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Offbeat 08 August 2014

I’m not sure which terrifies me more: the possibility of Ebola, life without electricity or life without ITC.

One of the themes of thought for the weekend, was the idea of starting a stockpile of food and water. You should know the thing… 72 small tins of tinned pilchards, 144 tins of baked beans with chilli, heaps of cigarette cartons, vast amounts of oil and flour, and enough toilet paper to print an edition of a tabloid newspaper. Maybe a gun to defend it all. The idea still hasn’t gone away.
The idea that Ebola might spread is frightening. In fact it is so frightening that I thought I might as well go to the pub and say goodbye to the folks there before closing up the house and gloating over my heap of beans while stroking the weapon with a maniacal look in my eye.
This week brings added concern about its spread. In what seems like a smart move, some of the  West African states are placing a kind of cordon of troops around the most affected areas. If I were one of those troops, I would probably want to get away from there and, if I got sick, I would want to get back to my family. It might not want to be a matter of wanting to share the disease, but I would want some kind of comfort.
No, it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, but all reason goes out the window when faced with impending death. The first few troops who get the disease have a very high likelihood of spreading it like wildfire. A cordon of troops seems like a Hobson’s Choice. I hope it works, but I am not holding my breath. Forget the zombies: if there is going to be an apocalypse, it’s quite likely that the walking dead will be those who are about to begin haemorrhaging. Are you having fun yet?
The root cause of Ebola, it seems, is infected bats. Apparently, if you come into contact with the fluids of the things, you run the risk of contracting the disease. How do you come into contact with bat fluids? Bush meat!  Apparently there was something similar at the root of HIV and AIDS. That involved chimps.
Let’s talk about this for all of ten seconds. Bush meat is bad for you, no matter how healthy you are. Make sure you know what you are eating. Fortunately kangaroo meat seems fairly safe, so Namibians can continue eating very cheap sausages for now. Just make sure you know what else is in your wors. Conservationists take note of all of this. A lot has been said about bush meat. Now you have a decent argument. Feel free to use it. I’ll carry on convincing myself to stockpile in the meanwhile.
It seems strange that a potential apocalypse should begin with suspect meat.
Of course, Ebola isn’t the only reason to stockpile. A couple of weeks ago, NASA announced that the Mayan 2012 prophecy was almost correct, and that the earth narrowly avoided a major solar flare-up that would have thrown earth’s electronic capability back into about the 17th century.
Apparently the solar flare was pointed away from earth at the time, but if it had been pointed at earth every single transformer would have been fried. No more internet. No more television. No more electricity. No more fridges to keep beer cold. According to what may or may not be informed comment, it would take the earth years to recover its ITC capacity from that sort of a mess.
Not only does that lead me to the idea of stockpiling, but also to the concept that I should perhaps get a large kiln built in the back yard to make bricks and pottery as a backup career, and strip the neighbourhood of trees to keep it hot. Perhaps I should also consider one of those old fashioned printer things that work manually with movable type. I could become a Namibian media baron, trade hand-printed newspapers for tins of baked beans and pay reporters with cans of tinned pilchards.
I’m not sure which terrifies me more: the possibility of Ebola, life without electricity or life without ITC.
Stockpiles are important. They are the buffer between the good life and the resumption of civilisation. As I look at the risks that face humanity my question is not whether to do it, but how many tins it might take for civilisation to resume?

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