Friday, 30 May 2014

13:38 – Another day being eaten by locusts. I thought, as just one example, that I had another case of 500 Petri dishes in stock. That turns out to be wrong, so I just did a PO for another case of 500. For the time being, I’m fine, but I’m down to only 150 Petri dishes in stock, which is only 25 biology kit’s worth.

It took Barbara an hour to get to work this morning. We had a thunderstorm last night, which wasn’t at all strong here, but a couple miles down the road at the Wake Forest University main entrance it knocked down a tree and powerlines, which blocked traffic on Reynolda Road both ways. Which is an example of why I want to be prepared for emergencies. If something as minor as a downed tree can bollix things up so badly for so many people for so long, just imagine what a serious problem could do, let alone a catastrophic problem.


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35 Responses to Friday, 30 May 2014

  1. OFD says:

    Today is being consumed by locusts here, as well; had to rescue the dumb mutt from the humane society pound, where he was dumped last night by the local cops, found wandering less than a block away. And today Mrs. OFD has to ferry MIL down to Montpeculiar to take more pics of the latter’s house, which she is now finally putting on the market.

    I’m basically doing a bit of yard work, some stuff around the house, and calling it a loss.

    Rain in town but not here, just three miles down the road.

  2. Lynn McGuire says:

    Which is an example of why I want to be prepared for emergencies. If something as minor as a downed tree can bollix things up so badly for so many people for so long, just imagine what a serious problem could do, let alone a catastrophic problem.

    So are you going to work out scenarios and needs for each?

    Basically, a storm or something local could shut you down for a short period such as two weeks. Not much to do there except have food, water and wait it out. Or have enough gasoline to bug out to civilization.

    Or, a collapse of the central government due to a financial matter. Or a EMP blast takes out all electronics in the lower 48. In either case, you could be looking at years of food and water needs. Also drugs and electricity. Heat and air conditioning. Or a bug out place in the back woods. Once you get past those two weeks, taking care of oneself and the loved ones becomes a huge task.

    I’ve been reading a bunch of apocalyptic speculative fiction in the last year and the scenarios are just abysmal after a couple of weeks. Basically people form protective associations and shoot everything in sight until the ammo runs out. Food gets tight in a hurry and so does water once the water heaters have been drained. Swimming pools go nasty in hurry once the circulation and filtering has ceased.

    Even bugging out is tough due to number of people bugging out without any plans or supplies.

  3. OFD says:

    I think Bob is just looking to have emergency stuff for the vehicles for a couple of days.

    Those longer scenarios could come about from just about anything, including a “perfect storm” of financial collapse, parts or all of the Grid going down, terrorist attacks, some kind of epidemic, and natural disasters. If it all gets to that level, we’re looking at 50-80% mass die-offs, esp. in the big cities and the coastal metropoles.

    The tee-vee serials “Jericho,” “Revolution,” and others may be like days at the beach compared to what could happen. I hope with Bob that we somehow muddle through but the signs and portents are not good.

    We are in the process of setting up to be able to get through a cold snowy winter entirely off the Grid, about six months worth. After that we’ll work on a year’s supply of stuff, while learning how to do all kinds of things without electricity. Just in case.

    We have many square miles of open farmland around us on three sides so it should theoretically be possible to work as a community and band together to grow food and livestock and make things and develop water and steam power again if necessary. We may or may not have to defend against roving marauders and that’s another scenario.

    I tend to think the government will do absolutely everything they can to stay in power and maintain control and that may last for quite a long time, but again, things can pop up that knock them down too far to recover, and then we may be back to towns and villages for previous State functions.

  4. OFD says:

    And I just got this:

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

  5. Ray Thompson says:

    Swimming pools go nasty in hurry once the circulation and filtering has ceased.

    I cover my pool in the winter, shock it heavily before I cover it. When I open it up six months later the water is just fine. Clear and relatively clean. Certainly drinkable if you boil the water.

  6. OFD says:

    We don’t need no stinkin’ pool.

    Speaking of wottuh; just had a drenching monsoon-level t-storm slam the village here, sheets of rain horizontal. It was cool. I love me a t-storm.

