Christian at Ice Age Farmer shows how widespread lockdown and tracing/tracking procedures that have been normalized under COVID-19 are now being borrowed and applied to “climate change.”
Coronavirus: Vitamin D reduces infection and impact of COVID-19, studies find.
North China’s Hebei Province introduced China’s first local law against food waste, which will take effect on Nov 1, after China decided to establish a long-term mechanism to avoid food waste in August. Food shortages in China might push Xi Jinping to take drastic actions against Taiwan and elsewhere. On top of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, torrential rains have caused catastrophic flooding in the Yangtze River basin, Chinas largest agricultural region.
NASA researchers track slowly splitting ‘dent’ in Earth’s magnetic field. A host of NASA scientists in geomagnetic, geophysics, and heliophysics research groups observe and model the SAA, to monitor and predict future changes – and help prepare for future challenges to satellites and humans in space.
You can watch a US spy satellite launch on a giant Delta IV Heavy rocket overnight tonight. Here’s how. Liftoff is scheduled for 12:10 a.m. EDT (0410 GMT) on Sunday (Sept. 27).
Social-media platforms are destroying evidence of war crimes. Algorithms designed to scrub terrorist propaganda are making it harder to convict terrorists.
CANUK78: “USN Boeing P-8A Poseidon Off the coast of Syria AE687A. USN Boeing P-8A Poseidon Over the Strait of Hormuz AE683F.”
Israel in the Field: “BREAKING Large fire has been erupted in a factory & the firefighting & rescue teams are working on it.”
US Rep: “Food Shortages Are Coming” - Crops Destroyed - UK Limits Purchases. Rep. Scott from Georgia warns that “food shortages are coming.” Farms are destroying crops, plowing under fields without the labor to harvest them.
Shallow M6.2 earthquake hits south of Africa. A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.2 hit south of Africa at 17:10 UTC on September 26, 2020. The agency is reporting a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.2 at a depth of 2 km (1.2 miles).
Let’s take a look on what the Divided and Conquered look like these past 24 Hours of Rioting. Ask yourself: Do you think someone who works on a Black Project or a Wizard is at any of these political events/riots? No!!! They are Apolitical and working on technology 100s to 1000s of years in Advancement depending upon the compartmentalization of technology they are in. One can only imagine the mindset of someone who works on a Special Access Project everyday working with technology that’s between 2300 BC to 2700 BC depending on the current level of technology the White World will need in centuries to even attempt catching up on. If Civilization doesn’t destroy itself yet again.
CIA insider: Chinese spies have NYC ‘under assault like never before.’ A former top CIA man reveals that at least 100 Chinese spies are operating right now in New York City.
Google stops responding directly to data requests from Hong Kong government. Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Friday it would no longer provide data in response to requests from Hong Kong authorities following the enactment of a new national security law imposed by China. [Interesting how they were the last though. Edit: not true. They all (fb and Twitter too) suspended earlier in June, stated at end of article. Seems like this is the confirmation…?]
Evergreen Intel: “I’m looking at SW China on Flightradar24 and I’m trying to determine if this is a receiver issue, a weather issue, a route issue, or something else.”
People’s Daily app: “A helicopter crashed in Heishui, China’s Sichuan Province at 11:40 am on Saturday and three people were found dead, an official said.”
BlueSky: “USAF E-4B NIGHTWATCH FLASH22 USN E-6B MERCURY IRON55 LOCATIONS AT 19:15Z. USAF E-4B NIGHTWATCH (AIRBORNE COMMAND CENTRE) (DOOMSDAY PLANE) 73-1677 FLASH22 HEADING ENE, FROM WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE 19:00Z.”
Bas: “USaf Doomsday plane E4B southwest of Charlotte NC. 73-1677 as Flash22.”
Zaes: “Russian Air Force Tu-214 SR RSD077 Operating somewhere on Mode-S, RuAF Communications Relay, similar to the USAF E-6B Mercury.”
Radio Nightwatchman: “Several killed in Yemen army’s attack on Saudi base.”
Earthquake strikes northeastern Iran near Turkmenistan border. A magnitude 5.2 earthquake struck northeastern Iran near its border with Turkmenistan on Saturday, state Iranian TV reported.
Hungarian banks, telecoms services briefly hit by cyber attack: Magyar Telekom. Some Hungarian banking and telecommunication services were briefly disrupted by a powerful cyber attack on Thursday launched from computer servers in Russia, China and Vietnam, telecoms firm Magyar Telekom said on Saturday. The event was a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, a cyber attack in which hackers attempt to flood a network with unusually high volumes of data traffic in order to paralyze it. The volume of data traffic in the attack was 10 times higher than the amount usually seen in DDoS events, the company said. “That means that this was one of the biggest hacker attacks in Hungary ever, both in its size and complexity,” it said.
