ARE YOU READY IF THERE WAS AN EMERGENCY?
Living in Central New York, I seldom experience hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes. It’s not to say that they can happen here; they have and they will in the future; they just don’t happen that often. Two years ago, I was caught in what they call a downburst, but it might as well been a tornado. The toughest thing we have to deal with most of the time is rain or snow; and this year, it’s been more rain than snow.
Today we’re going to discuss what we need to do in the event of an emergency-any emergency, no matter how big or small. In this series, we’ve mostly talked about global disasters, but any diaster can be a major one-if you’re not prepared.
We take for granted that we’ll have electricity, running water, food, and heat. But what if something major happened, and there wasn’t any of these items available for days, weeks, or even months? Here are some helpful hints that might help the gravity of the situation:
- Don’t panic. We sometimes react to a situation with fear, and lose our sense of organization. If there was, say, a plane crash right in your neighborhood, would you know what to do? If you’re sleeping in your bed, there would be nothing you could do. But if you’re awake, and actually see the plane crash, and are far enough to be safe, the first thing would be to alert the authorities. If there is anyway to save survivors, that would be the next step. But you need to be careful not to put your own life in jeopardy in the process.
- Know what you’re about to face. Being prepared means more than just having the items on hand that you need. It means having enough to last at least a month, having edible items that don’t need refrigeration or cooking, and bottled water for at least a gallon a person a day.(That’s 30 gallons a month just for drinking.) Also be aware that help may not be readily available, cell phones or ipads may not work in the area, and widespread looting and violence may also be an issue.
- Learn emergency skills. When I worked for my employer, I learned CPR, which is invaluable in a life and death situation, where there will be no doctors, or hospitals, and if there are, they’ll be working on generators. Knowing first aid and CPR are two of the biggest things you can do to help your loved ones. Being able to act responsively in an emergency situation is a valuable asset for everyone.
- Be supportive of others. There will be enough people running around and taking whatever they can to get by. You need to band together as a neighborhood community, and keep negative influences from preying on the suffering. So often we ignore our neighbors, but will they or you be there when they really need it?
- Prepare a mobile kit. You need to put together a small, but compacted kit of items that you will need if you have to be on the move in an emergency.
The government’s FEMA program works with communities to better understand the risks involved in disasters, and work towards more efficient and cost effective warning systems. They work to create better evacuation routes and emergency systems, so that hopefully another Katrina won’t happen. Lawlessness is a big problem during disasters, and until authorities intervene, there is no law to protect you. Personally, I would prefer to take my own chances, than relying on a government who may or not be there for us.
There are certain items that one needs to keep available in the event of a disaster. You will not be able to carry them all with you, but they need to be in a place that you have easy access to them. They are listed below:
1. water 2. chocolate 3.tea 4. coffee
5. Hot chocolate
6. Sugar, salt, pepper
7. juice packets
8. peanut butter,jelly
9. pet food for animals
10. First aid kit
14. petroleum jelly
15. safety pins
16. Asprin or motrin
17. Anti-Diarrhea medication
19. Paper Products:
Plates and eating utensils
20. Pots and pans
21. Knives, cooking utensils
22. Portable crank radio
25. can opener
26. Fire extinguisher
28. Duct Tape
30. Wooden Matches
31. Aluminum Foil
32. Signal Flares
33. Paper, pencils,pens
34. Needle, Thread
38. Maps 39. Rifle 40. Ammunition 41. Blankets, sheets, pillows 42. Small tent 43. Backpack for mobility 44. canned foods 45. Hunting or Fishing Knife 46. Crackers
There may be other items you might want to consider that aren’t on the list above. Tomorrow, I will have a special treat for everyone; a sample of my new novel Dimension Lapse III: Dimensional Breakdown.
INTRODUCTION TO DISASTER
As we live our every day lives, we seldom think about it. What would you do if everything you knew turned upside down and inside out? What if there were no more electricity, running water, television, radios, phones, or computers to rely on. What if there were no supermarkets, and you were forced to live off what was available. Could you do it?
