2014-10-23 Medical-Microscopy Category Added

I’ve just added the Medical-Microscopy Category. It’s only 18 files but they cover the basics of microscope use, staining-which is a pretty important aspect of using a microscope for biological and medical use and three short texts on making microtomes.

If you’re not familiar with working with microscopes you generally need very thin sections of materials to allow light to pass through and make the structure viewable. The problem is that past a certain point it becomes very hard to take a very thin slice of something manually.

In the laboratory that is solved by use of a device/machine called a microtome. There are many types using a variety of cutting methods but in the end they are all simply slicing thin sections of a sample like slicing vegetables in the kitchen only writ vewy, vewy small..

The three texts relating to microtomes describe a very simple to construct homemade manual microtome. While it is not a replacement of a working lab microtome it works remarkably well and can produce quite good results.

On the general issue of microscopes it’s an area that may be of no interest to you or of great interest. My wife happens to be a Registered Nurse so in a post-Collapse world her skills with a microscope and ability to identify various bacteria and cell abnormalities would be an extremely valuable asset to a group or community. If you happen to have a doctor in your group or should have one join your group or community later, the availability of a simple microscope will greatly enhance their capability.

If you have no medical training at all or plan to lone wolf or retreat to an isolated bug out location then perhaps microscopes are on page two hundred on your priority list.

It might be worth adding to you list simply as a possible item of barter. Decent optical microscopes can be found on ebay and other online sites for really cheap prices. I recently bought an excellent used Spencer binocular scope for $75 that new was in the $400-$500 range. It works perfectly and is in use in my projects room.

The problem with not having one tucked away is that while they seem simple in concept, manufacturing one requires some fairly advanced optical lens making and some pretty precises machining capability. While very simple microscopes are easy to make, anything beyond the very simple elementary school science fair project variety of microscope increase almost exponentially in difficulty. For $75 or even less you can avoid a great deal of work and have a potentially very valuable tool on hand.

Even if you personally have no use for Microscopy books or a microscope I recommend adding the books to your medical library simply as a resource for possible future need. If you are the one helping rebuild in a post-Collapse world that extra set of knowledge could help reboot the medical infrastructure to your and everyone’s benefit.

The Librarian

2014-10-22 New projects in progress…

These are some of the projects being worked on at the moment. As always how fast they are finished depends on work, chores at home and the weather (i.e. when the weather’s good I’m working outside) so no firm predictions as to when they will be finished.

  • I should have the Medical-Microscopy books up in a few days.
  • I have about 40 new books on Slide Rules gathered together and plan to post them sometime in the next couple of weeks.
  • I found some sources of Users Manuals/Instruction Manuals for most makes and models of Sliderules. I’m collecting them and will get them posted in a Sliderule-Manual category when they are ready
  • Medical-Surgery (40+ additions to the existing collection)
  • Medical-Military which is a good collection of various TMs and FMs (i.e. Technical Manuals and Field Manuals) from various services related to the medical field.
  • Medical-XRay which is an interesting collection of books form the early 1900s on X-Ray machines and their uses in medicine.
  • A new Additions and Specials Category for posting various additions to different categories where they can be easily downloaded before they get moved to their parent category and for posting unusual and.or interesting books that don’t easily fall into any existing category but seem worth posting for you.
  • A Painting and Drawing Category with an interesting range of subjects

Those are the current projects I’ve got on the work drive. I’ll update you on the status of individual ones as they come to fruition and are close to being ready to post.

On a personal note I went out and bought a small desktop/bench drill press this past week for the book binding table. Several of the last few books I’ve printed and bound just did not measure up and to a large extent it was due to trying to drill the sewing holes in the text block with a hand drill. As anyone who has ever tried to drill vertical holes with a hand drill will tell you it’s somewhat tricky, especially when drilling through paper close to an edge.

So from now on I’ll just clamp the darned text block and set it on the drill press table and drill the darned holes straight. It will make my work a lot easier and probably result in much tidier books when i reach the covering stage.

Since winter time here is pretty dreary and general either clear and icey or warm and rainy I figure I’ll get to spend a good number of weekends up in the project room either bookbinding or reloading or working on plant slides at the microscope or sealing up food. I’m trying to get the project room set up for this winter’s projects ahead of time.

