Are The Blinders Coming Off Finally?

David Trammel's picture

I ran across this article, and it made me think some:

"Just Say It: The Health Care System Has Collapsed"

Not because of what it says about the pandemic or about covid, but about how we as a society have been facing the collapse of our essential systems. We've been hit by several high profile collapses of systems which we haven't seen before. The Texas collapse of their energy grid back in March of 2021 is another example. Complicated systems which were perceived as working in the past, suddenly didn't. Sure we've always run lean, right at the limit of a unexpected black swan gumming up the works but by and large, with a little tape and spit (and plenty of federal disaster assistance money) we've been able to muddle through. Now it seem like more and more, systems we thought were bulletproof turn out to be made of window screen and prayer.

I wonder if this might be the unexpected good side to the pandemic, that the "cover up" of how bad things are, and how worse they are going to be, is finally washed away like the flooding in New York from Hurricane Ida. Will people start taking their own resilience seriously?

(Admin Note: Let's not turn this into a argument over whether covid is or isn't as bad as some say. Thank you.)

David Trammel's picture

This is encouraging

"‘No point in anything else’: Gen Z members flock to climate careers"

“Once you learn how damaged the world’s ecosystems are, it’s not really something you can unsee,” says Rachel Larrivee, 23, a sustainability consultant based in Boston. “To me, there’s no point in pursuing a career – or life for that matter – in any other area.”

Larrivee is one of countless members of Gen Z, a generation that roughly encompasses young people under 25, who are responding to the planet’s rapidly changing climate by committing their lives to finding a solution. Survey after survey shows young people are not just incorporating new climate-conscious behaviors into their day-to-day lives – they’re in it for the long haul. College administrators say surging numbers of students are pursuing environmental-related degrees and careers that were once considered irresponsible, romantic flights of fancy compared to more “stable” paths like business, medicine, or law.

“I cannot imagine a career that isn’t connected to even just being a small part of a solution,” says Mimi Ausland, 25, the founder of Free the Ocean, a company that aims to leverage small actions to remove plastic from the ocean.

mountainmoma's picture

Some of the young folks in my family have this preference too, and I am glad that one of them can get away with it, has a job at a non-profit.

However, long term I do not think there will be funding. But for now, for sure, good to have a career that you think is part of the solution. But, some of them are good value and actually doing something and many of those types of jobs are part of teh PMC, professional managerial class type jobs, so making jobs for expanded bureaucracy , green regulations, passing out funding which most of the funding for all that is eaten up by the employees maanging the funding rather than things getting done. It w=has been this way for years, which is why my states program for energy retrofit for low income householders is such a joke. I qualify and have had them out more than once. ALot of money is appropriated by the fed gov, passed to the state, down to the county ( and jobs and money spent managing) then a whole group here and by that time the money available for a given house is down to the level of changing light bulbs, shower heads, and changing out a door or window here and there.

Anyway, at some point these well meaning but wastful programs are going to collapse, as well as the river and ocean cleanup non profits due to lack of funding. I hope we can keep the awareness to at least not up pollution. But, I have seen the limits to growth chart and know that polllution levels will rise a bit before going back down. Pollution peak around 2040, but that is global, we can keep our local areas better I hope.

mountainmoma's picture

supposedly the FED is going to start tapering off QE starting in November. The Fed gov is going to pass a very large budget we cant afford at the same time

Supply chain problems are not going to go away on top of that

All of our bureaucracies are too large and not giving us value for the money. I expect that regular people are going to have to start ignoring them and we need to start a grey economy, we will have to .

Medical may be hard for a while as we go on. Get your teeth fixed now. Get that hip replacement while you still can. Get in better shape and wean off of those prescriptions. If safe to do so, look for local herbs, learn about alternatives. Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food someone once said ....

Be prepared to live with less money, either youll have less money or everything will cost more or both, collapse now and avoid the rush as we all here know. If/when some year SocSec goes away, it will be tight just having my studio rented out, my hope is it will continue to be enough for property tax ! I just cant seem to get the needed home repairs/upgrades done as fast as I know they need to be now as at some point I may be stuck with what it is for the rest of time here. The darn fire last year realy has set me back. I know they are going to look to raising property taxes more and more too.

