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Discussions

> I almost don’t need to read the book anymore after your well summarized review. Thank you. There is likely no higher possible praise for a review. > [more trees] means increased cost and maintenance for the shopping landlords and they don’t want that. Speck shows many such cases of this thinking in the book: where shop merchants fight against changes such as adding trees, charging for parking, having two-way streets, etc.He cites multiple studies that show which actions increase business revenue, and they are amazingly usually the actions that merchants fight against. Charging for parking increases revenue because it speeds up customer “turnover” – only people with cash to spend end up parking there. They hurry to buy things and then leave, which clears up the parking spot for the next cash-heavy customer. Adding trees makes shoppers linger more and visit more, which leads to increased revenue. Two-way streets mean you get customers during both the morning and evening, traveling both directions, which increases revenue. I am not a downtown business owner. But if I were, I would use the case studies Speck has collected to plant trees and do the other improvements which seem to create a net-gain for business. It is sometimes counter-intuitive. But fascinating. >every single person reading .. can pick up garbage I love this. Thank you for the reminder. I will work to remember this as I travel. Is this similar to “broken window theory” – where if you keep your community clean, people will treat it better?

Book Review: “Walkable City Rules”, by Jeff Speck
Featured 12
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>Could a possible safety measure be to upgrade [to] a protected GFCI outlet like is in your bathroom? Excellent question. I believe asking about GFCI is a common next step.The proponents of GFCI claim that it is safer and you can avoid electrocution.The proponents of regular outlets on sump pumps claim that GFCIs can cause the pump to accidentally trip and turn off, so the pump won’t have power and won’t actually pump when you need it. I am not an electrician, so my official advice would be: talk to an electrician that knows the electrical code for your area.I spoke to to a master electrician about GFCI for sump pumps and their answer was “No” – “I would not put your sump pump on a GFCI. They are prone to nuisance tripping”. YMMV. Our house is not on GFCI, and after speaking with the electrician I intend to leave it that way. >How do you safely power a pump like this without the power cable getting into the water? You are correct to note that you want to keep the live end of the power cable out of the water.I would hope that manufacturers of submersible pumps have designed and build the pump correctly to be able to handle this – the pump itself (and one end of the power cable) are built to be submerged.If you have so much water in your basement that it gets up to the level of the electrical outlets – you likely have a bigger problem on your hands and would need a bigger pump or other tools.

