Anyone see Nat Geo's 'American Blackout'?
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  1. #1
    Registered User khaski's Avatar
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    Default Anyone see Nat Geo's 'American Blackout'?

    A fictional 'movie' (it's 2 hours, with commercials) depicting the lives of some Americans when a cyber attack brings down the power grid nationwide. It's shown through people's camera phones and such.

    Very scary, more like a horror movie in some ways! Scary how quickly things go downhill and become dangerous, and frightening how unprepared some are to survive even a few days when things shut down. A lot to be learned from it, especially for folks just starting to prep. We've watched about half, will probably finish it tonight.

    Anyone else see it? What did you think? Realistic or not? I think yes, very much so, though I think things would take another day or two to htf in a widespread manner (not starting on day 2 as depicted).

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    Registered User NikoSan999's Avatar
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    Missed it. I wanted to see it.
    Bank of America is THE godfather of Hell with Wells Fargo running neck and neck. When the world ends the only things that will be left are cockroaches, Walmart, Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Not necessarily in that order. The order remains to be seen.

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    Registered User sabrelvssammy's Avatar
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    Yup, watched it.
    It actually is being used as a study for the various Gov't agencies - and many were involved in the making of it.
    It is considered a 'documentary' by Nat Geo

    Realistic - absolutely. And hopefully people will sit up, and take notice of what was being depicted there. I give people 2 days to start chaos. We are so completely dependent on our 'systems' - that when you throw us off for even a few hours - we become helpless & clueless.

    This reminds me of a few weeks ago. We had a pretty big major power outage here in town. While I joked with the DH that the grid had gone down - I went to grab a deep cell battery (like a large car battery- that I keep charged by solar power) - my power inverter, and some cables. I had our TV & internet 'back on grid' within a few moments. (I could find these things because I keep emergency lighting handy that I can get to easily even in a dark room). We had plenty of lighting supplied by (once again - solar charged) lanterns & batteries. I don't plan on being one of those helpless people....

    Anyway, tenants started calling, "We have no power."
    "Yes, I know - neither do I"

    Can you come over, they ask? What for - what can I do?
    You are going to have to sit patiently, and wait like the rest of us. Geez... I can only work so many miracles - and this isn't one of them.

    What are we supposed to do in the meantime, they ask? Geez.... I don't know. Why don't you try sitting your family in a circle, and actually talking to one another....

    The power only ended up being out a little over an hour. One lady had called me 3 times in that time period.

    Yea, - thinking about it now - I give people 64 minutes & 32 seconds before they start 'cracking up'..... lol (though not really funny at all)

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  5. #4
    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    It was really boring, IMO. It also depicted people as being either universally stupid or paranoid gun nuts hiding in their bunkers. Since I personally know a lot of smart people and don't know anyone with a bunker, that made it seem unrealistic to me. Where were the normal people with some brains and those who aren't on the fringe, which is going to be most of us? That, and stupid stuff like the fake news broadcasts. Who would be watching them without power? Not many people. And the kid burning up battery power to run a camera constantly.

    I also wondered at the scenarios in which NOBODY but the bunker dwellers had more food in the fridge and pantry than what they'd eat in about a day. Sure, some people live like that, but most don't. Otherwise, everyone would have dorm fridges instead of big honkin' French door jobbies. And while the food in a fridge would spoil without power, chances seem good to me that if someone stocks a good-sized fridge or even a normal-sized fridge they probably have dry goods in the pantry to go with the chilled foods. Again, unrealistic. I would guess most people would have food to get by with for at least a week. Maybe not what they wanted or even nutritious foods, but certainly more than one day.

    Again, there didn't seem to be any middle ground between the large cities and the extremely remote areas. What about people in small towns and on farms? I just can't accept that in the face of adversity, people suddenly ALL become snarling beasts and there is abruptly no kindness or compassion left anywhere. That simply defies logic. Yes, some people will act that way, but IMO, not the majority of us.

    There have been blackouts in this country before. Wasn't power off for a couple weeks or more in the northeast a few years ago due to an ice storm? I don't recall hearing news stories about rampant looting and breakdown of society and people sliding into anarchy and ignoring law and order. I think stuff like that can easily happen and always does in certain pockets of the society, but overall I think people are better than that.

