New Article: "Y2K Supplies You Probably Won't Need" : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

I have written a new article that will soon be on my website, but am posting it here now for those people who find my writings useful.

my website:

Y2K Prep Supplies You Probably Don't Need

Every dollar spent on a secondary/luxury item is a dollar not available for buying true essentials such as water treatment supplies or long-term storage food. We will not know how long the effects of Y2K will last until they are over. That means that since exact knowledge of how much of the truly essential supplies are needed for preparation is unknowable in advance, the prudent course of action is spending the vast majority of one's preparation funds only on the true essentials.

Contents: 1) Generators 2) Windmills 3) Large-capacity solar power 4) Software to fix your home computer system's Y2K issues 5) Gelled ethanol heat sources 6) Tobacco for barter 7) Beverage alcohol for barter 8) Composting toilets 9) Gas/wood-burning stoves that require electrical inputs to function 10) Colloidal silver 11) Herbal supplements 12) Freeze-dried food as more than 15-20% of your stored food 13) Large animals such as horses or cows 14) Storing large volumes of gasoline 15) Spare parts for most motorized vehicles

1) Generators: these items come up on Y2K preparation lists as critically needed items at least 100 times as often as I think they should. It seems to me that this is partly because they are genuinely desirable items for normal disaster contingency planning; gens have been very useful in the past for the aftermath of hurricanes, ice storms, etc. I suspect that the most common other reason has to do with insufficient understanding of just how severe and long-lasting the effects of Y2K are likely to be. People who think that Y2K will only matter for a few days or weeks in January 2000 will naturally think of "solutions" that allow their previous lifestyle to continue as unchanged as possible; they are not likely to think seriously about (or find palatable if they did) the idea that their lives will very possibly radically change for the worse for years, regardless of what countermeasures they take. Adapting conceptually to a world in which abundant, cheap, ubiquitous, reliably available electrical power is a memory will be difficult for most Americans. My reservations about generators begin with one that applies even to wealthy people for whom the cost is not a problem; certainly, if someone has half a million dollars to spend on Y2K preparations, if they spend $100K or so unwisely buying items they don't really need, odds are they will still have plenty of resources with which to prepare. Basically, the problem a generator presents for wealthy GIs is this: the sight of electric lights and/or the sound of a generator when all the neighbors are freezing in the dark might as well be thought of as equivalent to putting up a 20' long glowing neon sign 50' high in the air that spells out "FOOD HERE!!". Unless your residence is incredibly isolated, this will inevitably attract armed people who have convinced themselves that they have a greater right to your family's stored items than your family does. If this happens enough times (one time may be enough), your whole family will be dead. Having the type of light you are accustomed to in the evenings is not remotely worth this risk. How much better to learn to be awake when the sun is up; to use other sources of lighting when needed such as candles, LED flashlights, oil lamps, and such; to spend evenings talking to one's family; getting enough sleep; and, reading instead of wasting time on electronic entertainment of often negative net value.

The decision to purchase a generator for Y2K preparation, in addition to not considering the above, will probably not adequately consider the fuel, safety, maintenance and inefficiency issues. Fuel supplies (diesel or gasoline) can be expected to become prohibitively expensive or unavailable to varying degrees once Y2K hits due to probable disruptions in wellhead production, refining, and transportation, as well as likely confiscation by government of what finished fuel does get produced. That means purchase of fuel ahead of time and stockpiling. Aside from the nontrivial expense, both for the fuel itself and for the means of storage, the risk of confiscation and the fire/explosion risk must also be considered. Fuel tanks with enough volume to hold months or years of sizable generator will be hard to hide if above ground, and permits that take time/money to obtain are needed in many areas for underground tanks. You may have to accept nonconfidentiality of a large tank's existence to get it filled on site, too. Small fuel tanks that are easier to conceal or fill cost far more on a dollars/gallon of capacity, and soon may be in short supply. As far as storage goes, gasoline is not as stable over time as diesel/kerosene, being usable only up to about 2 years even if stored with stabilizing chemicals mixed in. Gasoline also is a far greater flammability/explosion hazard than the other fuels, producing dangerous ignitable vapors down to -45 degrees Farenheit. A diesel gen would be obviously preferable to a gasoline gen, but they can cost over twice as much for a given capacity, and have greater availability problems, especially in the larger sizes.

All generators that use fuel to operate put off large quantities of exhaust, which must be vented to the outside air to avoid lethal vapor accumulations. Traditionally, mobile emergency gens are set up outside or in enclosures with less than four walls to prevent this. Unfortunately, such a setup makes the noise from a gen carry a greater distance outside (alerting potential looters), as well as resulting in the gen being more difficult to guard, and easier for trespassers to visually spot, even if it is not in service. Vent piping could be installed to carry exhaust vapors away as is done for permanent gen set ups, but that involves extra expense/effort, with a nonzero chance of fume leakage,and is not readily altered if needed, especially a concern for nonmechanically inclined GIs once craftsman availability becomes a problem.

The maintenance issue is straightforward: all generators eventually require it to be able to continue operating; much of the work requires considerable skill; most people do not have this skill; access to people who do may be difficult to arrange at all post-1999; there may be a considerable delay between the need arising and satisfaction of this need (the gen not working in the meantime); it may cost a great deal in terms of what serves as the medium of exchange at that time; you will have to let a stranger onto your property to carry this maintenance out; allowing a stranger this access when you have stored items in a time of general shortage is undesirable.

Inefficiency is inherent in any device that converts one form of energy to another, such as when a generator converts the energy in a fuel to electrical energy. This conversion produces as output only a fraction of the energy put into it, generally wasting >60% of it. This means that using a fuel-powered gen to heat a house or run major motors/appliances is an undesirable approach if they can be run directly on a fuel, and increasingly this is an option. There are propane-powered refrigerators and freezers, and natural-gas powered air conditioners and water heaters, to name just a few. (The storage life of gases is effectively forever.) Heating houses and water can best be carried out post-1999 by use of solid fuels such as coal or wood in special stoves to do this directly.

