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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Dark Ages, new and improved!

The Z-man doesn't get the etymological origin of the term "Dark Ages" quite right, but he raises a good question about whether the West has already entered another one:
That’s a good point to wonder if the West has not already entered a new dark age, in which superstition rules over rationality. The concept of the microaggression is something superstitious people living in a dark age would have understood. After all, a microaggression is the idea that certain words and phrases, incantations, will cause a miasma to develop around the people saying and hearing the words. This miasma or evil spirit will cause those exposed to react involuntarily and uncontrollably.

In fact, everything about political correctness and multiculturalism relies on oogily-boogily that people in the dark age of Europe would have found ridiculous. The people of Europe in the middle ages may not have had a sophisticated understanding of the natural world, but they did not think the dirt had magical qualities. Magic Dirt Theory would have struck them as laughably ridiculous. They may not have understood cognitive science, but they knew the apple does not fall far from the tree.
As I explained in TIA, Petrarch's term was the reversal of an earlier Christian perspective of the time before the coming of the Light of the World by an embittered Italian patriot looking at the ruins of the Roman Empire and despairing of the relatively barbaric German domination of his time.

Which is hauntingly similar to the situation which the people of the West may soon be facing. That is why it is so important to preserve knowledge now. Barbarians have never cared about building or minded living amidst filth, which is why we are already at the point where the fate of our indoor plumbing is in doubt.

It's not enough to know about things. It's not even enough to know how to maintain them. It is vital to learn how to design, develop, and build things if civilized society is to be preserved. We're already bringing back the Junior Classics, but perhaps we also need to create a new series, Core Civilization, comprised of books that teach the core basics of everything from architecture to gardening and water engineering. Because it's clearly time to begin thinking about these things.
I started to think about those people living in the Roman Empire wondering why the water no longer comes from the big stone thingy anymore. Some may have remembered their ancestors working on them for some reason, but they no longer recall why. The people who knew how and why those aqueducts worked were long gone. No one was around who could figure out how to make them work again, because they lacked the capacity to do it.

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100 Comments:

Blogger Ferdinand October 16, 2019 5:20 AM  

The germanics needed some time to become civilized, the catholic church was a driving force behind that. After that, they quickly advanced beyond rome, while not forgetting rome. What do the arabs and africans have to civilize them? Espescially with everyone accepting their barbarism as colorful and valuable? Not to mention the IQ issue.

Blogger AlexR October 16, 2019 5:35 AM  

Our current predicament is very similar to Asimov's Foundation series

Blogger Nate73 October 16, 2019 5:36 AM  

I hang out in a few places where we debate questions of this nature, such as when a collapse will come and whether it will be slow or sudden. One thing that bugs me is whether or not electricity will survive - the knowledge you need to preserve will have to be hardcopy if computer and electrical systems are gone. Electricity fundamentally shapes every aspect of our lives, from medicine to transportation to communication. It's the difference between e-mail and the carrier pigeon, between the horse and the car.

>architecture to gardening and water engineering

I've been getting into gardening ever since watching the Big Bear and sometimes even with the internet I feel like I'm in a Dark Age. Most people I talk to either don't know the answers to my questions, or have ready-made answers they can't really explain or justify. It's kind of terrifying how fragile systems of knowledge are.

Blogger The Wooper Nation October 16, 2019 5:45 AM  

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Blogger Dire Badger October 16, 2019 5:50 AM  

I would like to point out that Time-Life's 'Back to Basics', specifically the one published in the 70's, is a damned fine resource...I have 6 of them sitting around my house.

It's amazing how many people don't even know a single type of wood joiner, where sulfa drugs come from, or what very simple basic ingredients go into making a simple hand-cranked generator... This is the sort of stuff that they USED to teach in public schools in 'science' and 'shop' classes.

Blogger Vaughan Williams October 16, 2019 6:02 AM  

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Blogger Vaughan Williams October 16, 2019 6:07 AM  

Now, on the topic of preserving knowledge through the dark ages... texts on low-tech chemistry, astronomy, electricity, mechanics, internal combustion, steam, hydraulics, would be excellent. Barron's series on learning Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus "the easy way" were pretty good back in their day, perhahps they still are.

A curated list of HOWTO build various things would be good, Agricola's treatise on farming is still referred to today; something like that with up to date information on agriculture, soil science, cell biology, etc, would be good. The Russian series on gardening "with a smile" is good.

For a while I thought "mathematics for the million" would be a good book to preserve mathematics through a dark ages. Then I tried to teach my kids math from it. Maybe not so much.

Blogger Vaughan Williams October 16, 2019 6:13 AM  

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Blogger Scire October 16, 2019 6:15 AM  

sounds like a civilization core would be a great Homeschooling course as well. I've seen a lot of great resources i was unaware of in these comments already.

An anime that is exploring this now is Dr. stone, all humanity is petrifies for 3 thousand years and a science geek wakes up and is trying to reboot civilization. They do all the science right too.

Blogger Vaughan Williams October 16, 2019 6:20 AM  

Robert Baden Powell's original Boy Scout manual might be a good one for a Dark Ages. Or something like it, updated.

Music theory and notation should be covered. Bach's short treatise on "figured bass" is a good one.

Optics. Perhaps something Isaac Newton wrote on the topic.

The recipe and theory for portland cement, and then Josef Davidovits work on geopolymers to follow up on that.

The Bernoulli principle explained, and how it leads to both the airplane and to refrigeration and air conditioning.

Bessemer steel process. How to locate, mine, and process minerals of all kinds.

How to titrate, fractionate and distill a substance, whether oil or alcohol.

How to measure temperature accurately. How a storm glass works, and a barometer. How to make and use a sundial and a sextant.