    I do think there are a lot of people without a clue. But there are a lot more with plenty of clues. And even some of the clueless ones can be creative in legal and logical ways when push comes to shove. Not everyone is going to sit around wringing their hands.

    It's a good thing I was doing other things while I watched that movie, or I'd want those two hours of my life back. Waste of time, which was disappointing since I usually like National Geo's stuff.

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    Registered User Jamielane's Avatar
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    I saw it. It made me want to grocery shop. I mean there is enough here to last a few months if we were reeeeeeaaaalllyyy careful . It wouldn't be normal meals or big ones but it would be food. There is a firearm here but I feel like more ammunition may be in order now. It isn't something we ever gave much thought to as far as weapons go because DH isn't a hunter and we are in a safe ( as in, generally its not scary here) neighborhood. What I do know is the houses are about 12 to 15ft. apart and there is no getting stuff in and out without it being seen. That makes me wonder how smart it is too keep much in the garage for storage. It is detached from the house and since the house is small the garage holds the freezer, a small extra fridge and the generator. The garage is dh's territory and is it so unorganized. That worries me. I always concentrated most of my efforts on the inside. Warm clothes, candles, blankets, flashlights, batteries, food, blankets, medicine, HBA's. Security just wasn't on my radar as much but that may be about to change. Also gas, in the vehicles, DH is so bad about letting it go until the last possible mile. I do not know why. He has always been that way. I can't tell you how many times he has run out of gas. It is a phobia of mine so I am much more diligent but I keep telling him E on the gas gauge does not mean Enough. It was very eye opening for me in the areas of preparedness I/WE are lacking.

  7. #6
    Registered User khaski's Avatar
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    Yes, we 'lived through' that ice storm here in NH- no power for 10 days for us, 14+ for some friends across town (our town is 30+ sq miles and roughly 5k people). It didn't get 'bad' here in particular, as within a day or two you could get out to shops (Super Walmart and the like) about 20 miles away. There were break-ins in a nearby town, the lake summer homes were targeted, but that was jerks taking advantage, not desperation to survive. The biggest issue was pipes freezing, but we have a wood stove so that was no issue for us. We lived 3 or 4 days without power, got a generator when visiting family in CT. We thought we'd just 'grab one' down there, but we were lucky. Folks down from as far as Maine to get chainsaws, generators and the like. Stores sold out, waiting lists for generators. We were first in line as 'back up', someone didn't claim theirs, we got it. A rich guy in town here was sending his nephews in a Uhaul to NYC to grab generators, which he sold/even took IOUs for from folks in town. He sold them at face value, ate the travel costs, and his nephews made 2 or 3+ trips down there to help folks around here.

    The whole thing was a good lesson that if you're going to live in a cold climate, be sure to have an alternative heat source.
    We cooked on our woodstove and grill, and as it was winter, spoilables went outside in a cooler to keep as we didn't run the generator all the time.

    I think people in rural areas are more self-sufficient than most in urban areas, in general. But we live roughly 15 miles north of a major urban area, and our issue could well turn into folks from places like that spreading our way in search of stuff. I have a friend down there, they don't go more than 2 days without hitting the grocery store and rarely have more than a day or two's worth of food in the house. Anytime I try to suggest she might beef that up a little in case of emergency, she scoffs and says they'll just go to her mother's if there's an issue. Her mother is about 10 miles away from her, and she doesn't grasp that it's easily possible for something to effect both places at once. I try...

    I'm currently hating the Mahattan couple...they're overdone. We got more into prepping as of late, and this really helped push us to do more, even though we were already on that path. We don't need to go nuts, but I'd love to be able to hold our own for at least a few months if it came down to it. I did like the part about the 'decoy' food...something that's been on my mind lately, even before seeing that. I'm just having trouble with coming up with good hiding places for our supplies, though I have a few in mind.

    I also vote that Jason gets eaten first, if push comes to shove. That kid is thick.

  8. #7
    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Each to his own.