Hakan: “The German National Anti-Doping-Agency (NADA) was hacked. Suspicious mails were noticed starting Sep. 15th. Investigation is in early stages, sources tell Florian Flade and me that method used matches APT28, but too early to say for sure.”
“We do not consent.” 1000s rally in London to oppose another COVID-19 lockdown. Protesters expressed hope that law enforcement would allow the group to protest “as they did with [Extinction Rebellion] and BLM.”
Iowa: Some Siouxland farmers are breathing a sigh of relief after a grain elevator that exploded in August is up and running again.
Mississippi receives $23M in federal funds for flood relief. Mississippi has received nearly $23 million in emergency relief funds to repair federal roadways that were damaged by severe flooding. U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith announced the five Federal Highway Administration awards on Thursday. The funds include $8 million to the National Park Service for repairs along the Natchez Trace National Parkway and at Vicksburg National Military Park, which suffered mudslides and erosion. The Mississippi Transportation Department received nearly $15 million for various repairs and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service got nearly $42,000. Authorities issued federal and state emergency disaster declarations following heavy rains and flooding in 2019 and early 2020.
Lex Fridman: “Due to my journey through Dostoevksy, Camus, Hesse, Kafka, Nietzsche, Palahniuk, Hemingway, Kerouac, Orwell, I’ve never read the sci-fi classics. I’m working to change that. My current list: - Foundation (Asimov) - Dune (Herbert) - Snow Crash (Stephenson) - Ender’s Game (OSC).” John Carmack: “I had fond memories about many of the books mentioned, and I immediately bought several that I hadn’t already read. (spoilers) The first one I got through was Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson, and unfortunately, I didn’t care for it very much. It is basically the story of the failure of interstellar generation ships. Near the very end, it gets extremely literally on-the-nose, with an explicit condemnation of the arrogant white (and bearded?) men with their dreams of taking humanity to the stars by having the female protagonist punch their representative in the face. It is certainly plausible, even likely, that starfaring would fail, and the value of a broadly colonized solar system is left ambiguous in the story, so I don’t find much of substance to disagree with, just the tone. In very broad strokes, I like tales to inspire, not tales to condemn, or even tales to caution. Others certainly have an appetite for tragic stories; to each their own.”
Tesco joins Morrisons to limit sales of some items. Limits on loo roll and flour are back as supermarkets act to prevent a repeat of March’s panic buying. Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Lidl: Updated rules at supermarkets amid panic buying fears. Families are picking up their bikes. The new demand has led to an international shortage of bicycles and components, with many models out of stock. A manufacturing slowdown means consumers may be waiting months for new washing machines, refrigerators and other household must-haves. Jo Namio: “Afternoon trip to IKEA. LONG winding line looked like Disneyland. So much of what I wanted out of stock. Long lines to leave. But we scored vegetarian "meatballs.” East L.A. News: “Long lines to get into the Nike store in East L.A.” Jaime Mira: “I heard it’s closing. If true, a shame these people didn’t support them sooner.” PublixHelps: “Hi Steven. As a result of a nationwide aluminum shortage, certain varieties/flavors of canned soda and beer products may be out of stock in our stores. Due to the shortage, bottlers are only producing top flavors of these items until further notice.” Malia: “The Food Shortage will be here by Nov. when the media starts talking about it. And between Jan to March 2021 there will be mainly empty shelves. Stock up on lentils and beans in bulk and water and extra salt. First thing to go in Nov. will be Flour, Pasta and Meat.” Andibrown writes: “I think our local WM is trying to hide a Frosted Flakes shortage! Quick everyone! Time to stock up!” Kev: “I have friends who work for Tesco who tell me as well as the panic buying, abuse of shop staff is back on the rise too. How quickly people forget.” John Titor: “Another full shutdown is planned for oct-nov stock up on everything that you will need, sell what you dont need, asap. 2nd wave of lies is coming.” y’all don’t read: “’I eat one meal every other day. My place of employment throws the leftover food away and refuses to let staff eat unless we sign a piece of paper for $3 to be taken out of our check.’ ‘I cry before work’: US essential workers burned out amid pandemic.” [Limit means/equals rationing. Notice how they spread it apart - that’s to keep the normies sane.]
