The Three Gorges Dam: The True Cost of Limitless Power and Hydroelectricity

Since June, heavy rains in China’s Yangtze river basin have caused the mighty river and many of it’s tributaries to swell from their banks and into Chinese communities.

The Three Gorges Dam sits at the center of this very real crisis, that has been given limited coverage by sources outside of Chinese state run news agencies.

The historic flooding ripped through densely populated Chinese provinces, towns and counties and the downpours quickly overwhelmed millions of people.

In this article I am going to explain the events that have taken place and the current status of the crisis, to the best of my abilities.

The Genesis

In early June, heavy rains began falling in many parts of China. As a nation the Chinese people are accustomed to heavy seasonal rains and the wrath of mother nature, which comes in the form of frequent flash flooding and landslides. But this year the rains started almost a full month early with parts of the now waterlogged nation receiving rain that is easier to measure in terms of yards instead of millimeters or inches. The sudden rush of water left many of the nation’s people scrambling to secure their belongings, livestock, businesses, and some even struggling for their existence.

The Crisis Deepens

As the rains continued throughout June many lakes and tributaries along the Yangtze also swelled to levels unseen for at least 30 years, possibly longer. Poyang Lake and the surrounding communities were inundated by floods that left many communities under water. Only the roofs of untold numbers of homes in this heavily populated community were left poking above the deluge.

Landslides began taking place, dozens per day, possibly more. But, the landslides were a minor issue compared to the potential crisis developing in the reservoir of the world’s largest hydroelectric dam, The Three Gorges Dam.

From late June throughout the entire month of July the dam was battered by wave after wave of flood waters. This in turn has caused the water level behind the dam to rise above safe levels. The Chinese government has been scrambling to respond and since that time has (at least according to their reports) activated it’s highest level of emergency flood response measures in most areas along the Yangtze.

What we do know

Reports from many citizens on the ground who’s lives and entire way of life have literally been swept away by the waters differ from the official narrative. Many report that the government has removed or blown open several damns and dykes without prior notice.

Chinese state media announced on Sunday that it blasted holes in the Chuhe River dam in order to “alleviate the pressure of flood control” at the massive Three Gorges Dam, which is straining under the pressure from flooding of the mighty Yangtze River.

Breitbart- July 20, 2020

In early August video surfaced of hundreds of farmers heading towards higher ground (see our video series on the dam for reference) after waters inundated thousands of acres of farmland, seemingly without warning. The C.C.P. has been trying to alleviate pressure on the Three Gorges Dam and the series of large dams along the Yangtze river, but why was a warning not issued to the nation’s people? Many of which already have very little in terms of financial assets or means to rebuild.

In Shexian, a county that suffered its worst flooding in decades this month when an upstream dam overflowed in the middle of the night, residents said they had been given no warning. July 28, 2020

“If the government just gave us half a day’s warning, I could have saved $14,000 to $28,000 in damage,” Shao said. He’d lost at least $43,000, he said, and had received no government relief, a maddening, if typical, setback in this region. July 28, 2020

The people of the nation have suffered the most throughout this ongoing crisis. The catastrophe has only been made worse in recent weeks with the start of typhoon season as Typhoon Hagupit dropped several more inches of rain on the already soaked east coast of the country, including the financial hub of Shanghai.

The Dam Issue

The Three Gorges Dam spans the Yangtze river in the town of Sandouping in Yiling district, Yichang, Hubei province, in China. Dating back as far as 1919 the Chinese philosopher Sun Yat-Sen openly wrote about a hydroelectric dam spanning the Yangtze that could generate 22 gigawatts of electricity.

After about 75 years of debate, controversy and civil war the project was finally approved, and on December 14, 1994 ground was broke on the worlds largest hydroelectric dam. The dam was fully operational almost 18 years later in May of 2012. The Three Gorges Dam’s design was modified during construction to add additional power production capacity, which added years to the completion date.

The project was billed as an opportunity for China to solve two very important issues that plagued the rapidly developing nation.

  • Flood control
  • Electricity production

The project was controversial because of the massive number of rural residents who’s lives were affected by the mountainous structure. Over 1.3 million people were relocated and many towns along the banks of the mighty river were submerged to make way for the dams reservoir, which can hold almost 32 billion acre-feet of water when filled to its 175 meter capacity.