    I'm all in favor of being ready to get by without fresh supplies for a while and having alternative heat sources etc. but what bothers me is the media constantly trying to get people to believe that when something bad happens, every single human being is going to turn into a predator.

    You cited some situations during the power outages that prove my faith in the majority of people is not misplaced, such as the man you mentioned who went and got gensets for people and did not profit from it and even took a loss. People like that are not suddenly going to become lawless animals, and in spite of the fact the creeps get the most media attention, I still believe the majority of people are decent.

    I did decide while watching the movie that we need to stock ten gallons of distilled water under the kitchen sink, where I built in a special storage area just for that. We use the water in our AeroGardens, but it would also be safe to use for drinking water in an emergency. We also have potable water in our water heater and pressure tank, but the distilled water would be easier to access on short notice. The water for the AGs isn't always at full capacity because if we don't have all the gardens running, we don't stock as much or any water, but that can change. I like this idea because I don't want to buy bottled water we would never use, but the AG water would get used and rotated and the stock freshened up on a fairly regular basis with no real effort on our part.

    We've talked about a generator here for years but we need it so seldom, it would be a pain to have to maintain it for the little use it would ever see.

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    Registered User nodmicks's Avatar
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    I'll have too see if I can find it.

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    Registered User MissSeetonFan's Avatar
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    My cousins were in KY when they had an ice storm a few years ago. They fed the neighborhood because they had dutch ovens, knew how to cook over open flame and were willing to share skills. They did live on a farm so the neighborhood was a bit more spread out than a city neighborhood but they also had the firewood and the blankets and other things that would allow people to survive. I think they all lived in the main room of their house with the fireplace for those days.

    So people have had experience with extended power outages and survived. Some areas have obviously done better than others at survival but I think there will be more help than looting overall.

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    Registered User CookieLee's Avatar
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    I watched it an was disappointed. I guess, I was looking for more "meat" in the information they provided. They had lots of examples of people doing things wrong but no details about what people should have done differently. I guess if you never considered "prepping" it would be a movie that might motivate you to get a 3-day supply together but people who already know the basics didn't need to see the movie.

    All that said, I don't think an ice storm is a true reflection of how awful people would get. Most criminals are reluctant to go outside in the freezing cold to commit their crimes of looting and general mayhem. Let the power go out when there is no A/C in the middle of summer and see how nasty people can get.

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    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Most people are not criminals, luckily.

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    Registered User CookieLee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post
    Most people are not criminals, luckily.
    It is the 80/20 rule ... 20 percent of the population will be preying on 80 percent of the rest of us and cause all sorts of havoc.

  14. #13
    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    And get 100% of the news coverage so people believe everyone is all bad if given the opportunity.

    I do think it's probably worse in big cities where there are enough people to create a mob and the mob mentality. But maybe that's just perception, too.

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    Registered User KeithBC's Avatar
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    My longest power failure experience was 8 days, due to hurricane-force winds. We had lots of food on hand, and a wood stove for heat and cooking. The biggest headache was water. In a rural area, well water usually requires electricity. We used bottled water for drinking and rainwater for washing/flushing.

    We didn't have a generator at the time, but managed to buy one halfway through the event. (The Home Depot manager was smart and brought in a semi-trailer load of them!)

    No one went nuts. No one rampaged. There was no looting. I doubt if anyone had a bunker to hole up in. People with portable generators loaded them on the back of their pickups and drove around to elderly folks with no generators to plug in their freezers for an hour or two.

    There is no particular reason why an event like that needs to bring out the worst in people, other than that it is expected behaviour in some places.

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    Registered User Mr Fixit's Avatar
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    I dont think people will go chaotic over short periods without power because they know that it will eventually come back on. But if the grid ever goes down on a long term wide spread basis, that is when the chaos will begin.
    The store shelves will empty in a day or 2, and after that people will start getting desprerate. Gasoline will be gone quickly because most gas stations do not have backup generators, so the gas just sits in the tanks!
    Banks wont be open because they cant run their computors so your money will just sit in the bank! Everybody should keep a lot of emergency food, gasoline, guns, ammo, and cash just in case!

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