There are some needs (ranging from absolutely essential to merely desirable) that are often brought out as justifications for generator purchase and use during Y2K that do not stand up when examined closely. Refrigeration of pharmaceuticals requiring it that are essential to sustaining life (such as insulin for dependent diabetics and many cancer chemotherapy drugs) can be more efficiently obtained by use of gas-powered (natural gas or propane) versions. Use of fuel-powered generators to power pumps to bring up water from wells too deep for manual pumps could also conceivably come from devices powered directly by a gas. Even if these are not available, solar panels/stationary bicycle generation setups attached to deep-cycle batteries or an inconspicuous short windmill could substitute, as could finding alternate sources of water or pumping large amounts of water into storage tanks in late 1999 while commercial electrcity are still available. Radios that run on tiny solar panels or by manual winding such as Baygens are available. Many kitchen devices that now typically are powered by electricity have manually powered versions or can be easily done without altogether. Residence locations with a stream with some vertical drop may be able to use small hydroelectric units to generate electricity; the maintenance and visibility issues still remain, but the noise and fuel issues are not concerns. Before purchasing a gen, people preparing for Y2K should first obtain and read a book such as Linda Evangelista's "How to Live Without Electricity and Like It". In general, I believe that most people considering purchasing fuel-powered generator purchases will find on closer examination that these are not high-priority, prudent, or neccessary purchases for their Y2K preparation. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2) Windmills: my objections to these devices are the expense, dependability, and increased visibility issues, and inexpensive manual substitutes serving nicely in many cases. The expense issue is obvious; it is easy to spend 4 or 5 digits of dollars on a large windmill that generates electricity or pumps water, when learning to do without large amounts of electricity or buying a manual well pump that costs in the 3 digit range can in most cases remove the need and free up the money for buying more food. Dependability arises from the weather not always being windy; the general tendency to have wind varies substantially from region to region. Visibility is an obvious concern; windmills work best if higher than surrounding objects (that block wind)such as buildings and trees. Unfortunately, this also ensures that they can be seen from a long distance. This gives windmills some of the same drawbacks that fuel-powered generators have that was discussed in the first paragraph on gen purchases. However, windmills are not noisy, and if not particularly high-tech in appearance/exceedingly tall, in some settings they may not stand out as much as use of large fuel-powered gens would. If you do buy a windmill, in addition to minimizing its height, buying a traditional/old-looking one would IMO be wise. Consider measures to increase its apparent age such as sanding smooth surfaces, planting climbing vines at its base, placing a large birdnest or weathered/outdated advertisement on it, or painting it with dull earthtones; the colors of dirt, corrosion, or rust would be ideal. Scattering fine dust in the air from upwind while there is still wet paint on a windmill is another possibility to give it that "old" (and your family that "poor, not worth looting") look; directly rubbing dirt on it can help if the paint is long dry, and may be preferred near the top where there are exposed moving parts. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3) Large capacity solar power: My objections to this are similiar to those for windmills; the expense is high (around a dollar per watt of electrical productive capacity), which means that an expenditure of over $25,000.00 would be probably be needed to fully substitute solar power for commercial utilities used at present, while keeping your household's present electrical consumption level unchanged. Also, if visible from a distance, as large panels on a roof would be, a solar-powered electrical generating system can draw looters to your home. Dependability issues mainly come from the fact that the sun is not always available; there are phenomena such as nighttime and clouds. Also, the length of day varies with season (longer in summer) and latitude. Arid areas have more access to sunlight than wetter ones. Mountain valleys receive fewer hours of sunlight daily than hill/mountaintops or plains do.

Solar systems can be otherwise quite reliable over long periods of time, not having many moving parts. I envision the most appropriate use of solar power for most people in a post-1999 world being used to supply electricity to highly useful items with tiny power requirements such as battery rechargers, radios, or flashlights. These items can have their modest needs for power either delayed until the sun is available, or in the case of radios/flashlights have them met thru storage via batteries recharged later when convenient and the sun is available. All three of these devices have versions manufactured with solar panels as an integral part of the case. There are also versions of radios and flashlights that are powered by mechanical means (winding or shaking). Solar power is not an absolute requirement for Y2K preparation on any scale (especially large), but if kept modest, inconspicuous, and initially inexpensive, may make sense for your particular preparation situation. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4) Software to fix your home computer system's Y2K issues: This is almost a no-brainer. If you do not have electrical power after 1999 (and many people won't), whether or not your computer is Y2K compliant is irrelevant; it will not work. Also, getting computers truly compliant is devilishly difficult (part of why we are in this fix to begin with); patch after patch keeps getting released to repair Y2K problems in a particular type of software, and still they do not truly fix the problem. Even complete replacement of the "shrink-wrapped" software you are probably currently using will not neccessarily solve the problem; carried-over data files, spreadsheets, and incoming data from other computers can all corrupt compliant systems. Worst of all, software currently for sale that is advertised as being compliant actually is noncompliant when thoroughly tested at rates estimated to range from 20-70%. One noncompliant program on your computer can make it unusable. Name your most basic needs, and notice how having a home computer isn't on the list. My advice is to get used to the idea that you have better uses for your preparation efforts than trying to make your home computer Y2K-compliant. You'll have a computer to use at home again one day; it just probably won't be during the year 2000. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5) Gelled ethanol heat sources: These products provide heat conveniently, but at a prohibitive price on a units of heat/dollar basis. Use other heat sources, or do without, and find better ways to spend your Y2K preparation funds. ----------------------------------------------------------------------

6) Tobacco for barter: If there is anyone who is or will likely be residing in your household when Y2K hits who uses it AT ALL, under no circumstances stockpile this product in any form with the idea of using it for barter (the only legitimate possible reason to stockpile it in my opinion anyway). Whatever you have of this, and wherever/however you have it hidden/protected, it is likely that this user will find a way to get at it and use it up. The Y2K preparation money that you spent on this material will thus have been completely wasted, as the tobacco will not be available for barter. The cunning, deviousness, and total immorality that people display who are dependent on a chemical with respect to keeping supplied is not grasped by most nonusers, and the vast majority of tobacco users (especially of smoked forms) are fully dependent; a higher percentage of tobacco smokers are addicts than are powdered cocaine users. There are people who maintain that tobacco users and other chemical addicts are unacceptable security risks to have in one's household post-1999 due to the nontrivial chance that they will become so desperate for their chemical that they will betray the family's food stockpiles to outsiders for promises of being given some of their drug, but I will not go that far. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

7) Beverage alcohol for barter: Unlike tobacco, most people who periodically or even regularly use this substance are not dependent on it, so stockpiling BA for barter may make sense even if there are household members who currently consume it. However, there is a nontrivial chance of currently nondependent alcohol-drinkers who have access to supplies of this material becoming dependent on it in the future; this is especially likely in times of stress, and Y2K will bring plenty of that to almost everyone. In conclusion, BA stockpiling may be a good idea, but use good judgement in this matter. Ironically, people who never have or would use B.A. at all are probably the best candidates for stockpiling it, as long as they obtain competent advice on what to buy from people more familiar with it. (See the section on B.A. in my "Barter" article for several additional pointers on this subject). -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

