Sunday, October 8, 2017

Survivalists, The Optimistic Minority

 This is from my Facebook friend Kathi A. Irwin with her permission.
It says it for me.

Survivalists, The Optimistic Minority
I am a 21st century survivalist and by nature an optimist. I don't have one pessimistic bone in my body. If that sounds odd to you, then you do not understand the modern survivalist or me. It's been difficult for me to communicate the concept of the optimistic survivalist. Let me make some comparisons....
A fireman becomes a fireman not because he believes everything is going to burn. He doesn't start fires but believes property can be saved. A doctor becomes a doctor not to make disease. He doesn't believe in death but believes many lives can be saved. A survivalist doesn't make disaster or believe that everything must be destroyed and everyone must die but believes with preparation, lives and property can be saved.
Crime, disease, fire, war, flood, revolution, famine and periodic economic upheaval are the results of nature and the nature of man and, unfortunately, are not completely preventable. The sun will set leaving us in darkness and the summer sun will give way to the cold winds of winter. We know this will happen, that it is unpreventable and we prepare daily and seasonally for both. Does that make us pessimistic? Of course not! So why then is the survivalist who plans for events that are as much a part of history as the sun setting and the seasons changing called a pessimist?
A common misconception is that survivalists predict world disaster. Actually, we are the OPTIMISTIC MINORITY predicting world survival! I invite you to find an insurance actuary, an historian, economist,
political scientist, sociologist or military strategist that can give us even a 50/50 chance of avoiding a large scale catastrophe. Yet, survivalists dare to be optimistic about the future. I don't need to predict the probability of disaster any more than the sun setting. Refusing to look at the calendar doesn't prevent aging.

Another misconception is that survivalists will be disappointed if there isn't some world cataclysm. I have loved ones I would never want to see harmed or worse. I have a home I don't want to see destroyed. I'm not a fool that thinks because I am prepared that a disaster would be fun or that I would not experience danger, hunger, loss, injury, cold, despair or even death.
I have spent some time and some money to improve my/our chances for survival and recovery from disaster but I would welcome, with a great celebration, if someday someone could assure me that I had wasted my time! I will not be disappointed that there is no disaster to survive anymore than I will be disappointed that my house fails to burn down after buying my homeowners insurance policy.
I prefer the pleasant (but unlikely) surprise of being wrong to the (probable) deadly rude awakening that the non survivalist will face if he's wrong. I can't lose, really, because my preparations will be valuable regardless of what the future has in store.
I'm a resource, not a threat. Those without resources are actually a threat to me. I won't be emptying store shelves in an emergency but leaving more for others. I may even be able to help some. I see my survival preparation as a social obligation.
So, you see, I am an optimist. I see the imperative of preparing for the worse by being a self reliant asset.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Rock, A Tree, A Cloud

This is the story from Carson McCullers
A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.
by Carson McCullers  (1917-1967) 
It is worth the read.

I adapted/interpreted the story for a young client in foster care because of a previous abusive environment.

A Rock, A Tree, A Cloud

I knew this person who wanted to be close, but was afraid.  She decided to practice on something safe.  Now you may think this a strange story.

This person decided to love a rock.  That is right - a rock.   It was big.  It did not change and it did not move.  It did not go away.  With practice, she learned to love this rock.  Now some people try to love a piece of clay because you can shape clay anyway you want.  But she learned that when you love something and are close to it, it has its own shape naturally.  You don't try to really change it.

Well, after loving the rock, she decided to love a tree.  A big tree.  This grows slowly.  This tree changes slowly.  It doesn't go away.  Now some people who are aftaid to get close, try to get a whole forest to love them.  But she learned that this was using the trees and not really love.  So she let this tree grow just as slowly as she could. The tree stayed and grew.

Well, after loving a rock and a tree, she decided to love a cloud.  A cloud?  Yes, a cloud.  She was ready to get close to something that did change.  Something that did go away.  She was a little nervous but she had the strength inside to do this.

