Jef Poskanzer (jef) Tue 20 Sep 11 01:19
My fridge spent most of last year slowly failing, towards the end it was basically just a well-insulated cupboard that made too much noise. You know what? It's not essential.
John Robb (johnmrobb) Tue 20 Sep 11 08:32
Wow, this is still going. Trying to work on the book. Will get some thinking up later today.
Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Tue 20 Sep 11 12:17
Not that I doubt you <jef>, but I'd appreciate some pointers on how you got by without a refrigerator. I'd also like to know how you got by without a freezer, which constitutes a major part of my food storage strategy.
Gail Williams (gail) Tue 20 Sep 11 12:30
Wow, I used to live in the mountains without a fridge for 3 months each summer. (Eat fresh things soon, don't pick more greens or fruit than you can eat in a day or two (or else have time to sun-dry, pickle or can), learn to make good food from canned and dry ingredients, cut back on or totally eliminate milk and fresh meats.
Gary Greenberg (gberg) Tue 20 Sep 11 14:14
Yeah, the freezer. Especially this time of the year, when harvested veggies have just been put in. We had an eight-day outage earlier this month, thanks to Irene. Since we have a generator, we had two neighbors' fruits and vegetables and meat in our freezer along with our own. You can live without a fridge for awhile, with a lot of inconvenience. (I did it for three years.) but if you've counted on your freezer for your food supply, you better have some backup. (Or a nice neighbor.)
Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Wed 21 Sep 11 21:40
re: #146, so what sort of scenarios are we talking about where the Fed can't or doesn't want to send Social Security checks? I'm doubting even the Tea Party wingnuts really want to go that far.
Gary Greenberg (gberg) Thu 22 Sep 11 07:49
I don't know. They just voted against funding disaster relief. of course, so did the democrats, but on the grounds that it wasn't enough and shouldn't be paid for by starving out a green technology initiative, rather than on general principles. And you heard them cheer the idea at the debate that a sick person without health insurance ought to be left to die. So it's hard to say how far they won't go.
Michael Zentner (mz) Thu 22 Sep 11 13:46
Nancy Pelosi was all over this today about not paying for the Bush tax cuts, or two wars, and now we have to for disaster relief?
Mark McDonough (mcdee) Thu 22 Sep 11 17:13
How about a surtax on everyone until the debt from the wars is retired? Harumph!
Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Sat 24 Sep 11 03:49
The point is, the problems we are facing are complex to the point where even a dedicated, truly bi-partisan consensus in the government would have a hard time dealing with them. In the current political climate, actual progress on most of these issues is damn near impossible. Even systems which we expect to continue simply by institutional momentum (such as social security checks) may not make it. What has to happen for social security money to keep flowing? First, this has to be money for the government to spend. If there's another international financial collapse, that isn't assured. Second, there has to be a record of who is supposed to receive the money. That data exists in several repositories, many of them electronic, but a major natural disaster (or even more than one) can interrupt access to that data. Third, there has to be a way of transmitting that money. If the communications lines are down, it's not going to get to your bank. If there is enough social or natural upheaval, there are not going to be postal employees carrying mail anywhere. If the power remains off for a significant amount of time, the bank can't cash your check anyway. This may seem like an unlikely scenario to some. But consider how long it took to put New Orleans back into a basic functioning state. Many people would argue that it still isn't. And yet, that was one city after one single natural disaster. Throw in a series of such disasters, on top of a collapsing economic system, on top of a military/police apparatus that is already stressed by multiple wars and expanding criminal activity, and social security checks fall right off the map of priorities.
Mark McDonough (mcdee) Sat 24 Sep 11 06:46
Given the conflict and paralysis afflicting our government and governments in Europe, I am rather worried about a further financial collapse on the scale of the 30s depression. If something really difficult and decisive needs to be done, I don't think we'll see it done. I long ago noted one difference between 1930s and today. Back then, most people had relatives on a farm, or grew some portion of their own food. Now days, nobody can move in with grandma on the farm because farms are industrial operations, many of them controlled by giant corporations. Most major cities produce almost no food at all, while back in the 30s, cities were ringed with dairy farms, pig farms, etc. My own office is on the site of a dairy farm.
Jack King (gjk) Sat 24 Sep 11 09:49
I don't know anyone who gets a social security "check" anymore. It's almost all direct deposit. So if there are interruptions in the power grid, even locally, electronic transactions (deposits and withdrawals) can't be processed. I can see folks who rely on social security, living "check-to-check" going hungry because they just can't access the government's money.
Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Sat 24 Sep 11 13:12
Exactly. Hence the need to figure out how to do it on smaller scales within our own neighborhoods.
Jack King (gjk) Sat 24 Sep 11 20:03
I don't know how we'll help them when the power goes down. Some folks are going to get really hungry. Looking forward, though, I think I have enough post-apocalypse kind of liquid assets to set up a pirate FM station, the kind that the militias in Sierra Leone and Liberia had in the 1990s. Got the wherewithal for a big truck and a transmitter, just need an engineer and a tower guy. Music and news for the people. Trust me, I'm an ex-journalist.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 25 Sep 11 05:23
Difficult to see this impacting the US for another 15 years or so, unless there is something apocalyptic...not to say it isn't going to reach here or start having ripple effects right now.
Jack King (gjk) Sun 25 Sep 11 07:26
Grid failures happen.
Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Sun 25 Sep 11 14:49
Especially with the crappy, ill-maintained infrastructure we've got.
Mark McDonough (mcdee) Sun 25 Sep 11 15:38
It's the best infrastructure the free market can produce!
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sun 25 Sep 11 16:11
Last weekend I visited Silver City, an Idaho mining ghost town that was actually populated year-round until just a few decades ago. Now people are all living in the 100-year-old houses in the summer with solar panels, propane fridges and stoves, etc. Amazing. You drive 20 miles down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, it opens up, and it's like you stepped back in time a hundred years.
Jack King (gjk) Sun 25 Sep 11 18:28
There's a Silver City in Idaho too? Wow.
Mark McDonough (mcdee) Sun 25 Sep 11 18:54
Yeah, and in Colorado, and in... I've never made it to the one in Idaho, although I know of it. Ghost towns and the history of mining in the West was an obsession of mine as a kid.
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sun 25 Sep 11 19:33
Michael Zentner (mz) Mon 26 Sep 11 10:02
>>> like you stepped back in time a hundred years. Well, except for the solar powered refrigerators. I've found that outlying communities have been in the forefront of alternative energy usage simply by necessity.
Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Mon 26 Sep 11 12:13
Yeah, it would make sense to take a long look at how they do things. The developing world, too.
Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Tue 27 Sep 11 09:56
It's a mistake to assume that the political situation will remain unchanged in response to a real crisis. Voters are discouraged and apathetic so politicians currently have the luxury of playing chicken. But if social security actually stopped for a month and people seriously believed that might continue, I expect that would result in drastic changes in the political situation, much in the way that 9/11 changed things, but more so. It's hard to say what those changes would be, but I expect it would mean the end of the post-9/11 phase of American politics and a drastic scaling back of foreign adventures. I think the country has some significant political resources that haven't really been called on yet. We aren't going to simply drift into political collapse.
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