8) Composting toilets: These items can cost multiple thousands of dollars and require chemical inputs/some maintenance. This sort of expenditure makes no sense to me as the low-tech methods are inexpensive and guaranteed to work. You spend only a small fraction of your time (especially if you are male) seated on a toilet, so minor improvements in comfort during waste elimination are not that critical. I do not see the point for large expenditures in this area for high-end (yes, it's a pun) products when there are so many other things to spend Y2K preparation money on. A good book on this subject is The Toilet Papers by Sim Van Der Ryn. There are also relevant useful sections in many preparation books (including the ones I list in "Suggested Readings"). -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

9) Gas/wood-burning stoves that require electrical inputs to function: This is another no-brainer; if your stove needs electricity to work, and doesn't have it, your family freezes and probably can't easily cook their food, no matter how much fuel you have. If you already have one, then selling it (AFTER taking delivery of a model that does not have this problem) is the best response. Finding a way to supply electricity post-1999 to such a dependent stove you already own is a possible response; it's better than doing nothing and having your primary heating/cooking appliance be useless, but not as proactive as replacing it with a better-designed unit. There is more on this subject in my article "Heating a Dwelling". -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

10) Colloidal silver: In the event of illness, this material is not an acceptable substitute for positive thinking (usually doesn't work, but free) or antibiotics (have a cost, but usually effective). Silver leaf is placed on food as a decoration in some Third World nations, while silver in solution is controlled as a high-priority pollutant by the EPA. If it definitely worked and was safe, it would be prescribed by MDs. Vendors of this product claim that cheap, simple chemicals available without a prescription would never be recommended by the medical establishment. Two items that put the lie to this: 1) lithium carbonate given to certain psychiatric patients, and 2) aspirin being suggested by cardiologists both to be used daily for general cardiac diesease risk reduction and taken after a heart attack. Don't buy this garbage; you will need food for your kids (or antibiotics for possible illness/infection) in 2000 much more. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

11) Herbal supplements: The objections to these materials as extremely unwise expenditures of Y2K preparation resources are similar to those for colloidal silver; if they were proven to be safe and effective, they would be prescribed by medical profesionals, and since they aren't, they almost surely aren't. However, the situation is more complex than that. There actually are some good, usable drugs that have been found in plant materials used as herbal supplements; the bark of the cinchona tree contains quinine sulfate, which works well against falciform malaria. However, most of them almost certainly are absolutely worthless; most cases of herbal "cures" are actually cases of spontaneous remission or the placebo effect in action. Also, safety has never been scientifically examined for most of these products; this should be determined by neutral analysts, not people who have a desire for positive results, as the vendors of these products do.

The problems with the few herbs that contain a component that has some usefulness lie with the ignorance and purity issues. Ignorance refers to not knowing what (if anything) in the herb is having a therapeutic effect. If you don't know what is doing the job, how can you figure out when (or when not) to prescribe it and in what dose? For the HSs that actually do something, how many of them have unknown effects as undesirable as thalidomide, but no one is aware that they are causing these problems? The purity issue begins with the tremendous variability in HS characteristics/composition, even when it is the same type of material from the same source, but obtained at a different time. I worked for some months in a quality-control laboratory at a company that made and packaged HS capsules and tablets from HSs refined to various degrees. This stuff might come in green one time, brown another, a bone-dry powder one time, but as coarse flexible leaves (with variable stem/stalk/leaf ratios) on another day, all from the same source and (supposedly) the same material. These would all be used (and sold) as being within narrow ranges of quality, the narrow ranges required for therapeutic use. Well, they aren't. I personally have seen scores of different types of herbs (types constantly in the news) of famous brands that appear in stores we all know being made into pills and capsules, so I know first-hand what I am talking about. There have even been a number of cases in the news of different species of herbs being given the same name and used the same way. You cannot possibly know how much you are getting of any particular component of an herb (if it is even the right herb), as the manufacturers certainly have no idea (so how could they tell you?).

For the few HSs that have some therapeutic potential, the only acceptable approach lies in use of the scientific approach. After animal trials that show some potential, isolate the chemical that gives the useful effect. As a purified material, try it out in animals to see if it reliably is useful without causing harm anywhere near as much as it helps. Then, if it passes this hurdle, do the same for humans, using placebos, double-blind design, and technicians who have no stake in the results. If it passes all this, then have it prescribed by MDs as a purified chemical in precisely known doses for medical-professional diagnosed medical conditions. Until this has been done, HSs belong with copper bracelets for arthritis or toad-handling to get rid of planter's warts. They certainly don't belong in your Y2K supplies. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

12) Freeze-dried food as more than 15-20% of your stored food: First, let me state that palatability, nutrition, variety, and the potential to last years upon years without spoiling are not in question for freeze-dried food (FDF). The problems with this type of food being chosen for the majority of a Y2K-GI household's begin with A) its cost. The stuff is expensive. The price for a given amount of nutritive value for FDFs can be obscene compared to simple low-moisture foods which can take care of the long-term storage food requirement in your Y2K preps quite nicely.

B) The space aspect of FDFs as part of a serious food storage program is not brought up as routinely as cost, but it is not trivial. FDFs still have the same volume after manufacture as the original food version they are derived from. Dehydrated foods, however, have lost both their constituent water and most of the volume it occupied. For high-moisture foods, that means that a given weight (essentially same food value) of dehydrated foods will occupy as little as a tenth of the volume of FDFs that probably cost much more. Whether you have a normal amount of storage space, and are purchasing large amounts of food as part of a plan for insurance against lengthy food disruptions, or are buying modest amounts of long-term storage food but have to store it in a small space (such as an apartment/condo/townhome dweller might), the relatively greater storage space requirements of FDFs may be quite significant to you. The volume aspect is even more critical if you have to transport your food in a crisis situation, or decide that you had better hide much of your food by burial.

