A Tuesday Omnibus

Between choppy internet access (hopefully new router here soon) and choppy events, I think it best to do a quick omnibus post that covers some highlights. Some of these may get done in more detail here soon.

First, Russia is NOT done in Ukraine even with the losses. The people who are saying that Vladimir has no choice, call it a day, and other hopeful things are making two basic mistakes. One, they fail to get that this is all based on domestic Russian politics; and, that they do politics differently.

Right now, the spin seems to be that the military screwed the pooch and all the problems come from that and not the corruption of the oligarchia. Further, that the political leaders were not aware of all the problems that existed as they weren’t properly informed. Which is saying by strong implication that Vladimir and others were lied to rather than they made mistakes.

If you think the media narratives here are bad, you should see what goes on in Russia. For all that there is still a lot of cynicism at the media left over from Soviet days, the Russian population has been fed a massive amount of propaganda and manipulation for the last 20 years. The populace may be starting to figure out that bad things are happening, but it truly is not yet common knowledge. Add in the new draconian punishments for disrespecting the military and the like, and yes they can keep controlling the narrative for a far longer time than many believe.

Which means we are truly starting to hit critical times. As the political situation becomes more dire because the military situation continues to crumble, the chances go up for things to escalate and or get out of control. Things are going to get more dicey, not better. Hang on, and seriously pray.

Also, do check out Ed at Hot Air in regards the dumbest “question” so far from CNN, along with some good and important questions about our intelligence community. Well worth a read.

I will also offer my sympathies to the family of Ed Lambert, and highly urge you to read Stephen Green’s excellent tribute to the man. Godspeed Ed.

I also have to agree with Stephen on this. I hope Artemis I makes it into space safely, not the least as I know someone who has a payload on it. But, again, it is still mid-70s tech and the last gasp of the old space job distribution system. I don’t see the new SLS (keep in mind, Shuttle was also the first SLS) carrying cargo to orbit.

Finally, I want to get back to working on the book Preparedness Pays and using that for a series of posts here. Since I now have a number of readers who are interested in practical preparedness and more, seems to be the right thing to do. Originally, I was going to use all the “correct” terminology and such to increase the possibility of some outreach (and sales) to official and academic disaster preparedness/emergency management operations.

Thing is, I’ve been a small part of those efforts before. When it comes to local, there are some great people and operations out there. I’m thinking that the book needs to speak to the average person, and not to “the experts” in DC and academia. So, instead of people, infrastructure, and resources, plan to go with people, places, and things.

As I’ve said a time or hundred on here before, there are infinity-minus-2 potential disasters out there. What matters is that there are only three things that can be damaged: people, places, and things. There are only three things that can happen to people: loss of resources, physical harm, and fiscal harm. Places basically have only two options: physical damage and loss of resources. Things boils down to: loss, damage, shortage. Not quite a 3×3 matrix, but you’ve gone from infinity-minus-2 to effectively 3 points each for planning. Simplifies things nicely.

A lot has changed since my article on disaster preparedness appeared in IEEE Spectrum a few decades back. There I looked at about five things, three works much better. Once you quit trying to play guess-the-disaster, that’s when good things start to happen in terms of real practical preparedness.

More soon!


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5 thoughts on “A Tuesday Omnibus”

  1. I would argue that there’s a fourth thing that can happen to people: emotional/psychological harm.

    Now, one can certainly make jokes about trying to see a shrink during the Apocalypse, and it’s absolutely true that our current society seems to think that anything that bothers you is “violence” (as long as you’re the *right* sort of person, of course). However, when you introduce extreme levels of physical and emotional stress it really matters, both at the personal/family level, and at the community-and-above level.

    For example, if Putin drops a nuke, even if it’s just one and it’s used as a threat or a signal, there will be a sudden realization amongst the masses that all this Cold War stuff they heard their parents or grandparents talk about is *real*. The resulting panic is likely to be… interesting. Especially since most people have no idea what constitutes a valid target, and most urbanites will assume that they are personally being targeted, and react accordingly. And heaven forbid that there’s an actual exchange, even a limited one, because the temporary, unplanned (and often unnecessary) exodus from the cities would likely create an instant refugee crisis among people who have no idea how to handle being without access to services on demand. And if the regional power grids were to become a casualty, either through direct targeting (NEMP) or as collateral damage (unbalanced grid leading to a cascading blackout), things would get decidedly unsmurfy in a hurry.

    Also, at the personal/family level, it’s important to keep morale up. As per Maslow, it’s not as immediately vital as staying fed and warm and safe, but stress can harm health in the long run and cause poor decision-making in the short run, at a time in which poor decisions can get people hurt or killed. That’s why you’ll often see prepping lists include simple things ranging from hard candy to decks of playing cards. Having to adapt (even temporarily) to a totally offline–and possibly even unpowered–lifestyle is stressful. Little things can reduce this mental and emotional stress; however, this is one area that is very personal, and readers should be encouraged to think creatively about things that would make *them* feel better, or at least help to pass the time, if they had to subsist without modern conveniences for a few weeks (or even months/years). Of course, if you’re bugging out, your cargo capacity is limited, and creature comforts come *last*, not *first*, but there are things that can serve as dual-use: for example, an e-ink reader loaded with lots of fiction as well as a library of survival guides, or a solar/wind-up radio that can also fit a micro-SD card full of your favorite music. And, soldiers throughout history can attest that tasty hot food is always a boost to both body and spirit.

    So, I’d recommend covering the subject, probably towards the end of the book; it could serve as a bit of a reassuring coda that life doesn’t have to be completely miserable even when one has lost most or all of one’s toys.

    1. Good points, and I may just drop it to harm. I had been thinking of doing a section on the mental and spiritual later in the book, but bringing it all up into the harm section is probably best even though I lose the alliteration off the physical/fiscal. Thanks!

  2. Physical, Material, Intangible, with currency being in the final category due to being non-barter? Maybe riff off of animal/vegetable/mineral somehow? It feels like a bit of a kludge to cram finances and mental/spiritual health into a single category, but then, I suppose the other top-level categories contain a wide variety of subcategories as well.

    Side note: I’m seeing Humanitarian Daily Rations hit the market at around $50 for a box of 10; $5 for ~2200 calories that requires no preparation and lasts several years doesn’t sound like that bad a deal, even if the menus do sound a little bland.

    1. Sorry, wasn’t completely clear earlier. Instead of physical harm had thought of dropping it to harm as the second category and keeping fiscal as separate. However, right now, leaning towards resources, body harm, and fiscal harm. Note in there that the body, mind, and spirit are interconnected and all three need to be addressed.

      1. Gotcha. I suppose I see fiscal harm as mostly a concern for the less-cataclysmic scenarios. After all, beyond a certain point, fiscal health effectively goes to 0 and effectively gets replaced by resources (barter), and I have my doubts as to whether even gold and silver would be worth anything compared to food and lead. I don’t enjoy planning for those types of scenarios very much–they tend to get fairly grim in the long run, even on a personal level. Still, the one thing I refuse to do is to simply give up.

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