Tempest, a brutal island-survival roguelite

Tempest is a Pico-8 browser game by impbox that dumps you on an uninhabited island. Not a nice desert island, no, but an unpleasant one much closer to the arctic circle. Gather wood, fruit and fresh water (use the Z key) and see if you can make shelter before the cold night sets in and kills you. Key tip: you have to manually drink and eat, by opening menus with the X key and hitting the relevant options. Read the rest

Monkeys helped man who mysteriously vanished in the Bolivian Amazon

Tourist Maykool Coroseo Acuña, 25, was lost in the Bolivian Amazon for nine days. He says that he was only able to survive thanks to "a group of monkeys, who dropped him fruit and lead him to shelter and water every day." And that isn't even the strangest part of the story surrounding Acuña. From Elizabeth Unger's fascinating article in National Geographic:

(Tour organizer Feizar Nava) had invited the tourists at the lodge to participate in a Pachamama ceremony—a tradition involving coca leaves, candles, and cigarettes—to thank Pachamama, or Mother Earth, for giving them permission to enter the forest.

When Maykool was asked to join the ceremony alongside the group, he had refused, Feizar said. And when a guide had returned to his cabin to check on him, he was nowhere to be found. The amount of time that had passed between when Maykool was last seen and when someone went back for him was only five minutes.

Panicked, Feizar and his guides checked every inch of the lodge. Maykool wasn’t there. The group headed out into the rainforest with flashlights. They searched until five in the morning, to no avail. Maykool seemed to have completely vanished.

“It’s because he offended the Pachamama.” Feizar said. “He didn’t want to participate in the ceremony.”

"Lost Tourist Says Monkeys Saved Him in the Amazon" (Nat Geo) Read the rest

Primitive Technology: Turn on the closed captions!

It's no secret that Boing Boing (along with over 4 million other netizens) loves the Primitive Technology channel on YouTube. We've covered this channel numerous times (about a guy making primitive tech in the wilds of Far North Queensland, Australia with nothing but the gym shorts on his ass). I anxiously await each episode and am like a kid at Christmas when I get the alert that a new one is up.

But this month, thanks to one of the reader comments, I made a cool discovery. The videos are without narration. The un-named survivalist, who some have dubbed "Prim," is really good at showing you what he's doing so that you can understand it without explanation, and he writes up decent notes that are published along with the videos. But then I saw the comment: "[Turns on captions] That clever bastard has been talking to us the entire time!!" Whoa.

The captions and the notes are pretty similar, but you do get extra content in the captions and you get to see them in situ. I've been using closed captioning on my TV recently and have been delighted to see how much additional information you actually get: background conversations you would never hear, song titles and lyrics, and wonderful sound descriptions like "sexual gasping." So, it's great to discover another instance of CC being useful. Read the rest

Luxury nuclear bunkers in Kansas

Larry Hall is developing luxury nuclear bunkers underground at an old nuclear missile site in Kansas. Hall says the Survival Condos, starting at $1.5 million, are "nuclear-hardened bunkers that are engineered… to accommodate not just your physical protection but your mental wellbeing as well." From BBC News:

Mr Hall says he has spent millions on providing the complex with every possible feature to keep residents safe both now and for an indefinite period, should a catastrophic event occur.

These include air and water filtration systems, a range of energy sources (including wind power), and the capacity to grow plants and breed fish for food supplies. Armed guards patrol the entrance.

There are many other features too, such as a cinema, swimming pool, surgery, golf range, and even a rock climbing wall. "It's like a miniature cruise ship," says Mr Hall.

He believes that luxury touches like these could help to explain a development that may seem a little surprising.

At first, he says, clients saw owning an apartment as "like life insurance", just something to be used in case of an emergency. But now some purchasers have come to regard their apartments as second homes, making regular use of them for weekends or longer breaks.

"Everyone comments on how well they sleep here," he adds.

Read the rest

Survive the coming apocalypse inside a big pipe buried underground

Atlas Survival Shelters sells huge corrugated pipe shelters outfitted for living with air filtration systems, Co2 scrubbers, and power generators. A 10' x 20' shelter goes for $30-$40,000 and the "Hillside Retreat," a 10' x 51', runs as high as $109,000. Options include a big screen TV, electric fireplace, oak flooring, hatch camouflaged as a boulder, and many other fine amenities. From their pitch:

The only bunkers manufactured today that has actually been tested against the effects of a nuclear bomb and has passed, is the round corrugated pipe shelters (used in the 1950s) by the U.S. Army Corps of Enginneers..

The round shape worked then and still works today! There is little difference between the bunkers made 50 years ago and the bunkers made today except the addition of modern interiors, NBC air filtration systems, Co2 scrubbers, generators, and high-tech electronics. There is no other shape other then round that will allow you to reach the depth underground that you need for maximum protection for your family and to allow the climate to be controlled underground.

"Beware the Square". No pre-manufactured square metal bunkers passed the nuclear test and should only be regarded as a fallout shelter or tornado shelter at best!

