The Mess => Radio Chatter => Topic started by: Thucydides on January 03, 2009, 00:00:33

Title: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on January 03, 2009, 00:00:33
From Wired (whould they lie?  ;))

The Apocalypse is Coming: What You Need to Pack
By Charlie Sorrel EmailDecember 31, 2008 | 9:00:33 AMCategories: Anxiety 

Crisis schmisis. It’s nothing more than a crisis of consumer confidence, and Editor Dylan Tweney’s list of 12 Good Gadgets for Hard Times is a great way to spend some money to survive it.

But what happens in a real crisis, the kind where the world stops working, the electricity stops working and (gasp) the internet stops working? Every New Year’s Eve, some wacko predicts the End of Days. What might you need? Consulting my huge back catalog of post-apocalyptic science fiction, I came up with the following list of true essentials. Bonus points for spotting the Sci-Fi sources.


In order to weather the End of the World, you’ll need a stiff drink. Once the supermarkets have been looted, you can become the most profitable member of your tribe by building a liquor still.

Finding one might be tricky, so the quickest way is to build your own. First, hit Wikipedia for the details and print them, right now (remember, there will be no internet). Then, you’ll need to ferment something starchy or sugary to get some alcohol. Then, it’s into the still.

A good vessel is a copper hot-water tank. It probably even has a heating element inside, but if you’re out of power you’ll need to light a fire. The trick is to take the temperature up enough to boil the alcohol, but leave the water behind. The vapor is then condensed back to liquid in a spiral pipe. Just be careful you leave the “top and tail” — the undesirable parts of fermentation at the beginning and end, including the poisonous alcohol, methanol.

You’re done. Now you just need an old barrel and five years of patience.


Collect these if you can. Like Eldon Blaine in PKD’s Doctor Bloodmoney, you could make some cash off the former contact lens wearers. Better still, try to pick up some stronger lenses, or magnifying glasses.

With a lens you can use the sun to heat things, and set them on fire — you know, like you did to ants when you were a kid. Equally useful is the parabolic mirror, found in the wild in electric bar heaters but easily made with the right math and a shiny piece of metal. This can be used as a solar oven. Mmmm, barbecue. Now you just need to catch some critters, and for that you’ll need some…


Essential. The knife has so many uses it should be your first priority. You’ll also need more than one: your chef’s knife won’t be much good at chopping onions if you first use it to chop down the wood for cooking them.

We also recommend a machete, mainly because we’ve seen too many explorer movies where the machete is used as both weapon and jungle-clearer. When you loot your local Walmart, forget the iPods and grab one of these. Then grab the iPods.


Fire only goes so far. It’s great for cooking and keeping you warm, and especially for those romantic dinners with the boy or girl from the neighboring bunker, but after a while you’re going to need some juice. Fire can be turned into electricity, but it’s tricky and wasteful.

Better to use the wind and the sun. Solar panels are good, as are wind turbines. The latter can be made with a bicycle wheel, a few fence panels, some wire and some magnets. I know — I made one in art college. You won’t power the HDTV you just stole, but it should be enough for some light and to charge the iPod Touch.

iPod Touch

What? An iPod? Isn’t that a little frivolous? No, my future shocked friends, it’s an essential piece of kit, and if you preload it properly and make the generator above, it will serve you well.

First, music will stop you going crazy. Load the iPod with some classic tunes that won’t drive you mad after a year or two, and then head to the App Store. There you will find the whole of Wikipedia, ready for offline use. This could be the best 2GB you ever downloaded — even better than the Hi-Def “Two Girls One Cup” video you got via BitTorrent.

Having the Wikipedia in your pocket means you’ll be able to tackle any problem, ever. Well, almost. A quick pre-apocolyptic visit to pornhub should take care of the rest.


There are other things you may need, but the list above will serve for survival, fun and profit. Of course, we welcome suggestions for our disaster kit, so leave them in the comments.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Sigs Pig on January 03, 2009, 00:12:09
While you are waiting for the end, I would like to suggest a good read that WILL come in useful, esp. if the end is caused by some form of radiation....
The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks


'Ignorance is the undead's strongest ally, knowledge their deadliest enemy.'
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on January 04, 2009, 00:41:14
Add shotguns, polearms and samurai swords to the list if you are waiting for the Zombie Apocalypse...... ;D
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: NL_engineer on January 04, 2009, 01:08:13
Add shotguns, polearms and samurai swords to the list if you are waiting for the Zombie Apocalypse...... ;D

You forgot the baseball bat ::), you at least need something that will give you the sound of a zombie's head being busted open  ;D
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Occam on January 04, 2009, 01:16:24
Geez, I read the thread title and saw "Parking for the Apocalypse" and thought this would be about the current transit strike in Ottawa...
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: TCBF on January 04, 2009, 01:29:48
Geez, I read the thread title and saw "Parking for the Apocalypse" and thought this would be about the current transit strike in Ottawa...

- Figures.  Only government workers would go on strike at a time like this.

Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Occam on January 04, 2009, 01:45:59
- Figures.  Only government workers would go on strike at a time like this.

Would it surprise you to know that they've worked without a contract since April 1, but waited until December 10 to go on strike? 

<end threadjack>
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Fide et Fortitudine on January 04, 2009, 01:52:37
I think that an excellent addition to the list of things to pack:

A towel

Towels are so useful, They can hide you from enemies, dry you off, keep you warm, be used as a weapon, etc..
I think its a perfect addition to the list of apocalyptic survival items. Cheers,

Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: JAWS228 on January 04, 2009, 02:54:56
And for those of you here who have played the game Fallout 3 for xbox, you'll know that a vacuum cleaner, firehose nozzle, electric conductor unit and pilot light are all that's required to make your own handy rocket launcher...and who needs to know all that stuff mentioned below, when you have a really really big gun?  :D  this one's gonna get me in trouble....
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: geo on January 04, 2009, 12:50:30
If the Apocalypse is coming you need to pack .... NOTHING

Just stick your head between your legs & kiss your a$$ goodbye... all other doohickies are superfluous
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Technoviking on January 04, 2009, 14:08:30
I think that an excellent addition to the list of things to pack:

A towel
I agree.  You can also use your towel to hitchhike off the planet once the zombies try to take over!
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Target Up on January 04, 2009, 14:13:50
You need an electronic thumb for that, but the towel makes a hitchhikers life infinitely more comfortable.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: 1RNBR on January 05, 2009, 14:06:03
If the Apocalypse is coming you need to pack .... NOTHING

Just stick your head between your legs & kiss your a$$ goodbye... all other doohickies are superfluous

Agreed! :cdn:
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on April 20, 2010, 10:04:00
Another list:

"A mini survival kit is a survival kit which consists of those most essential outdoor survival tools and supplies which are the hardest to improvise or replace. A mini survival kit is intended to be carried along all the time and is usually designed to complement other survival tools carried along in a larger, separate bag. These kits may be referred to as BOATs, or Bug-Out Altoids Tins." <Wikipedia>

[1] My kit is built of the version you can find here:


1 Survival Cheat sheet for mini-kits - the Universal Edibility Test, Body Signals and Ground-to-Air Signals
1 large trash bag
1" piece of drinking straw, sealed and filled with 5.25% sodium hypochlorite bleach.
1 rubber glove (it's purple in photo)
1 Ferro rod
10 matches with striker & cover
2 cotton balls w/ vasaline
1 birthday candle
2 bandaids
1 small bolt w/ nut.
3 safety pin
2 jig saw blades
4 fish hooks
2 fishing flies - one wet, one dry
5 split-shot sinkers
15' 15 lb. test line
2 rubber band
15 feet snare wire

Remember the 3/32" hole? The tin is modified to be a handle for the saw. The kit contains coarse and fine saw blades.

Useful for most circumstances, you will need to augmnent this if you are preparing for extreme conditions (like the Zombie apocalypse. Why is everyone on about that. Am I missing something? [cleans shotgun] ;))
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Brasidas on April 20, 2010, 10:13:34
Nobody seems to care about comms.

For any scenario involving nukes, you need to pack a vacuum-tube based HF set with a longwire antenna. No expensive ruggedizing required.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on May 13, 2010, 01:30:21
An article about DIY emergency care, useful in cases where the normal EMS is down (think the ice storm or Manitoba floods, but being the person waiting for us to come get you...

How to Care For Wounds When the Medical System Has Collapsed
May 11th, 2010 by mdcreekmore in Survival Medicine

Guest post by Ishabaka

In my opinion, our medical system will be one of the first to collapse during a major catastrophe.

We have a shortage of primary care doctors in the U.S., a shortage of emergency rooms, a shortage of nurses, and most hospitals have gone to a “just in time” ordering system, where they stock two to three day’s supplies vs. several weeks.

Plus our hospitals are utterly dependent on electricity, although the all have backup diesel generators – but what happens when the diesel tanks are empty.

Furthermore, especially in an outbreak of contagious disease, many hospital personel will just not show up, be injured, or caring for ill or injured family members at home.

I can tell you from personal experience, our national medical disaster preparedness is a sad joke. Think Katrina, but ten times worse.

The incidence of wounds will skyrocket after a catastrophe due to broken glass, chainsaw injuries, people falling off ladders, and on and on. Therefore, I’m writing this article on how to take care of basic wounds when the system has collapsed.

Caring for wounds A wound requires four simple things to heal: blood flow, oxygen, nutrients, and the ABSENCE OF INFECTION. If possible, a member of the group who’s wounded should get some extra food, and a vitamin pill a day.

In terms of oxygen and nutrients, these are all provided by blood flow. This brings up the subject of tourniquets. Tourniquets should ONLY be used as a measure of last resort, to prevent the patient from bleeding to death.

Remember – direct pressure stops 99% of bleeding. Take a piece of cloth, ball it up and press HARD against the bleeding area for five minutes by your watch – which will seem like five hours – then check and see if the bleeding has subsided – only if three or four attempts fail should a tourniquet be used.

Direct pressure will stop bleeding from major arteries – I know, I’ve stopped lacerated femoral arteries from bleeding with direct pressure.

If a tourniquet is used, two hours is the maximum time for the arms, four hours for the legs.

If that time is exceeded, the tourniquet must be completely released for a while to allow blood flow, or you will wind up with a dead arm or leg. By the way, “gangrene” just means dead tissue in medicalese.

The most common problem that you will face with wounds is infection. Surgeons classify wounds into two types: clean, and dirty. A clean wound is, for example, when you cut your finger on a broken glass while doing the dishes.

A severely dirty wound is when you cut your finger with a trowel while digging in the garden Organic material is the WORST form of contamination.

I do not suggest home suturing under any circumstances, and here’s why – if there are any germs in the wound – you’ve just sealed them in – and infection is very likely.

In a VERY clean wound, you could use butterfly bandages, Steri-Strips or Crazy Glue (yes, you can buy surgical skin glue, but it is just Crazy Glue at $150 per milliliter).

All other wounds should be CLEANSED, and then left OPEN to heal by TERTIARY INTENTION – medicalese for skin growing in from the sides. This allows the body to extrude germs from the wound in the form of pus.

Over 3-7 days, the body will convert most dirty wounds to clean wounds by it’s natural immune system if the wounds are left OPEN. This may seem too basic, but wash your hands before working on the wound.

Now, how about cleaning wounds?

First, if there are any large pieces of debries, such as twigs, leaves, or gravel – remove them with tweezers. Most antiseptics KILL healthy tissue and dead tissue is FERTILIZER for bacteria.

If it stings when you put it in your eye – it kills healthy wound tissue. Under no circumstances would I use tincture of iodine, or any form of alcohol. Really, washing using mild soap and water is a good way to clean most dirty wounds.

If you have Betadine SOLUTION (NOT soap), mix 1/4 Betadine with 3/4 water. Hydrogen peroxide is helpful as it’s bubbling action helps lift dirt out of a wound.

Be aware that a bottle of hydrogen peroxide becomes inert 2-4 weeks after opening, no matter how tightly you close it.

Next, I suggest everyone include in their first aid kit a 30 or 50ml syringe. Fill with water and press as hard as you can – this basically pressure washes the wound, and has been proven time and again to reduce infection.

If there is tissue with ground in dirt (for example, the patient slid down the road), and the dirt can’t be removed by washing or irrigation, it must be cut out.

This can be done with scissors, a scalpel blade, or a sharp knife. Remove as little tissue as possible. Also, any dead tissue must be removed. Dead tissue will look purple, and WILL NOT BLEED. Cut back until you get bleeding tissue – bleeding tissue is alive.

Now you have a cleaned wound – what next?

If you want, you can apply some antibiotic cream. I don’t think they help any, but they don’t hurt. If at all possible, give the patient antibiotics. I suggest cephalexin 500mg twice a day.

If I could only have two antibiotics during a crisis they would be cephalexin and doxycycline, but I haven’t time to go into that here. HOT TIP! Tetanus is everywhere.

The only reason thousands of Americans don’t die of tetanus as people do in many third world countries is because we have tetanus shots.

I can pretty much guarantee tetanus shots will not be available during a crisis, so get one NOW if you haven’t had one in the last 5 years.

Everyone wants to close wounds, and that is exactly the wrong thing to do with anything except a perfectly clean wound. You want to KEEP THE WOUND OPEN so the body can “pus out” any germs and foreign material present.

The best way to do this is to pack the wound open – so the edges can’t come together, with clean cotton (boiling is a great way to field sterilize instruments and bandages). Then wrap the wound with a LARGE amount of cotton.

The #1 mistake I see in bandaging is too small a dressing. It needs to absorb the pus and blood that will ooze from the wound.

I laugh when I see “first aid kits” with 2″ x 2″ pieces of sterile gauze.  Get 4″ x 4″ or 6″ x 6″ – you can always fold these or cut them if necessary, but you can’t make a 2″ x 2″ piece of gauze cover a 5″ wound.

The bandage should not be too tight. Most wounds swell up a lot in the 1st. 24 hours, and you don’t want your bandage to turn into a tourniquet.

If, after several hours, the patient complains the bandage is too tight, or hurts a lot – CUT IT OFF and apply a new bandage.

Wounds at joints (knuckles, knees, etc.) should be splinted just like a fracture, or continued movement of the joint often makes it impossible for new tissue to grow over the wound.

Now, here’s the tough part – the whole bandage must be removed and replaced at least once a day – this will HURT. If you have any pain meds, even Tylenol, give them to the patient one hour before the dressing change.

Liquor is still a great anesthetic – you are going to have to rip the bandage off the surface of the wound, which hurts like heck -but removes all kinds of contaminants.

After about a week, if the wound was small, new skin will have grown back over the wound – congratulations – you saved the patient.

With a big wound, you will often get bright pink, granular type tissue – this is called “granulation tissue” and is good news – it’s a normal part of healing, skin will grow in from the edges and cover it up.

Now all you need is a protective bandage to keep dirt out. You can apply an antibiotic ointment, Vaseline, or honey (an effective disinfectant) to the granulation tissue as you don’t want to rip it off during dressing changes.

Now, the toughest part of all – field amputation. Dead tissue does not heal. It promotes wild growth bacteria which will inevitably kill the patient. Dead tissue looks purple/green.

If you press your thumb against it, it will not blanch and then get it’s color back (try this on your forearm). So, dead tissue must be removed.

This can be done with a knife, saw (preferably hacksaw) and fishing line. Boil all supplies and bandage material.

You do not want to take off too much tissue – so start where it looks bad and work your way up – when you come to bleeding tissue – that’s where you want to amputate.

Cut the soft tissue with a knife – any tissue that doesn’t bleed must be cut out. You will encounter some large bleeding arteries and veins.

If you have some Quick Clot, this would be a good place to use it – otherwise grasp each vessel sideways with a hemostat or a Kelly clamp so the bleeding stops, and tie fishing line in four granny knots just above your instrument.

If you did right, when you release the instrument, there should be no bleeding from the vessel.

Saw the bone. Please, do NOT cauterize the stump with a red hot piece of iron! You will just convert live to dead tissue. Apply a very large bandage, and give antibiotics if available. Change dressings just like you would for a dirty wound.

Lastly, the art of bandaging using only strips of cotton is a long-dead, as you can now buy pre-formed bandages to fit any part of the body. Try applying a cloth strip bandage to the shoulder or hip so it doesn’t fall off.

I recommend you get a WWII or early nursing manual of bandaging for your survival library. Those old nurses could perform miracles with strips of cotton. carries quite a few.

Everyone should have a couple of gallons of bleach. Buy the cheapest brand. Mixed one part bleach with 9 parts water, it is excellent for killing bacteria, mold, and mildew. It will kill all germs in blood spills, including HIV a hepatitis C.

Many items and even homes were saved after Katrina with plain old bleach. It is NOT for use in wounds, but if boiling is not an option, soaking surgical (or improvised surgical) instruments in 1/9 bleach provides pretty good sterilization.

WARNING! Never mix bleach with ammonia – this produces chlorine gas which is a lung irritant. I have treated many people with this in the E.R., and at least half of them need to be admitted to the hospital.

As an aside, part of my prepping includes collecting used or cheap medical supplies, so when there are no hospitals or clinics, I can turn my spare bedroom into a clinic. I’ll gladly take payment in food, .22 ammo, firewood, etc. (In fact, I’d gladly take that stuff now).

Believe it or not, you can pay $25,000 for a medical exam table that is electronically controlled, with all the bells and whistles – or you can make one out of a sheet of 3/4″ plywood, 2 x 4’s, some foam, and a sheet of vinyl.

Personally, I'd use this more as a starter to stimulate thinking and further research, but you can use this information directly
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on September 27, 2010, 13:44:43
Buy your survival kit on!

