Friday, July 28, 2006

Got maps?

One thing that has become abundantly clear to me about The Freehold V2--I don't know the neighborhood as well as I did around The Freehold V1.

Logically, of course, this isn't a big surprise. We lived in V1 for 13 years; we haven't lived in V2 for quite 3 weeks. We don't know the road names, the name of the hill you come down or the other you come up to get to V2 or the history of the area. We know the lake is that-away, but how far? Is there a shorter way to here from there?

Maps can answer these questions or put you on the track to the answers. As someone interested in survivalism/preparedness, the answers to these questions are important. You need to know all you can about the place you live, and it's history (at least recent history, but in my book, the further back the better).

Many people (but sadly, not most), have the lowest common denominator of maps, the highway map. Once upon a time these were given out free at gas stations, but now you usually buy them at a convenience store or somewhere similar. These maps are very large scale (something like 1 inch equals 10+ miles) and will list the Interstates, US highways, most state highways and some smaller roads. Cities and towns are marked, along with some smaller places. They give you a nice 50,000' view, but for the survivalist, they're only marginally better than nothing.

A much more useful map is one that lists all the roads with a state road number, similar to these by Delorme. I stumbled across these some years ago, and have found them highly useful as road maps. I recently used mine to shave 10 minutes off my commute from V2 to work. (You can also buy them in regional sets.)

(Handy Preparedness Tip: I've also photo-reduced the pages that cover my commuting route, laminated them and carry them in my car. Twice that's helped me avoid long delays caused by road closures.)

Useful as these are, they still leave something to be desired. There is a lot of information that is, of necessity, left off these maps. Most importantly, there is no topological information--you can't tell if an area is dead flat or a cliff.

Enter that old standby, US Geological Survey maps. The Federal government, in a fit of usefulness, has created maps of the entire county with a level of detail that may scare you. Want to locate your house? Pick up a 1:24,000 scale quadrangle, and it will likely be one of those little black dots on there. It will also list airports/airstrips, rail lines, creeks and rivers and so on. Need the elevation?--it's on there. You can also get earthquake maps, national park and forest maps, ecoregion maps and a host of other interesting and useful publications.

Not strictly map-related, but also useful is the National Geodetic Survey. These guys are the keepers of shoreline information and GPS (Global Positioning System) wizards. There are things here you need to know.

Maps have an important place in your preparations for bad times. Get some good ones now while you can.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Time for a quotation

It's been a while since I did a quotation. Today's Patriot Post has one that is too good to ignore:

Those who would trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state have told us that they have a utopian solution of peace without victory. They call their policy 'accommodation.' And they say if we only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he will forget his evil ways and learn to love us. All who oppose them are indicted as warmongers. They say we offer simple answers to complex problems. Well, perhaps there is a simple answer—not an easy one, but a simple one—if you and I have the courage to tell our elected officials that we want our national policy based upon what we know in our hearts is morally right... [E]very lesson in history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face.

I remember this particular speech that Ronald Reagan made. Oh, I can't tell you the date, or what I was doing then (probably revolved around college, as so much of my life did at that time), but I know I watched it--I rarely missed his televised speeches, even the ones that were taped. Yeah, I know he didn't write them, but he was a smart cookie. He hired writers who could write what their boss wanted to say, and did so in a way that really caught your attention.

With no real apologies to that liberal hack Norman Lear:

"...mister, we could use a man like Ronald Reagan again.
Don't need no welfare state,
Everyone should pull his weight,
Gee my old computer ran great.
Those were the da-a-a-a-a-ys!"


A bit of background: During a recent festival at the North Carolina coast, the State's Ports Authority made a ferry available to host a party for some bigwigs. Using this ferry thusly cost the taxpayers around $4,000, plus inconvenienced travelers who were forced to wait in long lines because the ferry was unavailable.

With me so far? Good, because I'm going to lose you:

Gov. Mike Easley demanded Monday that the state's Ports Authority repay nearly $4,000 of taxpayer money used to make a state ferry available for an invitation-only boat party during a sailing festival.

Now, realizing that the Ports Authority is funded through things such as ferry fees, I have to wonder just exactly how are they going to accomplish this--pass the hat among the ferry travelers they inconvenienced? Take money from the maintenance budget, so that they can suffer an equipment breakdown and win even more friends?

It gets even funnier when you consider that the agency that authorized the expense, and the agency that the governor wants reimbursed, the Department of Transportation, is the Ports Authority's parent agency. (One has to wonder if the Ports Authority's first defense was "But Mom/Dad said I could!")

It's a great thing that our governor wants to get the taxpayer's money back, but he really should be looking at a system that allowed this to happen in the first place. It seems to me that the system could be considered broken and in need of repair.

Yet another example of the disconnect between our government and reality.

Neither do I

(Via Drudge)

"I don't know how I ever got a Nobel Peace Prize..." says Nobel Peace Prize laureate Betty Williams, an Irish poet.

Neither do I, especially when she makes remarks like this to a group of schoolchildren:

"Right now, I would love to kill George Bush."

She made this remark at a speech to a school in Brisbane, Australia, in the context of discussing non-violence, which she doesn't seem to support. Perhaps she believes in peace through superior firepower instead. (*AHEM*)

The spooky part is that if you made this remark here in the United States, in nearly any context, but especially in a public speech, you'd likely get a visit from the Secret Service. Instead, she got cheers. The brainwashing continues apace.

Nice to know the next generation of Australians will also be friends of the US. (*AH-AHEM*)