    I see that Shinseki fell on his toy sword for Barry and now the WH PR flack is leaving, too; supposedly D’Souza’s (soon to be in jail, probably) new movie claims that HILLARY! is slated to “finish off the country.” I don’t think she’ll make it; nor Biden, another walking disaster.

    Barry will have to hang in for a third term, or let the Mooch take over. You heard it here first.

    What’s that you say? There are wonderful Repub hero-saviors on the horizon? They’re ready and willing and really smart and honest and trustworthy and reliable and our only chance at saving the Nay-Shun? Do playful unicorns frolic in your fields of candy canes and lollipops with rainbows overhead?

  7. Lynn McGuire says:

    We don’t need no stinkin’ pool.

    You’ve got a huge public pool down the street. About 100,000,000 acre-feet?

  8. Lynn McGuire says:

    The tee-vee serials “Jericho,” “Revolution,” and others may be like days at the beach compared to what could happen. I hope with Bob that we somehow muddle through but the signs and portents are not good.

    One of the precepts for the “Revolution” tv show is that 90% of the population died off before the show started fifteen years after the apocalyptic event. If you are hale and hearty then your survival will probably depend on your ability to form a close community for protection and farming.

    I think that apocalyptic events are very bad for late middle aged and old people. Most of us oldsters will die off in the first three to six months due to health issues. 70 is the new 50 will go back to being 50 is when most people cannot support themselves anymore in an agrarian society.

    Before the advent of good drugs, most people died off in their early 50s. Even earlier if they had an accident that required major surgery. Such as a difficult baby delivery.

  9. Lynn McGuire says:

    We are in the process of setting up to be able to get through a cold snowy winter entirely off the Grid, about six months worth. After that we’ll work on a year’s supply of stuff, while learning how to do all kinds of things without electricity. Just in case.

    Bob’s comment the other day was very portentous. Are you laying in enough food to feed your neighbors also? After all, you’ve to to sleep sometime. And guns and ammo for them also?

  10. SteveF says:

    OFD doesn’t need to stock food to feed his neighbors. They have to sleep sometime, too, you know, and with the proper seasoning they can feed him.

  11. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    At least my cooking skills are up to the task. Here’s one of my recipes from circa 1998:

    http://www.dutchgirl.net/recipes/tunashock.html

    Actually, in all seriousness, I’m concerned about storing food for Barbara because she has very strong food preferences. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that she won’t eat most foods. Accordingly, I’m stashing a whole lot of canned goods that I know she’ll eat. I’m also trying to take into account things like friends who are vegetarian and so on.

    The problem I always had with the LDS recommendations were that they were almost exclusively stuff like wheat, rice, beans, etc. Technically enough food to keep you alive for a year, assuming that anyone would eat it, but so lacking in taste and variety that many people would not. Remember the Irish Potato Famine. The US shipped thousands of tons of wheat to Ireland. Most of it rotted because the Irish refused to eat it. It wasn’t the potatoes that they were used to eating.

    In 2008, the LDS updated their recommendations to include a 3-month supply of canned goods and other foods that you normally eat. I think that’s a good start, but I think it’d be better to have less of the bulk dry foods and more canned goods. I think that the LDS recommendations were (and are) biased too far toward low cost. They’re also taking manufacturers’ “best by” dates too seriously. I have a can of Bush Baked Beans here that says it’s best by October of 2017. The reality is that 30 years from now it’ll be pretty much indistinguishable from new product. Same deal on canned meats, soups, vegetables, etc. On a human scale, they last essentially forever. Sure there may be minor shifts in taste and nutritional value, but who cares? They will be as safe to eat 30 years from now as they are today.

    So, yeah, I’ll probably buy half a ton or so of dry wheat, beans, etc. from the LDS store, but that stuff will be mainly to bulk out the canned goods. For example, here’s a new recipe I just thought of: cook a pound of white rice. Stir in a can of baked beans. Voila! Dinner for two or three people. I have no idea what it’ll taste like, but I suspect it’ll be pretty good. (It’ll also be nutritious. White rice does not contain all of the essential amino acids, nor do beans. The two in combination do include all of the essential amino acids.)

