During our boiling, broiling, blistering summer of 2012 here in the Missouri Ozarks, water was a topic of conversation wherever we went. Creeks and ponds dried up (some never recovered) and the water table dropped, forcing a few neighbors to have their well pumps lowered or to even have deeper wells drilled.
Many folks shared memories of rain barrels, cisterns, hand pumps and drawing water with a well bucket as a child, usually on grandpa and grandma’s farm. Some said they’d never want to rely again on those old-time methods of getting water. But, at least they knew how it was done.
If doctors are scarce and medicine becomes even scarcer, this one little weed, found all over North America and similar to morphine, could be a saving grace.
It seems we have lost much practical knowledge in the last 50 or so years because we thought we’d never need it again. Now we are scrambling to relearn those simple know-hows.
A tattered, 4-inch thick, 1909 book I happily secured for $8 in a thrift store reveals, among umpteen-thousand other every-day skills, how to make homemade water filters. The instructions in “Household Discoveries and Mrs. Curtis’s Cookbook” are quite basic as everyone had a rain barrel back then and presumably knew how to filter rainwater. Now, 104 years later, I am thankful the authors had the foresight to preserve their knowledge for us, and pointed out that rainwater collected in barrels from a roof is a necessity in some locations, but also is best for laundry and “often more wholesome for drinking purposes than hard water.”
The “wholesome” observation applies to plants, too. I noticed during our 6-week dry spell (not a drop of rain) that I was only able to keep my vegetables alive with the garden hose – until our well, too, began sucking air. The pitiful potato, tomato and bean plants actually seemed petrified, like faded plastic decorations. Then, after a 2-hour rain shower, the plants miraculously leapt to life – vibrant, green and THRIVING. I did, too.
In early June last year, my husband surprised me with a 425-gallon water tank so I could water with nutritious rainwater, although it was August before any measure of water was in the tank. When the elusive rains finally paused briefly overhead, I was out in it with my 2-gallon watering can, running and sloshing the water like a crazy woman onto our neglected trees far up the hill.
For gardening, rainwater is, naturally, best unfiltered. But, for household use, the vintage book says the following instructions yield a cheap and easy way to make a filter just as good as a patent filter costing 10 times as much:
“Take a new vinegar barrel or an oak tub that has never been used, either a full cask or half size. Stand it on end raised on brick or stone from the ground. Insert a faucet near the bottom. Make a tight false bottom 3 or 4 inches from the bottom of the cask. Perforate this with small gimlet holes, and cover it with a piece of clean white canvas.
“Place on this false bottom a layer of clean pebbles 3 or 4 inches in thickness; next, a layer of clean washed sand and gravel; then coarsely granulated charcoal about the size of small peas. Charcoal made from hard maple is the best.
“After putting in a half bushel or so, pound it down firmly. Then put in more until the tub is filled within 1 foot of the top. Add a 3-inch layer of pebbles; and throw over the top a piece of canvas as a strainer. This canvas strainer can be removed and washed occasionally and the cask can be dumped out, pebbles cleansed and charcoal renewed every spring and fall, or once a year may be sufficient.
“This filter may be set in the cellar and used only for drinking water. Or it may be used in time of drought for filtering stagnant water, which would otherwise be unpalatable, for the use of stock. This also makes a good cider filter for the purpose of making vinegar. The cider should first be passed through cheese cloth to remove all coarser particles.
“Or a small cheap filter may be made from a flower pot. A fine sponge may be inserted in the hole and the pot filled about as directed for the above filter. It may be placed in the top of a jar, which will receive the filtered water.”
My copy of the 1,000-page book is stained and worn, I assume from many years of use in the house, barn and garden. Even though I could read the bright, white online version, I treasure my rag-tag book and am hanging onto it. I still have much to learn.
To read the free online version of Household Discoveries and Mrs. Curtis’s Cookbook that covers everything from how to eradicate vermin, salt fish and build a 5-hole privy, visit Household Discoveries on Open Library.org. Information on filtering water begins on page 108.
Linda Holliday lives in the Missouri Ozarks where she and her husband formed Well WaterBoy Products, a company devoted to helping people live more self-sufficiently off grid, and invented the WaterBuck Pump.A former newspaper editor and reporter, Holliday blogs for Mother Earth News, sharing her skills in modern homesteading, organic gardening and human-powered devices.
Preparedness Hacks: Once a nuke is heading your way, you might think that there isn’t much left to do, but you would be wrong!
Martial Law under a government with bad intentions can have devastating consequences. Is history about to repeat itself and will we face a violent enactment of martial law in the years ahead?
Here are 10 ways to fool the authorities and escape with your life and family.A violent and horrifying life in a concentration camp is what you may face one day under martial law.
We’re not talking about a regional or short term enactment of martial law. We’re talking about martial law under a government with an agenda to root out and destroy any elements that are not in line with their specific agenda.
How many Jews learned the hard way in World War II that the Nazis hated Jews and wanted to exterminate them?
In a government collapse following any number of disastrous events that might befall a nation, we can bet that the next government to come to power in this day and age will need force, and a lot of it, in order to quell a rebellious people.
Force shows power and overwhelming violence spreads fear across a population. And there’s no better way to show force and enact fear into a people than to violently enforce martial law.
Making Sense of All These Cyberattacks
In World War 2, the Nazis set out to conquer Europe; it was part of the Nazi agenda before World War 2 ever began.
If it’s going to happen to us, we can bet that extensive planning and military operations that include secret government agents, computer hacking, weapons smuggling, and covert alliances are already taking place.
At the end, who will be the governing party that will enact martial law? It won’t be under an American flag. Not the flag of our founding fathers that is. Don’t get me wrong. The American flag may still fly — but if it does fly, it’s going to be dwarfed by a larger flag with any number of national or foreign symbols poised above it.
Dump Any Device That Contain The Words ”Smart” Or ”I”
Your smartphone can be tracked even if GPS, location services are turned off. According to Princeton researchers, the smartphone user wouldn’t even know their phone was being tracked.
Smartphones’ locations can still be tracked, even if all location services and GPS have been turned off. — Princeton, 2018
A security exploit uses a mix of phone and non-phone information sources to track a device’s location, suggesting your location may not be as secure as you thought. — Princeton, 2018
Smartphones can still be tracked even if location services and GPS are turned off, according to Princeton University researchers.
The team—Arsalan Mosenia, Xiaoliang Dai, Prateek Mittal, and Niraj Jha—combined information from phone-based and non-phone sources to determine a device’s location. The technique, called PinMe, shows it is possible to track a location even if the location services, GPS, and Wi-Fi are turned off.
Data used to track the device include the phone’s time zone and information from its sensors, like air pressure, a Princeton press release said. When mixed with public information like maps, a device’s location can be estimated without location services.
Since the sources that produce this data don’t require user permission to operate and only collect a small amount of data, the method is “virtually undetectable,” the release said.
Dumping all this devices will increase your chances to avoid being caught.
Escaping Martial Law
1. Run, Don’t Walk, Run
With death bearing down on your community, on your neighborhood, on your front door, it’s better to make a hasty retreat for the countryside than to wait too long and find out the hard way … that you waited too long to evacuate.
From the countryside, you can hide safely under the cover of the forest, and make plans and preparations for the next leg of your journey.
A large number of Jews were able to escape the Nazis by fleeing into the forests, surviving the weather and foraging for food (or just handouts of free food), and eventually escaping. Sometimes they had the help of “underground” elements, resistance fighters and their supporters.
2. Seek Cover and Stay Camouflaged
Jews who waited too long to evacuate, or moved too slowly, or didn’t do a good job hiding out, were rounded up, or simply shot where they were found. The key to not being found is to:
– Stay under cover (you don’t want to be spottedfrom a drone, helicopter, or plane circling in the air)
– Avoid “line of sight” (position yourself so that your path of travel isn’t visible to anyone scouring the land with binoculars; trees and tall brush can provide concealment from every direction; avoid meadows and open spaces).
– Be ready to belly crawl … slowly (not getting caught is of utmost importance; be ready to drop to your belly and crawl on all fours, stomach and head low to the ground, and move at a snail’s pace; moving extremely slow will help you avoid snapping twigs and also avoid shaking the brush or tall grass around you, movement which can give away your position to anyone close by).
– Be patient (if you have any questions or suspicions about a possible searching party trying to track your position, be ready to stop moving completely and simply lay right where you are for the next several hours — until the cover of dark perhaps — or when you feel it’s safe to start moving again).
