Tuesday, 27 May 2014

10:35 – Barbara is starting her 4-day week, which she says always seems longer than a regular 5-day week. I’m doing admin stuff and building some biology kits.

Our food storage project is progressing. Yesterday, I decided to check the lds.org site to review their recommendations. I was surprised to see that they’d entirely revamped their suggested food storage, apparently back in 2008. They used to recommend a one-year supply of food, mostly dry grains and beans and so on. They now recommend a 3-month supply of canned goods and other foods you regularly eat, along with a one-year supply of the long-term storage stuff. They’ve also hugely increased their shelf-life estimates for many products, although they’re still far too pessimistic about many items. For example, they list white sugar properly stored as being good for 30 years, when 300 years is more like it, if not 3,000.

Also, I either never knew or had forgotten that lds.org has a physical store out near the airport, about half an hour’s drive from us. They carry lots of stuff in #10 cans for long-term storage, and the prices are quite reasonable. Their hours are quite limited–9 hours a week or so–but they are open the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month from 9:00 a.m. to noon. And they’re happy to sell products to anyone rather than just church members. I guess their attitude is that the more people who are prepared for emergencies, the better.


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74 Responses to Tuesday, 27 May 2014

  1. Lynn McGuire says:

    I first went to IDS.org. That did not compute so I suddenly realized that you meant LDS.org. Here is the food storage URL:
    https://www.lds.org/topics/food-storage

    You know, some days I think that the Univac and CDC guys had it correct, all computers should talk in just upper case letters. Adding that seventh bit for lower case letters really messed everything up for us programmers. And of course the eighth bit was never really standardized for what the characters were.

    The LDS in Houston make peanut butter for their long term storage. They have a commercial kitchen out by the intercontinental airport. An LDS friend showed me her storage once, it was about 100 cans of peanut butter plus a lot of other cans, mostly veggies.

    So a #10 can is those ten pound cans of food that you can buy from Sam’s Club. Nice:
    http://www.thereadystore.com/food-and-water-storage/1071/big-10/

    I think that a ten pound can of ranch style beans would cause me to explode from the gas.

  2. Miles_Teg says:

    “You know, some days I think that the Univac and CDC guys had it correct…”

    All hail Seymour Cray!

    The six bit character set on CDC gear was called Display Code. It still reigns!

  3. bgrigg says:

    “You know, some days I think that the Univac and CDC guys had it correct, all computers should talk in just upper case letters. ”

    PLEASE NO! IT’S ALREADY BAD ENOUGH ON FORUMS WHEN PEOPLE USE ALL CAPS! IT’S LIKE SHOUTING AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS!!

  4. Lynn McGuire says:

    PLEASE NO! IT’S ALREADY BAD ENOUGH ON FORUMS WHEN PEOPLE USE ALL CAPS! IT’S LIKE SHOUTING AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS!!

    I know. But they shortened the words from 36 bit (Univac) and 60 bit (CDC) to 32 bit (IBM). Single word floating point has 6 full decimal digits (1 ppm) of precision in 36 bit. 32 bit is 5.5 decimal digits (5 ppm). And 60 bit is a glorious 12? decimal digits of precision!

    All serious computational programs had to switch to double word floating point (64 bit) in order to get the extra precision of 15 decimal digits.

  5. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    The octothorp in #10 doesn’t stand for “pound”, but “number”. A #10 can contains 3 quarts = 6 pints = 12 cups = 96 fluid ounces = 0.75 gallon = ~ 2.8 liters. Think of a coffee can. How much weight a #10 can contains varies greatly depending on the density and packing of the contents. For relatively dense and easily packable stuff like sugar or wheat or rice or potato powder or beans, you might get 5 or 6 pounds in the can. For fluffier stuff like dry milk, you might get only 2 or 3 pounds.

  6. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Incidentally, I just put together a preliminary order list for Barbara and me. It totals 162 #10 cans with a net weight of 640 pounds. Interestingly, not counting tax, the cost comes out to almost exactly $1/pound. I might have bought more, but that’s 27 cases and a lot of mass to put in the back of the 22-year-old Trooper. We might have to make two trips.

    With the regular canned goods and other stuff we stock, that’s sufficient for the two of us for a year to 18 months. Most of the stuff has a 30-year shelf life, which as I’ve said is pessimistic. And this is just a start, because I also plan to gradually store additional for family, friends, and neighbors.

  7. Miles_Teg says:

    Your car is 22 years old? The longest I’ve kept one is 18.5 years, and traded it because too much was failing.

  8. Ray Thompson says:

    And 60 bit is a glorious 12? decimal digits of precision!

    Burroughs Medium Systems had 100 decimal digits of precision, not bits, but decimal digits. Accurate to the last decimal digit. You could multiply two 50 digit numbers and get 100 digits of results. Divide a 100 digit number by a 50 digit number and get a 50 digit result. All accurate to the last decimal digit. Banks loved those machines as calculating interest to the 16 places was not a problem.

  9. Lynn McGuire says:

    The octothorp in #10 doesn’t stand for “pound”, but “number”. A #10 can contains 3 quarts = 6 pints = 12 cups = 96 fluid ounces = 0.75 gallon = ~ 2.8 liters. Think of a coffee can.