Barnett Predator 18035 Crossbow Package    
1.  Barnett Predator 18035 Crossbow Package by Barnett
2.  Stanley FatMax Xtreme 55-120 FuBar III by Stanley
3.  Ka-Bar Machete Kukri Md: 1249. by Ka-bar
4.  LEATHERMAN - MULTI TOOL, WAVE-BLACK, NYLON DARK (830246) (830246) by Leatherman
Click for pricing info

5.  7" Survival Push Knife with Fire Starter Set (SG7PKF) by Grey Eagle
$8.99   Used & New from: $4.05
6.  SOG Specialty Knives & Tools F01T Tactical Tomahawk, Black Hardcased by SOG Specialty Knives
$35.62   Used & New from: $29.99
7.  Folding Shovel with Pick, Compass, Multifunction Survival Tool, Emergency Zone® Brand by Emergency Zone
$14.99   Used & New from: $8.95
8.  Gator Grip ETC-200MO Universal Socket by Endeavor Tool LLC
$17.90   Used & New from: $16.95
9.  Smith's PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener by Smith Abrasives
$8.53   Used & New from: $5.98

10.  Freeplay Energy Eyemax WB 2009 Self-Sufficient AM/FM/Weatherband Radio, iPod/mp3 dock and LED Flashlight (Black) by Freeplay Energy
11.  Petzl E49P TacTikka Plus 4-LED Headlamp, Black by Petzl
Click for pricing info

12.  3M COMPANY 1160-A 2x60YD Multi Duct Tape by 3M
$5.89   Used & New from: $4.64
13.  5mmx50' Rope by Emergency Zone
$7.00   Used & New from: $2.49
14.  Brunton Trooper Mirrored Sighting Compass by Brunton

15.  CamelBak Rogue 70-Ounce Hydration Pack by Camelbak
$36.32 - $139.99

16.  Reliance Products 5 Gallon Poly-Bagged Fold-A-Carrier Collapsible Water Carrier by Reliance
$9.89   Used & New from: $6.95

17.  Klean Kanteen with Loop Cap, (40 oz) by klean kanteen

18.  Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets by Potable Aqua
$8.44   Used & New from: $4.98

Out of stock
20.  MSR Pocket Rocket Stove by MSR
$39.95   Used & New from: $39.90

21.  Vargo Stainless Steel "scork" by VARGO
$8.77   Used & New from: $5.99

22.  2 Packs of New NATO Water and Windproof Matches by Proforce Equipment
$13.19   Used & New from: $7.97

23.  Coleman Medium First Aid Kit by Coleman
$14.99   Used & New from: $10.99
24.  Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite by Therm-A-Rest
$49.95 - $69.95

25.  Dry Top 410129 10-by-12-Foot Full Finish Size Tarp, 5-Millimeter, 2.9-Ounce, Green Camouflage by Dry Top
$23.49   Used & New from: $19.95
27.  Featherlite +20 Ultra Light, Ultra Compact, Sleeping Bag By Ledge by Ledge
$149.99   Used & New from: $64.99

28.  Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack by Teton Sports
29.  BlackHawk® Hellstorm® S.O.L.A.G.™ Glove with Kevlar® by BlackHawk
$50.97 - $89.29

30.  Deluxe Black Nylon Swat Belt by Rothco
$12.20   Used & New from: $9.95
31.  Zan Headgear Velcro Balaclava Black One Size Fits All OSFA WB114V by Zanheadgear
32.  ACU Digital Camouflage Boonie Hat by Rothco
$7.95 - $12.10

33.  Patagonia Men's Talus Jacket by Patagonia
$100.99 - $250.00
34.  Rothco Camouflage Vintage Paratrooper Cargo Pants by Rothco
$26.01 - $38.17
35.  Hi-Tec Men's Altitude IV WP Hiking Boot,Black,12 M by Hi-Tec

37.  Shakespeare Medium Action Travel Mate Telescopic Kit Combo (6-Feet 6-Inch) by Shakespeare
$23.95   Used & New from: $20.95

38.  Lot of 12 Helix Screwgate Locking Carabiner 7cm by DSAE
Used & New from: $8.99

Some of these items are redundant (a Kukri and a tomahawk?), so purchase according to tast and your price range. Some of the stuff would also be useful as kit (multipurpose entrenching tools, Stanley "Fu-bar", sharpening tool, the radio/MP3dock/LED flashlight and the universal socket come to mind as a general purpose tool kit that can be packed in a tool roll under the seat, and replacing the sleeping bag would score high on my list), but once again, this is a matter of taste, your own situation and budget.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: on September 27, 2010, 14:07:33
My personal fave:
6.  SOG Specialty Knives & Tools F01T Tactical Tomahawk, Black Hardcased by SOG Specialty Knives
$35.62   Used & New from: $29.99
As opposed to a "strategic" or "operational" tomahawk?
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on September 30, 2010, 14:45:53
My personal fave:As opposed to a "strategic" or "operational" tomahawk?

ITAR rules and various international treaties restrict the sale and export of operational and strategic tomahawks  ;)
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: on September 30, 2010, 14:58:08
ITAR rules and various international treaties restrict the sale and export of operational and strategic tomahawks  ;)
Not to mention a devil of a time packing it into your bug out bag  ;D
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on January 01, 2011, 18:40:41
Some lessons from the recent NYC snowstorm (relearned from the Icestorm etc.)

Individual Short-Term Food Storage is Vital

The recent blizzard has shown once again the importance of having at least a basic short-term food store. Intentional slowdown or otherwise, people found themselves trapped in their home or apartment unable to go out for sustenance. Even if not technically trapped, many were in a position where they did not want to be forced out to face the elements or on to the dangerous roads.

The importance of having enough to eat and drink for a few days is matched by the ease of preparation. On your next trip to the supermarket, buy a few bags of beef-jerky, a jar of honey, and a mini-keg of beer and/or a few gallons of water. When you get home, put them away together in a cool dark place. That's it; your done. No need to think about if for at least a year. You can make it more complicated if you want. Add whatever canned food you would like as long as you store a mechanical (not electric) can opener with it. You can also buy special made survival packs, or even just a box of granola bars or pop tarts. Beck (Fox News) wants you to have enough food stored to last a year; which is not a bad idea if you have the space and resources. I would be satisfied if you had enough for three days, and happy if you had enough for a week.

Keep in mind these few basic requirements; the food should be ready to eat (no need to microwave or cook), it must have a long shelf life (do not want to open up the cabinet with your emergency food to find it expired or spoiled), and it must be sufficiently nutritious to sustain you over those few days.

You should make it one of your New Years resolutions to be prepared. Part of being prepared for any emergency is making sure have food/water to eat/drink and are not forced to take unnecessary risks to acquire them.

More at Instapundit:

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Richard Dean writes: “Excellent advice on the storing essentials in case of a disaster, even a minor one. One word of caution: beware of the thin plastic gallon jugs of water sold at most grocery stores. They will keep for maybe a year before the plastic breaks down and they spring leaks. I found this out the hard way one time when I checked my emergency kit and found that my water had leaked and I had lost several cans of food, 100 rounds of premium handgun ammunition, a roll of duct tape, and a hand-crank emergency radio into a soupy mess. Luckily, it wasn’t during an emergency that I found this out.” Yeah, and if you store plastic containers directly on a concrete floor they break down faster. Canned goods shouldn’t be hurt by wetting, though, except for the labels.

MORE: Reader Paul Carlson writes: “For metal cans of food, write down the contents on the lid with a magic marker. Thus, if the labels do come off, you still know what you have before you open it.”

Meanwhile, Rick Lee emails:
After 9/11 I stored a bunch of emergency materials and had the nasty experience of plastic water jugs going bad and ruining a bunch of stuff in the garage.’ve never replaced those things… How SHOULD one store water?

And the response comes from reader Kevin Menard:
We buy the five gallon carboys that you normally stick in a water cooler. It’s a bit more expensive but the plastic holds up for years and we haven’t had a break or leak yet. I date them and use the oldest first. We opened a three year old one last year and the water was okay. Needed aeration but other wise fine. Since most of our emergency food is freeze dried, our expected emergency water usage will be higher. A forty pound propane tank and a propane stove help too. If you lived up north, you could run a camping heater off that too.

Yes, my sister-in-law — no prepper, but a poet — keeps those because her water comes from a well and she has to be ready for when the power goes off. Seems to work, er, well. And reader Marica Bernstein writes:
One thought about food preps. Canned goods, etc. are just common sense. But if you’re used to “real” food, I imagine it would be something of a shock to the system to switch abruptly to several days of the canned stuff. Making a weekly menu, and shopping for what you need on a designated grocery day (as opposed to stopping in at the store after work each day), wouldn’t solve all your problems, but at least you’d have on hand the items you’d need to carry on as usual– meal-wise (well, unless the disaster hits the day before grocery day).

We woke this morning after serious storm threats last night to discover we have no running water! No problem. We’re prepared.

Well, that’s always a comfort. And note that none of this requires Omega-Man style apocalypse planning — just maintaining a bit of a reserve. And when people do that, it helps things upstream, as everyone who does so is one less person trying to navigate jammed grocery stores, or calling 911 or whatever.

MORE: Bill Quick emails:
1. Crystal Geyser sells one gallon jugs of water made of the same long-lasting plastic as their smaller bottles.

2. Free: Rinse and reuse the two-liter bottles you get your soda pop in. They last forever, too, and have the added bonus that the water inside can be disinfected by letting them rest in direct sunlight. According to the medical doc posting here, the heat will kill all living organisms inside.

3. Those 2.5 gallon jugs with handles available at most drug and grocery stores will last forever, too.

All this and more, for those who read the “Water Storage at Home” thread at!

I’ll just note that if you want to go a step farther, you might want a Katadyn (or similar) water filter, too. That lets you turn iffy water into drinkable water without having to store mass quantities. Also note that your hot water heater will contain many gallons of clean water, and your toilet tanks will, too — though you might want to treat or filter the latter, as much for your own peace of mind as anything else.

Plus, try-before-you-buy advice from reader Joseph Dorsett:
When deciding whether we wanted to go with freeze dried we got a “free sample” from e-foods direct. It actually cost the $14.95 shipping and handling. It was really pretty good though we decided to stick with canned goods and true individual meals for our boogie bags. We have friends who went with freeze dried because of the longer shelf life and variety of food. Readers may want to do this before investing in large lots. It will certainly give you a good idea of what the options are.

Yes, “large lots” go beyond the advice above, but if you’re storing food you should be sure it’s stuff people will want to eat. Even lousy food will keep you from starving, of course, but if you’re stuck at home for days because of an ice storm, food will be one of the few things that alleviates the boredom and it’s better if it’s good.

And reader Ken Lightcap writes:
Having been through several ice storms in Kansas City, once without power for four days and only partial power for another five, I was greatful beyond words for a gas hot water heater and a gas range and oven. It was forty-seven degrees in the house but we had hot water for showers (feeling clean is a huge morale boost) and always fire to cook and bake. Also, don’t over-look the old K-1 kerosene heaters popular in the 70s and 80s. I was glad I never threw mine away. It kept pipes from freezing for nine days.

I keep one of those kerosene heaters, and an indoor-rated propane heater. When I was a little kid, we got through the Great Northeastern Blackout fairly well because we had a gas stove. It would have been much worse if we’d had all-electric.

And reader Peter Gookins offers this advice for canned goods: “Don’t forget to write the purchase date on the tops of canned goods so you can use the oldest first.”
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Technoviking on January 01, 2011, 19:02:52
I have my survival (read: NB Power Failure) kit stocked at all times.  Some canned meat, veggies, fruit cups, water, candles, etc.  Enough for three days.  And enough blunt objects to defend my stash from would-be looters ;)
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: jollyjacktar on January 01, 2011, 20:22:01
I have my survival (read: NB Power Failure) kit stocked at all times.  Some canned meat, veggies, fruit cups, water, candles, etc.  Enough for three days.  And enough blunt objects to defend my stash from would-be looters ;)

What are you doing with Julian Assange at your house.  Oh no, that would be a blunt excrement, not object.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: dapaterson on January 01, 2011, 20:34:25
I have my survival (read: NB Power Failure) kit stocked at all times.  Some canned meat, veggies, fruit cups, water, candles, etc.  Enough for three days.  And enough blunt objects to defend my stash from would-be looters ;)

Hello? Where's the Crown Royal on that list?
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Technoviking on January 01, 2011, 21:56:05
Hello? Where's the Crown Royal on that list?
Oh, that's not part of the survival kit, it's just here, omnipresent.  :-)
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on January 01, 2011, 22:28:23
Vodka is more versatile, it also works with your first aid kit (disinfectant, anesthetic), and if your water is going bad, you can refreshi t without feeling quite so guilty... ;)
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Old Sweat on January 01, 2011, 22:34:12
During the ice storm I used to pick an icicle each evening as it darkened and my wife and I would then enjoy a scotch on the rocks. One only, because we did not know when the world was going to rejoin us, but it was our reward for coping.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on January 02, 2011, 17:19:17
A very long discussion at Instapundit today (02 Jan 11)

Some points for those who are not inclined to look it up:

"Self heating" MRE's don't require huge amounts of water to reconstitute like dried foods do. Canadian IMPs also don't need to be reconstituted

Invest in a water filter, or jugs of unscented bleach. “In an emergency, think of this (one gallon of Regular Clorox Bleach) as 3,800 gallons of drinking water.”

Power supply. UPS systems are good for small items, but larger appliances need plenty of power. Your generator needs to put out enough amperage to start an electric motor, which is a lot more than just to run things. Limit the circuit to what you really need (fridge and well pump if you have a well), so you can use a reasonable sized generator. Some people have experimented with using hybrid cars to supply power, at least the car engine runs often and gets periodic maintainance.

More advanced prep includes the use of propane to supply heat and fuel. Consider the cost/benefit ratio for your situation'

Small toolkit, letherman/swiss army knife and rope should be on your list

Tarps and duct tape

Glowsticks (Cheap and easy to buy nowadays)

Cash (when the ATM and internet are out, cash still works)

Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Haletown on January 02, 2011, 17:57:56
We have a Go-Kit always packed . .   just an old "wheely" suitcase with our camping gear in it and two old backpacks ready to be filled with stuff from our pantry.

For food, we just buy cans of beans, stew, pastas etc and once a year we donate them to a food bank & then re-stock.  We have copies of survival instructions, First Aid kit, batteries,  a radio etc etc & 24 one litre bottles of water and a couple of rolls of toilet paper

We always have a bottle of ordinary Javex in the kit as well . . .   purification of water and being able to make surfaces & wounds  etc germ free is a biggy . . . even if the water may taste like crap.

We'd be good for at least 72 hours . . . we could stretch it if we had to.

My preference in an emergency would be to stay put, even if our condo was damaged.  So much stuff here to help survive - like two propane tanks & one of those indoor "safe" propane powered catalytic heaters  - and we do have a 9v CO detector just like the article recommended.

Never had to use it, hope we don't but it was pretty easy to assemble.  Had to store the camping gear somewhere.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Avor on January 02, 2011, 20:11:02
Other than the normal things to pack, like vodka and medievil weaponry, I would take a favouite book. Called "Back to Basics" (readers digest 1981), it's an old book that tells you everythinng you ever wanted to know about pioneer and basic liveing. It covers things like natual wool dyes, how to perpair animal furs, how/wha plants repersents the depth of the water table, how to build a log cabin, how and where to place a wind turbine, running a firsh farm, basic wood and metal work. Heck not only does it tell  you how to smoke and preserve your food, it shows you how to make a smoker out a old fridge!

I suppose you could also use this book as a blunt object, but this kind of info is priceless, and will help in the aftermath. Surviving the end of the modern, civilized world means jack if you end up living like a cave man, or run out canned food and die next winter.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on January 03, 2011, 19:37:12
The SAS survival guide is also full of useful information about long term outdoor survival. The pocket edition is best for your survival bag/bug out kit, so I would not be thinking in terms of using it as a blunt instrument. (note, the Kindel or ebook edition of this or other survival guide is NOT recommended!  ;D)
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on January 30, 2011, 16:30:12
Compact and effective first aid kit:

Individual First Aid Kits (IFAK) Help Save Lives in Tucson Shooting - links for training and amazon sells the parts

The United States military has long been at the forefront of providing lifesaving training and equipment to soldiers in combat. The Sheriff’s Department recognized the extreme value of taking these advancements and putting them into the hands of first responders in the field. In June 2010, all of our deputies were given an Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) designed for blunt force and penetrating trauma commonly associated with traumatic gunshot and stab wounds. Extensive research was conducted to develop these kits to include collaboration with SWAT trained paramedics and emergency room physicians. By the end of July 2010, every deputy had been trained and possessed the skills to successfully employ the IFAKs.

The value of this equipment cannot be overstated in providing initial life saving measures to victims until advanced medical support arrives.

These kits contain:

* 1 – SOF tactical tourniquet
* 2 – Emergency 6” military bandages
* 1 – Asherman chest seal
* 1 – Quick Clot combat gauze
* 1 - Pair of EMT shears

Go to link for more
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on February 22, 2011, 00:47:30
And a website/forum for all you survival fans:

Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: willellis on February 22, 2011, 01:03:53
From Wired (whould they lie?  ;))

Wow, looks like the writer just finished watching "The Book of Eli".
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Hamish Seggie on February 22, 2011, 08:49:54
Add shotguns, polearms and samurai swords to the list if you are waiting for the Zombie Apocalypse...... ;D
I love you man!! ;D
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Redeye on February 22, 2011, 09:28:43
I remember when those "have a 72 hour emergency kit" ads started running, my wife asked if I had one packed.  I said "I have a Glock 17, a couple hundred rounds of 9mm in the cabinet, and at least a couple of bottles of scotch in the house at any given time.  Anything else we need I can take from someone else or barter for."

That said, kidding aside,  I've been living in the country now for a year and a half, and you learn very quickly about what to keep around.  Nova Scotia Power is not exactly the most reliable of utilities when we get lashed by storms, and no power means no pump for my well means no water.  So there's a few gallons of bottled water downstairs, when storms are coming we fill up the sinks and bathtubs, and there's always enough food and propane in the house and firewood to last a few days at least.  I've never tried it obviously, but if another Hurricane Juan struck, I think I could endure for at least a week in whatever followed without needing anything from outside.  I know some "survivalist" types who are a little more crazy about things, but I don't see the need for that (barring a zombie apocalypse where what really matters is weapons and skill-at-arms anyhow).

It's amazing that people don't think of cash, either - we're so used to having access to ATMs, debit cards, etc.  Working in a bank I usually forget about it too because I don't think of going to the bank as a regular errand like most people would.  When the big blackout in 2003 hit, I was working in a bank and our manager, by candlelight, had the foresight to give us each $100 in cash - came in handy that night, because it was ridiculously hot so the memsahib and I just went for a long drive (in an air conditioned car) and eventually found a chip truck to have dinner at.  Lesson learned though - after a dramatic power failure, don't be surprised if fuel supplies get disrupted for a while.  Lots of gas stations ran out and replacement stock was a long time coming.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on February 26, 2011, 03:10:47
Various knives at

Gerber Bear Grylis Survival Series:
Several different multi tools, knives and survival gear

Ka-Bar D2 Extreme Knife W/Leather Sheath 2-1283-3:
Classic fighting knife. Much more rugged than the Fairbairn Sykes Commando knife, and can be used as a tool as well.

Ka-Bar Becker BK3 Tac Tool Fixed Blade Knife:
Think of a small pry bar with a very sharp edge....

Like everything else, what works for you depends on your circumstances and needs. Personally, I look at a knife as a tool, so being able to chop onions or cut cord is as important as dispatching sentries/zombies.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on March 24, 2011, 20:27:39
A comprehensive list from perhaps inspired by the Japanese experience:
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on March 31, 2011, 10:57:58
Japanese "hackers" respond to the disaster (part 1 of 2):

John Baichtal: How did Tokyo Hackerspace members react to the disaster?

