TPE Plant Database

Lately I’ve been working on the Plant Identification section of TPE and it has been sooooooo slow… Considering there’s over 5,200 edible plants to add, 8-9 text fields and 2-3 pictures to add for each species.

Here’s an example of a plant – in text format because I’m not sure how to add tables in WP yet.
 


Ephedra viridis
(Mormon Tea, Brigham Tea, Long Leaf Ephedra, Mountain Joint Fir, Mormon Tea, Ephedra)

Family: Ephedraceae
Hardiness: 6-11
Edibility: 2
Medicinal: 3

Range – South-western N. America – California to Colorado and Arizona.
Habitats – Dry rocky slopes, gravel terraces and canyon walls, often on limestone, at elevations of 800 – 2500 metres.
Domestic Habitat – Cultivated Beds;

Known Hazards – None known

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Fruit – raw. A sweet flavour. Seed – cooked. A bitter flavour, it is roasted and ground into a powder and used to make a bread or mush. A delicious tea is made by steeping the green or dried twigs in boiling water. The flavour is said to be improved if the stems are roasted first.

Medicinal Uses
Blood purifier; Diuretic; Kidney; Poultice; Stomachic; Tonic; VD.

This plant has a wide reputation as a cure for syphilis. A strong decoction of the stems was drunk and a poultice of the pulverized or boiled stems applied to the sores. The stems are blood purifier, diuretic and tonic. An infusion has been used in the treatment of coughs and colds, anaemia, rheumatism, stomach ulcers and other disorders, kidney problems. The dried, powdered stems are used as a dressing on sores and burns. The stems of most members of this genus contain the alkaloid ephedrine and are valuable in the treatment of asthma and many other complaints of the respiratory system. The whole plant can be used at much lower concentrations than the isolated constituents – unlike using the isolated ephedrine, using the whole plant rarely gives rise to side-effects. Ephedra does not cure asthma but in many cases it is very effective in treating the symptoms and thus making life somewhat easier for the sufferer. The stems can be used fresh or dried and are usually made into a tea, though they can also be eaten raw. The young stems are best if eating them raw, though older stems can be used if a tea is made. The stems can be harvested at any time of the year and are dried for later use.

Other Uses
Dye.
The twigs, boiled with alum, produce a light tan dye

Cultivation Details
Landscape Uses: Erosion control, Ground cover, Massing, Rock garden. Requires a well-drained loamy soil and a sunny position. Established plants are drought resistant and are also lime tolerant. This species is not very hardy in Britain, it succeeds well in a cold greenhouse but is often killed outdoors by a combination of cold and wet conditions. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if fruit and seed is required. Special Features: Attractive foliage, North American native.

Propagation
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a greenhouse. It can also be sown in spring in a greenhouse in a sandy compost. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse. Plant out in the spring or early summer after the last expected frosts and give some protection in their first winter. Division in spring or autumn. Layering.


 
This should be enough information to make an accurate identification, find which parts are edible and how to process and eat them as well as medicinal uses which could be helpful to preppers who are in the wilderness. Is there any other information people may need to know? Leave a comment if you have an idea.

To break down how long it’s going to take:
5,200 plants at 1 minute each for the text only, another 2m to add identification pictures for each
So 5200 mins + 10400 mins = 15,600 minutes which comes to 260 hours or 10.84 days straight. I’ve been aiming to do 60 plants a day which will certainly break the workload up but it will still take 86 days to get them all done, and that’s only the text. Pictures are another matter.

There’s a few other sections of large databases in TPE such as medicinal procedures, medication and animal identification. So I still have these to look forward to. Yay!

The information is basically copied straight from various websites so it’s still copyright but there will be no copyrights in SHTF and this information will save lives, especially if the internet is down. All work is credited to its original owner and there’s the URL reference to where the information came from.

Low Fuel Reserves in Australia

In the past week the new Australian federal budget has been released to the public and there’s been some shocking discoveries. Such as very low fuel levels with only up to 20 days of petrol left for the entire country.

The other stats are:
• 22 days of crude oil
• 59 days of LPG
• 20 days of petrol
• 19 days of aviation fuel
• 21 days of diesel remaining

Link to News Article

Not that I know what these stats even mean – why would the government store fuel? I always thought it was the independent companies that had to import it themselves and then sell it at the fuel stations.

However if these reach 0, or of they even get close to 0 there will be chaos in the streets with people rioting over fuel and being fist fights over a liter. I don’t know how this happened but people are starting to panic and from what I’ve seen, they’ve been grabbing the biggest fuel can they can find and heading to their nearest fuel station and filling it to the brim. Not that taking fuel home is going to help you if it runs out, people will see you as a target having an extremely obvious moving vehicle among other paperweights.