    Ok, so a #10 can is a volumetric quantity, not a mass basis.

    I know coffee cans because my grandfather used to buy Folgers by the can and had hundreds of them in his garage. Can you even buy coffee by the can anymore? We buy Eight O’Clock Colombian coffee beans by the 11 ounce package for home and office:
    http://www.amazon.com/Eight-OClock-Colombian-Coffee-11-Ounce/dp/B0068ZXD8C/

  10. Miles_Teg says:

    IIRC CDC Fortran allowed Double Precision. In a real number that allowed for around 98 bits of precision. (The rest went on the sign bit and exponent.)

  11. Miles_Teg says:

    I guess CDC wasn’t as accurate as banks would have liked but at least they were good for designing nuclear weapons.

    Admit it Ray, Burroughs is a cave man’s computer. How much better for them if they had Seymour Cray instead of us… 🙂

  12. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, it’s 22 years old, but it has only 130,000 miles on it. I drive an average of maybe 5 or 10 miles a month. Barbara drives it if the weather is bad or she needs to haul something, and we take it when we go to Costco with Paul and Mary. That’s about it. I’d guess it gets a total of less than 1,000 miles a year. We’ll drive it until it drops and then buy another full-size 4X4 SUV. Rather than buy new, I’ll probably look at recent used models with low mileage.

  13. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Costco still carries canned coffee, some of it pretty decent stuff.

  14. Lynn McGuire says:

    Yeah, it’s 22 years old, but it has only 130,000 miles on it.

    Garaged? Ever cleaned? How is the rust?

  15. Miles_Teg says:

    I assume Barbara cleans it. If it was up to Bob it’d probably get cleaned as often as mine: once a year whether it needs it or not.

  16. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, it’s garaged. Barbara washes and vacuums it out periodically. No rust. We don’t have a problem with that around here.

  17. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I also plan to gradually store additional for family, friends, and neighbors.

    Someone, who shall remain nameless, just emailed me and accused me of being altruistic, of all things. Nope, not even close.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, I don’t expect a collapse and chaos. I expect a gradual slide into dystopia. But if things do get really bad, as some commenters expect they will, the last thing I want is to have just Barbara and me trying to defend ourselves and our food supply from all comers. In that situation, we want to be part of a trusted group of family, friends, and neighbors, so it’s a good idea to have as much possible to spare.

  18. Ray Thompson says:

    Admit it Ray, Burroughs is a cave man’s computer.

    Yep, and I was one of the knuckle draggers. Used to write my own modules for the operating system and manually patch them into the MCP. Worked on the first disk defragmentation system while in the USAF which Burroughs later incorporated into the MCP.

    Having worked on many platforms over time I really grew to like the Burroughs Medium systems when trying to locate a problem in the code. The trace function was fantastic and the memory dumps were exceedingly easy to read and navigate. Decimal addressing with no location offsets from linking during the loading process. RACF, CICS, ISAM and many other letter combinations which were nothing more than complicated macros that generated other code that made debugging your code rather difficult.

  19. OFD says:

    “With the regular canned goods and other stuff we stock, that’s sufficient for the two of us for a year to 18 months.”

    Probably don’t need to mention this, but don’t forget to have a means of cooking all that stuff, access to good wottuh, and the means to keep cooking implements clean, etc., etc., plus seasonings/spices, toilet paper, meds, vitamins, etc.

    Overcast with sprinkles again here today; we’re grubbing out the back porch and yard, mostly. Our internet went down this morning and the usual procedures failed with the machines here; called Fairpoint and apparently they were getting swamped with calls and must have had something down; they had a canned mss advising us to power down all our chit and then back up again. That failed also; had to go into the router/modem web interface and futz around with it but we are back.

    (rant on)And Mrs. OFD’s employers are a month late again with her pay; the nitwit responsible down in Mordor claims she didn’t see the emailed invoice attachments that the wife sent to her way back then; why not? Because she didn’t open her email down there and then waited three weeks to tell her so. Then she rolled on out to Colorado on vay-cay and fuck everybody’s pay, I guess, and furthermore no one at the higher levels gives a shit and they need two signatures for the checks but someone or other is always out or they’re in meetings all week and can’t be bothered paying the people who bring in all their vastly increased revenue over the past three years. (rant over)

    And I am informed that IBM takes a long time in its hiring process, but this is ridiculous. They posted those gigs in March. Applying meanwhile, per usual, to the varied assortment of Windows shops. Hoping like hell I get the RHEL job back again.

  20. Lynn McGuire says:

    Has the USA had a famine since 1776? A serious food famine where people were routinely dying of malnourishment?

    I know that certain areas were typically near famine as a natural concern. My FIL from the Adirondacks joined the army in 1952, was 6’2″ and 120 lbs.

    The USA used to be the food basket for the world. Texas used to grow 10X more rice than we needed but the droughts over the last ten years and corn as a cash crop for fuel has really changed that. Most of the rice in the USA is now grown in Mississippi, even the geese know that and have moved their winter nesting accordingly.

  21. ech says:

    They posted those gigs in March.