Atlas Survival Shelters (via Uncrate)

Read the rest

RIP Vesna Vulović, survived 44 years after 33,000-foot fall

Vesna Vulović was a JAT Yugoslav Airlines flight attendant when her plane exploded mid-air in 1972, sending her hurtling toward earth in the tail of the aircraft. Her miraculous survival remains the record height for surviving a freefall without a parachute. Read the rest

How to bust a coconut open like a boss

Grant Thompson took a moment from his trip to Hawaii to show how to bust open a coconut without expending more energy than the coconut will provide. There are two parts: getting through the outer husk, and cracking the nut itself. Read the rest

Your camera as emergency survival gear

Chris Nicholls of the Camera StoreTV demonstrates what to do if you are lost in the woods with only your camera gear.

Tying flies is boring.

(h/t PetaPixel) Read the rest

Makeshift candles from household items

If the power goes out, Willow Haven Outdoor reminds us you might have some household items that would make a good candle. Read the rest

Howto: start a fire with a lemon

You'll a few more things -- some copper cotterpins, some zinc nails, insulated wire, and steel wool. You make a battery out of the lemon, short it against the steel wool, which makes it red hot, and that lights the tinder you've set on top of it. (via Kottke) Read the rest

My 977 days held hostage by Somali pirates: journalist Michael Scott Moore

In 2012 American journalist Michael Scott Moore (who wrote a great history of surfing, Sweetness and Blood) was kidnapped by Somali pirates and held for $20 million ransom. As soon as I started reading his enthralling account of the 977-day ordeal, my heart began to race.

One night in late February, a month after my capture, the guards hauled me in a Land Rover, alone, to a remote part of the bush to meet the pirate kingpin. I had heard of Garfanji but never seen a picture. He was a powerful criminal, with a reputation for cruelty as well as kindness to his own men.

The person I met in the bush that night seemed groggy and dull-witted; he sat cross-legged in the dust and spoke in a high, almost childish voice. He dialled a private American negotiator on his softly glowing smartphone.

The negotiator said, “The man who just handed you the phone is Mohammed Garfanji,” and my blood felt just like ice water. “They aren’t beating you or anything like that, are they?” he asked.

“No,” I said, although one boss, Ali Duulaay, had beaten me several times. “Not systematically,” is what I meant.

"My 977 days held hostage by Somali pirates" [theguardian.com] Read the rest

Easy to use, camping and emergency fire starter

I am a huge fan of this Gerber survival series fire starter. It is cheap, rugged and easy to use.

After nearly 30 years of camping use, a block of magnesium I used as a fire starter wore away to nothing. They still sell the same tiny blocks of alloy, but I wanted to try something new. Maybe I felt in a rut. This Gerber Bear Grylls tool is a welcome replacement. Well sized to fit both my hands, the striker is easy to scrape down the rod and throw off some good sized, hot and long burning sparks. Snapping the two together results in an o-ring sealed tube with space for tinder. Gerber recommends jamming some cotton balls in there, I can fit 5 or 6 but also carry a few sticks of fat wood with me on every camping trip. Fat wood always works.

This is a simple, well thought out tool that easily fits in my backpack or sidebags on the bike. I'm looking forwards to decades of easy use.

Gerber 31-000699 Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter vis Amazon Read the rest

A haunting war game about civilian survival

Polish developer 11bit Studios' recently-released This War of Mine, a bit of a different look at video games' favorite setting. Focused on hiding, building and survival, it puts the player in charge of a team of civilians.

The game was inspired by the 1,425 day-long Siege of Sarajevo, which began in 1992 during the Bosnian War. Last night I played with a friend, guiding an unlikely family of survivors through the dangerous work of scavenging food and supplies, and fortifying a shell of a home against invaders. You manage different civilians each time -- this time we had an athlete, a reporter and a chef in our care. Later, we were joined by a warm school principal who was scared to be alone. We had no kids to care for and couldn't afford the extra mouth, but we couldn't turn her away.

After two weeks of building rat traps and water filters and bargaining with other wanderers, scavenging in abandoned rubble -- imagine The Sims, but very, very dark, made moreso by the lifelike photographs of our characters -- we found a hotel overrun by armed madmen. It was a gripping reminder that combatants are hardly the only consideration in conflict.

The game is available on Steam. Read the rest

Why we love man versus nature struggles

Have you ever wanted to be alone in the woods, drinking your own urine to survive? Probably not, that'd be weird. But you've wondered if you could do it, right? An exclusive essay by the author of the new science fiction novel, The Martian, out in paperback today

Professor trapped In Himalayan crevasse records video diary of his escape

Bryan M of Digg writes: "John All fell 70 feet down a crevasse, which left him seriously injured and unable to use his right arm."

He recorded four videos about his ordeal as it was happening! Read the rest

Bug-out cabinet, large

The Wolfram Cabinet contains 170 items critical to human survival. Survival will cost $14,500 and require about 40 cubic feet. The inventory. The brochure. The relatively inexpensive briefcase edition. [via Uncrate] Read the rest

Surviving a massive wildfire

In 2011, the Pagami Creek Fire burned through 92,000 acres of Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area. At Outside magazine, Frank Bures tells the story of two kayakers caught in the inferno. Includes some amazing photos taken by one of the kayakers. Read the rest

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