Harbingers

UPDATE: Great, another word press improvement!  Now you have to TURN COMMENTS ON.  They’re off by default.  Sorry about that.

Perhaps it is because we’re looking for a house to buy that I’m very sensitive to the signs of economic downturn and economic “never got very well.”

This is actually the equivalent of being a middle school girl trying to figure out whether a boy likes you, and all the contradictory signs would drive you nuts.

I mean, we never had a summer of recovery, at least not here, and if you had to describe the situation of most of my friends after the crash of 08 it would be “diminished.”  But diminished isn’t necessarily flat broke.

Someone — I think Doctor Pournelle — said that even if we were in as bad a situation as the depression, we wouldn’t experience it the same way because of all the cool gadgets we have.

When you become unemployed, no one comes over and takes away your computer, rips out your plumbing, impounds your mp3 player and makes sure you can’t buy even “new” used clothes.

And our society has so much surplus right now, that it’s hard to pinpoint what “poor” is, not in round income terms, but in “how you live” terms.  Creative people can live much better if they’re willing to work for it/buy discount/shop smart.  I should know, since we kept up with our two-income peers or exceeded them because I was willing to shop thrift stores for clothes, and buy used furniture which I refurbished, and cook everything from scratch.

Heck, even when the kids were little and we were pinched as h*ll, we even had cool tech.  We just bought it on ebay one generation later.  Which is why our first “ebook readers” were nokia planners at $15 a piece, one per kid/adult.

So… is recovery in full swing?  Well, no.  There’s stuff like the fact salaries never recovered, that places high and low (restaurants and stores) are closing, but bargains stores are thriving. There’s friends who lost their jobs and have yet to be able to find one, or have six month intervals between jobs.

None of this happens in a thriving economy.  Our economy, at its very best is walking wounded.

However, when you go to places like zero hedge and they’re screaming about economic and civilizational collapse, you — or at least I — have to fight the impulse to roll your eyes.  At least if you’re older than thirty.

As with climate-mageddon, we heard all this before with different “signs” of collapse.

The first time I heard “the end is coming and we’re all going to be eating our neighbors and returning to neolithic civilization” was in 86.  I believed it then.  Now…  Well.  How many times can you cry wolf?

And as I said before, I don’t believe in actually reverting to previous civilizational levels, because no collapsed society in our time has.  But what are the chances we become, say, Lebanon?  Or Venezuela?

I don’t know.  Some of the signs and portents are very scary indeed.  For instance, there is the international situation and a wounded bear dying for a rematch.  There is China and North Korea and…  Oh, yeah, Islam, all dying to take a swing at a confused giant.  And we’re not projecting strength at any level.

And the economy… Well, sure.  Hard times are much easier to weather.  I know when I was TRULY broke before, what got to me was this: I couldn’t afford books, or TV or movies.  So life was an endless slog.  I remember getting the books used bookstores discarded, which ended up with me reading a lot of gothic romances in the nineties, because the library didn’t keep up with my reading habit.  I remember those years when we had to plan for WEEKS to go to a dollar movie.

So we don’t feel it as much.  But yes, we’re tight, and trying to find new places to cut, which is where we’ve been since 2008.  And it’s gotten to the point I just have to make more money (Which is why there will be a lot of indie this year.)

OTOH we have two boys in college.  On still the other hand, we’ve cut more than enough for that, and I’m making more than I did when we started this, so the “tight” is something else.  Some of the pressure eased off when gas dropped in price, because produce and even meat went cheaper.  And there will be some more easing during summer.

But here’s the thing: I look around and I go “I don’t believe in total collapse” and “I refuse to restrict my life in fear of a collapse that’s been predicted for 30 years,a t least.”

Otoh, we have the worst political class ever.  And the economy is anemic.  And the world situation doesn’t look good.

The thing is, if  collapse happened, I’d kick myself.  (Not a total collapse.  I still don’t believe in that, but a bad collapse.)  Because we’ve seen the signs and the harbingers, and why didn’t I do something more pro-active to prepare?

On still the other hand (there’s at least three) collapses aren’t that fast, and this slow eating away at our comfort margin is SLOW.  So for someone who is fifty and little, possibly irrelevant.

Which door do I open?  The dame or the tiger?  Who knows?  And the contradictory harbingers don’t reveal anything.

Predicting the future is hard, particularly because it’s not happened yet.  So we try to cushion ourselves both way.  And maybe we’ll get lucky.

The thing to remember is that i you can react quickly and well it’s sometimes better than preparing for specific things that never happen.

So have plan a and b and c and d and f just in case, but don’t live as if the apocalypse (other than snowmageddon) is on top of us.

That’s what I’m doing.

248 responses to “Harbingers

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    The following has been mention earlier here on According To Hoyt, but this is the “official” announcement.

    Hear Yea! Hear Yea!

    By Command of Sarah Hoyt, The Beautiful But Evil Space Princess, I will be posting snippets of Through Fire Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays starting on April 18th.

    The snippets will continue until The Beautiful But Evil Space Princess tells me to stop or until July 6th.

    On Baen’s Bar, the snippets will be posted to Sarah’s Diner and Mutters Of Demons.

    The Great And Powerful Red Bear, Eric Flint, has given permission for the snippets to be posted on his site at http://www.ericflint.net/index.php/category/snippets/

    The snippets will also be posted on the Facebook version of Sarah’s Diner.

    Of course, the Heir to the Great Editor, Toni Weisskopf, has authority to issue decrees that would change this plan.

    Final comment: the snippets will be posted to the Bar and the FB Diner late evening of the “official” date. Thus the first snippet will be posted about 9 hours from now. The postings to Eric’s place will be much later.

  2. I’ve gotten momentary funny looks, before the Great Dawn of Realization that I find “the end of the world” boring, having been through so many. Yeah, the engine is running rough and it’s a good thing the flywheel has so much momentum, but we’re still nowhere near having truly spun down. It’s unpleasant, but it’s not nasty. Not yet. Are we going through Hell? Perhaps. But if so, the thing is to keep going and get out the other side. As Pa used to say, “You can only walk halfway into a forest.”

  3. I’ve gone ’round & ’round a few times the last couple of years with people who insist “We’re in a wonderful recovery!”, and pointing out all the businesses closing, and people out of work and can’t find any, and all the other worrying things, just gets you called blind. Or “You hate Obama(seems to be a favorite) and won’t acknowledge the wonders he’s worked!”, or something else like that.

    At some point reality is going to start slapping some of these people across the head in ways they can’t deny or ignore anymore, and I do wonder what’s going to happen then?