Now some people would put this cloud in a bottle, so it would not go away.  So it would not change.  But she learned that if you put a cloud in a bottle it has no shape at all.  She learned it was best to be herself.  Love, like a cloud had to finded its own shape/.

Well, after loving a rock, a tree, and a cloud, she knew she was ready to get close to a person.  Sometimes a person needs to change. And sometimes a person needs to go away. The feeling of love doesn't have to go away.  A puppy becomes a dog.  A kitten becomes a cat.  A girl becomes a woman.  She learned all this.  She knew all this.  So she was ready to love to a person.  Just like you.

Monday, August 21, 2017


I have spoken with those younger – 50, 40, 30, 20 years younger than I.  They cannot hear, nor do they want to hear.  Nor do I blame them in my heart though my mind says ‘know the truth’.

The declining ERoEI of fossil fuels and the degrading of mineral resources is converging with all the population, environmental and climatic pressures to put us right at the edge.  The social upheaval from many directions - war, draught, economic disparity, famine - is pushing the edge to the cliff.  Biological, geological and environmental realities of the situation dictate against continuity of the fossil fuel fired industrial world.

My belief says let it work itself out.  This of course would include techno-solutions as this is our way.  All of which from my point of view are part of the problem if not the root of the problems.  Because of our mental manipulation of time and space, we create technological solutions that are only a small piece in the natural flow of things, hence rife with unintended consequences.

Unfortunately, there is no Dante’s Inferno in the nether world.  For those who have no conscience, there is no hell.  For those wrapped in beliefs that separate their life from other life, from our home and from certain other humans, there is no hell.  We are creating it on earth.

Thursday, August 10, 2017



Many materials used in our industrial world require energy from mining to manufacturing for processing and transportation.  The energy for some of these products is in the form of high temperatures.   1100°C - 2000°F

There are proposals that solar and wind energy collecting devices can provide the energy to maintain the industrial world.  To look at this possibility, solar electric panels, wind turbines and concentrated solar installations in the form of parabolic trough collectors (PTC) have been assessed.

The energy requirements in 2010 for the following essential components of our industrial world are provided: steel, aluminum, chromium, copper, manganese, cement and glass.  This energy would be mining, processing and transporting to name some.  Other important components of the industrialized world such as nickel and cobalt are not considered because they are part of the high temperature processing of other ore metals.

The kWh output and area required for installations of solar electric panels, wind turbines and PTC has been researched.   This then is divided into the energy (exajoules converted to kWh) required for global production of each material in 2010.

ExaJoules = 1000000000000000000

1.0E-18 exajoule = 2.7777777777778E-7 kilowatt hours = .00000028 kilowatt hours.

Smil, Vaclav.  2014. Smil, Vaclav.  2014. Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization.
“Net energy analysis for concentrated solar power plants in northern Chile” 

[] Solar Electric Panels []
Using the Topaz Solar installation as the example,
To provide the energy in electrical units for these
Seven essential materials would require
121,214.45 square miles of solar electric collectors
And 114,834,742,506 panels.

Three installations are used as examples

Shepard’s Flat Wind Farm
Alta Wind Energy Center
London Offshore Array

To provide the energy in electricity
for the named seven essential materials would require:

Shepard’s Flat Wind Farm
257,472 square miles and 2,807,276 wind turbines

Alta Wind Energy Center
30,985 square miles and 3,718,200 wind turbines

London Offshore Array
312,315 square miles and 797,400 wind turbines


Two installations are used as examples

To provide the energy in electricity for
the seven named essential materials would require:

Andasol Solar Power Station
77,183.4 square miles of PTCs

Solana Generating Station
52,791 square miles of PTCs


Solar Electric Panels:
Topaz Solar Farm (550-megawatt photovoltaic power station in San Luis Obispo, CA) 
9 million solar panels
550 MW Capacity
9.5 square miles
Annual output, 1,301 GWh (125 MW avg. power).