Huber's work on honeybees has experiments and info that most beekeepers today, over a hundred years later, still don't know (such as, wax is made from the same stuff honey is. lock them up together with sugar, and they'll build wax comb) For beekeeping, I could think of 4 or 5 books that really should be preserved through a Dark Ages.

Blogger Brett baker October 16, 2019 6:28 AM  

He's a bit of a crank, but some of the books Kurt Saxon used in his "The Survivor" series would be VERY useful if updated.

Blogger Gregory the Great October 16, 2019 6:32 AM  

Please ask a young architect to prepare a project for the recreation of the 240 km long Valens aqueduct to Constantinople.

Blogger Gregory the Great October 16, 2019 6:32 AM  

Charles Oman: The Dark Ages
in leather

Blogger Karen took the Kids October 16, 2019 6:33 AM  

A Core Civilisation series would be just as valuable a project as the Junior Classics. Congratulations on 300%.

Blogger Badpainter October 16, 2019 6:34 AM  

Maybe package up slide rule, user guide and a collection of "100 Fun Slide Rule Projects!"

Oh, and a good introduction to metallurgy/ metal working. Identifying materials, basic foundry operation, forging, casting, heat treating should all be covered.

Lastly a good guide to hand tools and their intended uses would seem vital.

Blogger Rick October 16, 2019 6:43 AM  

Wildwood Wisdom is excellent, and wonderfully illustrated. A pleasure to read.

Blogger Silent Draco October 16, 2019 6:50 AM  

Another basic is making permanent inks, colors used, and pens. Why, what, and how. Casting type and basics of building a printing press. How to make paper or parchment.

Blogger Nation-Deprived October 16, 2019 6:50 AM  

I would back a Core Civ series in a heartbeat.

Blogger Wario's Mart October 16, 2019 6:59 AM  

These kind of posts are difficult. But it is true. On my old farm we had a specially designed cabinet, and a wardrobe. They were made from now endangered cedars. They're finnicky structures and materials. In the whole country there was 1 artisan who could restore them. He was in his 80s. He restored the vanity cabinet. The wardrobe he couldn't because he died. It can't be restored now.

Its minor in the scheme of things but that's what we face.

I imagine a series of books with instructions on basic technologies and activities for preservation would sell like hotcakes.

Blogger Doktor Jeep October 16, 2019 7:13 AM  

Warlords are going to grab up every last scrap of electronics and put them in huge vats of acid -and do not doubt they will find a way to make acid given this motivation - to extract the gold from them. You can get plenty of gold this way. Silver too. So all that technology is going to be destroyed.
All that porn. All those selfies. All that pointless mainstream entertainment. Gone forever.

Blogger Andy Evick October 16, 2019 7:15 AM  

Core civilization series is something I eye hungrily. I would gladly back such a project.

Blogger Hen October 16, 2019 7:16 AM  

I think you're entirely right, VD, and thanks for doing this. My heart just breaks when I consider the plight western civilization is in now -- a consequence of the very, very high cost of crime and tolerance.

Blogger Cataline Sergius October 16, 2019 7:19 AM  

I used to think a new dark ages wouldn't be possible because of the invention of the printing press.

Silly old Cataline!

The obsession with diversity over the most basic competence should see us into the next Dark Ages quite nicely.

MIT now has a Diversity track for it's engineering programs.

I can't wait until there is Diversity track for the guys that run nuclear power plants.

Blogger Brett baker October 16, 2019 7:27 AM  

Wakanda has plenty of nuclear technicians!

Blogger Doktor Jeep October 16, 2019 7:32 AM  

BTW this "Core Civilization " idea is one of the best I've seen on a long time. I would offer one bit of advice: make it more visual than textual because the person who finds the stainless steel bound volumes in that odd waterproof container seemingly designed to encase them might not be up on his reading skills.

Blogger maniacprovost October 16, 2019 7:34 AM  

I'm not sure how many books are needed to form a core civilization series... I would approach the content chronologically, because once you get to the Industrial Revolution it won't be possible to break a significant percent of material down step by step.

The basics of mechanical engineering can be distilled to about 15 large volumes.

Only advanced information technology can efficiently collect, organize, compress and distribute the knowledge of the West effectively, but advanced information technology will fail at some point.

Blogger Avalanche October 16, 2019 7:36 AM  

Bit o' trivia: The walls of the Coliseum look pocked, as if someone had been picking holes because ... someone(s) HAD been picking holes! In the middle ages, they/we allegedly lost the recipe for iron, and people would scrabble the bits of Roman rebar out of the walls to melt and use.

Someone should maybe write down the recipe for more than just wild-game stew? How far 'back' are we going to crash?

Blogger basementhomebrewer October 16, 2019 7:38 AM  

I hang out in a few places where we debate questions of this nature, such as when a collapse will come and whether it will be slow or sudden. One thing that bugs me is whether or not electricity will survive - the knowledge you need to preserve will have to be hardcopy if computer and electrical systems are gone. Electricity fundamentally shapes every aspect of our lives, from medicine to transportation to communication. It's the difference between e-mail and the carrier pigeon, between the horse and the car.

This is the scary scenario. Some might assume we go back to the late 19th century if we lose electricity but in actuality we go back much further than that. How many people can produce, let alone understand some of the complex mechanical devices we were building that were replaced by electricity? The problem really compounded itself with the introduction of the microchip. There are very few people alive today who even remember what mechanical devices/components of systems were being used in the 50's and 60's instead of a microchip.

