I’m going to post this link and let you read it and or not as you like. It addresses what a lot of people who use the Library instinctively feel. They may not know why they feel it. They may not be able to put it in words as Dreher does but they feel it nonetheless.

And before you start composing a screed to condemn me for posting Christian or Conservative oriented material consider that the feeling he speaks of is not unique to Christians or Conservatives. A lot of Liberals are just as uneasy about the direction the country has been going for a long time before Trump was elected.

This falls neatly into the recent category I added on Monasticism. Perhaps there is a bit of synchronicity involved.

What Dreher is advocating or at least putting forward as an idea for discussion and consideration is that the time to start forming communities separated from the “world” is not after a collapse occurs but before. I don’t believe he is talking about luxury survival compounds in an old missile silos or redoubts in the mountains of Northern Idaho but simply community of like minded individuals.

He does addresses the subject purely from a Christian perspective. The namesake of his idea is St Benedict who is a Christian Saint. Personally though I don’t believe the issues of which he speaks are limited to Christians. They affect people of several different faiths whose morality conflicts with the modern ideas of Moral Relativism and the perspective that belief in God is simply a lifestyle choice like being Vegan.

In any event take a moment and read his article. If nothing else it will provide some food for thought.

The Librarian

P.S. One of the Library’s patrons in Russia found a copy of the missing Encyclopedia Americana Vol 24 1918 on a site in Russia and provided the link. I’ve got it downloaded and it will be added to the Encyclopedia Category as soon as possible. Unfortunately each of the 900+ page is in a separate lower resolution .png file as occasionally occurs with older books. I’m going to reprocess them into a higher resolution jpg files then combine them into a PDF like the rest of the volumes. Once it’s done I’ll add it directly to the Encyclopedia Category to complete the Encyclopedia America 1918 Collection. There are techniques for taking lower resolution images of text and converting them to higher resolution, more easily readable/printable text but they are extremely cpu intensive processes and take a lot of time. Mostly it’s setting up the processing routines then letting them run a day or two. They then have to be checked visually and a fair number of pages tweaked. Good time to listen to music or an audio book.


I’m currently working on a new Category on Potato and Sweet Potato Cultivation.

It’s about a hundred books on the lowly but important potato with a few on the sweet potato, which isn’t really a potato nor a yam but since we think of them as potatoes and often call them yams I’m going with the popular usage.

I’m reminded of the recent movie The Martian in which Matt Damon is stranded on Mars and his sole food source for his stay is of course… potatoes.

It’s taking longer than I expected to get it cataloged and ready since there’s a high proportion of the books which have minor problems.

They’re all PDFs as usual but a number of them have minor corruption issues. The problems don’t prevent them from being read but can cause problems if you try to print them or clean them up for printing. So I’m reprocessing them like I do with most books to clear up the problems.

The basic process involved is to dump every page of the document as a high resolution jpg file then recombine all of the images into a new PDF file. The resulting file is, of course, YUGE so it has to be optimized and otherwise reduced in size while still maintaining as good a quality as possible within the constraints of reasonable size. That last step can take several tries before I’m satisfied with it.

Usually I only run into one or two of these in a collection but this time I’ve already reprocessed 5 of them and still have a dozen or so to go through and check. Irritating thing is that the ones with problems are naturally the largest ones. I’ve got a 600+ page one dumping to jpg format at the moment.

Hopefully it should be up early next week.

The Librarian


Someone sent me this link this morning with a smiley face after it and I understood once I started reading it.

It was really hilarious in a sad sort of way. Nice to have some comic relief on a Thursday morning. You’re well into the week, past the hump but still a full day to go before you get to Friday.

14 Items You Need to Survive the Apocalypse In Style

I’m really not sure whether the author was writing tongue-in-cheek or was serious but it’s still a fun read.

14 items you absolutely need to be self sufficient after an apocalypse.

Problem is about half of them are sophisticated technological systems that are complex, difficult to repair even if you have the requisite knowledge and IF they require repair will need spare parts you are NOT going to find lying around most homes. Not are they likely to be available for barter.

Solar panels are highly sophisticated products of a highly advanced industrial infrastructure. There’s a reason the Romans and the Greeks and Industrial Age Britain and the Civil War era U.S. did not use solar panels. They require materials that simply do not exist in nature but must be manufactured using highly sophisticated machines.

