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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.