Blogger Clockmaker October 16, 2019 7:39 AM  

i've taken up weight-driven clockmaking after learning that my German ancestors were clock makers. The art and science of keeping accurate time with a few wooden gears and a stone hanging on a rope or chain has many other practical applications. I have built a small clock shop out in my barn and am stocking it with human-powered tools that I use to make my clock parts. Loads of fun and very gratifying to see a clock merrily ticking away that just a few months before was a chunk of firewood. I am teaching the skills to my young son and daughter as well.

Blogger Avalanche October 16, 2019 7:41 AM  

@73 "sometimes even with the internet I feel like I'm in a Dark Age"

How many people know how to can/jar/preserve food? While we're still relatively civilized, there is a LOT to be said for 'going prepper'! Detailed ideas of stealing a panel truck and which aisles at Costco to clear at gun point "during" the collapse are dreams, not plans! Even the "waterBob" -- a 100-gal plastic potable-water container with a hand-operable'faucet' -- that is to be filled in your bathtub, relies on: "filled just WHEN"? Hurricane coming? Zombies hordes marching up the highway? Is the water still running -- and is it safe to now store? If you have not watched Piero san Giorgio on UA.TV.... maybe get on it?

Blogger Scuzzaman October 16, 2019 7:42 AM  

OT but related: BBC reports that Lebron James has ducked for China, criticising the uninformed tweet that kicked off the recent furore ...

Blogger Mr.MantraMan October 16, 2019 7:51 AM  

Comments were good as well, but one mentioned positively Dreher's Benedict Option, the next comment cleared that up, they will never stop coming after you. If you read Dreher's pieces no one could come away and say he has a chance, the comments are basically a few based white men I presume followed by the usual womanish thought minders.

Blogger Pierre October 16, 2019 8:01 AM  

There is a series of French books "La maison rustique du 19ème siècle" which contains all the knowledge required to build a farmstead from scratch and run it.

It is from the 19th century of course, so pretty low-tech by modern standards. But it's got everything, from how to make clothes (starting from flax seeds), make charcoal, wine, beer, sugar, butter, cheese, preserve food, grow and manage an orchard or a forest, or even perform veterinary operations on a cow :)

https://www.dicopathe.com/livre/maison-rustique-xixe-siecle/

Since the French created this book to compete with the Brit's Encyclopedia of Gardening, the latter may be of interest too...

Blogger dienw October 16, 2019 8:05 AM  

The Foxfire series of books detailed the practical how-tos of country life from before mechanization and computers. Find and haunt a used book store.

Downloadable versions

Blogger Gettimothy October 16, 2019 8:05 AM  

@29 that is beautiful

Blogger Damelon Brinn October 16, 2019 8:16 AM  

@34, I'll second the recommendation on the Firefox books. My folks have them, and they're great to browse through.

A good book I have is "The Self-Sufficient Life" by John Seymour. It has a page or two on all sorts of topics, from garden cold frames to bee hives to thatching a roof. It doesn't go into great detail on any one topic, but it's a nice overview of all the things you can do for yourself.

Blogger Amy October 16, 2019 8:18 AM  

Would back.

Blogger Amy October 16, 2019 8:32 AM  

Dienw, I have every Foxfire book, and all of Tom Brown’s survivalist books. Bushcraft is a bit of a hobby in our house.

Avalanche, I garden and I can/preserve/dehydrate as much of the harvest as I can. I have a pressure canner that I use over an outdoor propane burner. However, I’m interested in methods of preservation that don’t require pressure canning or large quantities of sugar (as in jam and jelly).

I have several books on fermentation to preserve vegetables, on cheese making, and on how to preserve food with pre-industrial methods. This year, I’m salting some of the venison we hunt. You make a 2% brine and pour it over meat in a bucket. You can keep it in a cellar, no refrigerator required, for months. It was the way meat was kept, for ages, before refrigeration. It helps to live in a cold climate where we can put foods outside to stay cold, but that can be tricky if you get a sudden warm day.

It’s a bit of a lost art. Soon, we’re installing a hand pump for our well. Well water is great but if you don’t have electricity you can’t get it out of the ground!

I can also make yarn, and cloth from that yarn, and clothing from that cloth. That is a skill that will be handy if the worst goes down.

If the grid fails and we lose all sources of power, a lot of people are going to die in the fight for resources. No one is ready. Whether “itz” ever going to happen or not, I’m still happy to be relatively independent of most of that stuff.

Blogger njtech October 16, 2019 9:32 AM  

I would support a Core Civilization series in print form without hesitation.

Blogger Ann October 16, 2019 9:40 AM  

@38 Amy: Watch Li Ziqi's videos on YouTube. There's one where she makes Kimchi, and she has this large fermenting jar, which uses a water seal. Chinese cooking fascinates me. To tie it in with the humanure discussion, the use of "night soil" produces the most beautiful vegetables you've ever seen, but no one is chomping on them raw. Into a "very hot wok" or the fermenting jar they go!

Blogger CM October 16, 2019 10:07 AM  

Yeah... I'd buy those.

Blogger Terrific October 16, 2019 10:40 AM  

A great description of the takedown and eventual collapse of the modern world with all of it's intricately interconnected systems by the Leftist Barbarians who have never created or even run anything is, of course, the classic work, "Atlas Shrugged". In that novel the collapse was precipitated by all the smart, white people going on strike and refusing to feed the beast to their own demise. This caused the collapse to take place in mere years instead of decades. But collapse industrial society did!

