Sunday, 8 November 2015

By on November 8th, 2015 in prepping

09:41 – I finished reading Koppel’s Lights Out last night. It’s well-researched and -written, but it fails by just about any measure, unless Koppel’s intent was simply to make readers despair. Koppel spends a great deal of time, for example, covering the history of the LDS Church and detailing how well organized and prepared it is to deal with widespread disasters–vastly more capable than FEMA or the Red Cross–but he then makes clear that the LDS Church would be swamped immediately by a long-term grid-down event, unable to help even all of its members let alone the general public. The simple truth is that, without electric power, the US is now incapable of supporting a population of even 50 million, let alone 330 million, and there’s nothing anyone can do to change that fact. It’s up to individuals to do the best they can, and their best usually won’t be good enough to allow them to survive.

The truth is that rather than reading Koppel’s Lights Out, you’d do much better to read David Crawford’s Lights Out, a fictional treatment of the same subject.

Both books correctly point out that rural communities will fare better than heavily urbanized areas, but that’s little solace to urbanites. If your home and your job is in a city, you’re not likely to sell your home, quit your job, and move to a rural area. By the time it becomes obvious to everyone that cities are death traps, their residents will be stuck there. That’s why Barbara and I are getting out now, while the getting is good. She’s more concerned about civil unrest and the underclass presence in cities. That concerns me, too, and is by itself a good enough reason to relocate, but my main concern is the really, really bad stuff, like a grid-down situation.

When we get relocated, one of my top priorities will be to become part of our new community. She’ll volunteer at the library, we’ll join the rifle club, and so on. I’ll also introduce myself to the folks at the Sparta LDS Church, and volunteer to do what I can to assist their emergency preparedness operations. I’m a gentile, of course, but the LDS Church is open to working with non-members for such things. Another top priority will be to get an off-grid solar setup installed, sufficient at least to power the well pump, and to expand our long-term food storage with a lot of bulk staples to allow us to help family and friends if it comes to that.

38 Comments and discussion on "Sunday, 8 November 2015"

  1. nick says:

    A homemade VAWT is on my list of things I’d like to play with. Just big enough to charge batteries, and as a supplement to some solar.

    In various places, not too far from here, wind is in use for everything from pumping (machanical) and supplemental electricity gen, to full on commercial generation.

    I see several homes with wind generation on my way to College Station, but I never see any VAWT. I guess they aren’t as efficient, but they are quieter, and take less space.


  2. OFD says:

    “By the time it becomes obvious to everyone that cities are death traps…”

    That should be obvious to anyone now; if it is not, then what can I say? I’ve had recent road trips to NJ, the Philadelphia area and Boston; besides the fact that I don’t fit in down there anymore, if I ever did, and stick out like a sore thumb, it’s very clear that the millions living and working there now are suspended from a very thin thread; if that thread frays even more or breaks, they’re screwed. Tens of millions.

    And those familiar with any Western history at all can look back to the cities during and between the world wars in Europe, or London during periodic plague outbreaks; peeps fled them in droves for the countryside. But our sheer numbers and utter dependence on electricity and Happy Motoring would be a huge problem; I can easily imagine the main highways completely choked with stopped traffic in an hour or two. Sitting ducks for goblin marauders.

    I also remember the great Blizzard of ’78; the major routes in and around Boston and all the way out to Westborough, thirty miles west, were buried and all you could see were the roofs of cars and their antennas. And that was nearly forty years ago.

    For our situation here, we’d be keeping an eye out for goblins heading this way from the Boston-NYC area but it’s doubtful many of them would make it and there’s really nothing here for them. Looting and pillaging would be far easier down there. Starving refugees is another story, but again, they’d have to traverse roller-coaster terrain if the interstates and bridges are closed or down and they’d be easy pickings along the way. Sure, Montreal, with 4 million in the greater city area, is only 70 miles north of us, but it sits on the other side of the Saint Lawrence, connected by several bridges, which may also be closed or down. Would refugees stream south? No idea, but they’d have to get across that 70 miles of plateau which can vary tremendously by season; ice and snow over tundra; a sea of mud; and crossed with streams, rivers, ditches, endless fencing, etc. We tend to think they’d head southeast along the north side of the Saint Lawrence toward Toronto and Ottawa.

    Heading south they’re gonna run into hilly farm country to our east here and the western Maine mountains; to our west the lake and the Adirondacks, a large dark space on the night sky map, ditto those Maine mountains.