Akiba: I don’t think anyone could really ignore what was going on. The mailing list was a fountain of information from people who were trying to debunk a lot of the sensationalism that was going on in the media. Luckily, we have members from scientific and technical backgrounds who would put a lot of the information into perspective. This was especially helpful for the nuclear meltdown.

A lot of the electronics guys went straight to work on putting together designs to scavenge power from the surroundings. One really innovative design is to use car batteries as phone chargers. There were a huge amount of cars that were wrecked by the tsunami and they were just lying around. They came up with the idea to salvage the batteries which have enough capacity to charge multiple phones and also run a wifi router.

We were also looking at different ways to detect radiation. A toxicologist in the hackerspace recommended dosimeters made out of x-ray film. He was also informing everyone about radiation including safe levels, standard thresholds that would require potassium iodide (KI), side effects of KI, how much seaweed would provide enough iodine for protection, etc. We were also investigating Kearny fallout meters as a poor man’s way to detect nuclear fallout.

The artists and writers in the hackerspace immediately started worrying about the displaced children and started up a project to bring them art supplies and activity/coloring books. Adults in disaster situations are so caught up in surviving the moment that children often get ignored. But for children, their homes are the center of their lives, and to have it torn from under them so immediately must be traumatic.

A Tokyo hackerspace member in Kamogawa got together with the locals to set up a refugee center at an unused, abandonded elementary school. The community in Kamogawa consists of many rice farmers so food would be plentiful. He organized a group of around 60 locals and immediately started cleaning up the school, setting up network access, soliciting donations of materials and money, and contacting government agencies.

And of course, for almost everything in the hackerspace, people were offering to donate time and money left and right. People would be researching topics on the mailing list, organizing fundraisers, volunteering at disaster relief groups, and calming each other down. I was surprised how fast everyone moved.

JB: Did the disaster affect any of the members personally?

A: We were all shaken up by the earthquake. After that, there were horrifying images all over the news about the tsunami leveling complete towns. Following that were continuous aftershocks, some of them quite powerful. It got to the point where you would start to feel phantom aftershocks.

A lot of us were gearing up to start assisting relief efforts and planning what needed to be done. This was my first experience with such a large scale disaster occurring so close to me. There were other members who assisted with Katrina and they were giving advice about what to expect and how events would unfold.

However around Sunday, there were explosions at the Fukushima power plant and radiation levels spiked on Monday and Tuesday. That basically shut down all of Tokyo and that’s when people started fleeing the city. All of this happening in such a short time span took its toll, not only on the members, but basically on all the residents of Tokyo. Riding the train to the hackerspace meeting, you could see the tension in the air. Jaws were clenched, there was complete silence on the train, and everyone was glued to their phone screens to check for updates.

The nuclear meltdown was bad enough, but the rolling blackouts added even more uncertainty. You couldn’t be sure if you could make it home at night because the trains could stop at anytime. We had to give ourselves a margin of 2-3 hours for any type of travel because the train schedules were so uncertain.

At the same time, staple items like bottled water and dry goods disappeared from shelves within days of the earthquake. You had to literally race out to check store shelves because you weren’t sure how long the food runs would last. With a gasoline shortage going on at the same time, it was questionable how long shelves could stay stocked. The convenience store underneath my apartment was almost stripped bare of food.

All of this happening at the same time will of course affect hackerspace members. There were a lot of tense posts on the mailing lists, pessimism, paranoia, but at the same time, there were a lot of positive posts about what could be done to take control of the situation.

The situation outside of the hackerspace was significantly worse in my opinion. The international media was talking up the events in Tokyo as a potential Chernobyl and many of us had to calm down people we knew. Many people I knew had bags packed and were ready to flee the city. I can’t say that I blame them, since many had families with small children. Risking a child’s life on an uncertain situation was a tall gamble.

After people got over the initial shock of everything, the radiation levels started going down, and more information was available, people started calming down and that’s when we were really able to start moving on a lot of projects. It’s still unfolding, but I think the rebuilding effort has already started and we’re planning to do as much as we can.

JB: Do you see hackerspaces as being ideally suited for helping out in disaster situations?

A: This is an interesting question. We had a discussion yesterday about hackerspaces and community resilience. Hackerspaces foster a maker culture where you’re encouraged to take apart, modify, and build things. In normal life, you can pretty much buy anything that you would need for everyday living. But in a disaster scenario, but this all breaks down in a disaster scenario. At that time, normal life ceases and you suddenly need a lot of things customized to a particular situation. Geiger counters were devices that used to be only purchased by people working with radioactive materials, paranoid militia, and weather geeks. Now they are becoming an everyday item in Tokyo.

What is needed in the quake area are power sources. One of our members who was up in Sendai when the quake and tsunami hit said that when he was at the shelter, people really just wanted communications. They wanted to let people know they were okay and to make sure others were okay. There were so many calls going around up there that many cell phones died within a day. Since there was no power, there was no way to charge them. In that situation, devices like a Minty Boost or phone chargers that could work off of scavenged power like car batteries, hand dynamos, or solar would have been extremely useful. It still is extremely useful because only a skeleton power grid has been constructed so far and in the tsunami areas there is still no power. Its assumed everyone evacuated but people are still there picking through rubble, looking for loved ones, and searching for survivors.

One of the points made by the discussion was that if a major disaster were to strike an area that had an active hackerspace, we believe that the members of the hackerspace would be the first people to pull the community together. Hackerspaces have tools and members with knowledge about how to make things from scratch and modify devices to suit their needs. If NYC Resistor existed when 9/11 occurred, I suspect that they would have had people and devices out there monitoring the situation immediately, and figuring out ways to address needs as the situation unfolded.

If a major environmental disaster were to hit San Francisco, I can imagine that Noisebridge would have weather balloons, monitoring stations, and software to disseminate all the information to the public within days.

One of the things that really struck me was how fast the other hackerspaces responded to our call for help and support. Within one day, we had offers coming out of hackerspaces in Oklahoma, Arizona, Detroit, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Germany, Singapore, and many other places. Our server went down the day after we posted the message due to traffic overload and the admins had to change the DNS and re-route the traffic just to log into it. At the moment, Ohmspace in Oklahoma is selling T-shirts and stickers with our lanterns to help us raise funds. Heatsync in Arizona is building out 300 lanterns. HackJam in Hong Kong is sending us a load of pre-built Minty Boosts. We have offers of building out another 1000 lanterns. And an informal hackerspace in Idaho spearheaded by Reuseum is helping us with fundraising, geiger counters, and lanterns.

So hackerspaces not only contribute to community resiliency by having the capability to make and modify things as needed. There is also a network of support from other hackerspaces that can respond almost immediately to a cry for help. Hackerspaces are a relatively new phenomenon in that they only started taking off around 2007 to 2008. I think this might be the first time where we are able to see what hackerspaces can do in a situation like this. I also think this provides valuable information for the future where hackerspaces can have items ready to assist in disaster response. In Tokyo Hackerspace, we’re putting together a plan to have designs specifically for disaster situations and that are ready to go immediately. They’ll all be OSHW/OSS and we’d like to start an effort to work with first responders like search and rescue organizations to train them on how to use the technology. That way, first responders can set up mobile charging stations, set up wide area portable intranets, and have a variety of tools at their disposal based on the situation.

JB: Tell me about how other hackerspaces made donations to Tokyo Hackerspace. Who helped, what did you get and what did you do with it?

A: This is still unfolding. A lot of the groups involved were mentioned above, but I’m sure I also left out some. The volume of emails and coordinating things is unbelievable and my brain capacity feel more limited than usual recently.

But anyways, the most immediate help we received were financial donations. We received around $2500 at the moment of this writing. ~$1000 was for donations for art supplies for children. $1500 was for lanterns. Approximately $1000 has been used so far for the lanterns to handle the mask charge, solar cells, parts, and shipping on 150 lanterns. We’ve also located a store of hand-dynamo phone chargers in Akihabara at a surplus shop so we’re using some of the donations to buy and send them up north.

We should have at least 500 additional lanterns coming in from abroad, many from hackerspaces. Many of these will be missing solar cells and mason jars so we’re saving the remaining donations to purchase whatever is needed to finish any incoming lanterns.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on March 31, 2011, 10:58:42
2 of 2:

JB: Why was the Geiger counter project needed? Didn’t citizens of Tokyo have access to radiation data?

A: Within one day of the nuclear meltdown, independent geiger counters started appearing on Ustream. They were from geiger kits made by Strawberry Linux in Japan. At the time, those were the only source of radiation data available to the public. The government only released radiation data after strong demands by the residents, international media, and representatives of different countries. Before that, the government would only release radiation readings once per day and it would be disseminated to the public like a weather report. There were many complaints internationally that the government was not releasing enough information and so they started releasing radiation data approximately a week after the incident started.

As you can imagine, people in the hackerspace and probably the tech community in general, is skeptical of government data. We wanted independent corroboration that the government data was accurate. In fact, most countries and the International Atomic Energy Agency decided to collect their own data independent of the government. The public should have access to something similar. Since then, there have been numerous geiger counters that have popped up and the collective information seems to match the numbers we’re seeing from the government. That allows people to have more confidence that the government numbers are accurate and reliable.

A day after the Fukushima explosions, we ordered 10 geiger tubes off of eBay and requested quotes for geiger tubes from LND. By that time, there was already a run on geiger counters and most suppliers were sold out. About two days after the meltdown started, Reuseum contacted us saying he had some geiger counters if were interested. We immediately ordered two of them. They had to go and pick them up from their warehouse. After that, there was uncertainty in shipping because many airlines were halting flights to Narita due to increased levels of radiation. They had to check with FedEx and UPS to see who could get it to us the fastest. FedEx said they were waiting to see how things turned out and so they didn’t know when they would be able to ship out the package. So Reuseum contacted UPS and they were able to get the geiger counters to us in about four days.

JB: How did you get other hackerspace members involved?

A: At the Tuesday hackerspace meeting after the earthquake, things were very tense. We had to figure out what needed to be done and we just put together a list. After that, we jumped on whichever project we thought we could be most effective in. Once we had the list going, we got to work on it and afterwards figured out what the priorities were. But the important thing was that we had to take some kind of action. Sitting around was the worst thing we could do because then you just get stuck in all the armageddon news that was being floated around. By doing something, we were able to take control of our own situations, and get our minds out of the helpless and powerless mentality. Looking back, I’d say that it didn’t matter whether a decision on a project was right or wrong. The most important thing was that a decision was made and the project moved forward. We sifted through things after we got the momentum going.

Once we got the projects going, people would spontaneously jump on them. For the geiger project, we had multiple volunteers saying they’d donate time on the software side. A few days later, SEEED studio let us know there was a collaborative project for OSHW geiger counters. After that, Pachube informed us that they were upgrading the accounts of people making radiation-related feeds in Japan, allowing us to have a large amount of feeds and unlimited history. Things just started working out and evolved with the situation.

The long range WiFi project also had multiple volunteering time and effort. We had a workday and we configured routers in repeater mode and tested out high gain directional antennas. One of the members set up an Asterisk server so we could test out VoIP data. We had a conference call with one of the member’s wife who was a survivor of the Kobe earthquake. She said that it was a great effort but when she was in that situation, what mattered were immediate needs. Based on her feedback, we decided to postpone the long range WiFi project for the time being to focus on whatever we could get out immediately.

Lauren started the Tohoku Smiles project with the art supplies for kids. She’s heavily involved with the Democrats Abroad community in Asia and solicited a lot of donations from them for the supplies. This project is also on hold temporarily though to focus on immediate needs.

Chris Harrington started up a shelter in Kamogawa. He was part of our rice farm sensor network project and also started a farm out there. He’s an active member of the local community and they’ve been trying to decide what to do with an abandoned public school. There were not enough children around to justify keeping the school open. He was looking into turning it into an art gallery last year. After this situation happened, he discussed it with the community leaders and they went forward with converting it into a shelter. Since then, he’s had local groups from Tokyo and neighboring towns coming out to assist in cleaning the school and prepping it for refugees. Many evacuees from Fukushima will probably be residing there while the area is either cleaned up or the government can relocate them. As soon as he started the project up, there were many offers of support from the hackerspace and we informed him that we could drive a truck out there with supplies. We also sent him one of the geiger counters we received so they can scan incoming food donations to assure people the food they were eating was safe.

The lantern project took on a life of its own. We had lots of hackerspaces offering help to assemble them, sending us parts, and also sending us donations for it. We also have lots of volunteers in Tokyo to help us with the assembly.

So as you can see, all of the projects were independently started and basically originated spontaneously. They’re also evolving spontaneously. Eventually, more organization will be built in, but its beautiful to see something like this.

JB: Regarding the geiger counters, what were some technical obstacles that you overcame?

A: The first priority was to minimize the risk that I’d destroy the device. I tried to keep the modifications as non-invasive as possible to prevent this. This is always nerve racking.

I wasn’t sure at first if it was actually possible to digitize the signals. The first instinct was to probe the output to the VU meter but it felt like it would be too risky. We were talking about the possibility of probing the chirps from the speaker in the hackerspace so I decided to try out this method. I wasn’t sure if they were using a dual rail supply (+/- voltages) to power the speaker so I started probing the speaker signal. It turns out that it was a single ended supply from 0 to 8V. The voltage was slightly high but if I limited the current, it should be okay for the arduino. I wrote a quick sketch that would just loop until it detected a high on the input from the speaker. I was able to hear all the chirps so I decided to follow this approach.

The next obstacle was powering the device. I wanted to just solder wires on the battery terminals inside the box, but they were covered with some type of glue or epoxy. I didn’t want to try and remove it so I decided to solder wires on the batteries themselves. The batteries were alkaline so I didn’t want to risk outputting current from an external supply while the batteries were giving up charge too. I know that alkaline batteries don’t like being charged and I didn’t want to risk having the batteries malfunction. I insulated the batteries so they wouldn’t make contact with the battery terminals. I then used the copper tape we use to solder EL wire to solder wires on to the insulated part of the batteries. The batteries were just to help the copper tape make contact with the battery terminals. The power was supplied by the 3.3V regulator output on the Freakduino boards.

Finally, the last obstacle was getting data into Pachube. It was the first time interfacing to Pachube so I used their Processing interface tutorial. It was mostly painless except for some minor hiccups with some stupid coding errors.

JB: Why did you use the Freakduino and Chibi [which Akiba designed and sells] in the project, other than that I assume you have them lying around?

A: My first instinct was to use the Arduino Duemilanova I have on my bench. I was aware that by using my board, it would look like I was turning a bad situation into a marketing opportunity. When I did a preliminary scan of measurements, I found that the readings outside my apartment were about 2-3x the readings inside. I decided that I wanted to keep the geiger outside since that was where I thought it’d be the most effective in monitoring. It would also be able to see spikes in radiation. If you look at Geiger Maps and zoom in on the Tokyo area, you can see that there are very definite differences in measurements from geiger counters that are located indoors versus outdoors. You can check the sensor position by looking up the Pachube profile on those sensors. The government geiger counters and the ones from research labs were all located outdoors so I figured it was best for me to do the same.

Locating the geiger outdoors would mean that I’d have to run a cable from the inside of my apartment to the outside. The temperatures were cold at night and since the radioactivity was mostly from airborne particles, I didn’t want to have my door open all the time. Running a USB cable outside would mean that the door would have to be slightly ajar which I didn’t want to do. I tested out a wireless interface and got it to work quickly. I then put it outside with just a thin AC cable and saw that I was able to shut my balcony door. That was the reason I decided to use the Freakduino although to be honest, I don’t mind the publicity either. It’s kind of moot point, though. Shop sales were decimated by the nuclear event since many people are scared of anything coming out of Tokyo due to the nuclear meltdown.

Are you a hackerspace member with an event you’d like to publicize? Send it to or tweet me at @johnbaichtal and I’ll post it. Also feel free to subscribe to my hackerspaces Twitter list. Hackerspace Happenings will run weekly Tuesdays, and the next one will come out April 5th.

Posted by John Baichtal   |   Tuesday March 29th, 2011 5:00 PM

As an interesting aside, this tracks with the Libertarians as a social movement meme; the hackers are going to work without any reference to the government, and are generally working much faster and more efficiently. Jerry Pournelle talked about this in the past, comparing the all volunteer Civil Defense organizations of the 1950's with FEMA after Hurricane Katrina. Bureaucrats are good at making plans, not so much at executing them.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on April 22, 2011, 23:02:16
Looking for something to ride out the Zombie Apocalypse? Lots of pictures

Well, I've been bumping into this house on design websites for a while now without really looking into it. I just thought its another one of those minimally designed cool houses. Turns out its a bit more than that!

Located on the outskirts of Warsaw, Poland, 'The Safe House' by Katowice-based architectural
office KWK Promes is a two-storey residential house that aims to provide a feeling
of maximum security for the residents.

True to its name, the most distinguishable element of the design is the moveable exterior wall components that allow the house to be completely closed to its environment or open and connected to the rural landscape.

While the initial read of the design might seem confining, the house, when in its open state, offers immense transparency while establishing a strong relationship to the site.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: dinicthus on May 04, 2011, 04:40:48
Well, assuming you are speaking of the same Apocalypse as listed in the Bible, then find all your Christian friend's houses, at least the ones who were raptured out of here, (or all committed mass suicide, along with every single innocent child on Earth, as the media will likely report) and collect all the guns, ammo, and food that  you can find, because God (really) knows that they won't be needing it.

Make sure to not receive that mark on your forehead or hand/wrist, because all who receive that over the coming seven years will be tossed into the lake of fire, eventually, which, from all accounts, seems to be a negative environment in which to spend forever, and try to live in a way that avoids all forms of telecommunication or contact with others who are using telecommunications.

Northern Canada is a great place to start working on those seven years' worth of MRE's you secreted away in that 53.5' container out in who knows where, and, well, some form of electronic monitoring of the media so you can watch the sane world disintegrate from the comfort of your OTHER 53.5' container equipped with the infrastructure to support life.

Things will be greatly simplified if you neglect to acquire any dependents prior to said apocalypse. However, if you did commit that preparedness faux pas, then merely triple everything, for spouse and child, or more as the list of dependents grows, and proceed as indicated.

Do NOT make tracks in the snow during winter, do not cause large smoke plumes, and don't use a vehicle for anything unless it is exceedingly well camouflaged from any form or wavelength of remote detection. Big Brother will not only be watching you if he can, but demanding obedience and tribute.