    • Racist, you’re just a racist. It’s that incompetent so-and-so’s get out of jail free card. I detest the man as he epitomizes the same lying Chicago politicians I grew up with.
      A while back a poker buddy was waxing poetic about all the good things Obama had done. I took what I thought was mild objection to his position. He responded with, “name one thing he’s done wrong.” I was still going strong five minutes later when he simply walked away from me.
      As I said, thought I was being restrained until a couple weeks later when another poker buddy who’d been present said, “boy, you sure lit into Randy the other night, we all thought you were going to rip his head off.”
      So maybe I got a little carried away. Asked the second guy “well, why didn’t you stop me?” His response, “hell, we all agreed with you.”

      • the hard part is naming one thing 0bama has gotten right.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Discrediting criminal justice reform?

        • Patrick Chester

          Well, he finally gave the go order to take out Bin Laden. Though not after dithering for a LONG time and, IIRC, trying to arrange blame for anything going wrong on another officer.

          So that kind of blots out the “okay, go” decision. Hm, I guess even when he does something right it’s only because he stumbled his way into it.

          • Maybe. The avalanche of conflicting news stories has mostly faded from the web, but even the White House didn’t seem to have a coherent story at first. And then they conveniently disposed of the body “because reasons.”

            I’m not a paranoid conspiracy type, it’s just that with the level of propaganda and outright lies pouring from the White House since 2008, any form of proof less than a rotting corpse wired to a post on the White House lawn and multiple independent DNA tests leaves plenty of doubt…

            • I’m confident that bin Ladin’s dead. If nothing else, he hasn’t said a word since then.

              Mark Bowden’s book on the event is a good read. Unfortunately, it’s also painfully obvious from reading it that Bowden only got his information from approved administration sources. That makes sense considering the sensitive nature of the operation. But the slant from his sources is obvious.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Nope, all we know is that ben Ladin isn’t free.

                He may be in a hidden prison someplace telling the CIA everything the CIA needs to know. 😈 😈 😈 😈

                • His family was released at the site, though. From what I’ve read, they were present when his body was taken out of the house and to the extraction helicopter. And my recollection is that one of his wives was in the room when he was killed.

                  If he hadn’t been killed on location, they’d probably know and have said something.

                  Besides, can you imagine *this* administration keeping quiet about the coup from capturing bin Ladin? If they were smart enough to keep quiet about taking him alive, then they’d have also been smart enough to keep quiet about the computers that they recovered from the house. And they weren’t smart enough to do that. Someone would have bragged about his capture by now.

                • BobtheRegisterredFool

                  Lemme discredit the anti-Democrat position for a bit.

                  Bin Laden is being naturalized in an undisclosed location. He will be Secretary of State. President Hillary Clinton will rule America as a satrap for the Russians. Trump is how they are going to ensure the results of all the down ticket races.

                  Seriously, what a mess. That scenario should be far more absurd than it is. If I had said that in 2007, I would have been obviously joking. Now it would make people think I’d developed a degenerative mental condition.

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            In other words, he did the right thing only after exhausting all other alternatives.

        • No it’s not. I understand his pants’ crease is SUPERB.

        • He will *occasionally* do something right.

          For instance, the recent focus by him on cyber-security is apparently a good thing. So credit where credit is due.

          But most everything else – including all of the high-profile stuff – has been a mess.

          And imo, three of the four people still running (Kasich doesn’t count) are likely to be just as bad. And it’s anyone’s guess as to whether the fourth will actually be good, or just “not as horrifically bad”.

          • Kasich isn’t running either. Not unless he is more delusional than Trump and Bernie supporters. He is trying to broker himself a power position.

            Even when 0bama does something considered “The Right Thing” he manages to make a hash of it, or does in half measures.
            The forth would be no where near as bad, but that is a powerful lot of room and could very well still be doubleplusungood, but I doubt it. though there will be those who work long and hard to make him turn out as bad as possible.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              I recently watched the 2009 and 2011 Ted Cruz interviews Moe Lane did for Red State. If he’s dishonest about his intentions, he is consistent and anticipates the future better than anyone else in the race.

              As for capabilities, I’m impressed with how he has been making sure delegates bound to Trump in the first vote will be inclined to vote Cruz on later ballots. Even if he is only beating up Trump, at this point.

              Our Republican expectations and needs may well be beyond human ability. My jokes about psychopomps aside, Ted Cruz is definitely a human being.

              We don’t know what the next four years will hold. They might be something that a Cincinnatus Churchill Lincoln Washington would find challenging or overwhelming.

              • He, as of late, has been playing the rules meant to keep those like him out, rather well.

                • Yes. Trump can whine all he wants about it being unfair, but while I totally agree that Colorado’s primary process is crooked as a dogs hind leg, the came out publicly with the rules of it a year ago, before any of the candidates announced they were running. Since they were publically announced and haven’t been changed since then, one would think all candidates should know them. It’s okay to refuse to play, because you don’t like the rules, but you better expect to lose if you don’t show up for the game.

                  And frankly, I thought those rules would highly favor the candidate who openly brags about buying politicians. Maybe Trump is getting stingy in his old age, and didn’t think the Colorado delegates were worth the price?

          • The problem with the focus on cybersecurity is it’s being brought to you by the exact same people who already brought us insecure health care exchanges and the OPM breach. Like most things this administration has done it’s more about increasing government power and reach while doing nothing for the problem its supposed to be addressing.

            The bill that was tagged with the last budget was mostly to get their ability to monitor everybody again.

      • Anonymous Coward

        Everyone knows that the word is spelled ‘raaaaaaacist” (number of letter As = number of years Obama has been in office).

        • I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s starting to backfire. And not just from people who aren’t racist but are sick and tired of being accused of racism. I wouldn’t be surprised if people who are inclined toward racial prejudices but keep it out of sight because of public opinion are starting to say, “Who cares? I’m going to be called a racist *anyway*, so why not just act like one?”

          • The ironical thing is that the Civil Rights establishment is now advocating for the things it marched against 50 years ago.
            After all, “safe spaces” is just “separate but equal” dressed up, and “cultural appropriation” is just a different way of calling for “segregation now and forever”.

          • It’s already become a joke. “That’s racist!” is a punchline (or an attempt at one, anyway). And I’ve seen a good many times in the last few years that accusations of race/sex/etc-ism is now considered an indicator of “I’m losing the argument, therefore I must accuse you of evil.” going on.

    • Anonymous Coward

      Nothing quite as entertaining as watching Labor Dept and BLS jobs statistics pointing up (after seasonal, winter weather, and other adjustments) while Treasury Dept numbers for taxes withheld from paychecks are pointing down. Hmm … whose numbers should I believe.

      • They could conceivably both be correct. More people working, but with worse jobs. For instance, I just recently got hired after being laid off for several months. But I took a big hit to my paycheck.

        On the other hand, the number of still-empty storefronts in the local area suggests that the Labor and BLS statistics might have some issues.