    They probably have to keep them open for a few weeks to meet company policy. Then it takes a week for HR to do their magic and forward the “acceptable” candidates to the hiring managers. Then the managers need to review the resumes and schedule interviews. And HR will need to sign off on that to be sure that there is no bias in the selections. Then you interview and send in the ranked list of interviewed candidates to HR. HR has to review and do preliminary checks on the top candidate(s). Then offers can go out. When I worked at LockMart, it took 6 weeks from the close of the application period before an offer could go out unless we had a work stoppage. And that was a silver bullet that was hard to use.

  22. Lynn McGuire says:

    I expect a gradual slide into dystopia. But if things do get really bad, as some commenters expect they will, the last thing I want is to have just Barbara and me trying to defend ourselves and our food supply from all comers. In that situation, we want to be part of a trusted group of family, friends, and neighbors, so it’s a good idea to have as much possible to spare.

    Me too on the gradual slide into dystopia and I pray so. If we go back to having to spend hard cash (40 to 50% of average income) for food, so be it. Famines really, really, really suck. But, there is a lot of difference between storing food for two and food for 20 to 40 people.

    There is a disturbing amount of people not working though.

  23. Lynn McGuire says:

    Or those positions were posted for people converting from H1-Bs to green cards. You are supposed to prove for a person applying for a green card that their position cannot be filled by a USA citizen. They will actually have people come in and interview for those positions, never intending to fill them.

  24. OFD says:

    Who knows? Their rep is for taking a long time to do an actual hire, even through temp contractor outfits like this one I worked for two years ago and everyone has all my information on file already. Plus the previous security clearance intel and the ITAR certs.

    We could surely use a break about now, between her pay checks being a month late, another unforeseen tax bill arriving in the mail today, threatening disconnection notices from the power company we just paid (SOP now; pay the bill and they send out another one immediately and if you don’t pay it immediately you get these threats immediately), other bills past due, and the job situation.

    All we need now is a nationwide famine.

  25. CowboySlim says:

    Reading the holes in 80 column Hollerith cards is ambiguous with respect to letter case.

    CowboySlim
    Who prefers octal over hexadecimal.

  26. MrAtoz says:

    The Mooch is grousingabout the Redumblicans trying to roll back her skool starvation program. She’s incensed because she’s a mother, you know. She also sends her kids to a private school. Probably eat caviar and cheeseburgers for lunch.

    “This is unacceptable,” Obama said.

  27. OFD says:

    This is Libtardism Redux; back during the busing “crisis” in Southie a zillion years ago, while OFD was on tour with Uncle, the well-off buggers screeched for it while sending their own litters to skools in the ‘burbs and/or private institutions. The usual “Do as I say, not as I do” hypocrisy writ large.

    The Mooch herself has been pictured many times by now chomping on burgers and fries and onion rings while she tells the skool administrations: “Let them eat lettuce.” And how times change, too; remember when Larry Klinton used to jog around Mordor in the mornings, with his skimpy shorts and pasty white stems? Then he and the SS boyz would chow down bigtime at a Booger King or Mickey D’s. Now the bugger is on the lettuce and rice kick, has lost weight, and is just a poster boy for the Official Mooch Diet Plan.

    OFD just made up a nice batch of chili and will be gobbling that down later, with some corn bread on the side, and I like the Southern version of that, not the Yankified one. Also like mah grits. All that time in the great Lone Star State musta rubbed off some.

  28. Chuck W says:

    Family visiting all weekend long. No time for Internet. Then I have only today to prepare for a video shoot up near Chicago that will last for the rest of the week.

    I retract my previous seeming endorsement for Mint 17. I am having incredible trouble, not the least of which is that the file manager locks up while transferring stuff over the network. Had no such problem with Mint 15. I know better than to be an early adopter, but somehow I always think it will turn out okay. May have to drop back to 15, or maybe the previous LTS (which is still good until 2017), because I can’t even get the radio automation installed and working on 17. It was working fine on 15. Oh well. No time to do anything until next week.

    On the never wash your jeans thing, that has surfaced again, because the morning show radio people picked it up en masse. I regularly tune around the dial to see what our competition is doing, and last week I heard the syndicated Bob & Tom show — which originates from Indy — laughing about the story, then the next day, their competition jumped on it. Apparently, all the hoopla caused the president of Levi’s to state that you never need to wash your jeans.

    This whole thing started a year or more ago, because some biology major in Ann Arbor or at Michigan State (I forget which) did a project where he wore his jeans every day and never washed them, but periodically, they were checked for various bacteria and such. Turned out that there was never any harmful bacteria after a year of never washing. They did grow to stink, however. So he put them in the freezer for a couple days, and when he brought them out — no more smell, and he could go for another couple of months before they smelled again.

    He finally did wash them regularly again. It was truly an experiment. But that whole story has been blown all out of proportion by the morning show folks needing to feed their laughing hyenas some fodder. And there was never any mention of the biology experiment as the start of this whole thing.

    The president of Levi’s is just stupid, IMO. I am sure he turned off as many people as he converted in trying to make a selling point out of never needing to wash the jeans. He had better read that student’s project report about the smells, though.

    And, as I recall, somebody here brought up the kid’s experiment, so it shouldn’t be news to us.

  29. OFD says:

    I have Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS in a vm under Windows 8.1 via VMware Workstation 10, which works great; also a Windows 7 Ultimate vm, just playing around. I may use the Ubuntu Server, though, for a couple of other little projects, involving learning for a CCNA cert. Cisco is about to break out a completely virtual CCNA/CCNE lab, and their exams will also be totally virtual from now on.