– Hide well off trail (the further you can get from any noticeable trail to hide, or just to sleep, the better; if these are just soldiers acting on orders, they may not be too excited about slogging through a swamp or wetland, or climbing a steep hill of dense brush, which brings us to…)
3. Choose the Path of MOST Resistance
From your starting point, what is the hardest way into the wilderness? What has the most brush, the steepest gully, that is still passable? If authorities are not right on your tail, and you have a head start, consider taking a path that no one in their right mind would be likely to take.
It might take you 30 minutes to climb a 200 yard hillside through the woods, but if that hillside climb puts you on a path off the beaten track, you can increase the odds that you’ll never be found, and that no one is going to follow the path you have taken.
4. Cover Your Tracks
Soldiers acting on authorities to round up evacuees might not be well trained (or have any real training) in tracking. That said, you should be cautious along whatever path you take not to leave signs of your presence, and especially not to leave signs revealing the direction you are traveling.
Signs to avoid are:
– Broken branches (avoid breaking branches; even twigs breaking off brush as you pass by are tell tale “white” signs pointing to your presence)
– Flattened grass (crawling through an open area of grass comes with a danger; you may leave a trail of flattened grass pointing in your direction of travel; if you have time, and you have to travel through grass, for a short distance into the grass, turn at repeated points, and use your hands to stand the grass back up, so that it’s no longer flattened and conceals your path of travel)
– Foot marks in damp soil (be ever cautious about open areas of soil, especially damp soil; damp soil is a fast way to leave a shoe print revealing your direction of travel; step cautiously over and around open areas of soil to avoid leaving shoe prints).
– Camp fires (smoke from camp fires can alert people from miles away to your location and ashes from a camp fire on the ground can tell trackers just how long it’s been since you were there; as much as possible, avoid any camp fires until you are a very safe distance away; keep them short, brief, and very small when you do need one)
– Litter (don’t drop anything to signal your presence, from an empty matchbook to a cigarette lighter to garbage from your food supplies; bury everything you don’t want well off trail where it won’t be found)
5. Fool Any Pursuers
So you plan on entering the woods near a highway? Cross to the other side of the highway and break a number of branches and clear a path of brush and create what looks like a trail leading in the opposite direction you actually plan to travel.
Continue forward along that false trail you’ve started, and leave additional signs giving pursuers the impression that is the direction you or others are traveling.
Now go back to your original planned starting point, perhaps “choosing the path of most resistance” (see above), and head off in the opposite direction.
Pull this off and you’ve just made a safe getaway and any pursuers will be shortly later on a wild goose chase leading to nowhere.
– Now is a great time to litter. Remember that rule above about avoiding littering — well there is a time to litter, and that is when you want to use litter as a way to fool pursuers into believing you went one direction, or crossed a river, when you actually doubled back and went another way.
Consider dropping an empty matchbook and arranging things to look like a temporary camp site.
In one area, urinate (or pour water) on the ground, and then make foot prints in the damp soil, that look like you are walking in a certain direction.
Got an old shirt? Cut a length of paracord and tie it securely to a rock, and then tie both to a shirt. Wrap the rock in the shirt and then throw both over a narrow river you have no intention to cross (choose a point in the river where it would be a dangerous crossing) so that the rock and shirt fall on the other side of the river where the shirt is visible to anyone searching from your side of the river (dunk your shirt in the water to give it more weight prior to your toss — it should travel a few feet further than it might if dry)
In a short while any pursuers who see your shirt may be fooled into thinking you crossed over the river. By the time they cross (if they are even able to cross, remember this is a fast point of the river we’re talking about) and discover the rock tied to your shirt, and possibly realize they’ve been fooled, you may be far off in a different direction.
Make it more believable by making foot prints in a damp area of sand or dirt near the river bank that point to the river.
6. Only Carry the Essentials
If you’re prepared, and in reality everyone should be prepared, you would have had a Bug Out Bag packed and ready to go, though a lighter weight Bug Out Bag may be called for if you find that you need to make a hasty retreat and have a tough road ahead of you.
What are some ways you can shed pounds from your backpack?
When it comes to the outdoors, it’s common for people to bring more changes of clothing than they actually need. The more time you spend in the outdoors, and the more time you spend on any treks of any real distance, you’ll realize that you can get by in the same set of clothing just fine. Having a second outfit you can wear as an additional layer is recommended, as evening temperatures can drop, and you don’t want to freeze. The point of all this is that too many outfits will only bulk up your bag and add extra weight and only slow down your travel time.
Additional ways to shed pounds —
– Avoid carrying a tent — instead, carry a simple waterproof bivy sack. A bivy sack is a thin yet rugged bag designed to fit over a sleeping bag and keep you sheltered from the elements.
– Carry less water into the wilderness (unless traveling through dry areas where natural water sources are few or non-existent for several miles at a time — then you’ll want to carry a lot more water than normal); be sure to have a plan for procuring drinking water along the way.
– Choose a smaller flashlight that takes smaller batteries (but always have a few extra)
– Cut your emergency candle in half (have a 55 hour emergency candle? Take a hacksaw to it, and cut it in half to 22.5 hours of burn time)
– Pack calorie-rich freeze dried food or light weight high calorie survival food and be prepared to go longer between meals
– Include a plan to snack on edible insects; some of you are squeamish at this idea — but edible insects can provide enough calories and help you get by for a few extra hours or even days at a time, adding time and distance to your escape from otherwise captivity and possible death in a concentration camp.
Right now your goal is to just get away — you can hunt, fish, and trap once you are dozens of miles away or more into a remote area.
– As you move along the forest floor and or along a rivers edge, be ready to collect edible plants, roots, nuts, and berries — but be careful, many are poisonous and not edible. It may be a lot easier for you to recognize edible insects and make do with these instead of risking your life with plants, roots, nuts, and berries found in the forest.
Remember, the wrong plant or berry can be a fast way to an early death. Foraging is a skill that today can be learned by reading books on foraging for wild plants, taking classes, and then practicing what you have learned so that you are ready for a survival situation.
7. Be Careful What You Tell People
If you come across strangers, keep details about your travels to yourself. Unless they’re part of your group, no need to share details just in case these strangers you’re talking with are soon after caught by authorities and give up your location.
What about tracking dogs?
While tracking dogs may be a threat for some evacuees, a large scale evacuation into the countryside is likely to leave authorities short handed and short on adequately trained canine teams.
8. Press On and Keep Traveling
Feel like there’s enough distance between you and them? Don’t take any chances and be ready to spend a few more days and even weeks traveling into remote areas. Better safe than sorry.
Hunting pressure and large numbers of evacuees fleeing into the wilderness in several regions of the country will send native wildlife fleeing for remote areas where there is a lot less human activity. It is these remote areas that the hunting is likely to be best — especially hunting for bigger game like deer, elk, antelope, and moose.
9. Seek Out Remote Wilderness
The difference between the World War 2 Jews vs survivors from a tyrannical government that may one day come to power today is that the Jews had allied nations that they could flee to. In fact many fled Europe completely and made it to the U.S. and of course millions had help being relocated to the present day nation of Israel in the years following World War 2.
If we have to run from a tyrannical government that one day comes to power and enactsmartial law, we may not have any allied nations to flee to at all, and so the only real way to survive long term may be to seek out remote wilderness far off the beaten track, well under the cover of forest (gotta hide from those drones), as well as lands shielded by mountains (where there’s no roads, there’s no easy way for armies to move enemy soldiers in and out, putting the odds of escaping the clutches of tyranny and martial law in your favor).
10. Teach the Children
While the history books are being re-written by the new powers that be, while the White House lays in ruin and Lady Liberty is just a scattered mountain of debris and a face laying horizontally across the ground, there will be one book that stands the test of time, with a history that can and should be passed on to children. There may be a lot of debate and some people swear by it and others swear against it — but only in the last pages of the Bible and the many prophecies concerning the End of Days will any of this ever make any sense.
There are several more details on survival when it comes to martial law and being forced into a life of living off the land and living off what you and your family can carry on your backs. Unfortunately, this isn’t fiction and it’s something that has occurred more and more in recent years.
Refugees in war torn nations (do I need to make a list?) and other nations struck by catastrophic disasters (Haiti, for example) have sent survivors fleeing for the countryside or simply living in the ruins of their towns and villages and large tent cities that have bred crime and corruption along with dangers to women and children — and the fathers and brothers who would otherwise seek to protect them.
In war torn nations in the modern day, and regions turned to ruins by natural disasters, many have died from starvation and disease, and others from drinking contaminated water; others have fallen victim to gangs or been killed by rogue armies that have come to power, perhaps enforcing their own version of martial law.
It is a certainty that martial law will come to the US soon and will be followed by UK, Canada and the Western Nations. Best to be ready and not caught off guard,when the day comes that martial law is implemented .