The role the dam has played in flood control has been debated essentially since ground broke, as three floods have already pushed the dam to the limits of it’s capacity, including two floods that took place before the dam was fully operational (2008, 2010). The series of floods in 2020 have caused Chinese officials to admit that the structure had ‘deformed slightly’ due to the intense stress caused by the massive wall of water retained by the dam.

In a rare revelation, Beijing has admitted that its 2.4-kilometer Three Gorges Dam spanning the Yangtze River in Hubei province “deformed slightly” after record flooding.

asia times july 21, 2020

The official Xinhua News Agency quoted the operator of the the world’s largest hydroelectric gravity dam as saying that some nonstructural, peripheral parts of the dam had buckled.

Asia times July 21, 2020

Many critics believe that the people who call the Yangtze’s basin home are suffering far worse now that the ‘state of the art’ flood control facility is operational.

In addition, critics say that the dams construction was for one purpose only and that was to generate massive amounts of energy, that has in part powered the nation’s economic resurgence.

China’s Stance

Chinese authorities have repeatedly said that the dam has controlled the copious amounts of water that have battered the structure for almost two months. China has also said that the dam cannot control water that ends up in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze basin without having a chance to pass through the facility. Chinese officials have also downplayed their admission of the damage and say the extent is minimal. The C.C.P. reassures the millions of residents below the dam that the deformations on the surface of the structure are well within safe parameters, and not to worry about the possible 300+ foot wall of water behind it.

Further Controversies

I recently watched an interesting documentary about the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. In the film, they explained that when engineers dug to the depths required to build the dam they encountered bedrock and constructed the dam directly on top of the solid rock, without any additional anchoring. Some believe that it is possible over time for water to work it’s way under the dam and weaken the structure from beneath, eventually causing a catastrophic failure.

Others cite a satellite photo supposedly taken in 2018 as proof that there are deformations on the dams walls.

Final Thoughts

In the end nobody honestly knows if the dam is going to fail or not. So far it’s still standing, despite taking massive amounts of punishment from the elements. What I do know for sure is if the dam did fail, a 300+ foot wall of water would inundate millions of acres of farmland, countless homes, and in some way, shape or form affect the life of every Chinese citizen.

If you’re finding our content informative please consider subscribing to our YouTube Channel for future updates.

Fort Duffield: Kentucky’s impenetrable Civil War stronghold

Since I was a boy I’ve relished the idea of traveling back in time and seeing what life was like for people in other eras. That’s why I like visiting well preserved historic sites, it’s about as close you can get to stepping into a time portal.

A few years back I found an intriguing Civil War base atop a hill. One that actually pulls back the veil of history, and provides a physical glimpse into the past.

Fort Duffield is located in Kentucky, just outside the town of West Point and to the South of Louisville. I’ve been to the fort many times and I thought it would be cool to share some amazing facts that make this Civil War fortress so special.

A walk through history

Before laying out the history of the fort, let’s begin by looking at the actual layout and few of the property’s notable features.

  • The 17 foot tall earthen walls were constructed in 1861 and stretch for almost an eighth of a mile.
  • Several replica cabins have been built at the fort.
  • The views of the river and town below are breathtaking.
  • A memorial cemetary sits on a hill adjacent to the fort.
  • ‘Court House Road’ was built in 1800 and it’s remnants remain off the main road to the grounds.

Entrance to the fort requires walking up a rather large hill to a fork in the road. To the left, the memorial cemetery. By following the road to the right you will find the former Union Stronghold, Fort Duffield.

Once at the fort your greeted by a sign and a couple of trails that that lead around the earthen structure.

On the north end of the fort two reproduced cabins are displayed for visitors. The cabins were built too look as accurate as possible to original dwellings. It’s ok to explore the inside of the structures as well. The inside of each consists of approximately 5 foot tall ceilings and a combination of dirt and wood planks for the floors. The walls of the cabins are constructed of cut timber and insulated with a mud and straw mixture. Two of the three cabins on the property have second floors accessible by stairs and a ladder.

A path leads from the pair of cabins up a hill to the top of the forts defensive dirt mounds. Standing approximately 17 feet tall and 9 feet wide in most places, the pictures fail to properly illustrate the scale of the earthen walls. In addition, the fortification sprawls for an estimated eighth of a mile. Building the walls in terrain this rough would be impressive at any point in history. But especially so when you consider that the fortifications are 150 years old and were built with simple tools.

