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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Alternatives For Common Items

I've mentioned that I'm reading the book, "One Second After". It is about the United States being hit with an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) which knocks out all electrical power in the country. The book focuses on the impact on the lives of the people that live in a small mountain town in South Carolina.

While the book is unlikely to win a Nobel Prize for Literature (although.... the Nobel committee does seem to have loosened their standards as of late...), it does a good job of describing the impact - in graphic detail - of what could very easily transpire if such an event were to occur.

One Second After gives good insight into how people adapt.  They ration food and other materials.  They provide for their own community defense.  They ruthlessly institute Martial Law.  They eat pets for food (better than seeing your kid die, no?).  In short, they Go Medieval.

I'm about 75% finished with the book, but what they don't discuss a lot is utilizing alternatives for every day items.  One of the few items they discuss is eating dandelion greens.  Little or nothing about medicine, soap, vitamins -  taking raw materials or things found in nature, and applying them to useful purposes.

In yesterday's post, I talked about using herbal remedies as an option.  Go look in your medicine cabinet and pick up a bottle of some Over The Counter medicine.  Read what it will cure or help fix.

For instance, I grabbed a bottle of Tums.  According to the label, it will relieve:  heartburn, sour stomach, acid indigestion and upset stomach associated with these symptoms.

Here are some "old school" cures (As always, don't be an idiot and go kill yourself trying something out.  Just because it's on the Internet doesn't mean it is right, or will work.  Use your head and get educated.  Talk to a Doc first if need be.) -

Heartburn (seems like vinegar, apples and celery are the favorites)

Sour Stomach

Acid Indigestion

(FYI - those last two links have TONS of suggestions for natural remedies)

Do you take a vitamin C supplement?  Try a tea made from pine needles.  Need an aspirin?  Eat a pepper or some seaweed.  Burn yourself?  It's not just aloe vera any more.  Need some soap?  Lather up with this.  A bit bummed out?  Try some of these alternatives to drugs. 

More on the cause and likelihood of losing electrical power on a wide scale:  This type of "pulse" event does not need to be man-made.  Solar flares have the ability to do very similar damage.

Far fetched?  It has already happened.  In 1989!
Rarely has the power of a solar flare been more dramatically displayed than in early March 1989. Over a period of ten days, a series of violent flares unleashed a combined shower of radiation, energized particles, and magnetism that knocked out electricity all across the province of Quebec, rendered normal radio frequencies unusable, and draped the night skies of the Northern Hemisphere with a crimson aurora borealis that could be seen as far south as Key West, Florida.

On March 13, 1989, for example, a radio amateur in Rhode Island was able to contact a second operator in England using the VHF band of 50 megahertz.

As the flares' extreme-ultraviolet flux heated and expanded Earth's upper atmosphere, the increased atmospheric drag reduced the orbital energy of hundreds of satellites in low Earth orbit. This knocked the spacecraft into lower and faster orbits, causing ground controllers to temporarily lose contact with them. Meanwhile, many of the 7,000 orbiting objecs that are tracked by the U.S. Space Surveillance Network were lost from view.
BTW, the Solar Cycle is every 22 years.  1989 + 22 = 2011.

Accept The Challenge

In one section of the book, the main character laments how short-sighted government and individuals have become.  In particular, he was upset how they have stopped with the prepare-for-uncertainty Civil Defense classes in schools.

Just the opposite has happened.  Aside from encouraging citizens to have a 72-hour emergency supply (better than nothing, I guess), we are actually encouraging people to become dependent upon others.

Want to go mountain climbing?  Go ahead!  If you get stuck, we'll send someone out to save your life. 

Decide to not evacuate when a hurricane is coming?  No worries!  FEMA will swoop down to rescue you.

We've taken the risk out of the risk/reward calculation.  Actually, we've transferred it to the whole of society.  But what happens when society isn't there to bail your butt out?

Take the time to learn about and apply alternatives to our every day conveniences.  Especially about items that are life-sustaining - foods, vitamins, minerals, medicines.

Copyright 2009 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Andrea said...

There are so many easy alternatives hiding in our pantries...we've just forgotten all that good, ol' timey wisdom.

Mint: takes care of all that ails you...upset tummy, cramps, colic, anxiety, bad breath. And you can find it growing wild pretty much anywhere.

Baking soda: I use it in lieu of shampoo, for indigestion, for rashes, as an exfoliant.

Vinegar: use it in the wash instead of fabric softener, rinse your hair to remove hard water deposits, diluted it's a great cleaner, treats insect stings.

Salt: excellent exfoliant (in moderation), soothes sore throats, Neti pot uses.

And all these items are simple plain items that everyone keeps in their pantries (or should) but have forgotten their other uses.

There's a book out there called Homemade with an entire section of recipes for homemade of my better investments!

Chief Instructor said...

I need to find that book. I've got a number of books like that which give you a ton of alternatives.

It is amazing how many alternatives use vinegar. I've been trying to find dry alternatives. I've recently purchased some vitamin C - Ascorbic acid - to see if I can find ways to come up with a more storable solution to liquid vinegar.

I also have some future experiments planned with my beer brewing to make a malt vinegar by purposely spoiling some non-fermented beer.

Anonymous said...

I read "One Second After." I don't consider the money I spent on it wasted, because it does make some good points. As far as the writing goes, it leaves something to be desired. I never warmed to the main character, who seemed reptilian and two faced to me. Even so, it got me to thinking about some issues I haven't paid much attention to, so it was a worthwhile expenditure.

Chief Instructor said...

I actually picked it up after seeing your review. You hit it right on the head - it ain't a prize-winner, but I think the scenarios it paints are pretty realistic. Practical skills and hands-on knowledge of different subjects would be so important if such an event were to come to pass.

I'm near the end of the book. They're doing the final preps for the Posse attack. I hope to have it finished by tomorrow so I can pass it along.