        • Anonymous Coward

          I suspect the reality is :
          – more jobs, but many cases of 1 person with 2 part-time jobs
          – lower pay
          – heavily politicized Labor/BLS stats (even more so given that this is an election year).

          • The numbers to always look at are not unemployment, it is percent of workforce actually working, and job growth vs workforce growth. Sit on unemployment long enough and you stop being counted. Don’t immediately head in UE and you are not counted.
            Percent of workforce and growth vs jobs have been consistently poor.
            the “massive” job growth has been far smaller than workforce growth. A lot of those younger workers coming into the force can’t find a thing, and because they never worked they never show up on unemployment rolls. Underemployed and Stopped Looking can be fudged a bit, but not much, (which is why they get ignored by the left) and they still paint a bloody picture right now.

  4. I’m in the middle of the third commodities/energy bust that I can recall. There’s a lot of sighing and retrenching, of budget cuts and scrimping. An I concerned? Yes. Am I getting worried about TEOTWAWKI? Not yet. Am I going to start pushing out more stories-n-such? Yup, as soon as Brahms gives me my brain back. (One more performance and I’ll have my spare time back, so to speak.)

    The Great Recovery? Never happened as far as I can tell. It feels out here like we’ve been in the early 1970s again (minus the price freeze on beef) and are sliding back into the 1960s.

    • Yah, I couldn’t believe when I first heard some Obaminator claim that, instead of the economy crashing and people giving up on even trying to find jobs and so not being counted in the workforce for unemployment rates, things are going so well under the Great Leader that people are taking early retirement.

      I guess I’ve ‘retired’ three times in the last little better than two years.

    • You’re oppressed by Brahms? I’m impressed. Yes’m!

      The first girl I ever asked out groupied a Rolling Stone, but that’s as close as I’ve ever got.

  5. What’s wrong with plan e?

  6. c4c

  7. Is this what you mean by comments off?

  8. OK, you had to tell me that. Have to turn comments on at the top.

  9. Patrick Chester

    UPDATE: Great, another word press improvement! Now you have to TURN COMMENTS ON. They’re off by default. Sorry about that.

    So… WordPress has ASSUMED DIRECT CONTROL of the comments section of blogs now?

    “THIS HURTS YOU…”

    (…okay, so maybe Mass Effect 2 warped my brain a bit.)

    • Sara the Red

      Best part of that game was shooting that twit to pieces *before* it could ASSUME DIRECT CONTROL…

      (Love those games, so much.)

      • Patrick Chester

        Something like this?

        🙂

        • Sara the Red

          Pretty much. And I did it with that same very-awesome sniper rifle, too… 😀 I like to think it pissed Harbinger off mightily.

          (Of my complaints regarding the ending of the third game–most of which were helped by the ‘extended cut’ and even further by mods–my biggest as-yet-unresolved one is that you don’t get to shoot that damn Reaper in the face for real.)

          • Patrick Chester

            Yeah, I was kind of hoping the Destiny Ascension’s main gun would be upgraded to a Thanix Cannon variant and get used on Harbinger’s face. 😉

            The most powerful mass accelerator cannon in the galaxy and we never see it fire a shot. O_o;;

  10. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I grew up on gloom ‘n doom. Gloom ‘n doom is a friend of mine. Gloom ‘n doom is not a problem solving methodology.

    Blah, blah, blah, New York, blah, blah, interesting delegate allocation rules, blah, blah, blah, blah, bizarre polling, blah, blah, I dunno, we shall see.

  11. The thing is, if collapse happened, I’d kick myself. (Not a total collapse. I still don’t believe in that, but a bad collapse.) Because we’ve seen the signs and the harbingers, and why didn’t I do something more pro-active to prepare?

    You’ve articulated that perfectly. And that is what I struggle with. How much time and energy does one put into prep for some kind of collapse? I’ve put very little, primarily because Casa Ney-Grimm labors to keep its head above water with just the normal demands of day-to-day living. The stress and struggle being caused by ongoing health issues. How on earth do I siphon off a little more focus to prep for some kind of collapse, when there already is not enough time and energy to go around?

    No answers, but I’m aware of the issue.

    • Enough so that you can convince the hardcore preppers that what you have plus the extra hands/guns/brains you can bring makes you worth it.

    • Networking. Even totally-prepared types will need extra eyeballs if it gets ugly. The best thing is to have concentric defenses.Fall back to the next when the situation gets progressively ugly. You don’t need a personal fort, just an agreement with someone who does.

      Even with day-to-day living, build up a supply of food you already use when it goes on sale. Just having a margin of safety on food and water will put you head and shoulders above most people — and it can be used when there are income dips too. Doesn’t have to be all about the burning times and people running around with colanders on their heads …

      • Amen on a food stockpile. And it doesn’t have to be a catastrophe for it to come in handy. We didn’t have any sales event in March, which meant money is going to be tight until Indiana Comic Con. Being able to use a few of the cans of salmon and tuna we had on hand instead of having to go out and buy more frozen fish has really helped keep our diet reasonably balanced without breaking the budget.

        • You’ll be at Indiana ComicCon? I’ll be booth babe at Booth 606, Mystik Waboose. Come say hi!

        • Reality Observer

          Food stocks, paper product stocks, other stuff stocks… I always keep a bit of cash available to hit certain things when they go on a really good sale.

          I was good until almost the end of May on everything but things like milk and so on, then the Marine son returned from training. I just processed this morning that I no longer have a “gimme” leftovers night for the weekly menu. (Fortunately, there are things that would have been on next week’s menu…)

          • Feeding a Marine (turned Mason) myself. His busy season is coming which means I’m starting to think triple baking batches on Sundays…

      • The Other Sean

        Now I stuck in my mind a gruesome image of somebody stockpiling eyes against future need. Are investigators hot on the trail? Will more eyeless corpses being turning up soon?

        • You post things like that and my mind grew some image also.

          No reason to stockpile eyes against a past need, is there?

    • yep. Health issues, kids, four jobs between two of us, plus the stuff the kids are doing. If it holds off till the kids leave…

    • At least some of the LDS congregations provide opportunities for their membership to order various canned foodstuffs in bulk. I’m talking about things like instant mashed potatoes, freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, instant oatmeal, etc… And the prices are typically quite low. The LDS church is trying to give its members the opportunity to build up a supply of food, not turn a quick buck. The items on sale will change month to month, presumably due to some arcane schedule (over the course of a few years, I don’t think I ever saw the same items twice). Get a bunch of these items (and a variety of them), and you’ve got a nice stockpile of food in the event things go bad.

      So if you’ve got some LDS friends, then you might politely enquire as to whether they’re putting together an emergency stockpile of food for themselves. And if one or more of them is, then you can delicately work the conversation around to the point where the offerings mentioned above come up, and hopefully if your friend knows that you have an interest in stockpiling foodstuffs, they’ll invite you to participate through them.

