David over at Photon Courier links to a fascinating site, Bruce Charlton's Miscellany, athe following post Does hereditary psychology explain broad cultural types and trends? The whole site is quite remarkable.
For those who missed the connection, Photon Courier is David's cross-posts from Chicago Boyz, an excellent group blog with strong University of Chicago connections.
Also today, Future Pundit speculates on all those "survival in apocalyptic disaster" preparations and points out some flaws in the reasoning. He is distressed that the disaster prep discussion seems to be in the hands of those expecting a complete societal meltdown, when more moderate disasters deserve decent discussion as well. I would add that at the other end of the spectrum, disaster prep literature is mostly concerned with very brief emergencies, such as power outages for a few days or shallow flooding which brings everything to a halt then seeps away.
I had some bags of non-perishable food stashed in the basement, plus some plastic jugs of water, all of them put down years ago and forgotten. It occurred to me a few months ago that this wasn't really thought out, just something that I had vaguely thought I should do. But our most likely minor disaster is a power outage in winter, with travel possibly closed down. Food and water aren't really the issue there. Even on the last day before shopping, we have enough food for a few days, so long as we aren't picky about it. And we're on city water. It's always possible that something could happen to make the water unsafe, or our ability to get to food be impaired for a few days longer, but these bags weren't likely to ever get used. Why pack the Red Cross recommended tools when it's all stored right next to the tool bench? Better to focus on batteries and spare toilet paper.
So I thought about second and third-most-likely disasters, deciding that evacuation was the thing we really aren't prepared for that could reasonably happen. Storm, chemical spill or heavy smoke, plus highly individualised disasters could send us scurrying. Maybe projected flooding, though our terrain suggests it would have to be pretty severe for us to be better off on the move than here.
But preparing for a week's evacuation overlaps heavily with what we would need in the second week of a disaster which isolated us at home, so I figured that would do double duty. I noticed that long-cooking rice might be an unwise choice compared with minute rice - things like that. Over February vacation I researched and rethought Bug-Out Bags, as they are called, and redid the emergency supplies with that in mind. No one seems to mention packing a pump or a can of fix-a-flat, BTW, which struck me as useful thing to have.
If we get one of those societal meltdowns we're pretty well screwed up here, so I'm not putting much energy into that. I don't know how to skin a squirrel or fire a warning shot into someone's leg or anything.