Useful Hard Skills for the near future

What skills to learn, what tools to get
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cmonkey
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by cmonkey » Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:50 am

I am assuming @jacob is referring to having 1-2 months of bulk staples/spices in house. In an emergency, you could certainly eat them daily (if you don't puke first).

We get fresh produce weekly, I'm not sure how you'd do that except winter gardening/canned food.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by ducknalddon » Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:09 am

Ego wrote:Huh? 1-2 MONTHS!? What specifically is on the horizon that would cause that kind of food disruption?
A Carrington event? Modern agriculture is so dependent on technology I can't see how that couldn't be very disruptive.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:35 am

A couple days ago, my sister baked a pie from some berries we had harvested and frozen during the summer. After putting the pie in the oven, she washed out the freezer containers and realized that one of the batches of berries had accidentally been frozen without being cleaned, so I ate a piece of berry-and-dirt pie. I think the skill to preserve food under a variety of circumstances is more critical for the medium run food survival than even the skill of gardening or cooking, mostly because most people don't have it. A stockpile, no matter how large, is more fragile.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by jacob » Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:02 am

One major crop breadbasket failure happens around the world every <5 years or so. Usually global production for that crop goes down by 10% (there aren't that many breadbaskets or kinds of crops in the world) and prices go up because people start hoarding or the government adds export tariffs or restrictions. This causes prices for other crops to rise as people buy substitutes. Stock-to-use ratios are around 10% (corn) to 20% (wheat) meaning that the world has a wheat reserve of 365*0.2=73 days and a corn reserve of 36 days, for example. Thus reducing production of corn by 10% would take out the entire stock.

In poor countries, people usually respond by protesting or throwing a revolution or two. In rich countries, we complain a bit about prices, buy something else, and laugh at the news stories about silly people hoarding bags of flour or rice.

What could specifically happen is that more than one major breadbasket fails in the same year.

PS: It's legal to eat Fido in 44 states.

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Ego
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by Ego » Tue Jan 17, 2017 1:16 pm

I understand that there is a remote possibility that prices will surge across the board because of a cascade of food supply problems. But heck, even if the price of every food item increased ten fold, I am not going to need two months of stores. I agree that it would be good to have those stores if that worst case scenario actually happened. But I think we've got to ask ourselves if we are confusing possibility with probability in that level of preparation.

Image

https://platofootnote.wordpress.com/201 ... versation/

If food becomes absolutely unobtainable for two months then the problems are likely bigger than food and I am probably going to need move (endurance) and I am probably not going to be able to carry my case of canned sauerkraut with me when I go no matter how much I practice lugging. That said, food on the paw may be useful. :D

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by jacob » Tue Jan 17, 2017 1:44 pm

If food prices increase ten-fold, it's because the store shelves are empty. Rationing will happen before the price goes that high. If so having food on hand will improve your diet and extend the rationing allowance over months. If you need to move/relocate because you ran out of food, presume that other people would have the same idea and that the refuge receiving areas probably won't be that welcoming (they will have shortages too).

In terms of odds, lets say that failures happen every 5 years (to put an upper limit on it ... the world has had single failures in 2003, 2008, 2011, and 2012). That's a 20% chance per year of something westerners notice and then forget about(*). The odds of two independent(**) failures in the same year in any given year is 1/25 (4%). That's something that many people won't have personally experienced although they probably know someone who has (cf. 1970s energy crisis, WWII rationing). The odds of three failures in any given year is 1/125 (0.08%); that's the stuff of history books (cf. Great Irish Famine, Maunder Minimum).

The odds of entirely avoiding a two-failure year over the next 30 years would be (1-0.04)^30=29%.

So those are the rough a priori probabilities which are too high for me to just dismiss and punt on the problem.

They are the reason I put this suggestion #2 on my list. The odds for screwing oneself up metabolically, etc. via lifestyle choices and becoming dependent on a borked health care system are higher ... so that's why that was #1. Both are useful because failure is rather critical ... compared to e.g. one's laptop refusing to boot or being unable to repair one's washing machine, say.

(*) What is hard to compute is how "tough" the personal impact is. If one's food budget is 10% of one's income it's going to be less than if it was 40%. Revolutions and civic unrest have started from single crop failures in countries where the average food budget is 40%. A threefer could increase crop prices by 4-500%. Not even Americans would laugh that one off. Having lots of money in the bank is not going to fix the problem. The supermarket would become illiquid and inefficient. Not to mention the social consequences of being the person outbidding everybody else in the store.