Blogger CarpeOro October 16, 2019 10:43 AM  

I recall in "Lucifer's Hammer" a key book/s that was salvaged by one of the geniuses was from the 1890s, maybe a set of encyclopedias? Pournelle really thought things out. Sure, they managed to save a nuclear power plant but they had a resource to work from in the interim of creating a new power grid or in case of failure. Actually, considering the inter-dependencies of modern tech/engineering, having something that provides a level that isn't as dependent on multiple industries. For instance Amish culture.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash October 16, 2019 10:44 AM  

Vaughan Williams wrote:Indoor plumbing can't vanish soon enough.
Vaughn,
Consider this a friendly warning. You often have good things to contribute, but your monomania is intolerable. It will not be tolerated here.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash October 16, 2019 10:52 AM  

Avalanche wrote:In the middle ages, they/we allegedly lost the recipe for iron,
No. No, didn't happen. What did happen is the same thing that has happened in many American cities. Metal is valuable, and the invaders, uninterested in the current use, or the long-term, steal it.

Blogger John Kim October 16, 2019 10:54 AM  

Also check out the 1893 World Fair. They built a whole city that looks like a replica of Greece or Rome. Then they tore it down in 6 months. We can never build anything like that today. Technology is being hidden from us.

Blogger rumpole5 October 16, 2019 11:10 AM  

I am wondering how the inclination to use technology comes about. I noticed some years ago that members of my wife's family and culture (Small Caribbean island inhabited by Scots/Anglos) were strangely reluctant to spend any time on maintenence or innovation, even though doing so would have a huge time and effort payoff down the line. They would happily haul heavy wooden boats out of the water over rock rather than try to build a ramp and winch, or clammor over rocks every day rather than taking time to build even steps. You get an immediate payoff when you fill the bucket with water, but no immediate payoff from building the aqueduct. It takes forever with no immediate payoff even though water gushes out exactly where you want it when it is finally completed.

Blogger Salt October 16, 2019 11:21 AM  

Need more Trade Schools taught by people (((Boomers))) who actually built things before so much went to crap.

Blogger CM October 16, 2019 11:33 AM  

You get an immediate payoff when you fill the bucket with water, but no immediate payoff from building the aqueduct. It takes forever with no immediate payoff even though water gushes out exactly where you want it when it is finally completed.

I don't think it's about pay off. I think it's balancing resources that are rare or have limited availability with hardiness and environment demands.

I don't think white people have the same hardiness attributes that other races have (curious where the different asian ethnic groups would fall on that). I at least know it's true of white babies.

Blogger cylindrical crown October 16, 2019 11:40 AM  

"Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers", by Baumeister and Marks

and

"Standard Handbook of Lubrication Engineering", by O'Connor and Boyd

Blogger Doktor Jeep October 16, 2019 11:41 AM  

One thing to consider in such an endeavor is how technology concepts run ahead of metallurgy and production. The jet engine existed on paper for roughly a century before one was built. Steam turbines were as close as one could get.
This brings to light a question: what to save?
IMO we hit our technological peak in 1964. Concept wise. The next two decades were spent implementing it. The F15 fighter was a product of the 1970s. After that came more of the same but with gizmos. So what's worth saving that was useful versus that which is not?
I can think of reasons to save knowledge of communications technology, but entirely scrap dating apps. We should spare our knowledge of herbs, but leave out the birth control. The internal combustion engine is doable, but we don't need RVs so that in 2000 years boomers can dump their children's future into one. Do we need televisions after seeing the damage they have done?
Maybe the warlords will be doing us a favor after all.

Blogger Charlie the Chaste October 16, 2019 11:45 AM  

Please look into making both the Junior Classics and Core Civilization available for purchase leather bound. I am not in a position to purchase the collections now but I would like them when I can before the fall.

Blogger OneWingedShark October 16, 2019 11:48 AM  

rumpole5 wrote:I am wondering how the inclination to use technology comes about. I noticed some years ago that members of my wife's family and culture (Small Caribbean island inhabited by Scots/Anglos) were strangely reluctant to spend any time on maintenence or innovation, even though doing so would have a huge time and effort payoff down the line. They would happily haul heavy wooden boats out of the water over rock rather than try to build a ramp and winch, or clammor over rocks every day rather than taking time to build even steps. You get an immediate payoff when you fill the bucket with water, but no immediate payoff from building the aqueduct. It takes forever with no immediate payoff even though water gushes out exactly where you want it when it is finally completed.
The mentality was succinctly summarized by Snidely Whiplash here, and is something I've noticed becoming more and more widespread in both corporate culture and academia: the near-absolute unwillingness to invest in maintenance and training, often "justified" by extraordinarily myopic focus on 'costs'. (After all, it takes work to estimate the benefit, but if you can say "it'll be $X, to do Y" then you can "save" $X by not doing Y, right? [The mentality, ironically enough, often ignores the costs of not doing Y.])

Salt wrote:Need more Trade Schools taught by people (((Boomers))) who actually built things before so much went to crap.
Boomers hate teaching, mentorship, and anything like it — they're the reason that America's corporate culture is so averse to training, and addicted to hiring cheap H1B labor that has X on their resume. (That way they don't have to train them in X! Look at all the money saved! What!? The resume might be lies? Ha! Everyone knows only native Citizens lie, and besides we can hire like 8 of these Indians or Chinese for one Citizen! Shut up! I'm saving the company money!)

Blogger Barbarossa October 16, 2019 12:08 PM  

@53 In between deployments, I had a facilities job at a university, mainly working on steam systems. I learned very soon in the job that the steam traps in our buildings were very old and allowing steam to blow into the condensate system, wrecking pumps, eroding lines, etc. I immediately recommended a wholesale replacement of the traps. The head of facilities demanded a cost-benefit analysis on the plan. While cost-benefit analyses are definitely a good idea, in this case, this was someone parroting something they had heard, not someone trying to properly allocate resources. My response was: This is about proper maintenance philosophy. She (affirmative action hire with absolutely no engineering experience) had utterly no idea what I was talking about. I eventually got the money but with much griping about how "some engineers think money grows on trees." That earned a retort of how "some people think buildings keep operating on their own." And as an aside, what she really wanted to spend the money on was solar panels for a building...that didn't have the proper south-facing roof.