Hey friend, kudos to you for being interested in the world around you, and in wanting to be better prepared.I wish I had started when I was 21. The world is a big place. It can quickly feel daunting trying to understand it all or fix it all at once.I find the best place to start is: focus on one thing that you can control. Most of us don’t decide the actions of large government agencies or big groups of people.Often all we can do is decide for ourselves.For me that means focusing on two areas: my own thoughts, and my own actions.I can’t always control the worries and stress that come into my life. But I can always try to control what I do, and how I respond to it. I agree with your decision to limit some social media. I block out most of it, and try to limit my news-reading to a maximum amount of time per week.I like to fill my time with positive actions – reading books, spending time with family, working on projects. And often – prepping. >I’m starting to wonder if there’s any real way to prepare for this stuff You’re off to a great start by asking the question. How could you prepare?And you’re in the right place. It never hurts to return and start from the beginning. With a beginner’s mindset, there are many options. Perhaps there are some you hadn’t noticed before. One step might be: write down a list of what ‘stuff’ you want to prepare for. Then walk through some options. – How would you like to respond to it, if money was no option?– How could you respond it now, with what you have?– Where might you be?– What gear would you need?– Where would you go, or what would you do? Then whittle it down. Pick one thing and start small. I don’t know your situation. Are you able to look for a job? Volunteer at a place where you can learn and get training? Become an apprentice or learn skills that will lead to employment? Talk to others in your area about strategies that worked for them? Even if you have no money to spend, you can still do many things to prepare: Exercise and get into shape. Create a life routine where you can exercise regularly. Being physically fit makes you better prepared for almost anything, and you will be ahead of most. Clean and organize. Do you have extra stuff that you don’t need? Any rooms that have junk or need tidying? Cleaning up and organizing your living space is good exercise, good for your mental health, and will help you to be better able to tackle life. You might even find some items you can sell second-hand at garage sales or ebay/facebook marketplace. Do laundry. Any event is easier to handle when you have fresh, clean clothes. Manage your pantry. Do you have any staples or non-perishable foods? Ensure they do not go to waste. Build a system for storing the oldest goods at the front – ready to use – and placing new incoming goods at the back, to properly rotate. When you build good skills and habits, no one can take those from you. Learn to cook. Learn basic cooking skills and a few recipes that let create good-tasting meals from the food you already have. Good food builds morale, and you may have many more friends or positive reactions if you can cook well during a crisis. You can find many videos, books, and resources for this online. Here is a free PDF of the book “Good And Cheap”, freely given by the author  It also has a page on pantry management. Practice a fire drill. If there is a fire – do you know how to get out and where to go? Do you have meeting place or local contact? Make a preparedness plan. Take a look at where you live and the common scenarios you might face. You can start by researching weather and potential natural disasters in your area – wild fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, large storms, floods, droughts, etc. Which of these apply to you? For each, write down a response plan of: Where might you be? Where would you need to go? What would you need to bring or how would you get there? How might your plans fail, and what would your backup plan be? This may help you to think about what you may do. In addition to the beginner list on this site I like this essay . Document your plan Create an emergency contact list. Collect the phone numbers for fire, utilities, and family or neighbours you might call when you need help. Add the account numbers so it’s all in one place. Put it on the fridge or a prominent location so it is easy for anyone to find. Talk with your family. This may vary depending on your situation, but if you can broach the subject gently it is great to have family on board. Catch up with a friend. Check on how they are doing. Comparing notes may help to encourage both of you, or give you ideas. Connecting with people we like improves happiness for both parties. Join a club. Do you enjoy bird watching? Star gazing? Sewing? Chess? You might make new friends or contacts, and meet people with great skills. Or choose a hobby related to preparedness – for example, ham radio Explore your neighbourhood. Get out in nature. Enjoy the scenery. Good for stress relief and exercise. Can you build a map or note important and useful locations around you? Work on your mental health. Do you enjoy meditation, philosophy, debate, psychology or other skills to build mental resilience? Practice gratitude. What is one thing you’re grateful for this week? Practicing gratitude helps train our brains to recognize the positive, and recognize progress. Learn how to tie some useful knots Read a book. Do you have access to a library? Books around your house? Whether for enjoyment, learning, or a bit of both, reading enriches the mind. Here is a forum post with more ideas on cheap and free activities. Pick one thing.We’d love to hear about it.