Perhaps Jesus said it best when he said:
“Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” – Luke 21:34-3.
This article is a long read but it’s interesting in the respect that it gives you an idea of just how much life will change after a SHTF event. All of our common comforts that we take for granted will be gone. You’ll have to adapt or die! “X-Beast” I always remember my grandmother saying the “good ole days”, wasn’t all that good. I remember playing in the old chicken coop, smoke house, barn, & even the outhouse, all of them not used anymore in the 1970s. A fairly long read, but after reading this, I understand what she was talking about.
It’s one or two years after an EMP attack and you are safely tucked away in your retreat somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Your storage foods have mostly been used and your high tech electronics is useless. The really bad stuff is mostly past. Now it’s try to stay fed and alive and pray that civilization as you know it is coming back. You’re going to have to work your environment to live. Ever wonder what life might be like? What would it really be like to have no running water, electricity, sewer, newspaper or Internet? No supermarket or fire department close at hand?
I have a good imagination but I decided to talk to someone who would know first hand what it was like: my mother. She grew up on a homestead in the middle of Montana during the 1920s and 1930s. It was a two room Cottonwood cabin with the nearest neighbor three miles away. She was oldest at 9, so she was in charge of her brother and sister. This was her reality; I feel there are lessons here for the rest of us.
There was a Majestic stove that used wood and coal. The first person up at four thirty A.M., usually her father, would start the fire for breakfast. It was a comforting start to the day but your feet would get cold when you got out of bed.
A crosscut saw and axe was used to cut wood for the stove and after that experience, you got pretty stingy with the firewood because you know what it takes to replace it. The old timers say that it warms you when you cut it, when you split it, and again when you burn it. The homes that were typical on homesteads and ranches of the era were smaller with lower ceilings than modern houses just so they could be heated easier. The saw and axe were not tools to try hurrying with. You set a steady pace and maintained it. A man in a hurry with an axe may loose some toes or worse. One side effect of the saw and axe use is that you are continuously hungry and will consume a huge amount of food. Lights in the cabin were old fashioned kerosene lamps. It was the kid’s job to trim the wicks, clean the chimneys and refill the reservoirs.
The privy was downhill from the house next to the corral and there was no toilet paper. Old newspaper, catalogs or magazines were used and in the summer a pan of barely warm water was there for hygiene. During a dark night, blizzard, or brown out from a dust storm, you followed the corral poles-no flashlights.
There were two springs close to the house that ran clear, clean, and cold water. The one right next to it was a “soft” water spring. It was great for washing clothes and felt smooth, almost slick, on your skin. If you drank from it, it would clean you out just as effectively as it cleaned clothes. Not all clean water is equal.
The second spring was a half mile from the cabin and it was cold, clear, and tasted wonderful. The spring itself was deep – an eight foot corral pole never hit bottom- and flowed through the year. It was from here that the kids would fill two barrels on a heavy duty sled with water for the house and the animals. They would lead the old white horse that was hitched to the sledge back to the buildings and distribute the water for people and animals. In the summer, they made two trips in the morning and maybe a third in the evening. In the winter, one trip in the morning and one in the evening. They did this alone.
Breakfast was a big meal because they’re going to be working hard. Usually there would be homemade sausage, eggs and either cornmeal mush or oatmeal. More food was prepared than what was going to be eaten right then. The extra food was left on the table under a dish towel and eaten as wanted during the day. When evening meal was cooked, any leftovers were reheated. The oatmeal or the mush was sliced and fried for supper. It was served with butter, syrup, honey or molasses.
The homemade sausage was from a quarter or half a hog. The grinder was a small kitchen grinder that clamped on the edge of a table and everybody took turns cranking. When all the hog had been ground, the sausage mix was added and kneaded in by hand. Then it was immediately fried into patties. The patties were placed, layer by layer, into a stone crock and covered with the rendered sausage grease. The patties were reheated as needed. The grease was used for gravies as well as re-cooking the patties. Occasionally a fresh slice of bread would be slathered with a layer of sausage grease and a large slice of fresh onion would top it off for quick sandwich. Nothing was wasted.
Some of their protein came from dried fish or beef. Usually this had to be soaked to remove the excess salt or lye. Then it was boiled. Leftovers would go into hash, fish patties, or potato cakes. The kitchen garden ran mostly to root crops. Onion, turnip, rutabaga, potato and radishes grew under chicken wire. Rhubarb was canned for use as a winter tonic to stave off scurvy. Lettuce, corn, and other above ground crops suffered from deer, rats, and gumbo clay soil. Surprisingly, cabbage did well. The winter squash didn’t do much, only 2 or 3 gourds. Grasshoppers were controlled by the chickens and turkeys. There was endless hoeing.
Washing clothes required heating water on the stove, pouring it into three galvanized wash tubs-one for the homemade lye soap and scrub board, the other two for rinsing. Clothes were rinsed and wrung out by hand, then hung on a wire to dry in the air. Your hands became red and raw, your arms and shoulders sore beyond belief by the end of the wash. Wet clothing, especially wool, is heavy and the gray scum from the soap was hard to get out of the clothes.
Personal baths were in a galvanized wash tub screened by a sheet. In the winter it was difficult to haul, heat and handle the water so baths weren’t done often. Most people would do sponge baths.Everybody worked including the kids. There were always more chores to be done than time in the day. It wasn’t just this one family; it was the neighbors as well. You were judged first and foremost by your work ethic and then your honesty. This was critical because if you were found wanting in either department, the extra jobs that might pay cash money, a quarter of beef, hog or mutton would not be available. Further, the cooperation with your neighbors was the only assurance that if you needed help, you would get help. Nobody in the community could get by strictly on their own. A few tried. When they left, nobody missed them. You didn’t have to like someone to cooperate and work with him or her.
Several times a year people would get together for organized activities: barn raising, butcher bee, harvest, roofing, dance, or picnics. There were lots of picnics, usually in a creek bottom with cottonwoods for shade or sometimes at the church. Always, the women would have tables groaning with food, full coffee pots and, if they were lucky, maybe some lemonade. (Lemons were expensive and scarce) After the work (even for picnics, there was usually a project to be done first) came the socializing. Many times people would bring bedding and sleep out overnight, returning home the next day.
A half dozen families would get together for a butcher bee in the cold days of late fall. Cows were slaughtered first, then pigs, mutton, and finally chickens. Blood from some of the animals was collected in milk pails, kept warm on a stove to halt coagulation and salt added. Then it was canned for later use in blood dumplings, sausage or pudding. The hides were salted for later tanning; the feathers from the fowl were held for cleaning and used in pillows or mattresses. The skinned quarters of the animals would be dipped into cold salt brine and hung to finish cooling out so they could be taken home safely for processing. Nothing went to waste.
The most feared occurrence in the area was fire. If it got started, it wasn’t going out until it burned itself out. People could and did loose everything.
The most used weapon was the .22 single shot Winchester with .22 shorts. It was used to take the heads off pheasant, quail, rabbit and ducks. If you held low, the low powered round didn’t tear up the meat. The shooters, usually the kids, quickly learned sight picture and trigger control although they never heard those terms. If you took five rounds of ammunition, you better bring back the ammunition or a critter for the pot for each round expended. It was also a lot quieter and less expensive [in those days] than the .22 Long Rifle cartridges.
If you are trying to maintain a low profile, the odor of freshly baked bread can be detected in excess of three miles on a calm day. Especially by kids.
Twice a year the cabin was emptied of everything. The walls, floors, and ceilings were scrubbed with lye soap and a bristle brush. All the belongings were also cleaned before they came back into the house. This was pest control and it was needed until DDT became available. Bedbugs, lice, ticks and other creepy crawlies were a fact of life and were controlled by brute force. Failure to do so left you in misery and maybe ill.
Foods were stored in bug proof containers. The most popular was fifteen pound metal coffee cans with tight lids. These were for day to day use in the kitchen. (I still have one. It’s a family heirloom.) The next were barrels to hold the bulk foods like flour, sugar, corn meal, and rice. Everything was sealed or the vermin would get to it. There was always at least one, preferably two, months of food on hand. If the fall cash allowed, they would stock up for the entire winter before the first snowfall.
The closest thing to a cooler was a metal box in the kitchen floor. It had a very tight lid and was used to store milk, eggs and butter for a day or two. Butter was heavily salted on the outside to keep it from going rancid or melting. Buttermilk, cottage cheese and regular cheese was made from raw milk after collecting for a day or two. The box was relatively cool in the summer and did not freeze in the winter.
Mice and rats love humanity because we keep our environment warm and tend to be sloppy with food they like. Snakes love rats and mice so they were always around. If the kids were going to play outside, they would police the area with a hoe and a shovel. After killing and disposing of the rattlesnakes- there was always at least one-then they could play for a while in reasonable safety.
