Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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Charlie (Colorado)

What's really depressing about that article is the comments.

More seriously, though, the Carrington Event was the most powerful event in about 500 years, and we've had a number of solar minima in that interval; it seems likely to be a pretty improbable event. It also has to be aimed just right -- CMEs are directional. The description of the 1989 Quebec event seems a bit overblown, too. The Wikipedia article on Hydro-Quebec says that most of the grid failures were the result of failsafe systems taking the grid down, not melting transformers.


Writing - even rhetorically - that "[s]urely the sun couldn't create so profound a disaster on Earth" seems incredibly dumb. A real "duh" moment.

Peter Hoh

If I recall correctly, they said that the 1997 flood in the Red River Valley was said to be a once-in-a-century event. Here we are 12 years later, and the river is expected to crest a few feet higher.


What's really depressing about that article is the comments.

"a few thousand Welfare Folks went under water, so what."

"Do you have a bible? Read Revelations chapter 8, verses 7-12."

"Better question would be, 'why try and save the world?' Merely let the majority perish, then the survivors and the Earth might live in peace"

And then there's "This comment breached our terms of use and has been removed." (Doesn't take much imagination . . .)

And my favorite: "Your logic is made of contradiction and fail." Poetry!


What's underestimated is human impatience and greed. Even if such a disaster happened, don't sell greedy self-seekers short! They'll get you your gear, alright...but you'll pay for it.

It's not as if the knowledge of how to make it will disappear, right?


Oh, Jesus, like we're not stressed out enough already with disasters of our own making? This sounds like a really bad Tom Cruise movie. And among the worst effects would be the fodder it'd provide for rabid religious fundamentalists. I won't share this article with my wife--we're still using the supplies she stocked up on for the worldwide catastrophe of Y2K.

Donna B.

"It's not as if the knowledge of how to make it will disappear, right?" -- Ron

Knowledge we will still have, but means to use it would be severely curtailed.

It takes some kind of power to build the transformers that would be needed to get the grid back up, right?

What's that company that makes hand-pumps? I think I'll invest. Not in their stocks, but their product!

I've survived electrical outages of up to 9 days, but... I had water and natural gas. There's also an old motor-home sitting in the back yard with a generator that will run the refrigerator and lights.

We have enough fuel to last a month if we're conservative, but where would we get additional food to preserve and where would get fuel when we ran out?

It's an interesting scenario to say the least.

Somewhere I read that Texas is not as wired into the national grid as other places, essentially having its own. I wonder if that's true.

I'm just finishing up "Fooled By Randomness" and about the begin "The Black Swan"

Oh, and "Jericho" was one of my favorite shows :-)


I'm just finishing up "Fooled By Randomness" and about the begin "The Black Swan"

That was quick! -- unless you had a head start before I mentioned them.

What do you think so far?


Oooooh, I love post-apocalypse tales. Heinlein has a 1952 short story, "The Year of the Jackpot" wherein disaster comes to earth via sunspot.

Charlie, you noted that the Carrington event was the worst in 500 years. Where did you get 500? I was figuring more that only in the last 300 would anyone have noticed the phenom should it have happened. In any case, over the lifetime of the sun, I'd think that a 500 year sample is inadequate to determine just how bad it could be.

Add the fact that our grid is strained anyway and things get worse. Have they built any transmission lines in your community recently? We need power out in the pricey new suburbs, but pricey new suburbs have the money and know-how to block new distribution centers and transmission lines.

Sure knowledge will disappear! Many of us are moving with all deliberate speed to a paperless life. I get all my recipes on line. My users manuals for equipment are pdf files. Local libraries are pared down.

Truly, however, after the massive Y2K reviews performed by utilities, they began a very quiet look at other vulnerabilities. I worked on the project. They will not be caught totally off guard.

Just put in a request for Fooled by Randomness at my library branch.

Donna B.

I had a head start on you with Taleb. Assistant Village Idiot got me started him last year.

If I weren't so easily distracted, I'd have finished both his books by now, but in the middle of "Fooled", I started "The American Rifle", "The 10,000 Year Explosion", and re-reading "The Origin of Species" and "The Rape of Nanking".

I also read "The Genesis Secret" (due out in the U.S. April 30) and have spent a lot of time online looking up stuff mentioned in that novel (haplotypes and archeology). I don't know if it would be interesting to your other readers... it's a strange one at the least.

And "Gone" is waiting for me...

Everywhere you look in this house there's a book!

Taleb is a wonderful writer because he explains complex ideas without making the reader's head explode.


Knowledge we will still have, but means to use it would be severely curtailed.

It takes some kind of power to build the transformers that would be needed to get the grid back up, right?

Donna, you've missed my point about greed vs. knowledge. If we've still got the knowledge, we could deal with all of those problems, one at a time, even from ground zero, though the application of the efforts of people desirous enough to make some kind of profit from it.

People aren't as passive or resourceless (sp) as these scenarios assume.

Donna B.

No matter how passionate or resourceful the people, there will be a staggering amount of suffering if the power grid goes kaplooie.

My point was that your point overlooked the time factor.


Geez, I didn't say there wouldn't be suffering... but greed will kill the time factor faster than people think.


Has that Black Swan wine lead to a rarely-seen bender? :)

Donna B.

Ron, I think we're talking past each other instead of to each other. My apologies!

Greed v. Altruism and which one can alleviate suffering and mitigate disaster best... well, I'm voting for Altruism first, the for Greed to take over and finish the job. Greed doesn't have a chance without a leg-up from Altruism.

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