The Librarian

2014-10-20 Medical-Diagnostics Category Added

I’ve just added a new Category named Medical-Diagnostics.

As with the other Medical texts please read, then RE-read the Warning page at the link at the top of this and every other Medical Category. I know most people won’t read it but the information in it bears repeating and re-repeating.

These books are from the 1800s and early 1900s when our knowledge of the human body, medicine, genetics and many other medically related fields was rudimentary compared to today. It cannot be stressed enough that if there is any other alternative and any access to modern medicine then take advantage of it and do NOT use the information in these books for anything other than their historical or entertainment value.

That being said… if we ever do find ourselves in a post-Collapse world there is a very real chance that there will NOT be medical resources available other than rudimentary first aid. In the event of an EMP event, either solar or man-made, the technology upon which much of modern medicine depends will be non-existent. In the modern medical diagnostics texts I have there is a strong reliance on modern technology, laboratory tests, tests that use technologically advanced equipment and the use of computers… none of which would function in a post-EMP world.

The BEST estimates are that in a post-EMP environment, especially a solar based EMP even which affects the entire globe, 80%-90% of the population would die within in a few weeks to months after such an event. In the United States Doctors (of all specialties) make up .28% of the population… that is 2/10s of One Percent. If only 10%-20% of the population survives you can see that there is a very real possibility that Physicians could be few and far between if any survive at all.

The books in this Category use what one doctor friend of mine calls the Poke, Prod and Peer method of diagnostics. You Poke and Prod here and there to see what causes discomfort (what you and I call pain) and to feel the patients insides (i.e. palpation) and look at the patient to see what you can see. A few of the books describe basic laboratory and microscopy techniques which could be viable in a post-collapse world after a time especially since basic optical microscopes would, for the most part, be unaffected by EMP. A few provide diagnostics techniques using X-Rays.

Considering that X-Ray machines were first built using early 1900s technology it’s not far-fetched to imagine a post-Collapse world being able to recreate X-Ray technology without requiring too massive of an infrastructure rebuilding. That’s especially true when you understand that most X-Ray tubes would survive an EMP event even if the rest of the apparatus was destroyed. With a functional X-Ray tube the recreation of a working X-Ray machine would be possible if not trivial.

In any event the books in the Category are posted and available for whatever uses you choose to make of them.

The Librarian

2014-10-16 Medical-Anesthesia Category Added

I’ve added a new Category named Medical-Anesthesia.

A few notes about it:

1. I ran across a collection of old medical texts I hadn’t seen befoINre and got copies of them to look through. One of the things that really surprised me a bit were the number of books on Anesthesia dating back well into the 1800s.

While I remember posting a good bit in the past about the Medical book collection and discussing the impact of a serious medical emergency such as appendicitis in a post-collapse environment I think I did what all of us do when thinking about such things… I made the unconscious assumption that something as vital and (to us today) ubiquitous as anesthesia would not be an issue.

Rather I didn’t think of it as a non-issue as much as it didn’t even enter my mind as BEING an issue. After looking through some of these books I got a bit of a chill running down my spine. It’s one thing to contemplate having to perform an appendectomy on a family or community member in a post-collapse world. It’s quite another to contemplate having to do so without anesthetics.

These books are a compendium on 1800s and early 1900s anesthesia. Almost all of them focus on either Ether or Nitrous Oxide as the primary anesthetic and several of them write extensively about the production of them. In the Formulas Category there are several other books that I remember having information about the manufacture of both of those compounds so there is some overlap there.

2. As with any of the books on Medical topics in the Library I cannot stress too much that these are books from the 1800s and early 1900s. This was a period before the discovery of antibiotics, DNA and a plethora of other knowledge we take for granted today. It is virtually impossible to grasp the vast and overwhelming advances in knowledge that have occurred since then in our understanding of both the human body and the etiology, progression and cure of diseases. Indeed conditions that in the 1800s and early 1900s were simply dismissed as being caused by transient psychological problems (i.e. hysteria) we now know in many cases to be actual diseases with known and treatable causes.

The bottom line is that compared to modern medicine the information in these books is not only far less useful and effective than modern medicine but in many instances can be dangerous or fatal if used. The first rule for a Physician is believed to be “First do no harm.” While that is not actually part of the Hippocratic Oath it is still a good starting principle.