Aram Haydarcyan: “Azerbaijan has launched a missile & aerial attack against Artsakh. Peaceful settlements including Stepanakert have been attacked. Armenian side has shot down 2 helicopters & 3 UAVs, destroyed 3 tanks.” Evvita: “Breaking Azerbaijan Defense Ministry: We launched a counterattack along the front. 12 anti-aircraft missile systems belonging to Armenia were destroyed.” Inesa Yeremyan: “Azerbaijani side launched missile attacks along the entire line of contact. Attacks of Azerbaijani army in several directions were repulsed. Enemy have losses of human & technical equipment, in particular, three tanks. The battles continue.” MIQ: “Azerbaijan and Armenia clash over disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Armenian PM says his forces have destroyed 2 helicopters, 3 UAVs and 3 tanks of Azerbaijan.” BBC News (World): “Azerbaijan and Armenia clash over disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.” Kornelij: “Azerbaijan ministry of communication officially stated that government limited internet connection: “to prevent provocations from Armenia”. Never seen such an ingenious “Provocations Prevention Policy.” Destruction of Azerbaijan tanks by Karabakh / Artsakh military.” Amir Ch: “Armenia has declared martial law & ordered full military mobilisation in the disputed region of Nagorono Karabakh.” EHA News: “BREAKING Turkey fully supports #Azerbaijan against Armenian aggression. “Armenia once again has proven with its attacks that it’s the biggest threat to the regional peace.” “We fully support Azerbaijan” -Foreign Ministry statement.” AFP News Agency: “Russia calls for ‘immediate’ ceasefire amid Karabakh fighting.” Disclose tv: “Armenia declares martial law and widespread mobilization for the age group over 18. This escalation between Armenia & Azerbaijan has the possibility of turning into a full-scale war between the two nations. Armenian government has ordered all citizens in the Karabakh region to take immediate shelter. Sirens are heard throughout the region.” “Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has declared martial law and mobilisation of reserve forces on Sunday after the armed conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh aggravated. Mr. Nikol Pashinyan said earlier on Sunday that the Azerbaijani armed forces had launched an offensive against the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Russia’s TASS agency reported the incident quoting Mr. Pashinyan’s post on Facebook.” ISCResearch: “Tanks and artillery have been spotted in the Nagorno Karabakh “capital” of Stepanakert, heading towards the border with Azerbaijan.” Prof. Michael Tanchum: “ESCALATION: Armenia contemplates Declaration of War as Fuzili and Jibrail reportedly come under Azerbaijani control.” Sierra Alpha: “Unidentified Turkish Armed Forces aircraft heading back into Turkish airspace after leaving Armenian airspace a few minutes ago. Altitude is 29,000ft and stable.” Armenia Now: “Breaking: Azerbaijan army has launched a missile and aerial attack against Artsakh. Peaceful settlements, including the capital Stepanakert have been attacked. Armenian side has shot down 2 Azeri planes & 3 combat drones according to the Armenian MoD.”
There are big problems with this plane that crashed in the Ukraine. Many things remain unclear. Why did the plane break in half? Why did a whole wing break, which, according to his version, he caught on the ground? Where did he take off? The departure airport is not reported anywhere. Who was the operator? And with whom did the contract for repair conclude? This is stated on the state procurement website, but the company is not indicated. Who was on board other than the cadets? If it fell during the landing approach, and people jumped out at a low altitude, then where did so much fire come from and why did almost no one survive? I’m sure there won’t be any survivors at all. Civilian planes are prohibited from landing with full fuel tanks, but what about military planes? There are a lot of technical issues that defy explanation. It’s clearly necessary to consult with a specialist to get answers. We should find out if anyone from NATO was on board. It is rumored that the plane was carrying something - some kind of secret equipment - which was not reported, and that there could have been some high-ranking official on board who was likely not Ukrainian. In any case, the disaster looks very suspicious. The pilot reported a left engine failure, but why didn’t it land with one engine? People began jumping out at a low altitude, but no one survived. This likely means there was a blast. Inside or outside is another question - but if the explosion was outside (for example, a rocket), they would not have had time to jump out. Everything that is officially known: “An An-26 transport aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force crashed on the E40 highway while approaching runway 16 at the Chuguev airbase.” Where did the pilot depart from? Are all of these journalists completely brain dead? Also, I don’t like how the Russian media and military channels have written about this crash. For example: “Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Taran announced the first reasons for the An-26Sh disaster. According to preliminary