>creative everyday prepping that you’re particularly happy about? Kudos, great topic. Good work on finding more durable solutions in razors, pencils, and materials. I also tried to take a look at: what are the habits and supplies I use most often, and how can I make these more durable, healthy, or robust? A few: Eating rolled oats for breakfast. I buy plain, large flake rolled oats in bulk quantities. This is much cheaper than buying grocery store breakfast cereals. Rolled oats seem to be healthy and keep me feeling full longer, as they take a while to digest. They store well. You can add milk, honey, fruit, seeds for more variety, nutrition, and taste. Or soak them as “overnight oats”, etc. Practice intermittent fasting. Supposedly fasting is the key to health and long life. They say it helps your body to remove old, unhealthy cells and build new ones. The book that impacted me the most was “The Diabetes Code”, by Dr. Jason Fung. Fasting was difficult and strange for the first 2-3 days as my body got used to the concept of not just constantly eating during every waking moment. But this was helpful for me to learn how my body reacts with less food, and to get used to it. Over time it has become easier and easier. Now I can go much longer periods without eating and it feels healthy and wholesome to do so. I even lost a bit of weight (though that’s not my main goal). I try to spend 3 to 5 days per week simply compressing my eating window – only eat between the hours of 8am and 4pm. This just means eating dinner 2 hours sooner, which is often doable with only a minor adjustment to schedule. It also forces me to seek out foods that contain healthy protein or fat and leave me feeling full for longer – e.g. peanut butter, eggs. This often means eating healthier foods than the typical quick sugar snacks. Buy two things to start, then always replace one. Building on the idea of always having a backup, and stocking a larger pantry. I began purchasing two of items I use regularly, and then buying another when I use the first. For example: rolled oats, dog food, car air filter, furnace filter, jug of laundry soap, propane tank. This helps to make sure you always have one on hand, and gives you time to replace your supply. Everyday preps I want to do more of: Improve skill at sewing + mending. In addition to choosing durable materials, being able to quickly sew and repair things I own would go a long way toward reuse. I’m bad at this and need practice. I have several boots, pockets, coats, etc. that currently need fixing. Meal prep. I want to get better at planning weekly sets of meals so I can combine + reuse ingredients. And improve at creating meals in advance so they are ready to go. Cooking. Edit: Kira – are there any other everyday skills or preps you would like to do, or plan to do in the future?

What you can do about it: Consider ways you can localize your supply chain. Can you buy any supplies or staples from local shoppes? Join a community farm? Can you acquire supplies by walking, rolling, biking, or other transportation that does not use fossil fuel? Learn to garden. Continue to care for your garden. Grow some local food. Consider a solar panel to charge some electronics. Stay cool in the heat. Create or find shade, slow down, stay hydrated. Store some water in your home. If your water is shut off during a heat wave, are you ready? Plant some trees. Trees lower nearby temperatures, provide shade, help to retain moisture, and absorb CO2. Check where you may be able to plant in your local area, or join a volunteer group. Practice de-catastrophisizing (off-site link). This means: describe events in the most matter-of-fact neutral way, to help remove emotion. Help yourself and others to prepare by building mental resilience. This technique is often employed by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Keep working on your finances Search for alternate jobs, practice interviewing. Learn new skills that apply in your field or career. Invest in yourself. Learn to swim. Good exercise and a valuable skill. Take a first aid class. Practice and training that will never go to waste. Keep stocking your pantry with long-term, shelf stable foods as you are able. Consider how you will stay warm and heat your home this winter. Do you need e.g. a space heater? Warm clothes and blankets? Keep wearing a well-fitting, quality mask Good luck this week.


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> I almost don’t need to read the book anymore after your well summarized review. Thank you. There is likely no higher possible praise for a review. > [more trees] means increased cost and maintenance for the shopping landlords and they don’t want that. Speck shows many such cases of this thinking in the book: where shop merchants fight against changes such as adding trees, charging for parking, having two-way streets, etc.He cites multiple studies that show which actions increase business revenue, and they are amazingly usually the actions that merchants fight against. Charging for parking increases revenue because it speeds up customer “turnover” – only people with cash to spend end up parking there. They hurry to buy things and then leave, which clears up the parking spot for the next cash-heavy customer. Adding trees makes shoppers linger more and visit more, which leads to increased revenue. Two-way streets mean you get customers during both the morning and evening, traveling both directions, which increases revenue. I am not a downtown business owner. But if I were, I would use the case studies Speck has collected to plant trees and do the other improvements which seem to create a net-gain for business. It is sometimes counter-intuitive. But fascinating. >every single person reading .. can pick up garbage I love this. Thank you for the reminder. I will work to remember this as I travel. Is this similar to “broken window theory” – where if you keep your community clean, people will treat it better?

