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Don’t stop at half a job

Currently our species has a problem which we are unable to resolve so do as we have always done, we ignore it. We deal with a smaller but recoverable problems instead. It is all we can do and is a perfectly valid way to go. The problem I refer to the single point of failure for our entire species, our planet, anything happens to it and we are done for. Now, I’m not selling the AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) line here. I’m talking about an ELE (Extinction Level Event) for which there could be multiple causes. For our species to truly thrive we need to get off this rock and go out among the stars. Although it doesn’t look good as over forty years ago we were walking on the moon, over thirty five years ago we put a space station in earths orbit and then we simply slowed down as nobody seen the need to go further, it was too expensive, too risky and too difficult, so it looks like in a few years we will be lucky if we can get someone into orbit at all with the cost of fuel and the H&S issues. We have been heading the wrong way for decades. There is little we can do as governments are the destroyers of economies and throttle the pace of progress.

If a complete collapse comes via a TEOTWAWKI event such as meteor strike, nuclear war or something similar we as a species are in trouble. There will undoubtedly be survivors, people who live out beyond civilisation hunting little animals in the jungle, people in the third world who live a day to day existence already, people like us who have prepared and will fight to live and governments who have dug in using your money to save themselves. The problem is that means going back and abandoning hundreds of years of knowledge and progress. We can be certain there will be no MRI scanners, no transplants, no fusion reactors, no space program, satellites etc. If we are lucky the world will settle and stop as it was in the late 1800s for most of us, perhaps the government goons will have some of those until they fall into disrepair.

So can’t we just start again? Recreate the last 100 plus years of innovation and progress either from documents that we have archived or just by redeveloping the technology again but taking little technological shortcuts.

Well we can with some things but resources will be almost impossible to find. Oil won’t be at the surface so old Jed Clampett can find it shooting something for dinner. We will need heavy and expensive equipment to find it, retrieve it and process it. Most of those are beyond the resources of ordinary preppers and would be for some time. Remember that oil provides more than just fuel, it is the basis for plastics, fertilisers and several other things which allow us to live the way we do now. Bear in mind that it is not just oil, we don’t find tin, copper, diamonds and hundreds of other resources near the surface waiting to be picked up any more either, they need to be dug out from deep in the earth at great cost. In fact all the easily reachable resources have been consumed. There is still plenty there but it needs our current technology to get at it. Without these resources we cannot really progress. I don’t want us to just build nice villages and live at that level. I want us to explore the stars and grow as a species. In fact I want to be out there now myself. What the hell happened to our plans when I was a kid with a Flash Gordon ray gun?

So we as preppers though should actually be looking at more than just survival for ourselves and our families. We should also be storing documents, instructions and equipment for how to do all these wonderful things that would most likely be lost in an extreme scenario. We should also be storing lathes, mills, laboratory gear, analytical equipment, plant and base resources to enable us to bootstrap up beyond the early 1900’s to as far up the technological tree as we can. To give our children and our children’s children, our species really, a hope for the future. We may lose the experience but we can at least keep the knowledge from being lost.

That is way more than most of us as individual preppers would ever afford or aspire to do. Personally, I have hundreds of soft copies of books on subjects I cannot hope to understand such as; applied mathematics, molecular biology and how a woman thinks. It may not be any real use to me but it will help our children leap decades of trial and error research. I have several items of machine equipment; a lathe, a milling machine and welding gear as well as lab gear, basic chemistry and biology equipment all put aside and stored. Some of which I have never used, most of which I have tinkered with over years. We would undoubtedly do some things differently anyway. Hindsight is great. Some things we would re-engineer, some just stop using and we would create new different things for some tasks.

So those of you who are finished putting aside your basic survival stores, think about some additional equipment you can store. In the event that anything happens then you could be the local Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci. The one that doesn’t slave all day digging and falls asleep as soon as you get home but the one that makes equipment for others on those infernal engines in your workshop. Plus, it could be your wine making and medicinal skills that will keep your family, friends and neighbours alive.

None of us want to implement our survival plans. However, we are careful enough to plan for the eventuality that something like that will happen. So let’s not do half a job and scrape a subsistence living as individuals. Let us plan and prepare for the recovery and growth as well. To this end I will be adding some equipment on that would enable us to kick start medical tests and make medicines, build chemical refining equipment, etc.

Although it is not beyond some of us to at least put aside some of this, I believe we are so fragmented and focused on what we are doing that this recovery will be more likely performed by a group working together in a community or a rich individual or family who plan to use that as leverage to become Lord of the Manor with us as his servants. While we still have people that work in labs producing antibiotics and other medicines let us find out how it works and make sure we can reproduce the capability. We might never need it but you never know. Isn’t that our game plan anyway?

Anyone got a spare couple of million? Dan, are you listening? It could be Lord Dan if you are.

4 comments to Don’t stop at half a job

  • Scarecrow

    http://www.cd3wd.com/cd3wd_40/cd3wd/index.htm

    At the above link is just about everything you need to know about everything when reinventing the wheel.

  • Skean Dhude

    That is a great site. I’ve downloaded it completely myself a few times. They keep on adding things to it. 🙂

    Well worth having on your favourites list or on CD. I’m trying to think of an easy way to get a copy on this site and keep it updated. I don’t want a 13Gb zip on my system and at the same time I don’t want to keep track and maintain the individual files.

  • Skvez

    I always wonder why people talk about living in the 19th century after a TEOTWAWKI situation. The 19th Century was very advanced, they had all sorts of technology that I have no idea how to replicate.
    Personally I’ll be in the stone-age with a few toys from the ‘old reckoning’ but once they break it’s back to banging the rocks together.
    I can’t even replicate all the technology the Roman Empire had, as you (Skean) point out all the easily accessible Iron Ore and coal is gone.
    For example with a bit of luck I might be able to make a nail but a screw is far beyond my capabilities.
    Does anyone know if you can use scrap metal (from a scrapyard) instead of ore?

  • Skean Dhude

    Skvez,

    I think you will find that you have more knowledge than you think. For example some societies didn’t even have the wheel. Knowing something can be done is more than half the battle. You would automatically think of the wheel for moving things and how to generate power from the wind. However, I suspect it will be a long time before we start making computer processors and solar panels.

    Scrapmetal is already refined. You simply melt it and remould and there are some good books I have already posted on for making your own forge and metal working equipment. Smelting the ore involves removing impurities and that is a lot more difficult.

    Scrapyards will be invaluable in a TEOTWAWKI scenario.

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