estimates of flight safety specialists, one of the sensors in the left engine of the aircraft failed. According to one version, the plane caught its wing on the ground. The minister also added that the aircraft engine had a resource of more than 5000 hours before the next repair. “Everything went according to plan, the plane performed training flights to train cadets. The pilot - instructor was at the helm, the cadets took turns sitting in the right seat next to him to gain piloting and aircraft control skills, "Taran said. According to the minister, the preliminary analysis gives reason to believe that most likely the plane caught the wing on the ground: “The flight recorder is now in the plane, after analyzing the information, it is recorded there, it will be possible to draw conclusions.” He also stressed that the plane made six takeoffs and five landings yesterday.” Why have none of these Russian propagandists yelled that the Ukraine has fucked everything up? Why such cautious coverage of a disaster? All Russian media repeat only what has been OFFICIALLY reported by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. This has never happened before. At what height did it explode/crash/fall? And from which airfield did it take off? Also, if he collapsed as they passed during the “landing approach,” then the height was relatively low. So why did it catch fire? Fuel is now everywhere and everyone is prohibited. The problem is that now the questions are not about the survivors or the deceased - everyone has already written about this. These technical questions remain: WHEN and with WHOM was the repair contract signed? WHY did the cadets train on an aircraft that was due for repair? In a plane crash near Kharkiv, the plane was 43 years old, but this year it was sent in for repairs. In July this year, the ProZorro public procurement site published information about the conclusion of a contract for the repair of aircraft, one of which, based on these data, was the AN-26, which crashed in the Kharkiv region. Specialized media, analyzing the agreement, indicated the flight numbers of the aircraft, among them, in particular, was the An-26 (W) (Zn 56-08, BN 76), manufactured in August 1977. According to official reports, board number 76 had a crashed plane. Its production number is contained in the tender documents. The Security Service of Ukraine has published the chronology of the plane crash: “The An-26 training flights began at 18.50 and were to continue until 22.50. The curriculum provided for the training of flight cadets and navigational specialties in accordance with the course of combat training. According to preliminary information, the cadets did not directly control the plane; control was carried out by the crew commander. After passing part of the route at 20.38, the crew commander reported to the flight director about the failure of the left engine, at 20.40 he requested an approach, at 20.43 he passed a long-range drive, at 20.45 there was a plane crash.” Big request - do not post intermediate conclusions on the channel yet. The channel is being watched closely. Therefore it’s better to conduct talks either in a chat or in Disclosure. I’m sure that something (or someone) was on board. “At 20.43 - the long-range drive passed…” What is the “long range drive?” On video, we see the moment that the An-26Sh falls, crashing on the E40 highway while on approach to runway 16 at Chuhuiv Air Base. The voice over narration says, “We see the board - board comes in for landing. Turned on the headlights - backlight… GDP is on the left. Board begins to steer sharply to the right. Board goes to the right… fall! BLAST!” According to the initial data, 18 cadets and five crew members were on board. Then, Ukrainian authorities clarified that there were 20 cadets and seven crew members on board. The bodies of 25 people were found at the crash site. The 26th reportedly died at the hospital. “The plane came in and hit the ground with its nose…” However, in the photographs we see the intact fuselage and wings. While, according to the official version, the crash occurred because the plane caught the ground with its wing. So where the fuck is the broken nose? First there are 23 on board - 18 cadets and 5 crew members. Then 28… then 27…. What the fuck? On my life, I don’t believe that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense does not know how many people they’re flying on board an aircraft. Judging by the photo, they burned the decommissioned plane - but why? Or were there “leftist” people on board? Where are the videos from ambulances and firefighters? There are no videos. Where is the video of the injured people in the hospital? Again, no videos. Where have the wings gone (which were still intact in yesterday’s photos) and why is the belly on the back of the plane intact while there is a hole at the top? How was the asphalt not damaged while the forest belt in front of the plane burned down? Can anyone explain why it is burnt from above but the belly is intact? And why were the branches/leaves not burned literally next to the charred remains of the plane? [It’s like they used helicopters and dropped the wreckage from the sky after it was lit on fire. Seriously analyze how suspicious this crash is.]
