L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 908, January 29, 2017
Norseman’s Diaries: Defeating Winter Doldrums
by Jeff Fullerton
Special/Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian EnterpriseAttribute to tle
Not too bad here in Greater Appalachia on Saturday morning. We have light snow cover but it is not terribly cold as the rhododendron leaves are not rolled up. I did loose ground indoors—down to 64 and had to use the oil furnace to catch up. That means I’ll probably have to bump the outside boiler up another 10 degrees to 140.
As you may have guessed by now things have shifted back to seasonal norms. Emotionally; winter doldrums are setting in as range looks depressing. But nothing catastrophic so far. Just hope it stays that way as I hope—like most anyone who lives in a cold winter climate—to survive to see the spring.
Meanwhile: Ray is carping about the weather that is obviously much worse in front of the gates of Arctic Hell that spill their frigid wrath upon the Land of Proxmire. I try to assure him that it’s not the end of the world. All the while I try to assure myself the same.
Reflections on ice ages:
They are worse than warming periods but survivable. Nothing like Mars anymore than the preposterous notion of Global warming turning Earth into Venus. It is quite possible that ice age climates are not much different than now—other than Canada and parts of the northern tier states buried under glaciers and wetter conditions with pluvial lakes and inland seas in the desert southwest which is a big improvement and the climate and vegetation here was probably not much different—maybe more northern species in the mix. The historic range of Box Turtles in Pennsylvania stops near the terminal moraine suggesting—being a species that is slow to recolonize—they may have always existed here; even during glacial maxima. Which means the summer climate might not have been any worse than present day New England or Michigan. Boreal forests grew within sight of the ice and sometimes got overrun. The tundra was on a narrow strip near the terminal moraine or expanses of ground exposed when the ice retreated.
And primitive paleo Indians apparently survived and thrived hunting Mammoth and other megafauna for a living.
In the current era our main problem is being inadequately equipped and prepared to deal with the present winters let alone an Ice Age one. A lot of that is just financial —everything just costs so much that you have to juggle costs and priorities and it is easy to become trapped in a situation where the cost of just keeping your head above water keeps you from shifting to a more efficient survival mode. A modern, better insulated house is less costly to run than an old drafty farmhouse or trailer but it takes a whole lot of money and usually debt to finance upgrades or new construction.
There are other options like the $50 Underground House in which human beings could build very affordable and energy efficient dwellings much like we did ourselves until the advent of modern planning and zoning. But Heinlein predicted long ago that entrenched interests would stand in the way of alternative housing and the quote was old when I read it in the 1980s and nothing has changed since.
Maybe 3D printing which has potential to make all things easier to come by and affordable —from machine parts and guns to even cars, aircraft and spaceships and even whole space habitats—will come to the rescue. If all those things are possible; then why not houses—made from recycled plastic and wood/plastic composites or some other material that can be spray deposited on a template or form to make a weather resistant shell?
The reaction of the zoning board and the contractors union to this kind of disruptive technology is going to be interesting.
In the meantime: as long as we’re stuck with the status quo—a reliable and affordable energy source will be of great help to those of us struggling to make ends meet. The new President taking action to undo the Obama policies of stalling the pipelines is a step in the right direction. Hopefully he’ll do something about the power grid too—make it more efficient and resilient. You certainly can’t trust the policies of people who either see crisis as opportunity for power grabs—or secretly yearn to crash western civilization or cull 90 percent of the human race. Environmentalists are the kind of people you want to throw under the bus for the same reason you would any other self-proclaimed mortal enemy!
And you can take that one to the bank!
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