I spend part of my summer up in the thousand islands, at our family camp on the St. Lawrence River, and grew up in a cabin with no electricity, only an old wood stove for heat. We did have a gas stove, but often we threw the cast iron pan on the wood stove to cook bacon and eggs, or a baked potato. We had no running water up there in those days, and the only fresh water is what we brought with us. For light at night we used lanterns, candles or flashlights. If we needed a bath, we jumped in the river.
With the money left from my mother’s estate, we modernized the cabin, rebuilt it, and added a shower and solar power. It does make things a lot easier to flick a light switch instead of lighting a lantern. But in some ways, I miss the “roughing” it.
This week and next, I will be discussing global disasters, and their affect on society and the environment. I’m not talking about a mere tornado, earthquake, or hurricane. I’m talking about the type of disaster, which could be man-made or natural, that creates such a havoc that it will change our world for years to come.
During this series, we’ll look at the different types of scenarios and how people will react in each situation. We’ll look at global killers, such as asteroids, comets, solar flares, and gamma rays. We also will look at conditions such as global warming and global flooding, and pandemics, such as Ebola. There are also man-made threats such as nuclear and chemical warfare. I will, however, not be talking about such nonsense as a Zombie apocalypse, but I will talk about things as pulsars.
In the second half of the series, I’ll discuss what each person can do to make life a little easier if they survive such a scenario. Some situations are literally unsurvivable, but in the case of living through such a disaster, one must come up with a plan, and we’ll discuss what is needed for one.
So what is a global catastrophe? It is one that changes society to the point that a civilized population cannot exist, where governments have been dissolved, and survival of the fittest becomes the norm. It is a disaster that changes the modern landscape to a point beyond recognition. Natural and man made resources are scarce, and ingenuity is needed to survive.
I, myself, am not a hard core survivalist, and never was. If the world as we know it ended tomorrow, I would probably end with it. But if there is anyway to survive, I will do my best to report the same information in this series that I’ll give to you, and any other information I can suggest as well.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at our number one threat, Global and how to survive it. But can we really survive something that is inevitable? Find out tomorrow on my blog.
THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FACING THE WORLD TODAY
One would think after surviving almost 1,000,000 years, that man would learn to get along with one another, and live in peace. In a perfect world, as the one described in the bible’s book of Revelation, we will all one day live in harmony, and the lion will lay down with the lamb. Today’s world, however, is no such thing.
Global conflict is the number one problem facing the world today, and the sad part is it’s preventable. Countries, such as Japan and the US, Britain and Germany, and others have learn to come to terms of agreement as far as war is concerned. Other parts of the world, such as the Middle East continue to wage a path of destruction against one another, and lose valuable lives, resources, and historical artifacts around since antiquity.
Ever since 911, and even before that, there was a new type of war, called terrorism. Groups as early as the KKK, used terror to instill violence and hatred. Later, groups such as the PLO, Al Qaeda, and Isis filled the void, creating acts of terror, and taking and killing hostages.
What would it take for a globalized threat to control the world? 911 showed us that we can’t even be safe on our own soil. What would happen if Isis dismantled every known government of the world, and actually was able to control the world? Judging from their past efforts, they would inherit a ravaged landscape, after a long, bitter battle. I don’t believe Americans would go down as easily as foreigners might tend to believe.
One out every three Americans owns a firearm, and most have more than one. Next to China, our military is the biggest in the world, and has the most advanced weaponry. But most of our forces are abroad, and wouldn’t be able to respond quickly to an event on our own soil. We would literally be at the mercy of the wolves, and with internal suspected groups, such as the National Brotherhood of Islam, we would indeed have to fend for ourselves.
Global conflict can be devastating, but it would be very doubtful that a single terrorist group would be able to extend to such an extent that it would be successful. It is more likely a more powerful device, such as a nuclear bomb, would cause global upheaval. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have major implications; we only need to be reminded of the Munich Olympics, 911, several hostage and plane hijackings and bombings , to name a few.
In the event of a hostile takeover our country, the military will be deployed accordingly, and direct civilians to go the” safe haven” camps, where they can be more easily controlled. This has happened during natural disasters, such as tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes. There of course will be those who choose not to comply, and fend for themselves, living off what they need to survive, by looting, robbing the dead, or hunting small animals. Martial law would become the norm, until order could be restored, or lawlessness, depending on the outcome.