C) The availability issue is very stark for some vendors; while many (especially the pricier ones) have caught up on their backlog, there are still suppliers that do not anticipate being able to fill any more orders on a number of types of FDF before the end of 1999. There are some that have this problem, but will not admit it; imagine sending money for FDFs to some unfamiliar company half-way across the country when these FDFs are a critical part of your Y2K food storage plan, and never receiving them. This has been precisely the experience that hundreds of Y2K GIs have experienced. Compare this to driving up to a food wholesaler, grain elevator, natural food co-op, or warehouse-type grocery store, not handing over your cash until the food is in front of you, and taking it home with you that day. For common dehydrated foods (hereafter CDFs) that you set up special orders on, less than a week or two lead time is usual, if you have to order it at all; much of what you will likely want is sitting on shelves, ready for sale.

D) The long-term storability of FDFs can exceed that of CDFs, but this is irrelevant for most people. My reasoning is that until the time window of food storage need that can be filled quite adequately by CDFs has been so filled by purchases of enough of every such type, FDFs are an uneconomical and inappropriate approach to dealing with this need. Given that durability estimates for some CDFs commonly are up 2 years for the most delicate, and 5 or more years for many types, by this reasoning that means that only those preparers already fully prepared for Y2K food-wise for at least 5 years would have any business purchasing FDFs.

E) Freeze-drying is often touted as retaining nutrition longer than any other form of food preservation. Even if this is true, the nutritive difference between FDFs and CDFs is usually modest compared to cost differences. If an FDF were to lose only 20% of its vitamins during processing, while a CDF costing 1/3 as much had lost half of its original vitamin content, the CDF would win hands down as the more sensible purchase.

F) FDFs are reputed to be closer in taste to the original food as a defense for purchasing them. I have two responses to this; one, has no one ever heard of spices? With enough of these cheap long-lasting condiments, the taste difference vanishes. The other has to do with importance; we are talking about survival (avoiding dying) here; while food taste is not trivial in importance, consider that most Y2K preparers are people of modest means. If one family bought gourmet food for a year, while another family (with the same resources and people to feed) bought more of cheaper, simpler fare such that they had food for two years, and it was two years before the food supply recovered, well, which is the preferable situation to be in? Nobody knows for certain just how long that procuring food supplies (and earning what it takes to buy them) will be problematic after Y2K hits, so setting up for as long as your means allow is only prudent.

G) Who should buy FDFs? a) rich people with no storage space worries, b) people already prepared food-wise for as long as CDFs will take them, and c) Y2K-preparers who want the occasional meal that is similiar to pre-crash fare for holiday meals - perhaps 8 or 10 family meals for a whole year. All of these are contingent on being confident on being able to ensure delivery; I wouldn't advise buying FDFs any other way than by COD or picking them up yourself (and paying then). -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

13) Large animals such as horses or cows: These animals come up repeatedly as desired, even "essential" purchases for Y2K GIs who prudently move to rural areas. For most such people, there are many disadvantages to acquiring such animals. To begin with, they are expensive, and can easily die unexpectedly (especially for owners unfamiliar with them, and when veterinary services become less available/pricier next year). Also, there is a lot of waste associated with large animals; horses cannot plow during the winter or move loads when there are no loads to move, but have to be fed every day. Non range-fed beef cattle have the highest ratio of food-in to food-out of any common domestic animal (no grass in the winter, and they're easy for looters to spot if put outside to graze), and a single dairy cow produces more milk (at an inevitable cost in feed) than even most large families can directly use. The latter means chosing between waste, having to go to continual effort to preserve the milk, or risking being forced to leave one's property during times of disorder to engage in barter that is a giveaway of having a possession someone might well want to loot. Also, large animals are hard to hide; moving chickens, ducks, rabbits, or goats into one's basement (and keeping them there) is much easier than it would be for cows/horses. Worse, more than the precious Y2K-preparation money used to buy these large animals is at risk if they spotlight your household for looters; if the sight of a cow or horse attracts looters (government-associated types or not), they will likely be motivated to find and steal anything else you have of survival value on your property. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

14) Storing large volumes of gasoline: The problems I see with the wisdom of this type of stockpiling for Y2K begin with its great hazard. One spark and you have a fire; if a lot is involved, it is in a sensitive location (such as inside a building or near other flammables such as a dry field or woods), or a person is close to the resulting fire, then the consequences will probably be highly undesirable. (Kerosene and diesel fuel are not nearly as explosive, so stockpiling them is much safer.) Most American adults normally do handle gasoline in their daily lives, but this is usually either in familiar, highly controlled (safe) settings such as service stations, or involving relatively small quantities such as refueling a lawnmower or snowblower. Storage of large volumes of gasoline as part of someone's Y2K preps would likely be neither.

Gasoline storage also has the drawback that this fuel does not last indefinitely; in fact, it is generally considered unfit for use in fueling engines after a year or two, and even that duration of possible use is only obtained if special stabilizing agents (Sta-bil or equivalent) were added to the fuel early in its life. (Kerosene and diesel have significantly better storage characteristics than gasoline.) If you envision Y2K possibly having effects on fuel availability that will very possibly extend past the time stockpiled gasoline will last (as I do), then alternatives to the needs for which you envisioned storing gasoline are called for. Examples of the latter could be diesel-powered versions of devices (chainsaws, generators, etc.) or manually powered devices (saws/axes for firewood cutting, sleds or small carts for hauling cargo, bicycles/snowshoes for transportatng people, etc.). Also, for many current uses of gasoline, I suspect that the appropriate way to deal with meeting many needs for gasoline in a petroleum-scarce will be to do without; private automobile driving (if it is safe to do so, and the embeds in your car even let it run) may conceivably be made illegal, being viewed by the authorities as a waste of fuel needed for other things.

There is also the inevitable visibility/security issue for storage of any large volume of liquid fuel. You really don't want large quantities of any liquid fuel stored in your house, but this is especially true for gasoline. If it is outside, then a potential looter's seeing it is easier, and so is his access to it. A large tank is the most economical approach for storage of any liquid (not just fuel) on a gallons capacity per price basis. Unfortunately, it is also highly visible if in the open (it looks exactly like what it is), and even if somewhat hidden inside a sufficiently large building, a large fuel tank is ridiculously easy to find if the building is even cursorily searched. Burial of a large tank would either involve use of earth-moving equipment use or an impractical amount of hand labor. Obtaining, moving, and filling a large tank (even just 55-gallon drums) is a good way to attract undesired attention now, too. However, filling a couple of small gas tanks at a time won't attract a second glance at the service station, and they are easy to transport and hide.

