Monday, July 30, 2012

Radical Open Source

"TED Global: Radical Openness" by Marcin Jakubowski on has some really different thinking.

People and Climate Change

Some people are changing their minds about climate change.  I understand the people who are in denial about climate change; the fear can just shut down rational thinking.  I also understand people who say we are changing the climate by all the fossil fuel we're burning, but it's okay because we'll run out soon.  Not that that's necessarily true, but at least it is a reasonable position.  What I don't understand are people who admit that the climate is changing and deny that we are the cause, and that doesn't bother them! If we aren't doing it, then we are helpless victims waiting for the wrath of the gods.

Cranberry Township and the Old Stone House

The Leibowitz Society's post on maps got me thinking.  Four miles from my home is an Old Stone House.  It would be quite unremarkable these days, a modest three story home, except for the fact that it has been turned into a historical museum.  Today it is at the intersection of two small state highways.  Those highways follow the routes of two Native American trails which were major routes before the American Revolution.  Back when it was built, the Old Stone House was a major rest stop.  At times half a dozen people would sleep in each bed.  Today it is just a curiosity.

These days the major activity near here is a place called Cranberry Township.  Its claim to fame is that it is at the intersection of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Interstate 79.  As we come off Hubbert's Mesa and gasoline gets relatively more expensive, I wonder how long it will be before Cranberry Township is just another forgotten way station.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Deadly Survival Tips

Bar Stool Tax Explanation

"Bar Stool Economics: A Simple Guide to the American System of Taxation and Distribution" by Mac Slavo on is a good explanation of how the tax system works in the US.

Storm Story

I had an interesting experience yesterday.  I went to the local grocery store across town and the parking lot was almost empty.  On the door was a huge hand-written sign: CLOSED / No Power.  What was really confusing was not only that I had had no interruption in power but also that the lights were on in the store.  As it turns out, I had come when the lights had just come back on.  The power was out from a storm we had 3 hours earlier.  All the open shelves of produce were bare, and all the cases were covered.  I was able to get the bread I needed, but not the milk.  No matter how hard you try to prepare, it still is jarring seeing stores closed and shelves empty.

Why Health Care Costs So Much

"Why Your Health Care Is so Darn Expensive"… by Alex Daley on
The bottom line: because we are living so much longer.

UN Arms Treaty Scuttled

Okay, I admit, I didn't see this one coming: "Obama blamed for failure of international arms-trade treaty" on

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Nursery Square (SFG Garden Tip)

Mel Bartholomew had an excellent suggestion in his post, "How To Plan A Fall Square Foot Garden": start your fall seeds in a nursery square.  You plant 36 seeds in one square foot and transplant them when they get big enough.

New Nudism

asks the question, "What do you do when your clothes are wearing out?"  If industrial society collapses completely (not just going into a major depression), I predict people will stop wearing clothes for the sake of modesty, just for protection from the elements.  This is one area very few preppers even mention.  How many people know how to ret and scutch flax? to turn wool into a sweater?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Less Compost, More Food

"Frippery Farms" brought back an old post from 2009 on salvaging food scraps.  "Bacon and Eggs" ran with the part about making tomato powder, complete with photos.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

All That Is Needed For Evil To Triumph...

is for good men to do nothing.  Arthur Silber indirectly reminded me of this in "The Nauseating Grief of Diseased America" on his blog, Once Upon A Time...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Too Late

"It's Too Late for Solutions": A Podcast Interview with James Howard Kunstler on Chris Martenson's Peak Prosperity.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Thanks to Jenna from Cold Antler Farm for recommending this. You can read more about it here.

The Joy of Sprouting

"Important Considerations for your Food Storage", guest post by Michele O on, has a lot of good information about grains, storage, and sprouting.  One important point she left out is that it is precisely things which make for bad nutrition that make it good for storage.


There is an interesting concept in mathematics: orthogonality.  Basically, two sets of shapes are orthogonal if everywhere the intersect at right angles.  Vertical lines and horizontal lines are orthogonal, as are the set of all lines running through a point and the set of all circles that have that same point as the center.  Even latitude lines and longitude lines are orthogonal.

I think this concept applies to prepping.  What it boils down to is minimizing overlap.  Specifically, if you use scenarios to guide your prepping, try to make the scenarios as different as possible.  That way you can be better prepared for what actually does occur.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why I Love Ramen

  1. Ramen doesn't take long to cook.
  2. Ramen is very easy to make.
  3. I don't heat up my kitchen too much.
  4. It's versatile: I can leave the noodles whole, break them in half, or crush them to bits.
  5. One package doesn't leave a lot of leftovers.
  6. It stacks well.
  7. You can use the flavor packet or not.
  8. It stores for a long time.
  9. You can cook it anywhere you can boil water.

Why Buy Local Food?

Why Grow Your Own Food?

Much Bigger Problems Than Drought Threaten Grains by Jim Rogers on

Homemade Chicken Waterers

Avian Aqua Miser definitely looks interesting.