It may never be too early to start preparing, but it can definitely be too late. :) If you get all this ready, and then have the bad form to be one of those people who gets taken out in the rapture, you can always prepare in advance, bequeath it to your favorite relatives or whoever you think is most likely to be Left Behind. They can thank you later, if they survive.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: SpesWales on May 09, 2011, 14:17:15
got to add one of these to kit
the crovel, best thing i ever wanted!
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on May 10, 2011, 01:25:45
Oh, piffle. This is much more versatile!
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: NavyShooter on May 10, 2011, 05:59:42

I'm well equipped....

Bring ammo if you're coming over, but be sure to call first. 

There's 3 nice things about having a house on a hill.

1.  Nice view  (good selling point for wife)

2.  Flooding isn't a concern (understandable practical concern that the wife understands)

3.  Good fields of fire/view (wife looks at you like you're nuts....until the zombies/apocalypse come)

 >:D   :threat:   >:D 
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Hawk on May 10, 2011, 07:40:22
Some friends and I went through this exercise a few years ago - what we'd do when the "lights went out", using that phrase for any tilt in society. I have the SAS survival guide, and one of my friends is a Native who has lived off the land. I collected a basic survival kit including Leatherman, various knives, first aid stuff, etc. Most of our exercise, however, was on paper. It was interesting the ideas this small group came up with, for survival, defense, then setting up a place to live.

About to experience my first hurricane last year, I went online for suggestions for my supplies, and put together the suggested kit. Now its always on hand.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: dinicthus on May 14, 2011, 01:32:02
How about spending a weekend in "surviving with only that which we have prepared for surviving such an occasion" mode?

What better way to ascertain what would be handy than actually running a field test, using the stuff you have prepared?
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Bass ackwards on May 14, 2011, 20:06:43
Figured I'd post this here, given that the Telegraph was the most credible source I could find covering this story.

Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provision of the Copyright Act:

Giant asteroid heading close to Earth
A giant asteroid weighing 55 million tonnes will just miss the Earth later this year, Nasa experts have predicted.

By Martin Evans 7:02AM BST 05 May 2011
The rock, which is quarter of a mile across, will pass between our planet and the moon in November and will be visible with small telescopes.
Robin Scagell of the Society for Popular Astronomy said: “It’s rare we get the chance to see an asteroid up close.”
If it were to hit the earth, the asteroid, named YU55, would have an impact equivalent to 65,000 atom bombs and would leave a crater more than six miles wide and 2,000ft deep.
Passing by at a distance of just 201,000 miles, the asteroid will be the largest object ever to approach the earth so close.
Nasa has officially labelled it a Potentially Hazardous Object, but have stressed there is no danger of impact while on its current course.


Shall we all drag out our old copies of Lucifer's Hammer ? (ironically, I've been rereading mine the past few days and a coworker mentioned hearing about this asteroid today at work)

Thucydides, I like your shotgun. I've got a '97 but with a very long barrel on it. I'd love to find the fixin's to convert it to a trench broom.

(Edited to highlight the article and add the copyright caveat)
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Hamish Seggie on May 16, 2011, 17:47:09
So my brain was working last night,....for a change.

Now that Osama bin Laden is dead....what if his corpse a zombie?

Osama Bin what a thought!
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: HavokFour on May 18, 2011, 01:54:21
So my brain was working last night,....for a change.

Now that Osama bin Laden is dead....what if his corpse a zombie?

Osama Bin what a thought!

Good thing he's a couple thousand feet under water.  ;D

EDIT: Scratch that, the Zombie Apocalypse has begun. Gentlemen, I give you Patient Zero.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Sythen on May 19, 2011, 00:02:09

I take this as conclusive evidence it will happen soon. *puts on tin foil hat*
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: HavokFour on May 19, 2011, 00:30:26

I take this as conclusive evidence it will happen soon. *puts on tin foil hat*

Well this was unexpected, I'm feeling kind of paranoid now. What a twist!  :o
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: ballz on May 19, 2011, 00:37:41
I've been preparing for the apocolypse for the last 8 months and packing for the last week or more. You have all been been misinformed about the date, but you will be ready 3 days early so it's no big deal.

The real apocolypse is May 24 when the Infantry DP1.1 course starts.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Technoviking on May 19, 2011, 11:19:28
The real apocolypse is May 24 when the Infantry DP1.1 course starts.

Oh, I'm ready for that!  ;D
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Hamish Seggie on May 19, 2011, 14:12:15
Oh, I'm ready for that!  ;D
No you aren't.....

Latest on the Zombie Apocalypse. Don't forget the Spanish Inquisition.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on June 26, 2011, 23:22:59
In cosmic terms, 8000 miles is a bit too close for comfort:

Asteroid To Buzz Earth Monday, June 27th

Asteroid 2011 MD, a chunk of rock estimated to be 20 to 65 feet (2 to 20 m) across, is expected to pass less than 8,000 miles above Earth's surface around 1 p.m. EDT (17:00 UT) on Monday, June 27th. The actual event will be observable only from South Africa and parts of Antarctica, but the approach will be visible across Australia, New Zealand, southern and eastern Asia, and the western Pacific.

When word spread about the approaching asteroid 2011 MD, Peter Birtwhistle used his 16-inch (0.4-m) f/6 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope to capture it. Each of these two frames is a combination of five 20-second exposures, taken on June 23, 2011, from 1:41 to 1:45 Universal Time.
Peter Birtwhistle / Great Shefford Obs.

The asteroid was spotted on June 22nd by LINEAR, theLincoln Near-Earth Researchproject. Its discovery was announced on Thursday morning by the Minor Planet Center.

The asteroid's orbit is uncannily similar to Earth's orbit. But there's no chance that the asteroid will hit Earth on this approach, and almost no risk at its next close approach, in 2022. If the asteroid did strike, it would probably explode in the upper atmosphere — a fine spectacle, but harmless.

Nor is it a piece of space junk from a 1962 launch, as was suggested early on. Additional observations have made it possible to calculate 2011 MD's orbit past and future quite accurately. Bill Gray, a well-known expert on orbital dynamics, has run the orbit backward in time, and is now quite sure that this asteroid could not have been close enough to Earth any time during the space age to have started off as a rocket booster. So it seems to be a genuine chunk of rock after all.

This is not the closest known asteroid approach; in fact, a smaller asteroid actually struck Earth in 2008. In addition, three other asteroids have come closer than 0.00012 astronomical units (11,000 miles) from Earth's center, the estimated distance of 2011 MD at its closest.

However, this is probably the biggest known asteroid to have come this close. Note the phrase "known asteroid." No doubt many asteroids much bigger than this one made close approaches without being detected before the near-Earth-object (NEO) surveys ramped up in the 1990s. According to asteroid specialists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, an asteroid of this size should pass this close to Earth every six years on average.

The path of asteroid 2011 MD near Earth. The asteroid's orbit is actually highly inclined; here it's been projected into the plane of Moon's orbit. The dot for each date corresponds to 0h Universal Time. Click on the image for a larger view.
The logistics for seeing the moment of closest approach are poor. It takes place in broad daylight and halfway between the southern tip of South America and the northernmost point in Antarctica. The event is visible fairly low in the sky in deep twilight from South Africa.

However, the asteroid should be visible in the hours leading up to the closest approach across Australia, New Zealand, southern and eastern Asia, and the western Pacific. The farther south you are, the better. The farther west you are within this zone, the shorter the period of visibility, but the closer to Earth the asteroid will be when it disappears.

The asteroid peaks brighter than magnitude 11.0 at the places where the closest approach is visible, and it's already about magnitude 12.5 — fairly easy to spot in an 8-inch telescope — by 14:30 UT, 2½ hours before closest approach.

The asteroid will be very hard to observe after its closest approach, since it's departing more or less toward the Sun.

To observe the asteroid you will need a good telescope (the bigger the better), excellent charts and the know-how to use them, and ephemerides from either the Minor Planet Center or the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Make sure you enter the proper latitude and longitude. With an object this close, a small difference in the observer's location makes a huge difference where it appears in the sky.

Posted By Tony Flanders, June 23, 2011
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: JoeMoe on July 21, 2011, 00:00:38
A zombie survival kit isn't a kit without all seaons of The Sopranos and a DVD player.. great series.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Hamish Seggie on July 21, 2011, 09:54:38
A zombie survival kit isn't a kit without all seaons of The Sopranos and a DVD player.. great series.

right....and how do you think you're going to power the DVD player?
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: ballz on July 21, 2011, 10:05:10
The new fossil fuel = Zombie corpses

I'll bet one corpse would burn like a tank of furnace oil
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Hamish Seggie on July 21, 2011, 10:11:04
The new fossil fuel = Zombie corpses

I'll bet one corpse would burn like a tank of furnace oil

 ;D Thank you!! That did make me smile!! Well done.....
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Dovely74 on July 21, 2011, 10:16:41
The new fossil fuel = Zombie corpses

I'll bet one corpse would burn like a tank of furnace oil

Could almost be possible, as per this design:
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: JoeMoe on July 21, 2011, 13:24:11
right....and how do you think you're going to power the DVD player?

Solar powered of course.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on July 30, 2011, 20:34:49
Place a treadmill between you and the zombie hordes. They will shamble onto it and start walking, turning the treadmill and the attached generator. Since they won't stop until they snack on you, you should be assured all the electrical energy you need.

The DVD player needs to have a good set of speakers to drown out the moaning while you enjoy your DVD.  ;D
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: ballz on July 31, 2011, 19:52:58
But that would be so much better for the environment....  >:(
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on July 31, 2011, 23:17:07
Other people are also thinking about surviving the apocalypse:
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Grey51 on August 01, 2011, 00:28:39
So my brain was working last night,....for a change.

Now that Osama bin Laden is dead....what if his corpse a zombie?

Osama Bin what a thought!

The perfect excuse to get some range time on your own personal Osombie Bin Laden! :D(

Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on November 13, 2011, 15:42:18
And what post apocalyptic wasteland adventure isn't improved with a tasty sandwitch?

CMMG’s Tactical Sammich

When the apocalypse arrives, will you be stuck eating astronaut ice cream, or would you prefer a hearty sandwich?
By Ed Friedman (RSS)
November 10, 2011

They laughed at you when you warned them about the zombies. They called you crazy, paranoid—a lunatic. Now, the economy has collapsed. Civil unrest has rocked the cities and suburbs. Food is scarce, and what little can be found is unappetizing. Fortunately, you don’t care, because you were
smart enough to stock up on CMMG’s Tactical Sammich.

In the midst of the post-apocalyptic wasteland, you have a tasty sandwich that stays fresh for up to five years. There’s even a flavor choice from the company that gave us Tactical Bacon a few years ago: pepperoni or barbecued beef.

How does it taste? Well, again, it is a Tactical Sammich, designed for consumption when things deserving of the tactical moniker are needed, so taste is not your number one concern. That said, the sandwich is not awful. The bread was surprisingly spongy—not at all stale—and the beef wasn’t as dry as one might expect from a vacuum-sealed food product. We’d describe the taste as similar to beef jerky on under-baked focaccia.
Compared to other survival foods we’ve tried, it’s quite good, and it will almost certainly be a nice dose of variety to freeze-dried chicken and Spam or dehydrated lasagna, Spam and Spam dinners. Plus, you’ll be the only guy on your block with a Tactical Sammich, which means you’ll be the only one left when the zombies come.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: FlyingDutchman on November 15, 2011, 02:05:00
Condoms.  Do you want to raise a new born in a wasteland?  Also good for trading.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Bass ackwards on November 15, 2011, 15:52:15
Condoms.  Do you want to raise a new born in a wasteland?  Also good for trading.

Ah, but if you don't raise newborns in the wasteland, then who's going to protect you when you get too old and decrepit to do it for yourself ?

As far as valuable trade goods: in a post apocalyptic world, I bet a lot more people are going to be hungry rather than horny...(you figure it out ;))
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Hamish Seggie on November 15, 2011, 18:22:33
You all should have watched "When Aliens Attack" the other night.

Every woman of child bearing age should be pregnant.

Those who can't should be warriors - there....condoms- good to keep crap out of the barrels of your Zombie killers.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: BadgerTrapper on November 16, 2011, 17:37:43
Actually, Jim. Condoms, excellent for covering Scopes and putting on the muzzle of your respective Zombie killing machine. (My Setup, Ruger 10/22. 50 Round magazine, Hollowpoint High Velocity rounds and a Meprolight 21 Reflex sight). Not really the kind of thing I wanna get wet, so if you're ever conducting amphibious ops, *nudge, nudge*
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: NavyShooter on November 17, 2011, 00:15:17
I've got a few to choose from, but here's a current favorite...belt-fed .22 rimfire:



(Yeah, I know....maybe I should have cleaned it before I took the picture...)

Failing that, I have these to pick from too:


Tripods are a good thing...just ask my 8 year old:

Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on November 28, 2011, 01:07:57
Where to go after the Apocalypse (although it is better to already be in place):

The East Coast Retreat Dilemma

by M.D. Creekmore on Sunday, November 27, 2011 · 5 comments

By Joel M. Skousen,

Author, Strategic Relocation—North American Guide to Safe Places

Many people new to the preparedness field often get exposed early on to the writings of survival blogger and author James Wesley Rawles (Patriots and Survivors). I have a great deal of respect for Rawles and the work he has done to get America motivated to prepared for very difficult times.

His books and tactics, however, often revolve around a civilian military style response to both government tyranny and social unrest which is beyond the capabilities of most people. In addition, Rawles now promotes a related concept for retreating called “The American Redoubt” which consists of 3 states and parts of 2 others in the West which he feels are the only areas ultimately defensible, where Americans can and should make a final stand for liberty and survival when things really get bad.

His American Redoubt includes all of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and the eastern parts of Oregon, and Washington. He envisions this area as a focus point of collecting fellow patriots who want to survive and forging them into a “Biblically-sound and Constitutionally-sound silver local currency [community] that will give it unity.” These five states he selects happen to be also highly rated in my book on Strategic Relocation, though I expand the selection to include Utah and Western Colorado as well.

But ultimate retreating to the safest areas is not within the reach of all but a few, and is not without serious compromise in other important factors. I’ve consulted with people for 40 years and most just can’t just pick up and leave where they live and relocate to one of these 7 states in the far West? Does this mean no one else survives the major wars and social unrest that are looming on the horizon? Not at all.

As a relocation specialist and designer, I found safe retreat locations and helped clients develop high security homes in every state of the union and you can too. The concept that anyone caught East of the Mississippi River is doomed is only partially valid and highly exaggerated. It is based on the fact that the largest concentrations of people are East of the Mississippi, and that high population densities are your greatest threat in a severe crisis where food and public infrastructure fails—when even good people will be forced to pillage for survival.

To be truthful, the US coastal plains east of the Appalachian chain of mountains is the most dangerous area in America since that is where the overall concentrations of people are the highest and where the level of individual preparedness is the lowest. The areas west of this first chain of mountains will become the general destination of choice for people fleeing the East Coast. Because refugee flows will flow exclusively westward, Rawles condemns it as unsuitable (at least as to a military-style standoff) clear up to the Mississippi river and beyond.

But for the vast majority who intend to survive without directly military confrontation, there are a much wider set of alternatives. When you understand the principles of retreat location siting, and learn to avoid the flows of refugees (who will take fairly predictable paths out of the major cities), you can find relative safety in many rural forested and elevated areas in the East. It won’t provide the same kind of long-term safety as places farther west, but you can survive. The closer to population centers in meltdown, the greater the risk of having to deal with the more criminal type of looters. And that will happen near any major metro.

But the reality of all this is that few will find the perfect solution. Each person has to prepare as best they can given each person’s limited resources and abilities to relocate. That’s why I concentrate so much on contingency planning in Strategic Relocation knowing that few people can just “up and move” to the safest locations. Many who have done so have underestimated the costs. I know from long experience that self-sufficiency if very expensive and people underestimate the skills needed and overestimate the savings from self-sufficiency. In short, quickly exhaust their savings and end up moving back to civilization. That happened a lot of people leaving jobs and buying rural during Y2K.

Let me give you an example of the general choices for people on the East Coast. The first line of retreat is that chain of mountains to the West—we’ll call it the Appalachians generally, even though you might know it locally as the Catskills, Berkshires, Great Smokeys or Blue Ridge mountains, etc. These are the most convenient retreat sites for most people because they are closest to the suburban areas in which they live.

Having a retreat within an hour or two has its advantages in terms of access and service of the construction process, but it also has the disadvantage of being closer to the actual threats of social unrest that will flow out of the major cities. These refugee flows will concentrate on low valley roads going through the mountains as people head for other known cities first. When they find no refuge in those other cities, the concentrations of flows further west will diminish as people drop off due to fatigue, hunger and discouragement and start foraging locally. That’s where the danger of a site close to danger comes in: eventually, desperate people will make it to rural homes and cabins even in the mountains.

Only those, who are located out of these flows, and not visible from main roads will have a chance of evading major confrontations. And, even then, I recommend a strategy of providing concealment underground so as to avoid armed confrontation whenever possible. While I don’t have the space in this article to cover all that I’ve written about as far as retreat areas in the East, I will give a review of the highest rated areas relatively within a day’s drive.

Redoubt of the East

The first range of mountains can give you significant safety, but you can achieve a significantly higher level of safety going beyond the Appalachians to the high plateau regions of Tennessee and Kentucky. This massive and relatively unpopulated area is called the Cumberland Plateau—most of which falls within the state of Tennessee. A narrow section goes north into Kentucky but much of that is part of the Daniel Boone National Forest, where you can only buy land near the edge of the plateau.

Tennessee is where the most land is available on the plateau. This state is a famous battleground state with deep conservative sentiment and lots to offer in terms of lifestyle: great music, horse country, good growing climate and fine people. TN gets my best rating for a retreat state in the East. Land is relatively cheap and there is no income tax. Garden potential is good, there is lots of forest land within a tankful of gas from many large eastern cities.

I consider the Tennessee Cumberland Plateau the “redoubt of the East,” and it is my highest rated area for retreats near the East Coast. In a meltdown of the social order, by the time refugees get through the first mountain range and the numerous mountain rifts that confront them—before seeing the 1000 foot high Cumberland Plateau, they will be highly motivated to stay on the valley floor with its promise of food and civilization (the lure that keeps people on the march). There isn’t much agriculture on the plateau (though it is fine for growing garden crops) nor large communities so there is little draw for refugees to make the trek up those slopes. What highways do lead up to the plateau cut through steep valleys and gorges and are fairly easy to block off to restrict access.

The two major cities that are closest to the plateau are Knoxville and Chattanooga. Both are very nice cities with fairly good economies that can support those who can relocate but still need to stay in the job market. The southern plateau areas are about an hour from Chattanooga and the northern areas are about the same distance and time from Knoxville. Interstate 40 cuts across the plateau and links Knoxville to Nashville. You should give it a wide berth.