The mice and rats were controlled by traps, rocks from sling shots, cats and coyotes. The cats had a hard and usually short life because of the coyotes. The coyotes were barely controlled and seemed to be able to smell firearms at a distance. There were people who hunted the never-ending numbers for the bounty.
After chores were done, kid’s active imagination was used in their play. They didn’t have a lot of toys. There were a couple of dolls for the girls, a pocket knife and some marbles for the boy, and a whole lot of empty to fill. Their father’s beef calves were pretty gentle by the time they were sold at market – the kids rode them regularly. (Not a much fat on those calves but a lot of muscle.) They would look for arrow heads, lizards, and wild flowers. Chokecherry, buffalo berry, gooseberry and currants were picked for jelly and syrups. Sometimes the kids made chokecherry wine.
On a hot summer day in the afternoon, the shade on the east side of the house was treasured and the east wind, if it came, even more so. Adults hated hailstorms because of the destruction, kids loved them because they could collect the hail and make ice cream.
Childbirth was usually handled at a neighbor’s house with a midwife if you were lucky. If you got sick you were treated with ginger tea, honey, chicken soup or sulphur and molasses. Castor oil was used regularly as well. Wounds were cleaned with soap and disinfected with whisky. Mustard based poultices were often used for a variety of ills. Turpentine, mustard and lard was one that was applied to the chest for pneumonia or a hacking cough.
Contact with the outside world was an occasional trip to town for supplies using a wagon and team. A battery operated radio was used very sparingly in the evenings. A rechargeable car battery was used for power. School was a six mile walk one way and you brought your own lunch. One school teacher regularly put potatoes on the stove to bake and shared them with the kids. She was very well thought of by the kids and the parents.
These people were used to a limited amount of social interaction. They were used to no television, radio, or outside entertainment. They were used to having only three or four books. A fiddler or guitar player for a picnic or a dance was a wonderful thing to be enjoyed. Church was a social occasion as well as religious. The church ladies and their butter and egg money allowed most rural churches to be built and to prosper.
The men were required to do the heavy work but the ladies made it come together. The civilizing of the west sprang from these roots. Some of those ladies had spines of steel. They needed it. That’s a partial story of the homestead years. People were very independent, stubborn and strong but still needed the community and access to the technology of the outside world for salt, sugar, flour, spices, chicken feed, cloth, kerosene for the lights and of course, coffee. There are many more things I could list. Could they have found an alternative if something was unavailable? Maybe. How would you get salt or nitrates in Montana without importing? Does anyone know how to make kerosene? Coffee would be valued like gold. Roasted grain or chicory just didn’t cut it.
I don’t want to discourage people trying to prepare but rather to point out that generalized and practical knowledge along with a cooperative community is still needed for long term survival. Whatever shortcomings you may have, if you are part of a community, it is much more likely to be covered. The described community in this article was at least twenty to thirty miles across and included many farms and ranches as well as the town. Who your neighbors are, what type of people they are, and your relationship to them is one of the more important things to consider.
Were there fights, disagreements and other unpleasantness? Absolutely. Some of it was handled by neighbors, a minister or the sheriff. Some bad feelings lasted a lifetime. There were some people that were really bad by any standard and they were either the sheriff’s problem or they got sorted out by one of their prospective victims. These homesteaders had a rough life but they felt they had a great life and their way of life was shared by everyone they knew. They never went hungry, had great daylong picnics with the neighbors, and knew everyone personally within twenty miles. Every bit of pleasure or joy was treasured like a jewel since it was usually found in a sea of hard work. They worked hard, played hard and loved well. In our cushy life, we have many more “things” and “conveniences” than they ever did, but we lack the connection they had with their environment and community.
The biggest concern for our future: What happens if an event such as a solar flare, EMP, or a plague takes our society farther back than the early 1900s by wiping out our technology base. Consider the relatively bucolic scene just described and then add in some true post-apocalyptic hard cases. Some of the science fiction stories suddenly get much more realistic and scary. A comment out of a Star Trek scene comes to mind “In the fight between good and evil, good must be very, very good.”
Consider what kind of supplies might not be available at any cost just because there is no longer a manufacturing base or because there is no supply chain. In the 1900s they had the railroads as a lifeline from the industrial east.
One of the greatest advantages we have is access to a huge amount of information about our world, how things work and everything in our lives. We need to be smart enough to learn/understand as much as possible and store references for all the rest. Some of us don’t sleep well at night as we are well aware of how fragile our society and technological infrastructure is. Trying to live the homesteader’s life would be very painful for most of us. I would prefer not to. I hope and pray it doesn’t ever come to that.How long would it take us to rebuild the tools for recovery to the early 1900 levels? Beans? There was almost always a pot of beans on the stove in the winter time. Chickens and a couple of milk cows provided needed food to balance the larder. They could not have supported a growing family without these two resources.
“I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.”
~ – Robert Metcalfe, 1995 (founder of Ethernet and 3Com)
Imagine… 20 years ago, experts debated whether the internet was just a fad. A novelty that would quickly die…
Today we’re debating the entire future of work.
How about this one?
“There’s no chance the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.”
That was Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft in April of 2007…
It seems obvious to us now… but in the era of flip-phones, people did not consider the iPhone a contender.
And it’s not just Steve Ballmer of Microsoft…
Blackberry, Motorolla and Nokia didn’t take the Apple threat serious either…
That’s a lot of high-ranking industry insiders who dropped the ball.
What about Blockbuster Video?
From television and telephones, to airplanes and personal computers… many people “in the know” have been dismissive towards new technology.
And it’s happening again…
As we stumble our way into an economy of artificial intelligence and advanced automation, you’ll hear the naysayers…
“it’s still decades away”, “the future of work won’t be the problem people think”
… and of course… “jobs may be lost, but they’ll be replaced by new and better jobs”.
To the experts who say jobs lost to A.I. and automation will be replaced with new and better jobs… I say bullshit!
Will there be new jobs we haven’t yet imagined?
But how do they define the word “replace”?
To think millions of unemployed people in one industry, can simply pack their bags, sell their homes and start fresh tomorrow morning in a new industry is absolutely ridiculous.
Their jobs aren’t being replaced. They’re being left to fend for themselves in the vague hope that the market will correct itself…
Experts can’t even predict what tomorrow’s jobs will be, so they sure as hell can’t claim that people’s jobs will be replaced.
How many unemployed factory workers in the 90’s were saved from the rise of Silicon Valley?
None… at least none of consequence.
California was ripe with new jobs in the tech industry during the late 90’s, but the broken and boarded up remains of a once thriving manufacturing industry still remain… 20 years later.
When you look at what really matters… people’s lives, the word “replaced” does not apply to the future of work.
A Job Created In One Industry, Does Not Replace a Job Lost In Another…
While listening to serious discussions about the future of work (like this one…)
… you will hear some so-called experts say things like, “It’s true… driverless vehicles will eliminate most truck and delivery drivers… but don’t worry, there’s a huge shortage of computer programmers.”
Here’s the problem. These are people who,
Believe the invisible hand of the market fixes all, and…
That economies matter more than individuals.
But that’s not how reality works.
Sure… a thousand jobs over here to “compensate” for a thousand jobs lost over there might keep “the economy” balanced… which is really all they care about…
But, what about individuals who become unemployed and lose their entire income? What about those who lose their homes, or cash in their children’s education fund just to survive?
Where is their balance?
So… in my opinion, a new job here does not replace a job lost there…
It’s Just Another False Alarm
To be clear, there are a lot of important people who are taking the future of work seriously.
The people who make decisions though… the ones who walk the halls of government, the economists who advise those in positions of power…
Those people have been taking a “wait and see” approach.
Here’s their logic…
It’s business as usual. Jobs have been lost before, and we survived just fine.
They say our fears are unfounded and that people have been sounding this false alarm for centuries. It’s not a big deal and will almost certainly work itself out.
Well… first, this time IS different… and second, it hasn’t always worked itself out.
This Time… It IS Different
In the past, technology and machines have replaced “jobs”… but not humans.
We’re fast approaching a tipping point though…
Until now, machines and algorithms lacked the complexity and dexterity of humans… as well as the ability to identify and process abstract information, such as images.
Machines lacked general logic, and the ability to reason…
These are all deficiencies that drew a line between “them” and “us”… and there was never a threat to our dominance in the workplace.
But that’s no longer true. The walls are closing in. Technology is advancing exponentially… but we humans are not.
For the first time in history, technology (AI) and machines (robots) are not only matching our abilities, but surpassing them.