    I also have a beginning collection of actual Cisco routers and switches, and soon, the ASA 5505 Firewall box, for the hardware lab up in our attic. This is all on top of ongoing study for Network + and Security + and RHSCA/RHCE, unless I end up at a Winblows shop, and then I may not bother with the latter. Kind of a shame, though, after two years fulltime-plus with RHEL clusters.

    And I see that Obummer is on the verge of putting boots on the ground in Nigeria (while we’re not supposed to know that spec ops guys and FACs have been there all along) and I have word from current and former UK spec ops guys that there is about to be a coup there, facilitated via the kidz at Langley. We just caint keep our Murkan fingers outta any of the pies, I reckon. Looks like early retirement coming up for President Jonathan Goodluck; maybe he can slide on over here with his pilfered funds and cry on the Mooch’s wide NFL fullback shoulders about not gettin’ “our girls” back.

  30. Miles_Teg says:

    “CowboySlim
    Who prefers octal over hexadecimal.”

    Amen brother!

  31. Chuck W says:

    My European friends tell me that the Muslim kidnapping Christians stuff has been going on for eons, and only the US cares about that. Strange that Nobama does, enough to send our boys in to do something about it. I would not worry about it either, except I agree with our host that Christian or not, those branches of the Muslim faith want to see ALL infidels dead — even us atheists.

    Difficult decision on the Linux OS for me. I really, really prefer Mint to Ubuntu, as I am a graphical interface guy and Mint is acceptably close to Windoughz. I can deal with a terminal, if necessary, but graphical does not make me memorize or look up stuff. My son, who was here for the holiday weekend, prefers a terminal, and he knows all the commands and options by heart. As programmers, he and his wife use Ubuntu (and she a Mac at work), and they were just discussing what to do about their OS — Ubuntu and Mint being in lockstep on the LTS releases. I just told them to stick with the older LTS until it runs out. I will probably try the older Mint LTS next. Big problem is the display on the tiny Asus netbook screen — although I plug it into a larger screen at home. The new LTS has one that works perfectly, which previous versions lacked.

  32. brad says:

    Has the USA had a famine since 1776?

    It’s almost never about food supply – it’s about distribution. In the case of a dystopia, the farmers will be watching their grain rot, while the people in the cities are starving.

    @Chuck: I started to download Mint 17, then noticed that it’s a release candidate, i.e., the version where they are hoping to identify and nail the last round of problems. I’ve been running Mint 16 for a few months, and am pretty happy with it. I’ll probably put Mint 17 on over the summer – after other people have shaken the bugs out of it…

    Octal is for barbarians. When I play bridge, I use hex to count cards (number of each suit played). Strange mental trick: having at most one (hex) digit per suit makes the remembering easier. Apparently the number of digits is significant, at least the way my poor, twisted mind works…

  33. Chuck W says:

    It is a lot of work to change Linux OS’es. As I told my son, the recent change to 17 has caused me to spend several full working days on installs, configurations, etc. In order to accommodate the radio automation, I am also moving the audio store to an external 4gb drive, so I have to learn about mount points and getting permissions right for that. As one guy put it: there are many different ways to do anything in Linux, not just one. Problem is that it does make a difference which one you use in many cases. And a one character slip-up means it will not work. I had an fstab entry that was supposed to specify the file system. But I did not see that the example I copied used ext3 instead of ext4. Spent hours chasing down the wrong thing, when all that was wrong was one digit in the fstab entry.

    Son and DIL pointed me to

    http://www.thegeekstuff.com/

    Great, thorough explanations there, unlike those geeks who give learners a one phrase answer to a problem that is positively meaningless to a relative noob. There’s a guy who is a programmer on the automation forum. He is constantly giving totally useless answers like “it’s a permissions problem” to people writing in with problems. Oh? Which permission on what? and why? What should it be changed to?

    I did successfully get the OS onto the built-in, glued on the motherboard, non-removable SSD, and the home directory on the spinning drive. The SSD was only for Windows swap and recovery files when I got the computer with Win8. It was a nightmare accomplishing that. There are about 16 steps that have to be followed precisely to the letter — again with no ‘why’ explanations. I misunderstood one requirement that I kept doing wrong, over and over (had to do with temporarily mounting the spinning drive to copy the home directory over). The Geek Stuff to the rescue. First paragraph explanation resulted in a ‘duh’ moment, and all went well after that.

  34. Miles_Teg says:

    Chuck wrote:

    “…those branches of the Muslim faith want to see ALL infidels dead — even us atheists.”

    ESPECIALLY you atheists.

    Christians and Jews are “people of the Book” and are supposed to be protected in Muslim ruled countries. Sometimes they are, sometimes not. Atheists are basically given no quarter.

    I’d like to see the girls rescued, the current corrupt Nigerian government and the Islamists all ground in to the dust.

  35. Miles_Teg says:

    Brad wrote:

    “Octal is for barbarians.”

    Flog the heretic! If we weren’t meant to count in octal why do we have eight fingers?

    “When I play bridge, I use hex to count cards (number of each suit played).”