The best area for those coming from Virginia and states to the northeast is the plateau area north of I-40 ranging from the Catoosa Wildlife Area on up to the Kentucky border where the Big South Fork Recreation Area is found. You have to avoid the Oak Ridge nuclear research site on the Tennessee river valley floor (a prime nuclear target during war), but the northern part of the Plateau along highway 27 from Wartburg to Winfield gets you far enough west and east of the threat area to be safe. The northern plateau area has two or three pockets of federal land which makes a nice backdrop for a retreat, especially if you find running water on your land.

The southern plateau south of I-40 has an even larger land area and is only sparsely populated. There is a small town in the middle named Spencer, but I prefer the broad forested lands further south near McMinnville, which the closest full service valley town to the plateau. Highway 111 and 8 get you down off the plateau to the East or West sides of the plateau for shopping and jobs. Check out this area and you’ll find there is considerable safety in the East. There is hope.

Joel Skousen, is the publisher of the World Affairs Brief, a weekly news analysis and commentary service online at  Mr. Skousen’s books (The Secure Home, and Strategic Relocation—North American Guide to Safe Places) are showcased on his website
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Journeyman on November 28, 2011, 01:26:32
In the middle of a somewhat rambling discussion during the Grey Cup half-time, this young woman offered up, "I told my friend that if zombies attacked, we should head to that Army Reserve Armoures -- the walls are thick, they have guns, and Messes full of alcohol."

While I thought it funny that she completely dismissed the RegF Base, I like the way she thinks.   :nod:
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Canadian.Trucker on November 28, 2011, 16:47:58
The SAS survival guide is also full of useful information about long term outdoor survival. The pocket edition is best for your survival bag/bug out kit, so I would not be thinking in terms of using it as a blunt instrument. (note, the Kindel or ebook edition of this or other survival guide is NOT recommended!  ;D)
Ooooo, good idea.

I remember when those "have a 72 hour emergency kit" ads started running, my wife asked if I had one packed.  I said "I have a Glock 17, a couple hundred rounds of 9mm in the cabinet, and at least a couple of bottles of scotch in the house at any given time.  Anything else we need I can take from someone else or barter for."
+1 to this, guns + ammo = an effective "negotiating" tool if the world is crashing down around our ears.

My plan is to head to the closest base and start raiding buildings.  I have it well planned out as to how I would go about do it, both short term and long term.  The great thing about a zombie apocalypse plan is that it works for many things including the government collapsing and the world being in a complete global meltdown with everyone fending for themselves, just change out zombie for murderous citizen and you're good.  I guess the only big difference is I'd give the citizen a warning shot first to allow them the opportunity to choose to leave the hell alone and find someone else to steal from.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on November 29, 2011, 09:45:06
In the middle of a somewhat rambling discussion during the Grey Cup half-time, this young woman offered up, "I told my friend that if zombies attacked, we should head to that Army Reserve Armoures -- the walls are thick, they have guns, and Messes full of alcohol."

While I thought it funny that she completely dismissed the RegF Base, I like the way she thinks.   :nod:

In many places, the reserve armouries are large, self contained, castle like buildings with thick walls and few openings. She is obviously planning ahead.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on November 29, 2011, 09:45:48
More on planning ahead:
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on December 05, 2011, 19:44:58
And to prepare for the digital apocalypse:

How to Avoid Incriminating Facebook Photos by Drinking More!
By Mike Schuster    December 2, 2011 01:45 PM


Has this ever happened to you?

You're enjoying a spirited evening with acquaintances at one of several establishments that happen to be very generous with libations. Conversations become more lively, inhibitions grow lax, and the next think you know, your tongue is tonsil-deep in your coworker's throat.

All right, let me rephrase the original question: How often has this happened to you?

Given the ubiquity of iPhones and Androids with direct access to Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Flickr, and other photo blogs with easy tagging, you, your boss, or your mother could easily answer that question. While the images may not be so incriminating as a keg stand atop a pool table or a brief flash of your assets on the dance floor, nearly everyone with a social network presence has a few photographs of themselves they'd rather not have online.

But what can we do? Ask our friends to take down the photos? Destroy any smartphone that flashes in our vicinity? Finally own up to our dangerous relationship with alcohol?

Fortunately, thanks to a solution by South American beer brand Cerveza Norte, we won't have to do any of those things.

Introducing Photoblocker: Cerveza Norte's solution to unwarranted, potentially embarrassing photos taken in bars, pubs, clubs, dives, and lounges. Developed with Buenos Aires-based agency Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, Photoblocker is -- no joke -- a beer cooler which senses cell phone flashes in its vicinity and flashes its own counteractive light, rendering the photos overexposed and the inebriated subjects unidentifiable.

So, essentially, drinking more can actually save your reputation!

According to Fast Company, Del Campo's executive creative director Maxi Itzkoff has already field tested Photoblocker in regional bars and he claims it works splendidly. "We placed several beer coolers in different bars in the North of Argentina," he said. "People took lots of photos that ended up being blurry beyond recognition and then uploaded them to social media anyway."

Only this time, your job, your home, and the custody of your children are still safe and sound.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: PMedMoe on December 06, 2011, 14:50:06

Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on January 17, 2012, 16:22:36
Updated list on

Pre- Post Apocalyptic Survival

A Listmania! list by Lind Ballmer "A setback is a setup for a comeback" (Glen Burnie, MD)
The list author says: "It's funny and sometimes quasi-useful to read about zombie survival and all that, but in my humble opinion, zombies are not a viable focal point due to lack of reality. I think we would be better served to prepare for a complete collapse of civilization, where your greatest threats are surviving nature off the grid, and surviving other survivors. We humans have a very long history of doing horrendous things to each other, be wary. Think about how psychotic people can be driving, and that's in the face of law and consequences; absent law and order, you need to be very alert about people's intentions.

These are things that may be good to accumulate over a few years time. This will serve as a sense of security for you and people you care about if law and order exit stage left.

There are things you will need that money cannot buy: stay in decent shape, learn survival skills, learn to think critically and tactically. Go camping or hiking from time to time, just to see how you would fare in the wilderness if you had to." 
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: BadgerTrapper on January 21, 2012, 13:44:55
Hey, Navy. What model is that Belt Fed .22? I'm sure I've seen those products floating around the web before, never really looked into them though. Is it not just a .22 receiver on an AR frame? Also, what kind of Optic is on it?
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on January 22, 2012, 14:26:58
While I'm all for being prepared, I usually think of prolonged power outages, snowstorms or fire. Being stranded in a remote location if your car breaks down is another probable event to be prepared for. The cult of "survivalism" from the 1980's (then they were planing to survive a nuclear attack) is apparently back, getting ready for far greater disasters:

Subculture of Americans prepares for civilization's collapse

By Jim Forsyth
Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:44am EST
(Reuters) - When Patty Tegeler looks out the window of her home overlooking the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia, she sees trouble on the horizon.

"In an instant, anything can happen," she told Reuters. "And I firmly believe that you have to be prepared."

Tegeler is among a growing subculture of Americans who refer to themselves informally as "preppers." Some are driven by a fear of imminent societal collapse, others are worried about terrorism, and many have a vague concern that an escalating series of natural disasters is leading to some type of environmental cataclysm.

They are following in the footsteps of hippies in the 1960s who set up communes to separate themselves from what they saw as a materialistic society, and the survivalists in the 1990s who were hoping to escape the dictates of what they perceived as an increasingly secular and oppressive government.

Preppers, though are, worried about no government.

Tegeler, 57, has turned her home in rural Virginia into a "survival center," complete with a large generator, portable heaters, water tanks, and a two-year supply of freeze-dried food that her sister recently gave her as a birthday present. She says that in case of emergency, she could survive indefinitely in her home. And she thinks that emergency could come soon.

"I think this economy is about to fall apart," she said.

A wide range of vendors market products to preppers, mainly online. They sell everything from water tanks to guns to survival skills.

Conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck seems to preach preppers' message when he tells listeners: "It's never too late to prepare for the end of the world as we know it."

"Unfortunately, given the increasing complexity and fragility of our modern technological society, the chances of a societal collapse are increasing year after year," said author James Wesley Rawles, whose Survival Blog is considered the guiding light of the prepper movement.

A former Army intelligence officer, Rawles has written fiction and non-fiction books on end-of-civilization topics, including "How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It," which is also known as the preppers' Bible.

"We could see a cascade of higher interest rates, margin calls, stock market collapses, bank runs, currency revaluations, mass street protests, and riots," he told Reuters. "The worst-case end result would be a Third World War, mass inflation, currency collapses, and long term power grid failures."

A sense of "suffering and being afraid" is usually at the root of this kind of thinking, according to Cathy Gutierrez, an expert on end-times beliefs at Sweet Briar College in Virginia. Such feelings are not unnatural in a time of economic recession and concerns about a growing national debt, she said.

"With our current dependence on things from the electric grid to the Internet, things that people have absolutely no control over, there is a feeling that a collapse scenario can easily emerge, with a belief that the end is coming, and it is all out of the individual's control," she told Reuters.

She compared the major technological developments of the past decade to the Industrial Revolution of the 1830s and 1840s, which led to the growth of the Millerites, the 19th-Century equivalent of the preppers. Followers of charismatic preacher Joseph Miller, many sold everything and gathered in 1844 for what they believed would be the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Many of today's preppers receive inspiration from the Internet, devouring information posted on websites like that run by attorney Michael T. Snider, who writes The Economic Collapse blog out of his home in northern Idaho.

"Modern preppers are much different from the survivalists of the old days," he said. "You could be living next door to a prepper and never even know it. Many suburbanites are turning spare rooms into food pantries and are going for survival training on the weekends."

Like other preppers, Snider is worried about the end of a functioning U.S. economy. He points out that tens of millions of Americans are on food stamps and that many U.S. children are living in poverty.

"Most people have a gut feeling that something has gone terribly wrong, but that doesn't mean that they understand what is happening," he said. "A lot of Americans sense that a massive economic storm is coming and they want to be prepared for it."

So, assuming there is no collapse of society -- which the preppers call "uncivilization" -- what is the future of the preppers?

Gutierrez said that unlike the Millerites -- or followers of radio preacher Harold Camping, who predicted the world would end last year -- preppers are not setting a date for the coming destruction. The Mayan Calendar predicts doom this December.

"The minute you set a date, you are courting disconfirmation," she said.

Tegeler, who recalls being hit by tornadoes and floods in her southwestern Virginia home, said that none of her "survival center" products will go to waste.

"I think it's silly not to be prepared," she said. "After all, anything can happen."

(Reporting by Jim Forsyth in San Antonio; Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Greg McCune)
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on February 03, 2012, 14:16:49
This list is >$300 USD:

The list author says: "When the zombies invade your home, or a hurricane strikes the neighborhood, you can depend on these items to protect your whole family. Most of the things listed here are covered by and include free shipping, except for the 2-way radios, blankets, and firestarter. The heaviest item here are the energy bars, which weigh 3.90 pounds. Everything else is between 1-2 pounds. Total weight to carry would be 19.16 pounds (I didn't count the firestarter and water tablets, they're too small to be of consequence). Total price is exactly $262.27 (excluding shipping costs for the 3 independently sold items).

Necessary items not listed include your own bottled water, canned food, ponchos, and extra gasoline. Those you can purchase elsewhere just as easily and probably at better prices, too.

Have a safe journey and GOOD LUCK!!!"

 1. SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the WIld, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea by John Wiseman
 2. Eton FR250 Emergency Crank Radio Metallic Red by Eton
 3. Johnson & Johnson First Aid Kit, Complete Care, 225-Piece Kit by Red Cross
 4. Emergency Mylar Blanket - 62" x 82" - Pack of 12 Blankets - EB-12 by PrimaCare Medical
 5. Swedish FireSteel - Scout Model (Red)
 6. Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets (20 count) by Katadyn
 7. Victorinox Swiss Army Ranger Pocket Knife by Victorinox
 8. Cobra microTALK PR 5000-2 DX VP 15-Mile 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio (Pair) by Cobra
 9. Bushnell Falcon 10x50 Wide Angle Binoculars (Black) by Bushnell
 10. Garrity Power Lite 3 LED Crank Light (Titanium Silver/Black) by Garrity
 11. Clif Bar Energy Bar, Variety Pack of Crunchy Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch, and Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, 2.4-Ounce Bars, Pack of 24 by Clif Bar (not so good if you have allergies)
 12. Slim Jim Smoked Snack Sticks, Original, 0.28-Ounce Sticks (Pack of 100) by Slim Jim
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on March 23, 2012, 20:44:48
From Popular Mechanics, a car survival kit. I'm a bit dubious about the "Alaska jump start" but the rest seems bang on:

Canadian Arctic rescue teams suggest drivers carry a can of dog food in their cars. Sound crazy? It seems that when people crash their cars into a snow bank on the tundra, they tend to eat their emergency food too soon. The dog food is less palatable and so stranded motorists will wait to eat that can of puppy chow until they really need it.

You don't have to be driving the vast expanses of northern Canada to get stuck in your car. Take these stories from the past year: Rita Chretien, 56, was found in a remote part of Nevada in May 2011 after being stranded for seven weeks, her car stuck in the mud. Chretien used a plastic bag to catch rainwater to drink. Last December, 23-year-old Lauren Weinberg was stranded on a snowy forest road southeast of Winslow, Ariz., for nine days and survived on two candy bars and a bottle of water. This January, Lynn S. Keelser, 61, survived for a week on peanut butter M&Ms when she took a wrong turn in a rental car and got stuck in an Idaho dairy wastewater pond. None of these drivers had cellphones. But even more important, none had an emergency-preparedness kit.

Being prepared is not merely a good rule for travel in highly remote areas. If you take the occasional extended road trip, you should pack a survival kit of crucial emergency supplies. We've compiled eight categories of essential supplies to carry in your car, made up from suggestions from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Army, the American Automobile Association (AAA), the Red Cross, and regional search-and-rescue teams. None, however, include Alpo.


The first priority for any stuck situation is maintaining hydration. The biggest hurdle when carrying water: It weighs 8 pounds per gallon, and considering each person in the car will need to drink about a gallon a day, that's a heavy load to haul around. It's easiest to pack a case of 16 small drink boxes of water. One brand, Aqua Blox, comes in 8-ounce containers that are claimed to have a shelf life of five years.

Another option would be to carry refillable water bottles. When empty, they won't add unnecessary weight, and you can fill them if you think you might be driving into remote areas. If you bring empty water bottles, bring water purification tablets. Chlorine-based tablets that you can find at camping stores will kill waterborne organisms if you have to fill your water bottles from a stream or lake.

For food, high-calorie energy and protein bars are great solutions. They pack a lot of calories into a small space and can be found at a good camping store. Be sure to avoid many of the ones you see at the convenience store; they contain too much salt and sugar. The better ones have less of both so they won't make you thirsty. And at between 2400 and 3600 calories per bar, they'll keep you nourished in an emergency. The ER Emergency Food Bar, for example, claims to provide 72 hours of nutrition and has a shelf life of five years.


It's smart to pack a wool blanket and some chemical warm packs, too. A wool blanket works well even if it's damp. An emergency blanket (also known as a space blanket) is a metal-coated plastic sheet that marathoners use to keep warm after a race. It, too, can keep you warm in an emergency. Chemical heat packs react with air and can add warmth inside a blanket. They can be stopped and started for up to 15 hours.

Be sure to pack a flashlight, glow sticks, matches, and emergency candles. We like rechargeable flashlights that park in your car's 12-volt outlet. To help keep you dry, bring along a waterproof poncho with a hood. A plastic whistle with two chambers should also find space in this kit—it works much better then shouting for help.

Bring along a solar- and hand-crank-powered light/radio/cellphone charger. Be sure to buy one through a reputable source—we've heard many stories that some don't work long enough.

And, yes, you will need extra clothes and a good winter hat. We'd recommend packing a small tarp too, in case you need temporary shelter.

First Aid

If you're venturing away from civilization—or if you just have kids—it's smart to keep a first-aid kit in the car. We'd get the most thorough one we could find, but even some fairly basic ones include:

-Several gauze bandages 4-inches square, and smaller adhesive bandages
-Cloth tape
-Eyewash cup
-Absorbent pads for bleeding
-Antiseptic wipes and nitrile gloves (latex sometimes provokes allergies)
-Burn ointment
-CPR mask
-Elastic sprain bandage, SAM splint
-Scissors, tweezers, safety pins
-Aspirin and nonaspirin pain relievers
-Nausea medication
-Duct tape
-Moleskin for blisters (adventure racers tell us duct tape works in a pinch too)


Now we're getting to some Popular Mechanics bread and butter: the toolkit. The best one we've seen is the RoadTech kit from Aerostich. It's actually a tool kit for motorcycle trekking but has all the required bits: locking pliers, an adjustable wrench, a 6-in-1 screwdriver, pliers with a wire cutter, a ratchet and sockets, hex keys, and more stuff. And the parts roll up into one handy pouch.

A good-quality plastic gas can is handy too. We'd also pack a multitool such as a Leatherman and a tire gauge. Make sure to bring along some work gloves, wire ties, WD-40, and zip-lock bags for tools, parts, and oily towels. Aerosol foam tire sealant or a portable compressor and a tire plug kit can be very helpful, as can spare fuses and bulbs.

Finally, bring 6-gauge jumper cables. If nobody's around to jump your car, there is such as thing as an Alaskan jump-start: If your battery is cold and won't start the car, some backwoods folks have mentioned that they take a pair of jumper cables with one set of clamps attached to the battery and then they short the other set of clamps together for 20 seconds. This heats up the battery and allows it to supply more of its charge (although it also shortens its life). But be exceeding careful if you ever need to try this one—it's a dangerous operation.


If you find yourself off the road somewhere where a tow truck's not an option, you need a backup plan. If you own a 4WD truck, we'd spend the money and invest in an electric winch rated for the weight of your vehicle. Then purchase a full winch recovery kit so you'll have a tree-saver strap, a good-quality tow strap, a clevis, and other great equipment. Even if you don't have a winch, a Hi-Lift Jack can be used as a heavy-duty come-along winch or as a sturdy jack to lift your car so you can change a flat tire.

If you plan to drive in snowy climes, get some proper snow chains. But if the car gets really stuck, you'll likely need a good shovel too. Glock, the famed pistol-maker, also makes the coolest folding shovel we've seen. It uses a lightweight composite handle and a steel pointed blade. It's about a pound less than similar army-surplus-style detrenching tools.

The old-school solution to gaining traction in snow was to carry sand or kitty litter. But that's heavy stuff, and many times you can use the shovel to dig down to dirt for traction. In deep snow (or sand), you can often dig down far enough to slip your floormats underneath both of the tires that are receiving power. Sometimes these mats provide enough traction to ease the car onto a surface with better grip.