>Could a possible safety measure be to upgrade [to] a protected GFCI outlet like is in your bathroom? Excellent question. I believe asking about GFCI is a common next step.The proponents of GFCI claim that it is safer and you can avoid electrocution.The proponents of regular outlets on sump pumps claim that GFCIs can cause the pump to accidentally trip and turn off, so the pump won’t have power and won’t actually pump when you need it. I am not an electrician, so my official advice would be: talk to an electrician that knows the electrical code for your area.I spoke to to a master electrician about GFCI for sump pumps and their answer was “No” – “I would not put your sump pump on a GFCI. They are prone to nuisance tripping”. YMMV. Our house is not on GFCI, and after speaking with the electrician I intend to leave it that way. >How do you safely power a pump like this without the power cable getting into the water? You are correct to note that you want to keep the live end of the power cable out of the water.I would hope that manufacturers of submersible pumps have designed and build the pump correctly to be able to handle this – the pump itself (and one end of the power cable) are built to be submerged.If you have so much water in your basement that it gets up to the level of the electrical outlets – you likely have a bigger problem on your hands and would need a bigger pump or other tools.

Hey friend, kudos to you for being interested in the world around you, and in wanting to be better prepared.I wish I had started when I was 21. The world is a big place. It can quickly feel daunting trying to understand it all or fix it all at once.I find the best place to start is: focus on one thing that you can control. Most of us don’t decide the actions of large government agencies or big groups of people.Often all we can do is decide for ourselves.For me that means focusing on two areas: my own thoughts, and my own actions.I can’t always control the worries and stress that come into my life. But I can always try to control what I do, and how I respond to it. I agree with your decision to limit some social media. I block out most of it, and try to limit my news-reading to a maximum amount of time per week.I like to fill my time with positive actions – reading books, spending time with family, working on projects. And often – prepping. >I’m starting to wonder if there’s any real way to prepare for this stuff You’re off to a great start by asking the question. How could you prepare?And you’re in the right place. It never hurts to return and start from the beginning. With a beginner’s mindset, there are many options. Perhaps there are some you hadn’t noticed before. One step might be: write down a list of what ‘stuff’ you want to prepare for. Then walk through some options. – How would you like to respond to it, if money was no option?– How could you respond it now, with what you have?– Where might you be?– What gear would you need?– Where would you go, or what would you do? Then whittle it down. Pick one thing and start small. I don’t know your situation. Are you able to look for a job? Volunteer at a place where you can learn and get training? Become an apprentice or learn skills that will lead to employment? Talk to others in your area about strategies that worked for them? Even if you have no money to spend, you can still do many things to prepare: Exercise and get into shape. Create a life routine where you can exercise regularly. Being physically fit makes you better prepared for almost anything, and you will be ahead of most. Clean and organize. Do you have extra stuff that you don’t need? Any rooms that have junk or need tidying? Cleaning up and organizing your living space is good exercise, good for your mental health, and will help you to be better able to tackle life. You might even find some items you can sell second-hand at garage sales or ebay/facebook marketplace. Do laundry. Any event is easier to handle when you have fresh, clean clothes. Manage your pantry. Do you have any staples or non-perishable foods? Ensure they do not go to waste. Build a system for storing the oldest goods at the front – ready to use – and placing new incoming goods at the back, to properly rotate. When you build good skills and habits, no one can take those from you. Learn to cook. Learn basic cooking skills and a few recipes that let create good-tasting meals from the food you already have. Good food builds morale, and you may have many more friends or positive reactions if you can cook well during a crisis. You can find many videos, books, and resources for this online. Here is a free PDF of the book “Good And Cheap”, freely given by the author  It also has a page on pantry management. Practice a fire drill. If there is a fire – do you know how to get out and where to go? Do you have meeting place or local contact? Make a preparedness plan. Take a look at where you live and the common scenarios you might face. You can start by researching weather and potential natural disasters in your area – wild fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, large storms, floods, droughts, etc. Which of these apply to you? For each, write down a response plan of: Where might you be? Where would you need to go? What would you need to bring or how would you get there? How might your plans fail, and what would your backup plan be? This may help you to think about what you may do. In addition to the beginner list on this site I like this essay . Document your plan Create an emergency contact list. Collect the phone numbers for fire, utilities, and family or neighbours you might call when you need help. Add the account numbers so it’s all in one place. Put it on the fridge or a prominent location so it is easy for anyone to find. Talk with your family. This may vary depending on your situation, but if you can broach the subject gently it is great to have family on board. Catch up with a friend. Check on how they are doing. Comparing notes may help to encourage both of you, or give you ideas. Connecting with people we like improves happiness for both parties. Join a club. Do you enjoy bird watching? Star gazing? Sewing? Chess? You might make new friends or contacts, and meet people with great skills. Or choose a hobby related to preparedness – for example, ham radio Explore your neighbourhood. Get out in nature. Enjoy the scenery. Good for stress relief and exercise. Can you build a map or note important and useful locations around you? Work on your mental health. Do you enjoy meditation, philosophy, debate, psychology or other skills to build mental resilience? Practice gratitude. What is one thing you’re grateful for this week? Practicing gratitude helps train our brains to recognize the positive, and recognize progress. Learn how to tie some useful knots Read a book. Do you have access to a library? Books around your house? Whether for enjoyment, learning, or a bit of both, reading enriches the mind. Here is a forum post with more ideas on cheap and free activities. Pick one thing.We’d love to hear about it.