From an economic point of view, machines and artificial intelligence will replace humans… not just jobs.
And that’s not good for a society that values it’s humans by their ability to produce and earn money.
Martin Ford, author of Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, in his Ted Talk (below) discusses a class of worker who at the beginning of the 20th century experienced what it was like to be replaced…
The steam engine, first built in 1698, replaced some jobs previously performed by horses…
…but the steam engine did not replace our equestrian friends entirely.
For another 200 years… they still had a job to do.
Then came the internal combustion engine, and the automobile… which was the tipping point for horses.
Some might argue horses no longer having to work is a good thing, but from a purely economic perspective, the “horseless carriage” replaced more than their job… it replaced them entirely.
In 1915 the horse population was 22 million. By 1960, there were only 3 million.
The horse was completely irrelevant to the economy… and in many ways… irrelevant to society.
What does that say about humans who become irrelevant to the economy?
Will they also become irrelevant to society?
One could argue they already are.
The way homeless people are treated… or the unjustified dismissal of people who don’t “produce” as lazy and useless…
These are not good indicators of a bright future in a world with too few jobs.
We’ve Been Through This Before and Everything Worked Out Fine
The second argument… that it’s always worked out fine before… is false.
One common example used to “prove” it’s just another false alarm, is the Industrial Revolution…
When steam power and self-propelled machinery arrived in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s, people believed these new technologies would replace workers.
That did not happen… it’s true. Workers were not replaced.
And, naysayers correctly point out that new jobs were created and the economy grew like never before. Employment, wealth and production rose to an all time high.
Nothing to worry about, right?
What “experts” ignore is that it took nearly 200 years before the world we know today emerged.
Talk about a long period of painful adjustment and unrest…
During the Industrial Revolution the world saw 2 major Communist revolutions, 2 World Warsand TheGreat Depression.
The death toll left behind by these major events is just shy of 100 million!
We didn’t just softly transition into modern times.
For thousands of years the world chugged along with relatively little change. A person alive 500 years ago would not be entirely uncomfortable living in the world 3000 years ago.
And then… in the blink of an eye during the Industrial Revolution, new global superpowers emerged and the Geo-political structure of the planet (again… which was relatively stable for thousands of years), was shaken unlike any other time in human history.
And, we’re not talking about ancient times here. There are people alive today who witnessed the tail end of that turmoil.
Just because we grew up in what is considered a stable time… does not mean we can take it for granted.
There is no guarantee they will continue from here on forward…
That also doesn’t mean we’re headed for a new age of darkness either… another World War, major Revolution, or a second Great Depression… but we’re also not immune to such events occuring.
Massive disruption has massive consequences…. and massive disruption is what’s coming over the next decade.
When discussing the challenge of today… it’s not as simple as saying new jobs will replace the ones that are lost.
This disruption is far more significant than that, and to dismiss the potential impact would be naïve.
The Future of Work Might Be No Work
The economic shift we’re heading for is often referred to as The Fourth Industrial Revolution, labeled by Professor Klaus Schwab in his book…“The Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
And, as Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, Professor Schwab knows a little about what we’re talking about.
He argues that the economic change we’re about to witness is unlike any other, and far more profound than those that came before.
And, it would be hard to disagree.
In the past we replaced animal and human labor with machines, and connected the world with electricity and telephone lines…
These were big changes which, in their own way, enabled tremendous violence, massive disruption, and political instability.
Today we’re witnessing a similar shock as physical, digital and biological technologies converge… reaching out into all economies, industries, governments and individuals… at the same time.
Whether we’re discussing drone technology, artificial intelligence, supercomputing, nanotechnology, 3D printing, DNA sequencing, autonomous vehicles, virtual reality… the scale and scope of our changing world is impossible to comprehend.
It’s overwhelming, which is why many are choosing to ignore it and hope it all works out for the best.
And, while this article talks about the economic disruption… the potential for military applications is absolutely terrifying.
The defense industry is one of the primary drivers of robotics and artificial intelligence. The advantages gained on the battlefield and in strategy rooms guarantees the relentless march forward to develop technologies that remove humans from the picture.
Here are just a few examples…
Just a few days ago CNBC published this article about Polymaker, an additive manufacturingcompany who just 3-D printed an electric car that costs $7,500, and took only three days to make.
From manufacturing and fossil fuel extraction, to lending institutions and shipping companies… this inexpensive electric car completely rewrites the rules of entire industries… with global implications.
But, the impact of 3D printing is even far greater.
It will transform the entire construction industry, ushering in a new a era of plug and play buildings. From 3D printed homes and office buildings, to the circuitry and plumbing embedded in the walls… jobs in the construction industry are at risk.
Artificial intelligence is not only threatening jobs that were once considered untouchable, but it’s forcing us to ask what it means to be human.
Engineers are at risk, as are professionals in legal and medical.
In general, people form their identities around the work they do… and nowhere is this more prevalent than in higher-education professions.
When AI beat chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov, he wrote about it as if he was describing death. And that was in 1997.
More recently, Google’s Deepmind, Alphago defeated 17 time world Go champion Lee Sedol. With more positions than there are atoms in the Universe, the game Go is widely considered to be the most complex and difficult games to beat.
You can watch the movie on Netflix and clearly see the psychological devastation this defeat had… not only on champion Lee Sedol, but by fans of the game and others who were beaten by Alphago.
So, when it comes to AI and the future of work, there is more than jobs to consider.
The psychological impact of spending years in school, only to be replaced by artificial intelligence that’s faster, smarter and more accurate than you, it’s a problem.
While algorithms capable of interpreting data and images thousands of times faster than a human are currently being used to “assist” medical professionals (such as radiologists and pathologists)… it’s not hard to imagine that over the next few years these algorithms will easily replace their human counterparts.
It’s even being suggested that leaving medical diagnostics to a human could eventually become morally unacceptable.
And it makes sense. A radiologist who looks at 20 – 100 x-rays a day might be able to compete with an AI today… but in a relatively short time (5 – 10 years) that algorithm, which can process thousands of images daily (24/7), and amalgamate the data instantly with other AI’s around the world to create a central database from which to draw experience from… will far surpass human capability.
If you ask anyone what makes humans the superior species, the answer will include intelligence…
We don’t know how to live in a world where we are not the most intelligent species… and that shift is potentially greater than any change in human history thus far.
The same thing is happening with autonomous vehicles. Fully-autonomous vehicles, and semi-autonomous systems are currently collecting millions of miles worth of data which will be used to develop vehicle fleets that require no driver.
It’s not perfect, and recently one of Uber’s driverless cars was involved in a fatal collision with a pedestrian. But human drivers are not perfect either.
In fact, according to the World Health Organization… there are 1.2 million road accident related deaths with humans behind the wheel.
When comparing the number of incidences to number of miles driven… so far autonomous vehicles outperform us. And they will get better.
The number of jobs lost due to autonomous vehicles will be in the millions…
It’s not a matter of if, but when.
As far as jobs are concerned, virtual reality has flown under the radar.
But again, in a 5 – 10 year period, things are expected to change.
Take a University for example. The physical cost of a University is in the billions… from initial construction and renovations, to annual maintenance costs, parking facilities, road construction (for efficient access), and utilities such as water and sewage…
These are all costs paid for by tuition and taxes…
As virtual reality get’s closer to replicating the real world (and it’s impressive already), it’s expected we’ll see a rise in digital environments and buildings… such as Universities.
These will be digital buildings with all the detail of the real thing in which you can sit in class and talk with friends, hang out in study halls, endure long lectures and even ask your teacher questions…
And virtual reality goes so much further than what traditional schools are able to offer.
No longer are you confined to just a classroom. History class can take you back in time, geography right to the location. Virtual reality will transport you into the audience of historical speeches, deep into the oceans, and far into space.
Practical experience can be had where only theory was previously possible… and at a price that’s a fraction of today’s tuition costs.
When you count the cost savings of living at home, a digital education will be an attractive option for students.
Also, in an era when countries like the United States are talking about arming teachers with guns… many parents may prefer the safety of these digital schools.
And, when virtual reality is married with artificial intelligence… teaching jobs could be at risk.
Vivek Wadwa, Director of Research at The Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at the Pratt School of Engineering, and co-author of The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future, paints a compelling picture of what teaching may look like in the near future.
As he describes it, artificial intelligence with human-like qualities (in his example, an AI named Clifford) will spend years with our children, learning and understanding their strengths and weaknesses.
Clifford will teach them math, music, art and many other subjects in virtual environments that make learning feel as though they’re playing games and living through history.
This may occur as he suggests alongside human educators, but it’s not difficult to imagine Clifford replacing a significant percentage of teachers.