The 2012 Urban Farm Handbook Challenge

I wish I had known about the 2012 Urban Farm Handbook Challenge back in February.  It still looks like good information.  Maybe they'll have one for 2013.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Anything You Want

It's been my observation that people can have any ONE thing they want.  The catch is they have to be willing to sacrifice everything else to get it.  Not that they necessarily have to sacrifice everything, but if two things are nonnegotiable demands, they frequently end up with neither.

Monday, July 16, 2012

God Answers All Prayers

Like Kris Watson, I've found that God answers all my prayers.  Invariably, I end up with one of four answers:

  1. Absolutely!
  2. Be patient, it will take a while.
  3. I have something better in mind.
  4. Okay, but you're not going to like it.
That last seems to be His favorite.

A Good Argument Against Peak Oil

Saying peak oil will never occur is crazy.  Even if the oil fields are refilling abiotically, we would have to be extracting it at a lower rate than they are refilling, which from what I've seen is orders of magnitude less.

Saying the peak in oil production hasn't happened yet is arguable.  Unless you're a complete sociopath, though, that should be followed by what you are doing to prepare yourself, your family, and your friends for its eventual occurance.

Saying that a peak in oil production won't matter is reasonable, if you are saying that imploding debt bubbles will drive demand for oil down faster than supply.  Famine, war, and/or plague could also very easily do the same.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Taxonomy of the Living Undead

The undead are popular these days (e.g., Zombie Zeitgeist).  I think do serve as good archetypes for a lot of people "alive" today:

Zombies: these are the unthinking masses. They eat, sleep, reproduce, watch TV, and only do enough work to pay for it all.

Vampires: these are the elites.  They can be very charming until the fangs come out, then they suck you dry.

Werewolves: these are the people who take what they want by force.  They need your fear.

My Way

My way is the best way.  Why? Because if someone can show me an unequivocally better way, I adopt it.  Thus my new way becomes the best way.  Of course "better" is subject to my set of values, so it might not be the best way for you.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Opening Cans and Boiling Water

This is the minimum skill set needed for cooking when a major disruption occurs.  One point of recipes like Chicken Corn Ramen is that those skills are about all that are needed.  And if you use canned chicken, you can keep all the ingredients on the shelf indefinitely.

It's Like Bringing a Nuclear Bomb to a Gun Fight

What is?  I don't know.  That just popped into my head as an example of a.) unsporting behavior, b.) being overprepared, or c.) insanity.  I'm sure I'll use it later.

What Kind of Crazy Are You?

Peak Oil Oppositional Disorder: Neurosis or Psychosis? on ClubOrlov begs the question: if you are crazy and you know it, when everyone else is crazy and doesn't know it, does that make you the sanest person around?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hard Community Service

The article "Hang 'Em High" in the Doomstead Diner got me thinking.  Our prisons are overcrowded, and there is a lot we could be doing to make things better but don't because they don't give results before the next quarterly report or election.  My thought is we should not send people to prison for nonviolent offenses.  Instead of spending a year in jail, for example, give them 2000 hours of community service.  Of course, if someone is such a habitual offender that adding more time won't matter to them, then we'll need to do something else; prison might be appropriate then.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Upside of Collapse

"Our Liberation: A Crashing Empire" by William Kotke on

Eight-Year-Old Cans Salsa

No, this isn't my kid, it's from the New Growth blog... I do like the concept, though.

Amazing Light Show

I didn't see any fireworks today, but as I was driving home tonight from celebrating Independence Day with family, I did see an amazing light show.  It was all electric blue.  What made it special was it was that the lightning was behind some clouds, so I saw the silhouettes of the clouds.  It was in the distance when I first saw it, but it lit up the entire sky when I got home.  Surprisingly, it didn't rain where I live, though the radar showed downpours a couple miles in either direction.  I'm not complaining, I was very happy with the couple inches we got last night.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Health Insurance Mandate the Legal Way

Okay, I am not a lawyer, but given what I know about the tax code, they could have done the individual mandate the following way:
  1. Impose a direct (per-capita) tax of $695 on everyone.
  2. Make everyone pay an additional 1% tax on their income.
  3. Give people who have health insurance a refundable income tax credit of $695 plus 1% of their income.
Each step is well-precedented and I believe constitutional, and by my understanding would generate the a little more income than the provisions in Obamacare.

Of course then it would have had to have been sold as a tax increase.

Planet Whizbang Updates

The Deliberate Agrarian posted a neat innovation in his June 2012 Blogazine: solar pyramids.  They serve the same purpose as Leandre Poisson’s Solar Cones® but cost a lot less.  They probably will adapt well to my Square Foot Garden.

The "garden clamp" system of underground storage he uses sounds interesting, too.  I first read about garden clamps in Mother Earth News.

I'll definitely want to get a copy of The Planet Whizbang Garden Idea Book For Gardeners when it comes out next winter.

Review: Healing Lyme Disease the Natural Way

William Hunter Duncan just posted an excellent review of the book Healing Lyme Disease the Natural Way by Wolf-Dieter Storl, along with his personal experiences with Lyme disease and thoughts on health care.

Recipe: Easy Corn for 1 or 2

Easy Way To Cook Corn in Oklahoma Transient.