      Just keep in mind, though, that almost all of that stuff requires water if you want it to be in anything even remotely resembling an edible condition. And, as is painfully obvious to me when glancing over at the flats of bottled water I occasionally buy and store, water likes to evaporate even when in supposedly sealed containers. So while most of the food will can sit on the shelf for years (though be aware it can go bad eventually – I strongly recommend that you write an expiration date on the container of any food that’s meant to be stored using a permanent marker), your water stockpile should be replenished often.

      • The water lasts virtually forever if you get the evaporated water packages….

      • My understanding is that it’s very strongly encouraged for LDS members to have a stockpile. I’m not sure I’d ask about it, but your mileage may vary. We’re 40 miles from town and usually have a rather full pantry. I’m working on replacement power for refrigeration and critical loads. (Rant: what idiot thinks is a good idea to remove hydropower dams?)

        • someone noticed that hydro power is actually more environment changing than anything else. Some dams do need to be removed (old, obsolete and blocking fish migrations. Anything not updated but still useful should be fixed and let alone, but you know they can’t allow that.
          With the ecomentals, it is always all or nothing, and anything like common sense is long forgotten

          • They need to build more for the power, and to control the water. The flooding that’s been going on lately is ludicrous.

            Fish ladders work just fine– too well, even. They didn’t get the tribes the power they wanted.

            Don’t get me started on the way they pretend that fish they grew from wild-collected fish are somehow not wild after they’ve gone to the ocean and come back.

            • heh, I find flood control to be folly. All they seem to do is move the flooding somewhere less able to deal with it and cause other issues (like the gulf wetlands disappearing) because folks want mutually exclusive things.

              • Tell that to the people who HAD rich farm land that hadn’t flooded in living memory, that the environmentalists managed to get flooded by insisting that the basic flood control measures that had been working for generations had to be removed because… not natural. Save the plants. Find a sub species of a possibly threatened mini whatzit.
                Or the people who had farmland, which is now dust.

                We can’t just pretend that doing nothing is a reasonable option, simply because we won’t be perfect– we change things. We’re smart enough to prevent the worst bad results from it…. if we’re not stopped, either by fraud or idiots that want power.

                • Oh, there are lots of issues both ways, but most areas with the good soil have long been putting fertilizer down because the soil is not as good as it was. Flooding is what made it what it was. Also, the Levee system on the Mississippi has cause floods higher, and the wetland erosions. TANSTAAFL.
                  Then you add what you get in The Central Valley et viola

                  • That stuff is all a lot back east for me– out west, the fertility is from lava. Flood can’t recharge the land, they REMOVE it.

                • Occasionally I look downstream at the idiots in Portland raving about the evils of the dams on the Columbia and think, “you know, removing the dams wouldn’t be all bad.” Unfortunately it wouldn’t do anything for the idiots in Seattle and LA advocating the same thing.

                  JP,
                  Yes dams do manage flood control quite well… unless you have an idiot at the controls. I recall about twenty years ago Toledo Washington got absolutely drowned because there was an idiot at the controls of the fairly small Mayfield dam upstream. Instead of letting more water out ahead of the predicted storm, in order to increase carrying capacity behind the dam, and then letting slightly more out during the storm, but not enough to cause serious flooding, they kept the gates at normal for that time of year settings. At least until the water built up to levels high enough to endanger the dams integrity; at which point they opened the gates wide open, and called Toledo to inform them that they would be getting a “significant increase” in water in an hour or two.

                  And think about this for a moment. A salmon’s life cycle is four years, most of the dams were put in by at least the 1960’s. The salmon are still around and doing quite well. In fact I live in Idaho, there are quite a number of dams between me and the ocean, but there is a very respectable salmon and steelhead run every year, and I know any number of people we fish for them and do quite well. (Not me, I grew up on the coast, there is no way unless I was starving I would eat one of the hook-nosed half rotten things they call a salmon in the local rivers)

                  • They really should be working on setting it up so the dams can put some of their “overflow” into some resovours…. but that requires actually thinking.

                    As VDH has ranted about, we’re supporting a lot more population on a system where the new stuff is about fifty years old, and we haven’t done much for capacity but reduce it.

              • Flood control just requires that you don’t let too much water build up behind the dam. When the level of the water flowing through the dam starts to get low enough (which should happen seasonally), then you can release some of the stored water in the reservoir.

                Alternately, you can pipe the reservoir water off to people who need it, like farmers. The dams in Central California were supposed to do that, but People in Authority have deemed it best to stop that practice – except for the water going to San Francisco, of course.

                • Which water is largely from Hetch Hetchy, a dammed valley said to be comparable to Yosemite. There are periodic efforts to breach the dam and restore Hetch Hetchy to its previous condition, but SF resists the notion for some reason.

            • Oh, oh, I know that one! No adipose fin = hatchery fish.
              Took kids on a field trip to check out the salmon runs (sadly were not active when we were there) and the ranger gave us this gem of a line that hatchery fish were “stupider” because they missed out on thousands of years of evolution. And then later, they did this thing that my son (age ~8) described as “let us bow down and worship the salmon.” I only wish he had said it out loud. Where to start ….?

              • “Really, mister ranger, where did the fish come from before they went in the hatchery?”

              • Let’s save money: DON’T mark the fish, and don’t spend money killing them.

                Give it a few years, see how it goes.

                😉

              • Kind of like when a salesman tried to convince us rubber boots were leather by saying it was “vegetable leather?” My mom and I were hard put to get out of the shop before laughing like crazy women.

        • The ones who think Nature was perfect at the end of the Pleistocene, just before the first humans crossed the Bering land bridge. It’s for the children (sprats), you know.

          • I recall reading a short while back of a grad student who did a detailed study of how to return some of the creeks and rivers on the East coast back to their natural state. Got satellite and aerial photos. Detailed analysis of river flow. Lakes and ponds along the way. And concluded- not possible, because there is no way to know what their natural state was. Since the first human, or proto-human existed, to get across a creek easier, they would haul big rocks to make stepping stones. Then they discovered that if they threw a whole bunch of rocks across to create a stillwater area, like a natural one that was better for fish catching, that the new stillwater area would also fill with fish. And so on and so forth, and then the colonists came along, and built mills and dams, and a good number were abandoned without being recorded, and the remains altered water flow. And the original east coast natives also drained swamps, though not nearly to the extent English colonists did. There’s no way to deconstruct all the actions, because there’s no way to determine what all the actions were. No river in the world anywhere is following a watercourse that hasn’t been altered somehow by man.

            • Reality Observer

              Plus, whatever we humans do – the beavers have their idea of how a stream or creek should work.