In a world where the infrastructure is broken there are no spares. There are no more solar panels. There are no more golf cart spare parts. There are no more freezer compressors.

While all these things would be a great convenience for few years they might last all they do is put off the inevitable day when you have to actually become self sufficient and learn to make do with what YOU personally can manufacture or can produce to swap with your neighbor who cane manufacture something you can’t.

The way to survive the breakdown of advanced technology is to… buy more advanced technology??

May I humbly suggest the way to survive a breakdown of technology is to spend the time and effort to learn some of the basis of survival WITHOUT advanced technology.

The Librarian


This is the latest of a number of articles on North Korea’s satellites which periodically pass over the U.S. and the potential threat they pose. It’s worth revisiting especially right now when tensions between the U.S. and North Korea are at such a high level.

While my immediate reflex is to dismiss the threat as being all bluster and bluff like the much vaunted Saddam Hussein’s army (fourth largest army in the world at the time) which crumbled like tissue paper on both occasions when we actually met them in battle.

But I’ve long studied WWII history having grown up in a period where the legacy of WWII surrounded me and influenced much of my early years.

In the late 30s, continuing right up to December 7, 1941, the West and especially America dismissed the Japanese as backwards, silly, pompous and as posing little or no threat to modern, “civilized” countries like Britain and the U.S.

Japanese aircraft were considered to be little more than toys, bamboo and rice paper contraptions that could barely fly much less actually pose a threat. Japanese soldiers were little buck toothed, slant eyed monkeys that were laughable at best and sad and pathetic imitations of real soldiers.

Everyone assumed that if they were silly enough to start a war our fleet would sail out of Pearl heading West and once it encountered the Japanese fleet, made of scrap metal we had sold them, we’d sink them without even slowing down then go on to the home islands and set things right.

Anyone who has read a bit about the Pacific War knows what actually happened.

1. The Japanese “Zero” and the “Betty” bomber far surpassed anything we had in the air. It took us a several years into the war to field a fighter that could compete with the Japanese aircraft.

2. Japanese soldiers displayed impressive feats of tactical improvisation, discipline and fighting spirit while sweeping through the Western Pacific. None of the military they encountered posed more than a minor nuisance to them.

3. The Japanese Navy not only carried out the Pearl Harbor attack crippling much of the Pacific Fleet but for several years in naval battles proved a serious competitor to the U.S. and British navies. The repeated naval battles around Guadalcanal proved just how good the Japanese Navy was.

Every time I see the threat posed by North Korea dismissed as nothing more than hysteria and bluff Pearl Harbor comes to mind.

American Brewster Buffalo fighters facing Japanese Zeros comes to mind.

The battle of Savo Island comes to mind where in our first major naval surface engagement with the Japanese Navy we lost 4 heavy cruisers and a couple destroyers. The Japanese suffered relatively minor damage to 3 cruisers.

Then you have to add in the fact that the North Koreans have, in fact, orbited 2 satellites which periodically pass over the U.S.

KMS 3-2:
KMS 4:

They are orbiting at an altitude of 300 miles which is an ideal altitude for a maximum effect EMP device but on the low end of normal satellite altitudes.

My inclination is still to dismiss an EMP threat from Korea since the U.S. response to such an attack would be for our nuclear submarine fleet to erase North Korea from the map for all intents and purposes.

But then that rationale only applies if one assumes the leadership of North Korea is making decisions based on rational thinking. The validity of that assumption is a serious question.

Am I stressed about the likelihood of North Korea carrying out an EMP attack on the U.S.?


I’m not losing any sleep over it and can’t think of any specific action I’m taking based on such a belief.

Would I be surprised should such an attack occur and catch the U.S. unprepared?


But then I’ve already done about as much in the way of preparing myself and my family for such an event whether it were to come from the Sun, the North Koreans or any other looney tunes potentate running loose on the world’s stage these days.

We don’t let children play with dangerous weapons like guns and, in fact, have multiple laws requiring that guns be locked up where children can’t access them. So how has it come about that certifiably insane regimes like North Korea, Iran and Pakistan have nuclear weapons and the capability to deliver them?

So I will simply continue on as I have been just noting the potential threat in passing and maybe spend a few more minutes this week cataloging some new additions to the Library.

The Librarian


I don’t know how many times I’ve written “And Yet Another…” about a major news story on the danger of an EMP to the Power Grid and the potential consequences were it to happen.