At first glance, these might seem like the least important items here. But maintaining proper sanitation in the tiny cabin of a car over an extended length of time is a serious concern. You'll of course want to bring along some toilet paper as well as unscented baby wipes. These wipes are often a good substitute for toilet paper and can also be used for cleaning. Bring along large zip-lock-style bags, plastic garbage bags, and wire ties. These will work as your disposal containers. And if it's too cold outside to dig a pit, you'll want to bring a bedpan. We've found good ones at Sporty's Pilot Shop. You'll also want to have a bottle of disinfectant or hand sanitizer in case water is not available.


A small backpack is probably the best carryall to keep in your kit in the event you need to leave the car and set out on foot. Even better is a larger camping backpack that has separate compartments and pockets to keep the more fragile first-aid items from your dirty tools. Some packs have hook-and-loop patches on them, which can keep them from sliding around inside the trunk area of the car. Backpacks often have loops so that you can clip rock-climbing-style carabiners on them and then attach the whole shebang securely to your car—the object is to keep your fully loaded emergency kit from becoming a heavy projectile in a crash. Bungee cords are another great tool to hold the kit and other luggage in place.


In his famous comedy bit "200 MPH," Bill Cosby imagined using the standard floor-mounted fire extinguisher in his custom-made 462-hp Cobra Super Snake to heroically save the occupants of a burning house. And while you might just get the chance to be a hero someday, you could keep a fire extinguisher in our car emergency kit to deal with any emergencies that spark up in your own vehicle. They come in a variety of specs, but look for at least a 1A10BC or 2A10BC classification.

If your car battery drains, you'll want to have an emergency warning light along, with spare batteries. A hazard triangle and road flares will keep you safer at night if you're stuck.

We suggest you bring dust masks with a N95 or a N100 rating, which not only keep dirt and debris away, but can also filter airborne pathogens. And as an added bonus, these masks will help warm the air you breathe in the cold.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on April 25, 2012, 16:22:37
Good reading material:

31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness (
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: LineJumper on April 27, 2012, 14:44:18
Picked up one of these at Cabelas for the bugout bag. Seems like a good emergency light piece 'o kit. No good in a group setting, but I always enjoyed being 'the only man in the tent'.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on July 30, 2012, 18:17:46
Reference guide to the Apocalypse:

Long-Term Survival In The Coming Dark Age: Preparing to Live after Society Crumbles (Paperback) (
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on March 03, 2013, 20:30:53
A wider look at how to be prepared for the coming hard times (long essay part 1 of 2):

Going Down Easy
Posted on March 2, 2013 | 136 Comments

I really wanted to title this “How to pack for Armageddon” but that is not right, and not something I can do anyway.  There are tons of sites on that.  What to pack in the scaredy bag, what to have for “shelter in place.”

I’m not saying those won’t be needed.  As I said before, I don’t think anyone has taken into account – well, maybe someone has, but that’s not a comforting thought – that while this crew in power is playing at being “more sensitive than you” they’re giving signals to a lot of very bad actors.  The crew in power might be ill-intentioned (mostly I think they’re power-greedy and trying to cover it up by doing the things they’ve been told are “good”) but I suspect they honestly believe that if we unilaterally disarm we’ll be safe.  Don’t laugh.  A lot of my colleagues believed that all through the eighties.  It has nothing to do with intelligence, but with having lived quiet, sheltered prosperous lives where the wildest environment they knew was their kindergarten class.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen other sides of life, and I’ve studied history.

If we can do things like let all the sequester cuts fall on defense, and eventually start reducing our nuclear arsenal (more flexibility, remember?) and NOT get hit, we should just assume the USA is the Almighty’s favorite child and my made up USAians were right.  If we don’t lose a city or more to enemy attack in the next five/six years, I’ll assume this country is G-d’s personal project and that He’s zealously guarding us.

But alas, I think we’re human like other humans and our project of liberty and individual freedom is ours.

So, some regions of the country almost for sure will have to deal with Armageddon conditions to an extent or another.  Which depends who hits us and whether it’s a missile or a backpack nuke.

Yes, I feel crazy just typing that – it’s like ebooks, you know.  We expected ebooks to hit any minute now, and they didn’t, for almost twenty years.  I attended conferences in ninety four where they were talking about how ebooks were the coming thing.  But most people don’t like reading on the computer, and therefore it didn’t happen.  And then suddenly there was the second model of kindle (the first was too green and computer-like) and by that time anyone who’d been immersed in the business was SO convinced ebooks would amount to nothing, that they never, really, got their heads around the reverse.  They still haven’t.

To an extent we have the same relationship with nuclear attacks.  We expected them all through the cold war, which means most of our lives.  It never happened.  Now we tend to roll our eyes as we think of them.

But they are a heavy possibility.  There is a huge difference between attacking the US when you’re the USSR and you know you’ll get hit back, and attacking the US when you know it’s weakened and infighting, and you’re a small back water country and know if the US retaliates the world community will complain they’re picking on you.  (My brother after the Axis of Evil speech “Why is Bush picking on tiny, mad North Korea?” is what I expect to see.)

So, if you live in or near one of our major cities (unless it goes completely astray, which is possible since this is mostly “Russian Technology”, I expect it will be in one of the cities that everyone hears about on TV and shows: DC, NYC, Chicago, LA, San Francisco – with an outside chance of cities that have had TV shows set in them – Cincinnati, Dallas.  While it’s possible there will be one in Denver, for instance, that is an extremely outside chance unless there’s a sudden upswell of  documentaries about “Denver, the power of the west” that makes it abroad.) have a get away bag, just in case, and DO for the love of G-d know some funky, back-road route out of the city.  Make it a weekend project to scout those.  If you live in NYC and don’t have a car – Yes, you DO know who you are – make sure a friend-with-car includes you in his evacuation plans.

For what to put in the bag, and what to put in your basement/crawl space/armoire if you have to sit tight, there are survival blogs all over the net, and if you don’t know any, someone in this blog will link it on request.

My post – taking this long to get to the point is the hallmark of the fact I have had only one cup of tea – is about not the apocalypse, but the gentle slide into chaos and a (much) lower but still civilized lifestyle.

I’ve never been convinced by the “apocalypse” stories simply because American authors, never having experienced it, seem to think of something like a nuclear hit, or even several, crippling all our major cities and making our daily life a negotiated mess (and I want to stress that last one is – I think – highly unlikely in the situation right now.  We’re more likely to get the equivalent to “terrorism with nukes” than to get a planned, carefully carried out attack.  OTOH the attack might well unleash our own tensions and release Civil Unrest with a capital Mess – in which case, it won’t be much different from most cities taken out.)  will immediately send us back to some past age, ranging from the stone age to the nineteenth century.

Of course, most of those stories were written to convince us to unilaterally disarm, which, of course, meant exaggerating the awfulness.

Here is what is not going to happen:

Most people are not going to become looters overnight.  Yes, it will happen in some places, but let me remind you of when the lights went out in NYC for most of a day, and people just quietly walked home.  Whether you’ll have to shoot looters and keep vandals away depends on what region of the country you live in and how dangerous it is now.

You’re not going to need to grow your own wheat and mill your own flour overnight.  Yes, I know “on demand” supply, etc.  So, the local groceries will run out of ice-cream, Hersheys and the other stuff like that.  They might also – always depending on where you live.  We’re in the Khaki for vegetables out here, unless it’s summer, and even then – run out of steaks, or onions, or even (but unlikely.  I think the stuff spontaneously generates) cabbage.  BUT it’s unlikely to run completely out of flour or beans or rice.  (Of course, if you’re low carb you should be making your own preparations.)  Nor will it prevent local farmers from putting stalls by the side of the highway selling local produce ¾ of the year.

You’re not going to have to make your own clothes.  Look, I’m a writer, which means our income fluctuates, which is a polite term for “sometimes it’s non-existent.”  It always hits rock bottom at the most inconvenient times, too, like, when my husband is unemployed, (knock on wood, only happened twice in our entire married life.)  We’ve had to cut back on food, by going to the essentials and having me cook from scratch (but I do that, anyway, by preference) BUT we’ve never really had to cut back on clothes.  In fact, I think I have more than fit in my closet, and one of these days the hanging apparatus will crash.  (Partly because I treat them as disposable, since I hate aprons and all confining clothing, and so I tend to stain clothes while cleaning or cooking.)  — first, the clothes in your closet will not evaporate into the ether.  Second, and VERY important, society as a whole probably has a larger supply of clothes than we could consume (without throwing away) in a century.  I know this because we shop for our clothes at an ARC thrift store nearby.  A LOT of the clothes are brand new still with tags, usually because a store donated surplus.  And I have a rule never to pay more than $5 for a piece of clothing unless it’s designer. Then I’ll go up to $7.  If I go to $10 I get the frown of doom from my husband…

Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on March 03, 2013, 20:32:07
Part 2

You’re not going to have to make your own furniture – see above.  We’ve gotten used to changing furniture at the drop of a hat because we stopped liking something, but if things get rough we stop throwing it away, and I bet you that what we have will last generations.  (Here I do have advice on what to choose. And what to have.)

This is not saying that things will be either comfortable or wonderful.

So – what do you watch for, and how do you prepare?

This post comes from the fact I was talking to my husband and said “the first thing is usually the post office going unreliable.”

Right now you’re looking at me like I’m a lunatic.  “But our post awful was always—”

No. There are differences.  Yes, in most countries the post office jobs are a sinecure for a politically favored majority (Or minority.  I might be wrong in this, but I have a vague idea most postal carriers in South Africa were Afrikaans speaking.)  and that they are a union shop in most countries, and that jokes about mis-delivered mail exist everywhere. That’s not what I mean.

Part of this is tricky when it comes to the post office, btw – because ours is suffering from catastrophic technological change, as well as everything else.  HOWEVER:

The slide goes like this – it begins with mail distribution twice a day six days a week, and the mail fairly reliable in the sense that yes, you do get human error and things delayed a bit.  Then it goes to once daily.  (I don’t know if the US started with twice daily.  By the time I came here, it was once daily. Part of this was tech change.  Used to be that before the telephone letters in-town were used to say “I’ll drop by tomorrow afternoon.”  Read a mystery of the early twentieth century for that.)

Then slowly the mail becomes more unreliable.  Then one day is cut out.  Then delivery is every other day.

BUT the most important thing is how unreliable it gets.  We’re already pretty unreliable, the reason they’re mostly used for spam.  (Though their tendency to misplace stuff doesn’t help.)

But along that slide comes the time when the mail is COMPLETELY unreliable.  Anything you entrust to them has a fifty/fifty chance of arriving, and anything even vaguely useful/valuable WILL get stolen, unless you’re very, very crafty.

This is a sign post on the way down.  When you start seeing outright unabashed theft by postal employees, and no attempt to track down your registered package, it’s time to have your preparations for the rest of the slide made.

Because that type of theft is a “societal strictures have broken down.”  It’s not “the neighbors will rape and pillage” but it is the “people will pilfer from strangers as a matter of course.”  A package, entrusted to strangers to carry across the country is, of course, at high risk.

This is highly unlikely and there are already signs we’re headed in that direction.  Whether and how much it will affect the private carrier companies, I don’t know.  Whether there will be Amazon Delivery vans that are more reliable, I don’t know.  I do know that the break down in trust needed to efficiently run mail in a continental-sized country is already well underway and getting markedly worse by the day.

The way to deal with the post office is to disguise the contents of whatever you’re sending.  Put an old coat over the new dress you’re sending aunt Emily.  Learn to make false bottoms on boxes.  Encase you check in several pages of blather.

Or, more likely, in this country, in the 21st century, find ways to send ecash, email and different carriers (thank heavens.)

But even if we have more options – that break down in trust is a telling sign.

The other slide is what used to be called in Portugal “a zeal strike” which I understand is the opposite of what the words mean in OZ where they mean “be over-picky over everything and delay everything.”  In Portugal it means “show up for work, but do whatever.”

This, not as a strike but as a way of life ensues.

What I mean is, you don’t realize how much we, Americans, are used to getting what we want, when we want it.

This is likely to go by the way side.  People won’t be breaking their backs to get stuff done and also, sorry, but all businesses are likely to be understaffed for the foreseeable future, because it’s right now almost impossible to keep your margins up in this country unless you’re GE and the government is feeding you dough by the bucketful.

So, things to have:

Any staple you can’t do without, even if it’s not a “survival essential” thing.  Say you’re mighty fond of a brand of coffee, have three or four bags put by in your freezer.  Before you run through them, it will be on the shelves.  Restock when it’s on the shelves and you can afford it.  That way interruptions in supply don’t affect you.

In the same vein, this coming spring, can, pickle and dehydrate veggies.  I don’t think they’ll vanish forever, but supply can/might/almost certainly will (depending on where you live) get mighty irregular.

Any parts you need to keep your car and house running, and which you know are likely to breakdown or need replacing – have by.  And either know how to replace it yourself, or establish a relationship with someone who does.  Knowing how to rewire something in the house and/or how to deal with plumbing is important.  (My husband is okay with it.  But getting one of those comprehensive books from the hardware stores, you know “how to fix anything in the house” is NOT a bad idea.)

Also not a bad idea: if you have to buy furniture and CAN afford it, buy real wood and the best construction you can.  “Furniture you can will to your grandchildren” should be your goal.  Mostly because you might have to.

Also, if you have a young family, buy the biggest house you can afford.  Look, I’ll be blunt, the one slide I saw up close and personal ended up with three and four nuclear families per house.  I.e. kids married and had grandkids, but they were still living with the parents/grandparents.  This did not change till the economy got better.  (And yes, it SORTA is cultural in Portugal, but it was not the norm since the forties, and in fact, as soon as people could afford it, they went their own way, even if children normally live NEAR parents.)

For those people with three kids in a one bedroom apartment it could get tough.

If you’re renting, try to get in a place where the rent won’t go crazy and where you can hunker down if you need to.  Establish a good relationship with your landlord.

Have a deep freezer, so you can buy meat when it’s available/relatively cheap.  (This is a good idea at any time, but it might be vital in a slide down.)

Acquire some knowledge of folk medicine and lay some supplies by.  I’ve recently found that Manuka wound honey (available from Amazon) is the awesome, and will definitely stock it.)  This is obviously part of the slide down at least for this country.  Finding a doctor might become an issue.  DO try to make friends with a doctor or a trained nurse.  It might save your life.

Other things that are probably sort of kind of less vital but that you REALLY don’t want to do without.  One thing I’ve never seen in a slide down is a country sliding into the gutter without significant, pervasive disruptions in the electrical supply.  I don’t mean electricity goes bye bye and never comes back. I don’t even mean LONG black outs.  For those you should have a generator/whole house battery (we can’t afford either) but I expect most of the time you won’t get that.  I mean brown outs and black outs become a fact of life to the point they affect your daily life/ability to work. Not enough to get you to crisis point, not even enough to spoil food in freezer, if you keep it closed.  But enough to annoy you and make things a daily slog.

First – have something you can use for light.  I used to love candles when I was a kid, but of course there are better options.  If you are using flashlights, keep your battery supply up.  I’ve also laid by some of those solar garden lights.  The light is not wonderful, but it is enough to read by.

Speaking of which, since it’s almost impossible to have extra batteries for the kindle (I don’t know about other e-readers) have a car charger, so that if your electrical crashes, you can charge the kindle enough to finish reading that novel.  Also, keep the vital stuff like “how to” manuals in paper.

In the same vein, if you get your living by using the computer, have extra batteries for your laptop.  Keep three of them or so by.

And have an alternate means of cooking, if you rely on electrical.  A grill will do, though I have an entirely coal fired hibachi as well, but that’s because I’m a nut.

Have an alternate means of heating (IF we’re going to stay in this house, I want a soapstone stove.  Sigh.  Maybe Witchfinder will buy me one.)

These things will seem frivolous.  They’re not “how to survive apocalypse” – but having lived through the slide-down, trust me, it makes your life immeasurably better to know that you can still finish that chapter, or write that report, or whatever, even if electricity just went down, and/or you can cook that dish even if the store is out of peppers.

One disruption or interruption is piddly stuff.  An unpredictable succession of them saps the soul and kills the spirit.

Now, the thing is, in the low slide down and counterintuitively, things can do very well you’d never think about.

Look, let me put it bluntly: babies are still born, birthdays still happen, girls still want to buy something pretty for a pick me up.

The people who did well in my brother’s generation (the most affected in Portugal by the slide-down) learned to do something crafty to sell.  Usually bead jewelry, which they sold (literally) on street corners, but also stuffed animals which you could sell to friends of friends of friends.  Paintings, if you were good.  That sort of thing.

Yes, we have walmart and jewelry for a song.  How long it will be cheap is something else, with the dollar plummeting, BUT

But people will pay the same/a little more for something that’s unique/looks better.  And people will still buy toys, baby clothes, (giving stuff to babies is a deeply-rooted tradition.) pretty things that make them smile, unique bits of apparel/accessories that make a tired outfit look new.

Cultivate some crafty skill – first it will keep you from going nuts while you’re worrying about jobs or what not.  Second, it might bring in enough money to survive between jobs/if permanently sidelined by this atrocious economy

Crafts to pick, if you don’t have a favorite should be things that are useful/don’t need proprietary materials.  Scrapbooking would be right out on the first count, and stamped cross-stitch on the second.

But say learning to make clothes out of scraps of material might be in, ditto with braiding rugs.  (Clue zero, but I know people in the village did it.  They bought/got rags off other people and made these gorgeous rugs.)  In a cold climate quilting is a good one.  Altering clothes is too.  Even with the surplus we have, people will grow up, grow wider, or lose weight.  If you know how to alter clothes to make them look GOOD you have something you can trade on/get money for.

I’m decent at refinishing furniture, and I’ve picked up on fillet crochet again.  I used to do this obsessively, then I hit my head and lost the ability to keep track of where I was on the pattern (wonder if that affected writing too?) which is slowly coming back.  Right now – by way of warm up – I’m working on a massive (bedspread size) curtain for our outsized front window.  But I’ve recently come across normal sized patterns for pillows and hangings (and maybe clothes inserts) from the turn of the century, which I think fall under “beautiful and unique” and would probably sell well at SF cons.  And the little ones I can do in an evening, the bigger ones in a week of evenings.

Though I expect ebooks will continue to sell and I even expect Baen to survive.  (The other houses… They’re houses of the living dead right now.  They look alive, but…)  It’s just that you might have to time your publishing/buying for the times the net is up.  And yep, I expect those will actually sell better, because if the net is down there’s less gaming, etc. available.