    So we’ll stock a year’s or two years’ supply of canned goods, and just keep the LDS bulk stuff on the shelf. (Okay, I’ll rotate it out every 30 to 40 years…) For a lot of people, cost is a major reason to store less food than they might like to store, and to skew the selection in favor of cheaper bulk stuff. That’s fine, and I’d never suggest that anyone spend more than they comfortably can on food storage. For Barbara and me, spending a few hundred dollars extra here and there isn’t a big deal, but for many people it might be.

  12. Chuck W says:

    If something as minor as a downed tree can bollix things up so badly for so many people for so long, just imagine what a serious problem could do, let alone a catastrophic problem.

    Which is why public transit systems need to be built UNDER the city, as they are in most other major countries, not merely buses that use the regular clogged and congested roads. I had to travel to a job not far from Chicago, but getting out of Indianapolis took over 90 minutes, due to the fact that a US highway to that city is closed for the summer, and all alternative routes were one-lane roads (each direction) that were absolutely jam-packed.

    Really — in most US cities of any size, road traffic has already reached the proportions of Korea, and other Asian countries that have emerged from the Third World tier. Somehow, we just will not admit that. Chicago no longer has rush hour — roads are now as clogged as rush hours once were, all day long!

  13. Miles_Teg says:

    “I’m concerned about storing food for Barbara because she has very strong food preferences. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that she won’t eat most foods.”

    You might be surprised at what people will eat when they’re *really* hungry.

    High on my list would be cans of soup – thick or thin – that I could eat hot or cold.

  14. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Actually, you might be surprised that people who are literally starving often will not eat unfamiliar foods. I wasn’t kidding about the Irish. Many thousands of them literally starved to death with all the wheat they could have eaten readily available to them. US churches sent relief groups to Ireland to transport the wheat and teach the Irish how to use it. There was little interest. Many thousands of tons of wheat literally rotted on the docks and in warehouses.

    Generally children are worst at refusing to eat unfamiliar foods. Women are often not much better. Men are much more omnivorous generally, although there are obviously many exceptions.

  15. SteveF says:

    I wasn’t kidding about the Irish. Many thousands of them literally starved to death with all the wheat they could have eaten readily available to them.

    My sympathy for the plight of the poor, downtrodden, starving Irish pretty well evaporated when I learned that.

    Similarly, my sympathy for the poor, pathetic Southern Californians during their power crisis a decade or so ago pretty well evaporated when I learned that there was plenty of power up north, but the NIMBYs had nixed a 300kV trunk line which would have brought the power from where it was generated to where it was needed. “Die in the summer heat, retards,” I thought.

  16. OFD says:

    Those traffic situations in the major cities are another clue that the current system is unsustainable. For years people have commuted to and from jobs in NYC from Long Island and the Poconos because they couldn’t afford to live in the city itself. Two-, three- and four-hour commutes *each way.* Now it’s much worse. That is clearly not sustainable. When I last lived in MA and worked at EDS in Waltham, it could be anywhere from a half-hour to three hours each way, depending on road repairs, construction, weather, accidents, etc. Commutes here to the Burlington area generally run just a half-hour each way, but this is still largely a rural state with roughly the same population as Boston, only spread out; largest city is Burlington itself, at only 50k.

    Agreed on the majority of stored food being canned goods and stuff people will eat, also freeze-dried, like Mountain House, that can be heated with water, or whatever. Bulk it out with rice, flour, cornmeal, pasta, beans, and don’t forget sugar, honey and molasses. Add powdered milk, eggs, cheese and buttuh. Don’t forget seasonings, treats, and pet food. A means to cook it all; a means to clean up; vitamins, meds, etc.

    A goodly proportion of our nearest neighbors are apparently largely dependent on the state for their sustenance and well-being and residence. This does not bode well, not only due to that information but also our observations of them. But they also are aware that we are large, come and go at all times, have a barking dog, and I’m pretty sure they know we’re armed just about all the time, too. Pick an easier target, homies.

    Other neighbors are in our age ballpark, again, a potential issue, as they seem more interested in gee-gaws and gimcracks for their houses, yards and vehicles and what’s on the friggin’ tee-vee.