As you said, it was easy to count the costs of purchase and installation of steam traps. It's harder to say what the cost of not doing the work is, but eventually we do know that the system will simply not function. But, then again, isn't the ethos of a certain class of people antithetical to the notion of stewardship and leaving the organization in better shape than one found it for those who follow?

Blogger VFM Bear October 16, 2019 12:22 PM  

"Some might assume we go back to the late 19th century if we lose electricity but in actuality we go back much further than that."

Yeah, I don't think we even keep steam power.

Blogger Theproductofafineeduction October 16, 2019 12:29 PM  

Consider this a future pledge to back your Core Civilizational series should you ever deign to produce it.

Blogger HouellebecqGurl October 16, 2019 12:34 PM  

All collapses are very, very slow and then all at once.
I've thought we were in the very, very slow stage for decades now. The problem is, how long does the very, very slow last?
Sadly, I think a very, very long time.

Blogger szook October 16, 2019 12:39 PM  

You are looking for a grown up version of this: https://www.opensourceecology.org/gvcs/

Blogger HouellebecqGurl October 16, 2019 12:40 PM  

Me, to a nurse in my hubby's surgeon's office, discussing the titration of a certain medication

Her-what's titration?

Maybe we need to get a move on, as far as saving knowledge, ASAP.

Blogger justaguy October 16, 2019 12:46 PM  

IMHO, VD was quite right when he emphasized the most important part of planning for survival in the SHTF scenario is what village you belong to-- who are your friends that will be with you. Knowledge is great and so are books, initially, but without technology think like Hobbs-- life is hard, burtish, and short. Villages prospered, although most people starved/ died of disease. Well they prospered until a gang of (pick one Muslim slavers, Vikings, bandits) came by and killed most of them off. Outside of living in Chicago, most of us have no idea of the level of violence and murder that was commonplace in the early medieval era.

Blogger HouellebecqGurl October 16, 2019 12:52 PM  

There are hundreds of canning and various food storage videos on YouTube.
I would suggest everyone watch as many as possible and write down the basics for each process and start doing them at your own home and teaching your children, in the process.
Many young homesteader families film themselves raising animals and gardens and upload details daily or weekly going step by step of providing shelter, best foods, birthing, slaughter, preservation, and so on.
You would do well to watch this videos with your family and try to implement some of theses practices.

Blogger HouellebecqGurl October 16, 2019 12:58 PM  

My family has grown okra for hundreds of years. I only recently learned from watching a homesteader video on YT, that cutting into wheels, dehydrating and saving it in a jar, makes a very long lasting, tasty, crunchy snack.
There's always something new to learn and that's Hy I'm a big proponent of YT videos. Learn as much as you can from them now, as they likely will be gone at some point in the not so distant future.

Blogger Ska_Boss October 16, 2019 1:08 PM  

I'm all for this. I have already accumulated various DIY and how-to books ranging from foraging for local food, butchering and preserving wild game, construction/plumbing/electrical basics, solar powered systems, collecting and filtering water, natural and organic medicines and remedies, felling a tree and cutting lumber, pressing your own ammunition, etc.

As my non-fiction book collection grew, I realized that I didn't have enough shelf space for everything I wanted to have a book about or the garage space for all of the tools and parts and equipment involved. And I later realized that there simply isn't enough time in the day for one or two people to perform all of the job tasks. This is why it's so important to have a community of like-minded people who can be trusted to both contribute and protect the fruits of their labor.

I was lucky to find a small, rural cowboy church and most people there pitch in to the community one way or another. The pastor is a horse rancher, some people bring food from their gardens, others give away chicken eggs (much better than store bought btw), some play musical instruments, some help with IT, etc. basically whatever skills and talents God gifted you with.

Blogger OneWingedShark October 16, 2019 1:10 PM  

Barbarossa wrote:@53 In between deployments, I had a facilities job at a university, mainly working on steam systems. I learned very soon in the job that the steam traps in our buildings were very old and allowing steam to blow into the condensate system, wrecking pumps, eroding lines, etc. I immediately recommended a wholesale replacement of the traps. The head of facilities demanded a cost-benefit analysis on the plan. While cost-benefit analyses are definitely a good idea, in this case, this was someone parroting something they had heard, not someone trying to properly allocate resources. My response was: This is about proper maintenance philosophy. She (affirmative action hire with absolutely no engineering experience) had utterly no idea what I was talking about. I eventually got the money but with much griping about how "some engineers think money grows on trees." That earned a retort of how "some people think buildings keep operating on their own." And as an aside, what she really wanted to spend the money on was solar panels for a building...that didn't have the proper south-facing roof.

As you said, it was easy to count the costs of purchase and installation of steam traps. It's harder to say what the cost of not doing the work is, but eventually we do know that the system will simply not function. But, then again, isn't the ethos of a certain class of people antithetical to the notion of stewardship and leaving the organization in better shape than one found it for those who follow?

Indeed so.
I'm currently in the employ of an organization with an ".edu" domain, and it's more than frustrating dealing with the admin-side of things, especially HR which seems to have been designed by a sociopath; by HR policy we are forbidden from even posting an opening while someone is still employed in said position — this makes on-boarding/mentoring/hand-off effectively impossible, and thus ensures the destruction of institutional -knowledge.

