You might not know it yet, but there are some easy tricks to sheltering yourself in an emergency. Wilderness lovers and people in many traditional societies use these simple survival techniques. You can, too! Your Bank Account Whether you are in the outback or in an urban environment, you need to understand your body’s “bank account” and how to save your body’s resources for important withdrawals. In an emergency, you should keep your body’s account of heat, stamina, and water safe. If you don’t conserve them, you might not have them to withdraw when needed to make better shelter, get food, or do other essential actions. Quick Shelter What I call “quick shelter” is a deceptively simple idea: if you want to reduce loss in your body’s bank account, do simple things to quickly stop losses of water and energy. Whatever it takes, become very protective of the body temperature, stamina, nutrition and water you have in your body when you don’t need to work. I’ve seen many people deplete their resources by exerting themselves or staying out exposed to the elements for no good reason. Save it for when you build, travel, get food, etc. In cool climates, put on head and hand gear, pile leaves on yourself, sit against a rock that reflects warm sunlight. Zip up your coat and sit on the leeward side of a tree to protect against cold and wind. Wipe snow or water from your clothes. In hot areas, lying in shade, avoiding activity, and enjoying a cool breeze does wonders. Deserts can be broiling hot in the day but turn cold at night. When heat starts to drop, gather any easy insulation, from plants to clothing, in case it’s needed at night. Strong wind can deplete your stores in any environment, too, [...]
The maiden flight of an unusual aircraft on November 17, 2013, in Karlsruhe, Germany, ushered in the possibility of a machine that could have a dramatic effect on personal, commercial, international aid, rescue, and military operations. How do you make an aircraft that functions like a helicopter yet a.) is powered by electricity b.) is much easier to fly than a helicopter c.) is cheaper to purchase and operate than a helicopter? The answer: the Volocopter. Volocopter: Not a Helicopter Although it resembles a helicopter in a basic way, the company that produced the Volocopter, E-volo, resists using that word. Helicopters are incredible machines. Currently, nothing beats them for their ability to take off and land vertically, hover, and transport people and material into small places. However, they also consume significant fossil fuels, 9-16 gallons per hour for a small two seater and up to 30 gallons per hour for a 5 seat turbine. More powerful versions burn more. They’re also tough to fly. The stresses on the helicopter airframe are immense; the torque of those big blades is huge. Aside from the fact that it can take up to 30% of the helicopter’s energy to power the tail rotor that keeps the aircraft from spinning like a big eggbeater, that tail rotor is also a difficult way to control yaw that requires either constant work from the pilot or, as on the larger copters, there’s basically an automated system that runs it. The Volocopter has no tail rotor. It has no engine. It has no giant rotor blades swinging overhead. What it does have looks like some kind of elaborate German waffle cookie with small rotors. Yolanka Wulff, executive director of the Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation, presented the Lindberg Award to the Volocopter team in April, [...]
“One second at a time…just get through one thing at a time…” Tami opened her eyes. She was below deck in the disheveled boat that, she saw, had taken on three feet of water. She remembered the sea had been rough, but now it was dead calm. She felt her head and looked at the blood she found. Finding her way up to the open air, she looked up at a broad sky above her. Something wasn’t right. What was it? The sky. It was too broad. There was no sail in her vision. She focused, trying to clear her head; there was no mainmast. Tami looked around. There was no Richard. Only his safety line remained, severed, one end drifting aimlessly in the water. She was alone.
It sounds like the beginning of a joke. “Two guys meet in a yard…” But it became a project that is helping thousands. Did you ever think that you wanted to change the world but then thought, nah, how could I do that? It’s very possible if you really want to do it. Here’s one example that started at a barbeque in western New York state. A Way That People Can Have Water To date, the Ugandan Water Project has helped to fund rainwater collection systems that have changed the way that over 48,000 Ugandans live. Available water has made healthy, educated, more abundant lives possible. How do they get this water if there is no lake or stream nearby? The same time-tested way many people around the world do and, in fact, a technique that I have suggested you can use if you need to improvise a water system for yourself in Water Wisdom for Survival: Part Two – water catchment. Basically, if an occasional rainstorm passes by and dumps many gallons of water on your roof anyway, why not catch it to use later? There are many ways to do this, but basically imagine putting a water tank under your drainspout and saving it for another day.
…or dinner, if you’re just not a morning person. Bears are found in many parts of the world. If you like the idea of having a really “up close and personal” experience with one, let’s look at how to do it. Good Things to Have Around Keep things like bird feeders, pet food, salt licks, bee hives, and dirty barbecue grills. Use lots of smelly things including items like perfumes and fragrant shampoos. Oh, and citronella seems to bring in the bears sometimes. Also, bears enjoy snacking on ant larvae and pupae. Ant colonies give off formic acid. So, things made with formic acid (Hot tub covers, bike seats, insulated snowmobile seats, and many other items) have been attractants. Surprise! Sneak up on the bears – they like being startled! Don’t sing or clap or talk loudly, keep your flashlight off while hiking at night, and make sure to walk quietly on the trail. (Note: In case it’s not obvious, for your safety, you should not follow the advice in this article. Plus, remember, like many potentially dangerous situations I’ve written about, prevention is the easiest and most effective tool.) In Bear Country, Keep a Really Messy, Smelly Camp or Home Go ahead – live it up! Keep your food and trash lying around, especially near where you’re going to sleep. Don’t use canned or dried food. Leave containers open and out. Forget wasting money on Ziploc bags, and don’t even think about hoisting your food way up a tree. Stay Below the Radar Whenever you head out into nature, you’re probably trying to leave the shackles of civilization behind, right? Ditch the cell phone, and don’t tell people where you’re going or how long you expect to be. That’s a great idea for anything outdoors, bear country or not. [...]
