A Progessive’s Take on Prepping

There is a huge movement in the US to prepare for the collapse of civilization. There are many reasons an individual “prepper” might believe that they will cut off from the supply chain. Disaster scenarios include:

  • Acts of war such as thermonuclear war or large-scale terrorist attack.
  • Natural disasters such as hurricanes, volcanoes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis or meteor strikes.
  • Manmade disasters such as a broken dam, trucker’s or other strike, chemical spills, and as mentioned above, acts of war.
  • Government embargo.
  • Alien invasion. The space type, not the Hispanic baby type.
  • Zombie Apocalypse.
Mexican alien baby

Alien baby crossing the border
from Mexico into the US,
artist’s interpretation.

Extreme, yes! But if you’re a sensible person who has been through a natural disaster you know that at least one of these is not only possible, but happen regularly.

“The government will send FEMA to take care of us. The Red Cross will show up with coffee and blankets. Why should I worry?” Well, FEMA and the Red Cross are finite resources. They may take time to get to you. Maybe you won’t be able to travel to the shelter.

We made out just fine after Superstorm Sandy. Fortunately, our house was undamaged. Others weren’t so lucky. More about them in another post.

superstorm Sandy Lessons learned

Spoken as a true girl scout!

This is not a prepper blog. (We used to call them “survivalists.”) It is a blog by a techie who happened to go without power for a week after Superstorm Sandy. If you had moments of panic during Sandy, if you went to a shelter only because you were cold and had no food, or no way to cook food, then this is for you.

We made out just fine after Superstorm Sandy. First off, our house was undamaged. We’re old campers – and I’m an old Girl Scout – with flashlights scattered all over the house. We have a basement full of lanterns, cookstoves (plural, yes) and of course, warm sleeping bags. We happened to have a lot of canned goods on hand and a freezer full of food that needed to be eaten quickly. It was like a big camping trip but with a roof and cats. Spoiled cats who acted as blankets when it got cold in the house.

We quickly learned the ways we weren’t prepared. The next few articles will contain a few steps you can take to help you stay comfortable and safe after a disaster.

The Astrologers Can No Longer Predict The Future

I haven’t looked at a weather report today but last night they were saying possibly a foot of snow. The weather people run a Monte Carlo simulation then incorrectly take an average of the results. This is stupid because the European model is sometimes so far off the American models that the average is wrong, just wrong. Last big storm closely matched the Eu model.

A model is a computer program. You type in past temp, humidity, wind speed and direction. It spits out an answer based on over 50 years of accumulated data. There are lots of possible weather but most of the possibilities are almost identical and so your weather person tells you the most likely. You probably have noticed that weather has been chaotic and extreme lately. Soon the models will no longer work. Yahoo!

A model isn’t really a lookup table, it’s a bunch of equations. The more data points you enter and the better the resolution of the data points, the more accurate the prediction. I invite you to read James Gleick’s Chaos: Making a New Science for a history of weather prediction, among other topics.

Yes, weather patterns have changed due to global warming. The models no longer work very well.

There’s a theory that isn’t widely accepted, in part I think because narrow-minded scientists can’t grasp the fullness of the theory. The theory is that there have been multiple large meteor hits throughout the life of the solar system – which wasn’t accepted at all when the book was written. Velikovsky’s “Worlds in Collision.” They laughed at him because he related Greek Mythology to the planets they named their gods after. Velikovsky’s theory was that in human time there was at least one near miss by a large celestial body that visibly changed the courses of the planets. He specifically talked about the sound made by a large meteor entering the atmosphere of earth. Do you remember the sonic boom from the meteor that hurtled across the sky over Russia in February 2013? Nobody in biblical times would have heard anything that loud before. The loudest thing they might have heard is trumpets. So that’s what they’d call the sound. The Greeks heard or described the sound as “typhooooo” and invented the monster Typhon around it. You recognize the word typhoon as a terrible storm.

I think some brain cells died and are releasing this stuff.

Velikovsky had celestial bodies bouncing around the solar system like billiard balls. That’s why scientists laugh at him. But there’s a possibility that Greek Mythology was based on multiple occurrences of a comet flyby, not one huge cosmic cataclysm.

Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho by Mahalia Jackson on Grooveshark

What are the chances that a large meteor would hit the earth just as Israelites were attacking a fortress. VERY slim except they were pretty much constantly attacking somebody during that time period and most of their attacks weren’t accompanied by trumpets.

While God’s chosen were still wandering goatherds there were actual civilizations. Sumerians, Babylonians, PhoenicianZs… And they had astrologers. Kings consulted the astrologers before making any decision and for some reason it worked pretty well.

Then around the same time as the battle of jericho something happened. The astronomers could no longer predict the future. Velikovsky surmised that there was a cosmic event that was so big it changed the length of the day. Which sounds kind of crazy. BUT experiments putting people in deep caves and allowing them to sleep whenever they want to showed that humans tend to revert to a 25-hour day. Prior to that experiments with mosquitos showed the same thing.

But anyway, I like to say that the astronomers can no longer predict the future. %-P

The mosquitoes, btw, have their internal clock reset every morning at dawn. It can be reset with a flash of light too. These internal clock functions are called “circadian rhythms.”

As an aside, a fellow named Winfree realized that a burst of electricity could be used to restart a fibrillating heart. To test his theory he set up an experiment. He used a burst of current to stop his heart and another to restart it. This led to the invention of the defibrillator used in hospitals today. NOTE: the janitor found him dead on the floor of the lab. Oops!!

One theory in bipolar disorder is that a time gene doesn’t work, so the bipolar’s circadian rhythms aren’t reset every day. There’s also a time center in the hypothalamus that can cause problems.