    I chap I used to play bridge with was a native Hungarian speaker and was playing at a club where one of the opponents was counting up the high card points of her hand in Hungarian. When she finished he said “thank you” in Hungarian. If only she’d counted in octal she might have confused him… 🙂

  36. Dave B. says:

    Octal is awful. Hexadecimal rules. My wife will be 28 on her next birthday, and I will be 32 on my next birthday. Much better than saying I’ll be 62 on my next birthday. Plus yo can express the value of any byte in two hexadecimal digits.

  37. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Christians and Jews are “people of the Book” and are supposed to be protected in Muslim ruled countries. Sometimes they are, sometimes not. Atheists are basically given no quarter.

    Protected? Yeah, right. At best they are tolerated, barely. And I’m sure the Israelis take comfort from the fact that islam considers them “people of the book” the whole time they’re trying to drive every Jew in Israel into the sea. Make no mistake, one main goal of islam is to annihilate Jews. It’s just fortunate for Israel that Jews are competent and muslims are not.

    But you’re right that islam would murder all of us atheists. You Christians are lucky; all islam wants to do to you is enslave you.

  38. dkreck says:

    Hex has always ruled, but please, what geeks.
    Who won’t think you’re weird if you say 3F?

    0000 0000 0011 1111 63 00003F 00000077

  39. Miles_Teg says:

    In the Middle Ages the Jews were treated so badly by Christians that they preferred Muslim rule, where they often, but not always had a degree of autonomy, so long as they didn’t try to convert Muslims.

  40. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yes, in the Middle Ages. But nowadays you won’t many Christians slaughtering Jews.

  41. Lynn McGuire says:

    It totals 162 #10 cans with a net weight of 640 pounds. Interestingly, not counting tax, the cost comes out to almost exactly $1/pound. I might have bought more, but that’s 27 cases and a lot of mass to put in the back of the 22-year-old Trooper.

    Where are you going to store these 27 cases of cans?

    Do the cans / cases have a stamped expiration date? Of course, after the apocalypse, no one will care what the expiration date is. They will open the can, sniff it and eat the entire can. On “The Walking Dead”, Carl the kid found a #10 can of chocolate pudding, opened it and sat on the roof of the house eating the entire can while a zombie raged at him from a second story window. It was … apocalyptic.

  42. OFD says:

    “…all islam wants to do to you is enslave you.”

    Yes, if we fall to our knees and accept becoming dhimmis. If we do not, they kill us. And if we are of Crusader rank and mentality/faith, they will kill us immediately anyway, but in an honorable way, as enemy warriors. Like unto spec ops guys in SEA were “executed” immediately by NVA and VC cadres. Keeping them as prisoners was just not worth the constant hassle.

  43. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    A case is roughly 18x12x8 inches, or one cubic foot, so 27 cases totals only one cubic yard. I’ll probably put down some 12″ 2×4’s to keep a couple of 8′ 1×4 runners off the floor, and then just stack the cases one deep (a foot) by four or five high in the basement.

    Most of the cans have a nominal 30-year shelf life. Some are 20, a few 10, and a couple two years or less. Actually, I’m not sure yet what exactly I’ll buy and in what quantities. The LDS store has a starter kit case that has six #10 cans in it: hard white wheat, hard red wheat, flour, pinto beans, quick oats, and rice. I thought I’d buy a couple of those, one for us to open and try out and maybe a second one for Paul and Mary. (Mary cooks and bakes a lot from scratch, and I’d like to get her input on what else to store in the way of herbs and spices, baking powder, etc. etc.)

    The LDS store also carries aluminized mylar bags and oxygen absorbers at pretty good prices. I happen to have a heat sealer already, so I may just do some stuff myself, primarily white rice and white sugar but perhaps also beans and dry onions.

    Also, as LDS points out, 2-liter PET soft drink bottles are good storage containers for stuff like rice and sugar. Although it’s not the best at water vapor permeability, PET is literally an order of magnitude or more better than other common plastics like LDPE, HDPE, and PP at oxygen permeability. (http://www.faybutler.com/pdf_files/HowHoseMaterialsAffectGas3.pdf) If you put an oxygen absorber in a non-PET plastic bottle, it’ll lose effectiveness pretty quickly as atmospheric oxygen infiltrates the sealed bottle.

  44. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yes, if we fall to our knees

    I’ve just never been very good at that.

  45. OFD says:

    I have to do it at church a few times for each service but at my age and level of decrepitude it is kinda annoying when I have to get back up. But at church I see people much older than me and with worse levels of decrep so I have zero excuse. At home I’m free to turn the air blue.

  46. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Ah, that’s right. I forgot that you acknowledged a lord. I’m betting you probably don’t do that very often in regular life, though.

    I know I have, and I suspect you have, a great deal of Scots/Viking/Berserker in your genes. When I was a kid, I remember reading the after-action report of Chuck Yeager’s ace-in-a-day exploit. He was by himself in his P-51. IIRC, he’d gotten separated from his wingman and the rest of his flight, perhaps to go strafe targets of opportunity. So there he is, flying along, when what should he spot but a flight of about 30 Nazi fighters. So he dove right in and attacked all 30 of them by himself. I remember thinking at the time that he’d done exactly the right thing. If he’d tried to run, they probably would have spotted him and he’d probably have been shot down. But I can just imagine what those German fighter pilots must have thought when they realized he was by himself. A lot of them probably ran from the crazy guy in the P-51, including at least two of those he destroyed. Most people probably think that Berserkers had very short life expectancies as well, but in fact they were probably at least as likely to survive a battle as anyone else involved. People instinctively fear crazy people, especially aggressive crazy people. So I took that lesson to heart, and resolved that if I ever faced bad odds I’d attack flat-out, going after the leader or largest opponent first.