Tomorrow, we’ll explore the implications of a nuclear war, or even one nuclear incident that can change the world. The fear of using one has prevented this from happening, but with North Korea now in possession, is it now inevitable?
SEND IN THE NUKES
We have been living in the fear of nuclear war ever since the end of WWII, when the atomic bombs “Little Boy” and “Fatman” were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan. Back then, we weren’t really sure of the effects of a nuclear war, but now we are well aware of what a full scale attack can do.
Those of us lucky enough to survive such an attack would be forced to live underground for many years to come, if we can even survive at all. First, the heat from the atomic blasts would raise the surface of the Earth to thousands of degrees, burning everything in its path. Any vegetation able to survive would be contaminated from the radioactive fallout, any water would evaporate, and all plants would eventually die.
After three years of Hell on Earth, the world will eventually cool into a nuclear winter from the sun being blocked out. It would also deteriorate the atmosphere and the ozone layer. The Earth would survive, but it would takes hundred of years for it to return to even a recognizable landscape.
Nuclear war was a big concern in the late 50’s and early 60’s, when the rocket and space age began, and missiles were capable of traveling hundreds of miles to hit their targets. Later, IBCM’s, which were capable of traveling much longer distances replaced simple bombers and rocket launchers. There have only been a couple of incidents that have pushed the doomsday clock close to midnight, one being the Cuban Missile Crisis, during the 70’s, went tension grew between Russia and the US, and most recently tensions between the Ukraine and Russia, as well as North and South Korea.
As our nuclear systems age, there have also been “near” accidents, where missiles have been launched or activated mistakenly, and have been aborted as a result. There have even been some incidents where the system has shut down altogether. There is also the fear of terrorists getting a hold of some rogue nuclear weapons and activating them in several foreign cities. Thus far, this hasn’t happened, and the American administration and NATO have been firm on the stance of the use of nuclear power and whether suspected countries that harbor terrorists should have access to it.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at another planet killer. This one is not of this Earth, and packs quite a wallop. Find out what this doomsday catalyst is, and when it’s expected to arrive.
QUITE AN IMPACT
It is hard to imagine an object coming here from space and wiping us off the face of the Earth in a matter of seconds, but that’s exactly what happened to the dinosaurs almost 65,000,000 years ago, and it will almost certainly happen again. The question is when, and how bad will it be?
Comets are balls of ice that come from the Oort cloud and the Kuiper belt, traveling a usual elliptic orbit around our sun. They heat up as they approach, and produce tails. They are easy to see even without a telescope, and travel billions of miles across our solar system. For these reasons, they are easy to track, compared to asteroids.
Several comet impacts have occurred since life began on this planet, and the most recent one seen by humans was the Shoemaker-levy impact on the surface of Jupiter, which gave us a perfect view of what an impact does to a planet. Most impacts carry as much destructive power as 1/2 million tons of TNT.
In 2005, the Deep Impact spacecraft was sent to comet Tempel I to study its surface, which turned out to be powdery and fine, something scientists never expected, and rich in organic matter and carbon. In 2015, the Rosetta spacecraft successfully landed on a comet, and sent back a treasure trove of information.
Asteroids are large fragments of leftover planets, moons, and other celestial objects. They were formed early in the life of our solar system, and orbit between Mars and Jupiter, but can also exist outside this range. They are more of a threat to us, because there aren’t any tails on them, and they are usually smaller in size.
NASA has developed a system to successfully track most comets and asteroids, but no system to stop them at the present time. Several plans have been suggested, such as deflecting them with lasers and nuclear devices, to actually attaching rockets to them to push them into a different path. Asteroids and comets are useful to us because they have precious metals and gases in them that can benefit mankind. They both carry water, and sometimes the building blocks for life. Most meteorites or shooting stars come from comets, not asteroids, as is often believed.
There were two major events of asteroids or meteorite in recent history, and both were in Russia. There is the Tungusta event, in the early 20th century, in which no people were injured or killed, and the Chelyabinsk event on February 15, 2013, in which a fireball blew up over the city, injuring at least 1000 people, but there were no deaths.
