Large Asteroid Impact Simulation

Here’s what might happen if an asteroid with a diameter of 500 km hit Earth:

Okay, that was pretty fucking depressing…

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Review of The Knowledge

Last time, I wondered if preppers think too short term when it comes to dealing with a TEOTWAKI-type event.

Well, this amazing book is the answer to many of those concerns.

This book will teach you the basics of everything necessary to restart modern civilization including:
- Norfolk Four-Course Crop Rotation
- Food Preservation
- How to make clothing
- How to make Lime, Soap, Acids and a ton of other vitally important chemicals
- Metallurgy
- Medical information on topics like neonatal care, medicines and surgery
- Power generation from a wide variety of renewable and non-renewable sources
- Advanced Chemistry

And so on. If you are planning on surviving AND thriving in a post-apocalyptic world, this is a must have for your library. While you may never use it, your children and/or grandchildren almost certainly will!

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Survival: Short-term versus Long-term

Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve watched prepper/survival videos and lurked on prepper forums and listened to people talk about it for a while now.

The biggest problem I see with prepping is that while most of them look at long term survival, it seems like long term is code for 1-5 years. Now that is fine and dandy, but what if the SHTF is so big that our modern society isn’t able to rebound?

Sure, you can buy and store all sorts of spare parts, ‘seed vaults’ and so on, but what happens in 10 or 20 years when you vehicle finally dies and you don’t have a spare alternator/engine/whatever? Or your medical supplies run out? Or your solar panels stop working? And so on.

I have heard of some preppers taking courses in blacksmithing or soap-making or a few other basics, but I have yet to see any prepper (or group of preppers) who really look at survival long term – at least not in the way that would be necessary to really re-boot civilization.

And I think that is a real flaw in prepper ideology.

Let’s be realistic – in most cases of SHTF, there is a massive die-off of people. All those dead people take all their knowledge with them, which means building civilization from scratch.

And with our modern civilization, that’s damned hard to do if you don’t know the basics in smelting iron, making potash or refining crude oil.

I think part of the flaw in most prepper’s planning is that the community is largely about individualism and self-reliance – it’s not really about re-starting civilization. I think it might also have to do something some preppers who reject modern society (for any number of reasons).

Am I wrong?

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Emergency Preparedness Week

Up here in the Great White North, this week is Emergency Preparedness Week.

The federal government sponsors Emergency Preparedness Week (the first week of May each year) to get people to prepare for the unexpected. This means being ready to deal with natural disasters like ice storms, floods or tornadoes, to dealing with other unexpected crises (like terrorist attacks).

Now this isn’t the Canadian government embracing any apocalyptic scenarios, but rather a way for the government to make people more aware of how long it takes disaster response networks to get up to speed. The government certainly isn’t saying build a bunker and fill it with firearms and cases of ammunition and/or flats of canned goods.

No, what they are trying to get across is that it can take federal agencies (and NGOs) a while to get to a disaster area and begin administering aid and comfort to those affected by it. As such, the government hopes that people are prepared to be on their own for a minimum of 72 hours (3 days) before they can realistically get aid.

Here a number of links that you might find useful to get that 72 hour plan and kit ready:

Potential Hazards & Risks

Emergency Preparedness Plans

Emergency Preparedness Kits

If you happen to anywhere in Alberta this week, here is a list of events taking place across the province.

I’m hoping to attend Edmonton’s event, Get Ready in the Park.

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Review of Ill Wind

A while ago – a long while ago – I read a post-apocalyptic novel about the end of oil. This was back in the 90s, well before the whole peak oil debate arose, so the authors took a different tack. In this novel, instead of the gradual end of the world through peak oil – as occurs in World Made by Hand – the planet’s supply of oil disappears after scientists release a virus designed to clean up a massive oil spill in San Francisco Harbor.

Ill Wind opens with a supertanker known as the Oilstar Zoroaster entering San Francisco Bay, laden with 1 million or so barrels of crude oil. There is a moment’s distraction and then the supertanker smashes into one of the Golden Gate Bridge’s supports and is ripped open.