Working in a digital environment will also replace your office. Why pay for an expensive downtown lease and compete locally with other businesses for experienced and talented employees?
Companies can create their own virtual offices and hire qualified employees from anywhere in the world… often paying them local wages which can benefit both the employer and the employee.
Like sitting in a real office, virtual reality will transport you and your co-workers into a digital office that looks and feels very close to the real thing.
Better in fact…
Your office view might be glacier lakes and rocky mountains. Board meetings can be held on beaches, or in locations relevant to the products you sell…
Staff will be more than happy to avoid busy commutes, as well the expense of daily travel.
But here’s the thing…
In addition to the buildings themselves… think of the infrastructure and services we currently use during our daily commutes.
Production of the vehicles we travel in, the workers who fix and maintain them, the roads we drive on, the places we stop to eat along the way… They all represent a job at risk.
With fewer people commuting, the demand for fossil fuels will drop significantly. Great for the environment (essential perhaps)… but for those working in the oil industry (I was one of them)… it’ll be devastating.
We’re Just Getting Started…
All the technologies listed above already exist. They are NOT science fiction, nor are they concepts off in a distant future.
They are here now, and they are evolving quickly…
Their impact will not be immediate, but the change they thrust upon us will outpace our ability to adapt.
Also, with our current economic system it will be difficult (if not impossible) to stop them. Each one in there own way contributes to higher productivity and lower costs… and if one thing in business is guaranteed, it’s the march towards higher productivity and lower costs.
But it’s not without a price.
As mentioned above… a trucker who loses his or her job to a driverless truck won’t just slide into a computer programming job.
These are real people who will struggle to put food on their table. It’ll induce anger and frustration and in some cases lead to serious societal issues such as alcoholism and violent crime.
Things may work themselves out in the end… but there will be a long period of adjustment.
And yet… this is just the tip of the iceberg, because we’re also moving into the realm of what was once considered science fiction…
For example, nanotechnology is bringing us materials such as graphene which is 200 times stronger than steel, harder than diamond, and extremely flexible.
Here we are again with another technology that could completely transform our current methods of material production.
Another example is DNA sequencing. In the 90’s some “experts” were saying it would take hundreds of years to sequence the human genome… but it didn’t take hundreds of years. It didn’t even take a decade.
The human genome was sequenced in 2003.
In the mid-2000’s it would cost you $20 million or more to sequence your personal DNA… but by 2016, only 10 years later, you could have it done for under $1000.
Over the next decade you can expect DNA sequencing to tell us things about ourselves that were once impossible to know… and in the process completely alter areas of medicine and nutrition.
These changes don’t necessarily indicate jobs lost… but they will lead to a period of uncertainty as no one will be trained for the new jobs… whatever they turn out to be.
And here’s a big problem.. with everything else being taken over by AI and automation… with change happening at such a rapid pace, people will become reluctant to commit years of their lives becoming educated for a profession that might not even exist by the time they learn it.
Doing More With Less
It’s not just automation and 3D printing that will disrupt the manufacturing, packaging and shipping industries.
We can expect an overall reduction in manufacturing altogether, as we digitize our products. TV’s, handheld devices, and computers will eventually become holograms.
Imagine a single pair of glasses that replace several devices?
Augmented Reality (AR) such as Microsoft Hololense and Magic Leap are hoping to do just that.
Not only are they aiming to replace your phone, TV, computer, watch, and even trinkets around your house… they also plan to transport your friends and family directly into your home (as life-like holograms).
AR is already replacing clunky clay models and prototypes with digital ones, changing how engineers and designers work.
It will also revolutionize online shopping, overlaying products in your home like furniture and kitchen cabinets so you can see how they look before you buy.
If you’re thinking you’d never get rid of a “physical” product for a digital one… people were saying the same things about CD’s, DVD’s, computer storage, books, photographs… and even landline phones.
Holographic AR is amazing, with the added benefit of helping the environment…
One product that can replace several will cut back on demand for raw materials, the number of components needed to be manufactured (less energy, pollution and toxic byproducts), as well as fewer shipping containers floating around the world…
It’s also a huge cost benefit to consumers.
Technology has boiled what was once a million dollars worth of products (just 20 years ago), into an cheap smartphone today.
Holographic technology (as well as virtual reality) will take this a step further.
But as great as this is, people will still struggle because fewer products produced means fewer jobs, and more economic instability.
Without question, we can look forward to entirely new fields of employment not yet conceived, but those jobs (whatever they turn out to be) will provide little comfort to those who lose their jobs in the production and distribution of the products people no longer need.
We could go on, from drone technology and warehouse robots, to self-serve checkouts and online shopping.
Whether you believe we’ll have enough jobs to replace the old ones or not, we as a civilization are facing change unlike anything before.
And we’re NOT prepared for it…
Social Unrest and Inequality
As we talked about earlier, it took 200 years from the beginning of the industrial revolution to the time society and daily life settled into the world we know today.
The problems were facing now are similar, but in many ways far more profound.
As discussed above, technology is not only a threat to our jobs, but it’ll force us to re-evaluate what it means to be human.
If you’re simply thinking of new gadgets, it’s not too hard to imagine a world with these technologies…
But at deeper level, the implications point to a difficult transition.
One of our problems with new technology is that it’s expensive.
Since we’re talking about things that will bring giant leaps in productivity, and significant economic advantage in some way… those who can afford these technologies with set themselves further apart from those who can’t… leading to even greater inequality.
With inequality comes social unrest.
Take for example, biomedical enhancements. Medical science in the near future will enable those who can afford it to be “better than normal”.
Better than normal might mean higher intelligence, stronger resistance to illness and disease, and even the ability to live indefinitely.
All of these “enhancements” provide advantages to wealthy individuals and countries that in effect, lead to more wealth… while the rest of humanity is left behind.
The same is true for automation. While business owners use robots to increase their wealth through better productivity and reduced costs… the employees of those businesses will lose their jobs and fall further into financial hardship.
Over time costs will come down, and technology often levels the playing field… (like Napster did to the music industry, or YouTube to video production and distribution companies).
But…in the meantime, the damage is done.
With economic turmoil and a widening gap between rich and poor, the potential for anger and violence is real… which would force governments to act aggressively towards their own people.
How this plays out is well beyond the scope of this article, but it’s necessary to point out that technological unemployment poses a serious risk to life as we know it… and the stability we’ve enjoyed for the last few generations is not guaranteed.
Universal Basic Income
Technological unemployment is such a concern that governments, as well as billionaires such as Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg are speaking out in favor of a Universal Basic Income (UBI)…
The quick explanation of UBI is simply paying people to live.
While UBI is a hot button topic that elicits strong fears amongst some with visions of socialism, and lazy drug users sitting around playing video games all day, the reality is quite different.
Often viewed as a handout, proponents of Universal Basic Income point out that our societies have been build by those who came before us.
Put simply, none of us get rich in a vacuum… we are all standing on the shoulders of giants and whether you are rich or poor, you belong to a society built by our ancestors and are therefore entitled to a portion of it.
Also… as one of societies “producers”, your wealth was paid for by “consumers”.
So… just because you built a business and worked hard does not mean you achieved everything on your own. Your products were shipped on roads paid for by public funds. Your customers have money to spend because their income (from employment) was made possible by public education, and so on…
And, the things we typically attribute financial success to, like hard work and intelligence… are terrible indicators of a person’s monetary status.
We like to think the universe is fair… but the truth is, there are plenty of lazy people who are wealthy… and many who live in poverty who work extremely hard.
The idea that hard work leads to wealth is bullshit!
And there are many “jobs” (like stay-at-home Mom or Dad) that society has deemed unworthy of pay… but they are important jobs nonetheless.
A Universal Basic Income is simply a fair distribution of the commons, and recognizes that everyone contributes in their own way. It provides equal opportunity… not equal result.
Advantages to Universal Basic include (among others),
Better working conditions
Reduced inequality (and the social problems that come with inequality)
More balanced distribution of jobs
Having said that, UBI presents some challenges as well.
One of the questions that comes up is whether people will just become lazy and sit around smoking dope all day.
While research does not support this assumption, one area of concern is for teenagers attending school.
In general, studies show that UBI can lead to more meaningful work.
For example… without the burden of constantly chasing your next meal, people are far more likely to train for, and seek out work in areas that interest them; they’d take advantage of the time opportunity.
They may choose work that’s not only meaningful to them, but to society as well. It’s a lot easier to help others when your own needs are met.
This would also lead to a more entrepreneurial mindset, making UBI a strong case FOR capitalism, not against it.