If there were a global killer, such as the comet that hit that dinosaurs, it is unlikely mankind would survive. Just like a nuclear war, the sun would be blotted out from the firestorm caused by the impact. Even if it landed in the ocean, the tsunamis would be a mile high, and would flood most areas of the Earth. If a smaller one hit, smaller than a 1/2 mile wide, there would still be hope for mankind, but most ecosystems would still be affected, and several species of animals would cease to exist. Starvation would be globally rampant, and the atmosphere could still be affected enough to cause another ice age.
As we go about our everyday lives, there are thousands of near collisions just in one lifetime. We often see the tabloids warn of the impending doom this year’s asteroid will cause. According to doomsday theorists, this was supposed to occur in 2012-NOT! But that doesn’t mean we need to take it lightly. There are millions of objects out there, and we don’t know which one has our name on it. Hopefully, one day, we’ll be able to find them, divert them, and use the valuable resources they provide. Until then, if you see one coming, the best thing to do is put your head between your legs-and pray!
Tomorrow, we’ll look at another disaster, although this one is more of a simulated(what if?) one. Until then, here are some links about comets and asteroids:
THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
President Ronald Reagan once said that he often wondered how the nations and people of the world would react to an outside threat not of this Earth. Does this mean that he knew of a possible alien invasion, or that aliens were already visiting us? Perhaps, but I’m not here today to talk about conspiracies, that’s for another blog topic.
Today we are going to look at a hypothetical situation, and its implications to mankind. One of my favorite books is Childhood’s End, by Ray Bradbury, and it explores the possibility of an alien invasion. They recently made a sci-fi mini series on it, but I don’t believe it did it justice; the book is much better. Another recent movie that comes to mind in Skyline, about alien-robots that abduct humans to use their brains for their own artificial systems. They are both prime examples of how a real alien invasion might go down.
Most scientists are in agreement that any extraterrestrial life would most likely send nanoprobes, robotic spacecraft, or alien robots, instead of actually traveling across space to get here. We believe this because this is what we’ve done ourselves, and some even believe there are already alien probes traveling through this system. If this is true, perhaps these are the flying saucers and triangular craft that are often seen in our skies.
There is also the possibility that aliens could send a virus to do their dirty work for us. Some bacteria can survive the hostile environment that space provides, and they could very easily attach it to a comet, and we would never know the difference. They could wipe us out, and not even lift a finger to do so. The reverse happened in War of The Worlds, in which the invaders were killed by the simple common cold.
But if there were a real full scale invasion, what could we do to stop them? Movies often depict highly advanced aliens that ravage earth with powerful laser weapons, and all it takes is a couple of smart humans to outfox them, and find the secret of their power, and destroy it. But is this reality? Of course not, but who would watch a movie where humans were crushed like a bunch of ants? The truth is, it would be just like the comet scenario-over before you even know it.
It is unlikely we as a race would survive such a disastrous attack. We would have neither the resources or ability to defeat such a civilization, and it would be likely would either be food to them, or wiped out, depending on what they were here for. A robotic society would have no use for humans as food, and would most likely have no other need for them, other than assimilation into a robotic society. The Cybermen and Daleks, from Dr. Who, comes to mind, on their mission to exterminate mankind.
Steve Hawkings warns of communicating to other alien civilizations, stating it is best not to communicate with such worlds. He believes it would be an open invitation for them to invade us, and take whatever resources they need. Perhaps some of these civilizations are like those in Star Trek, benevolent in nature, and do not attack us because they know we are primitive.
Ancient stories of aliens have existed for thousands of years, first told by the Sumerians, who spoke of the Anakis, who came from to stars to create mankind. Several versions of the same story have been told in different cultures, and there is also physical evidence of ancient astronauts, which has been debatable. So far, there hasn’t been any solid evidence to prove or disprove alien existence, or an invasion for that matter.
So at the moment, alien invasions are just the stuff of Hollywood and science fiction. Someday, if not in my lifetime, the next, we will know the answer as to whether or not we are alone in this universe. It will be a dismal and frightening future to find out the truth either way, and will change the outlook of mankind.