I expect that we will get more power losses, not constant but expect that a texas situation could happen to any of us and be prepared to weather it out. I need to weatherize the new water pipes put in after the fire. Supposedly they are good for our normal weather, but look what happned to Texas, so I need to insulate the exposed pipes at least. I should have materials at hand to do a repair in case of breakage, but I do not. I had galavanized before, I am not used the teh darn PVC

We insulated all our pipes, both hot and cold, that we could reach.
We used those rubber foam sleeves. The foam joints are expensive but at the time it was more troublesome and slower to cut, glue, shape, and fit than to buy 'T'-shaped pieces.

I spent the money and used thicker insulation for the hot water lines.
It made a difference IMMEDIATELY in terms of hot water delivery to the faucets at the far end of the system.

I insulated the cold water lines as well. It wasn't strictly necessary but I wanted to give myself as much margin for error if we ever lost power for an extended period. Insulated pipes, whether hot or cold, take longer to freeze.

While you're insulating your pipes, I STRONGLY recommend you tag them out. Get a package of hang tags and write down on each tag what the line is, where it goes, and include all shut-off valves.

David Trammel's picture

I'm a big, big fan of insulating everything you can. My basement project has a 1" foam insulation board (with vapor resistant layer on the outside and foil layer inside, then 1-2" air gap, then 2" foam layer between the studs, with spray foam in all the gaps in the walls of the new rooms. I haven't really spoken to my sister about it, but I plan on those two basement rooms to be the chill place if we ever have a power outage in the Summer. They've got a pair of windows on either end that I could open and get a cross breeze too.

We're going to replace the windows next year if finances hold out, and add insulation to the attic. That's one of the reasons for the part time job now. To have a steam of non-essential income coming in while I can still work, that I can budget towards home improvements.

mountainmoma's picture

What is the type and thickness of the pipe insulation you used ?

In my experience, pipe insulation is standardized. It came in two sizes at the big box hardware store. They're long noodles (4 feet?) of foam with a slit in one side and they're either thick (3/4 inch?) or thin (3/8 inch?).
You slide the pipe-wrap tube over the pipe. If the pipe is longer than the foam wrap, you add another section. They're easy to cut. You can use a box-cutter or a bread knife.
I don't recall it coming in rolls; just packages of noodles so you'll end up with some waste.
If you're willing to cut and fit and fiddle, you can cut the noodles into the various plumbing joints. This is a LOT less expensive than buying preformed pipe joints. On the other hand, making a "T" out of pipe wrap was ... challenging. So was making it stick together so there were no gaps.

You want to avoid gaps as that's the spot that will lose heat.
You want to cover every inch of pipe that you can reach.
We moved aside the drop ceiling panels.
We've got a chimney chase that the pipes to the upstairs run through. I put on the pipe wrap and slid it upwards, then added sections until I couldn't push it up any more. I have no way of seeing what happened but based on the hot water and the multiple pieces of pipe wrap, I covered at least 12 feet before I reached some kind of hidden joint.
For pipes attached to the concrete wall of the basement, Mark cut a pie-shaped wedge out of the pipe wrap (using the precut slit as cut number one) so he could cover as much of the pipe as possible and fit flush to the wall. That pipe wrap is duct-taped in place.

It's tedious, dirty, cobwebby work but once it's done, it's done.

As with any insulation, the more meticulous you are with installation, the better your final results.

mountainmoma's picture

I believe the limits to growth chart has us hitting peak industrial output and peak food per capita anytime now, or maybe now.

Sorry! I wasn't clear why there's two thicknesses of foam noodles made for wrapping pipes.
It depends on how much you want to spend and what the pipe is being used for.

Hot water lines benefit the most from thicker insulation as water pipes usually run through unheated space. In the winter, they lose *a LOT* of heat. Thus, you wrap them with the thicker, more expensive foam noodles since one payment towards a set of pipe wraps will keep hot waterlines hot for decades.

Cold water lines usually get the thinner pipe wrap because it costs less and all you're trying to do is keep the pipes from freezing. If your cold water lines run through very cold spaces, I'd spring for the thicker pipe wrap.