    I’m sorta thinking aloud here for real life but also for my very slowly evolving story outline…Boston area refugees heading west/northwest….

  3. OFD says:

    We’ve gone from Happy Motoring to Insanity. When a major metro area has to escalate from four lanes to eight and it still isn’t enough, or from eight to sixteen and likewise. Costing many tens of billions each time. And actually making it far worse each time.

    I once mentioned this to the RINO/Fox Nooz editors at New Jersey Monthly Magazine during my sentence there back in ’94, as they were expanding various highways and they laughed and thought it was funny and acceptable to pave over the entire state. I’ve had one sibling agree; “Hell yeah, pave it all over in asphalt and glass.”

    Not my cup of tea.

  4. ech says:

    CNN reported a case of a mother that killed her young son and then herself in his hospital room. She shot herself, not clear how she killed her son. What got me was this line in the story:
    It’s not clear how the child’s mother got a gun into the hospital. Banner Health has a policy — which is posted at entrances — against carrying firearms and weapons into its facilities, Lozano said.

    Wow. The magic sign didn’t prevent her from say, putting a gun in her purse and walking in. I’m gobsmacked. I thought all those signs worked!

  5. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I’m not interested in wind power in any form. Even getting a small unit installed will run you $10K for the mill itself, plus thousands more to get it installed properly. Then you’re still looking at a lot of money for charge controllers, batteries, inverter, etc., just as you would be with solar. But solar scales easily, while wind doesn’t. You can start smallish with solar and add on. Buy more panels as you can afford them. Buy a decent charge controller and inverter with more capacity than you need at first, and then just keep adding.

  6. OFD says:

    “I thought all those signs worked!”

    And the typical pending libtard hoplophobe response would be:

    “We need more signs with larger print!”

    “I’m not interested in wind power in any form.”

    Ditto; we looked into it briefly, because we have a LOT of wind up here, but for the reasons you mentioned, plus the need to have a friggin’ TOWER in our back yard put the ol’ kibosh on that idea. We still might consider solar to some degree, although we’re limited in the amount of sunlight we get. It would be nice to rig something up to the well, but I fear we’ll have to end up with a manual alternative solution in case the juice cuts out. Plus storage. Plus hauling it from the lake and then boiling it.

  7. Dave says:

    Buy a decent charge controller and inverter with more capacity than you need at first, and then just keep adding.

    I am thinking of buying this kit to get started. I realize the charge controller is cheap and very inefficient, but I think it is good enough to start out. At least it’s expandable, and would make a good spare for a more efficient charge controller.

  8. lynn says:

    But solar scales easily, while wind doesn’t. You can start smallish with solar and add on. Buy more panels as you can afford them. Buy a decent charge controller and inverter with more capacity than you need at first, and then just keep adding.

    What are you going to power with the solar? Matching solar to a load without having it tied to the grid is difficult.

  9. lynn says:

    “Every UN Climate Summit Hailed as ‘Last Chance’ To Stop ‘Global Warming’ Before It’s Too Late”

    “Previous ‘last chance’ deadlines turned out to be — well — not the ‘last chance’ after all.”

    I wonder if the climate change people have even heard of the word irony?

    Hark, do I hear someone crying “Wolf!” in the distance?

  10. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    To charge batteries that will power an inverter.

  11. lynn says:

    To charge batteries that will power an inverter.

    Can the inverter be hooked up to your house grid while the house grid is connected to the electrical grid?

  12. Dave says:

    Can the inverter be hooked up to your house grid while the house grid is connected to the electrical grid?

    No. But the inverter can power devices that use 120V AC.

  13. Lynn says:

    Probably gonna need 230 vac for a well pump.

  14. OFD says:

    Furthermore, anytime you wanna do normal updates on Windows 8.1 now, they try to stuff 10 down your throat with them, to the point you’re forced to Cancel immediately.

    And getting rid of the Windows 10 update nag icon involves a bunch of fiddling and even after that it’s liable to pop up again. They’re really pissing me off now. Me and the missus gonna have a talk soon about keeping this remaining Winblows desktop; I’d as soon just keep 8.1 as I’ve got it the way I want it, but this other stuff is taking its toll on my remaining peace of mind.