(**) These odds presume independent events, but given that they're usually weather driven and sometimes pest driven, one should expect a finite level of covariance which would increase the odds. The global price setting and market system are in any case not independent.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:31 pm

There is a bit of a survival trade-off for some of us between ability to run 5k quickly and ability to maintain non-adverse-metabolic-activity fat store below the waist. If forcibly subjected to the BRUTE diet, I could likely live off of my extra bottom 20 and foraged-under-the-snow greens for over a month!

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by bryan » Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:56 pm

George the original one wrote:Rather than programming, I'll say cyber security ;-)
DoS, buffer overrun, virus, cryptography, keystroke monitors, etc.
Seems like something you should leave to the experts. May be useful to have a friend to pick her brains or be educated enough to know what you should be doing (e.g. using password manager, avoid smartphone's that don't get regular updates, how to browse the internet safer, etc)

Or do you mean learning some offence? Installing malware on e.g. your target's computer?

Programming in general is pretty useful. Great for automating things. I would say learning python and how to connect the physical world to the digital world (e.g. rasberry pi projects) is a good launching point.

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Ego
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by Ego » Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:57 pm

jacob wrote: In terms of odds, lets say that failures happen every 5 years (to put an upper limit on it ... the world has had single failures in 2003, 2008, 2011, and 2012). That's a 20% chance per year of something westerners notice and then forget about(*). The odds of two independent(**) failures in the same year in any given year is 1/25 (4%). That's something that many people won't have personally experienced although they probably know someone who has (cf. 1970s energy crisis, WWII rationing). The odds of three failures in any given year is 1/125 (0.08%); that's the stuff of history books (cf. Great Irish Famine, Maunder Minimum).

The odds of entirely avoiding a two-failure year over the next 30 years would be (1-0.04)^30=29%.
What are the odds of waking up tomorrow and suddenly, without warning, having two or three crop failures simultaneously? Tomorrow. My point is, these things don't happen without a lead-up. If you find yourself with an empty stomach, an empty pantry and empty store shelves on that day, then you haven't been paying attention.

The thing I don't like about your two-months of stockpiled food is that the fear plays into an idea that is becoming increasingly appealing to the average Joe/Jane. That is, they believe they can buy solutions rather than be part of solutions. Their stockpiles make them feel like they don't need their neighbors and they feel okay about harming us all collectively with their votes and their purchases because they prepared for this eventuality. In a way they hope to usher it into existence so that they can prove for the first time in their lives that they actually are the smart one in the family. Lottery tickets of a different sort.

The odds are long. Longer than you calculated above because you assume everything happens on one day with no warning. If you use the stores like I use my hundred pounds of oats then the odds are meaningless. If, on the other hand, your stores go rotten but you write them off as a good purchase because they make you feel safe.... then.... that's not good.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by Bobby McGee » Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:24 pm

You don't need a crop failure to have empty shelves at the grocery store. I experienced just that when years ago, due to a highway washout, the transport truck didn't make it, they chartered a cargo plane to fly food in. For two days, many shelves sat empty. No milk, no meat. Two days is nothing, but yet it was a big reality check for many. Unfortunately, I am doubtful many people had learn anything from it.

I only go grocery shopping every 4 weeks. If I really plan carefully I can push to 5-6 weeks. I usually run out of milk and some vegetables after 3 weeks. Carrots, apples and potatoes will last forever if stored at the proper temperature. I don't eat red meat, poultry or fish.
I also have an emergency food cache that could last 1 month. So, at any given time I have roughly 1 1/2 month of food.
But, like any other skill, it took me many months to master it. Learning to plan meals based on shelves life of certain food in my fridge.
Next skill to master is hunting.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by jacob » Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:59 pm

@Ego - Obviously crop failure doesn't happen over the period of one day. There's a lead of 1-2 months to make the call(*). The first failure happens---it probably won't be declared officially until after the fact when official numbers are realized (although reports from farmers should give a good idea in advance).---In any case, people shrug it off because such failures happen every few years. Then the next one develops a few weeks later... people start paying attention; more people take measures (this is where the feedback occurs)... prices for this one go higher than for the first one. The total system now has to compensate for people increasing stock while simultaneously dealing with the first failure. Pricing and availability becomes non-linear. Then the winter crop that people were hoping to replenish stocks with also fail ...

So the odds of three occurring in a single year is very roughly 0.8%.

(*) And how many people really follow this stuff in sufficient detail to put the pieces together in real time as it happens? Almost nobody except for farmers and traders. The rest rely on the news to tell them---after the fact.