  47. Lynn McGuire says:

    Wow, I see the LDS online store and the variety:
    http://store.lds.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Category3_715839595_10557_3074457345616706237_-1_N_image_0

    The LDS food storage starter kit is mostly food for making other stuff so you cannot be on the go:
    http://store.lds.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product3_715839595_10557_3074457345616706370_-1__195787

  48. OFD says:

    I do not drop to my knees in “regular life” and will not to any other homo sapiens sapiens and likewise will attack the ringleader and/or largest opponent immediately rather than run and be cut down like a dawg. Die on one’s feet rather live on one’s knees, of course.

    In much younger years, as my siblings can attest, and several of whom have done so themselves, I did the Yeager thing in fights and on the football field. WTF, right? Go for the gusto, esp. if you’re about to be creamed anyway.

    My family was from the British Isles and Ireland, but with documented Scottish blood and as we all know, a mix of Celt, Anglo, Saxon, Pict, Jute, and Norse. Throw in a dash of Algonqian from southeast Maffachufetts, circa 18th-C. My family, and Mrs. OFD’s, are all tall and heavy people; her deceased husband’s as well, but they tend to be tall and soft, whereas mine are tall, rangy and hard. My hair and three of four siblings’ is red, as was my maternal grandma’s and paternal grandpa’s. I’m the only with green eyes, though.

  49. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Ah, yes. Red hair. That comes from your Viking heritage. And, I suspect, ultimately from their Neanderthal heritage.

  50. OFD says:

    They must have shot up in height and weight and cunning during some period between Neanderthalensis and Norse.

  51. SteveF says:

    I’ve had good success with attacking the smallest in a group first, or at least the smallest in easy reach. Punch him in the throat and then grab by a wrist or ankle and use as a flail to beat the others. I’m not strong enough or heavy enough to do this with someone my size, but one of the runts that’s always found in a pack works just fine. Oh, sure, I could just shoot or knife the others or just kick their knees out, but being attacked with (with, not by) one of their homies is just plain disconcerting.

  52. OFD says:

    That’s a fun tactic if one is young enuff and flexible enuff to do all that grabbing and swinging. I am not, and probably not anywhere close to being as svelte and in-shape as our illustrious and esteemed host. Just large, rangy, mean and experienced. Gonna git ‘er done real fast or not at all. And fight wicked dirty, too. With overwhelming lethal force, the firstest wid da mostest.

    Or get killed.

    Whatever.

  53. Lynn McGuire says:

    I know from my experience in a live fire house that I am anything but quick on my feet.

  54. eristicist says:

    I’d be interested to hear what you guys think about disguised/improvised weapons — things like sturdy umbrellas or tactically shaped keys. I’m moving to a part of London with a lot of knife crime and, although I can handle myself in a fistfight, I’m (sensibly, IMO) opposed to going barehanded against a blade. Obviously, the first precaution is to avoid confrontation in the first place, but as I’m sure you’ll agree, sometimes that’s not possible.

    It’s a shame that UK gun/knife laws are what they are… disarming everyone who *doesn’t* intend to do illegal things. Just great.

  55. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    What about an extensible baton? That’s what I always recommend to women who are unable to carry or uncomfortable carrying a pistol. A quick snap of the wrist, and you have a fearsome weapon, one that can easily break bones or even kill. In a confrontation between someone carrying a knife and someone carrying an extensible baton, the guy with the baton is going to win.

    If extensible batons are illegal, what about a quarterstave, or even a tall walking stick?

  56. eristicist says:

    I did consider a baton, but I never want to carry something that’s obviously a weapon. Our laws are kind of absurd: if you’re attacked, you’re allowed to use pretty much anything in self-defence. However, it’s illegal to possess anything, in public, with the intent of using it as a weapon. So you’re allowed to defend yourself, but not to carry most things which you would use for that purpose. Things that are obviously weapons, e.g. batons, can’t be explained away after use.

    Good idea about using a walking stick. Plausible deniability, and it’d be good to put some distance between me and an attacker. Hopefully I’ll never need to use it, but better to be safe than sorry…

  57. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Well, it’s generally a bad idea to stick around after a confrontation until the police arrive. And you could tell them that you use the baton (lightly) for dog training. If you get a walking stick, I’d recommend an Alpine model (two meters or so long) of oak or another very strong wood, if not metal.

  58. OFD says:

    Agreed on the walking stick and if you do a google or DuckDuckGo search on “self-defense with walking stick” you’ll get a bunch of sites on that.

  59. brad says:

    You can get extensible walking sticks – lots of people use them for hiking here. They fold up quite small, for example, if you want to put them into a backpack. Dunno how they measure up as weapons, though, because the whole point of them is to be very light.

    I don’t get the UK at all – outlaw weapons, so logically only outlaws have weapons. How is it possible to think that this is a good solution?

