Government Executions and why I stand against them.

There are many horrible people in the world. There are many more GOOD people, and people who have merely made mistakes.
Some horrible people commit heinous crimes that the majority of society feels are unforgivable.
Since these heinous crimes are unforgivable there are members of society who feel the criminals committing the crime must be not only removed from society but killed - via governmental intervention called 'execution'.

Generally speaking I would agree with this stance.
BUT, there is a huge problem.

The problem is that the person successfully convicted of a crime by our 'achievement' motivated legal system is not necessarily the person who committed the heinous crime, and that the government gets to define which crime are unforgivably heinous. You know the same government who has sterilize people based on race, committed experiments on people without their consent, has been caught in a number of politically motivated lies, and seems to consist more of insiders than truly democratically chosen representatives based on the representatives merits beyond campaign financing.

If you are a republican would you want Hillary Clinton and Janet Reno to choose which crimes merit the death penalty, if you are a democrat would you want Strom Thurgood and Trump deciding the same?

The power of life and death is an extreme power. An absolute power that when implemented does not allow any true compensation and limited recourse.

If a thousand guilty criminals must go free so that we as a society do not execute a single innocent person, I would prefer that.

On the flip side, I am all for the defense of life and limb of oneself or others with lethal measures wherever reasonably necessary. Thus I am for gun rights, concealed and open carry, etc.
But reasonable use of lethal force by a trained citizen, soldier, or law enforcement officer at the scene and time of a crime is a wholly different issue than an execution carried out by the government. When the government commits an execution there is no individual responsibility if the executed is later found to be innocent of the heinous crime, where as a person at the scene of a crime must in some way be involved in the crime, and the person protecting themselves or others is responsible for their use of force.

If we must remove heinous criminals from our society, and I agree we probably should, then we should simply lock them in a cell without luxuries or the possibility of any future release (unless they are found innocent in the future). The cost for this is actually less than the cost of our current method of executions over the life of the criminal, and far less prone to irreversible abuse.


Human Extinction - Around the corner? Not likely.

Hope is seldom more than a sliver as the stage darkens.

But there may always be a sliver of hope even if it is just hope of being able to say you were right at the very end- but I doubt the ‘very end’ will give any of us the final word, not in the face of current predicaments. Because I doubt current predicaments will kill off the whole race. Maybe 99% of the race, but even 1% of 10 billion is still 100 million. And I doubt that we will fall below .01% which is still more than an order of magnitude greater than the last close call with extinction that we nearly reached in prehistory.

Here is my rationale -

No single factor of industrial civilization collapse, especially in a stair step style collapse, will cause the extinction of the human species. At least absent deliberate attempt and racial suicide including themselves by some nation ruling elite.  There may only be thousands of our race left, but some are likely to survive. Most ruling elite have no more desire to commit suicide than most of us (probably less). Ipso Facto human extinction from human causes is very unlikely. Massive depopulation because of human stupidity and overshoot, is on the other hand, VERY likely in the near to moderate run (decades to centuries) but depopulation is not extinction unless it reaches 100%. 

Some of the human extinction threats that are overblown:

Radiation - less of threat than most people think. Plenty of people near Hiroshima, Chernobyl, etc., lived long enough to have kids, grandkids, and even great grandkids. Sure lives were shorter and less healthy, and birth defects increased, but nothing that humans can’t deal with. Also the most dangerous radiations are time and place limited -a few hundred years and our descendants will be able to live only dozens of miles from the worst effected spots – unhealthy with lots of birth defects and dying of cancer at 40 perhaps, but still living long enough to procreate. 

Chemical pollutions - Probably more of a real threat than radiation and possibly a longer lived threat, but just as with radiation, the threat is not an extinction level concern without deliberate assistance from human beings.

Biological agents - Disease is much more a threat to human extinction but there are plenty of small tribes scattered over the world that only have very intermittent contact with the rest of the world, tribes in tropical jungles and tundra herdsmen, etc. Unless humans are again, deliberately spreading plague to everyone, plague won’t get to everyone until it begins evolving to less deadly strains. 

