More Category File Archives Added – Through Clockmaking

I’ve gotten a few more Category File Archives added. They are complete up through Clockmaking.

New Categories added since I began including the Archives:

  • Forging
  • Medical-Surgery 2
  • Meteorology
  • Navigation

already have Archives in them as will any other new Categories added in the future. As I have time I’m going back and adding Archives to the existing Categories. It will take a while since I try to spend what time I have available to work on the Library on adding new books. Eventually though they will be added to all the Categories.

The next New Category that will be added is Medical-Military. It will be made up of Military publications on a wide variety of Medical subjects. Since they are government publications they can be freely distributed. Many of them are more up to date than the other categories but carry with that a dependence on modern technology. The general knowledge in them however on theory and understanding medical issues is quite good. Should have it online sometime next week.

The Librarian.

New Power Grid Threat

As if the threat of Solar Flares causing EMPs or a rogue nation using crude nuclear weapons to launch and EMP attack on the U.S is not enough we now have the Federal government warning that China is capable of shutting down the United States Power Grid.

I’ve often expressed my concern that we have become increasingly and dangerously dependent on technology and especially electronics technology without taking the time to ensure that the technology is reliable, robust and that it’s failure would not have catastrophic consequences.

So yet another reminder that our entire technological and industrial infrastructure has a Single Point of Failure with no redundancy.

I’m sure that the Federal Government will put just as much effort into shielding our Power Grid from Chinese cyber intrusion as they have taken to shield it form Solar and Nuclear EMPs… i.e. no effort at all.

Makes you feel all warm and fizzy doesn’t it?

Guess I need to add a new Category to the Library… Chinese Language Instruction.

The Librarian

More Archive FIles Being Added

I’m working on getting the Archives built for each category. It’s a bit slow since I’m excluding the EPUB files and have to break the files into groups of about 250mb to keep the archives from being too large for practical downloading.

When I get this batch uploaded to the Site I’ll add them to the indexes and I’m going to mark each Category in the Main Library Index that has Archives files with a (A) after the Category Name.

That way you’ll know which ones have the archives added without having to click through them.

I’m also going ahead and removing the EPUB links from the Index as I add the Archive files.

The Librarian

Navigation Category Added

(Update: There was a pathing error in the Index. It’s fixed now. Sorry about that. Bit rushed when I posted the index and didn’t check it thoroughly enough.))

The Navigation Category is online and ready for use.

I’m glad that one of you pointed out the gap with having a section on how to build lots of different kinds of boats and ships as well as early types of planes (and a new section coming soon on Balloons, Airships and Dirigibles) but nothing about how to Navigate from Point A to Point B.

I think it’s because I grew up using maps and compasses and unconsciously take for granted knowing how to navigate. It’s kind of like walking… you never think about a book on walking because you do it without really even being aware that you are doing it.

But these should help fill the gap. There are really two different types of Navigation books in the group. The majority of them are related to navigation at sea or celestial navigation. Most of that involves using sextants and other angle measuring instruments to measure various celestial objects then using chronometers and tables to computer your location anywhere on the globe.

While celestial navigation is not as precise as GPS a skilled navigator should be able to compute their location within a mile or two and with a theoretical maximum accuracy of 500 yards.

The other type of books in the category are about aerial navigation. In the days that these books were written that amounted to basically two methods… using either dead reckoning or radio beacons.
Celestial navigation actually was used in early aviation especially in the second quarter of the 1900s. That was a time when the performance of aircraft greatly exceeded the ground based navigation systems in existence thus requiring advanced navigation capability on board.

Here is a page with some beautiful pictures of of some of the equipment used in aircraft for celestial navigation in those days:

(The book Air Navigation by Weems which is cited in the section of the above linked page about “The Air Navigation Library” is included in our Navigation Category as “Air Navigation 1943″)

When you look at some of the books and get overwhelmed by what appears to be complex procedures remember that 14 year old Naval Midshipmen in the early 1800s were expected to master these techniques before standing for their Lieutenant’s Exam. In early air celestial navigation the navigators or pilots did what that Midshipman did but while sitting in an open cockpit thousands of feet in the air. If they could master it then you can too. These are the same books they used to do so.

