Letter from the Editor: Glitches in the MatrixAdam Smith
Today, we live under an ever-increasing burden of technology. It seems as if, everywhere we turn, the so-called “system” is playing a greater and greater role in our daily lives. The benefits of this construct are undeniable — the level of communication, convenience, and access to information we now take for granted was only seen in science-fiction movies when I was in grade school. But that same access and omnipresence has also created a deep sense of dependence for many of us. At times, it seems almost insurmountable. Anybody who’s ever checked their phone or opened their laptop to see an unexpected loss of wireless service knows the almost immediate sense of panic that comes with being severed from that invisible umbilical cord.
The unfortunate side effect of this phenomenon is that, even as people gain easier access to potentially life-saving tools and information, they become less prepared to deal with unexpected disconnection from their electronic safety net. Ironically, the cause of this problem is also the solution. A quick internet search provides us the following definitions:
- INFORMATION: what is conveyed or represented by a particular arrangement or sequence of things.
- KNOWLEDGE: facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
How do you survive a lack of access to information? Through knowledge — the acquiring of information and skills that remain accessible or programmed in your brain through means other than immediate reference. This is why we dedicated the current issue to “Unplugged Survival” — surviving without immediate access to the network of modern conveniences some call “the grid.” Rather than encouraging you to abandon technology entirely, our hope is to equip you with skills and knowledge of available tools that can make a grid-down scenario nothing more than a mild inconvenience.
Dean Freeman walks us through the equipment and techniques for Tenkara fishing — a centuries-old method of catching fish developed in Japan that requires little equipment. In fact, the fishing rods don’t even have reels. RECOIL OFFGRID Web Editor Patrick McCarthy reviews the Goal Zero Yeti — a portable power station with enough juice to keep portable devices and appliances running during short-term disasters and wilderness excursions. Joey Nickischer outlines a simple DIY project for solar-powered showering. In addition to the hygiene benefits, a warm shower can be a legitimate morale booster in tough times.
Of course, unplugging isn’t always a matter of physical necessity. Perhaps there are times when you simply want to safeguard your privacy or increase your security in a post-internet world. That’s why we’ve also included features on how to set up your own “burner” phone, a What If? scenario centered on internet dating safety, and Part II of Yousef Badou’s series on situational awareness.
Regardless of your survival, safety, or situational needs, we’re here to arm you with the skills and equipment that allow you to live life on your terms — not paranoid of an uncertain world but prepared for it. Rather than relying on your ability to download information instantly to a computer or smartphone, focus on downloading it permanently into your most powerful supercomputer: your brain. As always, your choice remains simple: be scared or be prepared.