Perhaps for a politician 80% to 90% of the population dying is not really that much of an issue. Perhaps they simply figure that it will just be that much easier to get the survivors to vote for them by promising relief and help and benefits.

Survivors by definition will be those intelligent enough, resourceful enough and with enough discipline and determination to get through whatever comes.

But most politicians, as evidenced by their behavior once in office, assume that people are too stupid to even make their own decisions. And they do have some justification for that belief after all… look at who they elected to office.

So perhaps the politicians assume that the survivors will be desperate for someone to lead them, tell them what to think and to make decisions for them.

I suspect they will be surprised and even shocked when the survivors put them on trial and then hang them, or worse, for knowing such a thing could happen, knowing the potential consequences and doing nothing to prevent it or at least ameliorate the affects.

The Librarian

p.s. I’m out of Flash Drives. I’ll be ordering some more in as soon as the price drops back to a reasonable level.


I have one Flash Drive copy of the library left on the shelf. I went online last night to order some more flash drives and was shocked that the price on them at the moment had jumped to $80.

I’m going to hold off ordering any more at the moment until the price drops back down to a reasonable level.

The NAND memory market is like a lot of commodity markets which change on a daily basis.

It’s similar to the gasoline market where every time the price of oil goes up the gas prices jump the say day. Of course when the price of oil drops the price of gas does NOT go down in the same way. Funny how that works isn’t it?

It does, however, eventually drop if the price of oil stays low.

Flash drives prices work pretty much the same way.

With luck the prices on NAND memory them will drop again soon and I’ll get some more Flash Drives ordered and put on the shelf.

The Librarian


New Category Added-Monasticism

I’ve just added a new Category named Monasticism. This one is something of a niche category and may not be of any interest to many of you.

It was engendered by my wife asking me to find her books on early Monasteries. She wanted to research them for hints and mentions of how early Monasteries remained self sufficient while remaining a small self contained community.

There are Monasteries in parts of the world that have existed virtually unchanged throughout hundreds of years some of them for over a millenium. Which means they have had hundreds of years of experience maintaining a self sufficient community and have learned lessons that would be of value to anyone seeking to build a self sufficient life for themselves.

Certainly many monasteries and religious orders, particularly in more prosperous regions of the world, have depending on tithes from communities and donations from wealthy patrons. In many areas nobles would outright gift portions of the land’s production or even acreage itself to a monastic order to provide for their support. It is not secret that such practices were subject to abuse and corruption.

But then in Three Months in an English Monastery 1864 – Charles Walker wrote:

“There is danger of abuse in everything in which poor human nature is concerned, and there always will be. All we can hope to do is reduce it to the minimum.”

That individuals are prone to corruption and vice does not change the ideals to which we aspire.

Some may object to the overtly religious nature of many of these books. To those who do my response is simple.. “Get a life.” No one guaranteed that you will never be offended.

If they did and you believed them then I’m not sure which is worse… them for lying or you for being foolish enough to believe them though I’m inclined to think the latter.

If you are offended by the religious beliefs of others when their actions do not directly threaten you then I suggest the problem lies in you and not in them. If someone tries to kill me then I don’t care what their religious beliefs are I will respond accordingly. If they don’t threaten me then I also don’t care how they worship God.

Many of the books are histories of specific orders or compilations of history or anecdotes about specific monasteries in particular locations. Thus much of the material in each book is focused on the religious, political or social aspects of that order or Monastery. But here and there in them are references to the daily lives of the monks or friars and what they are doing to survive and maintain. Those nuggets of information will be of interest to those attempting to do the same thing.

On a more abstract level some of the books detail the social interactions of clerics in the local community, how they deal with disputes, social ills, disagreements, and so on. In most cases these are rural areas, villages and towns and not major cities.

Should any of us find ourselves trying to rebuild a world from scratch that’s exactly the environment in which we will eventually find ourselves… as part of small villages, towns and communities struggling with exactly the same kind of problems that a village in rural England did a hundred or two hundred years ago.

Technology may have changed but despite what you hear in the media and from politicians people haven’t.

To repeat what Charles Walker wrote in the above quotation:

“There is danger of abuse in everything in which poor human nature is concerned, and there always will be. All we can hope to do is reduce it to the minimum.”

That will be just as true in a world rebuilding from scratch as it is today and was when he wrote it.

The Librarian


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Librarian