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.

I love my Swiss Army CyberTool!

I've been carrying the Swiss Army CyberTool 34 around since Christmas of 2000 or so, when my wife gave me one. Aside from a season where temporarily lost it, it has been with me almost constantly.

It's great. The translucent plastic, once so mod as a sly reference to the original and second generation multicolor translucent iMacs, now seems quaintly retro. The plastic is the only part of this knife that shows any real wear.

If you're a computer person, you'll soon discover how handy it is to have a set of torx drivers always at hand.

I've also used it for all sorts of handiwork that convince me it would be useful in a survival situation. The pliers aren't as beefy as you would find on a Leatherman or similar tool, but it's smaller than that and I'm more likely to have it with me because of that.

I do find myself puzzled by one thing on this knife, however. What is that hook for? The only tool it resembles is a farrier's hook, and a tool for cleaning horse shoes seems an unlikely candidate for inclusion on a knife aimed at computer techs.

Here's Hoping Solar is the Answer

I sure hope this article is correct. Solar power holds out the hope of decentralized power. As John Robb points out, big centralized networks are very very easy to disrupt.

Of course, at this moment, we face the early adopter's dilemma. Do we pay high prices now for tech that isn't very efficent, or wait a few years and get more for less. Reminds me of a small publishing company I know that jumped whole hog into computers in 1983, embracing the terrible IBM compatible standard. 18 months later they realized they really wanted Macs.

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Daily Kos: State of the Nation

"Darksyde" writes at Daily Kos: State of the Nation:

I feel our nation is under grave threat from a tiny cabal of neoconservatives freaks, that are off the chain, bug-fuck crazy. In just a few short years, these stooges have lost one war, are in the process of losing a second, even while clamoring to start a third. The tragic litany of foreign and domestic policy catastrophes engineered by these clowns handily exceeds the scope of this post. It is virtually impossible to overstate the magnitude of these blunders. They are unparalleled in modern American history.

These fringe radicals remain profoundly dangerous for three interlocking reasons: They’re breathtakingly incompetent, they’re arrogant to the brink of delusional, and they retain enormous influence over the most powerful military machine on the face of the planet. Now their fraud has been exposed, finally Republicans, Democrats, and Independents have begun to collectively realize the destruction these derelicts have brought down on all our ideological heads. But they're still in power, perhaps cooking up who knows what kind of new God-awful shit, even as they blame America for their past, stupendous cluster-fucks.

While the main thrust of his article is about something else entirely, the section above quite succinctly describes many of my worries for the future. Though you'll never hear me call neocons "radicals." I call them "reactionaries."

Getting Out: Your Guide to Leaving America (Process Self-reliance Series)

Had enough? Whether you find the government oppressive, the economy spiraling out of control, or if you simply want adventure, you're not alone. In increasing numbers, the idea is talked about openly: Expatriate. Over three hundred thousand Americans emigrate each year, and more than a million go to foreign lands for lengthy stays. But picking up and moving to another country feels like a step into the void. Where to go? How to begin? What to do? Volume 2 of the Process Self-Reliance Series, this smartly designed two-color guidebook walks you through the world of the expat: the reasons, the rules, the resources, and the tricks of the trade, along with compelling stories and expertise from expatriate Americans on every continent. Getting Out shows you where you can most easily gain residence, citizenship, or work permits; where can you live for a fraction of the cost of where you're living now; and what countries would be most compatible with your lifestyle, gender, age, or political beliefs. So if you've had enough of what they're selling here and want to take your life elsewhere-well, isn't that the American way? At any rate, it's not illegal. Not yet, anyway.

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

For over three decades, Ray Kurzweil has been one of the most respected and provocative advocates of the role of technology in our future. In his classic The Age of Spiritual Machines, he argued that computers would soon rival the full range of human intelligence at its best. Now he examines the next step in this inexorable evolutionary process: the union of human and machine, in which the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability of our creations.

Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization

"For my money, John Robb, a former Air Force officer and tech guru, is the futurists' futurist."-Slate In Brave New War, controversial terrorism expert John Robb argues that the shift from state-against-state conflicts to wars against small, ad-hoc bands of like-minded insurgents will lead to a world with as many tiny armies as there are causes to fight for. Our new enemy will be looking for gaps in the system where a small, cheap action-on an oil pipeline or the power grid-will generate a huge return.

Could You Manage in a National Epidemic?

Here's a very simple example of separating the wheat from the chaff.

If a flu epidemic broke out in your country, and the only thing you had do to to survive was to keep you and yours at home for two weeks without contact with any other person, would you survive?

Now, suppose that the power went out. (Power companies need people to come to work to keep the power flowing. It isn't automatic.) How about now?

Coming Soon

Just getting started here, but I've got a backlog of ideas and plans. Here are a few of the reviews and article topics coming up:

  • Expert 1 recommends the "sole gun" be a SKS semi-automatic rifle .308 caliber model, probably Chinese make, $150. Expert 2 recommends a lever action 45-70, probably $500. Will I follow one or another's advice, or go off on some other tangent recommended by a stranger?
  • Taste testing Emergency Essentials' roast beef and cheese tortellini meals.
  • Citizenré's long term rental deal on solar panels for your home--is it a way to get cheap electricity that will still be running if terrorists blow the national power grid?

Tom Bihn Super Ego Messenger Bag

I needed a new messenger bag. Happily, I was able to get the one I wanted from the get-go a Tom Bihn SuperEgo bag. This is a new bag from Tom, and it seemed to have everything I wanted.

Or pretty close anyway. In some good ways, it's much more than I required. In one very small way it doesn't do what I want. But that's mostly my fault, as I'll explain later. Plus, it's fixable.

Do you care about this at all? If so, then read on. But be warned this review is long, and it's full of pictures.

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