Climate change – Humans survived ice ages and life has survived all but the worst of the maximum forecast temperature increase, humans have lived in almost every biome with the most primitive of technologies, why should that change? Sure billions will die in a worst case scenario – but we have a population of billions, it only takes a few tens of thousands to have the necessary genetic diversity to prevent outright extinction (and modern transport has helped increase genetic diversity massively in every corner of the globe). Probably another miserable existence as compared to our current luxury but not extinction causing.

Starvation – come on, same issue as any of the above, there are little scattered pockets of humans who live mostly/completely off the locally available resources. And at an extreme, human will prey upon other humans aka: long pork, soylent green, etc. so there will be survivors up until the natural biome has had a decently long while to re-adjust to whatever conditions caused the initial starvation – and humans will be adapting to eat whatever is available, even if it is merely lichens, cockroaches and rats.

And once any one aspect of industrial civilization collapse has trimmed a significant proportion of the excess population it makes the pressures of other human extinction events exacerbated by our population overshoot that much less likely and less proportionately severe.

In my judgement the human race will survive as long as vertebra life on earth can survive short of deliberate suicide by EVERYONE. 7 of the 8 continents, and many, many, islands of the planet have a self-sustaining year round population of humans, and Antarctica may become nominally habitable due to climate change.

A few extreme acts of nature beyond human control (such as major astronomical events) might destroy mammalian life on earth, but short of that human extinction is unlikely.

If I am wrong I will pay out enough that you can bury my body. Oooh, but if you are burying my body then you are still alive and I haven’t yet been proven wrong….  

Which brings up a good point, acceptance of the possibility of one’s own demise should not mean that one behaves unnecessarily suicidal; the same is true for the extinction of your tribe or species. One should do ones best to preserve the best and most important parts one can in every case, and prepare to do so no matter what.

So what is good or worthwhile about you? What about your family, friends, community, nation, civilization, species, kingdom, phylum, etc.? Is there nothing worth saving at any of those levels? If you can’t see anything at any of those levels worth saving, I admit that it might be best for you as an individual to remove your contribution and self from our world and recycle the nutrients in your body back to nature.  But if there is anything worthwhile at any of those levels that CAN be saved against any sort of future you can envision then you should dedicate yourself to saving those worthwhile things. I think I, my family, my friends, my communities, my nation, this civilization, and our species all have some worthwhile things that make them worth saving – so I work to provide the best chance possible for each of these worthwhile things that I can provide in various ways. Despairing will only excuse a lack of attempt.


Fix Global Climate Change, Embrace Industrial Hemp.

Okay let me clear something up here.
The human race as a whole is dangerously shortsighted and few people who actually have depth of vision and wisdom to see potential problems and likely solutions seldom ACT on those problems.

Assuming that Global Climate Change is nearly as bad as the worst doomers presuppose- I don't believe it is going to be that bad, but then I think humans are self interested enough to not choose to go to extinct, so who knows until it is too late...

Anyways, even assuming the worst there are simple measures we can take now to reabsorb much of the released CO2, while turning down emissions only a little. And the easiest, cheapest, and most likely to be effective is simply - use plants to absorb the CO2. Sure it will take a lot of plants and we can't let them just turn around and be burned or composted freely (that would just release back most of the CO2 they had absorbed). But using plants to absorb CO2 and putting those plants into a form that doesn't burn or rot to easily makes sense.

Trees are good for the purpose of absorbing and sequestering CO2, but start off slow and aren't appropriate nearly everywhere.

We need weeds.

Weeds that grow REALLY big, REALLY quickly, and have numerous industrial uses beyond burning / composting. The weeds will need to grow in places we don't normally have agriculture, not need anything in the way of fertilizer or pesticides, and be usable in a wide range of climates, and optimally take up a good amount of CO2 per acre per year while allowing for the soil to remain or increase in fertility.