Could right now be the most influential time ever? Richard Fisher looks at the case for and against – and why it matters. hat is the best word to describe our present moment? You might be tempted to reach for “unprecedented”, or perhaps “extraordinary”. But here’s another adjective for our times that you may not have heard before: “hingey”. It may not be a particularly elegant term, but it describes a potentially profound idea: that we may be living through the most influential period of time ever. And it’s about far more than the Covid-19 pandemic and politics of 2020. Leading philosophers and researchers are debating whether the events that occur in our century could shape the fate of our species over the next thousands if not millions of years. The “hinge of history” hypothesis proposes that we are, right now, at a turning point. Is this really plausible? The idea that those alive today are uniquely influential can be traced back several years to the philosopher Derek Parfit. “We live during the hinge of history,” he wrote in his book On What Matters. “Given the scientific and technological discoveries of the last two centuries, the world has never changed as fast. We shall soon have even greater powers to transform, not only our surroundings, but ourselves and our successors.” The hinge of history hypothesis has been gaining fresh attention in recent months, however, as academics attempt to address the question in a more systematic way. It began last year when the philosopher Will MacAskill of Oxford University posted an in-depth analysis of the hypothesis on a popular forum dedicated to effective altruism, a movement that aims to apply reason and evidence to do the most good. It sparked more than 100 comments from other scholars approaching the question from their own angle, not to mention in-depth podcasts and articles, so MacAskill published a more formal version, as a book chapter in honor of Parfit. As Vox Future Perfect’s Kelsey Piper wrote at the time, the hinge of history debate is more than an abstract philosophical discussion: the underlying goal is to identify what our societies should prioritize to ensure the long-term future of our species. To understand why, let’s start by looking at the arguments that support the present moment’s “hingeyness” (though MacAskill now prefers the term “influentialness”, as it sounds less flippant). First, there’s the “time of perils” view. In recent years, support has grown for the idea that we live at a time of unusually high risk of self-annihilation and long-term damage to the planet. As the UK’s Astronomer Royal Martin Rees puts it: “Our Earth has existed for 45 million centuries, but this century is special: it’s the first when one species – ours – has the planet’s future in its hands.” For the first time, we have the ability to irreversibly degrade the biosphere, or misdirect technology to cause a catastrophic setback to civilization, says Rees, who co-founded the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge. Those destructive powers are outstripping our wisdom, according to Toby Ord – one of MacAskill’s colleagues at Oxford – who makes the case for reducing existential risk in his recent book The Precipice. The title of Ord’s book is an allegory for where we stand: on a path on the edge of a precipice, where one foot wrong could spell disaster. From this vertiginous point, we can see the green and pleasant lands of the destination ahead of us – a flourishing far future – but first we must navigate a time of unusual danger. Ord put the odds of extinction this century to be as high as one in six. In Ord’s view, what makes our time particularly hingey is that we have created threats that our ancestors never had to face, such as nuclear war or engineered killer pathogens. Meanwhile, we are doing so little to prevent these civilization-ending events. The UN Biological Weapons Convention, which is a global ban on developing bio-weapons like a super-coronavirus, has a smaller budget than an average McDonald’s restaurant. And collectively the world spends more on ice cream than we do on preventing technologies that could end everything about our way of life. The idea that we are at a treacherous turning point is also the theme of a second argument supporting the hinge of history hypothesis. According to a number of serious researchers, there is the chance that the 21st Century will see the arrival of sophisticated artificial general intelligence that could quickly evolve into a superintelligence. They argue that how we handle that transition could determine the entire future of civilization, through a kind of “lock-in”. The all-powerful superintelligence itself could determine humanity’s fate for all time, based on whatever goals and needs it has, but these researchers propose other potential scenarios too. Civilization’s future could also be shaped by whoever controls the AI first, which might be a single force for good who directs it for the benefit of everyone, or a malevolent government who chooses to use that power to subjugate all dissent. Not everyone subscribes to AI’s long-term influence. But those who do counter that even if you believe there is only a small chance of the worst-case AI scenarios happening, the fact that they could be so influential for such a very long time could make the coming decades more important than any in human history. For that reason, many researchers and effective altruists have decided to dedicate their careers to AI safety and ethics. You could also assemble other evidence to support the hinge of history hypothesis. For example, Luke Kemp of the University of Cambridge points out that human-caused climate change and environmental degradation in this century could reach far into the future. “The most pivotal transformation so far in human history was the advent of the Holocene, which allowed for the agricultural revolution,” says Kemp. “Human societies appear to be intimately adapted to a narrow climatic envelope. This is the century in which we will perform an unprecedented and dangerous geological experiment and perhaps irreversibly push ourselves well outside of the climate niche, or pull back from the abyss.” (Though it should be noted that Kemp himself is skeptical about the hypothesis and its expedience.) You might also argue that civilization’s relative youth makes us particularly influential. We’re only 10,000 years or so into human history, and a case could be made that earlier generations have a greater ability to lock changes, values and motivations that persist for later generations. We might think of civilization today as a child who must carry both formative traits and scars for the rest of their lives.Though as we’ll see, our relative youth could also be used to argue the opposite. And this also raises an obvious question: surely, then, the first humans lived at the most influential time? After all, a few wrong steps in the