My advice on gasoline storage: 1) try to limit the need to do this as much as possible by substitution or planning to do without gasoline (and other similiar liquid fuels, although these are less objectionable); 2) use small volume (5 gallons or less) containers of types that are commonly used by other people for this purpose; 3) don't do it in/too near your house; 4) use stabilizers to extend storage life; and 5) bury most of what you do store (in nonmetallic containers, to defeat metal detectors) to hide it from potential looting. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

15) Spare parts for most motorized vehicles: This idea flies directly in the face of the lessons taught to people who lived through past experiences of calamitous times; motor vehicle spare parts have often during such times been both scarce and useful, and thus valuable. Fuel has often also been difficult to obtain during calamities, which if true of Y2k is one good reason not to put too much money into part purchases (the car won't run if there's no fuel, no matter how many spark plugs and fan belts you have). However, Y2K has an aspect to it that will be totally unique among disasters; never before have the vehicles themselves (due to embedded microprocessors) been at risk of needing repairs (that will be difficult then to get professionals to do, or to be able to do it yourself at all) at the beginning of the crisis to be able to work at all.

If you do stockpile spare parts for vehicles, here are my suggestions: A) nonmotorized get part stockpiling priority; B) vehicles least likely to have chip problems (due to being old/cheap models) get the next priority; C) vehicles most useful for "work" (farming/hauling stuff or people); D) vehicles with the highest fuel economy (MPG); E) the most durable vehicles (sturdy, no rust yet, best reliability record, longest mechanical life remaining, that sort of thing); F) ones with especially useful characteristics (4-wheel drive, high clearance, dual-fuel capability, use parts widely used, easy to repair, etc.). -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-- MinnesotaSmith (, October 13, 1999


I agree (mostly). Thanks.

-- Stan Faryna (, October 13, 1999.

My DH and I agreed not to buy a generator. With the money saved by not buying one I can get other manual equipment. We decided if y2k is a bump, then we will buy one to be prepared for other power failures. We have a friend that bought a generator for y2k and one barrel of fuel. He feels that is all he needs to have for his family to be secure. Most people feel the same way, that a generator is the answer.

-- Carol (, October 14, 1999.

I disagree re the generator. You cannot make survival plans for me and my family any more than I can for you. We spent the money and got a 40kw generator. It burns 1 gal (beleive it or not) per hour under a full load from two homes. We have about 2000 gal of diesel. We have lived in Alaska and have lived with generators all of our lives and have depended upon them for our lives. We are now in Fl, but not in a subdivision. We live out in the forest on a farm and we have livestock that needs to be watered. Yes, we have a hand pump, but there is no way in hell that I can pump enuff for the livestock each day. Hubby has a job where he will probably work come hell or high water or TEOTWAWKI, that leaves me running the farm. We plan on running that generator to fill stock tanks and to do the washing showers, etc. We paid the extra money to have a special muffler put on it. It sits on a back porch and is exhausted throught the roof. I can hear it on the porch, I cannot hear it in the house and the neighbors are too far away to hear it. We haven't survived all these years being so stupid that we would light up the house at night when everyone else is stumbling around in the dark. Give me a break! If the neighbors are using oil lamps, so will we. We will also allow the neighbors to come in and hand pump all the water they can carry home. Don't mean to really climb down your throat, but your presumptions that the rest of us don't know anything about living off the grid sticks in my craw! Try living in the north country of Alaska where you have 6 weeks of thaw to get all of your supplies in until the NEXT YEAR. Then talk to me about how to prepare!


-- Taz (, October 14, 1999.

Good advice, mostly, but disagree on the jelled alcohol.

The 2-ounce cans (Sterno, etc) run about 80 cents an ounce, way too high. But AlcoBrite from Walton, in a 24-can case of 16-ounce cans, is about $80, or about 20 cents an ounce. That's not so bad, and you can buy a clip-on stove that fits the can for $10. You can also get 1-gallon cans from a restaurant supply place for about $9, don't recall the weight, but it worked out to about the same rate as AlcoBrite. Use the gallon to refill the teeny-weeny Sterno cans.

Either of those brings jelled alcohol down into a reasonable range. The jelled alcohol is less flammable and uncompressed, and once you get a tolerable price those other considerations might give a reason to choose it.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), October 14, 1999.

5) "Gelled ethanol heat sources: These products provide heat conveniently, but at a prohibitive price on a units of heat/dollar basis. Use other heat sources, or do without, and find better ways to spend your Y2K preparation funds"

"Use other heat sources" ---Like what? For someone in an apartment this may be the only alternative--convenient, non-polluting.

"Do without" --- Where do you live, Hawaii? ----------------------------------------------------------------------

-- Lars (, October 14, 1999.

I didn't take the article as what not to do if you already are doing it or know how to do it. But a different way of looking at items you might be considering buying.

-- Carol (, October 14, 1999.

Re the fuel to use instead of gelled ethanol: a cord of hardwood firewood can be bought up here for under 60 bucks if you know where to look. GE surely can't be even under 10x as expensive on a BTUs/dollar basis. (If I have to go thru the math for skeptics, I will.) Convenience has to be paramount to consider GE as a heat source.

As far as options for people living in apartments, they might be best off (QUICKLY) working on their location problem before worrying about heat. The article "Serious Voluntary Relocation" on my website gives some ideas and resources on how to handle that issue. For those who have found something useful in my article, I'm glad to have helped you in your preparations for Y2K.

my site:

-- MinnesotaSmith (, October 14, 1999.

I respectfully disagree with your paragraph about herbs. You say that if herbs "were proven to be safe and effective, they would be prescribed by medical professionals, and since they aren't, they almost surely aren't".

There are Chinese herbs, Ayurvedic herbs, and Western herbs. People have been using these for healing for hundreds of years, much longer than the prescription drugs that Doctors prescribe now. Luckily for us, herbs grow wild, and can be cultivated in our gardens, so we don't have to buy them! And yes, contrary to what you say, many health professionals are recommending that their patients use certain herbs (ginko, cayenne, ginger, tumeric, St. John's wart, milk thistle, dong quai, hawthorn, ginseng........and on and on.). And no, they don't prescribe these herbs, because they don't need to...people can buy them at any health food store, either in capsule or in bulk, or they can grow and harvest some of them.

I'm sorry that you had an unpleasant experience with your job that you mentioned. Herbs do come in different forms: cut and sifted, powder, seed, root. There are many different companies to choose from. I'm sure some are less reputable than others.

And as for the dosage, if you're concerned, you can buy "standardized" herbs, and these are a constant potency.