In that vein, don’t get rid of ALL your obsolete stuff.  Keep DVDs by, even if you have Amazon streaming.  Keep CDs by, even if you buy a lot of music electronic.  I’m clueless about game systems because I don’t use them, but if there’s a way to keep games by, and have power for the systems, do so.

CDs, DVDs and other forms of entertainment not depending on connectivity (if the electricity goes down in your area, so will the net service, most of the time) might make good trade-goods, as well.  So if you see them at the thrift store, buy and store, just in case.  Don’t spend an enormous amount and don’t fill your house with them, but having a few around to trade for others you want is not a bad idea.  Burn you MP3 to CD as backup and keep one of the old stereos around.

Also, because in the long slide down things like the over-restrictive “must cook this in a sterilized kitchen with no one else in the house” health laws tend to slide, even baking and cooking might not be a bad thing, particularly because I suspect a lot of people can’t cook beyond pre-prepared and will be looking for alternatives.  Having the house where the working couple can pick up the pot of pot roast and give you something in return because they’re that kind, might not be a bad idea if the stores are having trouble stocking tv dinners.  (In Portugal it was bread.  Very few people knew how to make bread, but the bakers’ union got bumptious and started not delivering when expected.  Suddenly the people who could bake bread were very popular.)

These are not survival skills, but they’re “keep the world spinning” skills and “make people feel they’re not living in the end times” skills.  They will stand you in good stead.

Most of them are a matter of degree from the Armagedon skills.  So if you believe Armageddon is more likely, by all means, learn to make soap.  BUT learn to make scented, interestingly shaped soap, and you have a skill in case it’s a slide-down.  Learn to make beer, but if you make it micro-brewery specialty beer you can also do well in the slide-down.  Learn to make clothes – but also learn to fix/alter clothes.  That way you’re okay either way.

The only difference is stuff like laptop batteries which are vital in a slide-down and useless in the end of the world.  BUT having them won’t cost you too much.

And it might save your sanity… and allow you to make money off ebooks or whatever it is you do.  If it’s just a slide down.

We’re already in a slide-down, even if not critical yet.  There’s a good chance of a crash, but there’s a chance, also, the slide-down will continue.

In your packing for the crash, don’t neglect preparation for the tumble down the stairs.  It’s usually just a little more effort/expense.  But it can make all the difference.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on July 28, 2013, 00:28:38
Written as a funny article (firing a zip line out the window and escaping an endless meeting/PowerPoint presentation has crossed my mind from time to time), but for some people this might be exactly what they need to escape a dangerous situation. Sailors take note:

Most Dangerous Object in the Office: The Rocket-Propelled Ikaros Line Thrower
BY BOB PARKS04.01.136:30 AM

Photo: Matthew Reamer
When we’re stuck in a meeting, we usually text a savior to call us out of the room. But ever since this $599 maritime rescue device came in, we’ve been dreaming about zip-lining out the window. The 8.8-pound waterproof canister uses solid rocket fuel to launch a safety line almost 1,000 feet. To operate, simply pull the safety pin (it’s a rope grenade!), rest against your thigh to cushion the recoil (try not to worry about that half pound of rocket fuel going off near your junk), and pull the trigger. The 4-mm nylon rope can hold up to 450 pounds of waterlogged shipwreck survivors. Warning: If you do use this to bail out of a meeting, your exit may not go unnoticed.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on July 30, 2013, 23:55:37 is now getting into the meme. Posted under "Industrial & Scientific", Zombie Apocalypse Supplies (

Didn't see any Bayonets... ;D
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Canadian.Trucker on July 31, 2013, 10:02:54

Didn't see any Bayonets... ;D
Then it's not a proper zombie prepardness kit.  And who wants noise reduction equipment?  So the zombie can sneak up on you?  My hearing protection is not exactly high on the priority list if a horde is trying to eat me and my family.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Hamish Seggie on August 05, 2013, 01:43:17
You need one of these.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Canadian.Trucker on August 06, 2013, 11:40:17
You need one of these.
Agreed Jim, but why not ramp it up a little so you have more reach to deal with the undead horde.
From the description, "Find yourself backed into a corner with the undead on the move? Grab your Gator Pro. It has an aggressive, multi-purpose blade that can be used as an axe, a machete, or knife to filet your way through any walker offensive. In battle, the extra-grippy rubberized handle keeps the blade securely in hand. If the undead come calling, let the Gator Pro answer the door."
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Hamish Seggie on August 06, 2013, 19:49:32
I like it. Nice..... ;D
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on September 23, 2013, 22:57:13
After the apocalypse, you can do many interesting things with the tools you thoughtfully packed and materials you scavenge from the ruins of civilization, like this home made chicken plucking machine.....

(didn't seem to fit anywhere else)
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on October 09, 2013, 23:39:11
The real cause of the Apocalypse:

Russian Meteor Explosion Might Mean Earth Gets Hit More Often Than We Think
BY ADAM MANN10.07.139:30 AM

The trail left behind by the Chelyabinsk meteorite as it rushed through the atmosphere. Image: Константин Кудинов/Wikimedia

The latest analysis of the bollide that burst over Chelyabinsk, Russia in February suggests that the risk from such airbursts — which occur when friction in our atmosphere heats up a meteor — may be greater than previously thought.

Meteorite collisions are often compared in size to nuclear explosions, but because they are speeding toward Earth they have momentum that makes them far more destructive. And to make matters worse, they may occur more often than currently estimated.

On the morning of Feb. 15, a fireball lit up the skies above the town of Chelyabinsk. A 12,000-ton bollide estimated to be roughly 20 meters in diameter came screaming into the atmosphere at more than 42,000 mph. Locals could feel the heat from the blast while dozens of dashboard cameras made recordings of the event, which were disseminated widely on social media.

The best estimates of how much energy was released by the Chelyabinsk explosion come from infrasound measurements taken by an array of sensors all over the world. These instruments detect low-frequency sound waves traveling through the atmosphere. The longer the waves’ period is, the larger the explosion. Infrasound measurements are calibrated from atmospheric nuclear testing done in the 1950s, which is why asteroid explosions are often described in megaton units. The bomb that exploded at Hiroshima had a yield of 16 kilotons while the most powerful nuclear weapon active in U.S. service, the B83 bomb, has a yield of up to 1.2 megatons. The Chelyabinsk blast is estimated to have been between 200 and 800 kilotons, on par with a huge atomic weapon.

But meteors explode in a very different way than a typical nuclear bomb, says physicist Mark Boslough of the Sandia National Laboratories, who studies asteroid impacts and is presenting a talk today about the Chelyabinsk event at the American Astronomical Society’s 2013 Division for Planetary Science meeting in Denver.

“When an asteroid explodes, its momentum is conserved and that explosion continues down toward the Earth,” Boslough said.

For that reason, the people who live in Chelyabinsk explosion are very lucky to be alive, he added. If the bollide had come into the atmosphere at a less steep angle, its blast would have been aimed right at the ground, likely doing much more damage.

That an airburst continues traveling in the same direction as a meteorite was only appreciated starting in the 1990s, particularly after the impact of Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter. This understanding has led to revisions in estimates of the size of the asteroid that exploded over the Siberian tundra in 1908. This blast, known as the Tunguska event, flattened trees over a 2,000-square-kilometer area.

Scientists in the mid-20th century used nuclear blast comparisons to estimate Tunguska’s power. To make trees fall down over that large an area, a nuclear weapon would have to be 10 to 20 megatons. Now knowing how asteroid impact bursts can deliver more energy to the ground, the Tunguska bollide estimate has gotten smaller, suggesting that an object of roughly 100,000 tons entered the atmosphere and delivered a blast of between 3 and 5 megatons.

Tunguska and Chelyabinsk are thought to be among the most powerful asteroid impacts in recent history. That both would come within about 100 years of one another is slightly worrying to scientists like Boslough.

That’s because current estimates are that an impact the size of Chelyabinsk should happen roughly once a century while a Tunguska-level event should happen once every millennium. To see two such once-in-a-long-while events within close succession makes “you wonder if you’ve got your probabilities right,” said Boslough. He gave a rough back-of-the-envelope calculation suggesting that the chances of these two occurrences — plus a third airburst near South Africa in 1963 (.pdf) that was somewhere in size between Chelyabinsk and Tunguska and was was only observed by infrasound sensors — is somewhere on the order of 0.2 percent.

Our current probability estimates of asteroid impacts are most calculated using astronomical data. Telescopes search for space rocks and note the number that cross Earth’s orbit. But models based on these asteroid surveys have a lot of assumptions built into them, mostly because detecting asteroids is a big challenge, particularly smaller ones that would cause airbursts, and we don’t know exactly how many more of them we have yet to find. It’s possible that we’ve missed many and that airbursts like Chelyabinsk and Tunguska happen more than once a century or millennium.

Agreeing with this assessment is geoscientist Peter Schultz of Brown University, who said that Chelyabinsk “should be kind of an eye-opener.”

After all, he added, Earth experiences an airburst explosion similar in energy to Hiroshima almost every year, but they are more likely to happen over the ocean or uninhabited areas and go unnoticed by people other than the scientists who track them. Geological evidence also suggests that larger asteroids that hit the Earth’s surface strike more frequently than we think. In Argentina alone, scientists have found glass that was formed in impacts from about eight or nine large events that occurred in the last 10 million years.

“This is about a factor of five to 10 higher than what has been predicted,” said Schultz.

On the other hand, that Chelyabinsk and Tunguska happened in close succession might just be a fluke. Boslough said that two data points in of themselves shouldn’t make us believe that asteroid impacts happen more frequently than we think.

“That’s what we would call ‘not statistically significant,’” he said.

As with anything relying on probability, we will simply have to wait and see. The longer we observe asteroid impacts on Earth, the better we will be able to estimate their frequency.

It’s pretty much a guarantee that “eventually we’ll have a close encounter of a bad kind,” said Schultz.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on December 22, 2013, 00:01:53
The ultimate slow cooker, uses no external power (essentially a giant tea cosy). Perfect for places where fuel or power is limited, as well as simply getting the parts of a meal together quickly (cook, boil or simer the various pots for 5 min then stick it inside the Wonderbag):

What's a Wonderbag?

Wonderbag is a simple but revolutionary portable slow cooker. It continues to cook food, which has been brought to a boil by conventional methods for up to 12 hours, without the additional use of fuel. No plugs. No Fuss.

Slow Cooking with Wonderbag

Hearty Chipotle Chili

To slow cook, simply bring food to a boil on a stove, let simmer (5 minutes for rice and grains, 15 minutes for root vegetables, meat or presoaked beans), then put the pot with lid into your Wonderbag, put the pillow top on top of the pot, close tightly, and slow cook to perfection up to 12 hours.
Because it is not on direct heat, it will never overcook or burn. Wonderbag is perfect for bringing delicious home cooked meals to potlucks, dinner parties, tailgating, or camping. It’s perfect for holidays when stove and counter space are at a premium.
Powerless is Powerful

For every Wonderbag purchased in the US, one is donated to a family in need in Africa. Wood fire cooking is the source of major social, economic, and environmental issues in Africa. Families in Africa that use Wonderbag save on average of 30% of their household income. Using the Wonderbag helps save water, reduces the carbon footprint, minimizes deforestation, smoke inhalation diseases and deaths.

Hearty Chipotle Chili

Ingredients: 1 pound ground beef. 1 small onion, chopped. 1 medium red or green bell pepper, chopped. 1 garlic clove, finely chopped. 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper. 1 can (28 ounces) of crushed tomatoes. 1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained. 1 tub Knorr Homestyle Stock - Beef. Directions: Cook ground beef, onion, red pepper and garlic in 4-quart saucepan, stirring occasionally, until beef is browned and vegetables are tender. Stir in Knorr Homestyle Stock - Beef and chipotle chile pepper until stock is melted. Stir in tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until heated through. This takes about 15 minutes. Place your lidded pot in the wonderbag for 1 hour (leaving it for 2-3 hours means more flavors are unloaded).Serve, if desired, with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and/or chopped cilantro.

Perfectly Fluffy Rice or Grains
Directions: Add 1 cup of rice, or bulgur wheat to 2 cups broth and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Put in Wonderbag for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on January 03, 2014, 21:04:12
A pretty neat camping grill that fits nicely inot a getaway bag or backpack:

An Ex-Soldier Designs an Ingenious, Badass Grill for Camping Out

No one expects to have access to a Viking range or other high-end kitchen amenities when camping, but it doesn’t mean outdoorsy folks should settle for unsteady, unsightly camp grills. These nominally portable appliances take up an oversize amount of space in backpacks that are already filled to the brim and are just an errant s’more swing away from toppling into a nylon tent, turning a vacation into a visit to the burn unit.

Fortunately, Israeli design student Roee Magdassi has developed a new collapsible cooking concept called Stakes that brings a trifecta of improvements to the outdoor cooking industry. Instead of a rigid, spot-welded frame, his on-the-go system threads braided steel cables through the grate that allow it to be rolled up when not cooking burgers. Rickety fold-out legs are replaced with three titanium stakes that hold the grill in tension, increasing stability. Lastly, an unusual triangular shape gives the design an eye-catching look while making setup simple.

No tools are required for setup, one of the titanium stakes is simply pounded into the ground using a rock. The next step would make Pythagoras proud: Campers pivot the grate around the first stake until they find a smooth, rock free, spot to drive the second. The grill’s steel cable is threaded through a hole in the third stake, providing a few inches of play before planting it. Unlike pitching a tent where a single section of rough terrain can ruin the process, this design allows the camper to work with the site rather than against it.

It was inspired by Magdassi’s stint as a soldier in the Israeli Defense Force.
Stake has the elegant simplicity you’d expect from a designer like Jasper Morrison, but was inspired by Magdassi’s stint as a soldier in the Israeli Defense Force. He lugged his backpack up mountains, endured scorching desert temperatures, and while most of his unit could do nothing but complain about the pack’s bulk, the 27-year old industrial design student turned the burden into inspiration.

As a second year student at the prestigious Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, Magdassi decided to take up the challenge of stripping the grill down to it’s basic elements. “During my military service I experienced walking long trails while carrying heavy loads,” he says. “Therefore, I understood the importance of designing light weight equipment.” The result is a grill that weighs just over half-a-pound, has a generous 13-inch x 10-inch cooking surface, and folds up to the size of a paper towel tube when not in use.

The concept is striking, but it also sports a meticulous attention to detail. The locking mechanism between the grill and stake is simple, elegant, and designed not to wear out after dramatic changes in temperature. A Cordura carrying case keeps all of the pieces together on the way to the campsite, but protects your other gear from getting greasy on the way out. Even little things, like the tab attached to the zipper pulls double duty and the silicone circle acts like a makeshift oven mitt helping campers to disassemble the grill while it’s still hot.
Title: "Ambien medication causes strange behaviour such as 'zombie-like' behaviour"
Post by: S.M.A. on January 20, 2014, 17:19:21
 ::) I guess we're all doomed if Ambien turns us into "zombie killing machines".  :facepalm: (


America's Number One Prescription Sleep Aid Could Trigger 'Zombies,' Murder and Other Disturbing Behavior

Ambien is becoming better known for triggering bizarre behavior than it is for treating insomnia.

January 15, 2014   |   

This article  first appeared in The Fix, which features coverage on addiction and recovery, straight up.

On March 29, 2009, Robert Stewart, 45,  stormed into the Pinelake Health and Rehab nursing home in Carthage, North Carolina and opened fire, killing eight people and wounding two. Stewart’s apparent target was his estranged wife, who worked as a nurse in the home. She hid in a bathroom and was unharmed. Stewart was charged with eight counts of first-degree murder; if convicted, he could face the death penalty. Even though there was evidence that Stewart’s actions were premeditated (he allegedly had a target), Stewart’s defense team successfully argued that since he was under the influence of Ambien, a sleep aid, at the time of the shooting, he was not in control of his actions. Instead of the charges sought by the prosecutors, Stewart was  convicted on eight counts of second-degree murder. He received 142 – 179 years in prison.

Ambien, a member of the class of medications known as hypnotics, was approved by the FDA in 1992. It was designed for short term use to combat insomnia and was a welcome change from the prevailing sleep aid at the time, Halcion, which had been  implicated in psychosis, suicide, and addiction and had been banned in half a dozen countries. Ambien works by activating the neurotransmitter  GABA and binding it to the GABA receptors in the same  location as the benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium. The extra GABA activity triggered by the drug inhibits the neuron activity that is associated with insomnia. In other words, it slows down the brain. Ambien is extremely effective at initiating sleep, usually working within 20 minutes. It does not, however, have an effect on sustaining sleep unless it is taken in the controlled release form.

Although the Ambien prescribing information warned, in small print, that medications in the hypnotic class had occasional side effects including sleep walking, “abnormal thinking,” and “strange behavior,” these behaviors were listed as extremely rare, and any anecdotal evidence of “sleep driving,” “sleep eating,” or “sleep shopping”—all behaviors now associated with Ambien blackouts—were characterized as unusual quirks, or attributed to mixing the medication with alcohol.
It wasn’t until Patrick Kennedy’s 2006 middle-of-the-night car accident and subsequent explanation to arriving officers that he was running late for a vote that the bizarre side effects of Ambien began to receive national attention. Kennedy claimed that he had taken the sleep aid and had no recollection of the events that night. After its approval, Ambien quickly  rose to dominance in the sleep aid market. Travelers swore by it to combat jet lag, and women, who suffer more insomnia than men, bought it in droves. Sanofi, Ambien’s French manufacturer, made $2 billion in sales at its peak. In 2007 the generic version of Ambien was released, Zolpidem, and at less than $2 per pill, it still remains one of the most prescribed drugs in America, outselling popular painkillers like Percocet and prescription strength ibuprofen.

Shortly after the Kennedy incident, Ambien users sued Sanofi because of bizarre sleep-eating behaviors while on the drugs. According to Chana Lask, attorney for the class action suit, people were eating things like buttered cigarettes and eggs, complete with the shells, while under the influence of Ambien. Lask called people in this state “Ambien zombies.” As a result of the lawsuit, and of increasing reports coming in about “sleep driving,” the FDA ordered all hypnotics to issue stronger warnings on their labels.

In addition to giving consumers extra information so they could take the medication more carefully, the warning labels also gave legitimacy to the Ambien (or Zombie) defense. In March of 2011, Lindsey Schweigert took one Ambien before getting into bed at 6pm. Hours later, she woke up in custody with no idea how she’d gotten there. In the following weeks, Schweigert pieced together the events of that night. She’d gotten out of bed, drawn a bath, and left the house with her dog. She started driving to a local restaurant but crashed into another car soon after leaving her house. Police described her as swaying and glassy-eyed. She failed a sobriety test and was charged with DWI and running a stoplight.