Palaeocene, or at the dawn of the agricultural revolution, and our civilization would never have come into existence. Perhaps, but MacAskill suggests that while many moments in human history were pivotal, they were not necessarily influential. Hunter-gatherers, for example, lacked the necessary agency to sit at the hinge, because they had no knowledge that they could shape the far future, nor the resources to choose a different path if they did. Influence, under MacAskill’s definition, involves an awareness and ability to choose one of myriad paths. Why it matters: This specific definition of influentialness leads on to why MacAskill and others are interested in the question in the first place. As a philosopher who thinks about the far future, MacAskill and others see the hinge of history hypothesis as more than a theoretical question to satisfy curiosity. Finding answers affects how much resources and time they believe that civilization should spend on near-term versus longer-term problems. To give this a more personal framing, if you believed that the next day of your life would be the most influential so far – taking a crucial exam or marrying a life-partner, for instance – then you’d put a lot of time and effort into it straight away. If, however, you believed the most influential day of your life was decades away, or you didn’t know what the day would be, you might focus on other priorities first. MacAskill is one of the founders of effective altruism, and has focused his career on finding ways to do the most good over the long-term. If an effective altruist accepted that we are at the hingiest time now, then it might suggest devoting a large proportion of their time and money to reducing existential risk urgently, for example – and indeed, many have. If, however, that altruist believed that the hingiest time was centuries away, then they might pivot to other ways to do good over the long-term, such as investing money to help their descendants. A philanthropist, for example, who invested at a 5% rate of return could see their resources grow by 17,000 times after 200 years, according to MacAskill. Some might question this assumption about the benefits of long-term investment, given that societal collapses throughout history have wiped out funds. While others might suggest that money would be best spent on big present-day problems like poverty. But the essential point for effective altruists is that nailing down hingeyness could at least help to inform how we might maximize well-being as a species and ensure we flourish in the future. Against hinginess: So, if those are some of the arguments for the hinge of history hypothesis, and the reasons why it matters, what are the arguments against? The simplest comes down to fairly straightforward odds. Probability-wise, it’s just unlikely. If we were to navigate past this century and reach the average lifespan of a mammalian species, then we’re talking about humanity lasting at least one million years, in which we could potentially spread to the stars and settle other planets. As I wrote on BBC Future last year, there are potentially a vast number of people ahead of us, yet to born. Even if we look at only the next 50,000 years, the scale of future generations could be enormous. If the birth rate over that period stayed the same as it has been in the 21st Century, the unborn would be potentially more than 62 times the number of humans that have ever lived, around 6.75 trillion people. Given the astronomical number of people yet to exist, says MacAskill, it would be surprising if our tiny fraction of that population happens to be the most influential. These future people will likely (hopefully) also be more morally and scientifically enlightened than we are today, and therefore could potentially do even more to influence the future in ways we can’t yet conceive of. It’s not only unlikely, MacAskill continues, it’s also possibly “fishy”. Those who conclude we must live at the hinge of history might be deploying hidden faulty reasoning; an unconscious stacking of the deck. What if cognitive biases are at play, for example? Firstly, there’s salience bias, which makes visible, present-day events seem more important than they actually are. Living in the 1980s, for example, you might have thought that nanotechnology was the greatest risk to humanity, but the much-feared “gray goo” theory turned out to be over-hyped. Secondly, there’s potential for confirmation bias: if you believe that existential risks deserve more attention (as all the researchers in this article do), then you might subconsciously marshal arguments that support that conclusion. “If a chain of reasoning leads us to the conclusion that we’re living at the most influential time ever, we should think it more likely that our reasoning has gone wrong than that the conclusion really is true,” writes MacAskill. For these reasons, among others, MacAskill concludes that we are probably not living at the most influential time. There may be compelling arguments for thinking we live in an unusually hingey moment compared with other periods, he suggests, but because of the potentially long, long future of civilization that could lie ahead, the actual hinge of history is most likely yet to come. The upside of no hinge: While it might seem deflating to conclude that we are probably not the most important people at the most important time, it could be a good thing. If you believe the “time of perils" view, then the next century will be especially dangerous to live through, potentially requiring significant sacrifices to ensure our species persists. And as Kemp points out, history suggests that when fears are high that a future utopia is at stake, unpleasant things are sometimes justified in the name of protecting it. “States have a long history of imposing draconian measures to respond to perceived threats, and the greater the threat the more severe the emergency powers,” he says. For example, some researchers who wish to prevent the rise of malevolent AI or catastrophic technologies have argued we may need ubiquitous global surveillance of every living person, at all times. But if life at the hinge requires sacrifices, that does not mean that life at other times can be laissez-faire. It doesn’t absolve us of all responsibility to the future. This century we could still do remarkable damage, and it needn’t be as catastrophic as a species-ending event. Over the past century, we have found myriad new ways to leave malignant heirlooms for our descendants, from carbon in the atmosphere to plastic in the ocean to nuclear waste beneath the ground. So, while we do not know if our time will be the most influential or not, we can say with more certainty that we have increasing power to shape the lives and well-being of billions of people living tomorrow – for better and for worse. It will be for future historians to judge how wisely we used that influence.
