Kinda puts 2020 into perspective.
> Ask medieval historian Michael McCormick what year was the worst to be alive, and he's got an answer:
This seems likely to be biased by asking a "medieval historian". Are we surprised that his answer came from the period he studies?
When covid came we suddenly had a mask problem. We were focused on getting them to the medical professionals. And then in what I consider to be one of humanity's most impressive abilities, we adapted, cranked up production, and solved that problem.
Can we do the same with food?
Say we have some extreme of extremes weather or disease events that wipe out food supplies everywhere. How fast could we muster some solution that doesn't involve waiting a growing season?
I know you said “and not wait a growing season” but some backyard crops can grow in 21-30 days. And masks took longer than that. There’s a lot of yardspace that could become gardens and chicken farms in a pinch.
A big risk would be if that happened during the winter, or in a place where there is less surplus fertile land.
If there’s some event where you can’t grow, the only current thing we can do is already having non perishables stockpiled. We didn’t event a whole new supply chain for masks: existing companies ramped up production and citizens/new companies made cloth masks. But we’re talking established techniques.
When you're trying to provide calories (as well as sufficient essential nutrients: protein, essential fats, and vitamins), quantity matters, and a few raised beds really won't get you very far.
An adult needs roughly 2,000 food calories (kilocalories) per day (~1,600 -- 2,400 for women, 2,000 -- 3,000 for men), though it's possible to survive (with weight loss) on less than that.
1 kg of wheat flour contains 3,600 calories, or nearly the daily calorie intake of two adults.
An acre of wheat in the US yields about 40--50 bushels (under modern mechanised agriculture), at about 27 kg/bushel. Which, if I'm doing my maths right might mean an acre can support about 4.8 people (in wheat).
Under emergency and hand-raised conditions, probably markedly less.
Mind: if you've got some but insufficient food, you could supplement with what you grow in a garden plot.
The traditional famine food on Earth (since Europeans discovered the Americas), or Mars (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJCMgwcJNOk) has been the potato, at about 10 tons per acre. That's about 10x the wheat yield, though potatoes have a much higher water content, and rate at about 870 calories/kg, about 25% as much as wheat.
Maybe greens wouldn’t be worth it compared to potatoes even if they grow quicker.
We planted a garden for the first time in years right at the start of lockdown, and it was not nearly enough for food replacement. I laughed that it was good thing we didn’t need it for survive, because we’d starve.
Still, gardens are a great hobby and way to offset food costs and be a bit more self sufficient.
I find that the garden is a good way to complement things you're already making. Start with a staple (cheap and long shelf life) and add garden things to make it more interesting. I don't have chickens, but getting 10 eggs daily wouldn't hurt in terms of making frittata and so on. You need a lot of time and space to otherwise live off just a vegetable garden. I have a dozen chilli plants and single-handedly (wife and kids don't like chilli) eat myself out of stock just using small chillis in rice or similar.
Did people raise backyard chickens back then too? I lived in Cuba a while and I know it was common there as a supplementary source of food.
The solutions to failures of open land farming isn't microfarming, it's scaling-up greenhouses or vertical warehouse aeroponics.
I’d do anything to stop caring for the damned lawn.
Though a "condo" is technically a legal structure, in Canada in generally refers to a self-owned 'apartment' with-in a tower of some height. Colloquially 'townhouses' are house-looking structures in a common development.
Fully- or semi-detached generally means a freehold property without any links to any kind of other legal entity (besides the municipality). 'Semi' means that there is a shared wall between two structures, but they are legally independent lots.
Yes, by hogging toilet paper. I hate to be a pessimist, but just look at the track record: when covid started, there were shortages of many things (e.g. for a few weeks in march, canned food and chicken ran out of stock at places). We've also seen the impact manifest in the form of price increases (basmati rice, for example)
If we ever see large scale crop failures due to a weather event, it's quite reasonable to expect lockdown of exports of foodstuff, and it's quite reasonable to expect large spikes in consumer spending quickly depleting with the supply chain pipeline like what happened with toilet paper/canned food.
The problem is you can't armchair-engineer sunlight at the scale that humanity's agricultural industry requires, so a large scale volcanic or meteoric event would likely be catastrophic and a lot of people would die.
Plus it’s a great way to kill time between meetings.
Even at the time, stores and suppliers were saying nothing was wrong with any part of the supply chain. If you think there was some vast conspiracy to cover up the toilet paper shortage of 2020, not only do you have to explain where all the toilet paper went, and why the paper mills had a sudden drop in production, but you’re also going to have to explain shortages of flour, sugar, noodles, and most bizarrely of all, bottled water. Bottle water shortages, at a time when there was nothing wrong with municipal water supplies!
This isn’t even the first time in my life I’ve seen a run that was caused by panic buying. I think back to the afternoon of September 11, 2001. There were gas runs. Gas stations literally ran out of gas. Prices were gouged. Lines formed like the 1970s oil crisis.
The next day everything was back to normal. Why? Because there was nothing wrong with the oil supply. The only shortage was at the retail stations. As soon as the tanker trucks returned, it stations reopened.