My advice is simple. Unless there is absolutely no other option than standing by and watching someone die in agony… don’t ever use any of the information in these Medical texts. Even then unless you are in a post-Collapse world where Attorneys and Liability Lawsuits are no longer a factor in day-to-day life don’t even think about using any of the knowledge in these books.

3. If there IS no other option and the Attorneys have all been devoured by true predators and there are no other medical resources available or the medical resources available require technology that no longer exists or functions then consider this… many of these texts are the result of the insane number of brutal injuries Doctors had to treat during the Civil War and WW1. Individual Doctors in those conflicts treated more injuries than most entire hospitals see in several decades of peacetime. While it is horrible to think about, the Doctors in those conflicts tried everything they could to save lives and sometimes, in desperation, found ways to save lives that no one had tried before. The bottom line is that they saved a lot of lives that would have otherwise been lost. It’s something to keep in mind. A Surgeon on the battlefield in WWI probably performed more surgery in a few years than a dozen modern surgeons perform in an entire career and under conditions that would leave a modern surgeon dumbfounded.

Bottom line is that the knowledge and skills and information in these books, in a post collapse world where there is no doctor is far better than standing by and doing nothing.

A post-Collapse world will, for a long time, be a brutal, savage, merciless and ruthless place. Simple survival itself, at both the individual, family and community level, will be a day-to-day struggle and not only will there be no guarantees but the odds will be strongly stacked against you. IN such an environment even the most rudimentary Medical skills could mean the difference between life and death.

4. Ideally it would be nice to have a wide personal Library of modern Medical textbooks covering everything from diagnostics through surgery through how to manufacture medicines and instruments. However, having a personal collection of modern medical texts myself and being married to a Nurse I am also faced with the stark reality that much of the knowledge in these books regarding treatment of injury and illness relies heavily on access to modern technology and manufacturing capacity. Those are both resources and materials that simply would not exist in a post-Collapse world. A book that prescribes a non-available medicine that cannot be manufactured in a post-Collapse world is somewhat less than useful. A surgical procedure that requires equipment that either is not available or does not function is just as useless.

A simple example suffices. Insulin since the 80s has predominantly been manufactured using recombinant DNA, a technology not likely to be available to folks in a post-Collapse world. The extraction of insulin from the pancreas of animals wasn’t discovered until the 1920s and once it became an industry relied on the availability of large numbers of pig pancreas. More importantly it relied on the existence of refrigeration since insulin degrades fairly quickly without refrigeration. In a post-Collapse world insulin production is not likely to be practical for a long, long time until a technological and industrial infrastructure is rebuilt. If it were manufactured it would require the widespread availability of refrigeration (which presupposes a functioning power grid) for practical distribution and storage. It would require rebuilding the infrastructure to a level comparable to the late 1920s or early 1930 to make insulin production and distribution a viable option.

Diagnostics techniques that require access to equipment much beyond the basic microscope or mechanical centrifuge are going to be problematical. We’ll be adding a Diagnostics Category soon.
So add the Anesthesia Books to your Library and then Pray to a Merciful God that you will never have need of them.

The Librarian

p.s. I also removed the NEW designation from categories that have been online for a while and have started afresh with this category and the Welding one added last week.

2014-10-13 New Medical Texts Coming Soon

I’m going to be adding a large number of additional Medical Texts over the next couple weeks. I’ve come across some new sources for some books that I don’t already have in my collections. I’ll be getting them cataloged and added as I have time.

Initially I’ll post them in separate categories so they are easy to differentiate from ones already posted. After they have been online for a month or so I’ll merge them into the existing categories where they are appropriate and creating news ones as required.

The Librarian.

2014-10-10 Welding Category Added

I’ve just finished uploading a new category for Welding. It’s 38 books on Welding covering both Arc welding and Acetylene Gas welding. Arc welding goes back to the 1800s but became common in the early 1900s. It was in wide use in Europe before it became common in the U.S. but its use really took off during WWII in the armaments industry especially shipbuilding.

Arc welding requires a reliable and steady source of electricity and in a post-collapse environment that could be problematical. Fortunately there is a good body of information on gas welding using acetylene.

One of the books in the list is in Bold type and is a book entirely about the production of acetylene.