This doesn't have anything to do with politics. These are real physical limitations in the real physical world. Food does not magically appear out of nothing by having good relations with ones neighbors. This is not equivalent to having run out of sugar when baking cookies and being able to go over and ask for a cup from a neighbor. It's empty-shelves in stores, everywhere. There's really nothing a group of people can do to instantly create food that is not there in the required amounts no matter how nice everybody is to each other. The solution here is either 1) Having food at hand; or 2) Having put a lot of seeds in the ground 6 weeks ago. It's way too late to "come together as a community". All that accomplishes is some kind of rationing system to share whatever is in people's cupboards equitably ... but if everybody follows your desired plan(?), there won't be much stored and thus not much to share.

To reiterate ... the global food stock of staple calories is around 30-60 days. Not enough time to grow replacements. And longer than even brute can go without.

I suspect people will be just about as able (unable) in calling this as they are in terms of calling stock market tops or the evolution of any complex system in real-time (Black swans a a lot clearer in hindsight). The problem here is also one that by the time you figure it out and need to act, most people around you will be doing the same thing. The system is adaptive. In addition, most people will choose not to act on initial warnings because doing so unplanned has a higher cost at this point. By the time enough people realize the problem, there won't be enough time to act. If we go back in time to e.g. the Maunder Minimum which had multiple crop failures back to back, it weren't as if people back then---most of them farmers---weren't paying attention. Not much help from the neighbors either unless those neighbors actually have reserves. No matter how good community relations and social capital is, it is not possible to transmute social capital into physical foodstuff in 48 hours or less. It takes several weeks to grow anything.

It's pretty easy to incorporate a two month supply into business as usual cooking. It saves money too.

It's also something one can do or choose not to do without necessarily having to agree with anyone else. But the more people who do it, the more people there will be who have something to share. Don't presume that all the people are sitting on their stashes hoping for things to go wrong just so they can say "I told you so".

(You can compare this to a boat. Once you broach, what you have is what you have strapped onto your person. There's no time or opportunity to go below and fetch a life jacket or a rigging knife out of a bag. Even if you see it coming 5 seconds ahead, that is not enough time, and you'll be busy doing other things (like trying to prevent it). Sure, crew members can help each other ... but no amount of helping each other is going to produce a life jacket if everybody decided they didn't need one because broaches are rare.)

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by Bobby McGee » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:05 pm

Advantage of spacing out trips to the grocery store :

1)If one go grocery shopping every 4 weeks, IOW every month, right there you know exactly your monthly food expenses.
2)It increase your creativity in meal planning : If you find yourself a Tuesday night of week #4 and the only thing left in your fridge is a sack of carrots and tuna can, you HAVE to be creative, otherwise you just run to the grocery store. Which lead to the next point :
3) Self-discipline. You MUST not run to the grocery store because on week #3 you can't put together any nutritious meal due to lack of imagination
4) Minimize time spent at grocery store. Save time for more interesting activities.

P.S. I eat 3 meals a day, I bring my lunch at work.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by jennypenny » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:32 pm

Ego wrote:The odds are long. Longer than you calculated above because you assume everything happens on one day with no warning.
Aside from typical SHTF scenarios, there are lots of other ways that life can turn on a dime. Like you could unexpectedly end up in the middle of a peloton crash and hurt more than your wrist. If you were laid up for an extended period of time, wouldn't it be nice to have some supplies around so Mrs. Ego didn't have to hunt and gather in addition to helping out around soylent towers, taking care of the apartment herself, and helping you with your bed pan? It would also mean you could use the money you would have spent on groceries for the unexpected medical bills.

A person who keeps enough cash to cover two month's worth of living expenses would be described as prudent, not fearful. Why is keeping two month's worth of food any different? A well-stocked pantry is just a different type of bank account.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by Ego » Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:58 pm

jacob wrote: (You can compare this to a boat. Once you broach, what you have is what you have strapped onto your person. There's no time or opportunity to go below and fetch a life jacket or a rigging knife out of a bag. Even if you see it coming 5 seconds ahead, that is not enough time, and you'll be busy doing other things (like trying to prevent it). Sure, crew members can help each other ... but no amount of helping each other is going to produce a life jacket if everybody decided they didn't need one because broaches are rare.)
I guess we can agree to disagree. I do not see it unfolding the way you suggest and I think the odds of it happening that way are so far out there it is tantamount to parking your car in an emp-proof garage every night just in case. It is possible that I will wake up tomorrow and find that all of the 25 lb sacks of rice have disappeared from the Asian grocer where I shop. Possible. Not probable.

