Getting ready for bad times, hoping for the best.
You don't have to be an insane survivalist living in the woods to be worried about the future. Someday "mountains will tumble, empires will crumble" but we need to know how to stay happy, healthy and productive if the world starts to fall apart around us–for at least a few weeks.

Off The Grid Homes

An in-depth look at the strategies employed in sustainable home design.

The Renewable Energy Handbook: A Guide to Rural Energy Independence, Off-grid And Sustainable Living

As oil prices continue to rise, many people are starting to think about how to unhook from the power grid. The Renewable Energy Handbook focuses completely on off-grid, sustainable living and energy independence in a rural setting. Author William Kemp and his wife designed their own high-efficiency off-grid home in 1991. They worked methodically to produce a home which has all of the standard "middle-class" creature comforts while using six times less heating, cooling, and electrical energy than the average Ontario home. Soon they were inundated with inquiries and decided to put their experience into book form in 2003. This updated edition focuses specifically on off-grid concerns and contains chapters on: Energy conservation Heating and cooling Photovoltaic, wind and microhydro energy generation Battery selection, voltage regulation and inverters Backup power Twice the page count of the first edition, it also includes enhanced chapters on home and domestic water heating, wireless communications and biofuels. A "Showcase of Homes" chapter provides a tour of various off-grid cottages and homes, and details the type of lifestyle that can be achieved for a given capital cost. The book is augmented with appendices and hundreds of illustrations, line drawings and photographs. William Kemp is VP Engineering of Powerbase Automation Systems Inc. and a consulting electronics/software designer who develops control systems for low environmental impact hydroelectric utilities worldwide. He is a sustainable living and clean energy advocate working in renewable energy heating, energy efficiency, photovoltaic, microhydro and wind electric systems.

Off The Grid

Off the Grid confronts the ecological and cultural problems associated with the way we get and use energy, and explains how it is possible to live in a beautifully designed home using much less--no matter where your home is located.

Big Can o' Buckwheat

Now this is a good idea. Nitrogen packed, so it can last for many many years. You can eat this stuff and the whole grain is really good for you. You can let it sprout and have some green sprouts on your vegan dinner salad. And if things get really really bad, you can plant it and grow more. Grind it up to make flour or crack it for bulgar. That one can is pretty densely packed with a lot of survival!

It Can Happen Here Review on DailyKos

It Can Happen Here book cover It Can't Happen Here Book cover
Over at DailyKos, SusanG has a good review of the scary book of political analysis It Can Happen Here.

Gotta love any book that takes Sinclair Lewis as a starting point. Everyone had to read The Jungle in the 10th grade at my high school–I wonder if that is still on the reading list? I still recall Lewis' lament at the reception The Jungle received: "I aimed to hit the reader in the heart but instead struck him in the stomach." Or something like that.

Seems to me America would be better served by having its students read Lewis' It Can't Happen Here. Perhaps then the population would be more aware of the dangers in following good-ole-boy demagogues.

Vacuum Packed Smoked Salmon: An Elegant Meal in the Ruins

Smoked salmon might not seem like survival food to those who normally buy MREs by the case, but if you've ever bought some of the smoked and vacuum packed fish you may have noticed that it typically has a "good through" or "best before" date that's three to five years in the future.

So while this might not be the most cost-effective way to stock your emergency stores, it definitely will break up a week of roast beef or spaghetti MREs.

No Oceanside Retirement Home for Me!

I think I'll stay here in the foothills. No way would I put my faith or money into any sort of home or getaway on the ocean. Here's why.

Even if you aren't directly affected by a sea level rise, what do you think the economic repercussions of coastal flooding will be? And then there are your relatives who will want to come and stay with you after their beach front home floods.

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Ford Wants to be Prepped for Anything Too! Including Zombies.

Apparently, though, Ford's designers think it is important to be ready to place the new SYNUS in whatever post-apocalyptic zombie movie George Romero makes next. Its "style" reminds me of something made up by the propmasters for Land of the Dead.

"Ford SYNUS: For When Welding Sheet Steel on your F150 isn't Good Enough!"

Can I get it with electrically charged bumpers?

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Gerber MP400 Compact Sport MultiTool

I looked at a lot of online reviews when my wife asked for a Leatherman, and ultimately took the risk of getting her something different from what she asked for.

We both ended up happy. This Gerber Multitool is every bit as rugged as a Leatherman, but the pliers in particular are much more convenient. You don't have to open the handles up and do some crazy butterfly knife twist to access them, like with most leathermen.

Not too big, not too small, my wife carries it everywhere. While it is probably too big to comfortably keep in a pocket, (especially if your pants are tight) it goes very handily in a purse, messenger bag or computer bag.

Pocket Survival Pack: Worth Having

Got a pair of these, one for the wife and one for me.

While they're not going to turn a car wreck into a holiday brunch, the number of things carefully packed into this tiny little vinyl bag is pretty impressive.

All I added to it was a printed list of the most important phone numbers and addresses I have. Because it sucks to have access to a phone but no idea what number to call because you've gotten used to having your cell dial for you.

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