    Farther away are clearly more people who seriously garden, store firewood, have generators, etc., etc. Plus, as mentioned before, the dozens of square miles of open farmland, mostly dairy and corn.

  17. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Which is why public transit systems need to be built UNDER the city, as they are in most other major countries

    Uh, no. The reason subways/undergrounds exist has nothing to do with emergencies. They’re built if and only if that’s the only way to do it, because an area is so built-up that it’s not economically feasible to buy surface right-of-way.

  18. Chuck W says:

    Uh, who said undergrounds were built for the prime purpose of coping with emergencies? I said it is yet another reason why they SHOULD be built underground, not why they WERE.

    But actually, as far as the reason they are built underground being that surface right-of-way is too expensive, I seriously doubt that. Cost of underground tunneling is huge, and I suspect it approaches or exceeds that of building a surface system, including condemning and clearing new right-of-ways. This history of US subway systems indicates that building underground to avoid surface congestion was the reason for the New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco subway systems.

    http://www.infoplease.com/spot/subway1.html

    Other historical articles out there, say that many of the Russian systems were built underground specifically so passengers could escape the snow and bitter cold of Russian winters.

  19. OFD says:

    And what about repairing, restoring, renovating our municipal rail and trolley systems, with expansions to the suburbs and exurbs? Plus long-distance passenger rail again?

    Ditto our canals, ferry systems and harbors.

  20. Miles_Teg says:

    Chuck wrote:

    “…many of the Russian systems were built underground specifically so passengers could escape the snow and bitter cold of Russian winters.”

    And also to escape the nuclear weapons of the nasty imperialistic Americans. Some of those tunnels are *very* deep, and even have blast doors.

  21. pcb_duffer says:

    I can accept the premise that human beings are fundamentally stupid; see the quote from the movie Men In Black. But for someone in the midst of a famine to refuse food because it’s not to their taste is simply Darwinism in action. Even the Koran says that it’s better to eat non-halal food that to starve. As far as disaster preparedness, I would suggest adding a few tubs of protein powder, like the weightlifters use. One scoop into a glass of water, stir well, and drink.

  22. brad says:

    I would have thought that the reason for underground subways is simply this: A city only needs them when it is already densely developed, at which point in time it is too late to purchase overland rights of way.

    The alternative is to use trams, however, they pretty much must grow organically with the city, meaning, if they aren’t there at the start, it’s horrendously disruptive to put then in after the fact (as Edinburgh has found out the hard way).

  23. eristicist says:

    Many thousands of them literally starved to death with all the wheat they could have eaten readily available to them.

    Wow. I was always taught that the problem was to do with legal regulation, and that the Irish weren’t allowed to buy their own grain. This is… bizarre. How can the will to survive be so weak?

  24. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Oh, the British government had a lot to do with it. Through the entire famine, Ireland was a net exporter of food. It exported more than enough to have fed the million or so Irish who starved. And it put lots of roadblocks up to prevent churches and other charities from sending food to Ireland. The blight was real, worse in Ireland than elsewhere in Europe because of Ireland’s monoculture of one type of potato, but there’s no doubt that business and government interests treated it as a convenient way to extend the clearances. But that doesn’t change the fact that many people will not eat what they are not used to eating.

  25. One thing I read somewhere in a book about 19th century explorers is that while the explorers themselves were generally willing to try anything, their servants insisted on the same meals they’d had at home. (These would be the milder sort of explorations, not, say, going to where there was nothing but seal and caribou to eat.) The sorts of upper-class people who became explorers were used to a varied diet, and had no problem varying it a bit more, while the servants, being from lower classes, were used to complete monotony in foods, and insisted on keeping it that way. These days, the vast majority of people in Western society have access to a varied diet, so the old lower-class food prejudices may be almost inconceivable. Perhaps the closest parallel would be if someone told you, today, that you could survive very well eating cockroaches, or scorpions:

    https://plus.google.com/+LennartPoetteringTheOneAndOnly/posts/J28eygWkuVj

    “See, we eat them! They’re delicious. Try one.”

  26. Chuck W says:

    I have relatives who won’t eat anything but the same monotonous unseasoned stuff, day after day. From a Hindi site I ran across a while back but didn’t save the link:

    “White People destroyed 3/4’s of the world for spices and have the nerve not to season their food.”