Next week, we’ll continue our series with another celestial killer, and this one packs a real wallop. Until Monday, have a great weekend!
IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE
Somewhere in a distant galaxy, an unseen force waits for the right moment to launch a devastating attack against a quiet blue planet with a weapon capable of destroying worlds. Sounds a little like a pitch for my novels, doesn’t it?
Well, it’s not. It’s what is known as a gamma ray burst(GRB), and they are the brightest and most powerful electromagnetic events in the universe. They are a narrow beam of intense radiation that is produced from a supernova, hypernova, neutron star, quark star, or black hole, and can last from 10 milliseconds to several hours. They can produce as much energy in a few seconds as our sun produces in its entire lifetime, and can cause a mass extinction event.
They were first detected in 1967 by the Vela satellites, and have been studied carefully every since. They can travel up to 99.995% the speed of light, and no two have the same light curves. Most bursts are trillions of miles away in other galaxies, but one does occur in our own galaxy once every 100,000 to 1,000,000 years. If a gamma ray burst were to occur within our galaxy, the effects on the targeted planet would be disastrous. A gamma ray hitting Earth would cause a burst of radiation, killing all life on the planet. The sun will be blocked out for several years due to ozone depletion, causing the world to go into a global ice age.
As dismal as it sounds, there is still hope for our planet. Considering this has happened at least once in our Earth’s history, our mere existence proves life can start again. It is believed the biggest mass extinction event on our planet just before the Cambrian era was caused by a gamma ray burst. The likelihood of it happening again is very low, and by the time it does, man will be long gone.
It is more likely that our next killer will do the job instead. It is more common, and it is the provider of life or death, depending on the circumstances. Until tomorrow, here are some links detailing the information about gamma rays and their effects:
HERE COMES THE SUN
It takes exactly 8 minutes and 20 seconds for sunlight to reach the Earth. If you’re up some morning on a sunny day, you can actually see the sun rise in those eight minutes. I can remember some mornings at camp, watching the sun rise over the St. Lawrence River, and the occasional splash of a fish jumping out of the water to break the silence.
Most of the time we look at the sun as the giver of life; without it, this planet would be a cold and desolate place. Sunlight allows plants to grow, and moderate temperatures around the globe. Its gravity holds us anchored in orbit, along with our planetary neighbors, and gives us the vitamin D needed to survive.
The sun also can be the giver of death as well, as we have seen the evidence on our sister planet Venus, and even our own moon that is bombarded with radiation. Solar flares and coronal mass ejections occur all the time, but the Earth is unique, as it is protected by a strong magnetic field.
But that doesn’t mean we are safe. A major solar flare could send us back to the stone age, and a coronal mass ejection big enough could literally fry us. Minor solar flares happen all the time, causing interference with communications satellites, minor power blackouts, and atmospheric anomalies, such as the Aurora Borealis.
A major flare could wipe out all electric and electronic based systems for years to come, and send us back to the industrial drawing board. Scientists are working on a solution to this problem, but as of yet, nothing has been finalized. The last flare strong enough to cause damage was in the late 1800’s, when a solar flare caused all the telegraph wires to explode across the country. If one happened now, all electric and electronic devices would cease to operate, and skin cancer would increase by 50%.
The sun works on a 11 year cycle, with a peak towards the beginning and end of its cycle. The current solar flare season is from 2008-2019. Flares peaked in the year 2010, and are expected to peak again around 2017. There are 3 different classifications of solar flares:
- X CLASS-Major blackouts around the world, and long lasting radiation storms in the upper atmosphere.
- M CLASS-Causes brief blackouts at Earth’s solar regions, and minor radiation storms.
- C CLASS-Minor interference with communications.
Mass Coronal Ejections are huge balls of gas threaded with magnetic field lines that are ejected from the sun over the course of hours. Solar flares are explosions on the sun when energy stored in twisted magnetic fields are suddenly released.