However, this poses a problem for teenagers who are typically uncertain what they want to do with their lives, and are more interested in having fun…
What incentive do they have to learn and get good grades knowing their basic income will be provided when they graduate?
It’s been suggested that the amount of Basic Income is higher for those who do well in school… but then it’s no longer “Universal”.
It becomes a Conditional Basic Income, which takes away one of the advantages that UBI provides… which is the elimination of administrative costs for complex benefit programs.
Another issue with Universal Basic Income is that globally, it’s not really Universal. The same argument that we are all beneficiaries of the society we live in applies to everyone.
Our economic world is no longer defined by borders.
So, UBI is great if you live in a country that provides it… but what if your country doesn’t? The impact of technological unemployment still applies to you, no matter where you live on this planet.
There are the obvious right-left political issues to deal with (which will disappear as people on both sides become irrelevant to the economy). And then there are the industry titans and elites who’ll fight with their last breath to hang onto the status quo.
While the sentiment of UBI is great, putting into practice presents real challenges.
In addition to those listed above, another significant problem is determining how much?
And, how do you prevent landlords from raising rents to take it all… creating more inequality between home owners and renters?
It opens up an entirely new dialogue of rules and regulations…
Whether UBI is a viable answer to the future of work remains to be seen, but at least the conversation about how we should tackle the next decade has begun.
For thousands of years, very little had changed from generation to generation…
What your parents taught you (and what their parents taught them) applied directly to the world you lived in.
In the 20th century this was no longer true. The world you grew up in was in many ways dramatically different than the one your parents grew up in.
Today change is marked by decades… or even less. We don’t even know what the jobs of tomorrow will be, or if there will be enough to go around.
How do we prepare our children?
How do we prepare ourselves?
This is a serious issue, one of (if not the) most important of our lifetime.
While I think all ideas and suggestions to approach this challenge on a global scale are welcome, we need to first figure out how we can best deal with the future of work as individuals.
In my opinion, we need a new way of thinking.
It’s often said that the commodity of the future is information. For companies like Facebook and Google that might be true… but for individuals, I think it will be the ability to ask better questions. To solve problems.
Not math problems or puzzles… but situational problems. The ability to spot trends, ask what those trends mean, process the bigger picture, and act accordingly.
It’ll be the mindset of an entrepreneur, or freelancer… rather than the employee, doing mindless tasks and depending on regular paychecks.
More and more we’ll find it more difficult to lean on traditional institutions to earn a living. The world of tomorrow will not guarantee enough jobs to satisfy those who are willing to look for them.
And we certainly count on our elected representatives to tackle the problem.
We’ll be constantly adapting to something new, something unexpected.
If you have a particular skill or hobby… playing guitar for example… try finding ways to leverage it.
You could become an online freelancer, start a work-at-home job or side hustle, or spend some spare time learning how internet businesses work.
And preparing for a world where jobs are scarce isn’t all about making money… depending on your values, it might simply mean learning to live with less.
As Yuval Noah Harari, this is not a story about jobs… but a story of humans. Specifically what it means to be human.
Jobs will disappear… maybe not tomorrow or the day after, but eventually technology will render us irrelevant to the economy… and all that will be left will be our quest for purpose.
EMPs are potentially one of the most destructive weapons that could be used against today’s society. Just a single nuclear bomb detonated at high altitude over a major city could wipe out all electronics for potentially thousands of miles around.
If you find yourself the victim of an EMP attack, you’re likely going to be living in the dark ages for quite a while. All the skills that came so naturally to our ancestors like hunting, fishing, trapping, and growing food will have to be sharpened, if not re-learned completely.
We often lose track of just how many machines and services run on electricity nowadays. Almost every aspect of modern life is influenced or controlled by electronics, and they’re all vulnerable – so life after an electromagnetic pulse attack would be a lot different from what we’re used to.
Long distance communication would be difficult, if not impossible. Similar to life in an Amish community, we would have to start over from scratch and make do with only mechanical tools.
That is of course unless you’re able to store a disassembled, complete electrical power generation system for your home inside something like a Faraday cage.
What does it take to defend against an EMP?
A Faraday cage is an enclosed space that is completely shielded from the effects of an EMP – whether that be a small box covered with aluminum foil, or an entire shipping container fortified to withstand an EMP attack.
Obviously, if you want to fit something as big as a home electrical generation system inside of your Faraday cage, you need a big space to do it in.
You could store electronics you don’t want to be compromised in it as well, but without the ability to generate your own electricity these devices won’t do you much good.
Thus, you need a buried shipping container big enough to accommodate such a system, and the right reinforcements to keep everything inside protected from an EMP.
How Exactly Should I Reinforce My Shipping Container?
The fact that your shipping container is already a few inches in the ground already means that it’s grounded. It needs to be grounded so the EMP will flow through the soil with the least resistance, the same way a lightning strike would. Being grounded will also help remove potential stray fields that could be present.
Depending on what the shipping container is made out of, you won’t need to do a whole lot of sealing up. You’ll likely want to flip it upside down though. The roof is thicker than the floor, and you want a thicker floor to prevent warping of the container when it settles in the ground.
Once it’s in the ground you can fill it up with the electronics that you want to protect. The shipping container itself should work as long as it’s sealed up, but if you want to you can nest some containers inside.
Nesting is similar to Russian nesting dolls, except with Faraday cages. It’s putting cages inside of cages inside of cages. Ammunition boxes work for this, as well as microwaves and metal trashcans with sealed lids.
For sealing up the doors, some people choose to simply create a stainless steel or copper mesh wall over the door. This can then be easily broken down once you need to get back into the container.
You could also choose to solder the door shut completely which would be the safest option, but likely unnecessary. Door seals made of copper braiding will also do the trick.
One thing to remember about storing stuff inside your shipping container is that all the items need to be kept away from the metal walls. The walls of a Faraday cage exposed to EMP will carry a pretty substantial current while the pulse lasts, and anything in contact with them is probably going to get damaged. The floor counts as well, so you’ll want to lay down some thick carpet or rugs.
Buying a shipping container with a wooden floor would also work, as long as nothing inside is touching the metal of your container.
Things to Remember
It’s not necessary to use a full shipping container as a Faraday cage unless you intend to use all of that space. As stated before, using it to store a full disassembled power generation system is your best bet if you want to have electricity after an EMP attack.
It’s also a good idea to store something like a motorcycle or a four-wheeler in one of these. You could even store a full truck or car in yours, but a motorcycle or similar sized vehicle will take up much less space.
If you intend to solder your doors shut, make sure you have the right tools to get it open in case of an EMP attack.
There’s a quick and easy test to see if your container is completely EMP proof. Simply place a cell phone inside the container, and close it up. Then as you’re standing outside the container, call your cell phone from another phone. Place your ear to the container and see if you can hear it ringing.
If you CAN hear it ringing, your container will NOT protect your electronics from an EMP. If you can’t hear it working, there’s a good chance your container is EMP proof.
This isn’t completely foolproof but it’s the only way to test your container without setting off an actual EMP.
EMP attacks can be destructive and downright deadly if used on a wide enoughscale. In order to protect your electronics from an attack, you’ll need a Faraday cage.
Placing a shipping container in the ground and sealing it up completely works as an excellent Faraday cage. It’s naturally grounded, and large enough to store very important items like vehicles or self-generating power equipment.
In event of an attack, you will likely be the only one around for miles with any working electrical equipment, which puts you and your family at a huge advantage in an area that’s been plunged back into the dark ages.
No one can predict the future and it’s not likely most of us will know when the next ‘stuff hit the fan’ scenario will occur, but we can make some educated guesses based upon experience and common sense.
For example, for much of the country – especially the Midwest – we are approaching tornado season, when spring and early summer weather can often turn violent. The same is true for the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico, which could see hurricanes in a few months.
Out West, especially in California, there is always the threat of a major earthquake, though the New Madrid fault, the epicenter of which is located in southeastern Missouri/northwestern Kentucky, is also a threat.
Then there are world events which could erupt at any moment, such as a nuclear attack, or a cyber attack on our financial infrastructure. Or maybe political violence stemming from the insanity the political Left still harbors over the election of Donald J. Trump to the White House.
There are any number of things that could disrupt our world. We simply don’t know when something will happen. But before SHTF, there are some basic skills you should learn no matter what the triggering event happens to be, because they will come in handy regardless of the situation.
“If you want to become more prepared for a survival situation, the information available can be overwhelming. Some sites are trying to teach you how to start a fire with a block of ice, while celebrities on television are telling you to drink your own urine. What? Thankfully there are a few simple skills that you can learn to make a huge impact on a survival situation,” writes “Ryan” from Modern Survival Online.
