And what about the maintenance guys? If revolutionaries are kicking in doors, how many of the people in your life will you have to take with you? Even financiers who supported Trump for President, hoping that he would cut taxes and regulations, have been unnerved at the ways his insurgent campaign seems to have hastened a collapse of respect for established institutions. They wonder, Is the court system next?
For people whose existence depends on enforceable contracts, this is life or death. Robert A. At fifty-nine, Johnson has tousled silver hair and a soft-spoken, avuncular composure. He earned degrees in electrical engineering and economics at M. He became a managing director at the hedge fund Soros Fund Management. In , after the onset of the financial crisis, he was named head of a think tank, the Institute for New Economic Thinking.
When I visited Johnson, not long ago, at his office on Park Avenue South, he described himself as an accidental student of civic anxiety. I used to live in Belle Haven, in Greenwich, Connecticut.
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From my own career, I would just talk to people. They have to be on the plane.
Julie Marie Bunck. The subculture Weinraub documents in SHAKEDOWN is propelled by female creators infamous in their own community but whose cultural contributions are alternately pirated or ignored by society at large. In another provocative alteration, Reaves zipped blue waterproof vinyl around a freestanding, wooden shelf, straitjacketing the object from its utilitarian function yet imbuing the shape with a mysterious force. Alice Bag. Kesha Fikes. Bilingual Grammar of English-Spanish Syntax. More from the Ocean issue.
That gap is comparable to the gap between average incomes in the U. On a cool evening in early November, I rented a car in Wichita, Kansas, and drove north from the city through slanting sunlight, across the suburbs and out beyond the last shopping center, where the horizon settles into farmland. After a couple of hours, just before the town of Concordia, I headed west, down a dirt track flanked by corn and soybean fields, winding through darkness until my lights settled on a large steel gate. A guard, dressed in camouflage, held a semiautomatic rifle.
Read classic New Yorker stories, curated by our archivists and editors. He ushered me through, and, in the darkness, I could see the outline of a vast concrete dome, with a metal blast door partly ajar. I was greeted by Larry Hall, the C. The facility housed a nuclear warhead from to , when it was decommissioned. At a site conceived for the Soviet nuclear threat, Hall has erected a defense against the fears of a new era. The kids can run around. Hall got the idea for the project about a decade ago, when he read that the federal government was reinvesting in catastrophe planning, which had languished after the Cold War.
Bush ordered a renewed focus on continuity plans, and FEMA launched annual government-wide exercises. The most recent, Eagle Horizon, in , simulated hurricanes, improvised nuclear devices, earthquakes, and cyberattacks. In , he paid three hundred thousand dollars for the silo and finished construction in December, , at a cost of nearly twenty million dollars. He created twelve private apartments: full-floor units were advertised at three million dollars; a half-floor was half the price. He has sold every unit, except one for himself, he said. The interior can support a total of seventy-five people.
It has enough food and fuel for five years off the grid; by raising tilapia in fish tanks, and hydroponic vegetables under grow lamps, with renewable power, it could function indefinitely, Hall said. Residents with private planes can land in Salina, about thirty miles away. In his view, the Army Corps did the hardest work by choosing the location.
Hall, in his late fifties, is barrel-chested and talkative. He studied business and computers at the Florida Institute of Technology and went on to specialize in networks and data centers for Northrop Grumman, Harris Corporation, and other defense contractors.
He now goes back and forth between the Kansas silo and a home in the Denver suburbs, where his wife, a paralegal, lives with their twelve-year-old son. Hall led me through the garage, down a ramp, and into a lounge, with a stone fireplace, a dining area, and a kitchen to one side. It had the feel of a ski condo without windows: pool table, stainless-steel appliances, leather couches. To maximize space, Hall took ideas from cruise-ship design. We were accompanied by Mark Menosky, an engineer who manages day-to-day operations.
While they fixed dinner—steak, baked potatoes, and salad—Hall said that the hardest part of the project was sustaining life underground. He studied how to avoid depression add more lights , prevent cliques rotate chores , and simulate life aboveground.
The condo walls are fitted with L. Owners can opt instead for pine forests or other vistas. Some survivalists disparage Hall for creating an exclusive refuge for the wealthy and have threatened to seize his bunker in a crisis. Hall waved away this possibility when I raised it with him over dinner.
These days, when North Korea tests a bomb, Hall can expect an uptick in phone inquiries about space in the complex. He suspects that the Ebola virus was allowed to enter the country in order to weaken the population. Ten years ago, this just seemed crazy that all this was going to happen: the social unrest and the cultural divide in the country, the race-baiting and the hate-mongering.
Allen told me that, in his view, taking precautions is unfairly stigmatized. Why do our dystopian urges emerge at certain moments and not others? Doomsday—as a prophecy, a literary genre, and a business opportunity—is never static; it evolves with our anxieties.
The earliest Puritan settlers saw in the awe-inspiring bounty of the American wilderness the prospect of both apocalypse and paradise. When, in May of , sudden darkness settled on New England, farmers perceived it as a cataclysm heralding the return of Christ. In fact, the darkness was caused by enormous wildfires in Ontario. Lawrence diagnosed a specific strain of American dread.
Historically, our fascination with the End has flourished at moments of political insecurity and rapid technological change.
There was a huge inequity in wealth, a stirring of working classes. Life spans were getting shorter. Business titans grew uncomfortable. Rockefeller founded the University of Chicago. During the Cold War, Armageddon became a matter for government policymakers.
Hidden beneath the Greenbrier Resort, in White Sulphur Springs, for more than thirty years, it maintained separate chambers-in-waiting for the House and the Senate. Congress now plans to shelter at undisclosed locations. There was also a secret plan to whisk away the Gettysburg Address, from the Library of Congress, and the Declaration of Independence, from the National Archives. But in John F. The sociologist Richard G. Mitchell, Jr.
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