Thinking about weeds brings up the quintessential 'weed' - Marijuana and its non euphoria giving industrial twin, Hemp.

Hemp has a vast history of very useful industrial purposes dating back literally thousands of years. From clothes and ropes to cars to oils to so many products it is almost ridiculous. Of particular note for our purposes is 'hempcrete' ( a mix of lime or portland cement and hemp fibers ) if you use hempcrete for construction, the hempcrete will continue to absorb CO2 for years.  And, if you can't find productive uses for the hemp, you can bury it or sink it underwater deeply and sequester the CO2 long term that way- maybe even in millions of years producing new fossil fuels for the future.

But this is less about the uses of hemp when harvested than a 'back of napkin' rough estimate of the use of hemp in rescuing us from a catastrophic rapid climate change that many believe is coming due to our release of atmospheric CO2.

Our industrial global society is estimated to produce 39.8 billion tons CO2 per year; (let's round up to 40,000,000,000 tons) ( http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29601644 ) some claim that as compared to a single volcano it isn't that much. They are wrong . Volcanic degassing released something like 100 - 200 million tons (200,000,000 tons) of CO2 each year, and a single massive volcanic eruption can release several million more but that is still only @ <1 emissions="" font="" global="" human="" of="" size="2">https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earthtalks-volcanoes-or-humans/
)... Humans are indeed increasing the CO2 in the air significantly...
But not to worry! Weeds (Hemp) can save us- or at least help us soften the blow.
One hectare of industrial hemp can absorb 22 tons of CO2 per hectare (or about 5,500 tons per square mile or about 12 tons per acre) per crop  -up to 6 crops per year but we can figure an average of 2 harvests per year in most of the USA. The land area of the lower 48 states is approximately 1.9 billion acres (1,900,000,000 acres) of which probably 10% - 15% is unused  grass land or shrubland that could be planted in hemp production (based on these global statistics http://www.agter.org/bdf/en/corpus_chemin/fiche-chemin-231.html ).
Taking a pessimistic 10% of that that would give 190 million acres (190,000,000) of the US that could be planted in industrial hemp, to absorb atmospheric CO2, in the US alone of:  3,800,000,000 tons CO2 per year!  
Since grass land absorbs only about 1-2 tons CO2 (2400 – 3600 lbs) per acre we can largely discount that offset that switching to hemp production would cause.

40,000,000,000 tons CO2 produced /year
 3,800,000,000 tons CO2 absorbed /year by the USA (plus lots of fiber and vegetable oil related products able to be produced!) that is nearly 10% of the worlds total CO2 output with only one nation making a dedicated push. If other nations start making a similar push to use unused lands to plant CO2 absorbing plants like hemp, and plants on city rooftops, highway verges, suburban lawns etc, etc, global CO2 caused warming could be nearly eliminated without as much economic pain as eliminating all emissions would cost us.

Sure, that is a stretch - likely there are plenty of factors other than legalities and motivation to planting a weed all over the place to offset our CO2 emissions, but even a decent effort in that direction could seriously reduce the rate of global warming. Motivation and legalities are the biggest obstacles at this time.

I personally would be first in line to plant my spare empty acreage with industrial hemp if were legal to do so (without too many hoops to jump through). I could volunteer up to 60 acres that could do 1-3 crops per year depending on precipitation. So I could save 720 TONS of CO2 from the atmosphere - per crop! And I could use the fibers and oils for numerous local purposes or sell them on the open market. And doing so would also help get rid of invasive noxious weeds that keep colonizing my land. (trees don't do well on my land as it is very hard for them to survive the winters and winds.)
The only obstacle to my trying it is the government and shortsighted politicians.

What actions are you willing to take, for what causes that you can see, and what are the obstacles stopping you?
Me? I am voting, writing my congressman, and planning. I am also building an off grid homestead with my own labor, minimal fossil fuel inputs, and otherwise doing my best to reduce my footprint while still being a modern member of our society.