There’s been a number of fuel stations I’ve passed lately that have been sold out of 91 Unleaded, 95 Unleaded, 98 Unleaded and E10. It made me instantly panicked when I headed to my local fuel station to fill up as I only had 1/8th a tank left and there were sold out signs on every bowser.

I eventually managed to find some fuel at another station the next day, but having that little and wondering how I would get to work the next day if I couldn’t find any really makes me reconsider my preps…

I’ve always had a bike on my to-buy list but never got around to it, and if I buy one that’s at least one mode of transport I could get to work if there was no fuel, not that I’d be worried about getting to work if that does happen though due to bigger problems on the horizon.

If the fuel supplies run out, the trucks stop. If the trucks stop, the food stops. If the food stops, sanity stops. Thus the collapse of a nation occurs and all a prepper can do it bug out or bug in until it’s solved.

Thinking about how I would prepare if this disaster were to happen, I came upon only two reasonable solutions. Either buying a bike and not relying on fuels altogether – which wouldn’t be much point as I’m sure jobs would dissipate quickly. The other option would be to store additional water and purchase more food before people see it as a luxury when transport stops.

Not that I believe this will happen because I’m sure a desperate government with the people on their backs would likely over compensate and store a lot more fuel then necessary – at least until the next budget is released and people see they’ve slipped back into their old ways.

Yellowstone Earthquakes and Eruptions

There’s been a lot of hype around Yellowstone lately with its increased activity and fears it may blow into the first modern super eruption which could cause the next ice age. There is also an ongoing eruption at Hawaii at the moment where people are being evacuated due to the slow flowing lava heading into towns and destroying houses which doesn’t help the doomsday theorists waving their arms and saying these are signs. I’m no seismologist and haven’t been to Yellowstone but I have seen the Supervolcano movie by BBC One which pretty accurately goes through what would happen if this monstrosity were to erupt. The effects were widespread across the globe with few survivors near the epicenter of the disaster and a LOT of ash everywhere preventing travel, plant growth and plummeting temperatures. If you wish to watch it I’ve added a link to it below on YouTube.

Supervolcano 2004 BBC One

There’s a lot of great information throughout as it’s a documentary style movie, such as knowing only a few inches of pumice can collapse a roof and half of that if it’s wet, as well as its effects on our bodies if breathed in. It’s a far fetched movie for this event to ever occur in our lifetime at the scale it’s depicted, but great for fine tuning your preps if you live near an active volcano as it may contain information you never knew.

I’m in Australia where there’s almost no danger of any volcanos or earthquakes to be of much concern, the nearest volcano to Brisbane is in New Zealand and that’s a little smaller than Yellowstone. However there’s never any reason to slack in your preparedness duties as even the most remote possibility of an event could still happen. I recommend looking into volcanic disasters and buying one extra item this week to compliment your gear if you don’t have one of the following:

• Air Filter Mask or N95 Mask and spare filters (For rock particulate)
• Goggles (If you don’t have a full face filter mask)
• Road Flares (For visibility during any disaster)
• Duct Tape (To block car air vents)
• Heavy Duty LED Flashlight (To see and signal through the thick ash, 2,000+ Lumens Recommended)
• Radio with NOAA Weather Station

You might also want to take a look at this list of countries ranked by natural disaster risk, I was surprised to see that Australia was rated higher than the UK, US and Canada at 4.22% chance.
Interestingly the highest is Vanuatu at 36.28% and the lowest is Qatar at 0.08% risk.
Country Natural Disaster Risk

Another very useful map is The Global Risk Map where you select what natural disaster you want and it will display the current risk or the history of that disaster in an area you specify.
Global Risk Map

Stay prepared!

Folding Sporks – A Terrible Idea

I don’t know what genius thought of making folding cutlery where the handle folds onto the bottom of itself because when you try to eat with it the whole thing just snaps back into the folded position when enough force is applied (Which isn’t much). This occurs a lot more when you’re digging into tougher foods and as a result you often get food on your hands when it folds unexpectedly, plunging your thumb straight into it. Yes, I’ve tried sliding the bracing bar down to the end but it doesn’t help much at all, it should lock into position if you do.

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Fig1. – The Sea to Summit spork.

Obviously the designer never tested the product and then sent it to market. This isn’t just Sea to Summit though (They are great in general), but everybody else seemed to follow suit and now you’re hard pressed to find one that folds the correct way. Wouldn’t it be much easier to design it correctly in the first place so when you’re scooping the ice cream from the bucket it presses against the bend instead of folding with it? Or perhaps it’s my fault for not just buying a regular spork… Let me know in the comments if you’ve had any similar experiences.