The path then curls to the south and pauses at a clearing where a campfire site existed. After long days tending to duties soliders would gather to unwind in the evenings. Another replica cabin sits directly behind the gathering area.

The trail then twists towards the main entrance and down the hill to the cemetary. Along the way you can’t help but notice the breathtaking view of the small town of West Point Kentucky and Ohio River below.

Once up the hill your greeted by an American flag and a memorial cemetery. The memorial was setup in the 1990’s to pay homage to the 48 soliders that perished between 1861 and 1862.

After passing through the memorial it’s all downhill. A path winds a quarter of a mile through the woods back to the parking area where a replica section of wall exists for those who want to observe the fort, but might not have the stamina for the 1.5 mile round trip.

On the way down the mile long road back to the modern world you will encounter one last relic of a forgotten time. Just to the left of the main road lay remnants of ‘Courthouse Road’ built in 1800. The road ran from the Salt River all the way to the Hardin County Courthouse in Elizabethtown Kentucky and was used until the Louisville-Nashville turnpike was completed. The old trail can still be seen just across a freshwater stream. This road is possibly the oldest piece of history in the area, an impressive feat in itself.

Orgins of Fort Duffield

Now that you know your way around the place, the next logical question is why was the fort commissioned?

  • General William T. Sherman ordered the construction of Fort Duffield at the onset of the Civil War in 1861.
  • The Union stronghold took 45 days to complete.
  • The fortress was named after Colonel William Duffield’s father, clergymen George Duffield.
  • The base never had a battle during the Civil War.
  • 48 soliders perished while serving at Fort Duffield, mostly from various diseases.
Drawing of Fort Duffield by Charles Kelley, Colonel 9th Michigan Infantry Regiment circa 1861.

In 1861 at the onset of the Civil War, General William T. Sherman ordered the construction of the fort to serve as a buffer of protection for supply routes. The site was chosen atop a hill in West Point Kentucky overlooking the mouth of the Salt River. The primary objective was shielding the city of West Point, the Ohio River shipping routes and the Louisville-Nashville Turnpike from attacks from the south.

Work began in the fall when the 9th Michgan Infantry Regiment and 37th Indiana Infantry Regiment broke ground. The work was overseen by Colonel William W. Duffield who commanded the 9th Infantry. Colonel George W. Hazzard also assisted in construction and commanded the 37th Infantry out of Indiana. The fortress was later named after Colonel Duffiled’s father Reverend George Duffield a prominent clergyman from Detroit Michigan.

The soliders quickly constructed cabins, wooden gates and the trenches that still exist to this day. The earthen fort only took about 45 days to construct and could house over 1,000 troops once complete. The strategic location on top of a large hill and design of the base, made it impervious to would be attacks. Fort Duffield also had a cannon mounted on a turret that rotated 360 degrees and could fire in any direction if needed.

1861-1864: The Civil War

After Duffield’s hasty construction the 9th Michigan Infantry was stationed there throughout the conflict. During the war the Fort basically served as a deterrent and never came under or initiated an attack.

While researching Duffiled’s history I did stumble across one interesting unsolved mystery. A conflicting report of a sniper shooting. According to records at the base (see picture below) Emil Fisher was killed by a gunshot from a sniper on December 4, 1861. However, official records state that the base never came under fire.

Duffield’s War

A list of the names and cause of death of many of the soliders that perished at Fort Duffield. Click to enlarge.

Although the stronghold wasn’t involved in any direct conflict, the 9th Infantry Regiment suffered major loss of life from outbreaks of Typhoid Fever, Measles and Tuberculosis. The majority of deaths at the base occurred between 1861 and 1862, the picture above lists the soliders who died at the camp, date of death and cause of death. The list was compiled sometime prior to a more recent 2015 study, and doesn’t include the names that were added.

A sign near the cemetary updating official fatality numbers at Fort Duffield. Forensic archeological investigations continue to this day. Click to enlarge.

It was once believed that between 36 and 39 soliders lost their lives while stationed at Duffield, but the exact number was unknown for over 150 years. Unfortunately, a 2015 study revealed (see above photo) that the number was much higher. As of today it is believed that 48 soliders lost thier life during the Civil War at Fort Duffield.

Fort Duffield today

Today the base is just as popular as ever and serves mutiple purposes. Duffield’s illustrious past and preserved earthen walls make the fort on the hill a hidden gem amongst history enthusiasts. Every summer people still gather from all over to participate in a Civil War reenactment.