Okay this is something I had to share.


Obviously not my work but if this isn't the best take on the matter at hand I can't imagine what is.

New York to Ban Tiger Selfies

LTB logo
My first thought was, "wow, the human race really is not evolving at all," and then I thought, "you know, it's laws like these that are partly to blame for that."
Back in the day, of course, human beings who thought it would be neat to hug or pet or maybe try to ride on a tiger, or any enormous carnivore, really, were swiftly removed from the gene pool, most likely well before they had a chance to breed more humans of that ilk. I assume, in fact, that scientists have proven that this exact scenario, repeated many thousands of times, is how we got to where we are today in the first place. After a while we sent the remaining dumbasses off to bunk with the Neanderthals, and away we went.
But today, these encounters mostly take place at circuses, county fairs, petting zoos, or as part of some other sort of exhibition in which the animal is somehow restrained or tranquilized in order to make it less likely to, let's say, devour someone who comes near it. These unfortunate restrictions on the animal have encouraged a trend that I have just now learned about (thanks to Tom and to the New York Post), one in which men have pictures taken of themselves snuggling with a tiger so that they can use said pictures in their dating profiles:
tiger selfie
Yeah, come give "Kitty" a kiss for the next
picture, dork. I promise you that one'll go viral.
This has become sufficiently common that there's an entire blog (or tumblr, anyway) devoted to it.
Any New York gentlemen wanting to get in on this should do so while they still can, because the legislature is on the verge of passing a bill that would make the practice of tiger selfies illegal. It does not use that term, nor is it limited to tigers, but that's the gist of it: The law would make it illegal for any person required to have a license under the federal Animal Welfare Act "to knowingly allow the public to have direct contact with a big cat."
"Big cat" is defined to mean any species of lion, tiger, leopard (except for clouded leopards), jaguar, mountain lion, or any hybrid of these; "direct contact" means "physical contact or proximity where physical contact is possible, including, but not limited to, allowing a photograph to be taken without a permanent physical barrier" between human and animal. Violating the law would result in a fine of $500 for a first offense or $1000 after that.
This is entirely the wrong approach.
I think we need to do one of two things: (1) make it illegal to cart these mostly rare and once dignified animals around at all; or (2) continue to allow it but only as long as the animals are kept alert, well armed, and slightly underfed.
Think about it. These people are using the pictures in dating profiles. This is exactly the situation in which the individual should either be proven fit by having successfully taken a selfie with a fully alert deadly predator through great strength, speed, and/or cunning; or else prevented from mating entirely by being eaten first. The race can start its slow upward trek again, animals get some of their dignity back, and we'll save tons of money on tiger feed. Also, think of the ratings.
Yes, I suppose women could achieve the same result by simply not mating with anyone who has a tiger selfie for his profile. They could. But I still think legislation is a good idea.


I recently came across a blast from the past - 14 months ago I wrote a reply to an article about Ebola. And oddly I STILL think it is good advice, and applicable, even though the media is hardly uttering a peep about any "deadly plagues" but then again the cold and flu kills millions every year with hardly anything being said too.
So without further ado, here is what I wrote back then, with only a couple of edits for clarity:

Ebola or other infectious disease is bound to hit, and hit hard, in your area eventually. Black plague hard.

