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Thursday, May 5, 2016

WNTBTTA 12


WHAT NOT TO BRING TO THE APOCALYPSE 12
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note: I was pleased to see that someone had reprinted "The Gun Fag Manifesto", a hilarious 'zine from the mid 1990's.  Pure entertainment, not any education.  A bit on the pricey side, but not too much considering what it used to cost and inflation since then.  Of course I got a copy, and I was pleased to see this compilation was an exact reprint ( with old addresses marked out ) with, for nostalgias sake and further validation I'm always searching for, the advertisement for my old original newsletter.  Snap!, bitches.  And remember, one of my articles from said publication was also included in the Loompanics catalog reprint ( the "Las Vegas" one ).
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12) the next thing you needn’t bring to the apocalypse, there being more than plenty lying around due to the relatively rapid die-off coupled with the fact that these materials simply are not anywhere near important enough during a famine and desperate warfare, is scrap metal.  Whatever you envisioned doing with it, constructing a rain catchment system, using sheet metal as an additional layer for your underground lairs roof or walls, blacksmithing, creating arrowheads, whatever, there will be salvage material out the wazoo all over the place.  Take the lowly unnoticed Stop sign.  Heavy weather resistant sheet metal, and one sign can make how many spear or arrowheads?  The poles can make handy supports for soil retention walls.  Every car has plenty of sheet metal ( with leaf springs, axles, engine blocks and goodness knows how many other projects.  Other than lead, which is cheap enough now and is important for reloading, you should be able to scrounge all other metal you need ( which needn’t even be smeltered ).  And you can even scrounge lead, even if it is a bit dangerous, from all those auto batteries that quickly go bad from being used in alternate energy systems.

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13) books will be in good supply.  Oh, not reference books holding vital information, but entertainment books.  Once everyone has passed around the next Harlequin Romance, it can be relegated to the burn or ass wipe pile, or hoarded for future barter.  Because it will be some time before paper is manufactured again, unless marijuana plantations become feasible ( perhaps on marginal land such as atop old mines still leaching toxins-then the ground and water isn’t good for much else ) along with trade.  You know my take on that-not for some time.  Not that anyone can tell, but trade requires a monopoly on violence and that needs a surplus of energy.  Good luck with those.

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14) clothing will be scarce enough soon enough, prior to the trades relearned and material procured, but during the collapse few will pay it much mind outside winter items.  It is everywhere in great profusion.

15) shoes will be far worse than clothes as far as future supply, but most likely won’t be a priority item at first.  People don’t think much about them, and if they do because of size issues won’t necessarily grab ones you can use.  With clothes, there are other uses for them ( diapers, for instance ), plus they are easier to carry than shoes ( being more bulky and incapable of compressing ).  Shoes should, in theory, be even more available than clothes.  At first.

16) bedding and blankets are going to be a grab bag of availability.  If winter hits during the die-off, blankets might be in demand, but one assumes those trying to keep warm will end up dying anyway so their pilfered blankets once again become available.  Sheets shouldn’t be so widely coveted ( mostly due to people dying in bed, on them ).  Now, all these three items, clothes and shoes and bedding, do assume you personally have a bare minimum for immediate survival.  Their inclusion on the list was meant to say, hey, no need to stockpile an extra bunch of them.  More will become available for future acquisition.  You still need some, just as you need some firearms already, regardless of your plans on getting others from the dead ( remember, stock ammo, not just guns.  A stock of ammunition in  a caliber you don’t own isn’t a bad idea.  For instance, I dislike the .223.  But there will be so many AR’s around, mostly without ammunition, if I had more investment funds I would be buying cases of the ammo.  I’d pick up the guns later ).

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16) water and food containers.  You need water containers, obviously, and food containers will be nice in the absence of all natural ones.  Plastic sucks as far as self-sufficiency but is great compared to fragile pottery or crappy reed bowls, or whatever.  For some time, there should be way more than you need.  Plastic is everywhere, and it will be some time before you need to mine the landfills.  Just going around town picking through the last uncollected trash will yield dozens or scores of plastic bottles alone.

18) household chemicals.  A great deal was made of using household chemicals for homemade explosives, and one assumes that knowledge is widely available.  Yet, most of those chemicals will be scarce.  All others, such as bleach or ammonia ( or even vinegar ) should be widespread.  Why stock your own bleach if it just goes bad with age?  Just use salvaged bleach, for the same dismal results. 

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19) car batteries.  If you spend thousands of dollars buying purpose made ( for alternate energy ) deep cycle batteries, you should get a good ten years out of them ( with dropping performance at the end, of course ).  If you can only afford marine batteries, the life drops to five.  I of course discount the Edison batteries.  Even if they last thirty years, who can afford $2k a pop?  Now, if you already had the battery when the collapse comes, you’ve already shortened the life ( this is why I recommend AA batteries with a solar charger, and hand held lights, rather than wired 12v.  You can buy cheap rechargeable batteries that stay good until you start using them.  With larger batteries you get better performance but they have definite shelf life issues ) of them.  Considering how little life you have left in them, and how much they cost, it might be that your only choice will be, rather than stocking more of the same ( I know they sell dry batteries-but I believe there is the issue of initially charging them that takes more than the usual DC power trickle ), just settling for regular auto batteries ( that do NOT perform as well as deep cells and can be damaged easily with too much discharging ).  There will be tons of auto batteries lying around, and once you screw them up on your alternate energy system you can salvage lead out of them ( remember, you must completely drain the acid from them first, then dispose of it somehow ).