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Fig2. – The spork folded – in the wrong direction.

Bug Out Maps

It’s essential for preppers to have a good map they can rely on while bugging out, whether that’s the good old paper maps or something more modern and digital like apps where you can make changes on the go and takes up less space and weight. A digital topographical map is your best bet when venturing into unfamiliar grounds during bugging out as it provides endless features you just can’t get on a paper map, however the most important factor in a digital map is that it must be available offline. Lately I’ve been downloading quite a lot of local maps in a few different mapping styles, such as Google Street Maps, Google Topographic Maps and Microsoft Earth Maps. Each has their own benefits when bugging out which I discuss in more detail below.

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Fig1. – Google Maps Region of Brisbane.

Google Street Maps
These maps are generally used for road navigation and turn by turn direction, the Zoom Level of 19 lets you go much deeper than the topographic map to provide a great view of individual house numbering and what sorts of facilities are nearby. These maps are obviously most useful in the cities and pretty useless in the country or other remote locations. They display some great locations such as power and water plants as well as things to avoid such as prisons and detention centers. They could also assist in helping you loot locations in SHTF by knowing where the water treatment plants, police stations and hospitals are that may be tucked away.

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Fig2. – Google Topo Region of Brisbane.

Google Topographic Maps
These maps are perfect for hiking as they display the terrain height and how much of an ascent or descent it will be from point to point as well as helping you find local landmarks to assist in the navigation process. The zoom level isn’t as high as the Street Map at Zoom Level 15 but it’s still excellent for hiking with.

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Fig3. – Microsoft Earth Region of Brisbane.

Microsoft Earth Maps
The most unique map showing satellite pictures of the landscape from space. This is amazing to find features not shown on the other maps such as small ponds, undiscovered buildings, and even telling what types of trees are in an area! The zoom level is very high and boasts the same level as the Street Maps coming in at Zoom 19. However all this comes at a cost of a greater filesize when downloading areas, I would say that these photo maps are about 6 times the size of the other two.

If you don’t know how the zoom levels work they start at zoom level 1 which is a shot of the entire globe as 9 tiles, then zoom level 2 you have the whole globe at 25 tiles, then level 3 at 81 tiles, level 4 = 289 tiles, level 8 = 66,049 tiles, level 13 = 67,125,249 tiles and level 19 having a whopping 274,878,955,521 tiles! There must be some massive servers out there somewhere to hold that many tiles. This is also why you select a region to download, it would be impossible to download the whole world at level 19! Not to mention you would only use the tiniest percentage of that area and downloading the entire earth would include the majority of ocean and Antarctica which are both useless. Although the struggle as being preppers we need to think of every possibility and this often requires us to download a large amount of area for bugging out and finding new routes if the internet no longer works. Personally I’ve downloaded the entirety of Australia using the Google Topographic Map, but to do this I had to use a rather low zoom level to fit it all in.

My application of choice for downloading tiles is Mobile Atlas Creator 1.8. This version lets me utilize the Google and Microsoft Maps which have been removed from the newer version of the program due to complaints of excessive server usage – which I can definitely see why. I used to have Backcountry Navigator as my go to mapping app which I loved, but it’s more expensive and I couldn’t get any good maps for it, even though it has my favourite map type – QTOPO which is Queensland Topo and the state I live in. QTOPO is even a lot more accurate than Google Topo but alas it wasn’t included in the MOBAC map source list.

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Fig4. – The differences between the three map types.

There’s a hard download limit of 500,000 tiles in MOBAC as well (in all versions), so if you want a large area you either have to go up a few zoom levels or do multiple separate downloads. You can however select a few areas (less than 500K tiles) to download in one go which helps a little, but this is eventually blocked by another limit if you go over 5 Million tiles or something like that. (I’ve never checked the actual tile limit for that so it could be anywhere from 2 Mil to 10 Mil tiles)

So putting these maps back into Alpine Quest I combine these different layers to create a flexible map which can change based on my location which is very useful. If i’m in a city I pop on the Google Street view for higher detail and when i’m in the country I use the Topo and Earth shots to see what’s around me and the terrain features. The best features I adore about Alpine Quest is the ability to leave waypoints anywhere I desire, mark areas, draw routes, measure distances, measure slope angle, attach pictures to waypoints and even get alerts when you’re in range of a waypoint. Give it a try if you’re looking for a great mapping tool, and try out Backcountry Navigator as well to compare the differences between them and see which one has the features you need.

The Preparedness Encyclopedia

Since I first began researching preparedness I’ve been concatenating what I know into an Excel sheet to help refresh my mind when I need to remember what I’ve previously learnt. For example if I forget what ratio of Calcium Hypochlorite I need to add to water for the initial solution.