    That said, one should never underestimate the advantage that criminals have. Violent criminals are, by definition, used to violence. That gives them a huge advantage over non-criminals, who are likely to be surprised, unaccustomed to taking a beating, etc.. Best to avoid such situations, or else to run away if possible. SteveF may be an exception to this rule, but he is very unusual in that regard…

  60. MrAtoz says:

    I gave each of my Twins a Stinger for a keychain. I keep a baton in each vehicle with a window breaking cap for emergencies. More to help someone else out of their car.

  61. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I gave each of my Twins a Stinger for a keychain.

    Is it just me, or does that thing look like a really funky dildo?

  62. MrAtoz says:

    lol A tiny one if that.

  63. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Well, I’d always run away if possible.

    Back when I used to teach self-defense classes for women, I always started out by saying something like: “I’m 6’4″ tall. I weigh 240 pounds, and have a black belt in Shotokan karate. I’ve trained at Gunsite in combat pistol with the FBI hostage rescue team and GSG-9. I carry a .45 ACP pistol, and practice and shoot regularly in combat pistol competitions. And you know what I’d do if I were accosted by a mugger? I’d run like hell.”

    I was always terrified that a girl I taught the essentials of self-defense would imagine she was capable of mixing it up with a street punk and end up getting herself killed. I always told them that if they were ever attacked to scream “FIRE!” and then to vomit, piss, and/or shit, if possible all over the guy. Even real bad guys tend to lose interest fast if their victim is covered in vomit, piss, and shit.

    Periodically, a girl would comment that she wouldn’t be able to do that on command. I always told them, “Trust me. In that situation, doing those things won’t be hard at all. In fact, you may not be able to stop yourself.”

  64. Miles_Teg says:

    I’ve always lived in fairly safe areas but when I was younger I’d often take a dog leash (without the dog) when I went for a walk at night. I could wrap the metal part around my fist to form a cosh, or just swing it at full length to discourage approach.

  65. OFD says:

    Often there is no time to run; attackers use the element of surprise when they can; many vics don’t know what hit them, initially. Thus Cooper’s color spectrum of alertness, which, right there is a self-defense technique. On the streets in that area of London I’d be in Condition Orange all the time, regardless of the hour of day. Ditto on a couple of streets near downtown here.

  66. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Ayup.

    I’m always stunned by how many women don’t think twice about walking into a poorly-lit parking deck at night, or at noon for that matter. One of the things I taught girls was that, like it or not, nature had designated them prey and there wasn’t a thing they could do about it short of a full Y-chromosome transplant. I tried to teach situational awareness, but I eventually concluded that that wasn’t something that could really be taught. You either have it or you don’t, and apparently very few women do.

    I understand that being prey is outrageous and unfair and tramples on the whole idea of women’s equality, but it’s also reality. I can’t begin to count the number of women whom I’ve offered to walk to their cars or whatever who declined, sometimes angrily. The common retort is “I can take care of myself”, to which I generally reply, “No, you can’t. A woman’s got to know her limitations.”

  67. eristicist says:

    Well, it’s generally a bad idea to stick around after a confrontation until the police arrive. And you could tell them that you use the baton (lightly) for dog training.

    Very much agreed, but it’s worth noting that it’s a dense city filled with CCTV cameras. Even if I’m able to run away, there’s a realistic risk I could be interrogated later. Or even just randomly searched on the street: the police have been very pushy about this lately.

    You can get extensible walking sticks – lots of people use them for hiking here. They fold up quite small, for example, if you want to put them into a backpack. Dunno how they measure up as weapons, though, because the whole point of them is to be very light.

    That’s an interesting thought. I’ll look into those. If they’re unsuitable, I’ll go with something heavy.

    I don’t get the UK at all – outlaw weapons, so logically only outlaws have weapons. How is it possible to think that this is a good solution?

    Yup. Moronic.

    That gives them a huge advantage over non-criminals, who are likely to be surprised, unaccustomed to taking a beating, etc.. Best to avoid such situations, or else to run away if possible.

    Very much agreed: I’ve got a bit of unarmed combat training, but I’m acutely aware of my limitations. The plan would be to run; and if running were impossible, to hit the attacker until it were possible and then run.

    I gave each of my Twins a Stinger for a keychain.

    That looks kind of interesting. Though I think I’m leaning heavily towards using a stick, on the grounds that it’ll always be close to hand.

    Thus Cooper’s color spectrum of alertness, which, right there is a self-defense technique. On the streets in that area of London I’d be in Condition Orange all the time, regardless of the hour of day.

    This is a very good point. I’m going to need to get back into good habits. I’m too used to living in the peaceful countryside.

  68. OFD says:

    None of my biz, but why would someone move from the peaceful countryside to a tough area of a gigantic city? In these times? But none of my biz and you can tell me to sod off accordingly.

    Best wishes and let us know how you make out and what you choose; could come in handy for somebody else.

