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In my quest for interesting people to interview on Backdoor Survival, it occurred to me that the grand daddy of Urban Survival was prime for the asking. After all, I have known George Ure since I was in my early 20s and can ask him anything, right?
With the upcoming launch in September of our new eBook, I decided to get busy and ask George some questions about himself, his website Urban Survival, and his own new book, Broken Web: The Coming Collapse of the Internet. So hang on, and prepare yourself for a tell-all, George Ure style.
Survival Woman Interviews George Ure
When did you start your Urban Survival website and why?
Oh boy…where to begin? I didn’t bother getting a degree until later in life…I’d been too busy working in broadcasting, engineering, sales, and technology…but I finally settled down and did a distance-learning MBA before that was popular in 1998. As part of that I needed to come up with a “capstone” project and since I had been fascinated with Kondratiev (variously spelled Kondratieff, etc.) long wave economics, I built UrbanSurvival in 1997 mainly to re-interpret day-to-day news events in the longer context of historical trends. One thing led to another and the site just took on a life of its own and has been growing ever since.
How has the focus and purpose of Urban Survival changed over the years?
Great question! One of the problems with looking at contemporary events from the historical perspective is that while it adds a lot of depth to a person’s outlook – and provides pointers from history which can be used to great personal advantage (like when we bought gold in 2001 and silver in 2005) is it’s a lot like calling play-by-play on paint drying.
One of the Big Secrets about Life that is not in the textbooks is that a person doesn’t have to make a lot of really brilliant moves in order to live a kind of ‘happily ever after” – you’ve only got to make a handful, say 6 to 10 really solid decisions in your life in order to rise above “average.”
So that became a second focus of the website…trying to figure out and report (& comment) on the really big waves of change which are going on, and offering people ideas on how to mount ‘em up and ride them.
OK, then along came Clif High’s work on predictive linguistics, and then we weren’t just pointing out little waves, but in some sense predicting coming waves, like the rise of the Security State in the post 9/11 world.
Here lately, I’ve been spending an increasingly large portion of time drawing out the differences between the Great Depression and the ongoing/evolving New Depression and trying to understand what’s really driving things.
As you may remember, the Kondratiev Wave suggests that the world’s economies go through growth spurts which blow-up in economic collapse about every 48-64 years. But I had done some work with a colleague (Ehor Mazurok) who had been a technical analyst/engineer type and what we came to was the notion that there may be a compound interest cycle which can last up to 83.5 years which makes more sense in light of recent developments.
There were many who claimed that 1987’s mini-crash in the US was the point which fulfilled Kondratieff since 1987 minus 1929 is 58 years…about ideal timing, but I didn’t buy that because the damage done (including repudiation of debt and so forth) just wasn’t there to qualify as an economic “reset” which, I believe is still ahead, and likely in the 2013-2017 range.
How much time do you spend researching and writing the material on your site?
Most weeks I am in my office at 5 AM and come out for food at lunchtime and then back in till 5 or 6 PM…and this is seven days a week. To say I’m obsessed with research is an understatement, although in fairness, about 10-20% of that time is client work; I do sales and marketing consulting in addition to writing and managing our meager investments.
If you could change one thing at Urban Survival, what would it be?
Get people to share the site with more of their friends…and in general promote the idea that there is nothing new under the sun and that as new, novel, and unique as we think we area, we’re not and everything has its season.
Let’s talk about your upcoming book. Why did you write Broken Web?
Like you, I’ve been a geek since Day One. Back when I was news director of KMPS we did a Sunday morning public affairs show called Introspect – and working with a fellow named Don Stoner, we hatched a plan to broadcast a text message over the radio using standard 300-baud modem tones.
The radio station management thought I was nuts…but then the little “experiment” made the front of the Business section of the Seattle Times…and the project really took off. We actually had almost 300 people send in the text of the message and we printed up certificates and mailed them out…and in the radio show we predicted that someday people would be getting – and sending – messages over radio all the time and it would be commonplace. In a very real sense, I was one of the “god parents” of wireless.
Since that time, I’ve been watching the evolution of wireless in general and the supporting backbone (wire and fiber networks) and here lately a terrible notion keeps cropping up: What happens when the system breaks?
I will grant you that pole shifts and “kill shots” (of EMP) from the Sun are fairly low probability events on any particular single day. But, when you start adding lots of time to the equation, they become a certainty.
Not only that, but EMP has been actively under federal study for years and with the bulk of America’s financial infrastructure now in “the ether” what better way to polish off the life savings of everyone – and sweep an entire multigenerational global financial fraud under the carpet than to simply blow it up?
The means to do that is widely available: vicious viruses, backdoors into routers and key infrastructure…when you put all the pieces together it’s almost like a possible 9/11 of the future. America’s enemies know that without ‘easy money” we’re not going to do well as a culture. Already we’re making the transition to non-cash and electronic ownership and accounting much faster than I’m comfortable with.
When you think about how the availability of online services was “worked” in the Housing Bubble collapse, it becomes clear that reliance on internet-based services has outpaced their physical back-up and legal integrations into the global financial system.
When I read stories about MF Global and Jon Corzine managing to “skate” it sends shivers up my spine. A conspiratorially-minded person could look at these “blow-ups” as simply test runs. Remember the 1993 attack on the WTC? Just as that attack presaged the later/larger attacks, the target was the same and one could read the recent financial bankruptcies as “test runs” in much the same way.
Who is the target audience?
Anyone who uses the internet, number one. And number two: Anyone who relies on the internet /wireless for handling of the personal finances.
I won’t hold you to this but what is the proposed release date?
September 15th if all goes according to plan.
Just for fun, tell us something about yourself that no one else knows.