            • Rambunctious Garden by Emma Marris has some interesting looks at that.

            • Its like people who ask me what the Great Plains were like before the buffalo go there. I shrug. “The control is ‘grassland with buffalo’. We have no way of knowing because even the palynological core records don’t go back far enough. And pollen drifts.” That’s not the answer they like. it ranks down there with, “Well, if you get rid of all grazers, you’ll end up with weeds and a forest.”

          • Yup — (re)introducing the camels and regarding the mustangs and the feral burros as substitutes for the now extinct equines is one thing, but that lot think that the cheetah and lion would make adequate substitutes for the Pleistocene American varieties.

        • The same idiots who haven’t built new reservoirs in CA for 40 or so years. And who release the water in the existing reservoirs to “save” fish rather then be helpful to human activity. Who refuse to allow new transmission line to be built then complain when the power grid can’t handle demand. Who think spending taxpayer money building a brand new multi-billion dollar rail line for a “bullet train” will somehow be a good investment. And that people will actually use it. I could go on and on….

          • And then, having made it impossible to stay because they cannot afford to live or work in CA, they migrate to other states and begin agitating for CA-style policies.

            It’s like a plague of ants, only without any of the benefits.

            • Anonymous Coward

              Whatya got against ants ? At least they’re industrious, unlike CA-expats (It’s ok; as someone born in CA, I have a license to make fun of Californians).

              • Hey. I said that there were benefits to a plague of ants. If you can get out in time, with all the livestock, the house and outbuildings will be totally vermin-free.

            • Some of us who left California tend to bring its policies up as horrible cautionary tales, things to avoid.

              Like altering water flow patterns on rivers that pre-dam would pretty much dry out by midsummer. Somehow the fish survived. It’s like they’re mobile, or something.

            • I tend to think of it as a virus: a virus will insert its DNA into the cell (California), and take over the system to make lots of copies of itself. When there are too many viruses (people with statist ideas), the cell pops open (the State collapses; people with statist ideas realize that the regulations, social programs and taxes have made it so they could no longer live there) and the viruses are free to infect other cells (and people with statist ideas “Californicate” their new homes).

          • The Other Sean

            I suspect plenty of people will use California’s high speed trains when they’re running, just as plenty of people use the current not-so-fast trains in California. Of course, the ticket prices and operating expenses are likely to be out of sync such that it is a continuing draw on the California taxpayer, and the costs are likely to far exceed any economic development it spurs, but those are other issues entirely.

            • I’m skeptical about the high speed train.

              People (including me) use the slower trains in California because they’re convenient for things like work. I don’t have to deal with all of the car traffic on the way to work, or pay for parking. I can take the train instead. But who’s going to want to take the train to go from LA to San Francisco?

              • especially since it will initially run from nowhere to nowhere, and have to be extended to actually reach metro areas….

            • I’m skeptical of California’s high-speed train getting much usage even after the whole thing is completed. Certainly not enough to be self-sustaining. And during early stages of completion … how much traffic do you expect to between Madera and Fresno? If the schedule doesn’t slip, phase 1 should be done around 2029. (Why am I getting background chatter about Boston’s Big Dig?)

              I used to use CalTrain to commute to work in Menlo Park from Morgan Hill. A 45-minute ride by carpool during commute hours.

              Just under two hours by train (and I lived about three blocks from the station at the south end), with shuttle (station to office) time. And had to leave the office before 4:15pm to be in time to catch the last train that went all the way to the MH station. Needs improvement, and that’s ignoring the monthly cost to do it.

              It was useful, granted, for several weeks after the Loma Prieta earthquake snarled up traffic in the south bay.

        • A guy I worked with 30+ years ago said he was prepared, he had a map showing all the LDS homes for 30 miles around.

          • he did know about “Avenging Angels” right?

          • Of course, a major problem with this is the assumption that the collapse is going to mean there’s no government to prosecute thefts. What good is your neighbors’ food storage when you’ve been out of work for months, and be arrested the moment you break into a house?

            And then there’s the assumption that the LDS families in question were perfect in keeping up their storage, and didn’t eat it all up because they were unemployed for months on end themselves, or that they even had the money and energy to build up food storage in the first place, or that they’ve stocked up on something more tasty than a year’s supply of wheat and white rice…

          • Yeah, sounds like a perfect example of both the “he needed killin’ ” defense and “prophylactic abortion.”

      • If you want to store water for a very long time, collect 2-liter soft drink bottles. You may have to ask friends, if you don’t drink soft drinks. Wash them out, and fill THEM with water, then add some small quantity of bleach (I’m sure prepper sites will tell you how much), and crank the lid down tight. Since they are made to hold several atmospheres of pressure, the water is not going to evaporate out any time soon. I’m thinking 100 years or more, if kept out of the sun.

        • We stash 5 gallon jugs of treated well water (I can hook alternative power to the well, but it’s not easy). I use 1 tsp bleach in 5 gallons of water, and try(!) to swap it every 6 months. It’s pretty good after a year, though.

          Sceptre (the gas can people) sell a 5 gallon jug for water. I have some lightweight ones from the farm and ranch store, but the Sceptres are a lot less fragile. Got mine through Amazon. Blitz was doing it too, but the water can business went away when they gave up defending against frivolous gas can lawsuits. (Throw gas on a fire and sue the can maker when you get burnt. Arggh.!)

          • Survivalblog says 1/2 tsp/5 gallon, Washington state health department says 1tsp/5 gallon. Search on “treating water with bleach” and you should have useful answers.

        • They’re tough, but they are NOT shatterproof. If you were to, say, accidentally drop one off the top of a college football stadium, it will shatter the bottom end. (Of course, it may be necessary to wire down the cap to get desired results.)

          • Oh, i never said they were indestructible, just that they will keep water from evaporating.

            I used to work with a guy who had worked in a warehouse for one of the giant soft drink Mfrs, and he said that they had a whole pallet of 2-liters fall from a few stories up in the stacks, and a whole lot of them turned into rockets, going EVERYWHERE.

      • Sara the Red

        Heh, you don’t have to delicately hint/guide the conversation around to it. If you know a friendly LDS person/family that is actually working on their years’ supply, just straight up ask them for information. The government recently changed things and forced the big LDS-run canneries to shut down, so you have order stuff and can it yourself, mostly–but most stakes (that’s a larger regional area comprised of a bunch of congregations) have at least one dry-pack canner on hand and regularly (at least annually, sometimes more on request) make it available at the ward or branch level. Just find out when they’re doing their next one and ask if you can order stuff too. Everything is reasonably priced, though you can buy pre-canned stuff at a higher cost from places like Provident Pantry. (This is good for things like soup mixes, etc.)