  15. Ray Thompson says:

    Gee, thanks Micro$oft…

    And Google, Yahoo, Comcast, Verizon, and all other browser makers, ISPs, Credit/Debit card companies, online retailers, and cell phone providers. Everything you do with a computer is tracked. Unless you are running CP/M on a Z80A processor.

  16. MrAtoz says:

    Don’t forget the NSA, CIA, FBI, etc.

  17. nick says:

    Had beautiful weather today, so I finally got a few things done outside.

    I had to trim some trees and bushes, fix a flagpole, and pick up debris.

    I cleaned up the roof, and since I was already up there, I FINALLY installed a big discone antenna for my scanners. I’ll use the little one (which was really more of a dual bander) as a dual bander for my office. I got the discone when Radio Shack closed a local store. I basically bought them out of antennas and rg-58 at 70-90% off. The fiberglas rake handle worked great as a mast. We’ll see how it holds up, and if my reception is better. I still need to get a connector on the indoor end.

    Baby steps.


  18. Alan says:

    $30 off the Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Voyager for Prime members…

  19. OFD says:

    “I had to trim some trees and bushes, fix a flagpole, and pick up debris.”

    Exactly the same deal here. I can forget putting antennas on the roof; the wind gusts regularly hit 50 MPH and up. Unless I bolt them to the chimney. Otherwise I plan to run ground-based Beverage types or out a window or two across the line of 15-foot shrubs bordering one side of the yard and maybe up into the trees at the rear. Plus another one around inside the attic.

    Should be good weather day tomorrow, too; if no wind, I’ll burn a pile of brush and finish cleaning up the outside. Then I have major cleanup ops in the kitchen and upstairs bedrooms.

  20. Ray Thompson says:

    I’d as soon just keep 8.1 as I’ve got it the way I want it

    If you are running 8.1 you really need to go to W10. All your stuff will transfer across OK just the way you have it. W10 is better than W8.1.

  21. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I think I’ll stick with Mint.

  22. Dave says:

    My personal machine is running Windows 7 at the moment. I recently replaced the motherboard, CPU, memory and hard disk. I had been running Windows 10 at that point, but had to reinstall, and the only OS I had handy was Windows 7. Surprisingly I haven’t been pestered to upgrade to Windows 10 yet.

  23. nick says:

    “W10 is better than W8.1.”

    Maybe for the user experience, but the spying and tracking is much worse, is it not?


  24. nick says:


    Lots of options for antennas and mounting that would allow you to deal with 50MPH plus.

    Simplest is a pole or truss that is anchored in the ground, but bolted to the house on it’s way up. I did this for my HF vertical. It’s not as tall as I want, but it receives well.

    Wire dipoles are easy to hang if you have some trees. I’ve got one laying on my roof, just along the ridgeline (receive only, acts like NVIS). If I didn’t have foil covered roof sheathing, I’d hang a multiband dipole in the attic.

    Inverted V works well, and is easy to rig.

    My dual band and scanner discone are on poles stuck in a flagpole bracket. They are heavy duty, cast metal, adjustable brackets, mounted to my soffit.


    Works great for the little dual on a 3 foot pipe, we’ll see how the discone holds up as it’s heavier, has more surface area, and is on a 4 foot pole.


  25. Ray Thompson says:

    Maybe for the user experience, but the spying and tracking is much worse, is it not?

    I don’t know. I suspect that a lot of software spies on the users by collecting data about their usage of the device. IOS I am sure phones home to Apple, Windows probably has for a long time. Amazon collects data, Google collects, Verizon collects data, cell towers collect data, stores collect data, credit cards collect data.

    I don’t know that MS collects any user information so that any activity can be tied back to an individual. Amazon data collection is tied to an individual if you are signed into Amazon. Do a simple search on items and in a couple of days emails will arrive with marketing about similar items. That is really annoying.

    Unless you are totally off grid you are being monitored, tracked and information collected. What the OS collects on my usage is a trivial concern. The fact that the NSA and other government agencies have records of all my phone calls, texts, Facebook posts, web sites visited, etc. is of much more concern than what MS does with my usage data.

  26. nick says:

    NSA doesn’t worry me. Three letter agencies don’t worry me. They are only in it to provide a backstory AFTER something happens, and since I’m not gonna do something, it won’t matter in my case.

    What does worry me is Experion, Fair Issac, EEOC, Pinkertons, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, etc. There are laws against ‘red lining’ and insurance companies have been sued and censured in the past for using ‘lifestyle’ (magazine subscriptions, roommate situations, occupation) to discriminate against people. If your life is mediated, and you access to goods and information comes thru that mediated life, then it should be vitally important to you that you understand how those goods, services, and information might be made available to you or not.