In the past I would probably have shut up and shrugged. I may have even played along for the fun of a mental exercise. But I've come to realize that it is harmful to indulge the fear in those who are prone to it. Harmful for them and harmful for all of us. It is like a contagious disease. The contagion of fear builds when we indulge it.

And that fear itself causes real, actual problems.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by luxagraf » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:47 am

I tend to agree with @ego, too much of what passes for "preparation" on the internet feels more rooted in emotions drawing on secularized (or not) fantasies of apocalypse (whether it's being proved right, dissatisfaction with status quo, some kind of dystopian survivalist scenario or what have you) than genuine understanding or concern for crop failures or other actual problems(*). And all of that is rooted in (among other things) fear. And yes, fear can cause real problems. In fact it might be the root source of all problems.

That said, stocking up on dry goods makes sense for a variety of other reasons as well so it seems like a no brainer (price and not having to go to store all the time are the ones that motivate me).

As for hard skills, aside from gypsy caravaning, the one I've always thought would be good future proofing is knowing how to go from seed, to wheat/hops, to beer. Master that cycle and you'll likely fit in in almost any community under almost any circumstances. Today's hipster seed-to-stein brewpub is tomorrow's only working alehouse. If you do it right.

* Consider the way the noisiest purveyors of these fantasies are suddenly people on the left side of the political spectrum, whereas six months ago most people peddling the same would have been on the right side. To my mind what primarily unites them is emotion -- fear.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by jacob » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:28 am

Since insurance companies have researched the probabilities and scenarios complete with actual numbers and impact (link above), I don't really see the point in arguing based on speculating or fantasizing about how odds could/should be much different than what they are known to be. The risk is well-defined. It's the topic of actuaries and commodity traders, not fiction writers. The personal decision is merely whether to act on this knowledge.

The decision is simple: if probability * cost of no precaution > cost of precaution then take precaution; otherwise ignore.

It's not different than the decision of whether the keep a fire-extinguisher around. I do that too. Three in fact: Bedroom, kitchen, and car. Not because of a fear of fire, but because fires do happen and because extinguishers make a big difference (compared to filling a bucket) if there is a fire. Also, they don't cost more than a #20 bag of rice :-P Conversely, I don't own a firearm because the odds of needing such in my location/lifestyle are negligible.

Where you see fear on one side, I see is somewhat of an ostrich effect on the other side in which some risks get ignored because they are unpleasant to think about or inconvenient to deal with. Fear-based decision making can make for some costly/wasteful decisions (see e.g. terrorism, the personal odds of which are much much lower than food security failures, even in Israel) and the effect can be contagious and compound in the wrong direction. However, ostrich-based decision making can also be contagious and the resulting Eloi-effect can compound in the wrong direction too. In this case, if everybody thinks they can just go pick up a sack of rice in their local Asian store once shortages are being discussed on the 6 o'clock news, it guarantees that there will be no rice left except for the first 20 people to show up... or however many bags they have on hand. The usefulness of the just-go-shopping-strategy is disproven every single time there's a serious winter storm; also see McGee's post above.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by luxagraf » Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:11 pm

jacob wrote:Where you see fear on one side, I see is somewhat of an ostrich effect on the other side in which some risks get ignored because they are unpleasant to think about or inconvenient to deal with.
I think that's still fear, just fear of a different thing. But to your point, I agree. The middle way is almost always the best choice when planning.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by jacob » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:23 pm

Be careful with the middle way argument: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_to_moderation

The "best" (=most sensible) way is the level of effort where [probability * cost of no precaution ~ cost of precaution]. If the market is efficient, precaution costs are priced accordingly. For example, the probability of a serious(*) house fire---a market that's quite efficient---over a lifetime is somewhere around 1/100 to 1/5000. The cost of a house fire is, say $20-200,000. So the market cost of prevention should be expected to be around $20000/5000=$4 and $200000/100=$2000 which is pretty much where a collection of fire-alarms + extinguishers + insurance premiums is priced. If they were priced much higher (say $50,000), people wouldn't buy them .. and if they were priced much lower (say 50 cents), everybody would have them and serious fires would be rarer (so the issue would be a non-issue).

(*) Where some person gets very injured and/or much if not all of the house is "totaled".