The area is also known throughout the region for it’s amazing hiking and mountain bike trails. One of the midwest’s more popular mountain bike competitions is held on the grounds annually. This competition draws participants from all over the nation.

There you have it, a walk through one of the Civil War era’s best preserved encampments in the region. If you’re ever in the area it’s well worth the hour and a half that it takes to explore the grounds. If you’re considering a trip to Fort Duffield and have questions or your interested in purchasing prints of any of the photographs in this article feel free to contact me here.

Enjoying our content? Check out another article- West Point Kentucky’s Ditto House, 10 historical facts

8 unbelievable real life heists that you would think were movie plots

Movies about heists are something that I’ve always been infatuated with. The intellect, dramatic moments and predictable success make this genre irresistible to me. The fact that the victims are often portrayed as villians also places a nice cherry on top.

Thankfully cold blooded theives only exist on the big screen, right? Actually many heists have been pulled off that you would think were tales of fiction written by a Hollywood studio. By doing a bit of snooping I was able to find eight heart thumping heists that actually happened.

1. Banksy hangs his own paintings in museums

Though this story is somewhat a series of reverse heists, it definitely belongs on the list.

In early 2005 the world famous graffiti artist ‘Banksy’ pulled off one of his more infamous capers. The English street artist inconspicuously placed several of his own paintings amongst the displays at several prestigious New York museums.

The artist, who goes by the name Banksy, has surreptitiously hung works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the American Museum of Natural History and the Brooklyn Museum.


Later when Bansky was asked about his decision to pull of the daring action he answered the question in typical Bansky fashion.

I thought some of [the paintings] were quite good. That’s why I thought, you know, put them in a gallery. Otherwise, they would just sit at home and no one would see them.”


Banksy later stated that he studied Harry Houdini’s techniques for accessing the art galleries undetected.

2. The great train robbery

On August 8, 1963 an English Royal Mail train was travelling from Glasgow to London. When the train reached the now infamous bridge in Mentmore it was forced to stop due to a malfunctioning signal.

The crew was unaware at the time that a plan masterminded by Bruce Reynolds was unfolding. A group of 15 bandits quickly overwhelmed the 73 crew members aboard the trian. After smashing the conductor in the head with a metal bar their demands were met.

The thieves made off with over £2.6 million the equivalent of almost £60 million today. Most of the group was later apprehended and were tried in 1964. To this day, none of the money has been recovered.

On 15 April 1964 the proceedings ended with the judge describing the robbery as “a crime of sordid violence inspired by vast greed” and passing sentences of 30 years’ imprisonment on seven of the robbers.


3. Swedish crown jewels stolen, thieves escape by motorboat

This one is something straight out of a James Bond script. In 2018 the Swedish Crown Jewels were stolen from the Strängnäs Cathedral in Sweden. The pair of crowns and golden orb are worth an estimated £6.1 million.

Two thieves strategically anchored a small boat in a waterway below the church. After smashing the glass enclosure and grabbing the trio of irreplaceable items they made a daring escape by speedboat. Though the pair initally escaped they were later aprehended and the jewels were recovered. Johan Backstrom,22 was later sentenced to over four years in prison for his role in the crime.

4. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist

On March 18, 1990 two men posing as police officers entered the Gardner museum in Boston and told security guards they were responding to a call. The pair quickly subdued the guards and over the next 60 minutes stole 13 works of art.

The 13 works have a combined value of $500 million. Nobody has ever been arrested in connection to the crime. The FBI is offering a $10 million reward to this day for information that cracks the case.

5. The Pink Panthers

A group of over 200 theives and masterminds believed to be of Serbian descent dub themselves the Pink Panthers.

“Almost all of them are intelligent,” said the prosecuting lawyer, Gilbert Lafaye, at their sentencing. “But with this intelligence why do they follow the path to easy money?”


In December of 2008, four members of the group dressed in drag swarmed the Harry Winston Boutique in Paris. The group held the stores 15 employees at gunpoint and forced them to bag jewelry from the stores displays and safe. In all the crew made off with over $108 million worth of high end designer jewels.

6. The neck collar bomb bank robbing

This heist is actually a peculiar tale that’s on the list for it’s bazaar and tragic outcome. On August 8, 2003 Brain Wells walked into a PNC bank in Erie Pennsylvania. Wells quickly handed a note to the teller which said:

Gather employees with access codes to the vault and work fast to fill bag with $250,000. You only have 15 minutes.