Oilstar executives faced with an Exxon Valdez-like disaster in the midst of one of California’s largest cities, scramble for a way to deal with the disaster. Dr. Alex Kramer and his assistant Mitch Stone – from the company’s own “bioremediation research” department offer a solution – the Prometheus microbe, a genetically engineered organism with a thirst for crude oil. They claim it will remove 2/3 of the oil and its by-products are water and carbon dioxide. And because it can’t become airborne, it won’t spread beyond the harbor. The Board and CEO are elated and order its use. What they are not aware of is the hidden agenda that Kramer and Stone have – a desire to rid the world of gas/oil and have hidden the fact that Prometheus was engineered to go airborne. Within a few hours of its use, cars in Bay Area begin to stall, their tanks drained of gas. The petro-plague spreads quickly and soon reduces everything made of crude oil – including gas and plastic items – to a grey goo.

Thus is the world forced to suddenly and inexplicably deal with the collapse of our high energy civilization.

The book is full of great characters and until I re-read it recently, I had forgotten them. The sleazy politician who thinks with his dick more often than his brain, the hardy everyman who adapts no matter what the world throws at him, the scientist desperate to avoid calamity and the would-be strongman who would impose his will on those around him.

If you haven’t read Ill Wind yet, check your local library or used book store and read it – it’s a really great story on the end of oil.

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The Last Man on Earth

Last Man on Earth is the post-apocalyptic TV show I would have written were I a TV writer. Check out this clip:

It is dark, funny, sad and insane all at once. The main character, Phil, is akin to Al Bundy from Married with Children (another Fox product). He is tragic, flawed and sarcastic as hell. Oh, and he likes boobies too! ;)

Now, I missed the pilot last weekend, but this week’s episode was amazing.

SPOILER ALERT

After years of being alone and coming within a breath of killing himself in despair, Phil finally finds someone else. But instead of his dream girl, she is someone who chastises him for his margarita pool, his giant Jenga tower and everything else he does, from driving to parking to masturbation! Within in minutes of meeting her, Phil wishes he hadn’t!

For a more in-depth look at the episode, head on over to AV Club

I think I have found my new favourite show – sorry Walking Dead!

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Just-in Time Delivery (and what it means in a disaster)

Last week during lunchtime, I walked to the nearby Wal-mart to pick up a couple things (ginger, garlic and green onions IIRC) for the wife and was greeted by this.

Now empty store shelves aren’t that big a deal really, assuming some sort of disaster isn’t happening. But curious as to why so much stock was missing, I asked a stock boy what happened.

“The truck didn’t come last night,” he told me.

So because a truck didn’t show up, most of the produce section was empty.

That is what just-in-time delivery means in a survival situation. If a disaster hits where you live, you can expect empty store shelves very quickly and there won’t be anything in the back to bring out.

That means you have to make sure that you have enough food and water for your family during that time.

Now, I’m not advocating for a hoard of canned goods, guns/ammo and everything else that preppers do, but it does make you think.

Could your family deal with a disaster that means there is no food in the stores for a week? Or a two?

It’s one of the reasons I try to make sure we have some extra cans of food, extra water, some camping supplies (to cook said food) and some other things in my house to help us through a potential disaster. It doesn’t have to be much, just an extra package or two of chili/beef stew/etc and a flat (or three) of water in your basement.

If you want to go the prepping route, that’s fine too, but I realize that’s not for everybody.

But the fact of the matter is that the more people do to help themselves now, the less problems they will have later. In my mind, it’s no different than having a fire extinguisher in your kitchen or a savings account to use for ‘rainy days’.

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What I learned from Frozen

If you’re like most parents, you’ve probably been forced to watch this movie over and over and over in the past year.

I’m fortunate that my my little ones only watch it in our van, so I just have to hear it over and over.

That’s not a good or bad thing, the movie itself is fine and I don’t really have any problems with it, other than the fact that it is a musical. I just don’t get how people can break out into song in the middle of life and not have someone go, “What the Hell was that?” I also don’t care much for Disney (the corporation), but that’s another post altogether!

The only problem I have with it is the same problem I have with any movie my children want to watch over and over – it goes from nice to annoying.