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” – Marie Curie Wreckage The debris of the biplane smoldered in the south suburbs of Chicago as a man looked through it. It appeared to be a fatal plane crash. He saw broken wood, cloth, metal parts…and a woman. Betty Robinson The woman, Elizabeth “Betty” Robinson, nicknamed “Babe” by those around her, had been a very rapidly rising star in the track scene. Born in Riverdale, Illinois, she ran her first 100-meter race at 16, finishing second only to the U.S. record holder. In her second race, though unrecognized, she matched the world record. According to her son, Rick Schwartz, her running career started as a matter of chance. “Her biology teacher was on the I.C. (Illinois Central) train and saw my mom running to catch it.” Astonished that Mrs. Schwartz was able to catch the train, the teacher suggested that they start training together, and the rest is history. Her fourth 100-meter competition was the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. These games are remembered for, among other things, being the first where the Olympic flame was lit and the first to use the now-standard 16-day schedule. Before that, the games stretched out over a period of months. There was another first for women as well. In the 100-meter race, Betty equaled the world record and won the race. She was the first to win this event because it was the inaugural attempt at having women run it in the Olympics. Betty then added a silver medal with her performance in the 4×100 meter relay. Newspapers heralded her as the fastest woman [...]
An old TV, junk food, Brillo pad, plastic bottle, condom, battery, ice. These might save your life. (When did you ever hear that junk food could save your life?) Impress your spouse and friends. Even more important, keep yourself alive! Learn how to start fires without a lighter, matches, or store-bought survival equipment. Any readers familiar with my writing know that I promote being able to work with the materials at hand. If you have great equipment, it makes your job really easy. Unfortunately, that’s not often the case. So, you’re in a situation where you need a fire but don’t have a lighter or matches? No problem. Just start looking around.
Did you ever dream of being able to start fires like early explorers, ancient royalty, traditional societies, early authors, or your great-great-great-grandma? These techniques, and more, have been used for campfires for millennia. However, they were also used in homes, kitchens, and anywhere else you needed heat and light. Here’s a peek at skills that pretty much everyone knew before safety matches came into widespread use in the mid-19th century. Hand Drill The hand drill is one of the earliest methods people came up with to start fire. And, it’s one of the most difficult ones, too. I’ve watched Maasai warriors of East Africa do this on the wide blades of their spears. They, of course, made it look easy. After all, they’ve probably been doing it all their lives. It’s not easy for most of the rest of us. –> You’ll need a straight spindle of harder wood perhaps 1 ½- 2 feet long. –> Make tinder out of anything that catches fire readily-dry grass, leaves, bark-and form a little nest. –> Cut a V-notch in a piece of wood called a “fire board” or “hearth board”, making a small depression next to it. Cottonwood, cedar, and willow are some of the options. –> Put bark or something similar between the spindle and the fire board. Fir or horsetail wood are a few possible materials. –> Put the spindle into the depression on the fire board. Keep pressure on the board, rolling the stick between your hands. You run your hands up and down the spindle again and again and again until an ember is glowing on the fire board. –> As soon as that ember shows up, drop it into the bark and shove it into the tinder, gently blowing to keep it alive and coax it into [...]
Fire? Me? Make a fire? Where’s the microwave? Whether keeping the family happy with an autumn blaze and marshmallows, traveling in any climate or country, or keeping yourself alive in an emergency, knowing how to make a fire is crucial and easily learned. Even if you live in a city, knowing how to set up a fire could be useful in an emergency situation for heat, light, signaling, or cooking. This article discusses campfires, but the same principles apply to your grill, fireplace, or urban emergency. You might just need to use other items. It’s Not That Tough Mom grew up on a mountain ranch, and Dad spent lots of time riding the Rockies on his horse before heading off to hunt treasures. They know how to make fires. We made fires in two fireplaces in the old house, a fire-breathing stove in our cabin, on camping trips and during expeditions. So, I was expected to learn fire building from an early age. When your parents are able to conjure flame quickly from almost anything, it can be a little intimidating. Why did I need bundles of paper and a box of matches when it took just a little tinder and a quick touch with one match for my folks to be fanning flames? But, I learned that it’s really not that hard to do.
It sounds like something that Vulcans, Romulans, Earthlings and Klingons might sign in yet another incarnation of Star Trek, but it’s real. There is an actual Outer Space Treaty. One Day in 1963 The events of May, 1963 included the Rolling Stones signing up with Decca Records, Mickey Mantle hitting a ball into Yankee Stadium’s façade, Bob Dylan’s song “Blowin’ in the Wind” was released, hundreds of African Americans arrested in the protest in Birmingham, Alabama and the James Bond film “Dr. No” debuted in the United States. But, something else happened that month that many people might not know. May 9, 1963 is the date of the successful launch of an unusual payload. 480 million copper needles. More precisely they were tiny dipole antennas. Basically, think of the old “rabbit ears” antennas used on TVs. Following an earlier launch attempt in 1961 that failed, this rocket flight carried the large batch of little needles to a medium earth orbit at an altitude between 3,500 miles and 3,800 miles above the Earth. Soon, a thin ring of metal encircled our world.