    And it never goes away.

    It’s not just annoying to get targeted ads. What if you search on disease symptoms, then your insurance premiums go up? (current law should prohibit this but not forever.) What if you only see credit offers with higher interest rates because you told a friend that you wouldn’t be in your job much longer? What if real estate search sites, or apartment finder sites only show you properties in certain areas or price ranges because of your picture on Facebook?

    The thing is, you can choose to limit these things by not using the free services. With windows10 forcing updates, and their new, constant spying and reporting, you don’t have a choice. You have to use an OS. Linux is still not ready for Joe Six Pack. Android, as delivered by phone companies is spyware, and Apple is happy to sell out its users.

    That is the part that gets me. I can avoid or not, the online services. I can’t avoid the OS.


  27. OFD says:

    Agreed, and my “tactic” is to at least make it harder for the buggers. Sure, if they really want to dial up the reporting on every aspect of my mediocre and boring life, they can do so easily enough. Until then, why spread my legs for them, so to speak.

    I’ll stick with 8.1 on this machine until I can persuade Mrs. OFD that we oughta dump it and go with a Linux distro; Mint might have been my choice but now I’m thinking, hey, if developers are bailing, maybe not. Won’t worry about choosing a distro just yet, though; we have a bunch of other priorities first.

  28. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Mint developers are bailing?

  29. OFD says:

    “Mint developers are bailing?”

    Rumors I’ve seen about security issues and Mr. Chuck’s earlier post on it regarding his deciding to cut it loose finally.

    I’d like to switch out of this remaining Windows machine here but will study our Linux options accordingly. Mrs. OFD has seemingly managed to survive 3,000 miles away with a Santoku Linux netbook running Libre Office, and she knows full well that scanning receipts and suchlike is WAY easier with Linux, so we shall see. I really don’t need Windows for anything myself, and if I did, I could simply run a vm (rather than muck about with WINE and PlayOnLinux.)

  30. brad says:

    “Mint developers are bailing”

    Is that true, or just a random question? Mint is a nice distro – I vacillate between Mint/Cinammon and Xubuntu. Each has it’s own unique strengths and weaknesses.

    I’m about due for a new install, but I may try to hold out until Xubuntu 16.04 in the Spring…

  31. SteveF says:

    Three letter agencies don’t worry me. They are only in it to provide a backstory AFTER something happens, and since I’m not gonna do something, it won’t matter in my case.

    Your naivete is so cute!

    There’s the nominal three felonies a day we all commit, usually without even knowing it. There are untold misdemeanors, lesser violations, regulatory infractions, reporting failures, and who knows what else. There’s malicious accusations by neighbors, relatives, or people who’ve done business with you. There’s vendettas by bureaucrats and police because you weren’t deferential enough or because they had a hair up their ass one day. Any of these might trigger an investigation, and even if there’s nothing real to be found, the investigators will be under pressure to find something so they can show they didn’t waste their time and the taxpayer’s money.

  32. Ray Thompson says:

    investigators will be under pressure to find something

    Or plant something.

  33. nick says:

    Well, that’s kind of what I meant, although I guess I wasn’t specific enough.

    AFTER they decide they want you, or AFTER you’ve done something, then that big data goes into effect.


  34. SteveF says:

    I’d meant to emphasize nick’s “I’m not gonna do something” assertion. Your intention to be a Boy Scout, a meek little lamb, or a head-in turtle don’t much matter, if someone else screws up or gets a bug up their ass.

  35. nick says:

    Ah, and I would never ever do anything against our all powerful state. Certainly I’d never announce it…

    I could still end up as Mr Buttle, I mean Tuttle, but I’m more worried about the increase in strangers walking on the sidewalks near my neighborhood. I can take steps to protect myself from them. I can’t do the sort of things that would protect me from a malicious bureaucrat (IE amass a large store of political power.)


  36. OFD says:

    Strangers on the sidewalks first; malicious asshole bureaucrats later. They DO have to live, eat, pee and sleep SOMEWHERE, do they not? They DO have families, amirite? Thus the importance of INTEL. Be gathering it NOW. Who are the CEO’s, bureaucrats, political hacks, tank and jet drivers, et. al. in YOUR AO?

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