The Librarian

Sunspot AR2192 Back for a Second Pass as AR 2209

The large sunspot that threw out half a dozen X-Class flares a couple weeks ago and caused some communications problems is back for a second pass across the face of the sun this week. This time around its number is AR2209.

Space Weather is reporting that it clearly has the potential and energy levels to throw out more X-Class flares along the way.

Not going to lose any sleep over it or take any particular action but just like events in the Middle East and in D.C…. it bears watching.

The Librarian

2014-11-16 Next New Category Will Be Navigation

The new Category that I’m working on right now is Navigation. I should have it ready to post and online by the end of the week.

That was kicked off by one of you pointing out that we had a Category for building boats and ships but none on how to Navigate them once built.

I also ran across an interesting fact a couple weeks ago when I searching for books on the subject…

The U.S. Naval Academy no longer teaches Celestial Navigation to prospective Naval Officers. It was dropped from the curriculum in 1998.

The Merchant Marine Academy, the Coast Guard Academy and the Naval Academies of most other nations still teach it but not the U.S. Navy.

Picture a U.S. Carrier fleet at sea somewhere in the world when a solar EMP event occurs which takes out their electronic navigation systems and the GPS satellites.

The realization that they no longer have the knowledge or skills to get their fleet home is a somewhat sobering image to process. I can almost picture the face of the captain of the carrier when he is told that no one board has a sextant or knows how to use one.

But maybe they’d be lucky and encounter a merchant ship or Coast Guard cutter which could tell them where they are and what heading to follow to get home.

In any event… Navigation… how to use Sextants and other Celestial Navigation instruments will be available later this week.

The Librarian

Canning Warning

I’ve added a warning page to the Canning Section similar to the one on the Medical Categories.

That is per a suggestion from one of our Users who pointed out that many of the canning techniques used in the 1800s are not considered safe by modern experts. I have no doubt that they are correct.

Per her suggestion I’ve also added the current USDA Complete Guide to Canning at the top of that Index for anyone who would like to learn canning. If you are interested in learning to can PLEASE use that guide and do NOT attempt any of the techniques from the 1800s.

These books are provided for a very specific environment… one in which the supplies and materials used in modern safe canning are no longer available, have been used up and no one is manufacturing any more. In that environment there may not be any other option than to use these techniques. That is the only circumstances under which you should ever consider using these techniques.

Be warned. They CAN kill you since people canning in the 1800s and early 1900s did not know what we know today about Botulism and Ecoli and a host of other problems.

If you want to learn to can use the modern techniques.

The Librarian


Email Responses – Rope ad Renewable Energy

This is a response to a couple of emails I’ve gotten the last few days. In these two cases there was no email address to which to respond.

1.) Someone suggested I add a section on Rope. I did some digging and searching and I working on it. Be a few weeks but it will be added at some point.

2.) Someone suggested a section related to renewable energy and what would be needed to make use of it after a collapse. That one takes a bit longer of a response.

In the case of an EMP, solar or manmade, pretty much all electronics will be fried, burned out and pretty much useless though small amount might be salvageable here and there.

Solar power as a viable power source is pretty well out. A solar power system is complex requiring Panels, Controllers, Batteries and Voltage Inverters. Of the four elements of a complete system the Panels and Batteries are likely to survive an EMP. The Controllers and Voltage Inverters will not. So after the event while your panels will still generate electrical power you will no way to convert it into a voltage that will reliably recharge the batteries. Even if you can build a controller from salvaged materials you will have not voltage inverter to convert the 12/24 volt battery power into AC power for electrical equipment. If you are enough of an electrician to build a controller and Inverter from scratch components then there’s not much that older technology can provide that you do not already know.

The same situation applies with Wind Power except that the Wind generator replaces the Solar Panels in the above paragraph though many modern wind generators have circuitry installed in the generator case that would also be fried. That problem could probably be worked around but the other two problems remain.

In either case, wind or solar, they are not viable long term solutions. In a post-Collapse solar panels represent a technology that could no longer be produced. Solar Panels are quite sophisticated pieces of technology which have only really become useful energy producers within the last few decades. They require an extensive and very sophisticated infrastructure to manufacture and are unlikely to be manufactured for a generation or two after a collapse.