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20) wood stoves.  As per our last animated and rowdy discussion on chainsaws, consider the Rocket Stove for your cooking and heating needs to severely cut down on the amount of wood you must harvest.  That said, if you must have a giant cast iron conventional woodstove, for whatever reason, there should be plenty left to pick from.  All those folks that kept warm over the winter still starved to death or were butchered by raiders who obviously left the stove behind.

21) medications and first aid supplies.  Obviously, some meds will disappear, as in a flu epidemic.  Most antibiotics.  ALL narcotics.  But there will be plenty, not then relevant to survival, that are left and later abundant.  That leaves you guessing as to what will be left, but one assumes there will be constants such as burn cream, hemorrhoid cream, Epson salts, that sort of thing.

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One more extra long article and we are finished-a bit ahead of my earlier projection, this series has gone on long enough. 

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21 comments:

  1. About 4 years ago I invested in a large supply of Eneloops and chargers, and replaced everything around here that required batteries (AA & AAA), with them. After awhile they seemed to need charging more frequently, so I started researching. 6 months ago I bought a slew of the EBL brand of AA's. They have more power, last longer between charges, and cost less than the Eneloops.

    Also, the Eneloop adapters that allow you to use AA batteries in a D cell requirement are useless. The AA batteries simply do not have enough ass to function in a D cell capacity.

    Recently I bought a few of 14500 (AA) batteries for my pocket LCD flashlights and found them very impressive over the AA's no matter the brand name. The 14500's are about 3.7 volts and have protections circuits built in to prevent frying the circuitry and last a very long time. I have a Fenix AA that I use everyday and I put the 14500 in it the beginning of April and have not noticed any drop in performance. If I had been using Eneloops the beam would be less than 1/2 what it is currently and I would have had to changed them out about 3 or 4 times. I'm using the "On The Way" brand, model TCR 14500 3.7V li-ion version with 2000 mAh. 6 of them for $9.88 + 4.99 shipping. Not bad at all. But shipping took a month.

    http://www.amazon.com/2000mAh-Rechargeable-Lithium-ion-Flashlight-Headlight/dp/B010SQ4L78?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00

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    1. Shipped from the Ukraine? The Congo? Geez-don't wait to order too close to the Apocalypse.

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  2. Leaf springs are mostly fiberglass these days. But yes there is a LOT of metal around and post SHTF you would not have a problem getting what you need.

    Chuck Findlay

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    1. Really? Fiberglass? How can that work? About as well as plastic bumpers, I guess.

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    2. The Corvette, started using Carbon Fiber years ago if my memory serves me right.

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  3. re: Narcotics. Grow the best: opium poppies. If they can grow in Afghanistan, they can grow wherever. As chemistry gets better or you have a lab, mildly narcotic sap becomes super-effective Morphene or other pain-killers. Usual social problems for grower/refiner/dispenser/user should be expected, even after "WoD's" becomes moot. More useful than gold mining, since gold has huge amounts of energy applied before re-burial in elite vaults.

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    1. Last I heard, and I could be wrong so don't shoot the messenger mouthing off unnecessarily, you could buy poppy seeds through the mail.

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    2. Don't they have to be the right kind of poppies?

      Those batteries came on a slow boat from China.
      I can't get my brain around fiberglass leaf springs. I need to see then with my own ocular glands in order to program my mind properly.

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    3. My Asian neighbors have them in the yard. How do I know they are the good kind? Pocket knife slice stems for sap leakage. Wait a couple days and harvest dried sap. Put on tongue: yep. Smoking would probably be better delivery system, or processed in ethanol. Low tech, and kinda lame compared to modern pharma narcotics, but on par with treebark sourced headache/anti-inflamatories. Ask your local witch doctor/herbalist.

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    4. Someone should know how to process them to increase potency. Better than just using booze before surgery.

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  4. Those stop signs are actually pretty thick, so make sure you have a hacksaw with plenty of blades. For the thinner metal, it would be useful to have a pair of tin snips.

    I've heard of people successfully making crossbow prods (The bow part) from auto leaf springs. I'm also under the impression that they are of high carbon content, and that a halfway decent blade can be formed from them.

    Shoes are the tough part James. You can wear the same shirt and pants for a long time, and they will last around a year or longer, but shoes wear out much faster. I think that there will be plenty of tires around for a long time, but tires eventually deteriorate in UV. Gather some to stash away, and plan on tire sandals to get you through the rest of your life. Woolen socks for cold weather will be a great luxury, but cannot be counted on. Best to figure some alternative way to wrap your feet in conjunction with the sandals. The key is to put a buffer between your feet and the ground. Poor people in the past often didn't wear shoes in the warmer seasons. But with tire sandals, there's little excuse not to protect your feet at all times.

