>Doomsday In Style

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Surely, there have always been those with survivalist tendencies among us. But if you are paying attention, there is a new rage now for luxury doomsday shelters!

Despite all the technology advancement we have made in the last century–more automation, more information, more communication, more connectivity than ever–people are still afraid of the unpredictability and the uncontrollability out there.

Maybe it’s the technology itself that even contributes to those fears–someone pushing “the button”, someone unleashing a dangerous new something (nuclear this, bio that, chemical something else), or someone even causing mayhem through the very technology that underpins our society through some sort of cyber-attacks.

Some examples of doomsday shelters for the “rich and famous”:

– Wired Magazine reported on 29, March 2011 in an article entitled Missile Silo Condos about a software engineer who purchased an Atlas F decommissioned missile silo and converted it into an “untra-safe energy-efficient fortress” with GE Monogram stainless steel appliances and Kohler fixtures. The owner is offering $900,000 “condo suite packages” including a five-year food supply and “simulated window views with light levels calibrated to time of day” as well as electricity powered geothermal energy and wind turbines, a theatre, pool, and waterfall, and of course, as a military grade security system. Everything needed to survive and at the same time enjoy the luxury accommodations.

– Similarly, Forbes Magazine (9 May 2011) reports in Selling The Apocalypse, that Robert Vicino, a property developer is building a network of luxury underground bunkers for 6,000 people. “For $25,000 to $50,000 a head [half-price is for children] each applicant will own at least 100 square feet of space…equipped with a medical center, classroom, theater, gym, and detention area to jail unruly residents.”

According to PopSci (7 October 2010) on the same, there will be 20 such Vicino facilities each within 150-200 miles of major U.S. cities; and the one in Barstow, California is “built to withstand 50-magaton nuclear blast 10 miles away, 450 mph winds, a magnitude-10 earthquate, 10 days of 1,250 degree F surface fires and three weeks beneath any flood…and soon-to-be-installed air filtration system will also neutralize any biological, chemical, or nuclear attack.” In addition to the safety provided, it is supposed to be as luxurious an accommodation as a modern-day cruise ship! Note: the video is from their company website Vivos and on Youtube.

So what is going on here?

Are people’s fear being capitalized on? Are some simply catering to some eccentrics or the wealthy and their ability to perhaps splurge a little? Or is this a new type of life insurance or as Vicino put it “life assurance”? Perhaps, a little of all of the above.

I suppose there is enough out there to be afraid of, but the challenge it seems is not to create shelters for the few to survive, but rather to create enough genuine safeguards for the many to reasonably thrive over the long term. Is this doable or are we facing a ticking clock? And if a ticking clock are we all just going to do the best we can for ourselves – will we “fiddle while Rome burns?”

For me the prospect of hunkering down enjoying the stainless steel appliances, waterfalls, movies, and gym membership while the rest of mankind is getting eaten by Zombies doesn’t quite sit right, although I can see the appeal when faced with the alternative.

I vote for continuing to build better technology and if you can afford the life assurance, all the power to you!

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