Modern hygiene practices and quarantine are the best defense for the population as a whole.
And they will help the individual prepper too- but not enough.
Eventually you will get something.
And the population as a whole tends to let quarantine and hygiene practices slip when financial conditions get worse- why worry about washing your hands when you are starving? Why would you voluntarily quarantine if it will cost you your job and home?
So the population will get it eventually.
Oddly enough - outside of expensive or experimental treatments, or hygiene and quarantine procedures, there are other things that can be done/taken to reduce the mortality rate for you-
1) be among the last to get it- viruses tend to mutate toward the less lethal as they go on. The first people to get SARs died. the last people to get SARs survived, the Spanish flu killed a smaller percent of the population with each wave.
2) be aware that epidemics come in waves. Be alert to these waves.
3) Over the counter medicines would seriously help those who have contracted Ebola. Most die of dehydration due to diarrhea and vomiting. Pepto, syrup of Ipapec, and Gatorade mix could potentially save these people.
4) Have a strong body and immune system- given the state of nutrition in most of the world this can be the hardest to achieve. Eating good wholesome foods, exercise, and _sleep_ .
I struggle with having good health myself, the more you can work on health now the better. One less onion ring or extra minute of exercise could take you past the worst of the epidemic to come.
5) Have illness prepared household goods. Garbage bags to store soiled linens, infected use (only) toilette, sanitizers, easy to prep and eat foods (soup!). You would be surprised how many garbage bags an ill family can go through. Don't forget the easy to access medical supplies, since you don't want to be climbing stepstools while cramping and dizzy.
6) Also don't forget a setup that allows your house to support life without much maintenance for at least a few weeks! It would suck to freeze to death because you were too sick to stoke the wood stove (back up propane heater?), or fetch the water from the well (get gravity cistern?) .

7) Have easy to implement plans so you can provide all the essentials of life without hardly having to get out of bed. food water trash cans, etc., that can be positioned at the bedside.

If you have survived a serious infection/illness and have anything to add or critique, please comment or notify me.


Someone was pointing out how long the Egyptian and Chinese empires lasted, as an example of sustainable societies on the comments of one of the blogs I occasionally follow.

I thought about it a bit, and realized that they can not work for a model for a sustainable global or even national civilization in our current world for a number of reasons:
China and Egypt went through repeated periodic famines and various other upheavals, they both were made into part of more aggressively growing empires during Western Europe's age of colonization. They suffered this indignity due to their technological and military retardation.
They survived as long as they did largely because the culture, and technology were stagnant, and those in charge had control of key essentials for life (usually water).
Sustainable growth means population control - something very few modern countries do well. Western Civilization actually has a declining native born population over the past 20+ years or so- likely due to the best thing ever for population control; namely the education of women and empowerment of same (the pill helps less than education according to several studies IIRC).
China has also achieve low to no population growth but only through truly draconian and harsh methods.
Unfortunately those same 'western civilization' countries not only allow but are actively encouraging immigration without getting those immigrants to culturally integrate/merge with them. This is probably due to the need for economic "growth" for the moneyed interests (you cant pay a compounding interest debt if every 'dollar' is borrowed into interest without some form of "growth".) Thus these countries will eventually demographically return to population growth if they do not convert their immigrants culture (mind you it will be growth of a different culture inside their borders, not to dissimilar to what the Germanic tribes did inside Rome before its sack and fall). And China faces the high likelihood of internal revolution fed by their own draconian measures.
Having an aggressively advancing technological base *and* a sustainable infrastructure with controlled population growth is something I cant recall a successful historical example of. Please educate me if I am wrong.
But that (technological growth, population and resource use flat or minimal growth) is what we as a species specifically need globally to avoid future extinction on this planet...

Or we need to leave the planet and make use of space resources - but that has its own significant hurdles.


The USA #1!

So it looks like the USA will be #1 in another field soon - Bad hairstyle on our primary "leadership".
North Korea has been maintaining  a clear lead in the field for many years now, after such previous place holders such as Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, etc.  (referring to facial as well as head hair styles).
But though the correlation between poor hair styling and tyranny is tenuous, the Clinton mk2 and Trump candidates prove that the USA can compete and possibly even dominate that field. (bad hair or tyranny? you ask, Yes, I reply).
I don't know if I should laugh or cry.


Vitamin deficiencies, in addition to outright starvation and hygiene (cleanliness) issues were the biggest killers of the past- and of the poorest people now.  They don't kill first world people often now for four reasons:

1) Clean water to drink. 
2) Nutritionally required vitamins.
3) Calories.
4) Protein and essential amino acids.