Tomorrow, we’ll explore the world of viruses and diseases. Could a pandemic destroy the modern world as we know? Until then, here are some links:
WHAT A WAY TO DIE
Viruses and pandemics have been around as long as man, as we have seen from the plagues of Egypt mentioned in the bible, to the Bubonic Plague. It was once believed that people who grew sick were cursed, and had done something wicked worth being punished for. We know now that this is nonsense, anyone can acquire a virus, and sometimes they are passed through hosts, such as fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and rodents.
The Bubonic plague was the second most devastating of all diseases, and wiped out 2/3 of the population at the time. The Spanish flu of 1918 wiped out at least 20 to 40 million, and has the all time record for most deaths. In recent history, diseases such as malaria, Deet, Ebola, and the avian flu have run rampant in poorer countries. It wasn’t until the WHO intervened that the pandemic was brought under control.
With all the advances in healthcare, one would think diseases would be a thing of the past. The truth is, however, that, like insects, viruses have a way of becoming immune and drug resistant. Everyday, new viruses are discovered, and make the WHO’s job a very hard one.
Then there is the fear of biological warfare. The fear that some rouge faction might get a hold of a virus and manipulate it to attack a foreign country. There are those such as ISIS, that don’t follow international treaties, and would do anything to get a hold of such a substance.
It is unlikely that a pandemic could wipe out the Earth’s entire civilization. There will always be those that are immune to certain viruses, and medicine can be developed quickly enough today to combat such a threat. We often see in zombie movies, where the zombie state is caused by a virus, that a disease spreads like wildfire, and everyone is quickly effected. This can happen under certain unclean conditions, but in most civilized areas, simple precautions, such as proper sanitation and washing one’s hands can easily fix the problem. Diphtheria is caused by poor sanitary conditions, and can be easily repaired by not drinking the water that you bathe and excrete waste in.
As of yet, we haven’t seen such a large epidemic that could sweep the world, but don’t rule it out as an improbability. A new, unknown virus could travel throughout the globe, if a cure is unable to be produced. There, still, to this day, is no cure for the plague, but the causes of it have mostly been eradicated. If conditions were right, say the collapse of modern society and sanitation systems, the plague could make a comeback.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at some environmental conditions that can cause devastation on a global scale. Until then, here are some links:
One hundred years ago, nobody could foresee what impact the Industrial Revolution would have on the environment. Climate change has caused the polar ice caps to slowly melt, and has increased the ocean temperature by five degrees in the past fifty years. Once the ice caps completely melt, global temperatures will increase and cause a greenhouse effect.
This could have disastrous results as far as coastal cities are concerned, submerging them under ten feet of water. We have already seen the effects, in storms like Katrina and Sandy. Not only will the oceans get higher, but greenhouses could have a reverse effect, and cause a global ice age. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and volcanoes occur around the world on a regular basis, but do they have enough strength to cause a global catastrophe?
Well, hurricanes and tornadoes are unlikely by themselves to cause a global catastrophe, but earthquakes and volcanoes are a different story. An earthquake with a magnitude over 12.5 on the Richter scale can have global implications. It can cause enormous tsunamis over a mile high, and could cause a shifting of the tectonic plates to the point of land breaking off at its source.
Super volcanoes can spew lava and ash 20 miles into the air, and cause a global blocking of the sun, causing a temporary ice age. The most famous caldera, as they are called, and the largest that we know of, is sitting right smack dab in the middle of the country, in Yellowstone Park. Old Faithful is a direct result of the magma heating the water and creating pressure below the surface. Another recent super volcanic eruption occurred in the middle 1800’s, when Krakatoa exploded. This volcano is still considered very active.
Yellowstone’s caldera is due for an eruption, but most scientists agree that it probably won’t be for at least a couple hundred years. If there was an eruption today, it would wipe out most of the United States, kill millions of people, and cause a global ice age that would last at least thirty years.
Now that we discussed several ways the Earth is destined for destruction, we will get into what you can do to prevent it. On Monday, we’ll discuss items that you should have on hand in case there is an emergency-even if it doesn’t involve a world wide disaster.
Tomorrow, I will have a very special announcement about my new novel Dimension Lapse III: Dimensional Breakdown, and about some upcoming events.