There are many good books that a person can get from the library, that go into detail about all herbs, what they are used for, and what any side effects might be. As always, herbs need to be used with respect and caution. If you buy herbs in capsules, follow the dosage recommendation on the label, if you buy herbs in bulk, do some research and know what it's for, and how to use it.

I think that it is reckless for you to say that most herbs are absolutely worthless, and that when a "cure" does happen, it must be due to spontaneous remission or the placebo effect!

And for you to suggest that herbs might cause side affects similar to that of thalidomide needs to be backed up by documentation, not just your opinion. And you don't present any documentation of any kind, except the sentence "I know what I am talking about".

Please, don't be so harsh....You know as well as the rest of us, that there aren't huge profits to be made on herbs, and the FDA will probably never do extended double blind studies. And besides, there isn't time to do this before January, even if they wanted to.

My personal feeling is that all of us need to stock up on any prescription drugs that we are currently taking, and we also need to become familiar with herbs and their uses, and to stock up on a few that we might anticipate needing next year.

-- Margo (, October 14, 1999.

I stand completely by the section I wrote on herbal supplements.

-- MinnesotaSmith (, October 14, 1999.

I want to apologize for my rant above. I think Y2K and the hurricanes must be getting to me. Taz

-- Taz (, October 14, 1999.

Actually, regardless of whether or not you stand by (your opinion), I consider most of what you wrote pure crap.

Who gave you the right to tell other people how not to prepare? You don't know individual needs, nor individual estimates of the outcome of Y2K for which people are preparing. You simply wasted a lot of bandwidth positing your opinions in a rather arrogant manner.

-- de (, October 14, 1999.

For those who are interested, one book that I found at the public library is "Spontaneous Healing" by Andrew Weil, M.D. He is one very respected AMA Doctor that does encourage the use of herbs, as well as supplements, vitamins, exercise, stress reduction, & good diet to maintain the well being of the human body, and to promote healing when things get out of balance.

Health is a holistic approach, and I think in the coming year all of us need to be ready to do whatever we can to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. A lot of our survival may depend on how clearly we are able to think. In my experience, my mind is sharper when I am rested, healthy, and well nurished.

-- Marago (, October 14, 1999.


I hate it when you're right. And mostly you are, except for two things that struck me in partucular:

AlcoBrite. I'm a great believer in it and have a lot of it, for the reasons stated above by bw and Lars. The stuff is wonderful. Sure firewood is nice to have - if you have something to burn it in. I don't.

Taz, don't apologize. You happen to be right, too. Which brings me to the other thing I disagree with: large animal. Horse. No, I don't have one. No, I can't even ride worth a flip. But I can think back 150 years to what many of us expect, or even if we don't. Transportation. Priceless.

-- Scat (, October 14, 1999.

"Y2K Supplies You Probably Won't Need"

Interesting piece....Thanks. I live in the boonies and have a hybrid solar electric system, PV, wind, and a gas genny (DC only, 100amp). Much of the year the PVs alone will fill the batteries daily but during the winter I need a little more. Last year I burned about 10 gallons of gas to generate the extra power I needed during cloudy periods. Running a genny for power on a regular basis is a pain; you have to maintain, feed, hear and smell them. The PV customers in the early days seemed to be mostly folks who were tired of their gennys and wanted to minimize the runtime of their engine generator sets. Picked up a small 400 watt windplant (AIR 403) and am awaiting the 30 foot tower it will perch on (both the tower and small windgen will be painted a "disruptive pattern"). The hope is it will eliminate most of the need for running the genny this year. Solar was a choice I made long ago and it works out well here. It's vastly more reliable than the power in the utility lines 100 feet away...and to a geek like me it's more fun. The multiple power sources, 2 of which can be used 24 hours a day, give me a lot of flexability and have been dead relaible. I have lots of very clean AC power as well as 12VDC for radios and such.

Years ago I lived with battery powered radios, kerosene lamps and no other electricity. Basically, that sucked. Oil lamps/Aladdins/etc. are a pain, dangerous, and pollute the air. They do work, but I'd rather flip a switch and turn on a small compact fluorescent or an LED array lamp. I don't miss oil lamps a bit. The non-electric life doesn't appeal to me...I'm fond of my toaster, coffee grinder, VCR, stereo, computer, printer, nicad chargers, microwave, power tools, TV etc. I could do without them but I'd rather not. I'd vote for people using solar but caution them to really plan out and analyze what they're doing....DCK

-- Don Kulha (, October 14, 1999.

Thank you, Stan, Carol, and bw. Lars, GE still produces carbon dioxide. Use of it must be vented or at least done in a well-ventilated location. There are imaginative methods for using other, much more economical fuels that are simple and safe; the choice for almost anyone should never be between GE and no source of heat.

Margo, I didn't say there was no path by which HSs could be used medically. I know you noticed my mention of quinine sulfate in cinchona bark. I simply described (in the 3rd HS paragraph) the only path that has IMO (and that of other scientists) a way to validate claims, and to ascertain whether or not a HS can be considered potentially useable by humans. This has to be done BEFORE people start using the stuff for medical conditions. Otherwise, the utility and safety of an HS is at best only a guess, as were many other medical "treatments" of the pre-scientific era (purgatives, bleeding, chanting, etc.). As far as my having to prove HSs are unsafe, I believe that you have it backwards. You believe that a given typical HS is safe, while I consider the question undecided. You believe one more thing than I do. By the rules of logic (the only nonaccidental method for arriving at truth), the burden of proof is on you, the proponent of this hypothesis. Until you demonstrate some backing for your position, the question must still be considered undecided at best. You are also correct that there is nowhere near enough time for applying the scientific method to HSs before Y2K hits; to me, that is yet another point to rule them out as components of a Y2K preparation stockpile.

As far as the FDA not being willing to fund studies on HSs, this is true; however, the situation is no different for the large pharmaceutical manufacturers. They largely fund most of the studies on potential drugs, do they not? They are confident enough about at least a good portion of their products passing safety and efficacy tests; why aren't the HS vendors equally confident (in terms of observed financial behavior)? If HSs do half of what they are advertised as doing, money wouldn't be a sticking point. I think that the reason (rather than money) is more akin to why the cigarette manufacturers do not want FDA jurisdiction over their wares. Lastly, please note that I restricted prescription of pharmacologically active materials as being approprate IMO only by MDs, who are graduates of medical schools and MD-supervised residency programs. "Medical professional" is a definition loose enough to include anyone who has been a full-time aroma therapist (with zero training) for the past 10 days, having failed to earn a living at Amway sales; I will set the training bar for someone to serve as an expert consultant on disease issues I may encounter during my life, thank you.

