Posts Tagged ‘end of the world as we know it’

I am starting to do some research into solar panels, because after the grid goes belly up then a little bit of juice would be a wonderful luxury.  The problem with solar panels however is they are not easy to hide.    You can’t exactly put big-ass panels hidden away in a corner because then they would not get any sun.  This principal is also why Goth kids tend to be very pale.   But if one puts them proudly up on the roof, then after society crumbles you are just asking for the barbarians to come to your driveways gate.  So……

Maybe portable Solar Panels are the way to go?   For example a solar back pack?

My local Fry’s electronics has a got one shelf of other options as well……
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On the plane ride back from New York two weeks back I read The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson about an 1840’s outbreak of cholera in London, England. I had picked it up to see how a society deals with a widespread and mysterious threat. Of the multiple potential causes of the apocalypse I think a fast-moving virus outbreak is my leading contender for most likely cause of the fall of modern-living.  At least the fear of it could cause the greatest media hysteria and therefore become the most likely self-fulfilling prophecy.  The fear of a fast spreading disease strikes a deep frigtening cord among humans (See 28 weeks later) because it has the most unknowns. Where did the disease come from? How far will the disease spread? How is it being spread?

1840’s London had even more unknowns when dealing with viruses, I wanted to read about people’s reactions and what role fear plays in destruction.  One of the things that struck me, was how willing people were to help out their neighbors.  Even though they did not know what was killing people, even though they suspected it had to dow with something in the air (it wasn’t, it was the water) the people still ventured out to help and console their neighbors.

One of the givens the preppers (and most post-apocalyptic movies) assume is when society is faced with a great struggle, we will turn on ourselves.  Thunderdome teaches that the end times will be a dog-eat-dog world.   I have been debating this given.  The world’s most recent disaster, Japan, has multiple stories of communities coming together.  This article in particular has been bouncing around in my head.

I realize anecdotal evidence could point to both people helping and hurting each other in crisis.  Also an earthquake, or a flood, is different that a fundamental break down in society.  After all, once the waters recede, our assumption is that we will need to rebuild.  Usually humans assume they are facing one freak occurrence and not an entire breakdown of everything.  The mindset to survive in the long-term might be different from surviving what is perceived as a shorter problem.

On the other hand, when civil society crumbles, we are most likely not going to clearly see this as the end.  Hopefully, we will have built enough survival bonds during the first few emergencies with others that by the time the end of society is obvious those bonds will be strong enough to sustain us.  I certainly hope so.

Thank you Tommy Cannon for showing me how!

Neil Strauss has already wandered deep down the rabbit hole I am currently exploring.  Many of the same conclusions I am reaching (for example how we are more likely to help rather than hurt each other when the SHTF)  are chapters in his book, Emergency: This Book will save your life.  While I have been exploring what one would need to know when society crumbles for the last 4 months, he spent 3 years doing this and wrote a book when he was finished.

If one is looking for a practical “How to guide” for surviving the end of the days then this book is not for you, perhaps How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times is a better choice for that.   But if one is looking for a journal of how goes about learning how to prepare or one wants to reflect on the lessons learned while prepping then this is a book worth reading.

Since reading it I have caught myself a couple of times thinking when blogging “Is this my observation or Strauss’s?”    He killed a goat, learned how to make a knife, was instructed on how to respond to a disaster, cooked a fish and survived a wet night in the woods.  However, these things he did are not as valuable to the reader as his reflections of what conclusions one reaches when one does these things.  For that reason, if nothing else, it is worth reading.

In the meantime, I am going to take a least one of his specific recommendations, which is to take a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) class.

Between the trip to NYC last week and participating in the Phoenix Fringe Festival for the next two weekends I have been a little light on the postings. 

Ernesto Moncada wrote and is directing the Arcana Collective in an experimental theatre performance that “embarks you on a captivating journey through underground ceremonies and shadowy thresholds.”  Ernesto wrote into the piece a character named “Apocalypse Man.”  Guess who he had in mind for the role?  My character shows the audience “why the Apocalypse is just another chaotic epiphany organized by romantic phantoms” whatever that means.

We have 5 performances in the next two weeks and I have been concentrating on remembering my parts. 

In the meantime, how about a video?

Below is Ashley Naftule and Kevin Flanagan doing a bit they did for Space 55’s 7 minutes in heaven show.   It is a relevant video for this post as Ashley is also performing in the Fringe Festival and in the video, Ashley and Kevin perform what is most likely NOT going to be the cause of the Apocalypse.

Most unlikely cause of the apocalypse from son of patter on Vimeo.

I wonder if the 2011 Survival conference is worth going to.

Marks against it

#1 It is in Dallas.

#2 It will be people pitching me a bunch of stuff to buy.  Much of it will seem necessary at the time.  Even putting aside the obvious thoughts on how easy it is to sell fear, it is money I don’t really have to spend.

#3 While the conference and hotel is cheap, the airfare makes it debatable.

Marks for it

#1 I would learn a ton.

#2 It is fun to window shop.

#3 Dallas can’t be all bad.  Sure it might have a tangled history with guns, but so does Tucson, and I can tell you that Tucson is a wonderful town.

I am looking forward to the weekend.  I had to work last Saturday, which made the last two weeks go long.  I have not been able to do many experiments in the last couple of weeks, so I spent more time doing internet research.    This weekend’s plans include the following:

  • Turn Brittlebush leaves into medicine.   A couple of weekends ago I went for a hike and saw the desert has a ton of brittlebush right now.   I gathered some leaves and have dried them out, so now I think I am supposed to mash them up or something.  While doing research I learned the sap from brittlebush can be used as incense and/or gum, which I think is pretty cool, so next time out I might see how much sap I can gather.

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Brittlebush in AZ Desert Botanical Garden

  • Build a solar still, which will involve digging a wide hole.  One is supposed to dig in a place that would have water in the soil, but as I am doing this in my backyard, I am going to supplement the water still but putting in weeds and sucking the water out of the plants. 
  • Use shadow of stick to figure out which way is west.
  •  

    • Prep for the no grid water for the weekend experiment.
    • Gather water bottles.
    • Gather pine needles for composting toilet.
    • Begin gathering some Creosote Bush stems.  According to Survivorman, one can burn the stems in a fire and the smoke can be used to clean (or rather disinfect) oneself.  The plant makes its own chemicals that make animals and insects not want to eat it, and these same chemicals can be used to disinfect oneself if you don’t have any water.  It is also one of the few desert plants that can be used for toilet paper in a pinch (bad pun intended).     One a side note, the plant is a virtual medicine cabinet for many other uses as well.   Maybe make some tea out of it?  Creosote is so good at repelling harmful stuff, I wonder if it would work on Zombies?

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    Creosote in AZ Desert Botanical Garden