Survival Prospects: Urban or Rural?

We have a surprise from us “Hicks in the Sticks” – Tech is losing its Urban bias. Sure there are some drawbacks to remote living, but thanks to technology, we’re catching up fast and the lifestyle rocks.

More detail – and something of a short urban mass migration history – after we run through our usual weekly news post mortem which will include what’s ahead for next week.

Yes, podcast7 (*here) doesn’t show off the time machine project well at all, so next week in pod8 (to come) we’ll have a short course on several related sounds involved along with additional commentary.

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14 thoughts on “Survival Prospects: Urban or Rural?”

  1. I would like to remind everyone that it is best not to get too focused on a single environmental hazard in allocating resources in this or any year. First thing to remember: it is usually economics that does you in, directly or indirectly. Debt and bankruptcy can be just as deadly as a pandemic. At the risk of borderline financial advice, if you are investing using unconventional leverage, you might want to consider moving to the sidelines.

    What may be different to contemplate this year is a potential lock-down, with limited resupply, rather than the bug-out so many of you obsess over.

    Shelter, water and food are still at the top of the everyday list. Cash flow, access, availability, and luck (or lack of) are variables. The filters G____ has mentioned (which I tend to lump under the shelter category) can still be had if you think about it. Hmm…. where would I look for safety equipment? Don’t spoil the exercise Ray, let ’em think it through and do their own research.

    For those of you who don’t have water gathering and filtration supplies, or some basic stock of food which can be prepared with the grid and NG down, this might be the year you pass on the cruise to Italy and maybe do a little basic prepping. But don’t discuss it with the garden clubbers.

    I’m still contemplating a small fixed solar installation, as opposed to the minimal portable equipment I have for emergencies, but I haven’t committed to any large project this year. I’m watching the information flow, and increasing stocks of some of the consumables similar to what G___ has discussed. I still believe I’m going to have a better year in 2020, but stay wary.

    • Good advice. I agree that the government will probably instill martial law and force populations to remain in place rather than allow mass migration. Better to lose a few million here than tens of millions everywhere…

    • “Don’t spoil the exercise Ray, let ’em think it through and do their own research.”


      Supplies and suppliers are kinda transitive right now. Any concrete suggestion I might make would likely be “sold out” by the time most of George’s gallery read it. “Panic” is an amazing motivator…

      Not surprisingly, many online retailers who have the masks in-stock have bumped prices from 50% to 300% since Thursday.

  2. “The earliest computers (going back to my VIC-20 and C64 days) depended on good phone line quality in order to dial-up into computer bulletin boards.”

    Funny you should write this. I was reminiscing just yesterday about the acquisition of my bleeding-edge Hayes 28.8 v32 Smartmodem (it cost more than my computer.) It was a huge step up from my 2400.

    For youngsters: my 2400 was also a huge step up. My first modem was an IBM 75-300 Baud modem. Try to imagine loading a rich-text (4Mb+) webpage at 75 bits per second (nobody had a clean enough phone line to actually reach 300 Baud under Xmodem, and before data transmission protocols acquired the ability to perform proper packing and “error-correcting” on the data packets, {Xmodem-CRC, Ymodem, Zmodem}, 300 was pretty much only achievable over ethernet.)

    …And yes, George, somewhere, on an archaic computer of mine, lies my old ftp site, which has in its /bin/comms/protocols directory, originals of X, X-CRC, Y, Z, SEALink, and Z-C.

      • Back at’cha!

        I still remember how wonderful it was, when I scored a copy of Qmodem so I didn’t have to send the damn’ [init] and [end] strings — Used it for years, even after Windows came out. Zmodem-Resume, when it became available, was da poop!

        One of those ftp directories has Qmodem and QMPro (and probably other emulators) and also RBBS, Wildcat, and other BBS systems. It has been a pipe dream of mine for years to recompile RBBS into a HAMable shortwave packet-server…

  3. Another great podcast, George. Robin would be a good guest on the podcast. He could describe his system.

  4. Tech will never lose its Urban bias. In fact, I can make a case that Urban is and will stronger than ever in the many years to come. .

    Ray made a comment that Relating to the old days of having a good phone line to get Internet. There are still a lot of rural areas that don’t have nearly the speeds even the poorest urban neighborhoods have. Here, in the Bay Area it seems everyone has the ability to download speeds of at least a gig or higher. Xfinity offers a gigabit pro package of 2 gigabits. I have a gig and many times it doesn’t seem like enough as much as I rely on all the smart technology my home has.

    I also don’t subscribe to the panic conspiracies of CME’s viral attacks, and other voodoo that rural folk think big urban areas are vulnerable too. We are just the opposite. Urban areas are where you want to be.

    If by some odd happenstance that would occur, I want to be in an area where there are a heavy concentration of “MAKERS” that can remedy anything thrown at us. I am an amateur maker, but my next door neighbor, a top AI engineer for Apple could rig our solar panels and Tesla Power walls into electric generation powerhouse in a matter of minutes. Heck, his garage has enough components in it to wire the entire neighborhood. You won’t find that wealth of intellectual capital and Property in Wolftown, Tennessee. The same with a pandemic…I want easy access to health centers, health product distribution centers, scientists and labs that can join forces to find cures at light speed. You won’t get that in Napoleonville, Louisiana.

