Read the rest
In the past four months, the spate of natural disasters combined with the specter of nuclear war with North Korea has pushed up Wise’s total sales 40 percent from the previous four-month period. Concerned suburbanites as well as disaster responders have contributed to the increase....
I first heard about Wise a few years ago from a cousin, a former police officer in Zionsville, Ind., who kept a supply of its products in his basement that could sustain his family for six months. Then my stepbrother, an executive who lives in downtown Washington, invested in a stash of drinking water and long-storage food. And my brother, a climate scientist with the Nature Conservancy, began building a supply in the basement of his West Virginia cabin. “I can’t imagine anything worse than not being able to feed my kids,” he says, “and the chances of disruptions in our food supply are by all accounts becoming more likely.”
To me, this smacked of paranoia. My brother, cousin, and stepbrother represent a skewed sample: All are guys, all own guns, and two like to hunt in their free time with compound bows and arrows. Each possesses at least a flicker of the fatalist prepper sensibility that Wise was built in 2006 to serve.
(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.”
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.