Fortunately for me, one of the people that was involved here [physical location, lateral .edu organization] before me was big on documentation, so I actually have something to go off of rather than having to reverse-engineer 30–35 years of software development. Though, on the downside, getting the environment set-up to compile the source-code seems like it'll have to be re-discovered. (The SW is for everything from Motorla68k/VxWorks to SPARC/Solaris to x86_64/Windows, written in everything from C to DOTNET to Java to C++ to IDL…)

HouellebecqGurl wrote:Me, to a nurse in my hubby's surgeon's office, discussing the titration of a certain medication
Her-what's titration?
Maybe we need to get a move on, as far as saving knowledge, ASAP.

Honestly, there's a bit of saving grace here: asking what the unfamiliar word is.
There's a surprising amount of people who won't do that, and/or look it up.

I had to look it up — but then, I'm not in medical or chemical fields, and the last time I was involved (albeit tangentially) with medical was the better part of a decade ago, when I was involved in maintaining/developing a system that operated over medical/insurance claims & records.

Blogger Nate October 16, 2019 1:19 PM  

"Indoor plumbing can't vanish soon enough."

You're going to be very confused when are throwing you out of the helicopter with all the other dirt hippie commies. And you'll scream and cry about how we're wrong and how its not fair.

But we won't care.

Blogger Nathan Hornok October 16, 2019 1:22 PM  

In line with the comparison of our time to the ignorance and incompetence of the era after the fall of Rome. I want to bring to light another comparison. I have little doubt that 1,000 years from now, people will look back on our civilization with the exact same disregard toward our beliefs and values as we pay toward the ancient empires of the world. Whatever ruins, or records, remain of the Statue of Liberty or the Washington monument or the Lincoln memorial, will be viewed as just more of the same pagan symbols of history in the long line of the pagan idolatry of a superstitious, absurd, and wicked people. I make a point of now calling these various symbols of our pantheon of State gods according to their true names. For example, it is the really the idol to the goddess of Liberty, or the Lincoln temple. etc.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd October 16, 2019 1:31 PM  

@47, Montserrat?

Blogger Rule of Wrist October 16, 2019 1:42 PM  

Vox this is a great idea about Core Civ books. I would be especially interested in the architecture side of that. Mostly because I've seen the argument about how modern architecture is all terrible and designed to depress the people, but I haven't seen how exactly that is done or what an example of architecture that's designed to uplift the people would look like and how the two compare.

I mean, I've built a few industrial buildings but the aesthetic design doesn't really enter into those. It's more like, "Ok, here's how much land we have, here's what size box we can put here, slap some siding on it and pick your color and we're done!" This is all done for cost reasons of course. You want to keep your costs as low as possible on a building you're going to lease for industrial use, and looking good costs money you'll never get return on. Maybe I'm wrong on that one though? Perhaps there's some things to be done to help mundane buildings like this? I'd be happy to be wrong.

Regardless, a book from a trusted source on architecture and how it's been corrupted and how to fix it in the West would be highly interesting to me.

Blogger Nathan Hornok October 16, 2019 1:46 PM  

@66. Nathan Hornok
Following up on my previous post. I don't mean to give the impression that I think all religion is folly. I think even if we are heading toward a so called dark age, if Christianity is the prevailing world view of the coming age, it will mean we are passing from all the darkening lies of the so called enlightenment, and back to a time where logos has a greater sway over people's hearts and minds. This is very much a theme that Augustine described in his "City of God."

Blogger Ominous Cowherd October 16, 2019 1:52 PM  

Nathan Hornok wrote:I think even if we are heading toward a so called dark age, if Christianity is the prevailing world view of the coming age, it will mean we are passing from all the darkening lies of the so called enlightenment, and back to a time where logos has a greater sway over people's hearts and minds.

I agree with your @66, that a future Christian society will see most of the monuments and public works of the 20th Century as pagan and evil.

Blogger Hauen October 16, 2019 2:12 PM  

University extensions often keep plans and papers online and they can be a pretty handy resource, I've got a binder full of printed off PDFs just in case. One good example is the University of Tennessee. https://ag.tennessee.edu/BESS/Pages/Plans.aspx

Blogger Snidely Whiplash October 16, 2019 2:22 PM  

Nate and Hippy
Orca and Seal
Shark and Surfer

Blogger weka October 16, 2019 2:52 PM  

Hey, a boy can dream. A cyclopedia of messenger agriculture -- my grandfather had one published in 1905. Enclyclopedia Britannica from the same time frame

Blogger sammibandit October 16, 2019 3:30 PM  

I'd want to get my hands on Greek, Roman, or French siege machine specs. I have some textbooks from when I took history of Greco-Roman engineering but the illustrations don't show much. At best a layman could probably make a trebuchet from them.

Blogger LSWCHP October 16, 2019 4:07 PM  

Damn. I visited the Coliseum a few weeks ago and wondered about those pockmarks.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan October 16, 2019 4:16 PM  

Next thing you know people will be memeing the crazy left with "Vote Trump save the indoor plumbing."

Blogger Prof J October 16, 2019 4:18 PM  

Here are 100 military manuals in .pdf form. There's even manuals on carpentry and electrical. https://theantimedia.com/100-military-manuals-you-can-download-for-free/

Blogger Akuma October 16, 2019 4:27 PM  

"Barbians have never cared about building or minded living amidst filth, which is why we are already at the point where the fate of our indoor plumbing is in doubt."

Two good things come from this. One, Gammas who cant cut it in harsh environments will perish. Two, hardwood floors are easier to clean than carpeted floors.

Blogger Brett baker October 16, 2019 4:31 PM  

I like it!

Blogger Brainspirit October 16, 2019 4:50 PM  

Core Civilization series is an excelent idea.

