Tuesday, June 21, 2022

A Belated Thank-you

I have a guardian angel out there in the readers who somehow got a hold of my mailing address and has been sending me boxes of books.

His emphasis has been on the kind of books you might put in a time-capsule or the Professor might have taken to Gilligan's Island or the kind of book that Irish Monks might have laboriously copied to save the wisdom of the Ancient world.

With Mrs ERJ home, I am no longer battered from pillar-to-post and I want to tell W. B. "Thank-you!!!"

As a thought starter, here are the contents of one of the boxes he sent:

Cows, Pigs, Wars... is an interesting book. The author claims that seemingly inexplicable characteristics of an evolved society are keystones to its survival. We might not be able to explain why they are important but we monkey with them at our society's peril.

Tough times are coming and there will be a much greater emphasis on "Doing" vs. "Talking or engaging in fantasy".

A little bit of electricity goes a long, long way to making life easier to endure

Early tools and trades will likely be easier to replicate with native or found materials than more advanced ones.

What a great set of books.

Again, my apologies for being so tardy in recognizing your magnificent and generous gifts.

I will post pictures from the next box tomorrow.


  1. That is awesome ERJ - and what a wonderfully eclectic seletion!

  2. The 'time capsule rule' is what I apply to all my book acquisitions. I ask: will this book be relevant/interesting/helpful/worthwhile, etc in fifty years?

    A quick pro-tip for anyone who finds themselves with more books than bookshelf space: install 18 inch wide shelves and have two rows on each shelf. Yes, this can be inconvenient but it also doubles your library capacity without losing (much) room square footage.

  3. I'm gonna go out on a limb here but I'll bet you'd recognize a comment from me even if it was under a different name. So Joe here goes. Your caption under the 12V pic sayeth a little power goes a long way. In the original Rawles book the rancher had 100 watts of solar from HF(in a later edition it was 400 watts) and comented it wasn't enough. I understand this is a ymmv thing. If I forced you( by staking you out in a field of pollen producing grass) to commit to a number, what would you say is a reasonable minimum or comfortable number of watts to be realistically useful but not mark you as an incredibly wealthy(in a collapse scenario) Obviously having 100 100watt panels would allow you to do many things but would cause you to be the envy of people for many miles around. Having one panel might allow you to pump enough water to not use as many calories and maybe have some juice left over for minimum lighting at night. There has to be a sweet spot. I'm interested in what that spot is.

    1. I should have mentioned that I know the answer would be different in Vegas than it would be in your neck of the woods. Assume your neck of the woods would be close enough for rock n' roll.

  4. The law of diminishing returns kicks in. A hundredth of a Watt will run a digital watch. Five Watts will run a CB radio which might inform you if Vikings were sailing your way. Another five Watts would be enough to power perimeter sensors.

    My 7 Joule electric fence pulls 11 Watts.

    12 Watts will run a ceiling fan on the lowest speed.

    A CPAP machine draws about 30 Watts with newer models more efficient than older ones.

    Pumping water is a good use for intermittent power because it typically goes into a cistern so as long as you get SOME periods with wind or extra power you can keep the cistern topped off.

    So regardless of the amount you generate, figuring out how to manage it so you can supply power to the highest marginal-return activities is smart business. And those activities are not likely to be the big users of today, that is: heating food/water/space, evaporating water, cooling space or food, lighting.

  5. uninformed, let me use myself as an example. Even though I started this project before ERJ gave his advice, it's as if he was whispering to me as I planned my system.

    I'm installing 4 100 watt panels on a 2-axis solar tracker, which will feed 2 100 AH lithium batteries. This will power the freezer, refrigerator and possibly some fans. I'll be happy if it just does the refrigeration load.

    I have 2 "solar generators", plus a 300 watt folding panel for the large one and a 160 watt panel for the smaller one. These can run lights, communications gear, fans and so on.

    I have 2 of the Hazard Fraught 100 watt Thunderbolt kits. I like these because the panels are amorphous and will make at least a little electricity on a cloudy day.

    I have a 20 watt and a 5 watt panel to maintain all the various starting batteries. I need another 20 watt (at least), and that may be what some of my Father's Day Amazon gift cards buy.

    I also have a lot of wire, connectors, crimpers and so on so I can mix and match if a lot of time passes and things break or if my plans don't survive contact with the enemy.

    And there's a Honda EU2000 generator, at least as long as the gas holds out.

    Each system can stand on its own, but they all contribute to a whole as well. Think of it as energy defense in depth.


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