Monday, November 4, 2019

low tech force multiplier


LOW TECH FORCE MULTIPLIER
Large Marge, bless her pea picking heart, clued me into a novel she enjoyed. Alas, I thought it sucked monkey scrotum, but the painful experience did inspire this article, so it was still time well spent, even if in Want To Throw The Electric Device Against The Wall frustration. The book had Cops and EMP in the title, and it was a long slog through self-congratulatory masturbation, how super wonderful cops were. Thin Blue Line, selfless sacrifice ( because in California, they probably “only” make $70k a year ), consummate professional, blah, blah, friggity blah.
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At first I'm reading it, waiting for something to happen. I think it was in 45% before someone related to the group even got killed. I mean, I LOVE books that take their time, focus on character, tell a story instead of just blow crap up ( hell, we don't even get the literary equivalent of gratuitous nudity anymore, just mindless video game action ). But this guy was only talking about how great the police were. It got a bit old, waiting on doom because a trophy ceremony was in progress. But I keep reading, thinking something exciting is going to happen.
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A little bit of action ensues, foreigners killing natives to loot and plunder. Of course, even THEN, we take time out on a combat mission to take fingerprints! Because, that will prove who killed the neighbors. Because cops are so perfect they NEVER cheat, like planting drugs. At this point I was vomiting to one side of the recliner, the dog was trying to lick it up, I'm looking for blood to see if I have to get to the hospital, and I'm wondering, why did he just tell us no one can be a prisoner, from lack of food, and they gather evidence to add on to one murder with several more? What the actual crap?
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Are you going to execute him twice after you catch him? Are you guys SOOOooooo overstocked with food and personnel that you have time for this happy horse crap? You just said you couldn't spare food to feed prisoners. And that isn't even the worst of it. This is after making me read 80% of a book where almost nothing at all happens. I barely edge past 90% and I simply cannot read it anymore. There just cannot be a satisfactory ending to this drivel, except for me to shut down the power on my book.
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You know who DIDN'T have their power shut down? The idiots in this story. Super Rich Dude stocked the crap out of everything, hires all the cops because cops are perfect at everything, like combat ( as long as it takes place between taking fingerprints ), and conveniently has everything they need to continue Business As Usual. So they get to keep riding around and talking on the radio. And taking fingerprints at crime scenes. Look, I know I suck writing fiction. This guy is a better fiction writer than I am. He is also a complete douche when it comes to wargaming the apocalypse.
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Except, you know, being a cop, he should be perfect at that, also. Where's the dog, I think I might hurl again. Sweet Baby Jesus on a unicycle! When our modern world takes a puke, there isn't enough storage space, or benefactor funding, to keep Business As Usual alive past a very short period. Why do you think I dwell on substituting as many items as possible with primitive tech? It isn't because that does a BETTER job at performing in place of modern tools. It is because it performs LONGER.
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Any level of technology requires an infrastructure. For a simple ( well, NOW it is relatively simple, to the point a dollar store flashlight has one ) computer chip, you must have a fabricating plant, process the raw materials, have municipal water for each plant, have roads for each, rail, all the infrastructure for those roads, the vehicle manufacturing, the ship building, dock facilities, K-12 and then college education for workers, workers homes, groceries for the workers and all the transportation THAT entails, clothing for workers.
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An entire entertainment industry for them, a military occupation of the middle east for the oil, a military industrial complex to support that military. A central bank and centralized government to support that military, necessitating tax collectors and a domestic economy to provide them jobs outside the computer chip industry, dams and turbines and generating plants to electrify the workers homes. Finally, you get a computer chip that costs a dime, all because you have billions in infrastructure cost that allows that.
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And to get that scale of manufacturing, and to pay for all the infrastructure, you start putting microchips in everything besides just flashlights, and pretty soon you have chips in the chip factory and chips in the cars the workers drive to the factory and chips to coordinate delivering chips and asphalt and to build the road paving machines and anything and everything. In the meantime, some goat herder in Afghanistan dips a branch in some hemp oil or rubs some tree sap on it, and has light from a torch.
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That is your High Tech and that is why I fear it so. Not because it isn't great but because it is so vulnerable to disruption. That doesn't stop me from stockpiling LED flashlights, or the rechargeable batteries with their solar charger. Nothing else comes close to the return per dollar as LED illumination. I don't reject high tech, as much as I reject a complete and total reliance on it. I try to minimize my exposure to vulnerability. And yes, I realize my 100 year old design for ammunition fired from a seventy year old gun design is just as vulnerable to disruption as ten year old design lighting. But the difference in end products and their infrastructure is big.
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A finished product, stockpiled, is not as likely to be disrupted expect by theft, as the infrastructure that produced that finished product. Under laboratory conditions, my post-apocalypse lighting stockpile can last several decades. If instead I chose a kerosene lamp, I would be relying on salvaging and current production, or taking food away from people to grow oil for the lamps. The lesser evil is higher tech. Ammunition is high tech, insofar as the technology infrastructure cannot be maintained or duplicated. But it is also a military necessity to a certain point.
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My choice of bolt actions is the only way to compensate for that vulnerability. And because of the economics of scale, ammunition is affordable enough to get a lifetime supply of it. IF you don't piss it away. With the above stockpiled items, the trick is to eliminate the needed infrastructure. Which is easy enough. But other things are NOT possible. You'll still need to maintain an infrastructure for motor vehicles and long distance communications, for instance. Bicycles are impossible to maintain because of the synthetic ( or even natural ) rubber for the tires and tubes.
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Stockpiling is possible though, and eliminates the infrastructure. Not so much the automobile. Mechanics and parts are exponentially more complicated, and it is nearly impossible to store enough fuel to make the effort worth it. This isn't about eliminating complexity, but rather reducing it as much as possible. And of course budget comes into play, because sometimes you cannot afford to duplicate all the neat high tech toys you think you need. Every FLIR scope or NVD I don't need, in duplicate, is more ammunition I can stock. Continued tomorrow.
( .Y. )
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27 comments:

  1. My mantra as well Jim. I am pretty much a Luddite in a sea of largess conveinances. By 'hand tooling' my lifestyle all along, I don't need a battery power tool to accomplish a task. Easier, yeah. But the tool will break or the battery will dwindle over time, rendering that expenditure an eventual waste of money, better used elsewhere: (wheat-ammo-duh?) A true Minionite is not prepping for the collapse and lack of nifty things to live life as was. They are prepping for the extension of "time", both for their lives and extending out the "practical" and very analog types of gear that will make the former even remotely possible.

    That thinking does require an extensive flushing out of one's helmet of old way thinking, me included, but necessary.

    Happy Camping.

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    1. Hard to NOT be corrupted to some degree, that old way of thinking about things.

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    2. Perspective really. Think of the old thought processes and it's addictive attachment to the empire systems as a case of real bad ass cancer. Just needing a good cleansing enema.

      Enjoy breakfast with that, late risers of Bisonia.

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    3. Early risers, they just need to wait for the boss to leave so they can read me on work time. Stick it to The Man!

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  2. Solid posting Jim. Just as an analogy example for fellow minions to ponder with this article series.

    Over at *awles blog there is mention of auctioning off (from collection) of an hk91 @2200. On g-broker, to cover bills. Granted, there is a cult following of afluenza accolytes to buy it up for brag-ability purposes. But a nice example of overvaluation for it's performance as equipment ability, and price point of an item no one post collapse can afford, nor want. Not knocking those that accrued well goods and wealth from the empire's growth curve. But the downslide will be way faster and everyone will be rolled down the slope equally. History instructs accordingly, sprinkle wisdom on brain food intake daily.

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    1. Beware that Seneca Cliff last step! One wonders if the Idaho Guru is broke as his blog tanks, or is just genuinely interested in upgrades to the arsenal. Speaking selfishly, of course. Which I shouldn't do. Not god karma. Although if curiosity killed the cat, color me tits up.

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    2. As oft stated by Paul Harvey; "Now for the rest of the story".

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    3. I think he also said, "Now for the rest of the story, you ignorant slut"

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  3. Bison,

    In my latest novel, bugs eat Portland Oregon.
    Does chocolate provide immunity?
    Hilarity ensues.

    But, now, I'm re-thinking my story.
    I may re-write it to include some literary equivalent of gratuitous nudity.
    Or a lot of literary equivalent of gratuitous nudity.

