Friday, 5 June 2015

07:24 – Note that what I said about Obamacare yesterday was what I think the Democrats fear will happen, not what I think is going to happen.

Most of my time this week was devoted to working on science kit stuff and the prepping book, but here’s what I did to prep this week:

  • I finished books 2 and 3 in Steven Bird’s The New Homefront series. The later books actually were worse than the first. The good guys are all more upstanding than Dudley Do-Right (and just as dim-witted; they tend to do things like forget to take their rifles when they’re headed into a fight) and the bad guys are all worse than Snidely Whiplash. The prose is painfully hackneyed and twisted. This guy simply can’t write. Don’t waste your time. If I didn’t read so fast, I wouldn’t have wasted mine. I do this crap so you won’t have to.
  • I ordered an Anker 14W dual-port portable solar panel, an Anker 10AH portable charger/external battery pack, and a SunJack USB Battery Charger. The latter is rather fragile, but it’s one of the few AA/AAA chargers that run from USB power. One alternative would have been a Goal Zero Guide 10, but that’s $50 and has some issues of its own, not least that it can’t charge batteries in pairs, let alone individually, so you need to charge four identical batteries with identical states of charge at a time. The Sunjack, despite its name and despite claims to the contrary on its website, is not recommended for charging with a solar panel as the source because varying output from the panel can cause problems. That’s not a big issue if you use an oversize panel, which the 14W Anker is. The Sunjack can charge one cell at a time and treats each one individually, so no worries about matching cell states for safe charging. The Sunjack has a 500ma charge rate for each cell, which means it will recharge a set of four typical AA/AAA cells in 5 hours or so of direct sunlight. In strong sunlight, the Anker panel produces enough power to drive two of the Sunjacks at a time. With two of them, I could recharge eight NiMH cells at a time, which should suffice for keeping our flashlights and lanterns, radios, and other emergency electronic gear powered. Rather than driving the USB charger directly, it’s also possible to use the Anker to charge a USB power pack or two, like the one I ordered, which can be charged during the day and then used to charge AA/AAA cells overnight. I’ll be trying the Anker solar panel with different things, like recharging some old, old NiMH cells to see what happens. I want to get a better idea of how this all works under real-world conditions.
  • Barbara and I repackaged 50 pounds of flour. Embarrassingly, I had only 10 clean, dry 2-liter bottles on hand, so we stuck the remainder in gallon ziplock bags until I have more 2-liter bottles ready. I have hundreds of the things. I just need to clean and dry them. I’ll worry about that after we get moved, because we’re not buying any more bulk staples while we’re still living in Winston-Salem. After the move will be soon enough to bulk up. I’ve resigned myself to making lots and lots of trips up to our new house, hauling stuff up on each trip. We’ll get movers to move the furniture and other bulky/heavy items, but there’ll be plenty we can move ourselves.

So, what precisely did you do to prepare this week? Tell me about it in the comments.

15:37 – I’d never heard of the Duggar family, but apparently it’s made up of two radical fundie parents who don’t believe in using birth control and their inevitable nearly two dozen offspring. I’m not sure how you turn that into a TV series, but apparently it is. Who the hell would watch it? So, it seems that one of those spawn is in trouble for admitting that when he was 14 or 15 a decade or more ago he felt up some of his younger sisters. Surprise, surprise. Boys that age are obsessed by sex. In a normal environment, he’d have felt up 14 or 15 year old girls whom he wasn’t related to, but I guess he did the best he could with what he had available. Two of the sisters have spoken out, saying it’s no big deal because he was, after all, just a teenage boy, but apparently the so-called media has turned this into a firestorm. Based on the family’s stated beliefs, it sounds like they should stone him to death. As well as the girls in question.