4 things. Lack of 4 Simple things killed the majority of people through time. 
Cheap in first world countries today, and easily stocked up on. 
Of course having a plan for fulfilling those needs when the stockpile runs out is also important.

Humanure composting returns much of the essential trace substances to the land- I doubt anyone wants to eat anything grown directly in humanure, but growing a green composting crop from that to feed your animals or compost for the garden is not unreasonable. 

A diet of homegrown vegetables from your own garden, locally sourced protein, sufficient well filtered water, and a few multi-vitamin supplements (cycled back into the local area bio-sphere with Humanure and composting) to fill out any lack will go far in improving your life and the lives of those who come after us.  Metabolic Iodine, Vitamin C,  Salt, are all usually in short supply for inland and northern areas. Other deficiencies of a mineral sort may exist in your local area and can be dealt with, by sufficient one time inputs or stockpiles and retention/ recycling methods.
Have your area checked for what it is short on and move to deal with the issue.   

Keeping clean will become harder as outside chemical sources get more expensive, local sources and reduced usage should allow anyone with practical sense to prepare for that in the future.


Unemployment at any time- 

So with the price of crude oil so low, many people who had hoped on the oil field boom bandwagon are beginning to see an economic bust headed their way.
This is just the latest in a long line of booms and busts for various local, regional, national, and global economies. When the boom is big enough people will do anything to delude themselves into believing it will last forever. If the person is lucky it will last their lifetime. If their family is very, very, lucky it will last generations.
This current oil boom going bust, and the impending higher education bubble popping, but those are smaller bubbles on the hidden multi-generational economic bubble of petroleum. The petroleum bubble reached its peak in about 2005 according to the petroleum industry's own institution. Coal, Oil, Gas, are all limited resources and we have been using the easiest to get best selection of the fossil fuels for generations now. Yes, there is more of all of it, but it is lower quality and harder to get. We already got the best of it. Eventually we will hit a point where it isn’t really worth extracting – the costs of extracting it will be greater than the value from using it.
Long before that point price volatility will cause people to have to abandon reliance on it for most purposes. (This petroleum industrialization bubble too may be just a lesser component of the European colonization of the new world bubble...) 

What this mean for the average person though, is, in our interconnected economy, that at any time in any position  is liable to become untenable to the employer – even ones with government or other supposed ‘guaranteed security’ organizations - . 
Meaning you can be laid off at almost any time.
You may, or may not, have any notice of this impending personal economic disaster.
You may be the only one laid off- or fired if the employer can find a good excuse – or you may just be one of an entire company or even industry laid off at once.
Perhaps for reasons beyond your control you can no longer work the job – too old, too sick, too fat, too ????.
So then you count on Unemployment Benefits, savings, credit, and welfare.
Or perhaps you think you escaped the threat because you are self-employed – not so, as your company as being both you and your employer- can also run into severe financial difficulties when people no longer are able to afford your services as often as they did before.
Or perhaps you think you escaped the threat because you are already retired – until the government seizes your pension or reduces your social security or increases inflation.

In any of the scenarios of the future I can envision increased volatility in the economy is an absolute certainty. Even if some breakthrough like desktop clean cold fusion should occur, the mere change from fossil fuels to the new energy source would guarantee volatility.
Which means you will always face a risk of your source of money going away or your money becoming much less valuable (or both).

The best way to protect yourself is to divorce yourself as much as possible from reliance on money to survive.
  • ·         Paid for shelter – energy efficient low maintenance. No rent, no mortgage.
  • ·         Food you grow yourself with your own seeds and sources.
  • ·         Energy you provide yourself as much as possible- Bike to the store, to the park, library, work, etc. Solar wind or hydro for electric power.
  • ·         Water that isn’t dependent on a corporate or government entity such as rain fall collection or home well.
  • ·         Health care you provide for  yourself with nutrition, exercise, herbal and holistic care as much as possible.
  • ·         A healthy padding of some sort of savings in the form of a deep pantry, useful skills, community good will, good friends, and neighbors, and any other supplies you can think of.

