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I recently got done reading "Lucifer's Hammer" and something came to my attention, one of the characters was putting books into plastic baggies and spraying them with insect killer along with dropping mothballs in. In the event of a MAJOR disaster (ie pieces of a comet hitting the earth, etc....) how would you go about making sure that books and magazines were protected?
 

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That is a good question.

I have a box that is about 24 inches square and has latches. Maybe I could use that box for my books?
 

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I would of course seek to protect, preserve and use as much knowledge as possible. We have it somewhat easier than the character in question, Dr. Forester, though, as we can store books on DVDs and not have to worry about bugs. Still, if I were the last man on Earth or something similar, I'd probably find a public library and devote some time to putting the books in as safe a place as possible.
 

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My Temperature is Right
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I've got a water tight box full of reference stuff that I never read but would be useful if I ever needed it. But the stuff I use a lot would be gone.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I would of course seek to protect, preserve and use as much knowledge as possible. We have it somewhat easier than the character in question, Dr. Forester, though, as we can store books on DVDs and not have to worry about bugs. Still, if I were the last man on Earth or something similar, I'd probably find a public library and devote some time to putting the books in as safe a place as possible.
I was wondering if his method has ever been tried?
 

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Long Trump
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I recently got done reading "Lucifer's Hammer" and something came to my attention, one of the characters was putting books into plastic baggies and spraying them with insect killer along with dropping mothballs in. In the event of a MAJOR disaster (ie pieces of a comet hitting the earth, etc....) how would you go about making sure that books and magazines were protected?
That was an interesting but overwritten book, I did get a few things from it though.

I considered caching books, but my thinking is to have the people in your sphere who each have certain skills that are needed. I don't want to try and figure out from a book if I'm draining fluid from a lung sack correctly - I want someone who's worked in that type of environment (got one good enough).

I value a team approach - going it with experienced people.
 

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I'm in a dry region, so my books do best in plain boxes. I've had books mold up when put into sealed plastic bags because of condensation I guess. In the boxes, they stay aired out and dry.
 

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I have 28 on my ebook with a solar charging system..
Solar charging systems are great, but I often wonder how people who rely on them would cope if we had a disaster like a nuclear winter, huge volcanic eruption or comet strike that clouded the skies over for months or years.
I'd be happy to have just a few hard copy books to read in that situation. We live in a dry climate (at the moment), so book storage is not a problem.
 

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In the event of a MAJOR disaster (ie pieces of a comet hitting the earth, etc....) how would you go about making sure that books and magazines were protected?


Somehow if large pieces of comets were hitting the earth and all heck was breaking loose I am pretty sure your books would be the last concern on your mind...
 

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Preservation of recorded knowledge (as opposed to keeping it in your head) is an important concept. I don't see it vanishing from the earth. There are tens of thousands of public libraries and scores of millions of significant private libraries in the US but I could imagine specialized information becoming very difficult to access.

I think in Lucifer's Hammer there was a chemist who made the mustard gas the good guys used to beat the bad guys. He did this instead of making insulin for himself and sacrificed himself for the survival of the group. Very good and well but if he didn't leave a written record of how to do both, then neither insulin nor mustard gas will be available the next time they are needed. So I dearly hope the guy either left detailed notes behind or text books with the appropriate information. I also hope the survivors had the brights to understand that to take advantage of this information they still need someone with a good grounding in the hard sciences so as to understand the texts.

You've been in your homestead for a few months. The masses of stupid and/or unprepared have all been shot, starved, frozen or have figured out a way to subsist. But by now your supply of antibiotics have run out. How do you make more? Penicillin may be 90 year old technology but unless you happen to have a biochemist in your group you won't be able to do it. The solution is to have - or find - someone with a strong background in biology and the information he/she will need to do it. And that is going to be on paper in very thick text books and probably not in anyone's survival bookshelf.

IOW, basic knowledge of chemistry, physics & biology will be a pearl of very great price in the post TEOTWAWKI. Teaching and learning the hard subjects will be even more important than now. That's the knowledge that will be able to put one group way ahead of the others. Being able to build radios and power supplies from scratch, being able to isolate yourself from the grid and generating electricity for community use, being able to manufacture antibiotics, grind lenses for precision optics, create smokeless powder and bullet primers, string together a working telephone system, building an accurate clock, using destructive distillation to create fuel from waste; these are all technologies approaching or exceeding 100 years old. The group that can do them will have something of far greater value for trade, once the dust settles, than just bullets and beans.

It isn't information like how to bake bread that will go missing. It is basic information about how the world works that will become less available. This knowledge isn't the sort of thing you pass on orally from one generation to the next, ala Fahrenheit 451. It will require that post TEOTWAWKI children be as well or better educated than the sad state of much public education today. The advent of the internet has led to a great reduction in the amount of paper literature in personal libraries. Should we lose the internet we lose access to that vital basic knowledge. Hence a need to preserve texts in general in science, math, history, geography and even art and literature.
 

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The effort to preserve books undertaken by the JPl scientist in Lucifer's Hammer I took as a persons reach for immortality. People want to think they have done something or created something that will stand as a legacy. Many people can do this through having children. However in the case of Dr. Forester, who had no immediate family and was a diabetic, his preserving of the books provided a outlet for that motive force. By doing what may have been a futile endeavor he was able to feel that he did what he could to eventually restore civilization.

It is interesting how strong the desire is to contribute to the upward thrust of humanity. I saw on a show about whats under the US (Curiosity series) several people who worked in coal, transportation, steel mining and farming all express their pride in being a part of keeping the country functioning. They were happy to say they are participants.
 

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Before you bag them, I would seal them in an air tight box with a large bag of desiccant for a while to get the moisture out before you seal them in the final bag.

The moisture content of books will vary based on the humidity where they have been stored, so in your humid environment your books are probably overly moist.

Wrap the books in paper to separate them from the plastic.

I like the ziplock bag idea for individual books, but then bag several of the individual bags in Mylar as that seals out light, oxygen and moisture.


I would be afraid the bug spray would harm the books.

A oxygen absorber in each one would also kill bugs. Have to use a very small one.

Also those tiny bags of desiccant won't absorb enough moisture to matter. When they are packaged with electronics the box they are put in is already dry.

Since 6% is what they recommend for storing grains, I'm thinking that would be good for books. But I have no clue how you would measure it at home.
 

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I'd write "I've got some great suggestions on what to do with a Koran" however, I'd run the risk of offending someone so I won't post that statement.
 
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