Wind generators are a different matter and have been manufactured for hundreds of years. However through most of their history the product of their function was mechanical power not electrical. The Dutch used them to power pumps that helped dry out land they had reclaimed from the ocean. The farmers of the American West used them to pump water from isolated wells into stock pumps or farm water tanks for farmhouses. The earliest American colonials used them to power mills to turn millstones to grind grain. The very term “Wind Mills” comes from that last use and was a common practice in many parts of the world.

Their use for electrical power is a 20th century conversion for the most part though there were some late 1800s experimental efforts.

The problems with both of these power methods are the problems which still persist today and has doomed every effort to build commercial scale power projects. Unfortunately no one has developed a viable solution to either problem.

First Solar and Wind power only produce power when the Sun Shines and the Wind Blows. Factories and homes and farms have to keep running when the Sun Doesn’t Shine and when the Wind Doesn’t Blow so wherever these two methods are used they have to be backed up by redundant conventional power sources capable of providing power when the Wind Doesn’t Blow and the Sun Doesn’t Shine. Who can afford to build two separate but equal power systems when one will do the job and the conventional one is absolutely required?

Second Solar and Wind both require conditions that favor their use. Solar does not work well in a cloudy environment where there is limited sunlight. Wind does not work well in places where there is little prevailing wind. Unfortunately people and industry are not limited to places where Solar and Wind are viable power sources and often the placement of industry is based upon the necessity to be close to raw materials or other limitations.

While Solar and Wind may be a solution to some short term problems after a collapse, in the case of any disaster that takes down the power grid and electronics such as an EMP their use will be limited and relatively short term.

In all likelihood the most viable medium term power source for generating power with which to rebuild a collapsed infrastructure will be coal since it will be about the only fuel source which could still be produced with existing technology.

Nuclear would be a pipe dream considering it’s reliance on high technology to build and operate. The Oil and Natural Gas reserves which are easy to reach are used up and the ones remaining both offshore and in Shale Oil fields require some pretty sophisticated technology and industrial power to reach. Even worse Natural Gas is not easy to transport and refining Oil requires a fairly elaborate transportation infrastructure and sophisticated training and control systems.

Coal on the other hand can be mined predominantly with manual labor and fairly low tech equipment and, being basically rock, requires little sophisticated technology to transport, simply bulk motive power.

It’s an unpleasant reality but remains a reality nonetheless.

The Librarian

2014-11-12 Founding and Casting Category Added

The Founding and Casting Category has been added. The individual files as well as the Archives are online and should be accessible.

It was remiss of me to not notice that this subject area had been missed when you consider that in a post-Collapse world complex and sophisticated machining of metal parts is not likely going to be possible. Computer controlled machining will be virtually nonexistent unless someone is able to salvage some working computers. Even then CNC programming is a pretty specialized skill that few people know. Allen I appreciate you pointing it out.

What is more likely is that other than blacksmithing and simple metal working most significant industrial scale metal working will be foundry and casting work. Those processes are one of the foundations of building an industrial infrastructure. Even in the modern world structural steel and iron components are not machined but cast and forged.

Look at a modern bridge and the components that make up the structure. Despite all our technological advancement the primary beams and other large components of bridges are still made pretty much the same way they were made a hundred years ago… pouring metal into molds and/or forging them with heavy powered hammers into the desired shape.

The Krupp Steel business is well known in Europe and most often associated with manufacturing armaments for Germany. However it didn’t get its start making weapons. Little known is that Krupp’s largest and most profitable product was wheels for rail cars that they sold in Europe and America. During the 1800s and into the 1900s most train wheels underneath the locomotives and train cars that built the American West were manufactured by Krupp. The quality of the steel they produced and the techniques used to cast and turn the wheel to true them made them superior to wheels made anywhere else in the world. That single product is responsible for a large part of Krupp’s growth in the second half of the 1800s and leading up to the world wars in the 1900s.

If you look at machine tools used today you’ll discover that many of them use foundations or frames that are cast metal of one kind or another. Even today casting and forging is still a fundamental part of our industrial infrastructure. It’s hard to imagine building an industrial infrastructure without those skills.

So that deficit has been remedied and the category added. Enjoy.

The Librarian