Connect Three

Here’s a new Trail Baboon feature – three connected topics I’ve seen this week. I would say it’s akin to a primate swinging from tree branch to tree branch, but baboons are known for spending most of their time on the ground.

1.  It starts with a nice tidy explanation of how GPS works from Jeff Blossom, who makes maps for journalist Paul Salopek’s seven-year-long globe spanning project, the Out of Eden Walk. Thanks to a group of satellites and Blossom’s maps, we can clearly see exactly where Salopek spent some time standing around in Saudi Arabia. Yes, this technology can track your loitering habits. Even when on a ambitious mission, it sometimes becomes necessary to wait.

2. Those satellites are an essential component in guiding the autonomous cars we were discussing this week. I found a lovely Google video that drives home the point that such cars would be a delight for the disabled, kids, and old people.

3. But there is always a dark cloud on the horizon, threatening to blow your candy-colored dream to smithereens. Like an enormous power grid and technology-destroying electromagnetic pulse from the sun. People (including some at the Defense Department) are considering the ramifications of such a calamity, but none more ardently than Rocky Rawlins of The Survivor Library, who I heard in an interview with Bob Garfield on the program On The Media.

Rawlings is collecting knowledge about how to accomplish basic tasks and build and operate old-world devices that pre-date the digital age. Like how to make and felt a hat, for instance.

As a person with a hat-necessary type of head, I appreciate this attention to detail. But I’m a bit leery of the alarm-junkie quality that many survivalists bring to the task. There seems to be a bit too much of the “I Told You So” quality to their planning – as if this is all a wonderfully fun set up to a supreme moment when the rest of us dullards realize they were right all along.

What priceless skill could you contribute to a smoldering Hellscape of a non-digital world?

27 thoughts on “Connect Three”

  1. ok ill start… I like the 3 format… can hop round gps yeah ive got something to say
    how it applies to driverless cars . yeah I can appreciate that
    survival I am a lost soul but the hat is of interest
    then the punchline. what can I offer to survival library?
    singing, art? I don’t think id survive long but id die artistically.
    the hat posted is exactly the hat I have been wearing the last couple of days. sable brown 50’s porkpie with a back bow… its a keeper. I have enjoyed it since Wednesday I think. I have the luxury of grabbing a different one to go with the coat of the day. blues and blacks are the norm but I have a wonderful copperbrown herringbone tweed I am sporting in the tundra this November. normally it sits in the back seat until the car goes in the ditch but this year im wearing it.

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  2. I can work a sewing machine, I can bake bread, and I can render lard. I also know how to preserve and can, and I garden. I also can score and interpret Rorschach tests and IQ tests and other psychological tests by hand, without the help of computer scoring and interpretation programs.

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  3. I possess, as you can probably guess, a great deal of knowledge of sustenance farming and farming with horses. I have none of thew skill left. The brain is loaded; the body is broken.

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  4. Adeline Anne, my mother, went to her grave with one great disappointment, and no it was not me, but rather that the economy and technology did not collapse as she predicted for as long as I can remember.I never watch those survival shows or read about it. The tinge oh hysteria Dale references is all too familiar.

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  5. I can sew, I can swing a hammer, I even know what a brace is and how to use it (for those times when the battery is totally drained on the cordless drill). I can keep everyone happy with baked goods, though if I had to rely on my own skills for turning wheat from the field into usable flour, things might get sketchy (and, thinking further, I have no ability to go out and mine the stuff that becomes baking soda).

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  6. I used to be famous as a guy who could carry a shotgun hunting for birds and walk forever. A weird friend, impressed with that, once made a little speech to a hunting party I was in.

    “Friends, if World War III comes along, we know Steve will be alright. We can give him some sandals cut from old tires, some little black pajamas and a bag of rice. Set him out here walking on these prairie hills. He could walk forever and find birds.” (The gear he referenced was what the Viet Cong made famous when fighting the US in Vietnam.)

    Alas, that was 20 years ago, before arthritis. I’ll be one of the first to go if our elaborate civilization were to fail now. It is enough of a challenge to walk from one end of the apartment to the other!