Margo, it was useful for you to bring up some of the rationales HS proponents give to defend their use; I'm glad you took the time to post.

de, you neither indicated a single particular position I took as being incorrect, nor did you give facts or logic to why you thought such a particular position was incorrect. IMO, you contributed nothing to the thread except a vague profane flame. Although I disagree with Margo on both her reasoning and conclusions, she is head and shoulders above you intellectually, at least as demonstrated on this thread.

-- MinnesotaSmith (, October 14, 1999.

Taz, you have nothing to apologize for. All you did was to directly give your opinions. I do this all the time myself. I am also aware of the many good posts you have made over months on forums. Now, as far as do I understand winter... Minneapolis, the largest city in MN has colder winters on average than Anchorage, the largest Alaskan city. I have spent hours outside in temperatures down to -42 actual (no windchill). Does this qualify at least a little?

Don, I do not argue the quality of electrical lighting vs. that of light directly from combustion. Simply, I do not think that the quality difference is worth the expense and risk (latter from looters; remember, I am a 9.5 in my estimation of Y2K probable severity).

Scat, horses would be fine, except for looters. The executive orders, Sorokin's writings, and the riots in U.S. cities during the last 35 years are proof enough of how the DGIs will likely react to no food or utilities. BTW, why do you hate it whenever I mange to be right? Have we traded flames somewhere? (I remember nothing like this.) :)

Good thread, everyone.

-- MinnesotaSmith (, October 14, 1999.

I had a colloidal silver generator for 3 years and I make my own solution it costs less than $.10 an ounce. It's one of the most wonderful thing I ever discoverd for my family. My two teenager children use the silver mist on their faces and that take care of the ances. When my family has a cold/flue we spray that in the mounth the cold/flue would done in just couple of days. We don't have to visit doctor as much as we used to. I am sorry to say that most MDs don't know much about naturel healing besides most of them don't really want you to be health anyway or they will not be able to pay their bills.

-- Bobo (, October 15, 1999.

Natural healing is what exists when you have no access to trained medical professionals. This is what the millions of people dying of treatable afflictions in the Third World are enjoying. I'll pass, thank you.

Before use of CS is a reasonable decision, it must undergo testing by the scientific method (described in the last paragraph I wrote in the Herbal Supplement section of my long article) to ensure safety and efficacy. No, there is nowhere near enough time for that before Y2K hits. Guess that rules out stockpiling CS for Y2K.

Re doctors wanting people to get sick, so they can get work: we all get sick eventually, so they are guaranteed to have our business sooner or later (kind of like morticians). Actually, it is to their advantage to be effective at their jobs; if money paid to them for services usually produced no apparent positive effects, using the services of doctors (and thus paying them money) would become a much lower priority for most people.

-- MinnesotaSmith (, October 15, 1999.

In your last response, you wrote "Before use of CS is a reasonable decision.....Guess that rules out stockpiling CS for y2k."

What is CS???? I thought we were talking about herbs....

And if you are still talking about herbs, maybe you've ruled them out for YOU, but you have no right to try and scare everyone else out of using herbs. They are legal, many Doctors are tellling their patients to use certain things (I forgot to mention Saw Palmetto...many Doctors are telling men with beginning prostate problems to take it) and as I mentioned before, Doctors in other countries have been using herbs for treatment for hundreds of years. It's too late to test the herbs before people take them.....they're already taking them, and have for centuries. In most of your other paragraphs, you offer alternatives. "This is too expensive...try this instead." WHAT ARE YOU SUGGESTING THAT PEOPLE DO THIS SPRING IF THEY GET SICK AND CAN'T GO TO THEIR REGULAR DOCTOR? HOW CAN THEY PREPARE NOW FOR THAT POSSIBILITY????

You seem to have some kind of grudge against herbs, for some reason, and spent the whole paragraph going off about how evil they are, yet I can't see any suggestion of anything positive that you are offering to take their place.

Andrew Weil, M.D., is a graduate of Harvard Medical School. He is currently Associate Director of the Division of Social Perspectives in Medicine and Director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Dr. Weil strongly encourages the appropriate use of herbs to his patients. I have read 3 of his books, and I will follow his advice rather than yours, thank you.

-- Margo (, October 15, 1999.

One last thing that I would like to suggest is that anytime a person goes to their health care professional (whether it's an MD, Acupuncturist, Osteopath, Naturopath, or Homeopath), be sure to mention any and all herbs, over the counter supplements, and prescription drugs that you are taking.

-- Margo (, October 15, 1999.

O.K., Margo, here we go with another round on this.

1) "What is CS????" It's colloidal silver, which bobo discussed 2 threads up from where you asked this question. My apologies for being unclear on this.

2) Yes, HSs have been in use for hundreds of years, but so have purging/bleeding/starving the sick, beating the mentally ill to "cure" them, FGM (female "circumcision"), and a whole lot of other traditional practices that do not stand up as humane, safe or therapeutically effective when examined scientifically. Obviously, simply noting that an unwise practice has been carried out widely or for a long time is an inadequate defense for continuing the practice.

3) Legality as a defense: guess that makes tobacco and beverage ethanol guaranteed to be safe, yes? On that basis, would you suggest giving them to your child or habitually using them yourself? Hopefully not.

4) Saw palmetto is one of the HSs I observed first-hand over a number of months that the form used by many people in the U.S. had quality control all over the map, but was still packaged and sold as being the exact same stuff every time. In my HS plant lab job, I estimate that I repeatedly saw at least 16 of the top 20 most popular HSs (used in the U.S.), and all of them were this way in terms of varying quality.

5) Alternatives to HSs: how about antibiotics, analgesics, diuretics (for hypertension), antiinflammatories, or any of the other >4,000 pharmaceuticals listed in the 1999 Physician's Desk Reference? All of these have been verified for use in humans thru the safety vs. efficacy testing I described earlier, incidentally. If cost is a factor, then use the inexpensive human-grade products (available with no prescription) from veterinary or pet-store sources, plus foreign countries such as Mexico, mail-order/Internet vendors, etc., etc. I could have mentioned this, yes, but, a) I thought most people on this forum knew about these sources by now, and b) this wasn't the main focus of that section of my article, and I had to draw a line somewhere if I was ever going to finish it. Oh, yes, they will need to stockpile these in advance for Y2K, as they are storing food, etc.