Acetylene is normally produced from calcium carbide. Calcium carbide is made by combining lime and coke in an arc furnace. This technique was first used in the early 1800s and is still the normal method used today to produce commercial quantities of calcium carbide. You’re probably familiar with calcium carbide from references to its use in miner’s helmet lamps. Combining calcium carbide with water produces acetylene which produces the flame used in the lamps.

Bottom line is that while producing calcium carbide does require temperatures in the 2000 degree range, thus the use of arc furnaces, it’s production was mastered using early to mid 1800s technology. With the availability of acetylene gas welding becomes possible as well as it’s common use in the 1800s for lighting such as in the classic Miner’s lamp.

I suspect that someone with some good basic electrical skills could probably manufacture an arc welder by hand if they had developed a source of power. I doubt that solar or wind is a practical source for powering an arc welder unless you have an inordinately large battery bank but a diesel (or other engine) driver generator certainly is.

In either case welding opens a range of possibilities for construction, manufacture and building beyond what is possible with wood or masonry.

The Librarian

Adjustable Backup Glasses

My wife made an interesting discovery a week or so ago and I wanted to pass it on. This is just one particular site but there are others making similar products.


They are essentially adjustable glasses. Those of us who wear glasses have to consider that item in a collapse scenario. No more handy local optometrist to make glasses or sites on the internet to order low cost spare sets. Break your only set of glasses in a post-collapse world and you’re potentially in a world of hurt depending on how bad your vision is.

Spare glasses aren’t cheap even online. These new adjustable ones ARE cheap and while they are not as good as a set of prescription lenses they are usable. I’ve tested them at work and at home and I’m EXTREMELY near sighted. Without my glasses I can’t differentiate faces past 10 feet. With these adjustables I can actually adjust them to better than 20/20 distance vision. They work well for reading as well as computer work.

At about $30 a pair they are definitely an item to be added to your emergency supplies. A pair can work for several people. Imagine the barter potential of a set of adjustable glasses in a world where there are no more shops for making glasses.

Do a search for adjustable lenses and you’ll find other companies selling similar products as well.

The Librarian

Posted in Uncategorized

2 thoughts on “Adjustable Backup Glasses

  1. Thanks. Being a wearer of trifocals myself I always keep a couple of previous years glasses handy. But these sound fantastic for when not if the vision gets worse. Thanks again!

  2. I wear bifocals myself so have a similar problem. I also keep old sets in the drawer But these are so easy to use and so cheap that I’m getting a few pairs as emergency backups, one set for the car, and a few sets to go in the emergency supplies. Since they are usable by anyone being adjustable they are ideal for adding to emergency supplies.

    Imagine their barter potential! Silver and Gold is nice but imagine being able to offer someone a set of glasses they can adjust to their prescription. In a post-collapse world that’s a lot more valuable than gold or silver since all the gold and silver in the world won’t buy a set of glasses when there is no one to make them. A nearsighted person trying to hunt without glasses is in a serious situation.

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2014-10-03 Embalming Category Added

I happened to run across these books a week or so ago. I couldn’t really think of a practical application for them in a post-collapse world where we are rebuilding but accept that I could easily be wrong so I figured I’d put them in the Library anyway.

It seems to me that in a world where we are rebuilding from some kind of collapse and in which air conditioning is either non-existent or at least rare that that the dead would be buried quickly or in some cases not buried at all but left where they fell.

I just can’t see some of the more elaborate and artificial funereal practices of the modern world being retained in such a world but then I could easily be wrong. Perhaps they would become even more important though I suspect the form of them would change quite a bit as we had to deal with a new level of technology.

But my opinions are just that… my opinions and of not real interest to anyone in the world except me.

So the books have been posted in a new category for your educational and viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

The Librarian

2014-09-25 Some New Oddities to be Added in a Few Days

Ran across some odd but interesting oldies. 7 books on Embalming practices. Thought some of you might find them interesting.

I’m not sure just how much practical value there is in them since in a post emergency situation anyone who dies will simply be buried immediately in most cases. That assumes it’s someone in your local community. Anyone from outside the community or encountered in more unfriendly situations is most likely going to be left where they fall unless the pose a danger to the community.

Regardless I’ll post them in a few days if anyone is interested.

The Librarian