        Our family’s food storage got us through some tough economic times when I was a kid. And even now it comes in useful, because when the interstate shuts down because of weather, the local grocery stores get mighty sparse on the available food front.

        And I’ll never forget the first thing the panel-leader at a “Writing post-apocalyptic fiction” said at a con I was at a few years ago: “If you want to know how to prepare on the food and supplies front, I suggest making friends with your LDS neighbors…” 😀

        • Wait, what? Why would the government want those canneries shut down?

          • Sara the Red

            Ah, allow me to correct myself (this happened two or three years ago, and I didn’t remember the details): they made it so non-employees could no longer use/volunteer at the canneries. They could only buy pre-packaged stuff from said canneries. The reasons were ‘food safety regulation’ but it also is slightly more cost efficient. So my bad on misremembering (it’s easy to remember the outrage, easier to forget the “Oh, right, okay” fact research done after the fact, lol)

            Not that I don’t think certain elements of our government (at all levels) would not prefer it if people weren’t self-sufficient. Technically, while my parents and younger sibs were living in Colorado, they were breaking the anti-hoarding laws by having the food storage…(I don’t know if those are still on the books or not–I think the law(s) were relics of the Y2K scare.)

    • Best to look at a former member nation of the British Empire to see what a collapse looks like. PNG, for instance.

      First, your infrastructure of roads and utilities starts to decay. The roads get potholes, the power become intermittent, and you never drink the water. There’s occasions where the stuff gets fixed, and even new stuff put in, but it’s few and far between. So, most get backup gensets and UPS’s for common household items.

      Second, crime goes up, and it’s foolish to live anywhere without bars on the windows, a razor wire topped fence, security lighting and a guard at night.

      Third, open and grasping corruption. Most of the money for #1 above winds up in the pockets of the politicians. Most government servants make it known that things may move along faster with a bit of a cash tip. Heck, the police may even attempt a straight ahead shakedown of a driver.

      Fourth, health services go down the old drain- figuratively speaking, as the plumbing at the hospital is pretty much shot.

      Even with all that, you still can get on with life.

      • The third is something that the people of the country can do something about, if they haven’t been beaten down by the decades of #1 and #2. If it becomes unhealthy for a politician to be widely known as corrupt, more of them will hide their corruption better — which will, overall, reduce the total amount of corruption in the country, because hidden corruption can’t manage to do as much damage as open, blatant corruption.

        The danger, of course, is that in the process of doing something about blatantly corrupt pols, the mob (and it will be a mob by that point) will usually do something about their political enemies at the same time, and then you get a reign of terror, guillotines in the public square, and so on.

        But the point is that step #3 is not inevitable, and sometimes history takes a different path.

        • Unfortunately, corruption only seems to be guaranteed to be unhealthy if you’re a Republican. Even the Republicans will throw you out. But if you’re a Dem, then your party will try to rationalize it all away. If corruption is too blatant, then even the supporters won’t be able to do it. But they’ll still try.

          • That’s not what I meant by “unhealthy”. What I mean was when people stop saying “Rope, tree, some assembly required” and start actually doing such assembly. That’s when you get mobs and reigns of terror.

            • But the fact that a good-sized chunk of the political electorate seems willing to rationalize very blatant and gross corruption at all suggests that your view of “unhealthy” is still a long ways off, and quite frankly may never come.

              • The thing about the corrupt pols is that they make sure to take care of their own people. Their village/ward/precinct will get a bit of the government bacon, plus a tasty bit of skim on the side.
                It’s the other village that gets shorted- the money for their projects winds up in the political pockets.
                A common cycle in PNG goes like so. A. Raskol, Member of Parliament, builds a clinic at government expense in his home village. However, during the next election, O. Stealman takes his seat. Mr. Raskol’s clinic inevitably has their funding cut, the staff isn’t paid, and the place pretty much is abandoned. Meanwhile, Mr. Stealman is having a clinic built in his home village at great expense.

              • I would argue that it actually makes it more likely. If voting the crooks out of office works, then things never reach the ropes-and-trees stage, because you can get rid of the crooks easily enough.

                Thing is, it takes a large chunk of the electorate being willing to vote the crooks out for things to work. If a large chunk of the electorate keeps voting in the crooks because they personally benefit from them (see Joe in PNG’s comment for one of the ways this happens, and your comment for a different, but related, way), then the “vote the crooks” out method doesn’t work, and the mob-justice method is the only one that works.

                But while you need a LARGE chunk of the electorate on your side for the vote-them-out method to work, you only need a few hundred like-minded people to get a mob going. And if frustrations build up because the crooks aren’t getting voted out, I think it would be more likely, rather than less likely, that a couple hundred mob-minded people would find each other at some point.

        • “(and it will be a mob by that point)”

          I don’t know, there’s something to be said about the “militia of one” idea.

  12. Yeah! I now have a room for LibertyCon! *does happy cat dance*

    Thanks to whomever offered to park a cat-carrier in a “quiet” corner of the ConSuite. No longer necessary. (I got a discount – no one else wants the room with the scratching post.)

  13. “I mean, we never had a summer of recovery,…” HEY, KIDS, get you tickets NOW for the EIGHTH Annual Tour of The Summer Of Recovery! Operators are standing by at 1-800-IMAFOOL or online at http://www.SUMMEROFRECOVERY.com! We’ll let you know if they’re coming to a venue near you.

    “On still the other hand…” Now Sarah, you KNOW that’s The Gripping Hand!

  14. “The first time I heard “the end is coming and we’re all going to be eating our neighbors and returning to neolithic civilization” was in 86. I believed it then. Now… Well. How many times can you cry wolf?”

    Well, the thing is… the wolf eventually did come.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately you are house hunting at a time where home prices have peaked/plateaued, and have kids in college when tuition/expenses are also at/near an all-time high. Both of these are likely to drop as we undergo another Real Estate Crash, a College Loan Crash, and a Car Loan Crash at virtually the same time. This is pretty clear when you examine the percentage of non-performing/defaulting loans of each type. Sadly, we often don’t get a lot of say about the timing of such expenses. But as Rahm Emmanuel says. we shouldn’t let a good crisis go to waste. Perhaps the next recession can be used to question whether or not The Plan – an ever-expanding Federal government led by the soi disant Best & Brightest – is really working out for most Americans.

    • I always question that.

      • Anonymous Coward

        What surprises me is how many folks, both on the Left and the Right, take Ever Expanding Government as the default position. A rational person would look at any politician talking about their “many years of government experience” and start reaching for the tar and feathers.

    • If I can just sell my house before the Crash and buy on afterwards

    • “Car Loan Crash” – Yes there were a lot of sub-prime car loans made and now the dealers are all channel stuffed with inventory, the assembly rate is going down and the sales are declining too. I’m holding enough cash back to buy either a new car or one with less than 20k miles and am hoping there are some bargains this fall.