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    1. you know you are getting old when a mere 20 years ago sounds like a heartbeat ago. the other day a reference came up that was form 30 years ago and i couldnt beleive it. it feels like it was about 5 years ago. 20 is the day before yesterday

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  7. I like this feature, Dale, and can just see old Blevins swinging from tree to tree, even if baboons aren’t usually up there.

    This is very sobering. First I should stock up on nonperishables.
    I am one of those who can garden and sew, but I should get back the “innard”s of my treadle machine, or find another one that still has them. I can use a few tools. Hmmmm… I doubt if I could fell a tree – fortunately we have plenty of wood in the back yard, from that great box elder losing its limbs. But most of that needs splitting…

    I’m sure I could keep chickens if I had chicken feed. But basically… if anything catastrophic happens, we’re screwed.

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  8. I have a seed collection and would be able to plant a garden to feed myself using my own seeds. I don’t save seeds to be ready for the dark days when everything is failing. However, having my own seeds could help me get through dark days. All of those seeds in my collection came from my own seed saving efforts in my own garden. I would be be ale to use seed saving technique that I have mastered to produce more seeds if I need to do this.

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  9. I’ve seen Jim’s gardens… I want to be on his team when we are facing smoldering Hellscape. I have some of the skills already listed: I can bake bread and garden. I can do rudimentary sawing and hammering. But the real talent I bring to the table is that I can read 6 to 7 books all at the same time and keep them straight in my head. Not sure how this will help in the life after Holocaust, but it’s my most outstanding ability.

    Nonny says “hi” to everybody! She came in this morning.

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  10. I could channel Benjamin Franklin and help write clear signs.A sign that is cropping up in parking lots: “Reserved for mothers who are expecting and families with small children under the age of five”
    1. Are we still afraid of the word “pregnant”?
    2. So only a MOTHER who is expecting, meaning a woman who already has a child.
    3. If you have large children under the age of five, you cannot park there.
    So :Reserved for pregnant women and families with children under the age of five.”

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  11. I think this would be a good clan to join up with after the “smoldering Hellscape”.
    I’ll get stuff ready for Clyde because I’ve never actually butchered anything.
    Or made lard. Renee, you can make lye soap then too, right? Uh, who’s got the lye??
    And just because I can light a musical won’t be much help in the dark without electricity. But I’ll try to bring some common sense and farm smarts to the group.
    Who knows how to salt and store meat to get us through the hot summer months? (Isn’t that what you do? ‘salt’ the meat so it keeps??)
    Steve, I’ll bring some ammunition and weapons and get you out in the field so you can shoot it. Cause we all know I won’t be able to hit anything…

    Oh, and I can put the snow fence up too. Finished that this morning.

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  12. I could be in charge of the community library (hard copy) – I’d better start now: you could send me titles of books on how to do/make everything from scratch. I’ll see if I can find any old c opies of Co-evolution Quarterly, or Whole Earth News…

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    1. I have a book on how to mend things. That could be a valuable skill; knowing how to fix something old might be easier than locating materials to make something new.

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  13. Well, not many skills here, but maybe I have a couple that could help the baboon community survive…

    I can grind wheat (or other grains) into flour. But I’ve gotten rid of my hand-powered grain mill, alas. Never tried harvesting wheat, but maybe I could, if I tried. Bake bread? Yup. I could probably figure out how to start a sourdough starter and keep it going so we don’t need yeast. Better put a book on real, old-fashioned sourdough in the library, BiR.

    Some gardening skills, but not the kind that keeps things weed-free. Chemical free, but not weed-free. I especially like growing things like raspberries and black currants. Why? Because they taste so darn good and they are easy to grow!

    I have lived in a house that was heated with a wood stove. I can build a fire, but would need to re-ignite (har, har) my skill in building a fire that lasts, especially banking it for the night. I even chopped wood…but I have not felled any trees. The wood was delivered already cut into sections, just needed to be chopped into pieces that would fit into the wood stove. Chopping wood is a great way to keep warm in the winter. I have not cooked on a wood stove, but I think I could learn (eventually).

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