Same deal with driving around in a car. What level of precaution should people take against crashes? Factory installed three-point seat belts. You don't see people putting on helmets and installing six-point harnesses and roll cages when they get in a car to go to work or refusing to get into a car because they might die at any point when they're on the road. You also don't see that many people not using seat belts because they think that strapping in leads to a fear-based society. Fear does not enter the decision. You just put the belt on.

Decisions don't always have to be based on emotions. Pedestrians who cross the streets look right and left, not because of fear, but because it's just a pretty good idea. Ignoring a 1% chance of a high cost incident corresponds to crossing a street blindfolded every 100th time. Not a good idea when looking out is cheap. Appropriate precautions are just the sensible choice.

I don't feel any fear when I refill a bucket with beans or when I buy a tray of 12 cans of tomatoes or 10lbs of chicken. It's just a habit which has been calibrated to conform to reality. It saves money too (see other thread).

If we're going to look at fear, maybe the more pertinent question is why the "fear"-issue was brought up when I first mentioned this risk. It's not like having 6 weeks of food on hand is hard or expensive in any way or that one only has a few days left to correct the situation before "the big one". It's just a habit that your future self may (30% chance) thank you for some day.

Looking back, I said two things which basically boil down to:

1) Don't eat too much/move too little because over the next few decades you might get sick from that behavior.
2) Don't have empty cupboards or presume that supermarkets will always be stocked because over the next few decades you not be able to eat/buy enough for a period.

Pretty basic stuff, really. Interestingly, nobody had an issue with (1).

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by Ego » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:22 pm

jacob wrote:Since insurance companies have researched the probabilities and scenarios complete with actual numbers and impact (link above), I don't really see the point in arguing based on speculating or fantasizing about how odds could/should be much different than what they are known to be. The risk is well-defined. It's the topic of actuaries and commodity traders, not fiction writers. The personal decision is merely whether to act on this knowledge.
I am not disputing the odds of it happening. I am disputing your interpretation of what will happen after the fact. You keep saying that it won't happen overnight but then use these analogies that are instantaneously catastrophic.
jacob wrote:You can compare this to a boat. Once you broach, what you have is what you have strapped onto your person. There's no time or opportunity to go below and fetch a life jacket.........
jacob wrote:It's not different than the decision of whether the keep a fire-extinguisher around. I do that too. Three in fact: Bedroom, kitchen, and car. Not because of a fear of fire, but because fires do happen and because extinguishers make a big difference (compared to filling a bucket) if there is a fire.
Yes, shelves are temporarily cleared after a storm. We are not talking about a storm, right?

I think you left out some important factor from this calculation.
jacob wrote:The decision is simple: if probability * cost of no precaution > cost of precaution then take precaution; otherwise ignore.
I see it like this:

(Probability * (A= Benefits of Precaution)) - (B= Cost of Precaution) > (Probability *(C= Cost of no precaution)) - (D= Benefit of no precaution) then take the precaution.

We are an action oriented society so it is a common mistake to forget that inaction (refraining from action) can be beneficial. Often it is better to do nothing than it is to take action. It is important to actually take into account the benefits of inaction. That is the opposite of sticking my head in the sand. But we as a society are biased toward action and we are driven by the precautionary principle so we are likely to forget to factor those into the calculation.

What is the lifetime benefit of not having an extra storage room full of food? Or a big garage? Or a storm cellar? How much to heat the room for a lifetime. How much to insure it? How much will I pay in taxes on the room over my lifetime? How long will my commute be so that I can afford a home with such a room and what will the health costs of that commute be? How much extra will I pay over the life of my mortgage for the room?

How many life hours will I spend earning the money to pay for the room and what are the opportunity costs of those life hours?

I am sure many would add another function to the calculation, the anxiety coefficient to factor in how it makes them feel. Do you feel vulnerable when your pantry is empty? Do you feel insulated from the hostile world out there when you have a hundred pounds of oats*? It feels better to act (fill the pantry full of two months worth of food) than to fully calculate the many costs involved in having a full pantry.

We fail to notice that these feelings build on themselves. Today I need 100 gallons of water to feel safe. Tomorrow I will need a well and the next day a stream. This is where the stockpiles and preps can become like your #1.
jacob wrote:Number one is not getting reliant/dependent on some kind of [prescription] drug.
Medication of a different sort.

And don't get me started on the moral hazards of having stockpiles.