Recipe: White Turkey Chili

White Turkey Chili

A spritz of cooking spray
1 lb. diced cooked turkey or 1 lb ground turkey
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tsp. ground cumin
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 tomatilla, diced
3 cans (each 7 oz.) whole fire-roasted Anaheim chilies, diced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, warmed
2 cans (each 15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained
1 can (15 oz.) pigeon peas, drained
2 Tbs. minced fresh oregano
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup cornmeal
Shredded jack cheese, sour cream and lime wedges for serving
Spritz a large sauté pan with cooking spray and cook the ground turkey over medium heat just until pinkness is gone. Set aside.
Add the olive oil to the sauté pan. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the cumin, garlic, jalapeño and tomatilla and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in the chilies and 3 1/2 cups of the broth. Stir in the turkey, beans, oregano and cilantro.
Put the cornmeal in a small bowl and slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of the broth. Stir the cornmeal mixture into the turkey mixture. Cover and simmer for 3 hours. Thin the chili with water if needed.
Ladle the chili into warmed bowls. Serve with cheese, sour cream and/or lime wedges. Serves 6 to 8.

Protected: Income Reporting

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: The Grim Reaper

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Frightened NRA Members?

“Frightened citizens, sheltered in place, with no means to defend themselves or their families from whatever might come crashing through their door. How many Bostonians wished they had a gun two weeks ago?”
— The National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre, quoted by the Huffington Post.

Mr. LaPierre’s characterization of non-gun owners is so IGNORANT that I wonder why the NRA lets him have a microphone. Trust me, folks who don’t have guns DO have baseball bats and crow bars, and they can tell if some kid is trying to break into their house.

The main thing I get from this is that Mr. LaPierre himself falls apart under stress, then hides somewhere snuggling his gun like a security blanket. Come ON, dude. Make popcorn, turn on the TV, take a FUCKING Ativan. LaPierre is totally wrong to assume that the rest of the world has the amount of fear that he does. And he is not typical of gun owners, who are as likely to own baseball bats and crowbars as everyone else.

More people choke to death on pens every year than the Boston bombers killed.

More people have died of tylenol overdoses than terrorists have killed in the US since (including) 9-11. I’m so sick of a traumatized country jumping at every sound.

“After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.”
— William S. Burroughs

Image Credit:
Source Flickr
Author DonkeyHotey

Michael Shermer On Patternicity

Patternicity is Shermer’s name for apophenia, the tendency to find meaning in noise. This is how we see constellations in the stars, faces on Mars, and Kaziklu Bey’s visage grinning evilly from a slice of cinnamon toast.

In its negative form, patternicity is behind many forms of self-deception, from superstition to conspiracy theory. This video goes into it in depth, with examples.

Protected: Back

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Diagnosing Rabies

Perhaps you remember the Walt Disney classic Old Yeller” in which a frontier family’s dog contracts “the hydrophobie” from fighting a rabid wolf. Who could forget the tear-jerker scene where, after telling his mama “He was my dog… I’ll do it,” young Travis ends Yeller’s suffering.

Although it is a vaccine-preventable disease, rabies still poses a significant public health problem in many countries in Asia and Africa where 95% of human deaths occur even though safe, effective vaccines for both human and veterinary use exist.

Nearly half of those bitten by suspect rabid animals are children under 15 years of age. Although the efficacy and safety of modern cell culture vaccines have been recognized, some countries still produce and use nervous tissue vaccines, which are less effective.
World Health Organization » Health topics » Rabies

In many parts of the world, vaccination, testing and treatment are prohibitively expensive. In rural communities rabies isn’t reported. It’s deadly, why bother? is the logic. Keep the victim as comfortable as possible while you wait for the inevitable.

The very experimental Milwaukee Protocol is marginally effective. Patients come out of it with severe neurological damage and needing months of rehab.

Currently, if a human is bitten the doctors test the animal that bit them. The test – and this is gruesome – requires that the animal’s head be sent away for testing. The test is to look for lesions on the brain, and if there are no lesions, oh well.

They’ve come up with a new test that can diagnose human rabies from skin cells that I hope will someday replace decapitation as the diagnostic procedure of choice.

The number of human deaths due to rabies is currently underestimated to be 55,000 deaths per year. Biological diagnostic methods for confirmation of rabies remain limited, because testing on postmortem cerebral samples is the reference method, and in many countries, sampling brain tissue is rarely practiced. There is a need for a reliable method based on a simple collection of nonneural specimens.
Dacheux, Laurent et al. A Reliable Diagnosis of Human Rabies Based on Analysis of Skin Biopsy Specimens. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2008; 47:1410–7

Global Warming and Poison Ivy

I hate Global Warming skeptics.

Ecotoxicity Excerpts:
/PLANTS/ … It is not known how poison ivy might respond to increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO(2)), but previous work done in controlled growth chambers shows that other vines exhibit large growth enhancement from elevated CO(2). Rising CO(2) is potentially responsible for the increased vine abundance that is inhibiting forest regeneration and increasing tree mortality around the world. In this 6-year study at the Duke University Free-Air CO(2) Enrichment experiment, we show that elevated atmospheric CO(2) in an intact forest ecosystem increases photosynthesis, water use efficiency, growth, and population biomass of poison ivy. The CO(2) growth stimulation exceeds that of most other woody species. Furthermore, high-CO(2) plants produce a more allergenic form of urushiol. Our results indicate that Toxicodendron taxa will become more abundant and more “toxic” in the future, potentially affecting global forest dynamics and human health.
[Mohan JE et al; Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103 (24): 9086-9 (2006)] **PEER REVIEWED** PubMed Abstract

Bad Behavior has blocked 428 access attempts in the last 7 days.