>creative everyday prepping that you’re particularly happy about? Kudos, great topic. Good work on finding more durable solutions in razors, pencils, and materials. I also tried to take a look at: what are the habits and supplies I use most often, and how can I make these more durable, healthy, or robust? A few: Eating rolled oats for breakfast. I buy plain, large flake rolled oats in bulk quantities. This is much cheaper than buying grocery store breakfast cereals. Rolled oats seem to be healthy and keep me feeling full longer, as they take a while to digest. They store well. You can add milk, honey, fruit, seeds for more variety, nutrition, and taste. Or soak them as “overnight oats”, etc. Practice intermittent fasting. Supposedly fasting is the key to health and long life. They say it helps your body to remove old, unhealthy cells and build new ones. The book that impacted me the most was “The Diabetes Code”, by Dr. Jason Fung. Fasting was difficult and strange for the first 2-3 days as my body got used to the concept of not just constantly eating during every waking moment. But this was helpful for me to learn how my body reacts with less food, and to get used to it. Over time it has become easier and easier. Now I can go much longer periods without eating and it feels healthy and wholesome to do so. I even lost a bit of weight (though that’s not my main goal). I try to spend 3 to 5 days per week simply compressing my eating window – only eat between the hours of 8am and 4pm. This just means eating dinner 2 hours sooner, which is often doable with only a minor adjustment to schedule. It also forces me to seek out foods that contain healthy protein or fat and leave me feeling full for longer – e.g. peanut butter, eggs. This often means eating healthier foods than the typical quick sugar snacks. Buy two things to start, then always replace one. Building on the idea of always having a backup, and stocking a larger pantry. I began purchasing two of items I use regularly, and then buying another when I use the first. For example: rolled oats, dog food, car air filter, furnace filter, jug of laundry soap, propane tank. This helps to make sure you always have one on hand, and gives you time to replace your supply. Everyday preps I want to do more of: Improve skill at sewing + mending. In addition to choosing durable materials, being able to quickly sew and repair things I own would go a long way toward reuse. I’m bad at this and need practice. I have several boots, pockets, coats, etc. that currently need fixing. Meal prep. I want to get better at planning weekly sets of meals so I can combine + reuse ingredients. And improve at creating meals in advance so they are ready to go. Cooking. Edit: Kira – are there any other everyday skills or preps you would like to do, or plan to do in the future?