Anyways, here are some random things I learned (or that the movie made me think about):

1. The palace staff are corrupt, or at the very least, totally incompetent: Why didn’t anyone bother to go check on Anna after Hans declared she died? Why didn’t any of them challenge him when he claimed they had said their marriage vows? Or even be present to witness the vows? Why didn’t they send anyone to help Anna find Elsa? She has been locked up in the castle her entire life and almost certainly has no tracking or wilderness skills. Why is Prince Hans all that Arendelle has left if Princess Anna dies – Queen Elsa has been brought back to the castle when this is spoken. Is she ineligible to be Queen because of her ‘sorcery’? If that’s the case, why is she allowed to become Queen after she unfreezes everything? Wouldn’t it be possible that she might freeze everything again if she gets upset again?

2. Elsa & Anna’s parents are terrible: Why did they automatically take the negative route after Anna’s injury? The troll tells them how to avoid problems in the first place, but they automatically lock up the palace and steal Anna’s memories from her. Then to top it off, they lock up BOTH daughters! Why did Anna have to be locked up in the castle? Why couldn’t she have a somewhat normal life (at least as normal as a princess should have)? That made no sense to me at all. It should come as no surprise that Anna grows up desperate for human contact and falls in love with the first man she sees or that Elsa grows up as a dangerous shut-in with anger issues!

3. Never a trust a teenage girl when it comes to love: Anna shows us the reason why so many girls watched Titanic over and over in the ’90s, “He’s dreamy!” Teenagers simply don’t have the experience to make an informed decision about anything like marriage, which probably why arranged marriages were the cultural norm for so long – and for the record, no I don’t agree with arranged marriages.

4. Elsa’s Ice Palace is beautiful but useless: What did she plan on eating on top of North Mountain? There isn’t a helluva lot of food on the top of mountains, especially not in winter. Given that it was made of ice, it must have royally sucked using the toilet. As a guy, most of my use doesn’t involve touching the seat, but for women…who knows, maybe Elsa found a furry cover for her seat! ;)

5. Lazy writing: The characters – Anna especially – say “Wait, what?” far too many times. I’m chalking that one up to lazy writing.

6. Odd Worldbuilding: I realize it’s a movie with magic and whatnot, but the whole the notion that a frozen heart is so much worse than a frozen head seems like just silly to me. I guess the trolls didn’t have access to MRIs and cat-scans.

How about you? Did Frozen bring any oddball thoughts to you when you watched it?

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Wacky Christmas Songs

Last year I compiled a list of alternative Christmas movies, and though I forgot one or two like Gremlins, it was pretty well received.

This year, I’ve got a list of alternative Christmas music to turn some heads this season. This is NOT a list of my favourite Christmas songs, but I do enjoy most of this list – personally, the death metal Christmas song is a bit much.

Enjoy!

Scary F**ked Up Christmas when you’re high

This hilarious contemporary songs stars a couple young comics who were also on Big Bang Theory.

NSFW version of Santa Claus is Coming

This is disturbing on so many levels, but some people will probably like it.

Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)

Hey, it’s the Ramones, what else do you need to know?

O Holy Night – Matt Mulholland – NSFW

A disturbing, but darkly hilarious adult version of a Christmas tune – you have been warned!

Jingle Cats – Silent night

While I’m not a cat person per se, apparently the rule these days is that any list is not complete unless it includes cats!

Dominic the Donkey

A hilarious, un-PC Christmas tune of yesteryear, I just had to include this gem I discovered recently!

Eleven days of Christmas

An ethnic, un-PC version of 12 Days of Christmas, it is a classic in my books!

Bob & Doug’s 12 Days of Christmas

The hoser version of 12 Days of Christmas, this one is corny as hell, but still pretty funny.

Christmas at Ground Zero

Dark and disturbing, this Christmas tune is a product of the 80s when many were scared World War 3 would erupt and wipe out mankind, it is one my my all-time favourite Christmas tunes. And yes, I’m well aware what that says about me…

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!

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An Early Christmas Gift

Looking for an early Christmas gift?

Just sign up for my mailing list and I’ll send you a short story on Christmas Eve.

It’s that easy – sign up and get a free story. No strings attached…and unlike some people, I don’t send out tons of emails, clogging your inbox. I only send out an email when I have something important to say, which tends to be every couple months.

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