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The question of “what would we do if everything went to hell?” is what makes me motivated to study things like chemistry, physics, electricity, and machinery—topics I would ordinarily have no need for as a software developer.

Like, hmm, if you can’t refine oil anymore, how would you set up large-scale ethanol production so that you can run engines? How would you modify the engines to run on 100% ethanol? Where do you find ore and how do you smelt it? If you want to make gunpowder, where in the world do you get saltpeter and sulfur? How do you make gunpowder, or even just charcoal, without blowing yourself up? Can you make hormonal birth control, or even condoms? How about antibiotics? I’ve had some very good wikiwalks starting from questions like these.

You'd probably want to study farming, animal husbandry, woodcraft, etc., instead. I.e. you're going to need to learn how to grow food really fast!

For that you'll want the Foxfire series of books. I remember flipping through them when I was a kid -- not sure about the quality of the information from memory, but the topics covered are somewhat complete.

I'm actually far more interested in learning how to create firearms and ammo... As sad as it sounds, that's probably a more pragmatic plan.

Most of the fleet here in Brazil runs on dual combustible (ethanol or gas) and ethanol is available at every gas station. Ethanol from sugar cane is way cheaper than ethanol from corn and we have 2 crops a year (no harsh winters).

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