6) Encountering the occasional doctor who is in favor of a procedure is not necessarily a complete defense of a procedure. First, estimates of the % of doctors who actually did not complete medical school range up to 4% or more. Second, the procedures in place for verification of hypotheses in science do not always work on keeping individual practitioners on the path of truth; remember the Soviet biologist Lysenko? There's also the case of the creationists and catastrophists in geology, for another example. These procedures work to keep the body of that area of science as correct as possible with the VERIFIED information available to it at that point in history. I have seen doctors smoking, but that is no defense of tobacco use health-wise. Yes, an individual doctor can be in error, even if he/she has sufficient information that the truth should be reachable by them at that point in time. (I will address the testing of HSs in a part further down.)

7) Medical professionals: the receptionist at a clinic is one, but no way would I consider this person qualified to diagnose an illness I have contracted, or to prescribe medicine for it to me. If someone wants to doctor (have a job doing that in normal, pre-Y2K times), they should go to doctor school, and that is medical school. It's not any of these other quack pretenders. Why is that so hard for some people to see? Engineers go to engineering school, architects go to architectural institutes/architectural departments at universities, and so on. The only reason that I can come up with is that some people want the privileges (status, income) without wanting to fulfill the requirements for the position. (I call this fraud.) How else can one explain chiropractors? If someone wants to prescribe medicine, let them successfully complete medical school first.

8) Testing: why are you so afraid of the light of day shining on HSs? You say that they are safe, but since there is little systematic checking to see if indeed they are, the question is as yet mostly undetermined. Still, a little information on this subject is starting to surface. Please read this article from the St. Paul (Minnesota) Pioneer Press, Friday, 10/15/1999, section A, page 6, left column, 2nd article from the bottom: (It is verbatim; I have not added, deleted, or changed one word)

"Herbal remedies pose risk


Some popular herbal remedies can be dangerous if taken before surgery, doctors warn. Researchers believe some of the most common herbal products might prolong the sedative effect of anesthesia, increase bleeding during surgery and cause fluctuations in blood pressure. The most common were gingko biloba, garlic, ginger and ginseng -- all of which may prevent blood clots from forming and lead to excess blood loss in surgery."

Gosh, maybe an insistence on safety testing before use on humans isn't such a bad idea, huh? Enjoy your efficacy/safety-untested herbs; I'll pass.

my site:

-- MinnesotaSmith (, October 16, 1999.

Hello, Minnesota! Yes, I read that same article yesterday about certain herbs possibly causing problems during surgery. I also am aware that certain prescription drugs (prescribed by a Dr. and purchased through an authorized pharmacy) may cause the same problems. That's why I wrote my last little bit about suggesting that a person always tell the Doctor of any and all "healing agents" that are currently being used.

I'm not afraid of herbs "seeing the light of day", I merely said earlier that I didn't think the FDA or any pharmaceutical companies would spend the money for extensive testing, since there aren't huge profits to be made on herbs, or any natural substances. Products have to be patentable to be profitable.

I agree that scientific testing is one reliable source of truth, but there are many things in human experience that are not subjected to that form of validation, yet remain personally beneficial.

In addition to recommending herbal solutions to medical problems, I am advocating that each person take more responsibility for their own health, and become as knowledgable as time allows concerning their body, its functioning, and the methods for sustaining health, much of which involves diet, hygiene, daily habits, stress level, & exercise. None of these can be "prescribed" by a Medical Doctor, yet they are all important, and each person has to find his/her own balance in life.

Herbs are best used as a fine-tuning mechanism. Although they have the potential for effecting radical cures, most of us don't have the personal experience to utilize them correctly in crisis situations. For such emergencies, we maintain a fully-stocked first aid kit, which includes antiseptics, antibiotics, anti-fungals, bandages, cortizone, etc. We use these things to our best ability.

I certainly go to my Medical Doctor (who has graduated from Medical School) when faced with a health issue that is beyond my previous experience, and I use whatever prescription drugs that are recommended. I hope that my Doctor, and the drugs will be available after y2k.

-- Margo (, October 16, 1999.

I have to disagree about the alcohol. We bought several 1.75L bottles of whiskey (bourbon). This is partially for barter, but partially for medicinal use, if necessary. Imagine someone seriously wounded. You know how to repair the tissue damage, (maybe remove a bullet from a limb, even) but the patient is in terrible pain and completely stressed out as well (I would be). Granted, it is NOT what you would WANT to do, under ideal circumstances, but I don't think Y2K will be those kinds of circumstances. I know how to perform that kind of first aid, but first I would like the patient out of pain a bit and more relaxed. I'm not talking passed out or even very drunk. Just as much as we need to use to perform the procedure safely. I don't have unlimited access to narcotics in pill form, though we have stocked up on some from Mexico. What about when the Vicodin runs out?

I also don't like the effects alcohol has on some--giggly, possibly aggressive. But I will take that chance with the least amount of alcohol possible to get the first aid performed quickly and safely.

I won't even get into the fact that you might need it to make someone's last hours (with a fatal wound) more comfortable.

-- Preparing (, October 17, 1999.

Having worked in an Osteopathic hospital ICU, and worked with DO's for years, i have a problem with them being relegated to the last step above naturist in the list above. I have the following reasons:

Do's are REQUIRED to do a year of internship before any residency, for license. AMA no longer requires internship for license.

DO's are fully trained doctors who have ADDITIONAL Orthopedic training which includes Osteopathic Manipulation therapy.

I have wached MORE DO's do a better job in ER's and ICU's than MD's.

The typical DO will ACTUALLY LISTEN to the patient (part of the training).

Do's are as welcome to AMA residencies as AMA school graduates.

Chuck, who happens to be an informed consumer of medical care.

-- Chuck, a night driver (, October 19, 1999.

Sorry, Chuck, if you're responding to my post...I wasn't meaning to put the different types of health care practitioners in any type of order of importance, I merely was trying to acknowledge that there are many to choose from, and whoever a person goes to for health advise, the person needs to tell his/her "doctor" about any and all medicines that they are currently taking (and those include, but may not be limited to herbs, homeopathic remedies, Chinese medicines, over the counter supplements, vitamins, alcohol, prescription drugs, etc. etc.).

I wasn't trying to imply anything about D.O.s...I agree with you. I'm Sorry for the misunderstanding.

-- Margo (, October 19, 1999.

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