A Call to Arms Toward Thriving – Part 2, by PrepperDoc

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.)


If we are left alone, then we can produce capital and transmit ideas and create industry at a far greater restorative rate than the original inventors of the 18th Century, who worked nearly in the dark. The carcasses of the production facilities will still exist. The machines will still be there, and the brilliant minds who know how to run them can still be found. Like any nation coming out of war, we should rapidly move forward to excess capital production.

The prepper groups should be leading that charge, using already-cataloged knowledge, and where and how those basic processes function and how they can be resurrected. Eventually, someone will reconstruct the silicon die production and others will recreate lithography and then dice out transistors and later integrated circuits. Until then, simple triode, tetrode, and pentode vacuum tubes are in abundance (they just last and last and last!) and can even be manufactured with relatively simple processes — which is why that industry flourished in the early 20th century. Glassblowing and a vacuum pump and a bit of a chemical oxidizer (“flash”) for the last molecules and you could replicate 6AU6, 12AX7, or 811A vacuum tubes.

As I have taught my students, EMP damage depends on a length of a conductor that responds to the enormous, nearly instantaneous E-field and develops horrific (but transient) voltages and currents that fry semiconductor junctions in infinitesimal fractions of a second. Two things to note: (1) vacuum tube gear is nearly immune (all of us older hams had had the occasional “arc-over” in a transmitting tube and they might even be the better for it!); (2) even semiconductor gear, if not connected to any significant length of wire, will be relatively unscathed. Shroud your laptop portable with a bit of aluminum foil on the back and bottom and as long as you don’t connect anything to it (not the charger, not your earphones, not the USB cable keyboard) — it will likely be fine! Rig a way to charge the battery with a very carefully designed lithium ion charger away from the computer, or find a way to generate 19 or so volts to run most laptops with battery-powered equipment right beside the laptop and enclosed in the same aluminum, and you’re golden.

So this yields another great idea for equipment (or an industry, even now!) The key is to avoid having conducting wires connected to the computer. Vacuum tube SSB ham radio gear is nearly impervious and works just fine  for modern amazing modulation techniques such as JS8, FT8, and even VARA. Despite even ongoing EMP attacks, you can have a relatively high speed long- or short-distance digital communications system by merely manufacturing optical couplers and using optical fiber between your USB-optical coupler at the laptop, and an embedded soundcard/optical coupler mounted inside the metal shielding of the old boat-anchor SSB rigs. This is even easier because the data on the USB line is digitized, so the optical coupling system doesn’t even have to have great linearity — merely the ability to detect light or no-light. Another cottage growth industry waiting to spring forth.  The basic arrangement is illustrated below:



Since everyone elses’ computers and digital radios will likely be fried, you will be the only vendor providing impervious communications. You will be one of the people leading the re-creation of data networks between towns, cities, and state capitols, because you will have the only remaining game in town except for the military (whose gear already meets a MIL-STD) — and there isn’t enough of that to go around. Find every laptop that was sitting in corners and you may have plenty of computers–even if there are repeat attacks!

Medical Survival Against the Onslaught

There is a reason that modern medicine developed, and it wasn’t because homeopathy produced such great survival. The development of penicillin from mold saved countless lives, and was re-purified from the patients’ urine since it is largely renally excreted, unchanged. That can be done again. Without modern antibiotics, the more primitive and more susceptible bacteria (that don’t waste energy on exotic defenses only necessary against 3rd or 4th generation antibiotics) will re-emerge on top again, and simple penicillin and other very simple-to-make antibiotics will be life-saving.

Here’s one example: It isn’t the greatest antibiotic, and it has very significant toxicities of which practitioners must be aware (particularly “gray baby” syndrome and aplastic anemia), but old-line chloramphenicol can be found naturally or chemically synthesized — and that will be another growth industry in a recovering nation. Among several others! Meanwhile, making di-ethyl ether so you can be anesthetized and actually survive real surgery should be an urgent and eminently successful task — and then formulating 2-6 di-isopropyl phenol (Propofol) should be developed. Your anesthetic survival will shoot upwards. X-ray machines aren’t hard to create, and if you can spin them, you have a CAT (computed tomography) machine — I wrote my first CAT scan algorithm on an Apple II+. The math for that was developed by a Russian in the 1800s.