I bought an extra package of toilet paper. I think I had made a normal purchase of a large package in mid February and then when the shelves looked pretty bare in early March I bought another large package even though I hadn't opened the previous one.
So I had months of toilet paper sitting in storage. It was still an amount that I knew I would use up in a pretty moderate timeframe, and not taking up a lot of space, so whatever, but I certainly participated in the run.
The toilet paper crisis of 2020 was caused by panic buying to feel safe in uncertain times, and a slight bump in real use, 40%.
Wasn’t that largely due to hype in the media?
I might be wrong, but I was under the impression that toilet paper isn’t really profitable to trade over longer distances, due to the volume a toilet roll takes up..
(There are probably different economic circumstances in other parts of the world than what I’m most familiar with)
It's not a bad human infection, but one targeting a staple crop (wheat, maize, or rice) that would truly concern me. That was Ireland's experience in the mid-19th century, and its population still hasn't recovered to pre-famine levels, a century and a half later.
Don’t forget that it took hospital corridors to turn into morgue and mass graves dug in NY to accept that this is not just the flu. Even that didn’t convince everyone that it’s serious.
A famine will probably be even worse than the covid-19. Maybe the denial won’t be that widespread but you can expect an intense blaming among people with different lifestyles. Everyone will have different degree of understanding the seriousness of the situation and everyone will be willing to cut back on consumption in different degrees.
Even without famine people can have strong opinions, some people even hate on people who actually advocate eating less. There’s strong hate towards vegetarians and vegans from the some groups of right wing people. I’ve been reading a lot of messages from non-US citizens being very happy that Trump will stick it to vegetarians. Meat consumption is also a topic among the followers of Jordan Peterson.
This was misreported  to stoke fear among people who don't know about Hart Island .
“You can live on it, but it tastes like shit.” - Crocodile Dundee
Probably awful for you too but less awful than starvation.
1. People will resort up to canibalism to survive, and cheat/steal/fight to get some food (ww2 concentration camps)
2. Humanity will have hard time to adapt, and by the time it does, millions will be already dead. (see the mass starvation caused in slow motion in Ukraine by Stalin, and in China by the great leap, and in many african countries)
You are quite correct that history does not paint a hopeful picture on the subject.
The entitlement of “Freedom” and unreasonable trust in individual responsibility will be the one that will stand in our way. I am not advocating for dictatorship, but that freedom we cherish so much is a double edged one.
The US started lifting restrictions well before we had even vaccinated vulnerable old people. A few weeks of inconvenience deemed unconscionable.
Here in Michigan the faster spreading variants are taking hold, people don't appear to care. We may do okay, vaccines appointments are just about available to everyone, but it can be another rough couple of months for no real good reason.
Who is hoarding groceries and vaccines? The stores are full. Vaccines are plentiful. The US even gave Canada a bunch of AstraZeneca doses recently.
Vaccines are plentiful.
The US even gave Canada a bunch of AstraZeneca doses recently.
I’m going to focus on your other statement, about AstraZeneca.
The AZ vaccine isn’t approved for use in the US. Whatever doses we have, we can’t use.
I honestly have no idea where you’re getting your misinformation, because your last line sounds like political bias. It doesn’t even make internal sense. What type of positive legacy would a president have if they were giving away vaccines during a shortage? Also, why would you be opening up access to people at lower risk during a vaccine shortage after months of prioritizing the people at highest risk? (California and Florida has everyone over 16 eligible April 15.)
> The US is about to reach a surprise milestone: too many vaccines, not enough takers
> As production ramps up, the US will soon have many more doses—and not enough people who want them. The change will be rapid: Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimated that supply and demand could shift “in the weeks to month ahead.” Walmart, a major distributor of vaccines across the country, has said that the flip could happen within a month to 45 days.
> In some states, the shift from scarcity to abundance is already here. In Idaho, where 20% of people have gotten at least one shot, many appointments have gone unfilled, causing state officials to increase eligibility ahead of schedule. The state plans to open up appointments to those 55 and up beginning March 22.
Some portion of those photons are heading directly towards a point in space where the will intersect one of the millions of black holes estimated to be in our galaxy.
Some portion of those photons will arrive along a trajectory just outside the event horizon, where their path is bent approximately 180 degrees.
Some portion of those will, at some point in the future, be intercepted by our planet earth...or hopefully an array of telescopes trained and synchronized in such a way as to allow us to reassemble a coherent view of a past earth.
I bet the statistics are pretty dire after 3000 years too.
On the other hand, in the case of Saggitarius A we have ~50,000 years to figure it out.
But might just be a volcano. Boring in comparison but not for the people that had to live through it.
So after 2020, we know exactly what's going to happen if that goes down again, right? A third will deny it entirely (sun is fine, just a hoax, air was always that bad, get back to work).
That's ~400 calories per day per person (globally). Not good food, but calories still.
So I think a large percentage of people would definitely survive, with a big swing depending on when during the year it happened and how the reaction played out.
Rome was already in decline, but without this it would likely have been more gradual.