(...)- SNIPPED

Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Oldgateboatdriver on January 21, 2014, 12:47:16
Take Ambien - Dream of Zacks … Become a Quisling ???
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Journeyman on January 21, 2014, 13:04:06
Take Ambien - Dream of Zacks … Become a Quisling ???
Vidkun Quisling -- Ted Kennedy.  Tomato -- tomahto      :dunno:
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Oldgateboatdriver on January 21, 2014, 15:49:39
Quisling: From "World War Z" (the book, not the movie), humans that lost their mind, believe themselves to be Zombies and started acting exactly like the Zombies, even though not infected.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: MARS on January 21, 2014, 16:01:45
Quisling: From "World War Z" (the book, not the movie), humans that lost their mind, believe themselves to be Zombies and started acting exactly like the Zombies, even though not infected.

Great book.  The Quisling concept was also pretty neat
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on April 01, 2014, 21:47:14
Taking the concept to the entirely next level:

Civilization’s Starter Kit

I’M an astrobiologist — I study the essential building blocks of life, on this planet and others. But I don’t know how to fix a dripping tap, or what to do when the washing machine goes on the blink. I don’t know how to bake bread, let alone grow wheat. I’m utterly useless with my hands. My father-in-law used to joke that I had three degrees, but didn’t know anything about anything, whereas he graduated summa cum laude from the University of Life.

It’s not just me. Many purchases today no longer even come with an instruction manual. If something breaks it’s easier to chuck it and buy a new model than to reach for the screwdriver. Over the past generation or two we’ve gone from being producers and tinkerers to consumers. As a result, I think we feel a sense of disconnect between our modern existence and the underlying processes that support our lives. Who has any real understanding of where their last meal came from or how the objects in their pockets were dug out of the earth and transformed into useful materials? What would we do if, in some science-fiction scenario, a global catastrophe collapsed civilization and we were members of a small society of survivors?

My research has to do with what factors planets need to support life. Recently, I’ve been wondering what factors are needed to support our modern civilization. What key principles of science and technology would be necessary to rebuild our world from scratch?

The great physicist Richard Feynman once posed a similar question: “If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis that all things are made of atoms — little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another.”

That certainly does encapsulate a huge amount of understanding, but it also wouldn’t be particularly useful, in a practical sense. So, allowing myself to be a little more expansive than a single sentence, I have some suggestions for what someone scrabbling around the ruins of civilization would need to know about basic necessities.

You would need to start with germ theory — the notion that contagious diseases are not caused by whimsical gods but by invisibly small organisms invading your body. Drinking water can be disinfected with diluted household bleach or even swimming pool chlorine. Soap for washing hands can be made from any animal fat or plant oil stirred with lye, which is soda from the ashes of burned seaweed combined with quicklime from roasted chalk or limestone. When settling down, ensure that your excrement isn’t allowed to contaminate your water source — this may sound obvious, but wasn’t understood even as late as the mid-19th century.

In the longer term, you’ll need to remaster the principles of agriculture and the ability to stockpile a food reserve and support dense cities away from the fields. The cereal crops that have sustained civilizations throughout history — wheat, rice and maize — are fast growing, perfect as fodder for livestock or, after processing, for human sustenance.

The millstone grinding grain into flour is a technological extension of our molar teeth. And when we bake bread or boil rice or pasta, we wield the transformative power of heat to help break down the complex molecules and release more easily absorbed nourishment. So in a sense, the pots and pans we use in the kitchen today are a pre-digestive system, processing what we consume so that it doesn’t poison us and maximizing the nutrition our body can extract.

Then there are the many materials society requires: How do you transform base substances like clay and iron into brick or concrete or steel, and then shape that material into a useful tool? To learn a small piece of this, I spent a day in a traditional, 18th-century iron forge, learning the essentials of the craft of the blacksmith. Sweating over an open coke-fired hearth, I managed to beat a lump of steel into a knife. Once shaped, I got it cherry-red hot and then quenched it with a satisfying squeal into a water trough, before reheating the blade slightly to temper it for extra toughness.

The first thing I did when I got home was to use the knife to slice some Cheddar and bread and make myself a grilled cheese. Unfortunately, the blade immediately developed a ruinous crack, and I’ve not had the nerve to use it again. But I made something real with my own hands and I’ve got a good idea of how to do it better next time.

Of course, it needn’t take a catastrophic collapse of civilization to make you appreciate the importance of understanding the basics of how devices around you work. Localized disasters can disrupt normal services, making a reasonable reserve of clean water, canned food and backup technologies like kerosene lamps a prudent precaution. And becoming a little more self-reliant is immensely rewarding in its own right. Thought experiments like these can help us to explore how our modern world actually came to be, and to appreciate all that we take for granted.

Take, for example, plain old glass — a wonder material that is somehow relatively strong and yet perfectly transparent. The recipe to create it is simple enough and uses some of the same ingredients as soap: a handful of silica (pure white sand, quartz or flint), some potash or soda ash (extracted by soaking wood or seaweed ash in water, straining the water and then boiling it down) and quicklime (roasted chalk or limestone); mix them together and bake in a kiln. Once the substance is fluid and bubble-free, you can form it into jars or bottles or window panes.

Glass also happens to be a crucial material for understanding the world, in the form of thermometers and test tubes, and even for manipulating light itself, when shaped into lenses for microscopes and telescopes — tools that are indispensable for science, including my own field of astrobiology. I may never have to practice the alchemy that transforms sand, soda and quicklime into this miraculous transparent membrane, but the world outside my window feels closer and more in focus for the knowing.

Lewis Dartnell is an astrobiology research fellow at the University of Leicester and the author of the forthcoming book “The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World From Scratch.”
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on April 25, 2014, 22:48:10
When the apocalypse strikes, getting things done with the least amount of effort will be very important. This axe uses physics in a novel way to make splitting wood easier and safer for the woodcutter. A bit expensive, but if wood burning stoves are the only source of heat and cooking, then suddenly this makes a lot of sense:

Physics-exploiting axe splits wood in record time

News By Ryan Whitwam Apr. 20, 2014 10:45 am

Chopping wood is hard, but it’s something modern society has largely freed us from as a daily activity. That’s nice, but consequently, if you ever do have to chop wood, you’re more than likely going to suck at it. Splitting a log requires a surprising amount of force, but Finnish inventor Heikki Kärnä has invented a new kind of axe that makes it much easier and safer.
Yes, axes have existed since time immemorial, but apparently there’s still room for improvement.
The Vipukirves does what the name implies, assuming you speak Finnish. It’s essentially acting as a lever instead of a wedge (Vipukirves translates as Leveraxe). A regular axe needs to be driven downward with enough force to separate wood along the grain. That’s a lot of force, and if a log is hit off center, the axe blade can deflect at unexpected angles. That’s not good — your squishy flesh is much easier to split than a log.
So what makes a lever different than a wedge in this scenario? The Vipukirves still has a sharpened blade at the end, but it has a projection coming off the side that shifts the center of gravity away from the middle. At the point of impact, the edge is driven into the wood and slows down, but the kinetic energy contained in the 1.9 kilogram axe head continues down and to the side (because of the odd center of gravity). The rotational energy actually pushes the wood apart like a lever. A single strike can open an 8 cm gap in a log, which is more than enough to separate it.
The inventor also claims this tool is much safer because the downward energy that might cause harm is dissipated gradually as rotational energy. So, no abrupt shock, and no deflection. The Vipukirves also naturally comes to rest on its side, which stabilizes the log and keeps the sharp edge pointed away from the operator. It’s really a clever design.
If you want this crazy physics-exploiting axe, it’s going to cost you. The base price is €193.12 in EU countries, including VAT. For US orders, the base price is €155.74 or about $215, plus €47.26 ($65) in shipping.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Fishbone Jones on April 26, 2014, 00:33:19
The people in my office always joke, that when the SHTF, they are coming to my house "because he has everything we need".

I tell them I won't be there as I don't stockpile food stuffs and water, etc.

However, before they leave their place because they've run out, I'll likely be there, because what I do have is guns and ammo

And with those two things I can get whatever I need from the sheep. ;) ;D
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: cupper on May 28, 2014, 02:34:03
The only tool you will need.

Be sure to check out the product reviews. ;D

The Wenger Giant Knife includes 87 implements for almost any situation:
2.5-inch 60% serrated locking blade
Nail file
Nail cleaner
Adjustable pliers with wire crimper and cutter
Removable screwdriver bit adapter
2.5-inch blade for Official World Scout Knife
Spring-loaded, locking needle-nose pliers with wire cutter
Removable screwdiver bit holder
Phillips head screwdriver bit 0 Phillips head screwdriver bit 1
Phillips head screwdriver bit 2
Flat head screwdriver bit 0.5mm x 3.5mm
Flat head screwdriver bit 0.6mm x 4.0mm
Flat head screwdriver bit 1.0mm x 6.5mm
Magnetized recessed bit holder
Double-cut wood saw with ruler
Chain rivet setter
Removable 5mm
Allen wrench
Screwdriver for slotted and Phillips head screws
Removable tool for adjusting spokes
10mm Hexagonal key for nuts
Removable 4mm curved allen wrench with Phillips head screwdriver
Patented locking screwdriver
Universal wrench
2.4-inch springless scissors with serrated self-sharpening design
1.65-inch clip point utility blade
Phillips head screwdriver
2.5-inch clip-point blade
Club face cleaner
2.4-inch round tip blade
Patented locking screwdriver
Cap lifter
Can opener
Shoe spike wrench
Divot repair tool
4mm Allen wrench
2.5-inch blade
Fine metal file with precision screwdriver
Double-cut wood saw with ruler
Cupped cigar cutter with double honed edges
12/20-gauge choke tube tool
Watch case back opening tool
Snap shackle
Mineral crystal magnifier
Straight edge, ruler (in./cm)
Telescopic pointer
Fish scaler
Hook dis-gorger
Line guide
Shortix laboratory key
Micro tool holder
Micro tool adapter
Micro scraper, straight
Micro scraper,curved
Laser pointer with 300-foot range
Metal file
Metal saw
Micro tool holder
Phillips head screwdriver 1.5mm
Screwdriver 1.2mm
Screwdriver .8mm
Fine fork for watch spring bars
Pin punch 1.2mm
Pin pinch .8mm
Round needle file
Removable tool holder with expandable receptacle
Removable tool holder
Special self-centering screwdriver for gunsights
Flat Phillips head screwdriver
Chisel-point reamer
Mineral crystal magnifier
Small ruler
Extension tool
Sping-loaded, locking flat nose needle-nose pliers
Removable screwdriver bit holder
Phillips head screwdriver bit 0
Phillips head screwdriver bit 1
Phillips head screwdriver bit 2
Flat head screwdriver bit 0.5mm x 3.5mm
Flat head screwdriver bit 0.6mm x 4.0mm
Flat head screwdriver bit 1.0mm x 6.5mm
Magnetized recessed bit holder
Tire tread gauge
Fiber optic tool holder
Can opener
Patented locking screwdriver
Cap lifter
Wire stripper
Key ring

Product Description

This giant Swiss Army knife from Wenger is designed with an incredible 87 implements that perform 141 functions, making it the only tool you'll need to get any job done. Whether in your pack or on display, the Giant Knife is sure to be a conversation starter. Packaged in a Black Plastic Box.
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on August 03, 2014, 17:50:27
Jumpstarting civilization with a how to book:

What’s Your Post-Apocalypse Game Plan?
BY NICHOLAS STUBBS   07.31.14  |   8:37 AM  |   PERMALINK

Dartnell forged his own steel knife with the help of a 1700s-era blacksmith.   Lewis Dartnell

The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch is the product of the imagination of astrobiologist Lewis Dartnell, years of research, and several science fiction novels. Written as a manual for survival after doomsday has hit, it compiles information required to restart society, ranging from agriculture to making a radio. Over lattes at a café in central London, Dartnell shared his post-apocalyptic thought experiment and explained why he decided to write The Knowledge.

Wired: How did this project come about?

Dartnell: There was a question that had been bouncing around the back of my mind for quite a while along the lines of: “What are the actual fundamentals behind our civilization?” We see a lot of stuff day-to-day, but I don’t think many of us really understand how any of it works, or is built, or is constructed, or is made – where our food comes from, where clothes come from, how materials are actually made, the metals and plastics we use, and the chemical substances we use in our lives. I just wanted to sit down and answer the thought experiment for myself: imagine this kind of apocalypse event, and civilization has collapsed and you’ve survived. What do you need to know? What’s the most crucial knowledge that you would need to survive and support yourself, but then more interestingly, start rebooting civilization from scratch? How could you accelerate history the second time round?

Wired: How do you think some common forms of technology might be used differently the second time around?

Dartnell: Well it turns out you can run a car, an internal combustion engine, without using fossil fuels. You can actually fuel a car with wood – using a process called gasification. In this big thought experiment, I don’t think you’d have access to crude oil again because we’ve already sucked up all the crude oil that was easy to get, and the only way we’re still constantly producing it today is by going to really inaccessible places and using incredibly sophisticated drilling rigs to suck it up. You wouldn’t be able to do that when you’re back to basics, with rudimentary means. But we could still power our cars. During the Second World War, there were over one million wood-powered cars in Europe because of fuel shortages during the war. The German army ran a whole division of tanks that were wood-powered, rather than diesel-powered.

Wired: What do you think is the most important idea you included in The Knowledge?

Dartnell: One of the most important things that society should never forget and have to rediscover would be something like germ theory. With the idea that people get sick not because of some plague sent down from heaven, but because there are tiny things called bacteria that get inside your body and they make you sick, you could hopefully leapfrog over centuries of history. In London back in the 1800s, tens of thousands of people died of cholera because people were literally defecating in the river, and then ten yards downstream people would be dipping in a bucket and drinking from it. If you explain to people this notion of germ theory, you would cut out all of that regression, all of that pestilence and plague.

In more general terms, the one thing you would need to preserve to reboot a civilization as quickly as possible and to accelerate that redevelopment would be the scientific method; the knowledge generation machinery used to rediscover things about the world for yourself and to fill in all the gaps.

Wired: How much of this civilization re-booting manual did you try for yourself?

Dartnell: I tried to do a lot of these things myself so I could write about it from my own experience. With the author photograph at the back of the book, I was very keen that it stayed true to the premise of the whole book, that I did it myself from scratch. So you mix together all the silver chemistry to take a primitive photograph, use a rudimentary single lens camera to take that photo and then process it.

I also made a knife from scratch, with my own hands, working at a 1700s-era blacksmith. We worked at an iron forge – we shoved this metal into a fire until it was red hot, then battered the hell out of it with a hammer and an anvil. I printed a page from the book on handmade paper, using a rudimentary printing press. In The Knowledge, I explain how to make paper from scratch, how to make your own ink, and how to make a printing press, so the book contains inside itself the genetic instructions for its reproduction.

Wired: The Knowledge has seen a second life online, through the open forum on the project’s website. How did that come about?

Dartnell: The Knowledge is my idea of the most important information for rebuilding civilization, but everyone is going to have their own thoughts, their own feelings, and own expertise in this area, so I’ve been inviting people to come over to the website and pitch in their ideas and discuss and debate with each other. It’s taken off really nicely as well; there’s a vigorous debate going on in several different sections with that discussion panel.

One thread pointed out that my idea of how you could rebuild society after an apocalypse is very similar to a sci-fi scenario where you crash-landed on a virgin, alien earth-like planet with no intelligent beings. Some readers have been working through the book and picking out things that are different on different planets, or the same on different planets, it’s really quite an interesting thought experiment.

Wired: You included a quotation by Richard Feynman, who attempted to summarize human knowledge in a single sentence; do you think you can do something similar?

If, in some cataclysm, all scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis (or atomic fact, or whatever you wish to call it) that all things are made of atoms – little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another. In that one sentence you will see an enormous amount of information about the world, if just a little imagination and thinking are applied.

~ The Feynman Lectures on Physics

Dartnell: I gave the Feynman quote about the atomic hypothesis as an example of what I was trying to do, so I’ve expanded Feynman’s one sentence that was pretty much restricted to physics into 300 pages covering all kinds of science and technology that might be useful. I’ve been a bit more indulgent with word count. But rather than focusing on the atomic hypothesis, I would argue that the most useful thing to try to encapsulate and preserve and pass on to whoever survives this hypothetical cataclysm might be something like the scientific method. I wouldn’t try to encapsulate knowledge itself like Feynman would have done with the atomic hypothesis, but the machinery, the method you would use to work it out for yourself again.


The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch by Dr. Lewis Dartnell is out now. Explore extra material, including How-To videos, at the book’s website, and join the discussion on the forum – what do you think is the most crucial knowledge you’d want to preserve?
Title: Re: Packing for the Apocalypse
Post by: Thucydides on December 19, 2014, 18:18:33
Alcohol will be a very important trade good and all purpose substance(fuel, disinfectant, drink, etc.)

This still seems pretty easy to make and straightforward to use:

By Chris Hackett  Posted December 16, 2014

In times of chaos, alcohol is a rare commodity that has universally recognized value. It can fuel engines, clean wounds, and ease social interaction. It’s also shockingly easy to make.

The first step is fermentation. Yeast cells are not good planners. If you put them in a container fitted with an airlock, they will gobble up sugar and churn out carbon dioxide and ethanol. Within a few weeks, they will fall to the bottom, killed by their own waste. This leaves us with a potent metaphor and, if conditions are right, a beverage of about 5 to 15 percent alcohol.

In the past, I have made the mash, or yeast feedstock, from Dumpstered candy bars, a truckload of overripe plums, and an industrial bakery’s disgustingly sweet pastry filling. Luckily, distillation gets rid of flavor. It also boosts the alcohol content from slight buzz to rocket fuel. You are now enter­ing the glamorous world of federal crime. Proceed at your own risk.

My reflux still uses propane to heat a stainless-steel keg of fermented mash. Ethanol turns into steam first, rising through a metal chimney to a cocktail shaker containing a copper coil. As a pump runs water through this assembly, it acts as a condenser, cooling the vapor until it drips out as liquid spirit. Discard the first few ounces to avoid methanol—and blindness.

As the temperature rises, water boils, diluting the vapor. That’s why I packed the chimney with copper pot scrubbers. They give the water molecules plenty of surface area on which they can condense and leak back into the pot, while the concentrated ethanol continues up to the cocktail shaker. This creates multiple distillations—hence reflux still.

The booze that finally emerges is close to pure ethanol: It will run a gasoline engine. For sipping, I water it down to 130 proof—a strong punch in the face, but surprisingly delicious.
WARNING: Distilling alcohol is a federal offense and violates state laws. Some exceptions are made, but apocalypse prep isn’t one...yet.
This article originally appeared in the January 2015 issue of Popular Science, under the name "A Reflux Still For Making Moonshine."