If you have a Geiger counter and some radioactive material (perhaps even enough thorium lantern mantles) you can make a tomograph with the same technique and don’t even need an x-ray machine. Suture will needed, and will eventually be made by the mile, and gauze, etc. I’ve practiced dirt-floor medicine on missions, and trust me, only the healthy survive in such Third World situations. Anyone that is truly sick, dies.

You will want to reconstitute as much modern medicine as fast as you can, particularly the vaccines against the childhood illnesses that used to devastate communities, such as Polio, Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus. These pathogens will certainly re-emerge (or even be intentionally spread) and you had better be ready. Forget worrying about COVID or simple Flu — you are attacked by diphtheria and smallpox. Better have your community ready. Diagnostic flame spectrophotometry for lab measurements — yes, someone invented it and it can be rediscovered.

If we are subjugated then our technology will simply be scavenged from our subjugators as we eventually overthrow them. Their radios become our radios, their medicines become our medicines. It is minds that count and you must carefully develop and conserve the people who can take you past subsistence.

So where do we go?

We start planning how to recreate capital production, far beyond subsistence. Articles on producing fertilizer, how to measure soil conditions, improve crop yield. List where the major important industrial chemicals are produced and how to develop them over again, starting with smaller scale and working upwards. (The production of sulfuric acid, a key chemical for later products, is a good proxy for the health of a nation. World production is > 200 million tons! We need an article on how to do that…on a scale big enough for a small town.) If you can make sulfuric acid, you can make a simple lead-acid battery. That can dramatically improve life. If you can make a vacuum pump, you can make a light bulb or even an amplifying vacuum tube. Bio-diesel isn’t the greatest, but it will run farm equipment. And that increases farm production, developing surplus capital.

Where is suture produced? Curved surgical needles? Needle holders? Surgical staplers? Transistors? Solder? How can we recreate modern resins, and produce printed circuit (PC) boards? As an aside: In an emergency, I helped to design — and a lab assistant produce — a prototype printed circuit board at home. In doing so, we ran rings around the authorities enforcing stupid limitations, and we worked to build lifesaving equipment for a Third World country. We might be soon be reduced to a similar mode of living.

Who knows how to rifle barrels? How to mill revolver parts? Where are the manufacturing plants? These are crucial bits of Intelligence that need to be known for thriving. Where are the current chemical factories for the most important precursors? Find their addresses, look through their staff to identify the brilliant minds we need to search for, and protect.


The aforementioned might look daunting — but a long journey begins with a single step. Working toward developing access to far-beyond-subsistence production of capital will make your group, and the survivors as a whole, far stronger. You or your group could pick one area of crucially enhanced capital production, and go for it! Investigate what capital-producing, true wealth-producing facilities exist in your area. Document them, perhaps download lists of their R&D staff and production staff. Those notebooks will prove valuable if we really come to grief. Are there pharmaceutical-producing industries in your area where people who could re-create children-saving DPT vaccines? Write up your results, potentially publish them for the benefit of others, and be part of the renaissance of life after the tumult.

Starting RIGHT NOW

The prepper community could be crowd-developing a fantastically useful document of “who makes what, and where.” Where are solar panels actually made? Industrial non-organic chemicals? (Sulfuric, nitric acids, hydrogen peroxide for example). Industrial organic compounds? (Alkanes, alkynes, and particularly peroxides!) Who makes resistors? Who makes capacitors? Who makes gunpowder; who recycles lead from batteries? Transistors? Coaxial cable? Window-line transmission line? Where are the vaccines against tetanus manufactured? Rabies vaccine? Antibiotic manufacturers? Small engine manufacturers? Revolvers? You get the idea. Every one of those industries would add to a post-disaster standard of living if they can even be partially brought back online. That will be key to rebuilding.

Grab and preserve this knowledge, now. There aren’t enough nukes to blow all of it up. Some of it will survive, folks. So, take advantage!