Thursday, 11 May 2017

09:10 – It was about 66F (19C) when Barbara took Colin out at about 0730 this morning, gray and with high winds. She woke up earlier than usual and decided to let me sleep in. As usual, I woke up when I heard her moving around, so I got up a few minutes later than she did. Barbara is off running errands now. She’s going to stop at the local flooring place to look at replacement flooring and get them to come out and measure to give us a quote.

We worked on science kit stuff yesterday. More of that today. Jay Shaw from Shaw Brothers, our contractor, showed up yesterday morning to look things over and write up an estimate for repairs. He’s also going to come out Monday morning to meet the insurance adjuster.

When I started reading prepping websites several years ago, it quickly became obvious that most of them had no idea what they were talking about, many even less so than others. There were a very few that were generally accurate, and a relatively small group of others that were accurate on some things but wildly wrong on others. Most of them, of course, were trying to earn money from their sites, and they usually do that by recommending (and often selling) overpriced stuff like freeze-dried foods, MRE’s, and so forth. Even some that were otherwise mediocre to decent spoiled things with their whacko focus on “healthy” foods or herbal “remedies”. There were and are very, very few sites that don’t just talk the talk but actually walk the walk.

Among the latter are sites like Lisa Bedford’s Survival Mom, Angela Paskett’s Food Storage and Survival, both of whom have books I recommend people buy, Jamie Cooks It Up, The Prepper Journal (particularly anything written by Rebecca Ann Parris), and Pat Henry’s Gray Wolf Survival. There are some other decent ones out there, particularly ones devoted to specific aspects of prepping, but these are the ones that immediately come to mind.

Then there are a lot of prepping sites that draw a lot of traffic and publish a lot of articles, but their content ranges from error-ridden to completely useless. Many of those fall into the “healthy foods” and/or herbal “remedies” category, and most of them try to sell you stuff.

Among the worst of these, which I won’t link to for obvious reasons, are Tess Pennington’s Ready Nutrition and Daisy Luther’s The Organic Prepper, neither of whom have much idea of what they’re talking about. In fact, Daisy Luther just now figured out that it probably wasn’t a good idea for a single mom with a teenage daughter to be living by themselves in the middle of nowhere with her nearest neighbor half a mile away. So she moved away from her isolated homestead, which was an excellent idea, but she moved TO a suburban area, which certainly wouldn’t have been my first choice.

But my biggest frustration with these poor sites is that they’re not data-based. They recommend things that they’ve seen others recommend (like the Berkey water filters. Hawk, spit.) rather than actually testing the stuff themselves. And I don’t count as testing using, for example, a solar oven that a vendor provided as a free sample to bake one cake and then decide it works great. Even some of the good sites are guilty of this.

I wouldn’t accept a $400 solar oven from a vendor, even on loan, but if I did I’d make damn sure to compare it against the alternative, an oven that I’d made myself with $5 or $20 worth of materials. I’d record the intensity of insolation, and graph the outside temperature versus the inside temperature. In other words, I’d put myself in the position of providing actual data rather than simple impressions and opinion. Anecdotes are not the plural of data.

I also try to be very clear in my own writing to discriminate between what I believe to be true and what I know to be true by personal experience and observation. If I tell you that in my experience canned fruits last easily ten years past their best-by dates without noticeable loss of nutrition, it’s because I used (the very fugitive) Vitamin C as a proxy for nutrition and actually did a quantitative analysis of Vitamin C in two identical cans opened ten years apart. And so forth.