Blogger Joe October 16, 2019 4:50 PM  

@54 Awesome! Steam and condensate systems ROCK! Make sure the system is also properly vented (uncondenseables removed), see: https://beta.spiraxsarco.com/learn-about-steam/steam-traps-and-steam-trapping/air-venting-theory

Blogger map October 16, 2019 5:04 PM  

I would add the David J. Gingery books on how to build a machine shop from scratch. Lookon amazon.

I like the whole idea of survivalism knowledge, but, after extensively reading up on it, the single greatest point of failure..is water.

The greatest danger to losing electricity is access to clean water that is under pressure and that runs hot and cold. This means that you will have to secure water sources on your own from scratch. This is not simply digging a well. This means knowing how to find where to dig. Even if the well is successfully dug, making sure the water is not dangerous is equally important. This requires filtering and boiling, which requires lots of cutting wood.

So, your basic survival mode is...cutting wood and carrying water. The other will be being heavily armed to repel marauders...assuming you don;t decide to become a marauder yourself.

Basically, you have to live like a survivalist now with a community of like-minded people who have already secured a water source and a local means to treat it. If you don;t have that, then your survivalism is guns and ammunition.

Blogger Richard Martel October 16, 2019 5:21 PM  

I know it's not exactly what you are looking for here, but I do believe every American should own the first few Foxfire books.

Blogger Akuma October 16, 2019 5:29 PM  

The problem with indoor plumbing is we still use HDPE. Gotta get some Hemp plastic. Stronger than steel. All the dindus will try and smoke it though.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash October 16, 2019 5:46 PM  

sammibandit wrote:At best a layman could probably make a trebuchet from them.
Having built a few trebuchets,from guesstimate and appearance, and having one fail spectaularly, I would say, build one and see.

Blogger Angantyr October 16, 2019 6:09 PM  

@74 & @85
I've been interested in doing this as well. Marsden, at least at one time, was the research Bible for Greek and Roman torsion artillery. There might be more recent works that at least augment this work.

Many years ago a friend of mine actually *built* a Roman torsion engine. It was a "scaled down" version of one purportedly used during either the siege of Jerusalem or Masada - and even at half size or whatever and disassembled it still took up half of his garage...

I'm very interested in building one of the smaller models, sort of the Classical/Roman era version of a .50 cal. Barrett rifle. Probably should finish my late Mediaeval steel prod crossbow first, however...

Blogger Angantyr October 16, 2019 6:14 PM  

Also, this series of articles over at SurvivalBlog might be of some use:
https://survivalblog.com/black-powder-self-reliance-part-1-m-b/
https://survivalblog.com/black-powder-self-reliance-part-2-m-b/
https://survivalblog.com/black-powder-self-reliance-part-3-m-b/
https://survivalblog.com/black-powder-self-reliance-part-4-m-b/

Blogger sammibandit October 16, 2019 6:43 PM  

@85 and 86

Cheers all around. It's cool to think that,

1) a functioning trebuchet could be built free-form. Proof that engineering "works". Something to get my son, when old enough, to help with on the farm.

2) a replicate siege tool used by Romans against Talmudidts, especially the Masadites, is the most Western thing I can think of.

Blogger DourCdn October 16, 2019 7:41 PM  

To be fair to the barbarians, as long as Rome was in control of their borders and managed the flow of barbarians coming into the empire, the barbarians and rome benefited. The barbarians wanted desperately to be Romans, this was true as long as they were a small percentage of the population. After the battle of Adrianople, the romans lost control or the borders, a massive wave of barbarians crossed the border, uncontrolled and armed.So in this case they were in large horde of their compatriots with all the chauvenism it entails. Thats when it became acceptable or politically corrext to hate the romans, even though the barbarians were there to enjoy the fruits of the empire, parasitically.

Blogger Monotonous Languor October 16, 2019 10:22 PM  

Stashing away DIY manuals is all well and good, but if the populace is still steeped in superstition, the manuals won't help anybody to do anything. The main takeaway here is mindset, i.e., how do people get mired into a superstitious way of thinking in the first place. Of course, a large part of it is innate intelligence. Typical, low IQ blacks have always believed in things like voodoo, and white privilege is simply the latest incarnation, an amorphous evil force that supposedly floats around the countryside randomly attacking innocent blacks. Without the mental ability to logically parse out cause from effect, then test with empirical evidence, reality is going to make only a limited amount of sense, and superstition will rule your life.

But ostensibly higher IQ leftists also believe in such nonsense. As Z-man indicated, this includes a panoply of things from microaggressions to hate-speech-is-equivalent-to-physical-aggression to magic dirt and everything in-between. All of it can be summarized as indirect links of random association unsupported by any reality-based feedback, instead reinforced by wishful thinking, moral fantasies, and who-whom will-to-power. I can only surmise that major elements of such a mindset are transmitted like a virus, and that an insidious meme actually infects each mind with which it comes into contact. But then again, that scenario is also akin to superstitious thinking.

Alternatively, the constant transmission of propaganda reinforced by operant conditioning, aka 'brainwashing' is a well documented, well observed part of behavioral science. There has got to be an answer in there somewhere, otherwise the coming new dark ages will just let the manuals rot in a bunker while providing an existence that is nasty, brutish, and short.

Blogger MichaelJMaier October 16, 2019 10:45 PM  

John Kim wrote: We can never build anything like that today. Technology is being hidden from us.

What in the world does that even mean?

What information?

"Hidden"? By whom?