I’m not sure I have many secrets…nothing to hide. But, I suppose, most people don’t know I was a GS-15 level (with a clearance and equivalent rank of major) at age 19 on a defense project, being something of a microwave “whiz kid.” For some reason the number of people who understand the difference between time division multiplex and frequency division multiplexing wasn’t that large in the last 60’s.
But I don’t think that’s an interesting as my renting a red Mustang every weekend I had off up in Fairbanks in the summer of ‘69 from Hertz and drove around a lot of Alaska…and almost smashed it up when I came roaring up on a herd of moose on the highway down to Tok Junction….You have no idea how big a moose is until you look UP into one’s face smelling tire smoke.
What are the top three websites you visit on a regular basis?
CNBC because not only are they good on the day to day stuff, but some of the more “senior” people around the exchange that they talk to on a regular basis (like Art Cashin, for example) really understand what’s going on in this high-frequency world and remember market history because they lived some of it.
Google because if you put in the logical argument “+.pdf” you can find all kinds of “gray” literature that reveals a little different level of development than most people appreciate. A surprising amount of the future is being engineered right now and you can read about it in .pdf files on academic and professional sites and those give you incredibly good insights into “what’s next . . .”
Yahoo’s Economic Calendar page. I keep my own calendar, have some of it in Outlook, but it helps me not miss too much of what’s going on now and what’s coming…like next week’s Case-Shiller/S&P Housing Index Report…which could be a biggy.
Do you consider yourself a “survivalist” or “prepper”?
Where I come from is not a “survivalist” or “prepping” background. In my study of economics it became massively clear to me that there are two ways to live your life. One way – and its where the greedsters and fraudsters seem to come from – is living every day for maximum gain.
Well, there’s an alternative: Live a life for minimum loss potential.
When you read enough history, what falls into a soft-focus is that people who survive over the most difficult periods of history are those who are adaptive and recognize threats and opportunities early one. Those who wait for the crowd to move usually end up slaves or cannon fodder.
So what I’ve done is look at all the major areas of my life and ask “What could go wrong?” I don’t mean to get wordy here but here are some examples:
· EMP event: We have resilient communications and power. Surge-protected solar, etc.
· Water shortage: Our own well.
· Food shortage: We could get by without going to the store for a year (not happily, but it could be done).
· Internet failure: HF and VHF ham radio.
· Disease/Pandemic: Well stocked on meds and very isolated.
· Need to flee in a hurry? Old airplane always fueled and ready gives up 600-700 mile bug-out range.
· Gas shortage: We have barrels of diesel – and a diesel truck is on our shopping list, but for now, we could drive the tractor to town and back in a pinch.
What I’m asking is whether that makes me a prepper, survivalist, or just a fair planner who doesn’t like interruptions in Life?
After Broken Web, do you have anything special up your sleeve for future or near future release?
Yes: A rewrite of the original “How to Live on $10,000 a Year, or less…” and “13-Acres and Independence…” which is a collection of How To articles from Peoplenomics reports covering such things as how to design a solar or wind power system, picking a tractor….that kind of practical stuff.
Is there anything you would like to say to the readers at the Backdoor Survival?
Yes! Get Gaye to write down her slow-cooked (crockpot) burgundy beef stew recipe!
The Final Word
For the followers of www.urbansurvival.com, it should come as no surprise that George is quite the character. One thing he casually mentioned is that like me, in high school he was a nerdly type with his head to grindstone when he was not fooling around with his ham radios and other electronic gizmos of the 60s era.
That said, the two of us are launching our own, co-authored eBook on September7th if all goes well. My newsletter subscribers as well as George’s Peoplenomics subscribers are in for a special treat in this regard so be sure to check your email this weekend. And if you have not signed up, well, let me just say that you should do so soon. Hint hint, wink wink.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
From the Bargain Bin: Survival is all about learning to fend for yourself. Growing your own food, cooking and building stuff are all essential. Today I reach back and share the Backdoor Survival reader favorites for 2011.
Lodge Logic 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet: Cast iron items were at the top of the list. My readers love cast iron and so do I. Also at the top were Lodge Set of 2 Pan Scrapers and the Lodge Max Temp Handle Mitt.
All New Square Foot Gardening: I put in a Square Foot Garden last year and was pleased with the results. It is not too early to start planning for spring planting.
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking: At an average cost of 50 cents a loaf, this bread is easy, delicious and inexpensive to make.
How to Live on Wheat: Everything you need to know about wheat.
Kaito Voyager KA500 Solar/Crank Emergency AM/FM/SW NOAA Weather Radio: A lot of different hand crank radios were sold but this was by far, the most popular.
MAGLITE XL50-S3016 LED Flashlight: I own a number of these. Small, sturdy, and easy to handle.
Sabre Compact Pepper Spray with Quick Release Key Ring: The portability of this pepper spray adds to its appeal since it can be easily carried on a key ring or in a handbag or backpack.
The Dukan Diet: 2 Steps to Lose the Weight, 2 Steps to Keep It Off Forever: Survival Husband lost over 10 pounds in two weeks on this diet.
The Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster: Written by Bernie Carr at the Apartment Prepper blog, this is highly readable guide to all things preparedness.
50 – 1 Gallon (10″x14″) Mylar Bags & 50 – 300cc Oxygen Absorbers: A staple for long term food storage.
Rothco 550lb. Type III Nylon Paracord: As far as I am concerned, paracord ranks up there with duct tape and zip ties. I wish I had know about this stuff years ago.
Emergency Essentials is featuring a great deal on their Breakfast Combo. Included are #10 times of fruit, scrambled egg dishes, low-fat granola, milk, and orange drink mix. All you need to do is add hot water and you are good to go.
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