*BTW I have a hundred pounds of oats in my secret lair (seriously!) stored in gamma seal dog food containers. I bought it because it was cheap at 45 cents a pound and we will eat every last bit.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by Toska2 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:00 pm

I will use the middle of the road solution. The cost, for me, greatly goes up due waste after three weeks. Potatoes may last months in a cellar but not that long in my pantry sort of thing.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:22 pm

jacob said: nobody had an issue with (1)
I did, but I am bored with reiterating the differences between belly fat and butt fat, and what sort of metrics would best measure the health of people who are differently proportioned. There is no number of pull-ups that can beat the extra year or two of estrogen protection provided by maintaining vigorous sexual activity into mid-life combined with not smoking and rarely drinking.

OTOH, I don't think risk management is necessarily connected with the emotion of fear, and I do think it is often simply a matter of having a level of knowledge about the situation. For instance, my BF has expertise in the field of safety engineering, so sometimes when we go to a concert or movie together, he will notice that there isn't a sprinkler system. So, then he will check for the emergency exit doors. Even though I would never occur to me to check for a sprinkler system, it doesn't make me feel anxious to know that there isn't one, and I think that it is cute that he checks the doors while I relax and munch on buttery popcorn.

I did the math, so now I believe that there is an 85% chance that it will never happen that all three crops will fail in the same year any time in the next 20 years, if things stay the same. Since I am lazy and optimistic, this makes me want to do nothing. However, I don't think things will stay the same. Also, I believe that not having a clue about the origins of the food we eat is almost the hallmark of the fragility of our modern system. Therefore, I think the way through any fear/anxiety has to be MORE knowledge rather than less. First obvious question to ask if you are loathe to add 20 minute moderately tedious routine of Maintain Larder to your repeating bi-monthly ToDo list might be "Where does the ethnic market on the corner source its 15 lb. bags of rice?" Anyways, I am working on my self-sufficient perma-culture project, and I know somebody who has goats and hogs short bike ride away, and I know two people who are going to be buying farms long bike ride away from me, and I have decades of experience as pick-up cook, so I will be fine, even though I eat for free at restaurants quite frequently in these days of golden decline.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by Fish » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:35 pm

Isn't stockpiling food similar to maintaining an emergency fund? It is just another practical measure if done for the right reasons. Objections to food storage seem rooted in zero-sum thinking. What about the opportunity cost of exercise or maintaining 6 months' expenses in the bank?

I will agree that fear (read: insecurity) is a very poor justification for action. But we're not talking about food in selfish terms here, e.g. "FU food" or "food independence." The point is to take a need that is normally tightly coupled to the market and introduce some slack.

@jacob @jennypenny What is an equivalent level of preparedness in terms of water and energy/fuel storage?

George the original one
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by George the original one » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:25 pm

Toska2 wrote:I will use the middle of the road solution. The cost, for me, greatly goes up due waste after three weeks. Potatoes may last months in a cellar but not that long in my pantry sort of thing.
This is where you need to match your stored food to your storage conditions and palate. Dry and canned goods probably make more sense for you.

I don't like oatmeal very well, so we don't store any long term, but for someone with an apartment pantry, it is ideal. Beans I do like, so we have a few pounds in the pantry. In my case, to supplement the beans & have some variety, storing the potato crop in the garage makes sense especially since I like potatoes. Onions store in the garage, too. Carrots can stay in the ground for a surprisingly long time.

George the original one
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by George the original one » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:32 pm

Columbia River gorge and the Blue Mountains have been closed for many days this month. That's one of the primary trucking routes from points east to Portland, along I-84. Either the trucks sit or they take a longer route.

Near my house, a tree fell across the highway this morning. Highway traffic was blocked for 2 hours while the powerlines and tree were cleared. It took another 7 hours before power was restored. This was a typical winter storm... the once-a-decade storm can close the highway for days.

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Ego
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Post by Ego » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:39 am

George the original one wrote:Near my house, a tree fell across the highway this morning. Highway traffic was blocked for 2 hours while the powerlines and tree were cleared. It took another 7 hours before power was restored. This was a typical winter storm... the once-a-decade storm can close the highway for days.
Right, but you (like me) are a middle aged guy and you already own your place so the space involved is largely a sunk cost. Look at it through the eyes of Zalo or C40/bryan or Brute living in Brutlandia or one of my tenants in these micro-apartments or someone in a roommate situation or someone in the developing world where homes are much, much smaller.

How much space does two months of food take up? Add to that the fact that the conventional prepper-wisdom here says we need to store lots of water as well. How much space does that take?

Poor Zalo is starting to look like an episode of Hoarders.

It certainly makes sense for you (George) to stock up considering your distance to big stores. Does that make sense for the average city dweller?

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