Prepping for Armageddon is no longer monopolized by conspiracy theorists on the fringe. As a lengthy New Yorker story explains, it's actually quite common among the richest Americans in Silicon Valley. For the uber-rich, preparing for a breakdown in society, whether caused by an earthquake, a military attack, or some other calamity, takes different forms. Think buying remote land somewhere (New Zealand is a popular choice), stocking up on Bitcoin, or building a refuge, stocked with necessities, on an island in the Northwest (as one former Facebook manager has done). For Reddit co-founder Steve Huffmann, doomsday prep entailed getting Lasik surgery. “If the world ends—and not even if the world ends, but if we have trouble—getting contacts or glasses is going to be a huge pain in the ass,” he explains.
If it sounds crazy, a former Facebooker and Reddit CEO puts it in perspective: "The tech preppers do not necessarily think a collapse is likely," says Yishan Wong (who also had eye surgery, just in case). "They consider it a remote event, but one with a very severe downside, so, given how much money they have, spending a fraction of their net worth to hedge against this ... is a logical thing to do.” The New Yorker's Evan Osnos adds some perspective of his own, noting that agitation about the end times has historically risen amid times of great technological change combined with political uncertainty. His story includes a visit to the Survival Condo Project in Kansas, a 15-story complex built in a former missile silo and filled with luxury condos. Its founder is aiming to have the food-storage area resemble a "miniature Whole Foods." Click for the full story. (Read more Longform stories.)