      • IF everything goes according to plan, I’m hoping to replace the 18 year old SUV with something smaller and maybe only 10 years old.

      • Anonymous Coward

        Also 3 million cars coming off of leases in 2016, climbing to 4M by 2018. This should depress the prices of both new and used cars (at least sedans). The distortions from the Cash for Clunkers program (new car sales pulled forward and used cars destroyed) have disappeared, so now we see the ‘new normal’ (~90% of new cars and ~55% of used cars are financed, average car loans are 6 six yrs with some out to 8 yrs, roughly 1/3 of new car ‘sales’ are actually leases, etc). Madness … sheer madness.

  16. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Jack Lew’s racist enmity for the Scotch-Irish knows no bounds. Always seeking to diminish Scotch-Irish-American culture, he now intends to remove Andrew Jackson from the twenty dollar bill. I am deeply offended as someone of Scotch-Irish heritage.

  17. I’m convinced that we’re going to get hit by a nasty epidemic of some sort. In theory, we have the infrastructure to deal with that sort of thing. But it’s already known that a good-sized chunk of our infrastructure is starting to crumble (or be actively destroyed by the Greens). How much of it is starting to fall apart in a way that can’t be seen by anyone except those who have been ordered to shut up about it?

    • Somewhere, somebody bad out there has a stash of smallpox virus. When it’s released we’ll get a few hundred thousand cases here and likely a bunch of deaths to go with it until vaccination production and distribution kicks into high gear. The people who release it? Viruses don’t respect borders. Odds are, after we’ve got it under control here, it be depopulating a large portion of elsewhere. Most of elsewhere doesn’t have our production and distribution system. If our intelligence services discover some 3rd world s—hole embarks on a vaccination project for their population, I hope they’re intelligent enough to figure out what it means.

      So far, all the other deadly viruses seem to be self limiting outside the tropics. And really, all we can do is hope they stay that way. Zika is making me think we may suddenly find DDT is a good thing again.

      • Well, after reading Ringo’s Last Centurion, I suspect a lot of the Third World would end up in the Next World. So any place that suddenly starts vaccinating for something odd, or a charity that orders a lot of vaccine for something odd (Pali or Paki Red Crescent, I’m looking at you), would be the best place to look for your Bad Guys.

        • Islamic terrorists probably wouldn’t order vaccinations before releasing something like that. They believe that vaccinations are some sort of Western plot, and have aggressively moved to stop locals from getting their kids vaccinated in areas where the jihadis exert influence.

      • Unless they stopped it, they already have the small pox response up and going– last I heard, EVERY emergency response group that was doing any practice runs with the feds had enough for all emergency response personnel, including volunteers, at the bare minimum.

      • You don’t have to go even that far. If this article is right about the UN base in Haiti causing the cholera outbreak there (from bad sanitation, not anything intentionally sinister), there could be a number of “innocent” ways pestilence can ride rampant.

        http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2016/04/what_caused_haiti_s_cholera_epidemic_the_cdc_s_museum_knows_but_won_t_say.html

        • IIRC (without reading the article) the strain came from Nepal. There was also an outbreak in Peru in the 1980s after a government official with too much power and no understanding of chemistry read about chlorination of water, knew that chlorine gas is deadly, and ordered an immediate halt to chlorination. Several hundred cholera deaths later . . .

          • You’re correct about the source. And apparently our government has decided that the information is to be swept under the rug whenever possible. According to the article, government lawyers have been appearing in court in support of the UN in the various lawsuits that have been filed due to the mess discussed in the article (the Nepalese in question were UN blue hats).

  18. “lady or the tiger”–Heh; in eighth (I think) grade, wrote a terribly romantic ending to that. The princess told him which door was the tiger; he picked it; she threw him a dagger. He won; they got married. Ta-dah!

    I guess that explains why I have all eleven Barsoom novels.

    • I don’t remember the name of the story, but you know that one where the guy is invited to the island so the owner of the island can hunt him? And the ending is ambiguous as to whether the guy dies or not? One of my nephews wrote an ending for it for a school assignment, and it was pretty kick-ass (literally – there was a knock-down, drag-out fight to the death when the MC got back to the house).

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Must be a different story than “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell.

        In that story, a big game hunter accidently falls overboard and becomes the prey of the Cossack aristocrat.

        However, the “twist” is that the big game hunter fakes his death and ends up in the bedroom of the Cossack.

        While we don’t see the fight, the last scene is of the big game hunter settling down in the Cossack’s bed thinking that it is a good bed.

        IE the big game hunter defeated the Cossack.

        Oh here’s the Wiki link about the story: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Most_Dangerous_Game

        • I misremembered how he got there, but that’s almost certainly the same story. However, I’m virtually certain that it originally ended without that last bit.

          • Well, now I don’t know. Apparently, it’s a common English assignment to write an alternate ending. Since it’s been over 30 years, I’m willing to accept that I remembered the whole thing wrong.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            The thing I remember most about the story is that last line about the bed.

            Now it is possible that somebody published the story without that last line because a “good person” won’t be so causal about sleeping in the bed of somebody he just killed. 😦

            • … a “good person” won’t be so causal about sleeping in the bed of somebody he just killed.

              Eh, screw that. If I were as exhausted as he had to be, and had been through what he had to get there, I wouldn’t let it bother me in the slightest.

        • That sounds a bit like Simak’s “Good Night, Mr. James.”

          I went looking for an online copy a while back, and it’s apparently still under copyright. Could be that whoever did the radio version renewed it.

        • Shame on you for your heteronormative literary interpretation. That will be prohibited soon.

        • Clive Cussler used this in one of his books, the hunter also had the use of a robot to help him find his prey. Dirk won of course – he came back and ‘mounted’ the hunter in his own trophy room. I forget which one it was, but this was back when it was just him writing and before he made appearances in his own books.

          -John

          • Blond_Engineer

            Dragon. Which is actually the first one he wrote himself into, but it was just as a fellow car enthusiast that had no bearing on the plot.

  19. There’s a “Lathe of Heaven” out there, but he is working non-stop against the “Gods of the copybook heading”.

  20. It seems to me that there’s prepping and prepping. Almost everyone can make plans for a short power outage or other issue (whether human or nature caused). Something that causes a day or two, maybe a week, of problems but is then fixed – and which you can tell will be fixed in that time span. And since much of that kind of prepping is also handy for a bunch of other events (sudden guests for example) it just makes sense.

    Oh and whatever you do, don’t pick a home location that has only one road to “greater civilization”. From (relatively) recent events such as fires in California and earthquakes in Japan we’ve seen a number of cases where people get cut off because their one route out for help is cut.

    Beyond that I think it’s better, as our hostess says, to be flexible. And to bear in mind that sometimes it’s better to load up the car and drive and not try and wait it out.