Can a single survivalist in a post-apocalypse, post-EMP world have electrical appliances? Let’s say an EMP has wiped out every electrical circuit on the planet (Carrington event level). At the same time some unspecified non-persistent major disaster has wiped out everyone on Earth except her. There’s no major threats to her, she’s just living her life in solitude raiding supermarkets for canned foods, toiletries, and casks of water. And raiding other stores for anything else she needs to survive. She is a survivalist, street smart, and she’s managed to salvage some solar panels, a small wind turbine, and some car batteries. How likely is it that, after some setup, she is able to come home to the luxury of modern appliances? Is there any way she can have lights in the evening? Light switches in the wall? Washing machine and dryer? Microwave? Fridge? Freezer? Hot water? Air conditioning? I understand petrol won’t last so generators are out of the question, and all high tech appliances with ICs will be fried, including solar inverters, charge controllers, and wind inverters, so I can’t see her generating 110V wall power. But is there any way to get some familiar luxuries in this environment? If she happens to be an electrical engineer - I suppose that this is the correct American phrase for what I would call an “electrician” - then I don’t see why not. Which is to say, why wouldn’t she be able to restore electrical power to a house? Without knowing what bugs you any answer will have to imagine a particular scenario, most likely not what is intended. EMP’s won’t bother devices that are not plugged in or older appliances that lack circuitry. Plenty of fully solar power places in the World which already have everything, she just needs to find one. No need to salvage anything. EMP will not affect all devices. Shielded devices, turned off devices, and devices not connected to the large grid will survive even more than a Carrington event. Importantly, brand-new appliances still boxed in the shops or exposed in the shop windows will all survive. No, in the US, electrical engineers go to college. Electricians go to trade school. Typical EEs, when thrust into the electrician’s job, have no idea how to connect two wires together. Literally, they come on diy.se and want to solder things lol. Off-grid solar isn’t so complicated that you need an EE. However you need electrician’s experience to work with the readily available kit. Remember that EMP affects primarily powered electronic devices. Everything that was unplugged and off during the event will be safe. Think of how electrical generators work - a magnetic field moving across long lengths of wire. So anything with massively long lengths of wire (like the electrical distribution system) will suffer badly - but so many people use surge protectors that there’s a good chance your appliances will be fine (not the surge protectors, though). Anything mechanically turned off when the surge hit would be fine. The problem isn’t the appliances. The problem is electrical distribution and sourcing. Also, remember that EMPs diminish with the square of distance. Most appliances won’t be threatened at all.
It’s plausible to get a nice life.
First: Wind Turbine Don’t bother, unless you can raid an electrical parts store and know how to build the complex circuit from memory. You’ll need a bridge rectifier and a boost converter minimum. And that doesn’t have the electrical safety brakes to stop the thing blowing away in strong winds.
I have a half an electrical engineering degree and even I’d put it off till last.
Solar panels - the tyranny of MPPT First - try to find a solar inverter in a box somewhere that survived the EMP. They may survive depending on packaging or orientation. That will make your life so much easier, basically this becomes plug and play.
If you can’t You’re not going to be able to get the most efficient use of your panels, but you can still use them.
Manually calibrating solar panels to run without an inverter Try to get an analogue voltmeter from an electronics store. A multimeter in packaging and turned off and packed on the shelf will probably survive an EMP and is preferred, but analogue will do. You need to take some precise voltage readings from your solar panels at different orientations at different times of the day.
The panels on your roof are probably wired in series, trying to get as high a voltage as possible for an inverter, which is now completely fried. My 15 panels would put out ~300V DC / 0 amps open circuit, ~150V DC / ~8 amps if short circuited, and have an optimum max wattage somewhere in between, depending on the exact time of day and cloud levels. Your solar inverter will do a non-trivial thing called MPPT to find that optimal level.
In battery systems the inverter will have a charger, which detects the battery condition and converts the power to the optimal required for charging. My battery system needs 14.6V for the bulk of the day, and 13.7 when the battery charge level gets above about 80%. The battery charger will also cut the connection to the solar cells at night, as solar cells connected to batteries at night will drain power.
Without any clever electronics, you need to make sure that your solar system puts out these optimal levels for your battery. So by re-arranging your solar panels from serial to parallel wiring you can tweak those power curves. 15 cells put out say 300V in series, 15 in parallel will put out about 20V at a higher amperage. If you raid an electronics store for a big diode, or just have a switch you flick at night, you can stop the panels leaching power overnight, or during clouds. You’ll need to make the wiring beefier too.
If you’re getting close to the right voltage but are just a little over then changing the angle of the panels to the midday sun will change the power point. You’re better off being under the optimal voltage (so it wont charge or charge slower than expected), than over (which will evaporate the acid in the batteries).
But before you rewire your panels, you need to think about your battery configuration. I’d suggest go for existing 12V camping stuff rather than try to drive your washing machine with a DC motor at 80V kinda thing, but you may need to think outside the box here.