    That really is true primarily in America. European food is wonderfully seasoned, as is Oriental and Indian.

  27. Lynn McGuire says:

    My favorite Indian food cafe told me Friday that they are closing next week. Even in a county of 650K people that is 33% oriental, they cannot stay open. Just leaves me five other Indian food cafes to lunch at. Except those bland vegetarian ones.

  28. SteveF says:

    the nerve not to season their food. … That really is true primarily in America.

    I’m much too polite to call bullshit; otherwise I’d be calling bullshit. “American” cuisine takes the best (and some of the worst) from the world over. If you eat bland food, it’s because you want to. If you can’t find a restaurant that serves non-bland food, it’s because you surround yourself with people who prefer that. It has nothing to do with American cuisine and everything to do with the people you surround yourself with.

  29. OFD says:

    We season our food all the time here and have for many years; we have a nice selection of spices and sauces and condiments, like, forever. Murkans who enjoy el blando food would seem to be in a minority, perhaps more so in the Midwest??

    I cannot stand/stomach Indian food, though; the smell makes me gag; I think it’s all the curry they splatter it with; it’s been huge in the UK for decades, though, maybe because so much English food was/is bland and the yoots don’t dig it anymore so they go for Indian, Korean, whatever. They even refer to all those meals as simply “a curry,” as in “I’m dying here for a curry right now.”

    We like Italian and Tex-Mex but still enjoy traditional New England Yankee fare, only kicked up a notch or two.

  30. Chuck W says:

    Very, VERY few fine cuisine restaurants in my current area (Indianapolis to Tiny Town). Best are the ethnic places in university town Bloomington, and even there, the foreign proprietors will tell you they tone down the seasoning for their American customers. Applebee’s and Chili’s are NOT fine cuisine restaurants. They just shake on soy and teriyaki sauce to make things taste ‘different’ and people are fooled into thinking it is fine cuisine.

    ANY restaurant in Berlin was waaay ahead of food establishments available around me, and no wonder our German friends always maintained they were more than ready to get back to good food in Germany, after a vacation in the US. Except for Tex-Mex being better in Boston than the US Southwest, there just generally ain’t no good food in the US. I can’t get any of my US friends to eat Indian, which IMO, is the best seasoned food in the world. Thankfully, my kids were raised in Boston, where they at least were exposed to plenty of diversity, and will readily eat Indian with me. The little Turkish place called Istanbul Cafe, behind the state capitol building on Beacon Hill was some of the best seasoned food I have ever had. Unfortunately, last time I was in Boston, it was gone! Boston also has fabulous seafood, which most Americans outside of coastal towns detest. Captain D’s and Long John Silver’s both closed here, although both are crap seafood compared to places like Legal Seafood in Boston.

    Maybe upstate NY has a better selection than the Midwest, but high quality raw ingredients and good seasoning and sauces are not on the menu anywhere around me.

  31. Lynn McGuire says:

    I can’t get any of my US friends to eat Indian, which IMO, is the best seasoned food in the world.

    Good Indian food should make you start sweating by the fourth bite. Or Thai food. Curry is a good spice but only one of the spices that they use (saffron, etc).

  32. Miles_Teg says:

    I can only eat Indian about twice a week. And in most restaurants you have to ask specifically for HOT to get it really hot. A Vietnamese friend used to add chilli to his already HOT Indian food. Crazy.

    I only rarely eat Thai, whatever they use to make it hot just doesn’t appeal to me. But I could eat Singaporean Chinese twice a day forever… 🙂

  33. brad says:

    I had a friend, back in Air Force days, who had a Thai wife. She used these tiny, but incredibly vicious peppers to spice her cooking. About 1/4 of a pepper would go into a dish, which was then plenty hot.

    What to do with the left over 3/4 pepper? She ate it…

  34. SteveF says:

    What to do with the left over 3/4 pepper? She ate it…

    Ha! My wife is Sichuanese. She eats habanero peppers. Raw. True, they make her sweat and she wants a glass of water afterward and the uncharitable might observe a few tears in the corners of her eyes, but she can eat them and not die of it.

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