  21. Calling this recovery anemic is an understatement. of epic proportions.
    I’m of a similar age as our hostess and I have to say job prospects were better in 1982/1983 which was a recession coming out of the late 70’s stagflation. Even newly minted engineers have little hope of finding anything
    (Per my younger daughters older buddies at WPI an engineering school with at least a good local reputation). Job market for interns is essentially dead. In engineering you hire the interns to line up folks when they graduate. This hints nobody is expecting to need people in 1-3 years. The market is glutted with folks with 10+ years of experience. Not courting the new engineers is kind of like eating the seed corn. 5-10 years down the road my generation of engineers is going to retire. Once that happens
    there’s nobody to take up the slack. I don’t think were going to have a massive fail. Its just unless we do something soon we’ll slide into being yet another 3rd world country. Except once the US slides into that status there is no first world any more as we drive that economy. T.S Eliot got it right…

    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.

    And yet as Sarah notes even poor folk seem to live darn well. Compared to my mom and dads stories out of the late 30’s and WW2 even our slums seem pretty comfortable. Beats the heck out of me. Must give the economists (at least the ones that aren’t in the tank for command style economies) heebie jeebies.

    • I haven’t bothered to look at job listings in a long time, but 20 years ago, listings for an EE or ME with 10+ years of experience were offering salaries noticeably less than for secretarial positions.

      Of course, where I live has never had much in the way of industry, but it was still a shock.

    • Getting out of a top 5 school with a MS and a third of our graduating and leaving class was not yet hired.

      As to WPI, you got some good profs there…Granted they grabbed them from my undergrad :p

  22. Collapse isn’t the right word. Think rebirth (or resurrection).

    We (as a nation) have been too affluent for too long; and too many of us have never learned to overcome real hardship as you have. That struggle is not only a prerequisite for life well lived, but a necessity to earn one’s self respect and sustain our species’ evolutionary legacy. We desperately need the opportunity that an episode of hardship will bring. Ideally, this would come of our own choosing (such as a challenging career choice), but for too many people, excessive government nannyism has seduced them into a dependence addiction. Something has to break that cycle.

    • Except that typically, when the shock finally happens, the country that’s being shocked doesn’t recover. Witness the declines of the Roman and British Empires, for instance.

      • I would argue that the decline of the Roman and British Empires was well earned. Both had become culturally rotten as a consequence of long term affluence and the dominance by a pampered elite class. Besides, decline is not catastrophic if it leads to rebirth. We have lost our way, and forgotten that happiness is earned through the action of lifting yourself up, not whining because the handouts are insufficient.

  23. “it takes time for the night to fall- that is what people forget… But there are still the two spirits in man- the spirit of building and the spirit of destruction. And when the second rides the faster horse, then the night comes on.”

    Beans and bullets will only go so far. No Hun is an island. Sure, it is easy and cheap to stock up on buckets of dry white rice, pinto beans, and water. Handy too when your house survives the ?pockolypse fine and is suddenly full of friends and family whose didn’t. But it is community that is essential. Sometimes even just online. Get to know people. Let them get to know you. Once a crisis happens it is too late to establish relationships. It is harder for odds and introverts. Just one nickle’s worth of free advice: the other half of knowing who you can trust is knowing who to keep away from. There are some people who life is just too short to be around or waste breath on while there is building to be done.

    “I wanted to say to somebody, ‘Remember the Valeria Victrix! Remember our name!’ But I could not have said it to anyone, and there was no time for those things. -The Last Legion, by Stephen Vincent Benet

    • Sara the Red

      I keep meaning to print off a ton of useful information (how to make lye, how to make a bow, how to build shelter, blacksmithing from the ground up, medical information, etc, etc) and storing it, a la “A Canticle For Leibowitz.” Seems to me that a person who can get their hands on useful how-to data would, in the event of an apocalypse, be a person with some very valuable bargaining chips…

  24. Blank Slate, a story of the Broken Tablet World, by Grey Goo Press… (Nebula Award Winner for whatever year it’s written).

  25. Predicting the future is hard, particularly because it’s not happened yet.

    Well, yes. But predicting the past:

    “It looks to me as if those perturbations of the rockets must have been deliberately engineered,” began Weichart.
    “Why do you say that, Dave?” asked Marlowe.
    “Well, the probability of three cities being hit by a hundred-odd rockets moving at random is obviously very small. therefore I conclude that the rockets were not perturbed at random. I think they must have been deliberately guided to give direct hits.”
    “There’s something of an objection to that,” argued McNeil. “If the rockets were deliberately guided, how is it that only three of ’em found their targets?”
    “Maybe only three were guided, or maybe the guiding wasn’t all that good. I wouldn’t know.”
    There was a derisive laugh from Alexandrov.
    “Bloody argument,” he asserted.
    “What d’you mean, ‘bloody’ argument?”
    “Invent bloody argument, like this. Golfer hits ball. Ball lands on tuft of grass — so. Probability ball landed on tuft very small, very very small. Million other tufts for ball to land on. Probability very small, very, very very small. So golfer did not hit ball, ball deliberately guided onto tuft. Is bloody argument, yes? Like Weichart’s argument….Must say what damn target is before shoot, not after shoot. Put shirt on before, not after event.”

    [From The Black Cloud]

  26. I think that wage stagnation will continue as long as our solution to it is to add regulations, that is, make it more expensive, to hire and keep employees. If it costs more to have employees, the employees themselves will get less, or at least not be able to get more.

    I made this image a while back, let’s see if I can include it:

    If I don’t, it’s just a photo of the then-leaders of congress, and “the anti-job legislation will continue until morale improves”.

  27. I would like to say that the things closing around here is… chain grocery store locations.

  28. ” the ever-expanding federal government that has worked against racial, gender, and sexual preference discrimination in society and employment”

    What color is the sky on your planet? In the world reality inhabits, the ever expanding federal government has done nothing except encourage racialist thinking and action. But it provides you with the opportunity to virtue signal, bureaucrats with employment, and professional racists like Sharpton an income, so hey….

    • I guess the troll got banhammered between his appearance in my inbox and my reply.

      • People the other day were complaining about getting comments by email from someone who was banned and their comments didn’t show up on the internet.
        It was rather confusing to those of us who follow on the net, when they started replying to nonexistent comments. 🙂

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        The Troll’s posts can’t show up on the web-board but they are still showing up via email.

      • Snelson, if this is idiot hyrosen, he just shows in email not in comments. Ignore him. I don’t even see him, but this is a quirk of wordpress he’s exploiting to be cute. Just ignore him.

    • The lack of self awareness is fascinating. I wonder if he has ever looked at just who is pushing laws and regulations that *explicitly* apply differently to people of different ancestry.