefully what can be salvaged from the ruins of the old infrastructure will supply the first few generations to bootstrap the rebuilding process.

The actual historical and traditional values of our civilization will survive since values and traditions are not simply arbitrary behaviors plucked out of the air and imposed on society as some people want to believe.

They are behaviors and actions that enhance survival and that promote growth and peaceful existence of the society.

It’s encouraging to finally see more people starting to catch on to what many of us have seen for a long time now… that we have become so reliant on an increasingly fragile technological infrastructure that its failure will be more than an inconvenience and more like a catastrophic event.

I don’t believe for a minute that anything will be done to decrease that fragility. To the contrary I expect it to continue increasing and even accelerate.

It does mean however that as more people see the danger more people will start changing their own lives, moving to simplify, relearning skills and self reliance that have been forgotten so that when (not if) that technological Jenga pile falls there will be more people able to survive and have the mindset to start the rebuilding.

The Librarian