1,301 GWh = 1301000000 kWh
1.66111E+13kWh (total from chart)
divided by 1301000000 kWh
Equals 12759.42
Area needed
12759.42 times 9.5 square miles
121214.45 Square Miles of Solar Electric Collectors

Panels needed
9,000,000 times 12759.42
114,834,742,506 Panels

The sun shines during the day, not every day.

So of course the energy would need to be stored

Most high temperature kilns run 24/7,

365 days/year for up to 18 years.

The output of a wind turbine depends on the turbine's size and the wind's speed through the rotor. An average onshore wind turbine with a capacity of 2.5–3 MW can produce more than 6 million kWh in a year – enough to supply 1,500 average EU households with electricity.

The original "Alta-Oak Creek Mojave Project" plan consisted of up to 320 wind turbines occupying a 9,000-acre (36 km2) area while producing 800 MW (1,100,000 hp) of power.

Every wind turbine has a range of wind speeds, typically around 30 to 55 mph, in which it will produce at its rated, or maximum, capacity. At slower wind speeds, the production falls off dramatically. If the wind speed decreases by half, power production decreases by a factor of eight. On average, therefore, wind turbines do not generate near their capacity. Industry estimates project an annual output of 30-40%, but real-world experience shows that annual outputs of 15-30% of capacity are more typical.
With a 25% capacity factor, a 1.5-MW turbine would produce
1.5 MW × 365 days × 24 hours × 25% = 3,285 MWh = 3,285,000 kWh


How much land is needed for a wind turbine?
In an array that can take advantage of the wind from any direction, the GE needs 82 acres and the Vestas V90 111 acres per tower. In practice, the area varies, averaging about 50 acres per megawatt of capacity. On mountain ridges, the turbines are generally squeezed in at about 10 MW per mile.

Shepherds Flat wind farm is being developed in Oregon, US. The 845MW project will be the largest wind farm in the world. .  .  .  Annual output of the Shepherds Flat wind farm will be 1,797GWh. 
The project includes 338 wind turbines, with a 2.5MW capacity each
Shepherds Flat will cover an area of 80 square kilometres  (31 square miles)


1.66111E+13kWh (from chart) divided by
8305.55 more to provide for energy required

Area Needed
80 square kilometres = 30.8882 square miles
8305.55 times 31 square miles
257472 square miles of wind turbines
Turbines needed
338 times 8305.55
2807276 Wind Turbines


1.66111E+13kWh (from chart) divided by
6197 more to provide for energy required

Area Needed
3200 acres = 30.8882 square miles
6197 times 5 square miles
30985 square miles of wind turbines

Turbines needed
600 times 6197
3718200 Wind Turbines


.66111E+13kWh (from chart) divided by
2500000000kWh Equals
6645 more to provide for energy required

Area Needed
122 square kilometers = 47 square miles
6645 times 47 square miles
312315 square miles of wind turbines

Turbines needed
120 times 6645
797400 Wind Turbines

The wind does not blow constantly nor consistently.

So of course the energy would need to be stored

Most high temperature kilns operate

24/7, 365 days a year for up to 18 years.




2.3 square miles (1483 acres)   
Annual output 495 GWh

.66111E+13kWh (from chart) divided by
495000000kWh Equals
33558 more to provide for energy required

Area Needed
33558 times 2.3 square miles
77183.4 square miles of PTCs



Covers an area of 1,920 acres

.66111E+13kWh (from chart) divided by
944000000kWh Equals
17597 more to provide for energy required

Area Needed
17597 times 3 square miles
52791 square miles of PTCs

The sun shines during the day, not every day.
So of course the energy would need to be stored
Most high temperature kilns operate 24/7,
365 days a year for up to 18 years.

There are many other critical components of our global industrialized world that require industrial heat (lead, silver, tin, food processing) that are right at the top heating limit of solar devices.  They must also be included in an all “renewable” future. If only half of important materials were provided, what would our world be like?