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Making a fire
This will be one of the most important survival skills you need to learn because fire can accomplish a number of important things – cooking, sanitizing water, and heat are just a few of those things.
Any preparedness bugout bag you put together should have at least two and maybe even three methods for starting a fire. This can be a disposable lighter, flint and steel, 9V battery and steel, etc. You can build a fire in any number of ways – gathering paper, small pieces of wood, sticks – but the ability to actually light the fire is the most important part of the skill.
In an SHTF scenario, potable (clean, drinkable) water is going to become pretty scarce pretty quickly. You should make sure you have an emergency supply of it on hand, but eventually you’re going to need to find some ‘in the wild,’ and it’ll have to be sanitized or you’ll get sick, then dehydrated, then you’ll die. Boiling water for just a few minutes works best, but you can also buy emergency water filters and filter straws.
Food on the fly
Food will also become a scarce commodity, so it would behoove you to learn about what kinds of plants grow in the wild where you live that are edible. You may not think much about that now, but when you’re getting hungry, living off the land will become necessary. Check with your local conservation department for starters; their experts can tell you what grows wild that you can eat in a pinch.
You’re going to want to pick up any information you can about the situation, so having some kind of radio that doesn’t require batteries (solar, wind-up) will work best. AM-FM and CB combination if you can find it.
How you personally want to handle this is, of course, something you have to decide. Most people think of a firearm as being best for self-defense, but others choose bows/crossbows, knives, a baseball bat, etc. Whatever you decide, take time – a lotof time – now to learn how to use your self-defense weapon of choice. This is particularly true if you choose a gun.
You don’t need to become a certified emergency medical technician or go to nursing school, but learning basic first aid is vital. You’ll want to know how to clean and dress wounds, treat burns, flush chemicals from your eyes, and basic splinting for fractures or sprains, at a minimum. Learn about nutrition and hydration, too, and what to do if you get diarrhea, which can kill.
Know your area
If you have to leave your home and “bug out” to a safer environment, it will help if you have paper topographical and road maps of your area. Even if you’ve lived there for a long time, you likely don’t know every bend, dirt road, creek and hill. Having paper maps at the ready will help you navigate your way to safety.
Yes, I am going there. One of the most hotly debated questions in prepper/survival/firearm enthusiast circles is around the best survival rifle. For all intents and purposes, there are only two in competition in the US and those are the AK-47 and the AR-15. I will add that there are variants of both and I am lumping all of those into these two categories. This question of what is the best survival rifle is one that I asked myself when I was considering my first rifle purchase so I wanted to take some time to hash out what I see are the differences and to give you my opinion as to which rifle is better when it comes to the AK-47 vs AR-15.
I know that this subject is insanely controversial, even though it shouldn’t be. It’s the same as getting upset over Ford versus Chevy. If this post makes it to some of the firearms forums out there I know I will have some people who will disparagingly call me an “Internet Expert” implying that I have no idea what I am talking about. So be it. I am not an expert, but I don’t think anyone else is an expert either in this subject. I don’t think anyone out there is more qualified to determine what rifle is best in my opinion, for me, than me. I don’t really care if you are active duty police, 20 year military veteran, or mercenary for hire. This is my opinion based upon my belief and requirements, you are entitled to yours, but that doesn’t mean mine is invalid. It also doesn’t mean you are smarter than anyone else that disagrees with you. It simply means we have different opinions.
Additionally, I will throw out some facts that should be pretty easy to agree on and some opinions based upon my personal experience which may not be. Just because your experience is different, that doesn’t make it a law of science or anything. If you have a different experience, by all means, please comment down below but I would ask you to keep the debate civil as that is what I am going to try to do. If you would like to make your case for the opposite of what I recommend, please do so in the comments and we can all judge whether what you are saying makes sense.
Very briefly, the The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated rifle that fires 7.62×39mm ammunition. The AK-47 was developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year of World War II (1945). In 1949, the AK-47 was officially accepted by the Soviet Armed Forces and used by the majority of the member states of the Warsaw Pact. It is still widely used today.
If you are going to count on a rifle, you should know how to take care of it.
The AR-15 is a lightweight, magazine-fed, air cooled rifle with a rotating-lock bolt, actuated by direct impingement gas operation or long/short stroke piston operation that fires 5.56 mm/.223-caliber ammunition.
The AR-15 was first built by ArmaLite as a small arms rifle for the United States armed forces. Because of financial problems, ArmaLite sold the AR-15 design to Colt who made some modifications and the redesigned rifle was subsequently adopted as the M16 rifle which was the main rifle used by US Armed Forces. Colt then started selling the semi-automatic version of the M16 rifle as the Colt AR-15 for civilian sales in 1963 and the term AR-15 has been used to refer to semiautomatic-only versions of the rifle since then.
For the purpose of this comparison we are only going to be discussing semi-automatic weapons available for purchase in the US by a non FFL carrying person, not their fully automatic counterparts.
You can quickly see some of the facts below about each rifle on this excellent info graphic from TacticalGear.com , but I will list what I see are the important differences between the two rifles.
The AR-15 can effectively shoot 200 yards further than the AK-47.
The AK-47 shoots a significantly larger bullet than the AR-15.
The AR-15 weighs 2 pounds less (not counting a lot of hardware we add after the fact) than the AK-47
The AK-47 usually costs less than an AR-15.
The AR-15 has a higher (30% more) accuracy than the AK-47
The AK-47 is more widely used globally by a long shot than the AR-15.
There are really only 3 main arguments that proponents of the AK-47 use as their rationale for saying that the AK-47 is the better survival rifle so I want to list and address each below.
AK-47 rounds penetrate better and do more damage – This is true generally speaking, let’s move on to the next point.
AK-47 Costs less – This is true generally, let’s move on to the next point.
AK-47 will keep working no matter how dirty it gets – This is also true to an extent, but with a caveat. The point to this argument is that if the AR-15 gets too dirty, you will have firing problems. I can tell you from personal experience that I have never had a single problem with any AR-15 or it’s fully automatic cousins that I have ever shot. However, I clean my rifles usually after every time I shoot them. Sometimes, I will wait, but they never go too long without a thorough cleaning, so what is this point supposed to be saying to us? Well, what if you are in a firefight and you have to shoot 300 rounds through your AR-15 rifle; will it jam then? No, at least not in my experience. Maybe if you shot 10000 rounds through it without cleaning the rifle you could see some issues, but if you are in a firefight so bad that you have shot 10000 rounds, you have bigger problems. What if you drop it in a vat of guacamole? Not a valid point in my book.
For more information and my opinion on which rifle is best, please read below the graphic.
Which Rifle is the Best Survival Rifle?
I will tell you that in my opinion, the best rifle is the one you have with you when you need it. That sounds well and good, but if I was going to buy one rifle, and I lived in America, it would be the AR-15. Why? For me this comes down to 4 simple points.
Accuracy – The AR is simply more accurate at further distances than the AK-47. If I wanted to shoot a rifle up in the air when I was mad, riding in the back of a Toyota truck with 20 of my friends, or happy, or just plain stupid then I might get an AK-47. One of my goals is to be able to engage targets at up to 500 yards and the AR-15 does that better than the AK-47. The AK might use a heavier round that will go through more solid objects, but if you are able to kill the person holding the AK 200 yards before he can hit you, does that matter?
Range – Speaking of range, the AR-15 shoots further effectively, so that just adds to what I was saying above. Range is also important to me because I want to be able to take people out as far away as possible. I don’t want you getting so close that your AK-47 can hit me. I would rather you and your AK be far away and I will take care of you way out there. I don’t mind walking out there to pick up your rifle when I am finished.
Parts – The AR-15 is like the Barbie doll of the firearm world. There are so many accessories! And yes, the military version of this rifle (M16/M4) has a majority of parts that are fully compatible with the AR-15. The AR-15 is also the same weapon used by police, DHS, and NASA. If anything bad happens, there should be plenty of opportunity for spare parts to be acquired. I can’t say the same for the AK-47 unless we are invaded by Russia. So, even if your AK is able to fire with some mud in it, what if something breaks? That is why you buy spare parts you say. No, that is why you buy what everyone else is using including our government.
Ammo – Same as above, this is the ammo our police and military use as well as quite a large number of my countrymen, so I have the advantage of a very common caliber in my favor.
OK, that is my rationale and those are my reasons. The AR-15 does cost a little more on average, but you can find really good deals out there if you look and the price difference would be much lower. Does this mean I wouldn’t own an AK-47? No, not at all. I would love to have one, but I do think that for the reasons I listed above, if you can only choose one and you live in the good old US of A, the AR-15 is the better option in my opinion. I know for a fact people will disagree with me, so please let me know what you think in the comments below.