    I can see changing my title to 'The Literary Equivalent Of Sex In Portland'.
    Or maybe 'The Literary Equivalent Of A Lot Of Sex In Portland'.
    Or maybe 'SEX! SEX! SEX! portland'.

    I think it has potential.

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    1. Will there be boobs on the cover? That should ensure sales. I'm asking for a friend.

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  4. Another thing about force multipliers is that people get hung up on matching what the military has. If you plan on taking on the military, you have already lost, unless maybe in an EMP event. Maybe.

    Food will be the most important force multiplier because with that you are able to function better than the guy that hasn't eaten in a week, and you may be able to bribe a few to help you. Night vision would be nice, but treble hooks hanging off of tree branches can give you a good idea of who is where. Then you can blind them with a spotlight and wail on them.

    The best force multiplier? Be somewhere that you don't need them. What was the line in Serenity? "A hero is someone that gets other people killed"? Close enough anyhow.

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    1. I haven't watched Serenity for a few years now. Glad I bought in on DVD.

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    2. Trebled hooks -Awesome idea

      2:48

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  5. I took my van to the shop for a repair to the back-up camera...this required a screwdriver and the tech spent fifteen fucking minutes looking for his battery powered screwdriver instead of using the Philips head setting on the bench alongside the van.

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    1. Carpal tunnel my arse. It sounds a-typical of the rubes out there. If lester is carpal needing crutches per se, it will be in his pocket or friggin handy. Love the story, 9:48 anon. Great laugh.

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    2. 9:48, Great field report of the increasingly crippled masses when faced with funtioning minus electric gizmos.

      I'm 50, but still have young kids at home so I do boyscouts with one of the four.
      My twin is the scoutmaster and I'm the assistant.

      If we have a project to build on a meeting night, my brother and I will bring in appropriate hand tools: saws, hammers, brace & bit, etc.

      When the mainstream dads see this, they about break their legs pulling out their battery powered laser leveled drill/saw/jackhammer/whatever from the truck.

      After seeing today's 11 to 17 year old guys trying to manually hammer a nail or saw a board, I realize all that phone/screen time definitely usurped any real skill building time from their lives.

      By the way, my favorite low tech replacement for a rototiller is a broadfork (I got a Meadow Creature brand broadfork years back and it rocks). I took the wimpy consumer way out, as it is much better than anything I could possibly weld. But I have seen online pics of forks made with scrap steel.
      S

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    3. A bit-and-brace is great for use on screws, like if you have a lot of deck screws to screw in, I dunno, assembling a deck .... will save your hands and is almost fun. just put the drill bit from your battery-dead electric screwdriver into the chuck and screw/unscrew to your heart's content.

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    4. 6:13 here Alex, You'll notice I did not say a brace and bit is the choice for screwing in self tapping deck screws.

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    5. 6:13-yeah, I was quite the hiker/sportsman early on, but then about age 9 I discovered books and retreated into my shell inside. I had zero skills with tools and it took me decades to develop. I can see how easy it is for today's kids to substitute reading for video games and have the same experience

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  6. .303 Brit was originally a black powder cartridge. Probably had the recoil of the current 5.56mm NATO when it was a black powder cartridge. Talk about being ahead of their time.

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    1. I gave short shift to the BP aspects of the 303, focused more on the WWI and up than even the Boar war and prior. Might be worth looking into. My reloading, after full power components are gone, will be 32 ACP cast lead and shotgun powder load. Cheap way forward.

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  7. Thomas Edison worked out a domestic source of rubber

    http://www.kindofcurious.com/2010/11/thomas-edison-botanist.html

    So in theory we'd have bike tries but who are we fooling? People go VERY primitive, VERY fast when things collapse.

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    1. Interesting link. The problem with growing rubber is you are taking away food to do so. And I can't see coffee or rubber getting here from the tropics. Not for some time.

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  8. Greeting Lord Bison, may your hair shimmer eternally. How about a coaster brake bike with airless bike tires. The ride is horrible, and the excess vibration will eventually trash the wheel and spokes. That said, a basic, airless tire bike will outlast anything else. Hail Darwin!

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    1. They have a new "airless" out which is a really thick backing on the tire side, with a small amount of air against the rime. This MIGHT solve the "tearing up spokes and welds" issue.
      https://amzn.to/2qsXRnA

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