Wells then raised his shirt to reveal a device attached to a collar around his neck. Tellers believed the device was a bomb. Wells was only able to bag $8,702 before fleeing the scene.

State troopers caught up with Wells a few miles down the road at a gas station. Where he pleaded with officers stating that the device had been forcibly placed around his neck and he was not a willing participant. After a tense 23 minute standoff the bomb exploded killing Wells.

Today investigators believe that Majorie Diehl-Armstrong masterminded the heist. Evidence also points to her ex-lover, handyman Bill Rothstein as the man that built the intricate bomb. It’s possible Wells himself was involved in the plot but many questions remain unanswered.

7. Feltham Book Heist

In January of 2017 a trio of thieves managed to escape with over 260 rare books from a wharehouse near the Heathrow Airport in London. The books were passing through the facility enroute to the California International Antiquarian Book Fair. Authorities say the three smashed through a skylite window on the roof and in ‘Mission Impossible’ like fashion propelled over 40 feet to the loot.

The books were a mix of 15th and 16th century literature including works from Galileo, Leonardo da Vinci and Sir Isaac Newton. The estimated combined value of the works is over $2.3 million dollars.

In June of 2019 investigators arrested 15 men in connection with the daring caper and believe they are part of a network of thieves:

“known for committing a large number of burglaries throughout Europe.”

8. Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist

This next heist is the kind of sticky situation that could only take place in, well Cananda.

Between 2011 and 2012 an estimated 3,000 tons of maple syrup was stolen from a storage facility in Quebec. The value of the syrup was a sweet $18 million Canadian dollars. The syrup was stolen by a group of insiders that knew the thousands of barrels of syrup would only be inspected once per year. The crew was able to avoid detection by taking the barrels to a nearby facility and replacing the syrup with water. Then sneaking the barrels back into the storage facility.

In 2012 a group of seventeen men were arrested and charged for the crime. The heist was also featured on the Netflix documentary series ‘Dirty Money.’

So there you have it eight unbelievable heists that you would think were movie plots. If you enjoyed this article check out another- Can you buy government cheese?

Five simple ways to hedge against inflation

  • Periods of excessive inflation have happened numerous times throughout U.S. history.
  • Gold and Silver have historically held value, even climbing during most periods of inflation.
  • Keeping money in a savings account during periods of high inflation actually taxes your money.
  • Cash generally loses value during periods of inflation.
  • Keep investments diverse during times of rising inflation.
  • Stock up on essential items that might cost more in the near future.

Supply and demand is something that mankind has tried to balance since the dawn of civilization.

Thousands of years of past economic data can be used as an amazing reference as to the type of commodities that perform well during economic downturns. After spending quite some time researching I was able to come up with 5 simple ways to protect wealth during a period of inflation.

1. Gold and Silver

The world has used gold as a form of currency in one way or another since approximately 550 b.c. As the old addage goes an ounce of gold can typically buy a tailored suit regardless of the time in history. While gold has experienced it’s own market cycles, owning some is almost always a safe bet.

2. Avoid standard saving accounts

During periods of high inflation keeping money in standard saving accounts is unfortunately not the route to go. With elementary math we can see that by “saving” your actually losing money every year. If inflation is five percent and the bank is promising two percent annual interest on a savings account, it’s easy to see that this money has had a 3 percent tax applied to it in a stelath manner.

3. Not too much cash

This one is fairly self explanatory as well. During periods of excessive inflation the purchasing power of money decreases at rates faster than wages increase. Always keep cash on hand but be mindful of the amounts.

4. Diversify Investments

Keeping diverse investments (including real estate if possible) is a good form of wealth protection regardless of the economic market. During periods of inflation the price of stocks can also rise as more money floods the market. This also protects cash from the hidden inflation tax.

5. Stock up on essentials

Once you have your financial well-being protected it might be a good time to think about stocking up on several months worth of groceries and supplies. The type of items that you would typically use anyways. Grocery and home improvement stores are usually the first place a person would actually notice inflation at the cash register.

Now you know 5 simple ways to protect yourself against periods of excessive inflation.

Enjoying our content? Check out another article- Accelerated inflation could be an unintended consequence of 2020’s stimulus package