You will always need some small amounts of trade. No one can go it alone forever.
  • ·         Cash money emergency savings is great when you break your leg, or have to pay an unexpected tax bill, etc.
  • ·         Precious metals tend to store value for the long term.
  • ·         Barter for skills knowledge and surpluses is also useful. Dr.’s used to get paid in chickens just a hundred years ago.  

Even if you currently have no employment and are living on welfare or retirement, you can make inroads to getting all these things to get ready for a change in the value of your money. There is land defined as “junk” land that you can buy, improve, and live on. You might not be able to grow all your own food but every dollar you save in your grocery bill can go to increasing you pantry or otherwise preparing to divorce from the ‘grid’.

The down side is the system of corporations, government, and popular society frown on people getting free of the system.
Your friends family and neighbors probably won’t really understand at best, and at worst will actively try and undermine you.
Your existing creditors will judge you a high risk and increase your interest rates (get out of debt ASAP  - pay it off or bankruptcy).
Your local government and HOA will throw up roadblocks for every little thing that they see that is out of place (find a place with the least possible government and little to no HOA)
Do your best to stay off everyone’s radar. Stay legitimate as much as you can. Investigate local zoning and laws and how to circumvent troublesome ones.
Look forward to a time where your personal sustainable systems make you a target of the tax man, other thieves, muggers, and beggars.  Find ways to stay off their radars and deal with them as well.  

By considering these things now, and taking these steps, well ahead of the desperate scramble that can come, you not only help yourself you help everyone else by not needing their resources when things get tighter. And future generations will have the systems you have built to fall back on should the need arise for them as well.


It is Summer so time to think about the upcoming Winter:

Weathering the winter in near arctic climates can be done without (or minimal) fossil fuels. 
Just ask the eskimos. 
The tricks are as follows:

  • Acclimate - don't expect to keep your surroundings at 70 degrees, It ain't happening. Instead as it gets colder let your body get used to the cold, don't stand naked in a sudden cold snap but do have a lot of time out in the air and let your home (and if you can office) temperature follow with the outside temperature.

  • Dress for it. Why heat a whole house when you are already heating your own body with food (eat higher calorie food during the winter- fats especially). Putting on a layer of cotton thermals, coat, wool socks, hats, and mittens, is all I need down to -20 for a couple hours at a time, by leaving the socks and thermals on inside the house I can keep the house around 50 to 60 and be not too uncomfortable.

  • Keep unused spaces unheated- ties right into the the dress for it philosophically: insulate and heat the smallest spaces you can and add as little heat as you can.

  • Having running water does take a temperature above freezing, so does running diesel engines, so keeping your body, pipes, and engines, above freezing is a good idea- but do they have to be at a room temperature of 70 degrees???? probably not, reduce the temperature where these things are so that they are stored warm enough to work but not too much more.

  • Solar Gain - even the coldest winter weather at noon on a cloudy day an enclosed space behind a pane of glass facing the sun will be significantly warmer than outside it. 

  • Insulate and prevent air movement. During hot spells even a light breeze makes it seem cooler, same effect during cold spells, so keep the air as still as you can during the cold times, blocking all possible sources of draft. Insulation helps keep the heat in. Blocking all the windows doors and even walls with curtains, blankets, and tapestries, keeps a room much warmer feeling. A rug on the floor, slippers, and super insulated ceiling and a room that felt like it was near freezing is suddenly a lot more comfortable.  This can also be decorative.

  • Burning wood, grass, charcoal, animal dung, etc. will add the little bit of heat a well designed and built house will need. Burning it in a sealed fire proof container, preferably with a high mass to store the heat and control over the air inlet and outlet and you can get efficient hot burns.
Doing all these things can help you survive the coldest of winters. But it does involve more thinking and work than just turning up the thermostat or lighting the furnace- which is why so many people are going to head south when petroleum inputs get too expensive, it is cheaper to be lazy and ignorant where it is warmer.....