What you can do about it: Consider ways you can localize your supply chain. Can you buy any supplies or staples from local shoppes? Join a community farm? Can you acquire supplies by walking, rolling, biking, or other transportation that does not use fossil fuel? Learn to garden. Continue to care for your garden. Grow some local food. Consider a solar panel to charge some electronics. Stay cool in the heat. Create or find shade, slow down, stay hydrated. Store some water in your home. If your water is shut off during a heat wave, are you ready? Plant some trees. Trees lower nearby temperatures, provide shade, help to retain moisture, and absorb CO2. Check where you may be able to plant in your local area, or join a volunteer group. Practice de-catastrophisizing (off-site link). This means: describe events in the most matter-of-fact neutral way, to help remove emotion. Help yourself and others to prepare by building mental resilience. This technique is often employed by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Keep working on your finances Search for alternate jobs, practice interviewing. Learn new skills that apply in your field or career. Invest in yourself. Learn to swim. Good exercise and a valuable skill. Take a first aid class. Practice and training that will never go to waste. Keep stocking your pantry with long-term, shelf stable foods as you are able. Consider how you will stay warm and heat your home this winter. Do you need e.g. a space heater? Warm clothes and blankets? Keep wearing a well-fitting, quality mask Good luck this week.

What you can do about it: Review how to survive extreme heat. Create shade, slow down, stay hydrated. Store some water in your home Check your Go Bag. Keep it packed and ready. Perhaps set up a monthly check to make sure it’s good? Track your eating. Are there ingredients you could buy in bulk, or meals you could prepared in larger batches? Could you e.g. remove or substitute meat once per week to save costs? Learn to cook. Are you making good use of the food you have? Is it delicious? Improving your cooking skills may help you to reduce food waste, make better use of the food you’ve already purchased, and make you feel better and improve morale. Try learning one recipe, or see if you library has cook books. Keep building that pantry. Store some long-term staples if you are able Go fishing. Are there any local water or fishing spots near you? This could be a valuable skill to learn that may help you learn the area, get some exercise traveling there, and even result in dinner. Keep tending your garden. See if you can grow local food Think ahead to colder nights – do you have a way to stay warm? Can you find any sleeping bags secondhand or on sale? Do you have warm sweaters and socks? Do you have a way to keep one room in your house warm, if you really need to? Get a map of your local area. Can you find and mark sources of water, natural food, or other useful items? Get some batteries and a headlamp or lantern for power outages. Secure your digital accounts and make sure you have backups. If you have ideas on what to do before or after a data breach or data leak, I’d love to hear about it Get some exercise Take a break. Have a productive weekend.

The water article on paying farmers to improve irrigation is interesting. I am fascinated by how different groups of humans choose to use, conserve, or waste their water supply. My question is: are there crops you could switch away from, and switch to, to make better use of your water? It looks like California has been collecting data on water use and agriculture since at least 1998. In 2021 they published a report with claims such as:     > economically worthwhile irrigation efficiency improvements have already been adopted by thriving agriculture in the state.    > farmers strategically apply water to maintain higher net economic returns. They have a chart breaking down “$ dollars of revenue per amount of water used”. It looks like about half of the water use brings in 85% of the revenue. The other half may be diminishing returns     > nearly 85 percent of all employment and revenues are from growing fruits, nuts and vegetables, which are about half of California’s irrigated acreage.    > One limiting factor is the feed crop needs of California’s highly ranked dairy’s sector. Silage corn is the preferred wet roughage for dairies to support high milk yield. The worst revenue per water use is listed as: Irrigated pasture Alfalfa (which is then mainly used for animal feed) I’m not sure how much of this boils down to individual action you could take to be better prepared for drought. Possibly – What you can do as an individual: Reduce your meat and dairy consumption, to reduce demand for water-intensive food production Consider whether you can change any crops you plant in your garden and/or farm to be more water efficient, or better ROI on the water you use Talk to your neighbours or local community about which crops to use as well Decide whether you want to move into / out of a drought area


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