Blogger Raker_T October 16, 2019 10:46 PM  

Some great ideas and book suggestions above. I have a bit more experience with 19th century stuff than most. I know people can't be familiar, but I can't afford no to. There are some things from old times that are practical, but it requires a constant evaluation of whether this is the method to use at this moment. There are some jobs where you need to set the power tool aside, and finish that one area by hand. there are some old ways that cost less.
Which brings up the most important point. You can't just read a book, grab the tools, and make them work. There are always details not in the text. It's like military training I guess. Weekend warrior, keep your skills up to date. My circumstances, and the parameters I set have put me in a different situation than most, but I really appreciate the accomplishments of those who can build and maintain a middle class life. I know you can't live with one foot in the 1800's and the other up to date. So maybe there's a way to designate specialists in fields that will be needed. They can teach the others in that area, a knowledge coop sort of deal.
Another thing, is that the collapse would be somewhat incremental. First, electricity would become sporadic, like it has been in parts of South America for years. Usually, they have electricity at least 3 days a week. At the outset of a collapse, there will be things lying around that will aid in survival. Every piece of plastic is evaluated as to whether it will carry water, every piece of fabric as to whether it will insulate something, and so on. I'm always looking at pieces of metal that are easy to retrieve, because I know which ones are worth taking. Leaf springs, for instance. After that stuff gets too picked over, then you'll have to start smelting iron from scratch, making cloth from scratch, etc.
Did someone mention the 1893 world's fair? Yeah, that was a big deal. It was to celebrate all the technological advances made since Columbus landed in America. 1892 was the 400th anniversary. The grounds were huge. There were exhibits from countries around the world, big stuff like locomotives. They fell behind on the painting schedule, and Binks was hired (with a crew) to finish the job with his newly invented spray gun on very short notice. 6 days, IIRC. Casey Jones was the tram operator taking people closer to the grounds. Many thousands of feet of transportation displays.
As far as books goes, I guess they need to be written and printed new, as to get past copyright laws? Could arrangements be made to reprint or sell existing books? the federal government has some booklets, I think I have one on tanning leather.
I avoided computers way past their widespread use. I got one to do word processing for a book I wanted to write about getting firewood with a crosscut saw. Then I went online and found trade sites with other people in my trade, and never did write the book. Guess I should get around to it.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd October 16, 2019 11:03 PM  

@92 Raker-t, what's your trade? Sawyer? Saw filer? Gunsmith? Farrier?

Blogger Raker_T October 16, 2019 11:46 PM  

Old school sign painter. But that can go about as far as you want. Calligraphy, typography, illustration, wood carving, murals, auto motive graphics, electric signs, neon, ornamental iron, computer graphics. the only thing I haven't done is neon. The knowledge of spray equipment I learned in the sign trade allowed me to paint a lot of RR equipment and trucks as part of my income when computers started taking over.
I could pass as a saw filer, because the thing has no motor, YOU are the motor, and the better it's operating, the more you get done. There's a reason everyone calls a dull saw a misery whip. I do practical things around the homestead; butcher large animals, do metal working including forge work, and the usual country survival skills of auto mechanics, plumbing, home improvement.
It might come off as some kind of working class hero, but it's not all comfort, if fact it can be surreal. Those parameters I mentioned earlier? Mainly these: No TV, no air conditioning, no debt. 11 kids. So life is this constant stream of maintenance, repair, and research. It's bizarre how much knowledge it requires. I'm very particular about sanitation when butchering, I don't want paint falling off a truck six months down the road, and I don't want to lose sleep over doing electrical repairs less than NEC-National Electric Code. The amount of tools and supplies involved is tremendous. And most of the tools are stuff from bygone days, which themselves need occasional fixing. It really can be surreal.

Blogger Up from the pond October 17, 2019 12:27 AM  

I was taught that the Dark Ages, c.500-c.900 A.D., were "Dark" because comparatively few manuscripts survive from that time. The inference was supposed to be that people in that era forgot how to read and write, and were too busy bashing each other in the head with clubs to care. Dark indeed!

But maybe more manuscripts existed and were lost for some reason. Or historians are lying to us in some way. They've done it before.

As others have said, it's important to publish and preserve physical editions of good books. Not only are public libraries throwing old books into garbage cans, but also many current writings are digitized. If even the indoor plumbing goes away, forget about computers displaying words.

Are we in a "dark" age now in this respect? Maybe no writings of ours will physically survive another 1,000 years. Imagine people then looking back at us and saying, "We have no written information from that time. Clearly, these boobs forgot how to read and write. We shall name that era 'the Dark Patch.'"

Now imagine they look back and say this instead: "A few institutions stood as pillars of the grand civilization of that epoch. One such pillar was known as 'the House of the Castalias'...."

Blogger JAG October 17, 2019 1:08 AM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:Nate and Hippy

Orca and Seal

Shark and Surfer


Tornado and trailer

Blogger Duke Norfolk October 17, 2019 5:29 AM  

Look up the Seattle school system's new math curriculum; diversity in math, or some such nonsense. They're going to eventually (if not already) stop teaching mathematics entirely, as they indoctrinate the young even more extremely. Dark ages, here we come.

Blogger Vaughan Williams October 17, 2019 7:59 PM  

@94 Raker_T if you were in Canada I'd say come over for a beer, just harvested the hops and they did well this year despite the weather.

Blogger Vaughan Williams October 17, 2019 8:42 PM  

@65 You're going to be very confused when are throwing you out of the helicopter with all the other dirt hippie commies. And you'll scream and cry about how we're wrong and how its not fair.

Toy helicopters are for bathtubs, Nate.

@44 Snidely, in the same friendly spirit as the warning you gave me, "monomania". You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash October 18, 2019 12:12 AM  

No, I know exactly what it means, and you are exhibiting all the signs of it. Don't push me.

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