Thursday, November 20, 2014

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - So, What's It Worth To Ya?

Is there any way this trash can could ever be priceless to you?

There are many things in my life that are invaluable to me that no one else could ever imagine it would have ANY value at all to anyone. There are times I love to go on a sentimental journey (some might think "mental" is the key word on that) and hold stuffed animals that used to be mine. I remember where they came from, and how old I was when I got it. Who cares if an eye is dangling? Or, the stuffing might be thin in spots and seeping out of others. What things are priceless to you?

Many people find that pictures and videos of their families are irreplaceable. That would be true for me as well. My sister says I'm a "shutter bug" and take WAY too many pictures. I...can',! I love to see how my kids have grown, and have "bragging" folders on my computer, as well as, "blackmail" folders - you know, for the dating years. Let's not forget pictures of ancestors and extended family...priceless.

How many of us have these priceless things on our computers all tucked safely away? They might not be as safe as you think. What if a virus comes through and clean's your hard-drive's clock? Do you have a back up?

Several months ago I did a highlight on what an EMP was, and that it is a real threat. My goal is to educate, and make the reader aware what precautions can be done to protect your special electrical memories, family history, and what ever electrical priceless things you might own.

To review, in a nutshell an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) is a surge from the effects of a nuclear weapon launched high in the atmosphere. If this sounds a little too sci-fi for you, I encourage you to do a little research. This is what happened during the Cuban missile crisis on October 22, 1962. The then USSR had already sent one above their own people in Kazakhstan, and it wiped out telephone for over 350 miles and electricity for 600 miles. 

I went to a class once where the instructor had been a part of the testing done by the US in the 60's. After the planned EMP surged, it wiped out 300 street lamps 800 miles away, across an ocean. So, it is possible - what do we do to plan ahead?  The instructor (I will call him Dr. Oz) then told us how we can make an effective "Faraday Cage" that is inexpensive yet effective to protect sensitive electrical equipment: 

  • digital photos, videos, etc.
  • communications (like HAM radios)
  • any device with transistors and/ or semiconductors (solar panels, cell phones, power grid equipment, vehicles with electronic ignition [mid to late 70's and newer])
  • and the like...

I could share with you all the math and electrical mumbo jumbo like kilowatts, gigahertz and grapefruit squirts... to make you think I'm smart...but I'm not AT ALL when it comes to stuff like this. The bottom line is, that metal  breaks up the surge. Copper and aluminum specifically have shown to be effective for this kind of blessed interruption. Dr. Oz then demonstrated that if a simple am/fm radio can receive a signal ( because [ in total layman's terms] it is the same type of wave which an EMP would travel, just at a MUCH higher concentration), then the electronics are not in a protected space.

Enter the aluminum trashcan. 

If you cover the electronic device in aluminum foil (remember, we're not making alien hats with it) and then place it in an aluminum trash can with a lid, a radio cannot receive a signal in there. The gadget is then safe from an EMP. That's it. I have a removeable hard drive that I periodically update with our latest pictures and typed histories and other important digital documents in a Faraday Cage such as this. 

As nice as it would be to put your washer in a HUGE aluminum trash can, it still will not work without the power grid working. Save a Faraday Cage for the truly important things. 

For an example, this is what I would put in my ideal cage. 

  • a washed up ipod for music and pics that wouldn't require extra speakers or equipment to get working
  • a small solar panel to recharge devices
  • flashlights ( the batteries would be fine outside the Faraday Cage, but the inside of the flashlight would probably be damaged)
  • a battery powered fan
  • a removeable hard drive for precious digital information
  • etc.

This link will take you to preparation ideas posted by the National Geographic website: 

Hopefully I've given you a few ideas to think about. Maybe an aluminum trashcan made it a little higher on your priority list - because it just became priceless. 

No comments:

Post a Comment