Batteries You’re better off raiding an auto-parts store for fresh batteries than salvaging from cars. SLA batteries are ideal as they wont need topping up with demineralised water. Get as many 12V batteries of the same kinds as possible and wire them in parallel.
Lights Incandescent bulbs will run on DC just fine, just if the voltage is lower they’ll be a lot dimmer. Compact Fluros need a non-trivial circuit to run on DC, so wont work. This style of modern LED bulbs are amazing - they run from 250V down to about 60V at a constant brightness, AC or DC.
If you have these bulbs (or take them from the shop), your bulbs can run on as low as about 60V DC. However this may be a bit too high - these bulbs will fit in existing wiring and sockets and run on 12V. What voltage you run on depends on your most power-hungry appliances, your white goods.
Light switches will work if the power flows through them.
White goods I’ve seen a washing machine with a DC motor, so you could theoretically hack that to work, however you’re better off raiding a caravan manufacturer or camping supply store for these. Some caravans have built in 12V washing machines.
Big, family-sized heat pumps (fridge, freezer, air con) are almost always AC and wont work. However DC models for caravans do exist and can be salvaged. You can also get camping fridges and freezers that can run on varying DC voltages. Often these camping fridges can run between 9V and 30V fine.
You can get a 12V plumbed in water heater from camping stores, and a 12V constant pressure pump to pump from your tank to your existing plumping.
Electrical safety You need to connect the battery into your lights and through your house. I’d suggest through the existing power box, although there are other ways.
Your existing fusebox (at least the Australian standard one I’m familiar with) is not going to like DC at all. The RCD wont be reliable, and the circuit breakers wont trip when overloaded. You’ll need to rip this all out, and replace it with 12V circuit breakers. I’ve seen replacement ones that fit in existing fuseboxes for 12V, however you probably wont be able to find these at every electrical store, just any old 12V DC circuit breaker will do - basically a car electrical fuse box will do the job.
Connecting it all
- Cut your houses power main with pruning sheers or the like (you don’t want to start a fire somewhere far away)
- Disconnect every electrical device and light bulb from your place.
- Obtain 12V fridge, freezer, lightbulbs, aircon, washing machine, hot water system from camping stores or caravan manufacturers.
- Set up your solar panels such that they provide, say 14.8V in the midday sun.
- Set up your batteries in a ventilated area.
- Put a night switch or a diode between the panels and the batteries.
- Run wires from the batteries to the power in in your fuse box.
- Connect it all.
- Measure voltage at light socket outlet. 14.8 into battery should be about 13.5V though house wiring at the socket. Turn light switch off. Insert 12V bulb. Turn on, tada! light.
- Install other 12V devices over time.
Even a massive EMP won’t fry everything - electronics in Faraday cages will survive. That is everything with metal covering. I am not sure about microwave ovens, but they seem to be fairly well covered.
Anyway, hunt for older equipment (without electronics), and some aspects have been covered already. However, there are quite comfortable alternatives without electricity, and they are even better suited for gridless operation than trying to run a generator:
- Gas operated refrigerator (patented by A. Einstein) - a bottle of propane gas can operate it for years. Used mostly in camping scenarios. Find one without IC controller.
- Carbide lamp is safe, needs just water and carbide (and that stores well).
- Gas camping stove can be used for cooking (maybe even using the same bottles as the refrigerator). Slightly less comfortable than a microwave, but not by much.
- Gas operated portable water heater for showering. Or just do not shower that often during winter, it is not like you are going to meet anyone soon…
- Gas operated air conditioning exists, but likely uses IC controller. Might be difficult to set up. But instead of air conditioning, I’d suggest moving to a climate zone with mild summers and mild winters.
Your heroine might want to consider investing in a nice recreational vehicle or camper. All this assumes you are able to obtain working motor vehicles after the events of your story. The heroine in the book Emergence found herself in a similar situation, and got herself a camper to tow behind her vehicle. These self-contained, almost-always off-line portable luxury homes allow a body to travel in the lap of luxury, with a wide range of built-in conveniences that are usually designed to work either with or without a power grid and a gasoline supply.
The RV is almost universally a gasoline-powered vehicle, so if you are worried, go with a camper and make obtaining an alternative-fuel truck a priority.
Fuel can include tapping into natural gas supplies and propane tanks, so “fuel” can be applied pretty broadly. If you’ve ever done much camping, there are many kinds of stoves and refrigerators that use “gas” directly, most have built-in toilets, and certainly campers can be very luxurious and have solar panels, battery systems, etc. Plus, campers are portable, so your nomad will be able to wander around when the local stores are looted out to get more supplies. Why abandon all the luxuries of home when you’re on the road?
All the appliances in these things are off-grid type equipment, if you pick the right one. Do a search for campers and you’ll be blown away by these luxurious monsters.