    It is basically summuh here or what we in northern VT laughingly call it, and the bugs are coming outta the woodwork, like they do in all northern climates this time of year. When I was a cop long ago the winters were fairly peaceful in the cities and large towns, except for the usual bar brawls and accidents, domestics, and fires. But come the warm weather and you’d start seeing all sorts of creatures out on the streets. Since this is a lakeside village adjacent to a town park, with a Shell Station/fishing store next to a restaurant/pub that serves booze, and parts of the lake are known as “The Redneck Riviera,” we have to keep our eyes peeled and ears open for out-of-place denizens abroad in the area, day or night. We also have known dope dealers in the area, some of them in and outta jail, several registered pedophiles, and of course the meth houses closer to downtown; we assume weapons are involved. When the cops make a bust of these creeps they almost always also confiscate firearms.

    So we have our defensive measures here at the house, continually being improved, a dog that barks when someone he doesn’t know is around, and the neighbors’ dogs on both sides who also bark. Making women in the family more aware of their surroundings and potential situations is a tough row to hoe, and furthermore, they’re always losing stuff, like cell phones, chargers, contact lenses, keys, wallets, etc., etc., so I’m leery of going too far with the firearms familiarization; maybe show how to operate them all but rely mainly on the shotgun at the estate here. Out and about like they are all the time, I just don’t know; they’ll lose the pepper sprays or spray themselves accidentally; they’re not used to scary physical attacks by much larger primates; and swinging a quarterstaff around like Little John is outta the question.

    What to do, what to do…

  69. eristicist says:

    None of my biz, but why would someone move from the peaceful countryside to a tough area of a gigantic city? In these times? But none of my biz and you can tell me to sod off accordingly.

    No worries; thanks for taking an interest! I’m moving to London to start my PhD, and I’m moving to a rough area because money is tight at the minute. I’m hoping to move to a better area in a year’s time, once I’ve paid off a few debts. I was tempted to stay out in the country, where my family live, but London’s a lot better for dementia and neuroimaging research. Hopefully I won’t come to regret the choice…

    Best wishes and let us know how you make out and what you choose; could come in handy for somebody else.
    Cheers! With any luck, I’ll never be able to comment on how well it worked, because I’ll never need to use it. Best wishes to you too; good luck getting one of those elusive IT gigs.

  70. OFD says:

    “…I’m moving to London to start my PhD…”

    “…dementia and neuroimaging research…”

    Outstanding! With perseverance and luck, maybe you’ll be in a position at some point to help those who struggle with the former, as I have ample cause to know from my own family.

    As it happens, I’m reading a history and commentary on London by A.N. Wilson, having previously read the massive tome by Peter Ackroyd. Fascinating stuff; my main interests are the early Anglo-Saxon and Roman times there and the things that various construction projects dig up from time to time. And a very strong interest in the response of Londoners, many of them just kids, who did what they could in the face of the Blitz, particularly in the East End. Apparently there were twelve-year-olds running rescue and recovery operations in the absence of adults, regularly. While under fire from the Luftwaffe.

  71. SteveF says:

    Best to avoid such situations, or else to run away if possible.

    Agreed. That’s the best advice for practically everyone. I’d say “everyone”, but there might be an exception I can’t think of right now.

    The “avoid such situations” is the most important part. Once you get yourself in a poorly-lit parking lot and three jackasses are moving toward you, it’s probably too late to avoid trouble. Once someone has stepped out of a doorway and is 20cm from you, it’s definitely too late. And especially if you’re a woman, and more especially if you’re wearing heels, you’re unlikely to be able to run away faster than the predators.

    SteveF may be an exception to this rule, but he is very unusual in that regard…

    I’m not a good role model in much of anything, except maybe perseverance and making the best of what life hands you. I’m way the hell out on the tails of many measures of physical and mental attributes: I don’t feel fear, my reflex speed is phenomenal even in my 50s, I’m hyper-aware when anyone is around or potentially around, and I’m so aggressive that I’m the only person I’ve ever heard of who meditates to calm down before sparring. Even so, my policy of going wherever the hell I want is not sensible for me. I would never suggest it for anyone else (unless I was trying to get him killed).

    eristicist, would it be possible for you to carry a toolbelt? A claw hammer makes a dandy close-in weapon, and it’s justifiable. See if getting some “Handyman” business cards printed up would be enough cover. Failing that, what about sports equipment? Otherwise, the length of chain which happens to not have a dog attached is a good idea.

  72. OFD says:

    He’s a grad student in neuro stuff and dementia-related things, so perhaps a medical “toolkit,” some of the things docs and nurses carry make dandy defensive weapons, too.

    I still like the idea of the walking cane or stick, though; there are online vids that show how to employ it for defensive purposes.

  73. Dave B. says:

    I was tempted to stay out in the country, where my family live, but London’s a lot better for dementia and neuroimaging research.

    Having spent the last few years arguing with my mother who had dementia, permit me to say two words. THANK YOU!!!

  74. eristicist says:

    Thanks for good wishes, both OFD and Dave B. I’ve seen a few people struggle with dementia too, and I want to do anything I can to ameliorate or cure that horrific family of diseases. Whether my ambitions will come to anything… well, we’ll see.

    SteveF: a tool-belt might be an option. It’d look a bit weird, but I see your point; it could carry some inconspicuous but effective weapons. OFD’s idea of medical apparatus might disguise it a bit, but to be honest it would probably look just as out of place: I’m more of a theoretician than anything else, and certainly won’t be meeting patients on a daily basis.

    I’m definitely going to start out with a walking stick. I’ll remember these other suggestions just in case I have reason to change that later.

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