    The Bay Area stopped in October of 1989 during the Loma Prieta earthquake. The Bay Bridge was shut down, the main highway artery into the city had collapsed and business came to a halt for months. Yet faster than you could say Joe Montana, the entire Bay Area emerged meaner, leaner and became a world powerhouse in computer tech, bio-tech, top retail brands, finance and tourism in what has to be record time. By 1991, it was as if nothing happened as the Bay Area become the place to be and our population increased by nearly 3 million…mostly migration from other states and engineers bans scientists from other countries. It still is happening. Those new tech employer implants consist of most of my business. I am on the front lines of recruits here and despite the stats you may here about exodus in this state…there are just as many coming in if not more. If anything, the people leaving are the retirees cashing out of the millions they have accrued equity in their homes and retiring as ex-pats in places like Costa Rica and Belize. That pretty much happens in every state…especially in the frigid northern states escaping a lifetime of lousy winters.

    Th rebirth of the Bay Area happened in the early 90’s because we had the brainpower, manpower and muscle to make that happen. There are so many midwestern cities that didn’t change one lick since the 90’s. Once such town, St. Louis, hasn’t built a high rise in it’s downtown core since 1984. Memphis has only 4 buildings built since WWII over 300 feet. Indianapolis has built only 2 buildings in its downtown over 30 stories since 1990.

    By contrast, The Bay Area has 56 buildings, 30 stories or higher (the highest being 1,070 ft high) and 21 built over 30 stories built since 1989…and 22 projects under construction of 37 stories or higher (the highest being 910 ft high) .

    I lived in both rural and urban in my lifetime…For excitement, job opportunities, money acquisition and pure joy of what urban life brings… I will take urban any day of the week.

    • “I also don’t subscribe to the panic conspiracies of CME’s viral attacks, and other voodoo that rural folk think big urban areas are vulnerable too. ”

      Lol lol I did get a serious chuckle out of that.. I met a guy years ago. For some reason someone he worked with had him contact me an idiot in the middle of confusion and senile dementia to ask my opinion on a problem he was having on a project he was working on..anyway we ended up good friends..and he would razz me about solar power that at the time was over a hundred a watt..
      His reaction was exactly what yours is. He had a nice backup power generator no worries. Then that big storm took out the power in the east coast..a week into the loss of energy he called me to apologize.. seems he like you having that opinion changed his mind the minute he couldn’t get fuel and he could bake a cake on his counter lol..
      The chaos alone should scare you to death..especially with the conditions that already exist there or many metropolitan areas.

  5. “I also don’t subscribe to the panic conspiracies of CME’s viral attacks, and other voodoo that rural folk think big urban areas are vulnerable too”

    Mark, they’re not conspiracy theories, they are possible derailings of current technology. Understand, that HEMP and virus attacks are man-made events, and may or may not ever happen. A “killshot” EMP from a coronal mass-ejection like the Carrington Event, is guaranteed to happen. Scientists’ best guess is a Carrington-level CME comes along about every 160 years, so we’re actually slightly overdue. There’s no guarantee that such an event, when it happens, will hit California or, for that matter, any portion of the Western grid, but there’s also no guarantee that it won’t. However, if it does, your techie acquaintances won’t throw up a solar generator, because it would be of no use, except to keep lights on so people could stay up at night AND DO WHAT?

    • Ray,
      “And do what?”

      With lights and working machinery, people will be able to Communally Collaborate on how to fix the problem. Create mini associations amongst neighborhood groups to work on survival and get back to normal. That happened in 1989 in Aan Francisco after Loma Houston after hurricane Harvey, and many more natural disasters that affect our large urban areas.

      It’s just tougher to do in a rural area when resources are scarce.

      • Given a long-term incident like a Carrington Event, while they are “communally collaborating,” they are also going to be watching their kids starve.

        …And what if there is no fix?

  6. @Mark: “I lived in both rural and urban in my lifetime…For excitement, job opportunities, money acquisition and pure joy of what urban life brings… I will take urban any day of the week.”

    I will agree with Mark that urban life has all that…. until it doesn’t. This urban dweller suffers from ‘normalcy bias’ and fails to visualize what can go wrong. I have been in urban Honolulu after a hurricane took down the power grid for five days. A million people sheltering in place, with no elevators to access their Hi-rise habitation boxes. Then there were the shipping strikes that stopped incoming supplies. Toilet paper could not be had.

    These ‘urban failures’ only lasted a short time, but things were on the verge of getting very nasty. At some point the dense crush of too many people becomes your survival enemy.

    I couldn’t wait to retire to a rural setting where I can rely on my own supplies & wits and yes, my own tech ingenuity to survive…. without the crush of a thousand desperate zombies looking to get my ‘stuff’.

    • Good point Hank, I can see that happening in New York, but not Hawaii. I am very surprised. I would think that communal instincts would kick in there in a laid back place on the islands. That would be my hope anywhere in an urban setting, but opportunistic jerks are everywhere I guess. That’s info to be aware of for sure.

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