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    1. I live in an arid region and usually there isn't any snow, so these would be doable.

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    2. A leaf spring will make great a machete or short sword if flattened. During WWII Filipino resistance fighters used the leaf springs from U.S. military vehicles, while waiting for U.S. forces to return.

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  5. I've been reading your stuff for about 10 years, first time commenting. You're quite imaginative, but I think your idea that you can go around to various structures and scavenge from those where BOTH the occupants have deceased AND there's no one around to lay a property claim is wildly optimistic. I think you're underestimating the amount of structures that will be destroyed by fire.

    Example 1, fast collapse. The .gov has publicly stated it's only a matter of time before we're EMP'd. Lets say we're EMP'd in the middle of a hurricane. One of the most fascinating stories from Hurricane Sandy was a coastal home (New Jersey or New York) having a cooking fire get out of control during the power outage. The resulting cooking fire burnt down the house as well as 111 houses total in the vicinity. Remember, this was during 50-100 mph winds (just a guess) while water was coming out of the sky in sheets. If you live in a populated area, you can expect your house or the neighbors to burn down from structural "crown" fires, either from catching their embers or from the radiant heat.

    Also, there's some evidence that depending on how much EMP energy is absorbed by your house, the house electrical wires will act as an antenna, collect the energy, and start an electrical fire. I wonder if I was home at the time and ran outside and shut off the breaker (maybe 1 minute after it occurred) whether that would be helpful or not. Probably not, but just curious. I think the solution for this would be to keep some of your critical supplies in a fire-proof, un-electrified outbuilding.

    Example 2, slow collapse. People "bug out" of the cities and into the woods. The first person to have their camp fire get out of control will burn down the entire forest/state/continent. Who'll be around to fight the fire? Not the firefighters who are too afraid to leave their families due to the violence and looting. Also, there are numerous mental cases running around that as soon as they don't have access to their psych meds (and maybe before) will start torching stuff on purpose so everyone else can feel their pain. This is a repeatedly proven occurrence, even now during "normal" times.

    I could give more examples, but suffice it to say I don't think 10% of the existing structures will survive the coming firestorm from a collapse event.

    Peace out.

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    1. Well, damn. Okay, that is a darn good point and one I can't argue against. You'd think it would occur to me since I wrote a novel with EMP and blowing transformers causing the town to burn down somewhat. Please don't wait another ten years to comment-I get lonely on this side of the blog.

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    2. Don't worry James,I won't let you get lonely, you will always have me picking apart your post.


      Chuck Findlay

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  6. Pretty decent list but on the wood stove an alternative is a barrel stove conversion kit. It is the door legs and flue thimble for 40$. All you have to come up with is a barrel and stove pipe. The only cloths that must be stock will be union suits/thermals damn few people use them now.

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    1. Sportsmans Guide has great deals now and then with surplus thermals.

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    2. USGI ECW brown long underwear is available in several weights of polypro. Wool is better, silk is excellent, but mil-surp is the cheap/good sweet spot. Wool outer pants will keep polypro from melting.
      pdxr13

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  7. Don't forget the lead tire balance weights. Old tire shop will have them all over the place. Who will loot tires? You, if you can. Stack them up and fill with dirt. Lots of work in a post petroleum world, but we made Shoot house out them, to practice room clearing etc.

    Bleach - The powdered pool kind will last longer than the liquid in the bottle. If you want to get all YUPPIE survivalist and have a 12 vcd power supply there are machines out there to turn Salt into chlorine. Don't know if it's Calcium or Potassium Hypochlorite, or just straight Chlorine. SE200™ COMMUNITY CHLORINE MAKER.

    Bedding/Blankets - Most home will have a linen closet with extra bedding in them and will be clean. Also, I don't see sheets being looted from Bed Bath and Beyond. I could be wrong though.

    Wood Stoves - Unless you have 1000's of acres of hardwood forest at your disposal like I do, then a rocket stove for cooking is best. Cooking on my stove is fuel intensive, but in the winter it will have a duel purpose. Summer time I would go with a rocket stove outside. Easy enough to make with cinder blocks or mud, old cans etc. If trying to heat a structure then you would need access to a pick up truck with fuel. Mine weighs about 500 pounds. You aren't carrying that very far without mechanical help.

    Batteries - I saved this for last, because it's a crazier idea. I have books (I haven't made one yet) on how to make batteries. I made a small one one back in school and experimenters 200 years ago would make their own. Of course they weren't nearly as good as ours today, but the book I have describes how to make a modern Lead Acid. Not a great answer, but it's a possibility.

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  8. Scavanging wood stoves (and other heavy metal appliance) post collapse, is a good idea, but make certain you have to tools necessary for that, and any other scavenging you might need. Crowbars, pallets, dollies/carts, gloves, etc. (and every house should have at least 3 wood burning stoves/ovens in the PODA).

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