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Fig1. – The categories in The Preparedness Encyclopedia.

Each section seen above has a link you can click to jump to the section shown as well as subheadings when you get there to jump even further into the content you are looking for. An example being “Water > Acquiring Water”. The aim is to find any information you are looking for quickly and easily. Alternatively you could also use “Ctrl + F” to search for what you want if the wording is precise.

There are 11 columns of space of information, I chose this number because there are a lot of “10” row data fields and I usually add a description in the first column to give context about the row. There is also another 11 rows beyond the divider in the middle to allow for comments, discussion and answers which is used in the Entertainment section. Overall the column number goes to “AC” after which it’s then cut off to prevent unnecessary scrolling.

This document has slowly been growing over the past few months until now where it’s 10Mb. I carry this around on my phone at all times because you’ll never know when the information will come in handy.

As of today (2nd May 2018) there are 70 categories such as Water, Cooking, Barter, Foraging, Animal Identification, Homesteading, Gear, Fuel, Weapons, Medical and 60 more.

Each category has a percentage that it’s complete which I update as I fill in more information in that section. When every section is 100% the encyclopedia will be complete. I will however be disseminating the guide prior to completion as I will need assistance finishing it.

Up until now I’ve spent about 1573.25 hours compiling it which is calculated from the number of cells I have that contain information and using the assumption that each cell takes 1 minute to complete. Noting that that may be an overestimation I often come back to cells and edit the information and many of the cells take well over 1 minute to complete, so it averages out.

Unfortunately the document has been corrupted twice already in the past few months which is horrifying when it happens as I’ve spent so much time on this, but both times I’ve managed to recover it (or most of it). Therefore I now wish to blog my progress and upload parts of the guide so I always have an online backup to fall back on.

The first corruption I believe was due to it being saved incorrectly on my USB, which was fairly easily recovered by the built-in excel recoverer. After that terrifying moment I backed up the document 7 times as it was the only copy I had at the time. The second corruption I have no idea how it happened but when I tried to open it on my Windows 10 pc (As I usually edit it on a vista pc), it said it was unreadable and then proceeded to ERASE the file and ALL the 6 other backups I had on the USB. So now I’ve learnt my lesson to have off-USB backups as well. I had to use “Recuva” a brilliant program for recovering deleted and deep files from drives that are invisible to the eye.

After those panic attacks, I’m happy to say I now back them up online as well as on multiple PCs and USB’s, so I’d like to see it corrupt now. At most I can only lose one day’s worth of work.

Currently I’m working on the “Plant Identification” section which by far is the biggest with over 5,400 rows. I have recently added the name of every edible plant known on the planet and it’s scientific name. The next step is to find the information for each plant such as Physical Characteristics, Habitats, Known Hazards, Edible Parts, Medicinal Uses, Pictures and more. At this rate if I add 50 plants a day it would take 108 days to complete them all and it takes about 3 minutes to do a row. (That’s 270 hours to complete them all)

So that’s the simple introduction to TPE, if you wish to help add information to the article please let me know, although I’m not yet giving out the guide until it’s a little further along. I’m also unsure about the title of the guide, perhaps something without “The” at the start to use it more fluently in sentences.

A Change In Lifestyle

It’s been three or so years since my last post and quite a lot has changed since then, I was into technology, pc games and buying the latest tech gear and reviewing it. However recently I’ve seen how much of a time waster games are and have been investing my time more into learning about the world, economy and particularly preparedness.

It started back in 2015 when I took a trip to America and saw the completely different lifestyle my friends they had over there, in particular prepping for disasters. After some inquisition I soon realized that this world is incredibly fragile and could come crashing down at any point and usually when people least expect it. An example is the “Just In Time” restocking methodology for shops which only have three days worth of food stocked for their immediate region.

Now what if everyone in the local areas realized a cyclone was heading towards their location? Such as Hurricane Katrina. The shelves will go bare, there will be fights of food and gangs in the streets looking for anything worth looting as the police are pre-occupied with all the other violence in the region. There will be nobody to turn to and you will have to sustain and protect yourself.

This is what could happen anywhere on the planet, and it’s not even anywhere near one of the worse disasters that could occur…

This was my short introduction to the coming posts and the content they will appear on my website. I already have multiple projects that I’ve done which I need to post – which even include pictures and instructions on how to follow along if you wish to do so. It’s the first of May 2018 today and I thought what better day to start the first post than today, and I will strive to post every business day.

I also aim to redo the entire website and remove any irrelevant content not focusing on my current interests. Although I will continue to try to post new music and especially photographs as those are my other much enjoyed hobbies. I would now call myself a “Prepographer” – A photographer and prepper, or photographer of anything preparedness related.